The day after the Stearns House meeting, I was thought to be dying. All that medical skill and loving hands could do was done to draw me from the dark valley into which I seemed to have passed; while those men who had planted themselves and their rifles between me and death by violence, came on tip-toe to know if I yet lived. When I was able to be out it was not thought safe for me to do so—not even to cross the street and sit on the high green bank which overlooked the river. Harry was constantly armed and on guard, and a pistol shot from his house, night or day, would have brought a score of armed men in a very short time.
A printing company had been formed to re-establish the Visiter. In it were forty good men and true, and they sent an agent to Chicago to buy press and type. The St. Cloud Visiter was to begin a new life as the mouthpiece of the Republican party, and I was no longer a scout, conducting a war on the only rational plan of Indian warfare. I begged my friends to stand abide and leave Lowrie and me to settle the trouble, saying to them:
“I cannot fight behind ramparts of friends. I must take the risks myself, must have an open field. Protect me from brute force and give me moral aid, but stand aside.”
But they were full of enthusiasm, and would bear the brunt of battle. There were open threats of the destruction of the new press, and it was no time to quit the field. Of the first number of the resurrected Visiter, the St. Cloud Printing Co. was publisher, and I sole editor. I prepared the contents very carefully, that they might not give unnecessary offense, dropped the role of supporting Buchanan, and tried to make a strong Republican paper of the abolition type, and in the leader gave a history of the destruction of my office.
The paper gave great satisfaction to the publishers, who had not thought I could be so calm; but Lowrie threatened a libel suit for my history of that outrage, and I said to the printing company:
“You must get out of my way or I will withdraw.”
At once they gave me a bill of sale for the press and material, and of the second number I was sole editor and proprietor, but it was too late. The libel suit was brought, damages laid at $10,000, and every lawyer in that upper country retained for the prosecution.
This was in the spring of ’58. The two years previous the country had been devastated by grasshoppers, and no green thing had escaped. There was no old grain, the mass of people had been speculating in town lots, and such had been the demand for city charters, that a wag moved in legislature to reserve one-tenth of the land of Minnesota for agricultural purposes. The territorial had just been exchanged for a state government, which was not yet in working order. The capital of every man in the printing company was buried in corner lots, or lots which were not on a corner. The wolves