St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on July 4, 1976 · Page 91
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 91

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Sunday, July 4, 1976
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Page 91
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Metyle ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH SUNDAY, JULY 4, 1976 SECTION 1-8G A kettle and a mortar and pestle like these would have been in St. Louis kitchens in 1776. A St. Louis Gala 1776 - El ; f- ---n--:-.rix , .... ; , , yAmt .1 mm , , mii 1 1 i i . ' . f:;'::;' son and co-founder of the city, Auguste Chouteau. Chouteau was 26 years old the summer of his sister's wedding. It is possible that some traders from the newest French settlements, Les Petites Cotes (now St. Charles) and St. Ferdinand (now Florissant) might have wangled an invitation. Summer was not a time of hard work for the French, who lived in villages. They were not much for weeding. They sowed the crop in the communal land and waited until harvest. In 1776 there were two billiard tables in town, and they were regularly used. St. Louis men were gamblers. Decks of cards were sold at auction. Dr. Conde had several decks. After the men emptied one another's pockets, they headed for Carondelet. The men there were refused to take his wife back until persuaded by the French governor and the priest. For a year she abided by the village norms. Then her husband returned to France on furlough. He left his wife with financial provision for the year. Rene Kiercereau, sometimes . called Renand, began calling on her nightly and tongues wagged. That summer of '76 the Captain returned to St. Louis and the lovers fled to Illinois. Cattle were allowed to roam not only in the common grazing land but in unfenced village plots, too. Farm animals in the village were usually tethered to a post. The common land of St. Louis in 1776 extended from the edge of the present See GALA, Page 5 cross the river for the wedding in hopes of persuading them to settle here. The family of Francoise LeFevre of Ste. Genevieve may have decided to visit her and her new husband, Michael Lami, in their house on the Rue de L'Eglise (Church Street) during the Chouteau festivities. Over the next several years there were to be several St. Louis Ste. Genevieve marriages. Perhaps Gabriel Cerre of Kaskaskia and his family came for the wedding. Cerre was the leading merchant of the Illinois town. In the early days of the Revolution he was hostile to the Americans and pro-British. Later, George Rogers Clark persuaded him to aid the Americans. Nine years later Cerre's daughter, Marie Therese, would marry Madame Chouteau's eldest village, was whitewashed. The roof was steeply pitched as were many houses in the village. If they had galleries, the steep roof line had an unusual hip or jog. LaClede was a big village promoter. It was important to him that his foundation thrive and continue to attract the Indians who brought in skins for trading every April and May. There is no record of how many persons were living here that July, but by November, when the town physician, Dr. Auguste A. Conde, died, 230 families owed him money for his services. (The city's first directory in 1821 lists 749 names.) So, like many proud papas LaClede may have mixed wedding with business. It would seem likely that he would have invited a few of the French from the bridegroom's village of Cahokia to known to be so clever at cards and other gambling games that that village was nicknamed Vide Poche, Empty Pockets. The town gossips that July were tattling about Madame Elizabeth Coulon de Volsay. She was being naughty again, and her husband was coming home. Eleven years before her husband, Pierre, a French army officer and a knight of the Royal Order of St. Louis, had moved here when the British took over Fort Chartres down the Mississippi River. Then, in '72, under the pretext of visiting her father in New Orleans, she took a boat down the Mississippi to Ste. Genevieve. She stayed nine months and caused such a scandal that a M. Carpentier ushered her out of Ste. Genevieve and escorted her to her husband in St. Louis. Capt. de Volsay WPw'1 f 'ililJPilBCTBi MliillilM i By Patricia Rice Of the Fost-Dispatch Staff This afternoon as holiday crowds jam the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial they will cover most of what, 200 years ago today, was the entire village of St. Louis. The area under the Gateway Arch itself includes what was the village's main square, the Place d'Armes. The stone house of city founder Pierre Liguest LaClede and Madame Chouteau stood near the north leg. The white limestone house was 50 feet by 35 feet. There were galleries on two sides under the hipped Creole-style roof. And 200 years ago this month there was a celebration on those galleries. That July 1776 celebration had nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence in this village of French citizens, a few Indians and a few black slaves living under Spanish rule. "We, the People" were not these people. When word eventually arrived of the British colonies' decision to sever relations with King George III perhaps it would not have caused much reaction. There was probably more talk that summer about the availability in the Colonies of a smallpox vaccination. The grand celebration was the wedding of the eldest daughter of LaClede and Madame Chouteau, Marie Pelagie Chouteau married Sylvestre Labadie of Cahokia on July 27. No description of the wedding has come down to us. However, by piecing together French Mississippi Valley wedding customs, store purchase records, wills and property deeds we have an idea of what this wedding would have been like. This was not only the village founder's daughter's wedding. It was also the first wedding in the new church. The 12-year-old river bluff settlement of several hundred persons finally had a new church and a community center. It had been two years in the planning. The first low bidder on church construction died in the middle of the job and bids were let again. Jean Cambos, a carpenter, got the job with the lowest bid on condition that it would be finished by May 1776. The new priest, Father Bernard Lim-pach, had been installed at the end of May. The log church, within feet of the site of the present Old Cathedral, was 69 feet by 30 feet. White oak posts were inserted horizontally into the foundation in the "maison de poteau en terre" style most popular among the French. Clay and cut straw were set to harden between the logs to make them airtight. Eventually the church, like most log buildings in the iff j" 1 I I I I Galleries such as this were where children played, parties were held and mothers peeled carrots in French Colonial St. Louis. This restored stone Mississippi French house in Ste. Genevieve with pitched roof sloping to "hips" looks much like many in this valley must have 200 years ago. pWllililillliili!; incentive for the developing countries to accelerate their growth through the import of technology and export of labor. Kahn says that all his prognoses are based on the assumption that mankind succeeds in bringing inflation under control. Stillman attaches the same condition to his positively euphoric study of France. The flattering prophecy that France will overtake West Germany before 1985 is based, however', on potential performance. The French he says, are already today "in the position" to produce just as many if not more cars than West Germany and just as much steel and twice as much cement as Britain. In other words it is what they could do in theory. "Has Futurology A Future?" is the title of the Time magazine essay, and the answer is: "Men can no more do without prophecies than they can do without breathing." Time's essayist Stefan Kanfer prefaces his article with a quotation that could fit Kahn or Stillman or the researchers of the Club of Rome. Prophecy, according to the American satirist Ambrose Bierce, is "the art of selling your own credibility for cash down but with delivery later." Speak After Embarrassed Silence research. The Club of Rome researchers remain convinced that the forces of the free market are not suitable to be the sole regulator of human progress. The free market only has a short-term effect and decisions taken in obedience only to the law of the market could turn out to be too extravagant for a planet with limited resources, as U.S. club member John R. Bunting, the host in Philadelphia, termed it. During the energy crisis the American customers switched for a short time to smaller cars, but now the market is demanding bigger cars again "and that should not actually be allowed," he said. Herman Kahn, on the other hand, in his latest book, prophesies with an optimism widely out of place in this era, that a real paradise of growth is on the way. If you listen to him cars can't be big enough. In the next 10 years economic growth will rise. to unheard of heights together with a dramatic decline of population and a surplus of raw materials. Kahn's views about what will happen in the developing countries sounds almost absurd. The bigger the gap between rich and poor countries becomes, he thinks, the stronger will be the Oracles If governments more firmly direct the economy and restrain the multinational corporations, mankind might still avoid global catastrophe. The editors of Der Spiegel, a West German newsmagazine, have compiled the following information on modern soothsayers. (() Now York Times Special Features "In times of uncertainty," Time magazine wrote recently in an essay on futurology, "Men hunger for predictions as they hunger for bread in a famine." The starving have recently been thrown a few loaves by the self-appointed prophets of the twentieth century. The oracular prophecies out of the computer have been muted since the oil crisis of 1973 broke the back of their optimistic curves of growth. The guild of soothsayers fell out of favor. Now after a long penitent silence they are making a comeback. Herman Kahn, director of the Hudson Institute and an unshakable optimist, has published a new study of the future entitled. "The Next 200 Years." His conclusion is that in the year 2176 the world population will have reached a total of 15 billion and will be living comfortable with a per ants than were predicted for 1975. The Wall Street Journal says the dreams of unlimited energy, cheap nuclear-generated electricity, fivefold increase in farm yields and the final victory over cancer before the end of the century can be forgotten. The "revised future" looks somewhat different. By the year 2000 food will be three times as dear as it is now, hot counting currency inflation. Automatic highways will not be built. At best, automobiles will have a more efficient fuel consumption. The super-jumbo jets with 1000 seats will not be flying by the end of the '70s, but at the earliest, by the '90s. The future was being revised in Philadelphia also. "Has the Club of Rome publicly abjured?" asked Newsweek, in view of its new slogan. The club, a loose association of about 100 industrialists and academics from various countries, has been regarded so far as a stern warning against too optimistic forecasts. If the present growth trend continues, it said in 1972, the limits of growth would be reached sometime within the next 100 years. Aurelio Peccei, founder of the Club of Rome, denied in Philadelphia that its members had put themselves forward as capita income of about $20,000. Kahn's collaborator, Edmund Still-man, in a study commissioned by a French private bank, prophesies a particularly rosy future for the French. Very soon after 1980 France will overtake West Germany in production of goods and services to become Number One in Europe. The "Club of Rome," which in 1972 postulated the "limits of growth" and attracted powerful criticism, has come up with a slightly less pessimistic view of the world. Its new motto is "organic growth" and the optimistic slogan for its latest congress in Philadelphia was "New Horizons for Humanity." In a 10-part series the Wall Street Journal discusses which of the prophecies made 10 years ago have come true and which of them have to be corrected. The paper's researchers have found that the biggest mistake made by the futurologists has been their projections of population growth. On the one hand a birth explosion and a declining death rate in the developing countries have combined to increase the total world population much faster than anticipated. But in the United States, for instance, the trend is reversed. Already now there are 12,000,000 fewer inhabit advocates of zero population growth. Their study "Limits of Growth" which has sold in the meantime, 2,000,-000 copies was only intended, he says as a shock and a way of directing public attention to the problems. "Naturally we realize that no-growth is neither possible nor desirable," he said. According to the modified formula, developed by the West German, Prof. Eduard Pestel, and his American colleague, Mihailo Mesarovic, what is needed now is "directed growth." "The important thing is in which way growth takes place, with what technology and in what branches of the economy," said Professor Ervin Laszlo of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. The outlines of a new world economic order are being drawn up in a new study commissioned by the Club of Rome from the Dutch economist and Nobel prizewinner Jan Tinbergen. Working with 20 other experts, he expects to have it ready by autumn of this year. The rough outline was already plain in Philadelphia larger currency reserves for the speedier financing of development projects in the Third World, stricter control of the multinational concerns and a world-wide co-ordinator of energy 'Men hunger for predictions as they hunger for hread in a famine . . . -5 -A A ,5 ? C St T M '

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