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by bestow. A multitude of youthful dark ies, who have no visible aim in existence save to sport in the sun, abound in the American quarter; and they are apparently well fed and happy. The mass of the negroes are recklessly improvident; as in all cities, they are crowded together in ill-built and badly-ventilated cabins, and are ready victims for almost any fell disease. The charges of corruption made against them by the majority of the white native population are rather sweeping; and when they are ap plied to the legislative conduct of the negroes, are severer than that conduct will justify.

The present condition of the educational system of Louisiana is encouraging, although disfigured by evils which arise from the political disorganization. The State superintendent of education is a mulatto gentleman of evident culture-seems, indeed, quite up to the measure of his task, if he only had the means to perform it. He could not tell me how many schools were in operation in the State at the time of my visit; nor, indeed, how much the increase had been since the war; and explained that there was the greatest difficulty in procuring returns from the interior districts. Even the annual reports are forwarded very tardily; sometimes not at all. The school-tax has heretofore been two mills on the dollar, but it is to be raised to one-fourth of 1 per cent. The State is divid

| ed into six divisions, one of which comprises New Orleans, and there is a superintendent for each division. There are now in Louisiana two hundred and ninety-one thousand youth between the ages of six and twentyone; and it is fair to presume at least onehalf of them to be children of colored parents, since the Louisianian population is very equally divided into white and black. The Legislature appropriates half a million dollars yearly for the use of the schools, of which about seven-eighths is annually expended. There are but few actually mixed schools now in the State. To the you must! of the law, the white man has replied, I will not! and the mingling of colors has not been insisted upon very severely. Great numbers of private schools have sprung into existence, especially in New Orleans, where the predominant religion is the Catholic; and the Germans have showed their dislike of the mixed schools by establishing special ones for their own children. The Catholic clergy in New Orleans has not gone so far as to forbid the attendance of children of Catholic parents in the public schools; but the organ of that clergy announced the other day that the poverty, and not the will, of Catholic parents, acceded the permission to attend secular schools. Although the commingling of races and religions has not yet been thoroughly accomplished, immense progress has certainly been made since the

war. In 1868, when the real work of school reform in the State was begun, there was no supervision whatever exercised over schoolfunds, and millions of dollars were uselessly squandered. There were then less than one hundred public schools in the entire State, and it was estimated at the first educational convention ever held in Louisiana, convened in New Orleans in 1872, that there were at that time eleven hundred schools in operation, with nearly one hundred thousand pupils. The old system, or lack of system, had had most painful results. There were no means of obtaining proper reports; there was no certainty that the few teachers who were employed did their duty. The present school-law is pretty well adapted to the condition and wants of the State; as it has been amended so as to strike out some provisions which it was impossible to fulfill in this generation. There is one formidable obstacle still in the way of progress in the interior of the State, and that is, as asserted by the superior officials, that the money appropriated to the different parishes for school-funds has in many cases never been used for schools; and prosecution of officers supposed to have retained the money is of but small avail. Parish boards of school-directors are ostensibly in office in every section of the State; but they do not all perform their duty. The new law provides for the maintenance of a proper normal department; and good teachers are yearly sent out therefrom. New Orleans now has about seventy public schools, and a little more than $700,000 invested in school-property. The teachers in those schools exclusively attended by white children are all white; in the mixed schools there are some colored teachers. Only onefourth of the number of school edifices occupied are owned by the city. The superintendent said that it would not do to insist upon mixed schools in remote districts, as the people would in that case refuse to have any school at all. The Louisiana State University is a struggling institution, which needs and merits much aid from richer States; and an agricultural college and a system of industrial schools have been projected. The colored children in the public-schools manifest an earnestness and aptitude which amply demonstrates their inalienable right to be admitted to them. People in all sections have ceased grumbling at the "school-house taxes," and that in itself is a cheering sign.

The city of New Orleans is certain of a glorious commercial future, because it is the

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southern gateway of the Continent, and because the commerce of the Gulf States; increasing with astonishing rapidity, is alone sufficient to build up a mighty metropolis. The river yearly brings new treasures, and lays them at the feet of the Crescent Queen; and now, in her sore need, does more than all else to keep her courage at the stickingpoint. In a succeeding article we will picture the intense, vari-colored, grotesque, vigorous life along the vast stream. Let us now see what homage Uncle Samuel is paying to the "Father of Waters.”

Some bright day, when the surface of the river is burnished like the shield of Achilles, and a light breeze blows inland, set your foot upon the deck of an outgoing steamer, and descend the river. After the town and the spires, the docks and their long lines of masts and smoke stacks, the convent roofs and plantation vistas, have faded from sight-after you have passed the old battleground where Andrew Jackson corrected the English in 1815,-—and the National Cemetery, filled with graves of valiant soldiers,— after you have left all the city and its suburbs behind, and run by Forts Philip and Jackson,―you go slowly down a muddy-colored but broad and strong current, running seaward between low banks, which seem unstable, and illy to protect the plantations in the fertile fields beyond them. The fears that the levées along the Mississippi would not be able to always resist the great body of water bearing and wearing upon them have several times been realized; and among the most disastrous instances of the crevasse are those of May, 1816, when the river broke through, nine miles above New Orleans, destroyed numbers of plantations, and inundated the back part of the city. Gov. Claiborne adopted the expedient of sinking a vessel in the breach, and saved the town. In 1844 the river did much damage along the levée at New Orleans; and the inundations of 1868 and 1871 were severe lessons of the necessity of continually strengthening the levées. When within fifty or sixty miles of the river's mouths, the banks become too low for cultivation; you leave the great sugar plantations behind, and the river broadens, until, on reaching the "Head of the Passes,” it separates into several streams, one of which in turn divides again a few miles from its separation from the main river. Beginning at the north and east, these passes, as they are called, are named respectively "Pass à l'Outre," North-east Pass," the "South Pass," and "South-west Pass." Across the

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mouths of these passes, bars of mud are formed, deposited by the river, which, there meeting the salt and consequently heavier water of the Gulf, runs over the top of it, and, being partially checked, the mud is strained through the salt water, and sinks at once to the bottom. This separation of the fresh from the salt water is maintained in a remarkable degree. When the river is high, the river-water runs far out to sea, and has been seen at fifteen miles from the passes, as sharply defined a line between them as that between oil and water. This is also true with reference to the upper and lower strata. Sometimes, when a steamer is running through a dense pea-soup colored water on top, the paddle-wheels will displace it sufficiently to enable one to see clear Gulf-water rushing up to fill the displacement. The flood-tide runs

up underneath the river-water for a long distance, and, at extraordinary high tides, is distinctly visible as far as New Orleans, one hundred and ten miles above.* The bars change their depth constantly. When the river is high, and consequently brings down most mud, the depth of water decreases with great rapidity; while in a low stage of the river comparatively little deposit occurs. The bars are subject to another and great change, believed to be peculiar to the Mississippi; that is, the formation of "mud-lumps." These are, in the first place, cone-shaped elevations of the bottom, often thrown up in

*For these and many other interesting details, the jor C. W. Howell, Captain of United States Engiwriter gratefully acknowledges his obligations to Maneers, and to Captain Frank Barr, United States

Revenue Marine.

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a few hours, so that when, on one day, the was made by Captain Talcot, of the Engineer pilot finds water for the heaviest ship, on the Corps. To save the commerce of New Ornext he may be grounded with a much lighter leans it was necessary to deepen the channel; draught. Sometimes the lumps disappear as and the plan of dredging with buckets was quickly as formed; at others they spread, carried into effect as far as a slight appropriashow themselves above the water, and gradu- tion permitted. No farther work was then ally grow into islands. It is imagined that undertaken until 1852, when $75,000 was set this is the manner in which the long, narrow aside for the work; and a number of procesbanks on either side of the "Passes" have ses for deepening-such as stirring up the been formed. It is believed that these cone-river-bottom with suitable machinery, and shaped lumps of mud are started by the ac- the establishment of parallel jetties, five tion of carburetted hydrogen gas, formed by miles in length, at the mouth of the Souththe decay of vegetable matter contained in west Pass-were tried. By 1853 a depth of the deposits from the river, then that the sub-eighteen feet of water had been obtained in

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stance of the bar, having been loosened by the action of the gas, forces the matter so loosened upward, until the mud-lump makes its appearance above the water, when, becoming dry, and fed by the forces from below, it gradually gains consistency, and forms another link in the chain, gradually extending the "Delta" into the waters of the Gulf.

The United States Government's attention to the necessity of improvement at the mouths of the Mississippi was first attracted in earnest in 1837, when an extended and elaborate survey of the passes and mouths

the South-west Pass by stirring up the riverbottom; but in 1856 it was found that no trace of the deepening remained. So in that year the sum of $300,000 was appropriated for opening and keeping open, by contract, ship-channels through the bars at the mouths of the South-west Passes. Contractors went at the work, but unless they labored incessantly, they could not keep the channels open; and they retired discomfited. The plan of dragging harrows and scrapers along the bottom of the channel, seaward, thus aiding the river-flood to carry the stirred up matter to deep water, was adopted; and a depth of

eighteen feet was maintained upon the bar for one year at a cost of $60,000. Other efforts, in 1866 and 1867, were equally costly and of small avail; and in 1868, the "Essayons," a steam dredge-boat, constructed by the Atlantic Works, of Boston, was employed upon the bar at Pass à l'Outre. The plan of this boat, which had been recommended by General McAllister, was a powerful steamer with a cutting propeller, which could be lowered into the surface of the mud. when its rapid revolutions would effect the necessary "stirring-up." The "Essayons" has been a com plete success, so far as her draught permits; and another steamer, whose cutting propeller can work at greater depth, and which has been named "McAllister," is now engaged upon the work. The principal labor with these new boats has been done at the South-west Pass, which has now become the principal entrance to the Mississippi, and there the United States Government is erecting a superb iron pile light-house, as the marshes offer but an insecure foundation. The improvements at the river's mouth, like those in the Red River, Tone's Bayou, the Tangraphoa River, the harbor of Galveston and the Mississippi forts, as well as those on the lakes in the rear of New Orleans, are all under the competent direction of Major C. N. Howell, of the Engineer Department. Pass à l'Outre is, however, considered by best au




thorities the natural channel for eastward-bound and returning ships. With its bar opened, none such would, it is affirmed, ever go to Southwest Pass, for the reason that they might save several hours coming in. This pass, properly opened, can accommodate three times the number of ships which now annually enter the Mississippi. The effect of the bar-formation at the river's mouths on the commerce of New Orleans is depressing. There are burdensome taxes on the earnings of ships. In 1870 the value of imports at New Orleans amounted to only one-seventh of the exports; but if the port were made as economical as that of New York, by removing all obstacles to free entrance and exit, the imports would soon nearly equal the exports. The Government is at present expending about $650,000 annually on the necessary river and harbor improvements in

Louisiana and Texas. Twice that amount might be judiciously invested every year. The work on the channel at the Mississippi's outlet must evidently be perpetual.

"The Balize," now a little collection of houses at the North-east Pass, was a famous place in its day-was, indeed, the port of New Orleans; and vessels were often detained there for weeks on the great bar, which had been labored upon to but little advantage before the cession of Louisiana to the United States. The French military and naval establishments at the Balize, which were very extensive, were utterly destroyed by the great hurricanes of September, 1740. Now-a-days, the venerable port is almost desolate; a few damp and discouraged fishermen linger

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