Inflict Retaliatory Vengeance~September 1859~12th to 21st

Inflict Retaliatory Vengeance ~ Franklin Repository.

A Pennsylvania newspaper comments on Southern fears of a slave insurrection, unaware that on a Maryland farm, not far from Harpers Ferry, Virginia, a radical and militant abolitionist named John Brown is preparing to foment just such a bloody revolt. Lincoln criticizes Stephan Douglas in a series of speeches. The slavery question creates literally dueling politicians in California. Many other politicians busily make speeches. A mentally unbalanced man proclaims himself Emperor of the United States. Life moves on– fairs, storms, births, deaths. How many soldiers, wearing blue or grey in the fall of 1864, might wish to return to the quieter times before the events at Harpers Ferry?

ladies autumn bonnets for the fall of 1859

ladies autumn bonnets for the fall of 1859

September 12– Monday– Syracuse, New York– Reverend Samuel J May, Unitarian minister, radical abolitionist, advocate of women’s rights and uncle of Louisa May Alcott, turns 62 years of age. [Dies July 1, 1871.]

September 12– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–Birth of Florence Kelley, labor reformer and advocate of child welfare and consumer rights. [Dies February 17, 1932. See, Impatient Crusader: Florence Kelley’s Life Story by Josephine Goldmark (1953) and Florence Kelley: the Making of a Social Pioneer by Rose Blumberg (1966).]

Florence Kelley

Florence Kelley

September 12– Monday– the Atlantic Ocean– A ship near 40°N latitude, 50°W longitude, reports strong winds. At least four ships sustain structural damage or take on water. The Bell Flower loses her captain and a crew member to the sea. The severity of the weather encountered by the ships suggests a storm of modest hurricane intensity, the second of the month and the fourth of this year’s hurricane season.

September12– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Agricultural Society’s annual fair opens today and runs through September 17th.

September 13– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– “Would it be convenient for you, before your return home, to visit Pittsburgh and give us a speech? Mr. Douglas was here, with his stereotyped speech, and it would much gratify us if you could follow him up. Please write me and let me know if you can come, and when; we will make ample arrangements, and give you as large an audience as you can wish.” ~ Letter from Russell Errett to Abraham Lincoln.

September 13– Tuesday– San Francisco, California– Kentucky-born David S. Terry, recently defeated for re-election as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, fights a duel with fellow Democrat, U.S. Senator David C. Broderick, just outside the city. Terry had argued with Broderick, who had opposed him in the election due to Terry’s views on extending slavery to California. The exchanges had escalated into the challenge to settle the matter by a duel. The gunfire leaves Broderick mortally wounded, shot through the right lung. [Terry will serve in the Confederate army during the Civil War.]

September 14– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “We have often stated that the tendency of extending the area of slavery is to eradicate the white population in the old Southern States. This is fast becoming verified in the very strong-hold of the peculiar institution. The authorities in South Carolina have instituted measures for taking the census of that State, which produces such an abundance of fire-eaters. The returns from seventeen parishes alone, show a decrease of more than 5000 in the white population, in the last four years, (a similar census-taking having occurred in 1855,) whilst the blacks have increased very largely in numbers, in the same time, in those parishes. At this rate the blood-and-thunder State will soon become sufficiently Africanized to suit the tastes of the greatest Negro-lovers in the land. Is it not astonishing that the simpletons who urge so strongly the propriety of repealing the laws of Congress which pronounce the Slave-trade piracy, cannot see that they are preparing for themselves the most horrible doom imaginable? The slave-holders of the South are now almost afraid to go to bed without a revolver under their pillows for fear their darkeys will rise in the night and inflict retaliatory vengeance upon their self constituted owners– their unfeeling task-masters. Then why do they insist upon increasing the danger? They had better be upon their guard, and prevent this iniquity, while they have the strength, lest an opening of the Slave trade should result in so completely Africanizing the Southern States as that the tables might be turned– the whites becomes the slaves while the blacks bear rule. The only way slavery is upheld now, or ever was, is by brute force– the law of might. If, therefore, the weak of to-day become the strong of to-morrow, there is nothing in the world which can prevent their enslaving the weaker portion of society– from whom they have learned the inhuman lessons.” ~ Franklin Repository.

September 14– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– “The Republicans of Cincinnati, at one of their meetings on Monday evening last, appointed a committee consisting of two hundred and ten gentlemen to receive Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, who will address the people of that city in reply to Senator Douglas, on Saturday evening next. Well done, Cincinnati! You are paying merited respect to an honest man!” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

September 14– Wednesday– Beloit, Wisconsin– “Seeing by our papers that you have accepted an invitation to deliver the address at our State fair at Milwaukee, the last of this month – Our City Republican Club have instructed me to write and see if you would stop at our place on your return home from the fair, and address the Citizens of old Rock County, on the great political issues which now absorbs the public mind in the Northwest. It is their desire that you should open the Campaign here, if your engagements would permit – You can come from Milwaukee to our place by Rail Road and from here to Freeport or Belvidere by R. R.” ~ Letter from M. A. Northrop to Abraham Lincoln.

September 14– Wednesday– Constantinople, Turkey– Fire which began on the 10th and destroyed over a thousand structures is finally brought under control.

September 15– Thursday– Elizabethtown, New Jersey– In its third day today, the New Jersey State Fair draws a record crowd of around 30,000 people. Programs and displays include equestrian races, a ploughing contest, horse taming, quilting, baking, leather working and other crafts.

September 15– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The D. R. Duffield & Co advertises the most fashionable hoop skirts for ladies. For example, skirts with 22 hoops and a bustle for $4.50, skirts with 16 hoops and a bustle for $3.00, skirts with 13 hoops and a bustle for $2.50 and skirts with 11 hoops and a bustle for $2.95. [The price range in today’s dollars would run from $130 to $72.30, using the Consumer Price Index.]

evening dress-Godeys' Ladies Book, September, 1859

evening dress-Godeys’ Ladies Book, September, 1859

September 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The Honorable Gerrit Smith has issued a circular letter . . . . He takes the occasion to set forth at some length his views of the [political] parties of the day, and to declare that he has no faith in any of them. He seems to look upon the Republican party as being but little better than those which openly profess to uphold Slavery; and he sees no prospect of emancipation except in insurrection, and he regards insurrection as ‘a terrible remedy for a terrible wrong.’” ~ National Era. [Gerrit Smith, 1797–1874, is a wealthy New Yorker, an outspoken radical abolitionist, social reformer and philanthropist.]

September 15– Thursday– Mobile, Alabama– The region is struck by the fifth hurricane of the season, the third one in this month.

September 15– Thursday– London, England– Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an engineer, dies at age 53, ten days after he suffered a stroke. [The most famous engineer of his day, he revolutionized the digging of tunnels, pioneering the machinery used to this day; built a hundred bridges over the most daunting obstacles; laid a thousand miles of railway track; and brought ship-building into the modern era with his all-metal, propeller-driven, steam ships, the Great Britain and the Great Eastern.]

Isamfard Brunel, engineer extraordinaire

Isambard Brunel, engineer extraordinaire

September 16– Friday– Columbus, Ohio– “The chief danger to this purpose of the Republican party is not just now the revival of the African slave trade, or the passage of a Congressional slave code, or the declaring of a second Dred Scott decision, making slavery lawful in all the States. These are not pressing us just now. They are not quite ready yet. The authors of these measures know that we are too strong for them; but they will be upon us in due time, and we will be grappling with them hand to hand, if they are not now headed off. They are not now the chief danger to the purpose of the Republican organization; but the most imminent danger that now threatens that purpose is that insidious Douglas Popular Sovereignty. This is the miner and sapper. While it does not propose to revive the African slave trade, nor to pass a slave code, nor to make a second Dred Scott decision, it is preparing us for the onslaught and charge of these ultimate enemies when they shall be ready to come on and the word of command for them to advance shall be given. I say this Douglas Popular Sovereignty– for there is a broad distinction, as I now understand it, between that article and a genuine popular sovereignty.” ~ Speech by Abraham Lincoln

September 16– Friday– San Francisco, California– Senator David C. Broderick, age 39, dies of his wound received in his duel with David S. Terry. [The hot-headed Terry will die by gunfire on August 14, 1889, when he attacks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field at a California railway station over a court case and is killed by the U.S. Marshal serving as Field’s bodyguard.]

David C Broderick

David C Broderick

September 16– Friday– the East African rift– British explorer, missionary and anti-slavery activist Dr. David Livingstone, age 46, becomes the first known European to see Lake Nyasa, also called Lake Malawi.

September 17– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– With great and imposing ceremonies that include an oration from Edward Everett, the new bronze statue of Daniel Webster (1782–1852) is dedicated on the grounds of the state capitol, facing Beacon Hill. The sculptor, Hiram Powers, age 54, receives $10,000 for his work. [His fee would equal $289,000 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

Statue of Daniel Webster despised by abolitionists

Statue of Daniel Webster despised by abolitionists

September 17– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– “A Convention of self-styled reformers has been sitting in this city for two days past, comprising the leading abolitionists, spiritualists, free-lovers, infidels, fanatics, and women’s rights men and women’s rights men and women of the country. The Convention closes its session to-morrow (Sunday) and the public generally will experience a feeling of relief when the city is rid of these reformers.” ~ A reporter’s article for the New York Times.

September 17– Saturday– San Francisco, California– “At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these United States; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, andthereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.” ~ Proclamation issued by Joshua Norton, a man approximately 39 years old, a bankrupt merchant, apparently mentally unstable, claiming to Norton the First, Emperor of the United States. [Norton will become a popular figure in the city, not only tolerated but encouraged in his eccentric dress and conduct. When he dies on January 8, 1880, about 10,000 people will pay their respects. See, the Emperor of the United States and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics by Catherine Caufield (1981); Emperor Norton, Life and Experiences of a Notable Character in San Francisco, 1849–1880 by Albert Dressler (1927); A Rush of Dreamers: Being the Remarkable Story of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico by John Cech (1997).]

Joshua Norton, self-proclaimed emperor

Joshua Norton, self-proclaimed emperor

September 17– Saturday– Montreal, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Frank Dawson Adams, geologist and educator. [Dies December 26, 1942.]

September 18– Sunday– Easton, Massachusetts– Birth of John L. Bates, governor of Massachusetts from 1903 to 1905. [Dies June 8, 1946.]

September 18– Sunday– Indiana, Pennsylvania– Birth of Lincoln Loy McCandless, industrialist, politician and rancher. [Dies October 5, 1940.]

September 19– Monday– Somerville, Massachusetts– Birth of John Franklin Jameson, historian. [Dies September 28, 1937.]

September 19– Monday– Indianapolis, Indiana– Attorney Abraham Lincoln addresses an evening meeting at Masonic Hall.

September 20– Tuesday– Lowell, Massachusetts– “Honorable Galusha A. Grow and Honorable Schuyler Colfax are in Minnesota. They were the principal speakers at a mass meeting in St Paul last evening, in the theatre. Just as Mr Colfax was drawing his remarks to a close, and while yet the theatre was densely crowded, there was an alarm of fire. The cry was at once taken up, and soon the words ‘the theatre is on fire!’ went up from all parts of the house. A smoke was seen issuing from the rear part of the stage and immediately there was a hurrying for the door. The words, however, that there was ‘no danger,’ ‘plenty of time,’&c., &c., prevented any confusion, but the audience moved hurriedly and safely out of the door. A few of the more fearful, however, took the short cut and jumped out of the windows. The flames burst up through the rear end of the stage floor and ignited the scenery, and very soon the Thespian temple was all a blaze. In ten minutes from the time the fire was discovered, the whole building was in ruins. How the fire originated is involved in mystery, but from the fact that it was first discovered in the extreme rear end of the building, under the stage, where no fire could accidentally have been dropped, is clear proof that it was the work of an incendiary.” ~ Lowell Citizen & News.

September 20– Tuesday– New York City– The elderly General Winfield Scott, age 73, hero of the war with Mexico a decade ago, leaves on a steamer bound for the northwest Pacific coastal island of San Juan. President Buchanan has charged him with representing the United States in a territorial dispute with the British, known as the ‘Pig War’ from its advent in an argument between Canadians and Americans over a pig, that had threatened to escalate into a unwanted military clash. [The impetuous Captain George Pickett, age 34, of the U S Army had almost provoked a shooting war some weeks ago. Cooler heads such as General Scott will eventually prevail and the area will finally be partitioned between Great Britain and the United States in the 1871 Treaty of Washington.]

General Winfield Scott

General Winfield Scott

September 20– Tuesday– Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory– Captain John F Reynolds observes his 39th birthday. [Reynolds will quickly advance once the Civil War begins and become a general in the Union army. He will be killed in the fighting at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.]

September 21– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “This is my first opportunity to express to you my great regret at not meeting you personally while in Ohio. However, you were at work in the cause, and that, after all, was better. It is useless for me to say to you (and yet I cannot refrain from saying it) that you must not let your approaching election in Ohio so result as to give encouragement to Douglasism. That ism is all which now stands in the way of an early and complete success of Republicanism; and nothing would help it or hurt us so much as for Ohio to go over or falter just now. You must, one and all, put yours souls into the effort.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Salmon P Chase.

September 21– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– “We commend to any of our readers who have been bitten by the absurd notion that Mr. Douglas has any concern for the extension and perpetuation of free institutions, the perusal of that portion of Mr. Lincoln’s Cincinnati speech which we publish to-day. If it does not cure them of the heresy into which they have fallen there is no hope for the relief of stupidity like theirs. The gods would war against it in vain.” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

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