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.

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