Carl Nikolaus Riotte -> Carl Nikolaus Riotte in Texas -> 14.09.1857 Olmsted to Cabot: Riotte deserving highest confidence


p. 450


New York, September 14th, 1857

Dr. S. Cabot.

N. E. E. Aid Soc.


My Dear Sir,

    From the tenor of your last communication I infer that it is not proba ble that your Society would wish me to make the journey in Neosho and Texas at this time, as was proposed in June.

    I have to-day received notification of my appointment to the office of' Superintendent of the Central Park of New York, with a request that I would enter upon the duties of the office immediately. I have determined to do so to-morrow and therefore relinquish the intention I have hitherto had to visit you this week.

    It is unnecessary to assure you of the very deep interest I have in the scheme of free colonization, Southward from Kansas. My duties at the park will occupy my time & mind very closely for some time to come, but I wish as far as possible to be allowed to actively co-operate with you in your great work.

    Since I saw you I have taken a good deal of pains to obtain information regarding Neosho, and the result is the highest possible estimate of its attractiveness to Northern settlers. I earnestly advise you to send a judicious person to carefully survey the ground, especially the Southeastern part, from the Arkansas to the Red River, adjoining Arkansas. lt is my impression, from a great variety of indications, that no part of the United States ever offered greater natural attractions (as respects productiveness & salubrity) than this part of Neosho. I would urge the importance of early steps in this direction. An expenditure of a great treasure of money and life would be justified to establish firmly a respectable colony of brave and careful New Englanders, South of the Arkansas river near the State line. It is my conviction, however, that if Neosho is thrown open, and it is undertaken to prevent its becoming a slave state, during the next two years, success can only be secured by the aid of a transatlantic organization for directing German emigrants directly thither. I mean the organization of an extensive system of agencies & canvassing—with inducements similar to those offered by the Illinois Central R.R., and carefully systematized, cheap & comfortable facilities of transit.

    I have been disappointed in the receipt of information from Texas. I believe Dr. Douai has been more fortunate and he will translate for you a letter from Mr. Riotte, of which I can only say the author is deserving of the highest confidence and the warmest sympathy for his personal sacrifices for the principles of free men.

    I enclose a letter giving some important information with regard to Red River. The information with regard to the wheat producing qualities of the soil of Northern Texas, is [however incredible it may seem] not to be disregarded. I have received numerous confirmations of it & I am inclined to believe that Southern Neosho & Northern Texas may become the most productive wheat districts in the world. There are tolerably authentic statements of 50 bushels of wheat of the heaviest description having been produced here to the acre, with the rudest frontier cultivation. At the same time North Eastern Texas & South eastern Neosho have apparently unequalled cotton-growing advantages.

    I have received a reply to my communication to the Manchester Cotton Association, which I enclose. I also send you a letter from Lord Goderichs which I have this day received. I beg for various reasons that your Society will give very early attention to this subject and that you will soon return this letter with some advice about a reply. The matter should not be allowed to drop. A well defined scheme should be presented to our English friends, as soon as practicable, but in the mean time they must not be allowed to lose sight of the importance of the subject both materially & philanthropically. Col. James Hamilton wrote me last week that he contemplated making a trip to Europe soon (in a few weeks, I judge). "Should I do so," he says, "I will certainly employ all the time I may be an the other side to impress influential persons with my views of the advantages of your project. lt is a glorious one & if successful would be of infinite service to both countries." Col. H's facilities of reaching influential persons both political & mercantile in England are of the best, & the opportunity should not be lost. If you are ready to do anything or to propose anything definitely, & will write me soon, I will take a day to visit Col. H. at his residence, to consult with him & give him all the information likely to assist his purpose, which I can obtain.

The Kansas Zeitung has been well noticed in the German papers here, several copies are taken in New York. From what I hear, I infer that it is conducted with remarkable good judgment, and is likely to be very useful.

    Be kind enough to show this letter & its enclosures to Dr. Douai, with warm regards.

    I shall always esteem it an honor and a favor to be entrusted with any duty for your Society in New York.

    Faithfully Yours

    Fred. Law Olmsted.


John Hopkins, „The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, II. Slavery and the South 1852-1857“, Maryland, 1981


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