Monthly Archives: August 2016

August 17 to 31 ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

In the midst of his bid for re-election, President Lincoln must deal with divisions within his own party, hostility from those who favor peace, an opposition candidate who is a general in the Union Army, handling diplomacy, encouraging immigration and citizen peace initiatives. Quietly he considers the possibility of losing the election, while encouraging Generals Grant and Sherman and receiving a great victory from the Union Navy.

August 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I am sadly oppressed with the aspect of things. Have just read the account of the interview at Richmond between Jaquess and Gilmore on one side and Jeff Davis and Benjamin on the other. What business had these fellows with such a subject? Davis asserts an ultimatum that is inadmissible, and the President in his note, which appears to me not as considerate and well-advised as it should have been, interposes barriers that were unnecessary. Why should we impose conditions, and conditions which would provoke strife from the very nature of things, for they conflict with constitutional reserved rights? If the Rebellion is suppressed in Tennessee or North Carolina, and the States and people desire to resume their original constitutional rights, shall the President prevent them? Yet the letters to Greeley have that bearing, and I think them unfortunate in this respect. They place the President, moreover, at disadvantage in the coming election. He is committed, it will be claimed, against peace, except on terms that are inadmissible. What necessity was there for this, and, really, what right had the President to assume this unfortunate attitude without consulting his Cabinet, at least, or others?” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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Gideon Welles

 

August 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I beg of you, as citizens of this great Republic, not to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes, rise up to the height of a generation of men worthy of a free government, and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks, soldiers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon.” ~ Remarks of President Lincoln to Union soldiers from Ohio who are returning home.

August 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Leonard Swett meets with President Lincoln, cautioning him that it is doubtful that he can win reelection and suggesting that Lincoln withdraw his acceptance of the nomination. He informs the President that elements of the Republican Party plan to hold a another convention in September and nominate someone else. Lincoln refuses, telling Swett, “I confess that I desire to be reelected.” Later in the day, Lincoln tells another visitor, “I have the common pride of humanity to wish my past four years administration endorsed; and besides I honestly believe that I can better serve the nation in its need and peril than any new man could possibly do.” [Swett, 1825– 1899, a lawyer from Illinois, has been a confidant and friend of Lincoln for many years.]

August 19– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with the abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the White House. They discuss ways to help slaves escape and how to increase black enlistment in the army and navy.

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Frederick Douglass

 

August 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends. For the services you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged, I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them, in a few brief remarks, the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for the day, but for all time to come, that we should perpetuate for our children’s children that great and free government which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen, temporarily, to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field, and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life with all its desirable human aspirations–it is for this that the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthrights– not only for one, but for two or three years, if necessary. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.” ~ Remarks of President Lincoln to the 166th Ohio Regiment.

August 22– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– A number of European states sign the First Geneva Convention. They include Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Switzerland. The Convention provides for: the immunity from capture and destruction of all establishments for the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers, the impartial reception and treatment of all combatants, the protection of civilians providing aid to the wounded, and the recognition of the Red Cross symbol as a means of identifying persons and equipment covered by the agreement.

August 23– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.” ~ Secret memorandum drafted by President Lincoln which he asks the members of his Cabinet to sign without reading it.

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August 23– Tuesday– Mobile, Alabama– After heavy bombardment from Federal forces on land and sea, Fort Morgan, the last Confederate fortification guarding the entrance to Mobile Bay, falls to Union control. While the Confederates control the city itself, the harbor is closed to traffic and controlled by Federal forces. This leaves only Wilmington, North Carolina, as the only port useful to the Confederacy.

August 25– Thursday– New York City– “The peace faction grows more and more rampant and truculent. I predict that Belmont and Barlow will manipulate the Chicago convention into nominating McClellan on a non-committal platform, and that if elected, he will betray the country.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 25– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Henry Raymond, editor of the New York Times, meets with President Lincoln at the White House. The President assures Raymond that ending slavery is non-negotiable.

August 25– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The Democrats hold a party nominating convention next Monday at Chicago, which is naturally attracting a good deal of attention. There is a palpable effort to give eclat, and spread abroad a factitious power for this assemblage in advance. To this the Administration journals, and particularly those of New York, have conduced. I do not think that anything serious is to be apprehended from that convention, if Seward can keep quiet; but his management, which is mismanagement, and his shrewdness, which is frequently untowardness, will ever endanger a cause.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 27– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Much party machinery is just at this time in motion. No small portion of it is a prostitution and abuse. The Whig element is venal and corrupt, to a great extent. I speak of the leaders of that party now associated with Republicans. They seem to have very little political principle; they have no belief in public virtue or popular intelligence; they have no self-reliance, no confidence in the strength of a righteous cause, little regard for constitutional restraint and limitations. Their politics and their ideas of government consist of expedients, and cunning management with the intelligent, and coercion and subornation of the less informed.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.August 29– Monday– Rochester, New York– “That every slave who escapes from the Rebel states is a loss to the Rebellion and a gain to the Loyal Cause, I need not stop to argue the proposition is self evident. . . . I will therefore briefly submit at once to your Excellency the ways and means by which many such persons may be wrested from the enemy and brought within our lines: . . . 4th Let provision be made that the slaves or Freed men thus brought within our lines shall receive subsistence until such of them as are fit shall enter the service of the Country or be otherwise employed and provided for; . . . . This is but an imperfect outline of the plan but I think it enough to give your Excellency an Idea of how the desirable work shall be executed.” ~ following up on the meeting of the 19th Frederick Douglass submits to President Lincoln a plan to aid slaves escape from the South.

August 29– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– The Democratic National Convention opens with a speech by Mr August Belmont. Belmont, a wealthy businessman and Democratic politician, age 50, declares, “Four years of misrule, by a sectional, fanatical and corrupt party, have brought our country to the very verge of ruin. The past and present are sufficient warnings of the disastrous consequences which would befall us if Mr Lincoln’s re-election should be made possible by our want of patriotism and unity.”

August 30– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– “Resolved, That in the future, as in the past, we will adhere with unswerving fidelity to the Union under the Constitution as the only solid foundation of our strength, security, and happiness as a people, and as a framework of government equally conducive to the welfare and prosperity of all the States, both Northern and Southern. Resolved, That this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which . . . the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view of an ultimate convention of the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that, at the earliest practicable moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States. . . . Resolved, That the aim and object of the Democratic party is to preserve the Federal Union and the rights of the States unimpaired . . . . Resolved, That the shameful disregard of the Administration to its duty in respect to our fellow-citizens who now are and long have been prisoners of war and in a suffering condition, deserves the severest reprobation on the score alike of public policy and common humanity. Resolved, That the sympathy of the Democratic party is heartily and earnestly extended to the soldiery of our army and sailors of our navy, who are and have been in the field and on the sea under the flag of our country, and, in the events of its attaining power, they will receive all the care, protection, and regard that the brave soldiers and sailors of the republic have so nobly earned.” ~ Platform of the Democratic Party adopted in convention.

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street fight between Lincoln & McClellan supporters

 

August 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “General McClellan was to-day nominated as the candidate of the so-called Democratic party. It has for some days been evident that it was a foregone conclusion and the best and only nomination the opposition could make. . . . That factious, narrow, faultfinding illiberality of radicals in Congress which has disgraced the press ostensibly of the Administration party, particularly the press of New York City, has given strength to their opponents. McClellan will be supported by War Democrats and Peace Democrats, by men of every shade and opinion ; all discordant elements will be made to harmonize, and all differences will be suppressed. Whether certain Republican leaders in Congress, who have been assailing and deceiving the Administration, and the faultfinding journals of New York have, or will, become conscious of their folly, we shall soon know. They have done all that was in their power to destroy confidence in the President and injure those with whom they were associated. If, therefore, the reelection of Mr. Lincoln is not defeated, it will not be owing to them. In some respects I think the President, though usually shrewd and sensible, has mismanaged. His mistakes, I think, are attributable to Mr. Seward almost exclusively. It has been a misfortune to retain Stanton . . . . the President is honest, sincere, and confiding, traits which are not so prominent in some by whom he is surrounded.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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August 1 to 17 ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

In the midst of his bid for re-election, President Lincoln must deal with divisions within his own party, hostility from those who favor peace, an opposition candidate who is a general in the Union Army, handling diplomacy, encouraging immigration and citizen peace initiatives. Quietly he considers the possibility of losing the election, while encouraging Generals Grant and Sherman and receiving a great victory from the Union Navy.

August 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President went yesterday to Fortress Monroe to meet General Grant, by prior arrangement, which made me distrust final operations at Petersburg, for if such were the fact, he could not well be absent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 2– Tuesday– New York City– “Clement C. Clay, of Alabama, is one of the very meanest of those mean conspirators who helped Davis, Toombs & Co. to set up their Confederacy of Treason, Slavery and Crime. . . . Such are the actors in the farce, and we see at once, they are none of the common herd, the profanum vulgus, but of the genuine stock of Southern bragadocias; the bloviators of the Confederacy . . . . they have made a great mistake. It is not Mr. Lincoln, but the American people, who reject any terms of compromise whatever. The people and Congress will not allow the Administration to make any other terms than that the rebels shall return unconditionally to an obedience to the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is, therefore, a mere absurdity to be talking about their independence, or their separation intellectual condition, to have set up a rebellion on mere delusion, and think they can end it by proposing impossible terms. . . . The falling leaves of November will find the Confederacy in that decaying state which precedes its final fall and dissolution.” ~ New York Times.

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August 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received the letter which Your Majesty has been pleased to address to me, conveying the melancholy intelligence of the decease, on the 2nd of April last, of the Archduchess Hildegarde, wife of Your Majesty’s well beloved cousin, the Archduke Albrecht. I deeply sympathize in the grief with which this afflicting event has filled Your Majesty, and I pray Your Majesty to accept for yourself, and for Your Royal Family, my cordial condolence. May God have Your Majesty in his holy keeping.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria. This is one of four to European monarchs which Lincoln sends today.

August 3– Wednesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “All the wicked passions of the people seem to be left without restraint– such are some of the fruits of war. How often have I wished that I had with me all the warm advocates of this War to witness with me from day to day the sad effects of war, sufferings enough to melt the Heart.”~ Diary of William King

August 4– Thursday– New York City– In response to President Lincoln’s request for a day of prayer and fasting, many businesses close and many places of worship hold services. A number of churches take up special collections for the Sanitary Commission.

August 5– Friday– New York City– “A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated. Congress passed a bill; the President refused to approve it, and then by proclamation puts as much of it in force as he sees fit, and proposes to execute those parts by officers unknown to the laws of the United States and not subject to the confirmation of the Senate! The bill directed the appointment of provisional governors by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, after defeating such a law, proposes to appoint without law, and without the advice and consent of the Senate, military governors for the rebel States! He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation. . . .The President has greatly presumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his administration have so long practiced, in view of the arduous conflict in which we are engaged, and the reckless ferocity of our political opponents. But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; and that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties ‘to obey and execute, not makes the laws’ to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people, whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it!” ~ an attack upon President Lincoln by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis [known as the “Wade-Davis Manifesto”] which appears in today’s New York Tribune, the paper of Horace Greeley.

August 5– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– Union naval vessels under the command of Admiral Farragut storm past the Confederate forts, sink one Confederate warship and capture two others, thus sealing off the port and leaving the city open to land operations by Federal infantry. At the start of the assault when the lead Federal ship sinks, Farragut allegedly yells out to his crew, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

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Battle of Mobile Bay

 

August 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I remarked that I had seen the Wade and Winter Davis protest. He [President Lincoln] said, Well, let them wriggle, but it was strange that Greeley, whom they made their organ in publishing the protest, approved his course and therein differed from the protestants. The protest is violent and abusive of the President, who is denounced with malignity for what I deem the prudent and wise omission to sign a law prescribing how and in what way the Union shall be reconstructed. . . . In getting up this law it was as much an object of Mr. Winter Davis and some others to pull down the Administration as to reconstruct the Union. I think they had the former more directly in view than the latter. Davis’s conduct is not surprising, but I should not have expected that Wade, who has a good deal of patriotic feeling, common sense, and a strong, though coarse and vulgar, mind, would have lent himself to such a despicable assault on the President. There is, however, an infinity of party and personal intrigue just at this time. A Presidential election is approaching, and there are many aspirants, not only for Presidential but other honors or positions. H. Winter Davis has a good deal of talent but is rash and uncertain. There is scarcely a more ambitious man, and no one that cannot be more safely trusted. He is impulsive and mad and has been acute and contriving in this whole measure and has drawn Wade, who is ardent, and others into it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 8– Monday– New York City– “Then as if this were not enough, the Political Caldron is seething as if it were much nitric acid in contact with boundless copper filings. There is fearful evolution of irritating offensive gas and Heaven only knows what compound will be generated by the furious reaction of which we now see only the beginning. Peace Democrats and McClellanites are blatant. McClellan, it’s said, will accept no nomination except on a war platform.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 8– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President, in a conversation with Blair and myself on the Wade and Davis protest, remarked that he had not, and probably should not read it. From what was said of it he had no desire to, could himself take no part in such a controversy as they seemed to wish to provoke. Perhaps he is right, provided he has some judicious friend to state to him what there is really substantial in the protest entitled to consideration without the vituperative asperity. The whole subject of what is called reconstruction is beset with difficulty, and while the executive has indicated one course and Congress another, a better and different one than either may be ultimately pursued. I think the President would have done well to advise with his whole Cabinet in the measures he has adopted, not only as to reconstruction or reestablishing the Union, but as to this particular bill and the proclamation he has issued in regard to it. When the Rebellion shall have been effectually suppressed, the Union government will be itself again, ‘re-union will speedily follow in the natural course of events,’ but there are those who do not wish or intend reunion on the principle of political equality of the States. Unless they can furnish the mode and terms, and for fear they may not be successful, various schemes are projected.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles

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Gideon Welles

 

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are requested to place to the credit of the Department of State the sum of $25,000 as appropriated in the seventh section of the Act entitled ‘An Act to encourage immigration,’ approved July 4, 1864.” ~ Directive from President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury. [The amount would equal $389,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index.

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 9– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– “Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home [in the upcoming election]. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S. Grant to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

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General Ulysses S Grant

 

August 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Thurlow Weed meets with President Lincoln and advises him that “reelection is an impossibility” because the President has angered the Radical Republicans who want harsher measures approved against the South for reconstruction after the war as well as conservative members of the party who worry about the increasing cost and increasing death toll.

August 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Had some talk with Senator Lot Morrill, who is a good deal excited, not to say alarmed. The slow progress of our armies, the mismanagement of military affairs exemplified in the recent raids, the factious and discontented spirit manifested by Wade, Winter Davis, and others, have generated a feeling of despondency in which he participates. Others express to me similar feelings. There is no doubt a wide discouragement prevails, from the causes adverted to, and others which have contributed. . . . The worst specimens of . . . wretched politicians are in New York City and State, though they are to be found everywhere. There is not an honest, fair-dealing Administration journal in New York City. A majority of them profess to be Administration, and yet it is without sincerity.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion. Freedom has given us one hundred and fifty thousand [black] men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy, and, instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.” ~ President Lincoln in an interview with John T Mills.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “From Mobile Bay the news continues favorable. Had Farragut’s preliminary dispatch of the 5th to-day. Have just written a congratulatory letter to him. ” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 16– Tuesday– New York City– “The great election of next November looks more and more obscure, dubious and muddled every day. Lincoln is drifting to the leeward. So much is certain. There is rumor of a move by our wire-pullers and secret unofficial governors to make him withdraw in favor of Chase, or somebody else, on whom the whole Republican party (if such a thing exists) can heartily unite. Fremont’s nomination is coldly received here, though it may find favor in Missouri.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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August 17– Wednesday– New York City– “Great complaints , even by the most loyal men, of the shortcomings and mistakes of government and the ‘Peace Democrats’ vocal and truculent in threats of vengeance on Black Republicans and Abolitionists and in talk about revolution and repudiation of the war debt– all which will do them no good.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen your despatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S Grant.

August ~ Election Year 1860

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As the country staggers toward disunion and civil war, the Republican candidate feels new confidence in his ability to win. Slavery remains the hot issue. Abolitionists attack the churches for their support of the slave system. Around the world, there are problems in Syria and Lebanon, in Central America, in Italy and with the continuing and illegal international slave trade. The heir to England’s throne is visiting Canada.

August 1– Wednesday– New York City–Today’s edition of the New York Herald quotes the mayor of Chicago as saying that Southerners are busy playing “the old game of scaring and bullying the North into submission to Southern demands and Southern tyranny.”

August 1–Wednesday– Rochester, New York–In a speech in honor of the twenty-sixth anniversary of the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire, Frederick Douglass praises Senator Sumner of Massachusetts, calling Sumner “the Wilberforce of America.” Douglass goes on to say that he hopes that the Republican party will avoid “acts of discrimination against the free colored people of the United States. I certainly look to that party for a nobler policy than that avowed by some connected with the Republican organization.”

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Frederick Douglass

 

August 3– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Liberator reports that two abolitionists have been hung in Texas for allegedly distributing arms and inciting slaves to rebel.

August 3– Friday– Paris, France–Representatives from France, Great Britain, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and the Ottoman Empire met to discuss the religious violence in Lebanon and Syria and the massacre at Damascus last month.

August 4– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “When you wrote, you had not learned of the doings of the democratic convention at Baltimore; but you will be in possession of it all long before this reaches you. I hesitate to say it, but it really appears now, as if the success of the Republican ticket is inevitable. We have no reason to doubt any of the states which voted for Fremont. Add to these, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New-Jersey, and the thing is done. Minnesota is as sure as such a thing can be; while the democracy are so divided between Douglas and Breckenridge in Penn. & N.J. that they are scarcely less sure. Our friends are also confident in Indiana and Illinois. I should expect the same division would give us a fair chance in Oregon. Write me what you think on that point.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Simeon Francis.

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August 5– Sunday– New York City–”There is a great trouble among the republicans in this State. They have their trials and misfortunes as well as the democrats. There is a tremendous quarrel going on about the Governorship, in which Greeley is mixed up. The object is to kill him off before the Presidential election, so as to destroy his political influences and cheat him out of his fair share of the spoils of office. One section of the republicans desire the renomination of Morgan. But the Seward party are determined to defeat him because he was lukewarm to their chief. If the Sewardites can, they will never let Greeley get that postmastership for which he covenanted with Blair and Bates and Lincoln. The usual contest between the republican leaders of this city and those of Albany and Western New York is now embittered by a new element of strife – the personal quarrel between the philosopher of the Tribune and the apostle of the ‘higher law.’” ~ New York Herald.

August 6–Monday– Trujillo, Honduras–William Walker, an American soldier of fortune, lands with an armed group of mercenaries in an attempt to seize the country.

August 7– Tuesday– New York City–Today’s Times quotes a Southern writer who favors Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington “paved ten fathoms deep with mangled bodies” rather than see Lincoln become president.

August 8–Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois–Lincoln appears at a campaign rally to a tumultuous response. He declines to give a long speech but limits himself to a few impromptu remarks. “I am gratified, because it is a tribute such as can be paid to no man as a man. It is the evidence that four years from this time you will give a like manifestation to the next man who is the representative of the truth on the questions that now agitate the public. And it is because you will then fight for this cause as you do now, or with even greater ardor than now, though I be dead and gone. I most profoundly and sincerely thank you.”

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August 8–Wednesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Storm King with a cargo of 619 slaves.

August 9– Thursday– Winsboro, South Carolina–Congressman William W. Boyce had earlier pressed co-operation in the sectional crisis but today at a mass election meeting, he speaks in favor of secession if needed. He concludes that “if Lincoln be elected, I think that the Southern States should withdraw from the Union. All, but if not all, as many as will, and if no other, South Carolina alone, in the promptest manner and by the most direct means.”

August 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The American Missionary Association (established by men who despaired of the reform of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions)is a thoroughly Anti-Slavery body; its organ also, the American Missionary, bears a vigorous and active testimony against our country’s great sin; and yet its concern for the credit of the church is so strong, its alliance with the church exerts upon it such a restraining influence, that it cannot bear to recognize the fact either that the American Church is the great bulwark of slavery, or that the Southern Church is as actively and heartily engaged in the support of that sin as the slave-trader, foreign or domestic, himself. It says, in its August number– ‘The evidences are accumulating that the mass of the Southern churches are drifting toward the unconditional support of slavery as it is.’ Instead of drifting towards the support of slavery, the Southern churches are, and have been for the last fifty years, anchored and fortified in the actual and efficient support of it. The evidence, to be sure, is, accumulating; but at no time for the last fifty years has it fallen short of absolute demonstration. The position of the Southern churches towards slavery remains precisely where it has been throughout the lives of all of us, as shown by its practice. They buy, sell, hold, flog and breed slaves, exactly as they have always done. It is only their position towards anti-slavery that is changed, and the change is from hypocrisy to impudence.” ~ The Liberator.

August 10–Friday– Off the coast of Mozambique–The HMS Brisk pursues and captures the American-built slave ship Sunny South with several hundred slaves aboard.

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a British warship 1860

 

August 11–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–President Buchanan sends a private letter to a journalist in which he denies that he is firing supporters of Senator Douglas from their government jobs.

August 12– Sunday– New York City– “A laughable incident occurred at the Douglas celebration in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. While the procession was crossing Division street bridge, over Fond du Lac river, it gave way under such an unwonted load of democracy as had gathered upon it, and let the crowd into the water below. Fortunately the mud was much deeper than the water, and no other serious consequences ensured than the fright, and the thick envelope of slough material brought up by those whom the bridge refused to transport in safety over this peril in the line of march. Several ladies took the unwelcome descent, and when rescued appeared in a much deeper shade of mourning than is a usual style of dress at a gala celebration. The light of torches changed to a scene of merriment among a crowd of fun loving boys what might otherwise have been a serious accident.” ~ New York Herald.

August 13–Monday– Willowdell, Ohio–Birth of Phoebe Orlando Ann Mosey who will become famous as the sharpshooter Annie Oakley. [Dies November 3, 1926.]

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Annie Oakley

 

August 14–Tuesday– Memphis, Tennessee–The Memphis Daily Appeal quotes Stephen A Douglas as favoring the acquisition of Cuba and other territories in the Caribbean and in Central America.

August 15– Wednesday– Marion, Ohio– Birth of Florence Kling Harding, who will become the wife of Warren G Harding, elected president of the United States in 1920. [Most likely she will know of her husband’s extramarital affairs and will be morally stronger than her weak-willed spouse. After his death she will systematically destroy his correspondence. She dies November 21, 1924, fifteen months after Mr Harding.]

August 16– Thursday– New York City– Birth of Helen Hartley Jenkins, philanthropist. Inheriting her father’s substantial fortune upon his death in 1902, she will give generously to Columbia University, Barnard College, nursing programs, aid to Serbian immigrants, improved housing for the poor, prison reform, political reform in New York City and other social welfare programs. [Dies April 24, 1934.]

August 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Slavery wants to be let alone. It must not be let alone. The slaveholder wants to be recognized as a gentleman and a Christian; to be treated as ‘a man of honor,’ in spite of a character stained with the height of meanness and the depth of baseness. The proper treatment for this insolent assumption is to him . . . to refuse . . . to take his blood-stained hand; to make him feel, whenever he chances to be in the company of gentlemen, or Christians, that the robbery which he systematically practices, and by which he lives, is every moment present to their minds as the prominent feature in his character. Let the people of any free country, to which he goes, speak to him of slavery when they speak to him at all, and let the same treatment be applied to his allies and defenders. If they take refuge in a meeting of the Statistical Society, let the statistics of slavery be made the order of the day. And let the demeanor of all Englishmen speak to plainly their detestation of the crime in question, that an openly pro-slavery man shall feel itself scorched with contempt whenever he appears among them, either on public business or for private pleasure. And above all, let this treatment be applied in England, to American clergyman who are known as the defenders of slavery. To treat such persons as men of honor, as gentlemen, or as Christians, is to take part against the slave.” ~ The Liberator.

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August 17–Friday– Chicago, Illinois–The Press and Tribune reports that “The opposition to Old Abe is played out. Without an union among the different parties who compose it, he will gallop over the course, not pushed to wet a hair or draw a long breath. . . . the Republicans will, at one haul, take one hundred thousand voters out of the Douglas ranks and enroll them under the free soil banner.”

August 17–Friday– Omaha, Nebraska Territory–The Democratic Territorial Convention opens with the nationwide split much in evidence. The Breckinridge forces manage to overwhelm the Douglas supporters on most issues. The gathering does manage to unanimously nominate a candidate for territorial delegate to Congress after only four ballots.

August 18– Saturday– Quebec, Canada– The Prince of Wales arrives for a four day visit as part of his continuing North American tour. He will visit the governing Assembly where he confers the first knighthood invested in Canada on Narcisse Belleau, the Speaker of the Legislative Council.

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the Prince of Wales at his wedding, 1863

 

August 20– Monday– Damascus, Syria– In order to impress the European powers that they are able to protect Christians and punish the perpetrators of the recent widespread massacres in Syria, Turkish authorities publicly execute scores said to be implicated in the mass killings of Christians the previous month. In all,170 are shot, 56 hanged, and around 400 others exiled. Western observers generally see this as a design to shelter those actually responsible.

August 22–Wednesday– Assisted by the British Navy, the troops of Giuseppe Garibaldi cross from Sicily to the Italian mainland.

August 23– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– “The active attempts made yesterday by the Douglas leaders to induce the Breckinridge men to withdraw their ticket, and unite in a Bell-Breckinridge-Douglas coalition in this State, had not succeeded at the date of our latest advances from the conference. As we understand the offer, it is to withdraw all tickets now in the field, and make a new combination for electors, which shall include B. S. Morris, L. D. Boone, and Alfred Dutch, on the part of the Know Nothings; Isaac Cook and John Dougherty, as the representatives of the slave code; and any six squatter sovereigns whom the party may select. This is the last and most desperate expedient of the Times and Herald to secure the vote of this State for Douglas, that Breckinridge’s chances may be increased. If it works – who cares?” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

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August 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “An adjourned meeting of the Political Anti-slavery Convention, which met in the city of Boston, on the 29th day of May last, will be held in the city of Worcester, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th days of September next, at 10 o’clock, A.M. The object of this Convention is to consider the propriety of organizing a Political Party upon an Anti-Slavery interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, with the avowed purpose of abolishing slavery in the States, as well as Territories of the Union. At itsf ormer meeting, resolutions setting forth the great principles of liberty and equality which must underlie and permeate a political movement, to entitle it to the confidence and support of the friends of freedom, were introduced and discussed, but without taking action upon them, the Convention adjourned to meet in the city of Worcester, at the call of the President and Chairman of the Business Committee. In discharging the duty thus devolved upon us, we now make an appeal to you, fellow-citizens, lovers of freedom of both sexes, in behalf of four millions of enslaved countrymen, who, in the name of justice and a common brotherhood, demand their liberty at your hands.Nearly an entire generation has passed away since the commencement of the present Anti-Slavery agitation, and yet slavery is still triumphant over our whole land! There is not yet a single foot of soil, inall this broad Republic, on which the escaping slave can stand, and feel that he is free! There is not yet in existence a political party . . . which does not shamelessly avow the purpose to wield the National sword in defense of the bloody slave system, wherever it exists under State jurisdiction! The Church it still in league with the tyrant, with both her heels upon the necks of his helpless victims! We have had discussions upon the character of slavery and the sources of its power, till the whole subject is thoroughly understood by all who have any disposition to investigate. What now remains for us, therefore, is ACTION. Our only hope of success is in translating our sentiments into statutes, and coining our words into deeds!” ~ Notice in today’s issue of The Liberator.

August 24–Friday– Montreal, Canada– On his continuing North American tour, the Prince of Wales and his party arrive here, the largest and richest city in Canada, for six days of parades, balls, and touring as well as necessary meetings with Canadian political and religious leaders.

August 25– Saturday– Montreal, Canada–The Prince of Wales presides over the opening ceremonies for the Victoria Railway Bridge.

August 26– Sunday– Springfield, Illinois– “I hardly know how to express the strength of my personal regard for Mr. Lincoln. I never saw a man for whom I so soon formed an attachment. I like him much, and agree with him in all things but his politics. He is kind and very sociable; immensely popular among the people of Springfield. . . . There are so many hard lines in his face that it becomes a mask of the inner man. His true character only shines out when in an animated conversation, or when telling an amusing tale, of which he is very fond. He is said to be a homely man; I do not think so.” ~ Diary entry of J Henry Brown upon seeing Lincoln at church today.

August 27–Monday– New York City–The Herald quotes Stephan A Douglas as saying, “I am for putting down the Northen abolitionists, but am also for putting down the Southern secessionists, and that too by the exercise of the same constitutional power. I believe that the peace, harmony, and safety of the country depend upon destroying both factions.”

August 28– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– Continuing his unconventional personal campaigning and his swing through Virginia, Stephen Douglas speaks to more than 3000 people at the Phoenix Hall in Petersburg on a rainy evening after spending all day receiving well-wishers at Jarrat’s Hotel. In his speech, he attacks all his opponents as endangering the Union which he strongly defends.

August 30– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “Yours of the 27th was received last evening; as also was one only a few days before. Neither of these bears quite so hopeful a tone as your former letters. When you say you are organizing every election district, do you mean to include the idea that you are ‘canvassing’ – ‘counting noses?’” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to A J McClure.

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August 31–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today The Liberator carries a report of French honors to John Brown. “We are glad to lay before our readers the following generous and hearty tribute to John Brown from the Free-Masons of France. This is all the more magnanimous as Brown was not a member of the Order. This and Victor Hugo’s touching appeals show how keenly alive France is to the cause of Justice and Liberty the world over. The words here were translated from the Monde Maconnique, Paris.”

August 31–Friday– Newark, Ohio–This day’s issue of the Newark Advocate in an article entitled “Is Lincoln an Abolitionist?” argues that since Lincoln declared that the nation cannot exist indefinitely half-slave and half-free and opposes the expansion of slavery into the western territories, he therefore must be an abolitionist.

August 31– Friday– Ottawa, Canada–On a rainy day the Prince of Wales arrives here in the recently selected capital city for the Dominion. The next three days will be full of receptions, parades, balls and other festivities.

August ~ Election Year 1856

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The new Republican Party, in its first presidential bid with the candidacy of John Fremont, finds active participation by Attorney Abraham Lincoln. The incumbent president, Franklin Pierce, finds little cooperation from Congress and his hands full with diplomatic relations. The first American diplomat arrives in Japan. The slavery issue remains heated. The British press stands aghast at the assault on Senator Charles Sumner.

August 1– Friday– Springfield, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln, joined by Mr Yates, Mr Herndon, and Mr Jayne, sign a note to John M. Palmer, encouraging him to be patient. “It is our judgment that whether you do or do not finally stand as a candidate for Congress, it is better for you to not to publicly decline for a while. It is a long time till the election; and what may turn up no one can tell.”

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Lawyer Lincoln

 

August 2– Saturday– Keene New Hampshire– Birth of Eliza White, author of 29 books for children as well as 9 novels for adults. [Dies January 23, 1947.]

August 4– Monday– New York City– “Our brethren of the South are surely mad. . . . Mr Ruggles told me that ‘if Fremont were elected, he would never be permitted to reach Washington.’ Their brag and bluster can’t well be paralleled, . . . . There are germs of insurrection among the ‘poor trash,’ the plebeians who don’t own Negroes. Such a movement once formed and recognized must triumph sooner or later, and Negro emancipation and the downfall of the . . . aristocracy of those states must follow.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith lay before the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of War, in reply to a resolution of the House requesting information in regard to the construction of the Capitol and Post-Office extensions.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the House of Representatives.

August 6– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo, requesting the President to inform the Senate in relation to any application by the governor of the State of California to maintain the laws and peace of the said State against the usurped authority of an organization calling itself the committee of vigilance in the city and county of San Francisco, and also to lay before the Senate whatever information he may have in respect to the proceedings of the said committee of vigilance, I transmit the accompanying reports from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate.

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President Pierce

 

August 7– Thursday– Grand View, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln is one of the speakers at a Republican rally to support John Fremont.

August 8– Friday– Charleston, Illinois– About 6,000 people attend a Fremont rally and hear a speech from Mr Lincoln, among others. A reporter notes that the crowd gives him “marked attention and approbation.”

August 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, and for the surrender of fugitive criminals, between the United States and the Republic of Venezuela, signed at Caracas on the 10th of July last.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate.

August 11– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “I return herewith to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, a bill entitled ‘An act for continuing the improvement of the Des Moines Rapids, in the Mississippi River,’ and submit it for reconsideration, because it is, in my judgment, liable to the objections to the prosecution of internal improvements by the General Government set forth at length in a communication addressed by me to the two Houses of Congress on the 30th day of December, 1854, and in other subsequent messages upon the same subject, to which on this occasion I respectfully refer.” ~ Veto message from President Pierce.

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August 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate. [These documents are relating to The declaration concerning maritime law, adopted by the diplomats of Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, and Turkey at Paris April 16, 1856.]

August 13– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “The Bible represents Satan as ruling the hearts of men at his will, just as the men who wield the slave power of the South rule the dough faces of the North at their will, dictating the choice of our Presidents and the entire legislation of the Federal Government. So Satan ruled Eve in the garden, so he now ‘works in the children of disobedience.’”~ Reverend Charles G Finney in the Oberlin Evangelist.

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Reverend Charles G Finney

 

August 14– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I return herewith to the Senate, in which it originated, a bill entitled ‘An act for the improvement of the navigation of the Patapsco River and to render the port of Baltimore accessible to the war steamers of the United States,’ and submit it for reconsideration, because it is, in my judgment, liable to the objections to the prosecution of internal improvements by the General Government set forth at length in a communication addressed by me to the two Houses of Congress on the 30th day of December, 1854, and other subsequent messages upon the same subject, to which on this occasion I respectfully refer.” ~ Veto message from President Pierce.

August 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Fourteenth annual meeting of the Western Anti-Slavery Society will be held in Salem, Ohio, commencing on Saturday, the 30th of August, at 10o’clock, A.M., and continue three days. There probably was never a time when the Anti-slavery cause required of its friends a more stern and faithful advocacy than the present. As their principles have been proclaimed amid scorn, and continually without concealment, so should they be proclaimed amid the strife of political elements, and the allurements of party interest, without compromise. While they may congratulate themselves upon the increasing favor with which their doctrines are received by the popular mind, they should not for a moment cease to inculcate the duty and necessity of demanding, not he restoration of a pro-slavery compromise of former days, not the more limitation of chattelism to State boundaries, but that every friend of human rights should cease to support, by speech or vote, by influence direct or indirect, the system of American Slavery. The infamous Slave Law of 1850, the Border foray upon Kansas, the recent cowardly and murderess attack in the Senate Chamber upon a member of the upper House [attack upon Senator Charles Sumner], are so many evidences of the utter hopelessness of abolitionists effectually laboring to promote the downfall of’ the peculiar institution, except they practically adopt the motto of ‘No Union with Slave-holders.’ All who hate slavery, and seek its extinction, are invited to assemble with us for inquiry, for counsel, and for aid. It is expected that Parker Pillsbury will be present on the occasion, and again greet his Western friends; Charles L. Remond and A. T. Foss have also given us encouragement to hope they will be with us, as well as some others whom we cannot now announce.” ~ The Liberator.

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August 16– Saturday– Oregon, Illinois– A large crowd gathers at the public square, and “then moved to a beautiful grove on the banks of Rock River. After partaking of a repast prepared by the ladies of Ogle County . . . the people listened to most excellent speeches from Honorable Abraham Lincoln, and Honorable John Wentworth” in support of Republican candidates, according to a man who was present.

August 17– Sunday– Hadlyme, Connecticut– Birth of Martha Hillard MacLeish, educator, church leader, community worker and mother of poet Archibald Macleish. [Dies December 19, 1947.]

August 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas whilst hostilities exist with various Indian tribes on the remote frontiers of the United States, and whilst in other respects the public peace is seriously threatened, Congress has adjourned without granting necessary supplies for the Army, depriving the Executive of the power to perform his duty in relation to the common defense and security, and an extraordinary occasion has thus arisen for assembling the two Houses of Congress, I do therefore by this my proclamation convene the said Houses to meet in the Capitol, at the city of Washington, on Thursday, the 21st day of August instant, hereby requiring the respective Senators and Representatives then and there to assemble to consult and determine on such measures as the state of the Union may seem to require.” ~ President Pierce calls Congress into special session.

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August 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “To refuse supplies to the Army, therefore, is to compel the complete cessation of all its operations and its practical disbandment, and thus to invite hordes of predatory savages from the Western plains and the Rocky Mountains to spread devastation along a frontier of more than 4,000 miles in extent and to deliver up the sparse population of a vast tract of country to rapine and murder. Such, in substance, would be the direct and immediate effects of the refusal of Congress, for the first time in the history of the Government, to grant supplies for the maintenance of the Army– the inevitable waste of millions of public treasure; the infliction of extreme wrong upon all persons connected with the military establishment by service, employment, or contracts; the recall of our forces from the field; the fearful sacrifice of life and incalculable destruction of property on the remote frontiers; the striking of our national flag on the battlements of the fortresses which defend our maritime cities against foreign invasion; the violation of the public honor and good faith, and the discredit of the United States in the eyes of the civilized world. I confidently trust that these considerations, and others appertaining to the domestic peace of the country which can not fail to suggest themselves to every patriotic mind, will on reflection be duly appreciated by both Houses of Congress and induce the enactment of the requisite provisions of law for the support of the Army of the United States.” ~ Message from President Pierce to Congress concerning the business of the special session.

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Townsend Harris

 

August 21– Thursday– Shimoda, Japan– America’s first diplomat to Japan, Townsend Harris, arrives. [Harris, age 52, born in New York, a merchant, politician and diplomat, works hard and successfully to build trust and friendship with the Japanese. Widely read and mostly self-educated, he speaks French, Spanish and Italian. In 1847 he founded what became the City College of New York. He will return to the United States in 1861 and dies February 25, 1878. On his life and work, see: Harris of Japan (1939) by Carl Crow; Townsend Harris, First American Envoy in Japan (1895) by William Elliot Griffis; The Complete Journal of Townsend Harris (1959); Behind the Silken Curtain; the Story of Townsend Harris (1961) by Israel E Levine.

August 22– Friday–Boston, Massachusetts– “I am moving about in this sad Lancaster fulfilling my appointments, and endeavoring to all, both Jews and Greeks, the more excellent [ways] of securing the triumphs of freedom and the overthrow of slavery, than by rushing into any political party, and withdrawing their energies from every other point, in order to concentrate all on the election of Colonel Fremont. The Fremont enthusiasm is very great here, exceeding any thing I have seen in New England. I frankly admit to them, that all the political anti-slavery there is, is embodied in the Republican party; but I argue to them, that it is wholly inadequate to the purposes of Freedom, and to saving us from the toils of the Slave Power. Some of the Fremont people are very earnest in laboring with me, to induce me to omit all discussion of the United States Constitution, and of Disunion, and Non-Voting. They speak at my meetings and they call on me is private.” ~ Letter from Reverend Samuel J May in today’s issue of The Liberator. May writes from his speaking tour in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Reverend Samuel J May

 

August 27– Wednesday– Kalamazoo, Michigan– “We are a great empire. We are eighty years old. We stand at once the wonder and admiration of the whole world, and we must enquire what it is that has given us so much prosperity, and we shall understand that to give up that one thing, would be to give up all future prosperity. This cause is that every man can make himself. It has been said that such a race of prosperity has been run nowhere else. We find a people on the North-east, who have a different government from ours, being ruled by a Queen. Turning to the South, we see a people who, while they boast of being free, keep their fellow beings in bondage. Compare our Free States with either, shall we say here that we have no interest in keeping that principle alive? Shall we say– ‘Let it be?’ No– we have an interest in the maintenance of the principles of the Government, and without this interest, it is worth nothing. I have noticed in Southern newspapers, particularly the Richmond Enquirer, the Southern view of the Free States. They insist that slavery has a right to spread. They defend it upon principle. They insist that their slaves are far better off than Northern freemen. What a mistaken view do these men have of Northern laborers! They think that men are always to remain laborers here– but there is no such class. The man who labored for another last year, this year labors for himself, and next year he will hire others to labor for him. These men don’t understand when they think in this manner of Northern free labor. When these reasons can be introduced, tell me not that we have no interest in keeping the Territories free for the settlement of free laborers.” ~ Speech by Abraham Lincoln in support of Fremont.

August 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Among the most shocking– to our notions, at least– was the assault recently committed by the representative of South Carolina, Mr. Brooks, on Mr. Sumner, Senator of Massachusetts. The provocation was a speech delivered in the Senate by the latter on the side of the abolitionists. The speech was elaborately strong, but not stronger than many delivered within the walls of our own Parliament during the discussion on the Reform and Emancipation Bills. But it was strong enough to excite Mr. Brooks, a member of the lower House, to the commission of a what we should call a monstrous outrage. He assaulted Mr. Sumner while seated writing at a table in the Senate, struck him severely with a cane over the head, and left him insensible. . . . It is this conduct which strikes us with astonishment. We can understand that in the hot conflict of passions and interest between the abolitionists and the slaveholders, one legislator might be so far carried away by his impetuosity as to strike another. But we cannot figure to ourselves a legislator deliberately and premeditatedly watching his opportunity to assail a man sitting at his desk in another House of Legislation, striking him before he could rise, beating him in the presence of his colleagues, and finally justifying this sacrilege against the national dignity to the assembled delegates of the people. Where this can be done so coolly as it seems to have been done by Mr. Brooks, we are inclined to fear that the license of action and immunity from control among the members of the American Congress are tending towards that line which separates extreme liberty from reactionary and vindictive despotism. Mr. Brooks in his speech entirely ignores the principle that Congress has a national and collective character. In his eyes it is only a fortuitous conglomeration of individual atoms, each as good as its neighbor, and the whole not a bit better than any one. Its right to regulate the conduct of members within its walls, to maintain order, to suppress violence, he says he, ‘believe that the spirit of American freedom would tolerate slander in high places, and permit a member of Congress to publish and circulate a libel on another, and then call upon either House to protect him against the personal responsibilities which he had thus incurred.’ That is to say, nobody had any right to say anything against slavery without being prepared to fight or be caned on the spot. A rational and effectual inducement to free discussion this.~ Article from the Times of London reprinted in today’s issue of The Liberator.

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assault on Senator Sumner

 

August 30– Saturday– New York City– “Saw George Curtis, wholly wrapt up in the Fremont campaign, wherein he does good and active service, speaking almost every night with great approval and with much more ability than I gave him credit for. . . . Fillmore seems rather to lose ground. Fremont rather gains. His enemies help him by the bitter malignity of their personal attacks, which will surely decide some thousands to vote in his favor.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August ~ Election Year 1852

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Women involved in abolition move ahead on other issues. [For an excellent study of these women, see, The Slavery of Sex: Feminist-Abolitionists in America (1978) by Blanche Glassman Hersh.] The struggle against slavery takes place on many fronts, including the Senate and the campaign of the Free Soil Party.

August 1– Sunday– Seneca Falls, New York– “I was introduced by Mrs. M. A. W. Johnson, who traveled with me from Massillon [Ohio] to Philadelphia, into the family of James and Lucretia Mott, who gave me a sister’s welcome to their home. This excellent couple are well known to the world, and need no word of praise from me; but I want to add my mite, and so I will. If all fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, church members and citizens of this our republic were as good as James and Lucretia Mott, we reformers would have nothing to do beyond the dooryard gate. The world would be good enough, plenty. There would be no war, no slavery, no intemperance, no licentiousness, no crime, no wrong. Ha! what a world it would be!” ~ Letter from Frances D Gage to The Lily.

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Francis D Gage

 

August 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 23rd ultimo, requesting information in regard to the fisheries on the coasts of the British possessions in North America, I transmit a report from the Acting Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied. Commodore M. C. Perry, with the United States steam frigate Mississippi under his command, has been dispatched to that quarter for the purpose of protecting the rights of American fishermen under the convention of 1818.” ~ Message from President Fillmore to the Senate.

August 4– Wednesday– Brunswick, New Jersey– Harriet Beecher Stowe sends $20 to Betsy Cowles at Oberlin, Ohio, to provide scholarship assistance to Mary and Emily Edmundson, born in slavery and whose freedom was purchased by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, so they can attend school at Oberlin College. [Her gift would equal $633 today using the Consumer Price Index.]

August 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Free Democracy in New Jersey. A friend in New Jersey writes to the Boston Commonwealth thus: ‘I am convinced, from a residence in various parts of this State, that if the principles of the Free Democratic party were thoroughly known here, we should ere long have a Free Soil organization at General Scott’s own door, that would bury both the old parties in oblivion. But most of the people know nothing about the Free Soil party, or believe it to be hostile to the Union, as they are taught by their selfish editors and politicians.’” ~ The National Era

August 6– Friday–Boston, Massachusetts– “The time has come not only for the examination and discussion of Women’s social, civil and religious rights, but also for a thorough and efficient organization—a well-digested plan of operation, whereby these social rights, for which our fathers fought, bled and died, may be scoured, and enjoyed by us. Let woman no longer supinely endure the evils she may escape, but with her own right hand carve out for herself a higher, nobler destiny thus has heretofore been here. In as much as through the folly and of woman, the race is what it is, dwarfed in mind and body, and as, through her alone, it can yet be redeemed, all are equally interested in the objects of this Convention.” ~ The Liberator carries an announcement of the upcoming woman’s right convention to be held September 8th through 10th.

August 9– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln declines the opportunity to be a candidate of the Whig Party for the state legislature.

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August 11– Wednesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– The Free Soil Party opens its convention. One of the most powerful speakers is Frederick Douglass, present as part of the New York state delegation.

August 12– Thursday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– The Free Soil Party adopts its platform which declares: “Having assembled in national convention as the Free Democracy of the United States, united by a common resolve to maintain right against wrong, and freedom against slavery; confiding in the intelligence, patriotism, and discriminating justice of the American people; putting our trust in God for the triumph of our cause, and invoking his guidance in our endeavors to advance it, we now submit to the candid judgment of all men, the following declaration of principles and measures: . . . . That the Constitution of the United States, ordained to form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty, expressly denies to the general government all power to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and therefore the Government, having no more power to make a slave than to make a king, and no more power to establish slavery than to establish a monarchy, should at once proceed to relieve itself from all responsibility for the existence of slavery, wherever it possesses constitutional Power to legislate for its extinction. . . . That slavery is a sin against God and a crime against man, which no human enactment nor usage can make right; and that Christianity, humanity, and patriotism alike demand Its abolition. . . . That the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is repugnant to the Constitution, to the principles of the common law, to the spirit of Christianity, and to the sentiments of the civilized World. We therefore deny its binding force on the American people, and demand its immediate and total repeal. . . . . That the acts of Congress renown as the ‘compromise’ measures of 1850 . . . are proved to be inconsistent with all the principles and maxims of Democracy, and wholly inadequate to the settlement of the questions of which they are claimed to be an adjustment. . . . That no permanent settlement of the slavery question can be looked for except in the practical recognition of the truth that slavery is sectional and freedom national; by the total separation of the general government from slavery, and the exercise of its legitimate and constitutional influence on the side of freedom; and by leaving to the states the whole subject of slavery and the extradition of fugitives from service. . . . That the public lands of the United States belong to the people, and should not be sold to individuals, nor granted to corporations, but should be held as a sacred trust for the benefit of the people, and should be granted in limited quantities, free of cost, to landless settlers. . . . That emigrants and exiles from the Old World should find a cordial welcome to homes of and fields of enterprise in the New; and every attempt to abridge their privilege of becoming citizens and owners of soil among us ought to be resisted with inflexible determination. . . . That the independence of Hayti ought to be recognized by our government, and our commercial relations with it placed on the footing of the most favored nations. . . . [our] party is not organized to aid either the Whig or Democratic wing of the great slave compromise party of the nation, but to defeat them both; and that, repudiating and renouncing both as hopelessly corrupt and utterly unworthy of confidence, the purpose of the Free Democracy is to take possession of the federal government and administer it for the better protection of the rights and Interests of the whole people. . . . That we inscribe on our banner Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men, and under it will fight on and fight ever until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions.” They nominate John P Hale of New Hampshire for President and George W Julian of Indiana for Vice-President. [Hale, age 46, a native of New Hampshire and graduate of Bowdoin college, is a lawyer, politician and abolitionist. Dies November 19, 1873. On his life, see: John P Hale and the Politics of Abolition (1965) by Richard H Sewell. On the Free Soil Party, see: The Free Soilers; Third Party Politics, 1848-54 (1973) by Frederick J Blue; Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics (2016); Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: the Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1995) by Eric Foner.

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John P Hale

 

August 12– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “Our friends of the Evening Post seem to be acquainted with no New York Democrats who do not support Pierce and King. Will they allow us to introduce them to Minthrone Tompkins, a most worthy son of the late Governor Tompkins; Hiram Barney, law partner of Mr. Butler; Bradford R. Wood, of Albany, not altogether unknown as a man or a Democrat; Jabez D. Hammond, author of the Political History of New York; Judge Hiram Gardner, and Judge A.B. Brown, of Niagara, always Democrats; and Alfred Babcock, of Orleans, formerly member of Congress from that district? None of these gentlemen, we believe, find themselves able to reconcile the professions of the New York Democracy with acquiescence in the new Baltimore tests, or to perceive the consistency of rejecting the platform, and at the same time supporting candidates who fully represent it. The Post will not, we think, dispute their standing as influential Democrats.” ~ The National Era.

August 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”I know brother Jones to be a man of noble spirit and pure character. He officiated, for one year, with entire acceptance, to the Wesleyan Church in Salem, [Massachusetts] and was just engaged to preach for them another year, when he was compelled to flee from this republic to the British monarchy, because he had once been a slave, and had dared to run away and assert his manhood. Friends in Concord gave him some $25 to help him get away to a place of safety. We will try to help him a little more, in his present effort to redeem his child from slavery. Will not some one who reads this appeal from the poor fugitive slave parents, send on a trifle to R.F. Wallcut, 21 Cornhill, Boston, in answer thereto?” ~ Letter from Daniel Foster to William Lloyd Garrison published in The Liberator in an effort to help Thomas Jones, a fugitive slave now in Canada to raise money to buy his child’s freedom.

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August 14– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Writing about the Free Soil Party convention, the Daily Pennsylvanian describes the participants as traitors and declares, “In other countries better men have been executed as traitors to their country who did not half so much deserve the name.”

August 14– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received a resolution from your honorable body of the 6th instant, appearing to have been adopted in open legislative session, requesting me ‘to inform the Senate, if not incompatible with the public interests, whether any propositions have been made by the King of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii] to transfer the sovereignty of these islands to the United States, and to communicate to the Senate all the official information on that subject in my possession;’ in reply to which I have to state that on or about the 12th day of June last I received a similar resolution from the Senate adopted in executive or secret session, to which I returned an answer stating that in my opinion a communication of the information requested at that juncture would not comport with the public interest. Nothing has since transpired to change my views on that subject, and I therefore feel constrained again to decline giving the information asked.” ~ Message from President Fillmore to the Senate. [The United States will acquire Hawaii in 1898 after supporting a coup against the monarchy in 1893.]

August 14– Saturday– East Pascagoula, Mississippi– Margaret Smith Taylor, widow of former President Zachary Taylor, dies at 63 years of age.

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Margaret Taylor

 

August 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “It will be seen by the proceedings of the Pittsburgh Convention held on the 11th instant, that Honorable John P. Hale, of New Hampshire, was nominated for President, and Honorable George W. Julian, of Indiana, for Vice President. This is a good ticket – a sound, reliable ticket, eminently worthy of the support of the Independent Democracy throughout the country. Mr. Hale, during his Senatorial career, has made himself widely and favorably known as a stanch and sturdy Reformer. To him, probably more than to any one man, is the country indebted for the abolition of the lash from [the U. S.]Navy. He was the early and untiring advocate of that beneficent measure. He was not the first choice of the Editor of the Era, and it is uncertain whether he will accept the honor thus tendered him as a free-will offering, though we hope he will.” ~ The National Era.

August 20– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Justice for the wronged and liberty for all’ is ‘immediate abolitionism.’ The abolitionists have never asked for more, never desired more. And the means by which they have proposed that this shall be done is, that every master shall himself give immediate freedom to those whom he has claimed as slaves, without waiting for their liberation by the harsher process of insurrection, which is always impending over them, or of disunion, which the abolitionists propose as the best means of abolishing slavery.” ~ The Liberator.

August 20– Friday– Lake Erie, off of Long Point, Ontario, Canada– The passenger steamer Atlantic is struck by the steamer Ogdenburg. The Atlantic begins to fill with water and gradually sinks, killing at least 262 people.

August 26–Thursday– Washington, D. C.–Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivers a three hour speech against the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and calls for its repeal.

August 27– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore sends to the Senate for ratification a treaty with the Netherlands regarding commerce and navigation.

August 30– Monday– London, England– The eccentric John Camden Nield dies at age 72, leaving his fortune to Queen Victoria.

August 31– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore updates the Senate on discussions regarding international postage.