August ~ Election Year 1852

Woman making American Flag

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.

frances_d_gage

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.

slave cabins

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.

hale_john_wh_loc_med

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.

Our_Countrymen_in_Chains

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.

Margaret_Taylor

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.

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