September ~ Election Year 1852

Woman making American Flag

Slavery still holds center stage as an issue. The Free Soil Party challenges the two established parties. Women, emboldened by the Seneca Falls Convention of four years, meet regularly and increasingly demand equality. On-going problems in Ireland fuel immigration arriving in the United States.

September 1–Wednesday– Yellow Springs, Ohio–Rebecca Mann Pennell joins the faculty for the new Antioch College as a professor of physical geography and natural history. She is the first woman working as a college professor allowed to attend faculty meetings with men.

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Rebecca Mann Pennell

 

September 1– Wednesday– New York City– “The time has come, not merely for the examination and discussion of Woman’s social, civil and religious rights, but also for a thorough and efficient organization—a well-digested plan of operation, whereby these sacred rights, for which our fathers fought, bled and died, may be secured 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 than has heretofore been hers. Inasmuch as through the folly and imbecility 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. We therefore solemnly urge those Men and Women who desire and look for the development and elevation of the race, to be present at the coming Convention, and aid us by the wisdom of their counsels. Our platform will, as ever, be free to all who are capable of discussing the subject with seriousness, candor and truth.” ~ The Lily on the upcoming Woman’s Rights Convention.

September 1–Wednesday– Washington, D. C.–Colonel Robert E Lee of Virginia is appointed superintendent of the military academy at West Point.

September 2– Thursday– New York City– “You will regret to hear that the potato has again failed to a great extent this year. The breadth of land planted with potatoes is said to be as great as in any former year, but it is estimated that at least one-half the crop will be ruined. This will destroy a prodigious amount of food, and will greatly diminish the confidence of farmers in the prospects of the country. We are informed that great numbers of the people now think only of leaving Ireland by the first opportunity. I do not regret the emigration on behalf of those who go. They will mend their condition, or perish in the attempt.” ~ Report from Ireland in today’s issue of The National Anti-Slavery Standard.

September 3– Friday– Rochester, New York– “The Pittsburgh Convention so long and anxiously looked for by its friends and foes, has held its sessions, declared its sentiments, and presented its candidates. The platform is such an approximation to our views of what it should be that we levy no war upon it. J.P. Hale is too well known to the friends of a just government to need our commendation, his labor speak his highest praise. Of Mr. Julian we know far less, but his position warrants him a man.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

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John P Hale

 

September 3– Friday– London, England– “The gravest fault of the book has, however, to be mentioned. Its object is to abolish slavery. Its effect will be to render slavery more difficult than ever of abolishment. Its popularity constitutes its greatest difficulty. It will keep ill-blood at boiling-point, and irritate instead of pacifying those whose proceedings Mrs. Stowe is anxious to influence on behalf of humanity. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not required to convince the haters of slavery of the abomination of the ‘institution;’ of all books, it is the least calculated to weigh with those whose prejudices in favor of slavery have yet to be overcome, and whose interests are involved in the perpetuation of the system. If slavery is to cease in America, and if the people of the United States, who fought and bled for their liberty and nobly won it, are to remove the disgrace that attaches to them for forging chains for others which they will not tolerate on their own limbs, the work of enfranchisement must be a movement, not forced upon slave owners, but voluntarily undertaken, accepted and carried out by the whole community. There is no federal law which can compel the Slave States to resign the ‘property’ which they hold. The States of the South are as free to maintain slavery as are the States of the North to rid themselves of the scandal. Let the attempt be made imperiously and violently to dictate to the South, and from that hour the Union is at an end. We are aware that to the mind of the “philanthropist” the alternative brings no alarm, but to the rational thinkers, to the statesman, and to all men interested in the world’s progress, the disruption of the bond that holds the American states together is fraught with calamity, with which the present evil of slavery—a system destined sooner or later to fall to pieces under the weight of public opinion and its own infamy—bears no sensible comparison. The writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and similar well-disposed authors have yet to learn that to excite the passions of their readers in favor of their philanthropic schemes is the very worst mode of getting rid of a difficulty, which, whoever may be to blame for its existence, is part and parcel of the whole social organization of a large proportion of the States, and cannot be forcibly removed without instant anarchy, and all its accompanying mischief.” ~ The Times of London

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September 9– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “We understand the Union [another D C newspaper] like the rest of the supporters of General Pierce, it was anxious for the nomination of Mr. Hale: the announcement filled them with joy, for they said at once that it would secure them Ohio, beyond a doubt. They feared the nomination of Chase, under the impression that it would bear more heavily against the Democratic Party. But as Hale has not by letter publicly signified his acceptance of the nomination, they begin to feel distressed lest he should decline, and thereby reduce their chances again in Ohio. Let them put their hearts at rest on this point. The Pittsburgh Convention was above all policy; the majority determined that Hale should be the candidate, whatever might be the consequences. Men under the controlling influence of high moral or philanthropic motives, are not much addicted to calculation. Mr. Hale has nothing to do but to accept. It would not do to hazard the reputation of such an organization. But, we advise the supporters of General Pierce to moderate their joy. Mr. Hale on the stump will do exact justice to both parties, and find as ready access, we doubt not, to the hearts of Free Soil Democrats, as of Free Soil Whigs.” ~ The National Era

September 10– Friday– near Park Hill, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma]– Birth of Alice Brown Davis, her father from Scotland, her mother a member of the Seminole Nation. [Alice will herself bear 11 children and serve as a leader among and an advocate for the Seminole people from 1874 until her death on June 21, 1935.]

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Alice Brown Davis

 

September 13– Monday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Since I received your circular I have been wanting to write to you & ask you to consider well the principle involved in your voting as you did for candidates of your view at the convention at Pittsburgh. Suppose each member of the convention had done the same, & suppose all voters should do the same. Would not government be an impossibility, as no representatives could be elected. Will you consider, my brother, the question of Political Sectarianism in its various bearings & ascertain what arguments can justify Political that would not equally justify religious sectarianism or schism? Is it not true that in cases where, from the nature of the case, men must act by majorities, in masses, & not merely as individuals, it is wrong to secede except for fundamental heresy? Is not patience, labor, argument the remedy for all other errors either in politics or religions? I regard the question of liberty & slavery as vital & fundamental in politics & therefore justify & demand secession for the slavery heresy.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to Gerrit Smith.

September 16– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “A long, well-written address appears in the Wisconsin Free Democrat, published at Milwaukee, from the pen of H.H. Van Amringe, a leader of the Land Reformers, calling upon them to support Hale and Julian, openly identified as they are by their platforms and avowals, with Land Reform principles. He says: ‘Our path is now plain and open. Such is the numerical force of Land Reformers in Wisconsin, that if we go in solid body for Hale and Julian, the Lord Reform nominees, at the ensuing Presidential election, we may carry the electoral votes of the State for them.’” ~ The National Era.

September 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “We lay before our readers the first half of the very elaborate and carefully prepared speech of Mr. Sumner, on his proposed amendment for the immediate repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law. It is eliciting high commendations in all quarters, and the press is throwing off edition after edition with great rapidity. It will be read by the country—by men of all parties—and wherever read, will enlarge and consolidate the already wide reputation of its author for learning, ability and philanthropy. But it is not without its vulnerable points. We think it clearly demonstrates the unconstitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, in so much as by it the right of trial by jury, all the processes of a legal claim, and all the safeguards of personal liberty in the Free States, are destroyed. But, beyond this, it does not travel an inch; and this is a very subordinate question, and not the primary and all-essential one of the entire and immediate abolition of slavery, wherever it exists on the American soil.” ~ The Liberator.

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Gerrit Smith

 

September 18– Saturday– Peterboro, New York– “Now, I may be wrong in making my political party no more comprehensive – but I am not inconsistent. I rigidly exclude from my church party all, who, I think, are not Christians, and, too, I rigidly exclude from my political party all, who do not come up to my standard of membership. Were you living in Peterboro, and should you admit to me your unwillingness to have the black man clothed with the right of suffrage, I should, even though you agreed with me in all other things, deny, that you belonged to my political party. You think, that I was wrong, in refusing to vote at Pittsburgh for Hale and Julian. Perhaps, I was. But, when you say, that the refusal was inconsistent with my liberality in Church matters, I reply, that it was not necessarily so, I might not have regarded them as belonging to my political party – and, hence my refusal to vote for them. But, there is another phase to this subject. Were you living here, I might recognize you, and most heartily too, as a member both of my church party and of my political party. But I should not, therefore, be bound, in consistency, to vote for you, either as an ecclesiastical officer, or political officer. Whilst I might believe, that you had the qualifications for the membership, I might, and with perfect consistency, deny, that you had the qualifications for the office. Allowing, then, that I regarded Hale and Julian as members of my political party, nevertheless I might have regarded them as unadapted to carry out and honor the principles of that party in the high offices to which they were nominated. To go with the majority is, I admit, an important duty, but you will agree with me, that it is no duty at all, until we have first settled it that the candidate belongs to our party – that is, holds the great, vital, distinctive principles of our party, and is, also, fit for the proposed office. . . . My recollections of my visit to Oberlin are very pleasant. I rejoice to learn, that your revival continues. I have often thought, that I should love to pass through an Oberlin revival. I have never been better than a half way Christian. I want to be a whole one.” ~ Letter from Gerrit Smith to Reverend Charles G Finney.

September 23– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “There is enough disaffection in the rank and file to prevent anything like the ordinary party enthusiasm. Democrats, under the influence of Anti-Slavery feeling, abhor the Baltimore platform, and are reluctant to support a candidate who, they believe, cordially sustains it. Anti-Slavery Whigs abhor their platform, and if they support Scott, it will be because they fully trust that he accepted the platform under constraint. But there are Whig and Democratic voters, who, resolved not to lay aside their Anti-Slavery principles in any election, whatever may be the inducement, will the nomination of Mr. Hale, the only nomination that does justice to the Constitution, to the Sentiments of the Fathers of the country, and to Northern sentiment, on the question of Slavery.” ~ The National Era

September 24– Friday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Your request to transmit my name, with a short article, for insertion in your contemplated publication, is before me. I have neither time nor words in which to express my unalterable abhorrence of slavery, with all the odious apologies and blasphemous claims of Divine sanction for it, that have been attempted. I regard all attempts, by legislation or otherwise, to give the abominable system ‘aid and comfort’ as involving treason against the government of God, and as insulting the consciences and common sense of men.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to the president of the Rochester [New York] Ladies’ Antislavery Society.

September 30– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– For the second time this year a convention of labor leaders and social reformers opens here today. The primary item on the agenda is advocacy of the 10 hour workday.

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