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The Prince of Wales in St. Louis.


September/October 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, September 27, 1860.


His Trip Down the River from Alton.


Man is by nature regal and princely.  Democracy is the cordial recognition of this fact, and seeks not to uncrown men, except by crowning all men.  Heaven meant mankind for a race of kings and queens, princes and princesses, and to realize that end is the aim of Democracy.  In ages of rudeness, homage to the royal character of some men was a step toward the general culture of such character.  In our time and in this country we claim to have emerged from that period of pupilage—to have done adulating—and to have become—kings.  But exclusive royalty is part of the history of human progress, a salutary and not dishonorable part, and as such commands interest.  “I am a man”—exclaimed the ancient sage, “and whatever pertains to man is of interest to me.”  Thus is an interest in conventional royalty not only justifiable, but honorable.  The more intelligent and genial the citizen is, the deeper will be that interest.  Nor is curiosity in itself mean or unworthy.  We are so made that we love to see and learn, and when an object of legitimate interest has for us the charm of novelty, curiosity is praiseworthy in proportion as it is intense.  These remarks are made in vindication of the intelligent interest felt by the American public on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales to our shores.  Without a particle of un-democratic deference, our people may laudibly gratify the wish to see the heir prospective of the British throne.  Nor need any, same those who feel that their democracy is dying, seek to stimulate it by indulging in depreciatory criticism upon a gentleman because he happens to be called a Prince.

Baron Renfrew and suite arrived in St. Louis at half-past five o’clock last evening, and will probably leave on Friday morning.  Tuesday last was spent by the sportsmen of the party in a hunting excursion at Stewart’s grove, near Dwight, Ill.  They returned at half-past seven in the evening, having bagged one hundred and eighty-three quails, two prairie chickens and two rabbits, of which the Prince killed twenty-eight quails, two chickens and two rabbits.  All were gratified with the day’s sport.  At eight of the following morning, yesterday, the whole party entered a special train for Alton, Illinois, where they arrived at three and a half p. m.  Prior to this hour expectation was rife in that small city, and by three o’clock crowds were flocking to the landing place of the Alton St. Louis Packet Company, where the superb steamer “City of Alton” was to receive the visitors.  When the boat came in sight, at intervals discharging a cannon in honor of her expected guest, the troops of men, boys, women and girls, rapidly increased, while the open windows of the Levee stores filled with fair faces.  As she neared the wharf, the throngs pressed forward as if the Prince were already on board, and when the gang plank was arranged, there was a general movement to her deck.  Some sixty or seventy gentlemen and ladies embarked to accompany the royal party to St. Louis, while a number of citizens of the Mound City appeared to have come up on the boat for the purpose of going back on her.  A small concourse of Alton ladies honored the cabin and decks with their presence, who, as the sequel proved, had come only to receive the Prince, and then return to their homes.  Happily, for the felicity of the occasion, the skies that had deluged the streets during the night and threatened more rain all the morning, now cleared and were inspiringly bright.  There was not a little comparing of watches, speculation as to the probably punctuality of the train, many criticisms upon the Democratic nature of the occasion, &c., &c., all of which was at length interrupted by a rush of people toward the railway.  “He’s coming now, sure,” “Look, see!”  and similar exclamations resounded, while little was discernible except a locomotive and car and a grand rush of the crowd towards and around it.  Sundry gentlemen in grey coats and white hats soon emerged with some hindrances, and succeeded in moving through the swaying and accompanying throng.  Among them, the slender and meek-looking man who advanced as if eager to escape the polite attentions paid him, was voted to be the Prince.  From the shore to the deck, the passage was kept free, and the Queen’s son passed on board with a single companion, in advance of his party, and “the observed of all observers.”  The eagerness and keenness with which his person and features were from on all sides scanned, seemed rather to discompose him, and he sought a temporary relief by inspecting the clean planks of the deck.  His mood was, however, soon improved by the eagerness of a small lad, who rushed unawed into his Highness’ most immediate presence, and gazed upward into his features with an amusingly fixed scrutiny, until removed.  A consciousnes[s] of the ludicrous stole over the royal countenance, and he raised his large blue eyes half wistfully and half curiously to the groups above and around him.  His party being all on board, they remained a few moments on the lower deck, each apparently “taking notes”—mentally—for himself, while his Highness waited with amiable patience to be delivered from his part in the show.  Meanwhile the ejaculations, exclamations, sententious, reflections, etc., of the surveying spectators, were incessant and eloquent—such as, “He seems fagged,” “He looks pleasant!”  “He’s bow-legged!”  “Which is he?”  “It’s the one with the cane in his mouth!”  “La! Is that the Prince?  I thought his hair was lighter,”  “Ain’t he stoop-shouldered?”  “There, he’s talking to the big whiskered man!”  “He’s reg’lar Dutch!”  “There’s no harm in him, sure!”  “That cane!”  “Won’t he make a speech?”  etc., etc., indefinitely.  Truthfully, the impression made upon considerate observers by the young Baron, is that he is an amiable and sensible gentleman.

The companionway being cleared, the royal party passed to the cabin, during which hats were deferentially raised to His Highness, who quickly perceived, and instinctively responded to the courtesy by elevating his bolivar.  The noble group soon reappeared upon the “texas,” [texas deck of the steamboat] but the Prince as soon stepped into the pilot house, where he remained during the most of the trip to St. Louis.  The other members of the party apparently sought to divide their time between his Highness and the river scenery.  His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, was especially interested in observing the changing course of the stream, the washing away and filling up of the banks, &c., while a general attention was given to the entrance of the grand Missouri.  Each of the royal party was perfectly approachable, and conversed affably and with evident pleasure with the gentlemen around.  Lord Renfrew accepted gratefully the invitation of Capt. Haller, to look at the engine and machinery of the boat, and thus furnished to the sharply watching fair ones, an opportunity, which was not suffered to pass unimproved, of additionally feasting their vision with his princely person.  On returning from this tour of inspection, he expressed himself much pleased, and graciously remained with his party and the accompanying gentlemen, on the upper deck.  He marked with evident interest the transition of scenery, and rather listened to than actually engaged in the conversation of his group.

The following are the names of our noble visitors:  Lord Renfrew, His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Earl of St. Germains, Maj. Gen. the Hon. R. Bruce, Lord Lyons, Dr. Acland, Mr. Engleheart, Maj. Teasdale, Capt. Grey, Mr. Jenner, Mr. Warre, and their attendants.

An elderly English lady on board was, at her particularly urgent request, introduced to Lord Renfrew, by whom she was welcomed cordially, and the sight of whom affected her deeply, even to tears.  Her history seemed to have peculiarly connected her in some way with the reigning family of the British Isles, and she had come down form a distant town in Illinois, on purpose to see and shake hands with the young Prince.

The interest of the voyagers evidently increased at the first sight of the greatest city of the West.  The waters and shores—not excepting Bloody Island, of which his Highness had read or heard—and the aspect of the nearing metropolis, were keenly scanned.  Sawmills, lumber yards, quarries, steamboats, the Lindell Hotel, the site of the Fairgrounds—as indicated by the lofty ensign—the Court House Dome, from which also the stars and stripes were streaming, Barnum’s, and numerous other points, were rapidly nosed by the vivacious gentlemen.  The saluting cannon of the “City of Alton” spoke loudly as the gay steamer sped past the augmenting throngs on the Levee.  The landing place, already crowded, while multitudes were seen hurrying thither, next absorbed attention, and the young Baron seemed slightly perturbed at the prospect immediately before him.  But a sentiment of interest and even of amusement evidently predominated; in fact, it was plain that he was considerably pleased, and that he sincerely acknowledged the compliment paid him in the waving of hats, kerchiefs, &c., by gracefully raising his hat in response.

An immense multitude congregated, swarmed, at the landing.  With some difficulty a passage was kept clear by the police, through which, preceded by one of his companions and followed by the others, the Prince passed to his carriage, constantly elevating his hat in acknowledgement of the greetings that met him.  From Barnum’s, five elegant chaises were in waiting for the party.  The Prince alone gained his vehicle with anything like facility, the others found considerable difficulty in traversing the eager crowd.  Some little effort was also indispensable, before the horses could be driven through the swaying masses of humanity.  The feat was at length accomplished, and the royal party found themselves luxuriously at rest beneath the hospitable roof of Messrs. Barnum & Fogg.  It is certain that these gentlemen will spare no pains to entertain their guests in a style worthy of the Queen City of the West.

Several ludicrous incidents occurred during the progress of the party to their quarters, and after their arrival there.  Not the least in the estimation of the hilarious crowd was the arrival at Barnum’s, at about the same time, of a partly covered wagon filled with negro men and women.  Certain facetious ones conceived the idea of treating those helpless “black folks” as the royal party, and accordingly saluted the team with loud cheers, that only increased its embarrassments, which, in turn caused lustier hurrahs!  The police at length prevailed upon the good natured people to let the colored ladies and gentlemen drive on.

The programme agreed upon for the proceedings of the royal party during this day, will be found in another column.