Category Archives: Antebellum U S & World History

The Election of 1860

Woman making American Flag

Election day took place on Tuesday, November 6, 1860. In one of the strangest and most critical elections in the history of the United States, Republican Abraham Lincoln won the presidency, beating Democrat Stephen A Douglas, Southern Democrat John Breckenridge, and Constitutional Unionist Edward Everett. There are 6,498,243 people registered to vote, accounting for 20.7% of the total population. Women could not vote, thus excluding almost half of the population. Male slaves and the majority of free black men were also excluded as were most all Native Americans. Many states also required a man to own property in order to register to vote. Of the men eligible to vote, about 81.2% actually did, the second highest percentage of voter turnout in American history. At this time a little over a third of the total population live in the New England states, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined.

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Lincoln received 1,865,908 votes, 39.8% of those cast. He carried 18 states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Stephen Douglas received 1,380,202 votes, 29.5% of the those cast but he won only the state of Missouri.

John Breckenridge received 848,019 votes, 18.1% of those cast. He carried 11 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Edward Everett received 590,901 votes, 12.6% of those cast and carried the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Regional differences, particularly over the expansion or limitation of slavery and the question of states rights, are extremely divisive. The divisions are evident in the results: Lincoln won all the Northern states; Breckenridge won the deep South and the slave-holding states of Maryland and Delaware; Lincoln won no Southern states; the other candidates won no Northen states.

In the Electoral College, based upon state results, Lincoln had 180 votes, Breckenridge 72 votes, Bell 39 votes and Douglas only 12.

Of the Congressional races, once South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860 and other Southern states followed, newly elected Congressmen and Senators never took their seats in the new Congress and most Southern members left Washington. By April, 1861, the shooting had begun.

1856 Election

Woman making American Flag

Election day took place on Tuesday, November 4, 1856. The Democrat James Buchanan won the presidency, defeating Republican candidate James C Fremont and Whig-American candidate and former President Millard Fillmore. [The Whig-American Party was a combination of remaining Whigs with two small third parties.] There were 5,135,114 people eligible to vote, accounting for only 18.0% of the total population. Women could not vote, thus excluding almost half of the population. Male slaves and the majority of free black men were also excluded as were most all Native Americans. Many states also required a man to own property in order to register to vote. Of the men eligible to vote, about 78.9% actually did.

Fremont received 1,340,668 votes, 33.1% of those cast. He carried 11 states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Fillmore received 872,703 votes, 21.5% of those cast. He carried the state of Maryland.

Buchanan received 1,835,140 votes, 45.4% of those cast. He carried the other 19 states.

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There were close contests in four states. In Iowa Fremont won 48.8% of the vote and carried the state because Fillmore received 10.5% of the vote which hurt Buchanan. However, Buchanan won California with 48.4% of the vote, Illinois with 44.0% of the vote, and New Jersey with 47.2% of the vote because Fillmore won 32.8% of the vote in California, 15.7% in Illinois and 24.3% in New Jersey, thus hurting Fremont in those states, proving that third parties can and do make a difference.

Real and divisive issues included the expansion of slavery, the bloodshed in Kansas, the validity of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and enforcement of the Fugitive Slave act of 1850. Democrats attacked the new Republican Party as “Black Republicans” saying they wanted to curtail or, worse yet, abolish slavery and involve free black people in American society, particularly by allowing inter-racial marriage which was a trumped-up charge. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass criticized the Republicans for failing to take a strong stand on behalf of black people. The Democratic governor of Virginia claimed that “If Fremont is elected, there will be a revolution.” Northern businessmen feared that the Republicans would have an adverse affect on the economy so they contributed large amounts of money to the Democrats.

“The Black Republicans must be, as they can be with justice, boldly assailed as disunionists, and this charge must be reiterated again and again.” ~ Democratic candidate James Buchanan

“Nothing is clearer in the history of our institutions than the design of the nation, in asserting its own independence and freedom, to avoid giving countenance to the Extension of Slavery. The influence of the small but compact and powerful class of men interested in Slavery, who command one section of the country and wield a vast political control as a consequence in the other, is now directed to turn back this impulse of the Revolution and reverse its principles.” ~ Republican candidate John C Fremont

“We Fremonters of this town have not one dollar where the Fillmoreans and Buchaneers have ten each.” ~ New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley

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Based upon the states carried by each candidate, in the Electoral College Buchanan received 174 electoral votes, Fremont received 114 electoral votes, and Fillmore received 8 electoral votes. In Congressional races, the Democrats won 50 additional seats in the Hose of Representatives while the Republicans gained 7 additional seats in the Senate. This would be the last presidential election the Democrats will win until 1884.

The Election of 1852

Woman making American Flag

Election day took place on Tuesday, November 2, 1852. The Democrat Franklin Pierce won the presidency, beating the Whig candidate Winfield Scott and Free Soil candidate John Hale. There were 4,539,713 people registered to vote, accounting for only 18.2% of the total population. Women could not vote, thus excluding almost half of the population. Male slaves and the majority of free black men were also excluded as were most all Native Americans. Many states also required a man to own property in order to register to vote. Of the men eligible to vote, about 69.6% actually did so.

Winfield Scott received 1,386,942 votes, 43.9% of those cast. However, he carried only Kentucky, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Vermont.

Franklin Pierce received 1,607,510 votes, 50.8% of those cast. He carried the 27 other states but by narrow margins in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. In Ohio he won by only 47.8% of the votes because the Free Soil Party with its anti-slavery platform won 9.0% of the vote, thereby costing Scott the state and its 23 votes in the Electoral College.

John Hale received 155,799 votes. The Free Soil Party did well in Massachusetts (22.2% of the vote), Vermont (19.6%), Wisconsin (13.6%) and New Hampshire (13.0%) with a respectable showing in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island (all Northern states).

Several smaller third parties won a combined total of 11,480 votes.

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The Democrats called Winfield Scott “Fuss ‘n Feathers,” a prima donna with a penchant for fancy uniforms resulting in a “Reign of Epaulets” and described him as “weak, conceited, foolish, a blustering disciple of gunpowder” and hostile to immigrants.

The Whigs labeled Franklin Pierce “the Fainting General” [like Scott he had commanded troops in war against Mexico, 1846 to 48]. They posed the question “Who is Franklin Pierce?” to suggest he was an unknown with not proven track record of political service. They attacked the Democratic Party as “the do-nothing school of politicians” who were not interested in American free workers, concerned first and foremost with the propertied interests of the South.

Real issues concerned the Compromise of 1850 and enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. These matters in particular helped to make this the last election in which the Whig Party participated as it floundered and dissolved with Southern Whigs joining the pro-slavery Democratic Party and Northern Whigs either joining a third party movement or, like Attorney Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, joining the new Republican Party.

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The publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 2 volume book form in March of the year added fuel to the fiery debate about slavery. Also the year saw the death of two major political figures– Henry Clay of Kentucky on June 29th and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts on October 24th, nine days before the election.

Based on the states carried, Pierce received 254 votes in the Electoral College while Scott received only 42. Additionally, the Democrats won 3 additional seats in the Senate and an additional 19 in the House of Representatives.

The fate of the Whig Party in 1852 and the four following years causes me to wonder if this year and the next four will see a similar dissolution of the Republican Party. Could it be that the current Republican candidate has headed the party of Lincoln into a train wreck?

September ~ Election Year 1860

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Republican candidate Lincoln and his supporters increase campaign activities. Slavery remains a key issue with many abolitionists not yet supportive of the Republican cause. The Prince of Wales is touring the United States, a contact with Great Britain which will be of increasing significance in the next four years. Italy moves to unification. The American mercenary Walker is tried and executed.

September 1– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “The point you press– the importance of thorough organization– is felt, and appreciated by our friends everywhere. And yet it involves so much more of dry, and irksome labor, that most of them shrink from it– preferring parades, and shows, and monster meetings. I know not how this can be helped. I do what I can in my position, for organization; but it does not amount to so much as it should.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Wilson.

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September 2– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Roman Catholic churches here raise money to send to Pope Pius IX who is seen as in trouble from Garibaldi and the movement for Italian unification.

September 3–Monday– Tinto River, Honduras– Pressed by a combined Honduran and British military force, William Walker surrenders to Commander Salmon of the Royal Navy. Salmon reports that Walker does so unconditionally.

September 4–Tuesday– Detroit, Michigan–Speaking to a large gathering at a railroad yard, Senator William Seward gives an energetic speech supporting Lincoln and other Republicans.

September 4– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois–”Yours of the 29th is received; and I presume I understand what has prompted you to write it. In 1832 I was first a candidate for the Legislature, with some ten or a dozen other candidates. Peter Cartwright, and three others were elected, of whom I was not one. In 1834 he, and I, and several others, again become candidates; he declined before the election, I saw the race through, and, with three others, was elected. In 1835 he became a candidate to fill a vacancy in the State Senate, and his sole competitor, Job Fletcher, beat him by near six hundred majority. In 1836, 1838, & 1840, I was successively elected to the Legislature– he not being a candidate at either of those elections. I then ceased to be a candidate for anything till 1846, when I ran for Congress. Mr. Cartwright was my competitor, and I beat him, as I recollect 1511 majority, being about double the party majority of the District. I was never a candidate for congress at any other time, and never had any contest with Mr. Cartwright other than as I have stated.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to John Coulter.

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September 5– Wednesday– Jersey City, New Jersey– New Jersey Republicans held a massive evening meeting. After a torch-lit parade, Senator John Ten Eyck speaks, warning all party members to be watchful of Democratic attempts at electoral fraud. Governor William Pennington urges everyone to work to make sure of a Republican victory in November. Newspaper reports put the crowd at more than 6,000 people, the largest such gathering on record up to that time.

September 6–Thursday– Cedarville, Illinois– Birth of Jane Addams, social worker, peace activist, author, lecturer, advocate for immigrants, suffrage activist, first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1931, a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and a reformer. [Dies May 21, 1935.]

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Jane Addams

 

September 6–Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– Senator Douglas speaks for two hours to a large crowd of his supporters. He attacks Breckinridge, saying that without Breckinridge’s interference, he could readily beat Lincoln in every state with the exception of Vermont and Massachusetts.

September 6– Thursday– Sacramento, California– With the state Democratic Party irrevocably split, the Douglas loyalists, claiming to be the true Democratic Party, close their two day convention, endorsing the Douglas ticket and the national platform passed in Baltimore. They also strongly condemn the withdrawals at the national conventions which resulted in the alternative nomination of Breckinridge.

September 7–Friday–Boston, Massachusetts–Garrison pokes fun at the Democrats and President Buchanan in the current issue of The Liberator. Under the headline “Lost: One Cent Reward,” he describes the Democratic Party as lost on the road between Charleston and Baltimore and last seen running after a fugitive slave. “The stock in trade being hopelessly lost, the above reward will be paid by James Buchanan, Caleb Cushing, Benjamin D. Butler, Assignees.”

September 7–Friday– Greenwhich, New York– Birth of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, who will become known as the painter “Grandma Moses.” [Dies December 13, 1961.]

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Anna Robertson Moses as a child

 

September 7–Friday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania–Hard on the campaign trail, Senator Douglas arrives here by rail from Baltimore. On the way, he stopped at York, Pennsylvania where he spoke to 3000 people. Here he meets with Democratic leaders and gives a speech in the evening to a crowd of several thousand.

September 8– Saturday– Trujillo, Honduras–In negotiations with Honduran military and political leaders, Commander Salmon surrenders William Walker to them in return for safe passage home for the other American mercenaries.

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William Walker, mercenary

 

September 8–Saturday– New York City–Today’s Herald quotes William H Seward’s recent speech in Lansing, Michigan in which he said, “I favor . . . the decrease and diminution of African slavery in all the states.”

September 10– Monday– Augusta, Maine– In a heavy voter turn-out, Republicans win all state offices with significant majorities. Israel Washburn, Jr, age 47 and a founder of the Republican Party in the state, is easily elected as governor, beating Democrat Ephraim K Smart, age 47.

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September 11– Tuesday– Albany, New York– As many as 4,000 men parade in support of the Republican ticket.

September 12– Wednesday– Trujillo, Honduras–Authorities court-martial William Walker and execute him by firing squad. Walker is 36 years old.

September 13–Thursday– Laclede, Missouri–Birth of John J Pershing, who will have an important career in the U S Army, including command of American forces in France during 1917 and 1918. [Dies July 15, 1948.]

September 13–Thursday– Fort Worth, Texas–A white mob breaks into the jail and lynches Anthony Bewley, a fifty-six year old white Methodist preacher accused of violent abolitionism and inciting slave insurrection.

September 14–Friday– Upstate New York–Traveling with his wife, Senator Douglas speaks in five towns in the region.

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September 14– Friday– New York City– “I don’t know clearly on which side to count myself in. I’ve a leaning toward the Republicans. But I shall be sorry to see Seward and Thurlow Weed with their profligate lobby men promoted from Albany to Washington. I do not like the tone of the Republican papers and party in regard to the John Brown business of last fall, and I do not think rail-splitting in early life a guarantee of fitness for the presidency. . . . But I can’t support . . . Douglas, the little giant, for I hold the little giant to be a mere demagogue. As to Breckenridge, the ultra Southern candidate, I renounce and abhor him and his party. He represents the most cruel, blind, unreasoning, cowardly absolute despotism that now disgraces the earth.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 14– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Prince of Wales and the Colored People of Canada– An address of welcome and congratulation was presented to the Prince of Wales by the colored citizens, on His Royal Highness’s arrival in Montreal. At a recent meeting of the colored people of Toronto, the following resolutions were moved and unanimously adopted: Resolved, That appreciating, as we do, the visit of the Prince of Wales to this and other parts of the British dominions, we do with all loyalty to our Severing Lady the Queen, as a free people, escaped from slavery, deem it our duty to appoint a committee to wait upon His Royal Highness, and present him with a suitable address, such as would be creditable to ourselves and those connected with us at large. Resolved, That as freemen we are willing to show all classes in this noble Province, that we will not be behind them in coming forward to show our Queen’s Representative, the Prince of Wales, all the loyalty we can bestow. Resolved, That if her Majesty the Queen, from invasion, or rebellion, or otherwise, should require the services of the colored inhabitants of the British Provinces, we will be ready to assist, with our fellow inhabitants, in maintaining the integrity of the Mother Country both at home and abroad.” ~ The Liberator

September 15– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– The Army Corps of Engineers begins repairs on Fort Sumter.

September 17– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Democrats hold a large rally

September 18–Tuesday– Rochester, New York–After his well-attended speech, Senator Douglas is honored at night by torch-light parade through the downtown.

September 20– Thursday– Detroit, Michigan–The mayor of the city and the governor of Michigan greet the Prince of Wales as he arrives from Windsor, Ontario, to begin his historic visit to the United States.

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September 20– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “Yours of the 17th is just received. Here, in Illinois, we are precisely in the condition you seem to understand– safe, as we think, on the National and State tickets, but in danger as to the Legislature. How the National committee can do anything in the premises I do not quite understand; tho, on this point I would refer to Mr. Judd. I shall confer with some friends, and write you again soon– saying no more now that, in my opinion, no one thing will do us so much good in Illinois, as the carrying of Indiana at the October election. The whole surplus energy of the party throughout the nation, should be bent upon that object up to the close of that election. I should say the same of Pennsylvania, were it not that our assurances seem so abundant of Curtin’s election there. If I might advise, I would say, bend all your energies upon Indiana now.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to E D Morgan, Republican National Chairman.

September 21–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today The Liberator reports on the activities of the abolitionist activist William Wells Brown, himself an escaped slave who has been in Vermont for four weeks. He comments that he finds the most illiterate and ignorant people in the Democratic party. He tells of a series meetings in a number of towns In one place he could not find a hotel in which he could stay. “Still, there are many warm hearts in the Green Mountain State, who are anxious to have the American Anti-Slavery Society send in an agent or two, to lecture in all the towns. Vermont is certainly a good field for missionary labor.”

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September 22– Saturday– Dwight Station, Illinois–The Prince of Wales begins four days of rest and quiet on the farm of Charles Spencer, one of the town’s founders.

September 23–Sunday– St Joseph, Missouri–Senator William Seward encourages a crowd of 2000 people to support Lincoln.

September 25–Tuesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Cora with a cargo of 705 slaves.

September 26–Wednesday– Lawrence, Kansas– Senator Seward receives a hero’s welcome in this center of free soil Kansas. Several thousand people listen attentively to his rousing speech recounting the efforts Kansas is making to reject slavery and enter the Union as a free state. When he asks them to vote for the Republican ticket his audience claps and cheers.

September 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “If . . . the Republican party shall succeed in getting the rein of government into its own hands, and preserving the Territories absolutely and beyond a peradventure from the designs of the Slave Power, it will do no slight service to the cause of freedom; and to that extent, and for that reason, it has our sympathies and best wishes as against its three antagonistically and thoroughly pro-slavery rivals. If this is our view of the present political struggle, it may be asked why we do not espouse the Republican party, and urge abolitionists to vote for its candidates. Our answer is, that the greater includes the less, and the immediate abolition of slavery is a matter of incomparably greater concern than an effort simply to prevent its extension; that ‘an ounce of remedy is worth a pound of cure’; that the slave-holding guarantees of the Constitution are such as morally to vitiate that instrument, and no party can be justified on any presence in swearing to uphold it; that the North ought to take disunion ground at once, in order to clear her skirts of blood-guiltiness, instead of remaining an accomplice in slaveholding where it now exist at the South; that the result of such disunion must inevitably and speedily be the extinction of the slave system universally; and that to make no compromise with oppressors is to do the highest service to all classes and all interest in the land. It is not necessary for us to elucidate these points in this connection, as it is our constant aim to show that upon the Northern banner should be inscribed the motto, ‘No Union with Slaveholders!’and the battle carried to the gate.” ~ The Liberator

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William Lloyd Garrison

 

September 29– Saturday– Cleveland, Ohio– “A call is issued for a meeting of the Bell-Everett party in this city, the alleged object of the meeting being the establishment of a Bell-Everett Club. We warn such of the old Whigs as may be inclined to favor the Bell movement, that such a ‘Club’ will be used for no other purpose than to dash out their own brains. In Ohio, as in other Northern States, the real object of the wire-workers in the Bell-Everett movement is the election of Douglas. The men who are controlling the movement are Douglas men, open or disguised. Some of them make no scruple of avowing their only intention to be the distraction of the Republican party, and the election of Douglas. They are to be found on the platform at Douglas meetings, and are in the counsels of the Douglas leaders, and are aided and abetted in their efforts by Douglas presses. We cannot believe that any of the gallant band of old Whigs will allow themselves to be humbugged in this manner. The men who at the name of Henry Clay felt their blood stirred as at a trumpet call to action, will never act as the allies of the man who stigmatized their pure and patriotic leader as a ‘black hearted traitor.’ That Henry Clay Whig, who, by diverting a vote from Abraham Lincoln, the warm friend of Henry Clay, aids the election of Stephen A. Douglas, his bitter enemy, assents to the villainous abuse which that arch-demagogue heaped on the Sage of Ashland.” ~ The Cleveland Herald.

September ~ Election Year 1856

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Perhaps with an eye on advancement within the party, Lincoln works quite actively for the the Republican ticket. Radical abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison find no satisfaction with the Republicans or the Democrats or the Whigs, calling for the total and immediate end of slavery. Some fear dissolution of the country by Southern secession.

September 4– Thursday– Atlanta, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech in support of Fremont to a large crowd.

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September 5– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “If those who are so anxious to know what is our position in regard to the approaching presidential election would but consult a single number of The Liberator,(or, better still, subscribe for the paper for a limited period,) they would need no letters from us to enlighten them in the manner solicited. Our Meadville correspondent is confident that our views are much misrepresented, and he is right in his belief. By pseudo-Democratic journals, we are charged with advocating the election of Fremont; and by the Republican organs, we are held up as the partisans of Buchanan! The falsehood and dishonesty of such representations are well understood by those who put them in circulation. For more than a dozen years, we have uniformly reprobated all political action under the Constitution of the United States, and at all times branded that instrument as ‘a covenant with death and an agreement with hell,’—strenuously and solemnly urging upon the people of the North the duty of dissolving this blood-stained union, by the highest moral and religious considerations,—and, therefore, beseeching every true friend of freedom to stand outside of the government, and labor for its overthrow—thus nobly acting upon the doctrine and advice of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, that ‘when any form of government becomes destructive,’ of the ‘inalienable rights’ set forth in that document, ‘it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,’ and ‘to provide new guards for their future security.’ Of course, entertaining such sentiments and avocation such a procedure as the test of fidelity to the cause of the oppressed, we are neither for Fremont, nor Buchanan, nor Fillmore, nor any other person to fill the Presidential chair, but for DISUNION as the great and first duty to be performed—as the only issue which can prevail against the Slave Power, and give liberty to the millions in bondage.” ~ William Lloyd Garrison’s editorial in today’s issue of The Liberator.

September 6– Saturday– Jacksonville, Illinois– Lincoln delivers a speech urging support for Fremont and encouraging anti-slavery Democrats not to vote for Buchanan but to support Fremont.

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Lawyer Lincoln

 

September 8– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– “I understand you are a Fillmore man. Let me prove to you that every vote withheld from Fremont, and given to Fillmore, in this state, actually lessens Fillmore’s chance of being President. Suppose Buchanan gets all the slave states, and Pennsylvania, and any other one state besides; then he is elected, no matter who gets all the rest. But suppose Fillmore gets the two slave states of Maryland and Kentucky; then Buchanan is not elected; Fillmore goes into the House of Representatives, and may be made President by a compromise. But suppose again Fillmore’s friends throw away a few thousand votes on him, in Indiana and Illinois, it will inevitably give these states to Buchanan, which will more than compensate him for the loss of Maryland and Kentucky; will elect him, and leave Fillmore no chance in the House of Representatives or out of it. This is as plain as the adding up of the weights of three small hogs. As Mr. Fillmore has no possible chance to carry Illinois for himself, it is plainly his interest to let Fremont take it, and thus keep it out of the hands of Buchanan. Be not deceived. Buchanan is the hard horse to beat in this race. Let him have Illinois, and nothing can beat him; and he will get Illinois, if men persist in throwing away votes upon Mr. Fillmore. Does some one persuade, you that Mr. Fillmore can carry Illinois? Nonsense! There are over seventy newspapers in Illinois opposing Buchanan, only three or four of which support Mr. Fillmore, all the rest going for Fremont. Are not these newspapers a fair index of the proportion of the voters. If not, tell me why. Again, of these three or four Fillmore newspapers, two at least, are supported, in part, by the Buchanan men, as I understand. Do not they know where the shoe pinches? They know the Fillmore movement helps them, and therefore they help it. Do think these things over, and then act according to your judgment.” ~ Form letter from Abraham Lincoln sent to Fillmore supporters.

September 10– Wednesday– New York City– “It’s said a Fremont electoral ticket will be run in several Southern states, including Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. It probably won’t be permitted by the oligarchy of little barbarous princes to which the white trash of the South is subject.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

September 11– Thursday– New York City– “Long discourse with Walter Cutting . . . [who] considers that the South will secede if Fremont’s elected. Which the South won’t, as long as Southern gentlemen can make a little money going to Congress.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 12– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Every Presidential campaign is a time of temptation and peril to these who are sincerely laboring for the abolition of slavery is our land; because there is always same difference in the candidates put in nomination, and in the position of the rival parties, touching the great question at large; and it is scarcely possible to see such a struggle, without wishing success to one side, and hoping for the defect of the other. Where the lines are broadly drawn—where a geographical conflict in going on, (made so by the Slave Power itself in its effort to extend its domains indefinitely,)—as at the present time, the temptation to join the party which is struggling for the right, and to achieve a most desirable victory, become irresistible to many, whose abhorrence of slavery cannot be doubted, but whose moral philosophy is to some extent defective, or who are unable to take broad and comprehensive views of the whole subject, or who are impelled by their feeling rather then by a clear perception of duty. As against Buchanan and Fillmore, it seems to us, the sympathies and best wishes of every enlightened friend of freedom must be on the side of Fremont; so that if there were no moral barrier to our voting, and we had a million votes to bestow, we should cast them all for the Republican candidate. We hail the results of the resent selections in Iowa, Vermont and Mains as cheering proofs of a growing change in public sentiment at the North, favorable to the cause of freedom generally; and so they will be regarded by the slave oligarchy, to a man. Justly open to censure as the Republican party is, on other grounds, it is deserving of commendation for endeavoring to baffle the designs of the Slave Power in regard to our vast territorial possessions at the West. One step in the right direction is better then inaction; how much better than twenty steps (as taken by the Democratic party) in the opposite direction! Nevertheless, it seems as clear to as now, as it did ten years ago, that the best service that can be rendered to the millions who are in bondage at the South—to the territories which are yet to be inhabited—to the cause of freedom every where; nay, that the highest duty that can be performed with references to the present and the future,—is to refuse to continue in alliance with the slaveholding South, and to trample in the dust the iniquitous compact made by our fathers. Indeed, we see so other alternative left to us.” ~ The Liberator.

September 13– Saturday– Cambridge, Massachusetts– Birth of Maria Louise Baldwin, African American educator, lecturer and civic leader. [Dies January 9, 1922.]

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Maria Louise Baldwin

 

September 14– Sunday– Springfield, Illinois– “Your much valued letter of the 7th is received. Could you not be with us here on the 25th of this month, when we expect to have a large mass-meeting? We cannot dispense with your services in this contest; and we ought, in a pecuniary way, to give you some relief in the difficulty of having your house burnt.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to Frederick Hecker. [Hecker, 1811– 1881, was a leader of the 1848 Revolution in Germany who fled to the United States after the revolution failed. At this time he is active in the Republican Party, encouraging German immigrants to vote for Fremont and to stand against slavery.]

September 17– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig Party National Convention opens and adopts a platform. “Resolved, That the Whigs of the United States are assembled here by reverence for the Constitution, and unalterable attachment to the National Union, and a fixed determination to do all in their power to preserve it for themselves and posterity. They have no new principles to announce—no new platform to establish, but are content broadly to rest where their fathers have rested upon the Constitution of the United States, wishing no safer guide, no higher law. Resolved, That we regard with the deepest anxiety the present disordered condition of our national affairs. A portion of the country being ravaged by civil war and large sections of our population embittered by mutual recriminations, and we distinctly trace these calamities to the culpable neglect of duty by the present National Administration. Resolved, That the Government of these United States was formed by the conjunction in political unity of widespread geographical sections, materially differing not only in climate and products, but in their social and domestic institutions, and that any cause that shall permanently array these sections in political hostility and organized parties, founded only on geographical distinctions must inevitably prove fatal to the continuance of the National Union. Resolved, That the Whigs of the United States have declared as a fundamental article of their political faith, the absolute necessity for avoiding geographical parties; that the danger so clearly discerned by the “Father of his Country,” founded on geographical distinction, has now become fearfully apparent in the agitation convulsing the nation, which must be arrested at once if we would preserve our Constitutional Union from dismemberment, and the name of America from being blotted out from the family of civilized nations. Resolved, That all who revere the Constitution and Union, must look with alarm at the parties in the field in the present Presidential campaign—one claiming only to represent sixteen Northern States, and the other appealing to the passions and prejudices of the Southern States—that the success of either faction must add fuel to the flame which now threatens to wrap our dearest interest in a common ruin. Resolved, That the only remedy for an evil so appalling is to support the candidate pledged to neither geographical section nor arrayed in political antagonism, but holding both in just and equal regard; that we congratulate the friends of the Union that such a candidate exists in Millard Fillmore. Resolved, That, without adopting or referring to the peculiar principles of the party which has already selected Millard Fillmore as their candidate, we look to him as a well-tried and faithful friend of the Constitution and the Union, eminent alike for his wisdom and firmness, for his justice and moderation in foreign relations, for his calm and pacific temperament, well becoming a great and enlightened Government. For his devotion to the Constitution in its true spirit, and his inflexibility in executing the laws; but, beyond all these attributes, of being representative of neither of the two sectional parties now struggling for political supremacy. Resolved, That in the present exigency of political affairs, we are not called upon to discuss subordinate questions of administration in exercising the Constitutional powers of government. It is enough to know that civil war is raging, and the Union is in peril; and proclaim a conviction that the restoration of the Fillmore Presidency will furnish the best if not the only means of restoring peace.”

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September 19– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “But the hour is coming when the strongest will not be strong enough. A harder task will the new revolution of the nineteenth century be, than was the revolution of the eighteenth century. I think the American Revolution bought its glory cheap. If the problem was new, it was simple. If there were few people, they were united, and the enemy3000 miles off. But now, vast property, gigantic interests, family connections, webs of party, cover the land with a net-work that immensely multiples the dangers of war. Fellow citizens, in these times full of the fate of the Republic, I think the towns should hold town meetings, and resolve themselves into Committees of Safety, go into permanent sessions, adjourning from week to week, from month to month. I wish we would send the Sergeant-at-Arms to stop every American who is about to leave the country. Send home every one who is abroad, lest he should find no country to return to. Come home and stay at home, while there is a country to save. When it is lost, it will be time enough then for any who are luckless enough to remain alive, to gather up their clothes and depart to some land where freedom exists.” ~ Speech by Ralph Waldo Emerson given ten days ago and reprinted in today’s issue of The Liberator.

September 21– Sunday– New York City– “The pestilent little state of South Carolina, mad with metaphysics and self-conceit, gasconading itself day by day into greater wrath and keener sense of imaginary wrong, means to secede if the North elect Fremont. . . . If it stand alone, it is easily dealt with; a couple of frigates can blockade its ports, and it will be starved into submission in about two weeks, being as poor and weak as it is insolent and irrational. But should it find aid and comfort from the sympathy of other slave states, which is not an improbable thing, if it put itself forward as champion of ‘Southern rights,’ the situation becomes a grave one and admits of but two probable solutions: a long and fierce civil war, or, what’s worse, dissolution of the Union.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 25– Thursday– New York City– “Politics engross everybody’s thoughts and talk, more and more daily.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 27– Saturday– New York City– “Nothing fresh in politics. George Cornell counts on 50,000 majority for Fremont in the state, allowing 10,000 majority the other way in this city. Dubious.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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September 28– Sunday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Kate Smith Wiggin, author, educator and advocate of kindergarten education. [Dies August 24, 1923.]

September 30– Tuesday– New York City– “I don’t count on success in this election, but I think it’s time now for everybody at the North to aid, as far as he can, any decent party that aims at putting down the aggressions and assumptions of our Southern friends, and try to bring them to reason.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September ~ Election Year 1852

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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.

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.

July ~ Election Year 1860

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The democratic Party splinters while the new Republican Party makes gains in the North Slavery remains a divisive issue. Tensions mount in Europe as Italian unification moves ahead.

July 2–Monday– New York City– Democrats gather in a mass gathering at Tammany Hall to overwhelmingly endorse Senator Stephen A Douglas as the single Democratic presidential candidate. A considerable number of speakers emphasize the importance of rejecting Breckinridge and the South in favor of Union. The crowd moves to Senator Douglas’ hotel on Fifth Avenue to shout their support. In response Douglas comes out on the hotel balcony and gives brief remarks.

July 2– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The state Democratic Executive Committee meets at the Merchants’ Hotel in an attempt to work out a compromise over the split in the Democratic ticket. A motion to name Stephen Douglas as the sole nominee loses heavily.

July 3– Tuesday– Hartford, Connecticut–Birth of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, sociologist, feminist, author, lecturer, social reformer and one of the founders of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915. [Dies August 17, 1935.]

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Charlotte Perkins  Gilman

 

July 4–Wednesday– Columbus, Ohio– The Democratic State Convention meets in Columbus and when a slim majority vote to endorse the Douglas-Johnson ticket, a significant number of Breckinridge supporters immediately withdraw. They gather in another location and issue a call for another state-wide nominating convention to be held in August.

July 4– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “Long before this you have learned who was nominated at Chicago. We know not what a day may bring forth; but, to-day, it looks as if the Chicago ticket will be elected. I think the chances were more than equal that we could have beaten the Democracy united. Divided, as it is, it’s chance appears indeed very slim. But great is Democracy in resources; and it may yet give it’s fortunes a turn. It is under great temptation to do something; but what can it do which was not thought of, and found impracticable, at Charleston and Baltimore?. The signs now are that Douglas and Breckenridge will each have a ticket in every state. They are driven to this to keep up their bombastic claims of nationality, and to avoid the charge of sectionalism which they have so much lavished upon us. It is an amusing fact, after all Douglas has said about nationality, and sectionalism, that I had more votes from the Southern section at Chicago, than he had at Baltimore! In fact, there was more of the Southern section represented at Chicago, than in the Douglas rump concern at Baltimore!” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Anson G. Henry.

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July 5– Thursday– Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts– Birth of Robert Bacon, statesman and diplomat. [Dies May 29, 1919.]

July 5–Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland–Roman Catholic Archbishop Francis Kenrick of Baltimore writes a letter to Pope Pius IX expressing the support of Maryland Catholics for the Pontiff in the trying times he faces from Garibaldi and the rise of Italian unification.

July 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is a high and noble principle of jurisprudence, that immoral contracts and unrighteous law are null and void. Anything in the Constitution of the United States, which contradicts the spirit of its Preamble, is, in the sight of God and of good men, of no account at all. No matter whether our fathers swerved from the right or not, we are under no moral nor legal obligation to mind the pro-slavery parts of the Constitution. The question of their strength of character, or their weakness, is comparatively an unprofitable one. The main thing is for us to be Abolitionists, constitutionally or unconstitutionally. Mr. Sumner, with his large and clear sight of what the Constitution ought to be, can see no pro-slavery provisions in it—no fugitive slave clause—no three-fifths representation for slavery—and no sufferance of the slave trade for twenty years. Charles Francis Adams does see the three-fifth rule, and trembles at its application! But both are Abolitionists. Both think more of liberty then of the Union. Both are fear-lees and eloquent Anti-Slavery men. By position, they may be partakers with barbarians and adulterers, but not by character. They are uncompromising men. They are Garrisonian in spirit and truth, because they prize justice more highly than compromises.” ~ Piece by WGB in today’s Liberator.

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July 6–Friday– New York City–Recognizing the problems of his party, Fernando Wood, the Democratic mayor proposes in a public letter that the splintered Democrats vote strategically in the upcoming presidential election in order to defeat Lincoln and the Republicans. In states where Douglas is most popular, Democrats should vote for Douglas, and where Breckinridge is favored, Democrats should vote for Breckinridge. The result, he argues, will send the election from the Electoral College into the House of Representatives as in 1824 and a Democratic candidate will be selected.

July 9–Monday– Washington, D. C.– A massive Democratic crowd this evening gathers outside city hall in support of the Breckinridge and Lane ticket. They listen to a number of senators, including Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, urge their support. Then they move to the White House where President Buchanan appears and speaks. While acknowledging the split in the Democratic Party, he gives the reasons why he prefers Breckinridge over Douglas.

July 9–Monday– Damascus, Syria–The violent conflict between Druze and Christians which has flared all over Lebanon since late May now spreads here. With the suspected collusion of Turkish authorities, Druze and Muslim militants between today and Wednesday the 11th, kill somewhere between 7,000 to 11,000 Christian men, women, and children, including the American and Dutch consuls and a number of other Europeans. Many Christians are saved through the intervention of the Muslim leader Abd al-Qadir, an Algerian exile, and his soldiers, who bring them to safety in Abd al-Qadir’s own residence and in the Citadel of Damascus. The Christian inhabitants of the extremely poor Midan district outside the city walls are protected by their Muslim neighbors.

July 10—Tuesday– Alexandria, Louisiana–Serving as the first superintendent of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy, Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman writes to his wife Ellen in Ohio about the upcoming election. He opines that whoever is elected in November “the same old game will be played, and he will go out of office like Pierce and Buchanan with their former honors sunk and lost.”

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July 11–Wednesday– New York City– At a mass meeting of Republican young men at the Cooper Institute Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gives a fiery speech attacking slavery. Vehemently he declares that if the institution could be driven back into the slave states and kept out of the western territories then the slave system will die “as a poisoned rat dies of rage in its hole.” He calls for a Republican victory in the November election to make this happen.

July 11–Wednesday– Plymouth, England– The Prince of Wales aboard the H.M.S. Hero, accompanied by H.M.S. Ariadne, sets sail on his North American tour as he receives the salute of the Royal Navy’s Channel Fleet.

July 11–Wednesday– London, England–In response to protests from non-conformist church members and clergy across the country about the government’s plans to require those being counted to identify their religious affiliation in the upcoming 1861 census, the Liberal Government in Parliament removes that requirement from the Census Bill.

July 13–Friday– New York–Mr James Putnam, a prominent American Party [the name used by “the Know-Nothing” anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant party in the last six years] politician in the state, issues a letter state wide, endorsing Lincoln for president. Putnam asserts that Republicans are not abolitionists and Lincoln is “no fanatic” on matters of racial equality.

July 14– Saturday– New York City– “The Great Quadrangular Presidential Imbroglio is in full operation. The four chief tickets, resolving themselves into the National Democratic Nomination of Douglas, the Administration Buchananite Mormon Ticket represented by Breckenridge, the Republican Rail-Splitting one of Abe Lincoln, and at of the steady old fossil Bell. It seems to be pretty generally conceded that Douglas will carry New York and Pennsylvania, and Lincoln Ohio, thus sending election to the House and possibly to the Senate. We will not, however, forestall popular curiosity, but leave the public in doubt till November. The press is in a delicious state of doubt, dismay and don’t-know-what-to-do-ism.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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July 16–Monday– Off the coast of west Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Triton.

July 16–Monday– New York City–Two thousand people gather in Union Park for an evening pro-Lincoln rally. Horace Greeley speaks at length, seeking the support of Whig Party and American Party voters for the Republican ticket.

July 16– Monday– Hartford, Connecticut– Senator Douglas arrives to an enthusiastic reception from a large crowd. In his speech, he asserts that he is the voice of reason in the campaign, standing in the center between two extremes, and that the “regular” Democratic Party is the only party that can save the country.

July 17–Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– Senator Douglas arrives to the welcome of a large crowd who parade him through the streets to his hotel where he gives a speech in the evening.

July 18– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “It appears to me that you and I ought to be acquainted, and accordingly I write this as a sort of introduction of myself to you. You first entered the Senate during the single term I was a member of the House of Representatives, but I have no recollection that we were introduced. I shall be pleased to receive a line from you. The prospect of Republican success now appears very flattering, so far as I can perceive. Do you see anything to the contrary?” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Hannibal Hamlin, the nominee for Vice-President. [Hamlin, age 51, a native of Maine, is a lawyer and politician who has served ten years in the Senate and a man with strong anti-slavery feelings.]

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Hannibal Hamlin

 

July 20– Friday– Springfield, Illinois– “I see by the papers, and also learn from Mr. Nicolay, who saw you at Terre-Haute, that you are filling a list of speaking appointments in Indiana. I sincerely thank you for this; and I shall be still further obliged if you will, at the close of the tour, drop me a line, giving your impression of our prospects in that state. Still more will you oblige us if you will allow us to make a list of appointments in our State, commencing, say, at Marshall, in Clark county, and thence South and West, along our Wabash and Ohio river border. In passing, let me say, that at Rockport you will be in the county within which I was brought up from my eighth year– having left Kentucky at that point of my life.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Cassius Marcellus Clay. [Clay, 1810–1903, Kentucky-born, was a politician, journalist and abolitionist. A quixotic man, he will serve as Lincoln’s ambassador to Russia. On his life and work, see: Lion of White Hall: the Life of Cassius M Clay (1962) by David L Smiley; Cassius Marcellus Clay: Firebrand of Freedom (1976) by H Edward Richardson; The Last Gladiator: Cassius M Clay (1979) by Roberta Baughman Carlee.]

July 20–Friday– Sicily– The forces of Giuseppe Garibaldi defeat royal Neapolitan forces near Messina; nearly all of the island is now under Garibaldi’s control.

Garibaldi departing on the Expedition of the Thousand in 1860

Garibaldi & his soldiers

 

July 21– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “That I never was in a Know-Nothing lodge in Quincy [Illinois], I should expect, could be easily proved, by respectable men, who were always in the lodges and never saw me there. An affidavit of one or two such would put the matter at rest. And now, a word of caution. Our adversaries think they can gain a point, if they could force me to openly deny this charge, by which some degree of offence would be given to the Americans. For this reason, it must not publicly appear that I am paying any attention to the charge.” ~ In a letter to Abraham Jonas, Lincoln responds cautiously to charges that he was previously involved with the American or Know Nothing Party.

July 22– Sunday– Ballynunnery, Ireland– Birth of Johanna Butler, a/k/a Mother Marie Joseph Butler, educator, founder of schools in Europe and the United States, and head of an order of Roman Catholic nuns from 1926 to 1940. [Dies April 23, 1940.]

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Mother Marie Joseph Butler

 

July 23– Monday– Springfield, Illinois–”From present appearances we might succeed in the general result, without Indiana; but with it, failure is scarcely possible. Therefore put in your best efforts. I see by the despatches that Mr. Clay had a rousing meeting at Vincennes [Indiana].” ~ Letter from Lincoln to Caleb B Smith

July 23–Monday– Off the coast of Cuba–In international waters a U S warship captures the slaver William Kirby.

July 23– Monday– St. John’s, Newfoundland–Early this evening the H.M.S. Hero, a 91 gun warship in the Royal Navy, arrives from Plymouth, England and drops anchor. On board is the Prince of Wales beginning his tour of Canada and the United States.

July 25–Wednesday– Paris, France–With tensions in Europe increasing between France and Britain and France and Prussia, Emperor Napoleon III instructs his ambassador in London to relay to Her Majesty’s Government his wishes for peace in Europe and his assurances that France’s interests in the situation in Italy concerning the Papal States and the violence in Syria are solely attempts to preserve peace.

July 29–Sunday– Missouri– Carl Schurz, German “Forty-eighter” immigrant, is campaigning across the state on behalf of Lincoln. He is reaching out to fellow German-born voters by giving his speeches in their native language. He writes to his wife, “I have been in all respects highly successful. The Germans are coming to our side by hundreds and thousands.” [Schurz, 1829– 1906, was born in Germany and fled to the United States in 1852, having been a fugitive in France and in England after the failure of the 1848 revolutions. In the course of his life he is an orator, political activist, abolitionist, politician, U S minister to Spain, Union officer, senator from Missouri, civil rights advocate, Secretary of the Interior under President Rutherford B Hayes, journalist, author, anti-imperialist and advocate of civil service reform. On his life and work, see Carl Schurz and the Civil War (1933) by Barbara Donner; The Forty-eighters: Political Refugees of the German Revolution of 1848 (1950) edited by Adolf Eduard Zucker; Carl Schurz, a Biography (1998) by Hans L Trefousse.]

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July 30–Monday– Halifax, Nova Scotia– On the first leg of his North American tour, the Prince of Wales arrives. He is welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd.