A Crisis in Our Affairs~January, 1863~the 16th to the 22nd

Regardless of the war, 19th century industrial development continues in the United States and in Europe. Revolutionary disturbances shake parts of the Russian Empire. In the North as well as in the South President Lincoln is criticized for the Emancipation Proclamation and he extends his thanks to English workers who have voiced their support of his action. In the South there are complaints of war profiteering and unruly escaped slaves. As in every war, the parents of soldiers are thankful that their children have survived death or injury.

typical railroad engine of the period

typical railroad engine of the period

January 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In today’s issue of The Liberator, Garrison reprints in the “Refuge of Oppression” column, a piece from the New Hampshire Patriot, which criticizes President Lincoln. “The greatest crime ever committed by a Chief Magistrate of a free people has been perpetrated by the President in the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation– .the abolition scheme, unconstitutional, partisan, and atrocious in itself, cannot do any good, but is sure to produce immense harm to the cause of the Union, at home and abroad; and only those who are blind to the most patent facts, and deaf to all the appeals of reason and patriotism, can doubt it.”

January 17– Saturday– Manchester, England– Birth of David Lloyd George, who will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

January 17– Saturday– Paris, France– Horace Vernet, French painter of battles, portraits, and Orientalist Arab subjects dies at age 73.

January 18– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones laments the lack of patriotism he sees in some quarters. “It was bitter cold last night, and everything is frozen this morning; there will be abundance of ice next summer, if we keep our ice-houses. In these times of privation and destitution, I see many men, who were never prominent secessionists, enjoying comfortable positions, and seeking investments for their surplus funds. Surely there must be some compensation in this world or the next for the true patriots who have sacrificed everything, and still labor in subordinate positions, with faith and patient suffering.”

January 19– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a message to the workers of Manchester, England, acknowledging their message of January 1st. “I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen at Manchester and in all Europe are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the actions of our disloyal citizens the workingmen of Europe have been subjected to a severe trial, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterance upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is, indeed, an energetic and re-inspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation, and, on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people. I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that, whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.”

January 19– Monday– Warsaw, Poland– General Ludwik Mieroslawski, age 49, an historian, author and poet as well as activist, who had been involved in revolutionary activities in 1830, 1846 and 1848, is appointed dictator of Poland and leader of the rebels against the Russian Tsar.

January 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln provides information to the Senate about the situation in Mexico.

January 20– Tuesday– New Berne, North Carolina– Union General Foster receives a report from the Federal Military Governor Edward Stanly. “I have just received a letter from Edenton, of date the 6th Instant, informing that a band of Negroes & Soldiers, ‘armed,’ visited the premises of a Mrs Page of that town, and carried away Several Negroes, and a parcel of bedding & other furniture: that they were very insolent in their conduct and threatened to have the town shelled if they were interfered with. My correspondent says that they came, as he heard, from on board the Ocean Wave.A Negro man, formerly living on the plantation of the venerable James C. Johnston, named ‘Matthew’ was the person commanding the party This Negro, is one of desperate character. The Citizens of Edenton beg your protection from outrages of this Kind: they desire to know whether it can be afforded them, or must they take redress into their own hands?” [Later investigation revealed that the black men were escaped slaves, employed by Union forces, who came to take their wives and children to freedom. The bedding and clothing which they took was their own. The men were encouraged, aided and accompanied by white Union soldiers and sailors.]

January 20– Tuesday– Brussels, Belgium–The U S Minister reports to Secretary of State Seward that by French intervention in Mexico, France seeks to prevent domination by the United States of trade with Latin America.

January 21– Wednesday– Allegheny City [now part of Pittsburgh], Pennsylvania– Henry Warner writes to his son, John, a Presbyterian minister in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “We received a note from Henry [his other son] last Saturday evening– he is very well but complains of monotony. I answered on Monday & direct some on the evil of discontent, stating how thankful he ought to be that he is not lying on the mud on the bank of the Rappahannock, that the most High has hid him, as in the cleft of the rock until this fearful judgment passes over us. When called on, I have no objection to him acting the patriot & soldier, but until then thank the Lord for all his mercies.” Further on he comments about the quality and cost of food. “Often have I wondered in Pittsburgh, at country people coming in 10 or 12 miles on foot to sell good fresh butter and eggs and buy with the money coffee, tea, & sugar. If people will barter away nutritious food for what is the very reverse, let the please their fancy. If I was worth a million I would not give 34¢ per lb for the coffee, but if mother would like to have coffee, & it was 1$ per lb I would walk 5 miles to obtain it. But she seems to care as little for it as I do. I wonder the foolish people do not prefer chocolate, which is a nutritious beverage.”

January 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– With work beginning on the transcontinental railroad President Lincoln issues an executive order regarding a key aspect of construction.” Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, do determine that the uniform width of the track of said railroad and all its branches which are provided for in the aforesaid act of Congress shall be 5 feet, and that this order be filed in the office of the Secretary the Interior for the information and guidance of all concerned.”

German manufacturer Adam Opel

German manufacturer Adam Opel

January 21- Wednesday– Russelsheim, Hesse, Germany–Adam Opel founds Opel AG, a company which will manufacture fine European sewing machines until 1911 when they will switch to manufacturing bicycles and automobiles.

January 22– Thursday– Warsaw, Poland– With a spontaneous protest by young Poles against conscription into the Imperial Russian Army, students, workers and peasants give increased momentum to what will be called “the January Uprising.” From initial protests in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, the liberation struggle will take two years for the Tsar’s forces to suppress. The uprising will soon joined by high-ranking Polish and Lithuanian officers serving in the Russian Army and various nationalist political leaders.

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