George A. Smith, "Letter from George A. Smith," St. Louis Luminary, 15 December 1855, 207.
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G. S. L. CITY, Oct. 30, 1855.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE LUMINARY:
The stoppage of the Eastern mail from the last two months, has effectually prevented the brilliant rays of the Luminary from cheering our eager eyes. If there was any possible reason for the stoppage of the mail, which we could imagine, by any stretch of thought or credulity whatever, we might endure it with some degree of patience, but understanding that the Government has a general, and brigade of troops, stationed along the road, it is impossible for anybody to be so credulous as to suppose for a moment, that a few naked, half starved, half armed and half organized savages could prevent the greatest nation on the face of the earth, from passing its mails punctually through the heart of its own country.
In addition to that, the fact being known here, that slow moving companies, small and unarmed parties of almost every description, have continued to arrive here almost weekly for the last two months, every single company assuring us that they had not been molested on the plains, and had received nothing but friendship from the Indians, precludes the possibility until we can gain further light, of a belief that the war with the Sioux has been the cause of the interests of this territory being so totally neglected that the mails should suspend their operation; we would like to hear something from some quarter, what is going on in the world, and if the U. S. Government would cease to act the dog in the manger, clear the track and let private enterprise try what it can do, we should be supplied with weekly communication in a little time. The probability is at present, that we shall have to wait until the British Government builds a railroad to the Pacific through her North American Provinces, then we may support a private express from this city to that road, an get an occasional show at the news, unless Uncle Sam should establish a mail route along the same track, and compel the express to pay him the postage on the letters it may carry and then as now, neglect or refuse to carry the mail himself, after choking off others; as it is, we have had only two mails arrive here from the East within the time specified, since the present, contractors undertook the job, although the Government has paid them over 30,000 dollars extra for their non-performance. We shall send our correspondence this time by the South Western route, although we are satisfied there is something lame West of San Bernardino, from that place to this, the contractors have been as regular as a clock, not a single failure having taken place since the route commenced, although it is more difficult than the Eastern route, on account of long deserts, and more dangerous, there being no soldiers to protect them from the Indians.
The weather for the past month has been extremely fine, giving the farmers an excellent opportunity to gather their late and scanty crops; the emigrants favorable and comfortable chance to make their way through the mountains into the vallies, and thus to close their long and wearisome journey, and the inhabitants generally, a comfortable time to bring their winters wood from the crevices of the mountain tops.
Captain C. [Charles] A. Harper's company arrived last night, and Captain [Milo] Andrus on Wednesday the 24th. Many of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund cattle have died on the road, and those which arrived are rather in poor condition; there are three trains of merchandise still to arrive that we have heard of being on the road. . . .
G. A. S.