Category Archives: Daily history

May~Election Year 1892

 

american-flag-pictures-8-622x415Former president Grover Cleveland seems close to the Democratic nomination in an effort to win another term. Although the incumbent Benjamin Harrison faces some opposition within the Republican party, he seems likely to be re-nominated. The conventions are scheduled for June, the Democratic in Chicago, the Republican in Minneapolis. Violence against black people in the South has some people concerned. With thousands of Civil War veterans from both sides still living, many, including President Harrison, take a conciliatory tone.

May 2– Monday– Liege, France– A bomb damages two wealthy homes but no one is killed or injured. Officials suspect socialists, communists or foreigners.

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Grover Cleveland

 

May 12– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times reports that with wins in three more Democratic state conventions, former president Grover Cleveland seems likely to be the Democratic candidate.

May 13– Friday– Ogdensburg, New York– Winning 49% of the vote, the Prohibition candidate wins the mayoral race against both a Democrat and a Republican.

May 13–Friday– Little Rock, Arkansas–While people lynch James Henry, a black man.

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a lynching in the South

 

May 14– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– Conservatives and moderates continue planning to restrict the involvement of Jews in political affairs.

May 15– Sunday– Orange, New Jersey– Carpenters and joiners plan to go on strike for the eight hour day.

May 16– Monday– New York City– A survey of opinions in Democratic newspapers published in today’s New York Times indicates that former president Grover Cleveland has strong support, particularly among workingmen and farmers.

May 17–Tuesday– Clarksville, Georgia–A white mob lynches three black men.

May 19–Thursday– Nigeria–As part of British efforts to expand control of trade in the interior area, British troops, armed with a Maxim gun, defeat Ijebu infantry at the battle of Yemoja River. Hundreds of Africans are killed.

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Maxim gun

 

May 21–Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “When you called upon me on the 13th day of May, just prior to my departure with Mrs. Harrison, I expressed myself somewhat fully to you orally upon the subject of the memorial which you submitted, and promised to respond in writing at the earliest practicable moment. Those who have read my public addresses and official papers must be aware of the fact that I have felt the reproach which lawlessness has brought upon some of our communities. I have endeavored to hold up the law as the one single admissible rule of conduct for good citizens. I have appealed against race discriminations as to civil rights and immunities, and have asked that law-abiding men of all creeds and all colors should unite to discourage and to suppress lawlessness. Lynchings are a reproach to any community; they impeach the adequacy of our institutions for the punishment of crime; they brutalize the participants and shame our Christian civilization. I have not time to explain to you the limitations of the Federal power further than to say that under the Constitution and laws I am, in a large measure, without the power to interfere for the prevention or punishment of these offenses. You will not need to be assured that the Department of Justice will let no case pass that is one of Federal jurisdiction without the most strenuous endeavors to bring the guilty persons to punishment. I will give the matter you have suggested the most serious consideration and you may be assured that my voice and help will be given to every effort to arouse the conscience of our people and to stimulate efficient efforts to reestablish the supremacy of the courts and public officers as the only proper agency for the detection arid punishment of crime and the only security of those who are falsely accused.” ~ Letter from President Benjamin Harrison to the Virginia State Baptist Convention on lawlessness in the Southern states.

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Benjamin Harrison

 

May 23– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Harrison announces his intention to seek another term.

May 24– London, England– Queen Victoria bestows the title of Duke of York upon her grandson Prince George of Wales, age 27, making him next in line to the throne after his father, Prince Edward. [George will ascend the throne after his father’s death in 1910 and will rule until his own death on January 20, 1936.]

May 28– Saturday– San Francisco, California– The naturalist and author John Muir, age 52, forms the Sierra Club to advocate for the conservation of nature.

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John Muir, circa 1902

 

May 30– Monday– Rochester, New York– “It took a great deal to separate the home-loving, peaceful people from their homes– these farmers and artisans and clerks and professional men. It must be a strong pull that could withdraw them from association that so closely bound their affections and their lives, but when the moment came and the dreaded war was present, with what magnificent self-denial, with what alacrity every family tie and every commercial interest were put beneath the supreme duty to save the nation and redeem the flag from dishonor. Out of this war we have brought a mutual respect that would not otherwise have been possible. Some of us fancied that the Southern people were given to vaporing– that each one of them was equal to five Northern soldiers. But the South learned that Paul Revere still rode the highways of Massachusetts, and that the man of Concord still plowed his fields. And we, on our part, learned that the spirit of the cavalier which was found in the Southern army was combined with the reserve and steadfastness of Cromwell’s Ironsides. We have found a plane of mutual respect, and I am glad of it; and not only this, but we have found a common country. I do not think– indeed, I am sure that no war ever waged in history before our civil war brought equal blessings to the victor and to the vanquished. No companies of weary, sad-eyed captives at the chariot wheel adorned our triumph and return. We brought into full participation in the glories of restored Union those who had mistakenly sought to destroy it. It gladdens my heart now to believe that the love of the old flag is so revived in these Southern hearts that they would vie with martial ardor to be in front of the charge if we should ever be called to meet a common enemy. Glorious victory and God-given and God-blessed peace! No yoke upon the defeated except that yoke which we wore, comrades, when we resumed our place as citizens– the obligation to obey the Constitution, and all laws made in pursuance of it, as the condition of peaceful citizenship.” ~ Address by President Benjamin Harrison at the dedication ceremony for the Union Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. [Harrison had served as an officer in the Union Army, commanding troops under General William Tecumseh Sherman in the drive to capture Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864. On Harrison’s life and legacy, see: Benjamin Harrison: Centennial President (2006) by Anne Chieko; Life and Public Services of Benjamin Harrison, Twenty-third President of the United States (1901) by James P Boyd.]

 

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Election Year 1892 ~ April

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There exist some tensions and rivalries in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Corporations increase in number and wealth. Women battling for their civil rights see little progress in the fight for the vote. Striking miners provide a foretaste of the labor struggles yet coming this year. Black people and Native Americans continue to be exploited. Germany is selling arms in Africa. Anarchists stir the pot as they can. And the incumbent president will replace a deceased Supreme Court justice in an election year without blind resistance from the opposition party.

April 1–Friday– Idaho–Mine owners across the state begin a lockout against 3,000 striking miners.

April 5–Tuesday– Lithonia, Georgia–A white mob lynches five black men.

April 7– Thursday– New York City– “Not all the men who were brought to the front in politics by the popular revolution of 1890 have justified the expectations of their supporters; some, indeed, who were elevated to important positions have proved miserable failures, and will very speedily be relegated to the obscurity out of which they were lifted. But there are some among the new men who were projected into Congress by that upheaval who have demonstrated genuine capacity, and are likely to impress themselves upon the legislation and policy of their time. Among these is Hon. William J. Bryan [1860–1925], of Nebraska, who was elected to Congress on the platform of tariff reform by a phenomenal majority in a strong Republican district, and has since attained, by a single speech, a commanding position in the House. Mr. Bryan, who is thirty-two years of age, is a man of fine appearance, of indomitable purpose and solid intellectual qualities, which make him a dangerous antagonist. He is a lawyer by profession, and is assisted in the preparation of cases by his young wife, who studied law and was admitted to the Bar in order that she might make herself more truly his helpmeet.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Mary Elizabeth Baird Bryan is a year younger than her husband whom she married in 1884. Encouraged by her husband, she studied law at the Union College of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and was admitted to practice in November, 1888. Dies January 21, 1930.]

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Mary Pickford

 

April 8– Friday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Gladys Louise Smith a/k/a Mary Pickford who will appear in more than 175 films and become one of the co-founders of United Artists. [Dies May 29, 1979.]

April11– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, do hereby declare and make known that all of the lands embraced in said reservation, saving and excepting the lands reserved for and allotted to said Indians and the lands reserved for other purposes in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same and other the laws relating thereto, will, at and after the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time)on the 15th day of April, A. D. 1892, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the terms and conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreements, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening lands taken by treaty from the Sioux to settlers.

April 11– Monday– Florence Italy– Birth of Francesca Bertini [born Elena Seracini Vitiello] who will become the premiere actress in Italian silent films. [Dies October 13, 1985.]

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President Benjamin Harrison

 

April 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested by the statutes hereinbefore mentioned, also an act of Congress entitled ‘An act making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1892, and for other purposes,’ approved March 3, 1891, and by other of the laws of the United States, and by said agreement, do hereby declare and make known that all of said lands hereinbefore described acquired from the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians by the agreement aforesaid, saving and excepting the lands allotted to the Indians as in said agreement provided, excepting also the lands hereinbefore described as occupied and claimed by the Wichita and affiliated bands of Indians, or otherwise reserved in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same, and other the laws relating thereto, will at the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time), Tuesday, the 19th day of the present month of April, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreement, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening other Indian lands to settlers.

April 14– Thursday– New York City– “There can be no doubt at all that Senator Hill has injured his Presidential chances by his recent Southern tour. All the influential newspapers of that section agree in saying that his speeches were disappointing to the people, revealing the low and artful partisan rather than the enlightened statesman, and that very many Democrats who were at first disposed to give him their support are now convinced that success under his leadership would be impossible. They had expected to hear an intelligent discussion of principles and policies, but were treated to the drivel of the pot-house politician. They had expected to meet a man with strong and positive convictions, but their visitor evaded every important issue, and if he had convictions, obscured or concealed them by artifices of speech. . . . . No one who has been at all familiar with Senator Hill’s methods and has closely studied the man will be surprised at this result. The truth is that David B. Hill does not possess a single quality of genuine statesmanship. He has never, as to any question or measure, displayed that breadth and loftiness of spirit which characterizes the true publicist. He is a machine politician, pure and simple. He has made his way so far by what a contemporary aptly describes as a ‘comprehending sympathy with the heeler, ballot-box stuffer, the manipulator of returns, the vote-buyer, and all who are adepts in the dodges of the criminal side of politics.’ It is the cold truth that ‘every potency and agency for good, political, religious, and moral, in his State, abhors him as a man without principle or conscience.’ . . . . Thoughtful Democrats . . . are unwilling that the party standard should be committed to a man who has nothing to recommend him but the fact that he is an expert in political crime. So overwhelming is this growing sentiment that even in this State, if the question of his candidacy could be submitted to the Democratic voters for an expression of the real wishes of the party, without pressure or intimidation of any sort, he would, as we believe, be beaten two to one.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Hill (1843– 1910) was a lawyer and career politician who served as governor of New York State from 1885 to 1891 and in the U S Senate from 1892 to 1897. At this point he has been vigorously seeking the Democratic nomination.]

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Senator David B Hill

 

April 15– Friday– Schenectady, New York– The General Electric Company is established through the merger of the Thomson-Houston Company and the Edison General Electric Company.

April 15– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Reliable sources indicate that Republican delegates to the national convention from this city will go to the convention as uncommitted.

April 15– Friday– Indianapolis, Indiana– It appears that all of the delegates from Indiana to the Democratic convention will support Grover Cleveland rather than Isaac P Gray, the former governor of the state. [Gray, 1828–1895, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1876, upset by corruption in the administration of President Ulysses S Grant, Gray switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party.]

April 16– Saturday– Rochester, New York– A reporter asks Susan B Anthony what she thinks about the woman suffrage bill slowly making its way through the state legislature in Albany. She replies, “I am highly pleased, and I hope it will fare well . . . but I am not very enthusiastic. The cup has been brought to my lips so often and then dashed away that I have learned no to be too confident.” [Women will not gain the vote in New York until 1917.]

April 17– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Dr Gardner, the physician taking care of First Lady Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, reports that she is feeling a little better, despite her hard cough and her fever. [She will struggle with illness throughout the coming months and will die on October 25th, 24 days after her 60th birthday.]

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First Lady Caroline Harrison

 

April 17– Sunday– Paris, France– Britain and France are discussing ways to prevent arms sales to Africans, noting that partisans in Upper Niger and in Dahomey are armed with modern German-made rifles.

April 19– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– In a move which speculators and dealers will describe as “a coal war”, the Pennsylvania Railroad announces a drastic cut in the rate it charges to haul coal, an effort to lure business away from other railroads.

April 20–Wednesday– Denmark–In national elections for the Folketing (literally, “the people’s thing”), the parliament, 63.8% of eligible voters cast ballots. The conservatives win 34.8% of the vote, taking 31 of 102 available seats. The center-right party captures 30 seats, the moderates 39 seats and the socialists only 2 seats.

April 21– Thursday– New York City– “The expressions of the newspaper press and of all the [state] political conventions which have recently been held go to show that there is practically no opposition to the renomination of President Harrison. There are a few political leaders who, out of disappointment at their failure to use the President for their own purposes, would be very glad to rally a more or less formidable opposition to him, but so far they have not succeeded in finding any candidate who is likely to commend himself at all to the national convention. Senator Cullom, who was at one time named as a candidate, has formally withdrawn from the field. Senator Allison will probably be presented by Iowa, but he has explicitly stated that he does not desire the nomination. . . . Taking the field as a whole, all the conditions are favorable to the practically unanimous renomination of the present executive. In proof of this statement we could fill our columns with extracts from the leading independent and Republican papers of the country.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

April 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Democratic leaders here assert that Indiana supporters of former governor Isaac P Gray are “indulging in . . . the sheerest nonsense” and the overwhelming majority of Democrats favor Grover Cleveland.

April 22– Friday– Louisville, Kentucky– At a meeting local Democrats express support for Grover Cleveland. “We believe him to possess the confidence of the masses to a greater extent than any other living American and that his nomination will carry the country by storm.”

April 23– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– Many prominent Republicans in the western part of the state favor Chauncey M Depew, age 58, a lawyer and president of the New York Central Railroad, instead of President Benjamin Harrison.

April 23– Saturday– London, England– The funeral of Mary Mowbray, wife of the labor organizer and anarchist Charles W Mowbray, takes place. The ceremony, with no religious component, provides an opportunity for anarchists and socialists to demonstrate. Some carry signs saying “Remember Chicago”, referring to the Haymarket bombing incident of 1886 after which 8 anarchist were arrested, put through a show trial in front of a biased judge and sentenced to death. Four were hanged and one committed suicide. Three remain in prison, two serving life sentences, one a sentence of 15 years. [Next year Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld will pardon those three and release them from prison. On the Haymarket affair, see: The Haymarket Tragedy (1984) by Paul Avrich; The History of the Haymarket Affair; a Study in the American Social-revolutionary and Labor Movements (1936) by Henry David; and on Governor Altgeld, see: Eagle Forgotten: the Life of John Peter Altgeld (1938) by Harry Barnard.]

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Memorial to the Haymarket Martyrs

 

April 27– Wednesday– Bangor, Maine– Republicans select delegates committed to James G Blaine to represent the state at the Republican national convention.

April 27– Wednesday– London, England– In Parliament, the House of Commons defeats a woman suffrage bill with 175 votes against it and 152 in favor. Suffrage leaders are pleased that the vote is that close.

April 28– Thursday– New York City– “There is an indication that the President is finding some difficulty in securing a successor to Justice [Joseph] Bradley, of the Supreme Court, owing to the meager salary paid these officials. One gentleman who is alleged to be eminently equipped for the Supreme Court bench is said to have declined the appointment on the ground that he cannot afford to accept it, being now in receipt of an income from his practice some ten times greater than the salary paid to judges. Of course the consideration of salary does not as a rule enter into the question of acceptance of this high position, but it would not diminish the dignity of the office if that salary should be more in proportion to the responsibility and excellent character of the services required of its incumbent.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Bradley was a Republican from New York who died January 22, 1892 at age 78. President Harrison will nominate George Shiras, a Republican from Pennsylvania, age 60, to take his place. The Senate will confirm Shiras on July 26th– there will be no debate about whether or not the incumbent president could or should fill the vacancy on the court.]

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the late Justice Bradley

 

April 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– From the states of New York, Maine and Colorado there seems to be increasing opposition among some Republicans to the renomination of President Harrison.

April 30– Saturday– London, England– Rumors declare that the recent visit by U S warships to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a veiled attempt to forge an anti-British alliance between the United States and Argentina. American officials strongly deny the allegations.

Election Year 1852~April

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Not one convention has taken place but the issues are coming into focus and candidates appearing. Issues include the expansion of slavery, enforcement of the Compromise of 1850, particularly the Fugitive Slave Act, the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, religious tolerance. And women are making an unusual amount of agitation.

April 1– Thursday– New York City– “Too many of those who are engaged in the present reform, seem to suppose that the great work we have to do, is to look to our fathers and brothers for help, and accept it when they grant it. True, we need their aid. To work efficiently and harmoniously, we must work together; but on woman rests the responsibility of elevating woman. . . . The law of progress is proclaimed by every page of human history, and whether we aid or retard the work, it still goes on, and they only are losers who oppose its progress. Let woman appeal to Legislative and Ecclesiastical bodies, as well as to Medical Colleges, setting forth the injury inflicted on humanity by the present laws and rules. Let her go herself before those public bodies, and set forth the difficulties under which she labors, the disabilities which are imposed upon her, the injustice of taxation without representation, and of not permitting her to be tried by a jury of her peers. It is objected to this last innovation, that if women sat as jurors, the sentences on woman would be less lenient than they now are. I shall not dispute this; time only can settle it. But admitting that it is so– that the sexes are more merciful to each other than to themselves, then so much greater the reason for woman to share the toil and the responsibility of jurorship. Let there be an interchange of good offices, that men may experience from them the mercy they have failed to find in man. Woman has a deep, intuitive, divine sense of justice, and she has a power of endurance, of quiet fortitude in bearing fatigue, hunger, thirst and sleeplessness, at least equal to man. Or if she has not, a superior education, by giving her habits of close attention and continued concentration of mind, will qualify her for the responsibility of jurorship. Of this I am very certain, if woman is not capable of fulfilling the duties of that post, she will not be elevated to it, or, if elevated, will soon vacate it. Character and ability, like water, will find their level as a general fact; and this accounts for the present position of woman. She is just beginning to realize her wealth of mind, and moral power.” ~ Letter from Sarah Grimke in The Lily. [On Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina, see the excellent biography The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Woman’s Rights and Abolition (1967) by Gerda Lerner.]

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April 2– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison criticizes Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois as a strong supporter of the South and southern interests.

April 5– Monday– New York City– Reverend W S Balch delivers a lengthy lecture to a large audience in which he argues that no one can be a good republican while claiming allegiance to the pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

April 5–Monday– Washington, D. C.–Congress passes a resolution affirming support of the Compromise of 1850 and mandating full enforcement of all its provisions.

April 8– Thursday– Rochester, New York– “My labors, since the last issue, have quite assured me of returning strength. I have delivered five anti-slavery lectures; two at Hemlock Lake, Livingston County, two at Honeoye, Ontario County, and one in the Congregational Church, St. Paul Street, Rochester: and from these labors, I have experienced no other inconvenience, save that necessarily involved in absence from my post. . . . In a word, I found them as clear as light, in respect to all important points connected with the anti-slavery question; and as strong as steel, in their adhesion to them. I speak this, however, as especially applying to the members of the Independent Congregational Church of Honeoye, for I doubt not, that outside of it there might easily be found many that would not answer his description. This being my first visit to Honeoye, the friends of the slave thought that it would be well for me to narrate my experience in slavery. – This I did, in my second lecture, and it was most gratifying to observe the evidence of sympathy, in old and young, as they listened to my simple story. At the close of my lecture, several came forward and subscribed for my paper, and otherwise rendered me “material aid.” The result of my lecturing tour, is, that I am cheered and strengthened; having had abundant evidence that there are yet “ears to hear,” and hearts to feel. Oh! that the means could be had to send anti-slavery lecturers into every section of the State. – The people must have “line upon line,” and “precept upon precept,” if they are ever confirmed in the great principles of human liberty, upon which the anti-slavery movement is founded.” ~ Frederick Douglass in his Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

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April 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Mr. [Parker] Pillsbury took up the subject of the identity of the interests of the working classes with the anti-slavery cause, and showed, as far as words have power to show, that the laboring classes of the North cannot hope for better things until slavery is abolished at the South. He proved that the Northern and Southern slaveholder were banded together by the of interest and trade; that the Church was blessing and sanctifying the unholy union; and unless some change came to the relief of the toiling even of the North, they would, in the progress of a very few years, be at starving point– be literally crushed by this triple and relentless power. Yet his burning eloquence and cogent arguments reached only a very few ears. The people are being led by the priests and politicians like lambs to the slaughter. They assist robbers to rob their own pockets, and then pay the priesthood to reconcile the deed with Divine justice, and themselves to their condition. Father, forgive them all, lo! they know not what they do!” ~Letter from Alonzo J. Grover to The Liberator. [On the life and work of Parker Pillsbury, 1809-1898, see: American Chivalry (1913) by Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman; Parker Pillsbury: Radical Abolitionist, Male Feminist (2007) by Stacey M Robertson.]

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Parker Pillsbury

 

April 10– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times asserts that there is “a party, more or less complete, in different sections of the South, whose sole bond of union is the conservation of Southern rights as dependent upon the institution of slavery and its perpetuity.”

April 11–Sunday– Boston, Massachusetts–At the request of Reverend Theodore Parker, peace activist Adin Ballou preaches a sermon on peace and non-resistence at Parker’s large church. [On the life and work of Adin Ballou, 1803- 1890, see: Autobiography of Adin Ballou, Containing an Elaborate Record and Narrative of His Life from Infancy to Old Age; with Appendixes (1896) compiled and edited by William S Heywood.]

April 13– Tuesday– Rodman, New York– Birth of Frank Winfield Woolworth, American businessman. [Dies April 8 1919. At his death his personal worth is $76,500,000 and his chain of stores numbers over 1,000.]

April 15– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times denounces “Southern Fanaticism” and efforts to expand slave territory and to reopen international slave trade. “There will be no . . . triumphant achievement by means of Quixotic advocacy of the system of African Slavery, or through any schemes, of agitation or coalition, for its extension.”

April 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”The General’s Position Defined. A Washington correspondent of the Nashville Banner recently had an interview with General [Winfield] Scott, who it is said is indignant at the charge made in some of the newspaper, that his position in regard to some, of the Compromise measures is ambiguous. According to the writer, Scott, in his conversation with him, said: ‘How can any one doubt my past or present earnest support of the Compromise measures? Did I not, at the first meeting of the friends of the Union, held in Castle Garden, New York, publicly proclaim my approval of them; at a period, too, when but few in that city advocated the propriety of their adoption? Immediately after my perusal of Mr. Clay’s first great speech in their defense, made in the Senate of the United States, I wrote to him . . . [to express support].’” ~ The Liberator.

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April 19– Monday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig Party members in the area hold a convention and debate whether or not to support General Winfield Scott as the party’s nominee for president, his supporters noting that he is a Southern man, born near Petersburg, Virginia, and a supporter of the Compromise of 1850.

April 20– Tuesday– Rochester, New York– Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, Ann Fitzhugh Smith and Abigail Smith Delavan, among others, establish a Woman’s Temperance Society.

April 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Whig Party caucus ends up bitterly divided along sectional lines.

April 22– Thursday– Rochester, New York– “We take it for granted that the Free Soilers of New York, if they possess any of the sympathies which their name implies, will shudder at the thought of being instrumental to the election of any of those men whose names we have mentioned. Setting aside General Scott, all those men have been mainly instrumental in enacting those terrible laws which have so much shocked our sensibilities, and made our legal code the abhorrence of the civilized world. It is needless to detail the atrocities which they have enacted, and the ferocious and bloody tyranny with which they have sought and are still seeking to enforce them. The ‘compromise’ which they have made, and which they all rely on for the presidency, and which each argues himself as most anxious and able to enforce, for cruelty and injustice, is not surpassed by any other criminal act in the political history of mankind.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

April 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “This beautiful new evangel of freedom– for so the book seems to us– does not suddenly flash the intolerable light of God’s truth upon souls benighted in error, but softly drops veil after veil till they stand in mid-day brightness, wondering and remorseful. . . . . We have undertaken nothing like a critique of this book; but we must be allowed to say, even in this circumscribed notice, that the work to us gives evidence of greater power, of deeper and more various resources, than any other novel of the time. It displays rare dramatic genius, its characters are strongly drawn, refreshingly peculiar and original, yet wondrously true to nature and to many a reader’s experience of life. It abounds alike with quaint, delicious humor, and the most heart-searching pathos; with the vividest word-painting, in the way of description, with argument, philosophy, eloquence, and poetry. And straight and pure through all– through characterization, conversation, description, and narrative, sweeps the continuous moral– the one deep thought, flowing ceaselessly from the soul of the writer, and fed by ‘under-springs of silent deity.’So great and good a thing has Mrs. Stowe here accomplished for humanity, for freedom, for God, that we cannot refrain from applying to her sacred words, and exclaiming, ‘Blessed art thou among women!’” ~ The National Era reviews Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly which ran in this newspaper in serialized form beginning in June of 1851 and just appeared in a 2 volume book form on March 20th. [In its first sixteen months it will sell 1,200,000 copies.]

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April 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In the midst of all this stir about men’s rights, on indefatigable Friend, Anne Knight, is pursuing her course with the patience of a martyr. She writes letters . . . and publishes them by hundreds. She is admitted to all classes of society, and whether you find her at the soirees of the nobility, or among the humble builders on the great walls of time, there you hear her untiring plea for the equal political rights of women. A few evenings since, I saw her in close with a brilliant wit and beauty connected with the court circle. Anne had on her Quaker cap with a black net over it, a black satin dress with a large black shawl thrown over her shoulders to conceal a large satchel that she always carries about her filled with papers. The other wore a white dress, with a opera cloak, trimmed with ermine. ‘Night and day personified,’ quoth the gentleman at my left hand. I could not but smile at the appropriateness; but, after all her meek face had in it much of the serenity of midsummer moonlight, and I could not but admire its earnestness and purity.” ~ Letter from Mrs. H.M. T reprinted in The Liberator. [Anne Knight, 1786– 1862, an English Quaker, spent her adult life as a feminist and abolitionist activist.]

April 23–Friday– New York City–David Low Dodge, merchant and peace activist, founder of the New York Peace Society and the New York Bible Society, dies at age 77. [For information about his life and work, see: Pacifism in the United States from the Colonial Era to the First World War (1968) by Peter Brock, pp 450-463, 466-471, 478-482.]

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April 24– Saturday– Peoria, Illinois– Birth of Annis Bertha Ford Eastman, Congregational minister, feminist and scholar who will mother Crystal Eastman and Max Eastman. [Dies October 22, 1910.]

April 27– Cincinnati, Ohio– An anti-slavery convention opens today. Prominent participants include Frederick Douglass, George Washington Julian, Charles Calistus Burleigh and Reverend John G Fee.

April 29– Thursday– Rochester, New York– “Again, what but an approaching presidential election could have wrought a universal pledge of the Whig and Democratic parties to the policy, sanctity, and perpetuity of the Fugitive Slave Law and its kindred measures of compromise? Were there no such election at hand, who believes the people could have been induced to set forward candidates professedly for no other purpose but their fitness to sustain and continue those unconstitutional and infernal measures? At this moment the only issue between the Democratic and Whig parties, is, whether [Winfield] Scott, or [Daniel] Webster, or Fillmore, is a more suitable man than Cass, or [Stephen A] Douglas, or Marcy, or [James] Buchanan, &c., to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law upon the people of the North. The issue is not whether that like measures shall be continued, whether they are politic, just and wise, but which of the parties can furnish a president of the greatest ability to compel the people of the North to submit to them and obey them. We have no hesitation to say that this is the only issue between these great parties. They are both agreed to enforce these most humiliating and diabolical measures, and disagree only as to be the intellectual and physical force of their infernal materials. What has become of the Tariff question, the Bank question, the Land Distribution question, and all those questions which once agitated the country? All gone– gone forever; and the parties are rushing into the campaign for a popular vote on the question which is best qualified and disposed to pollute and oppress the North with pro-slavery sentiments and measures.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

April 30– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Parker Pillsbury writes that “we have just closed a fatiguing and every way trying [anti-slavery] campaign in Maine. In Portland we had meetings of a truly cheering character. . . . we had some disturbance, though slight compared with what we often encounter. In Bath we good meetings, and found a few excellent and good friends.” ~ The Liberator.

Strains of Fanaticism ~ March, 1852

Singers of reform and a new novel are upsetting the slave-owning South. Women are changing things.

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Dr Hannah Longshore

March– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “What Women Are Doing. We have just enumerated three pursuits that we call truly feminine. The first, that of teaching, is happily progressing in our land. We will treat of it more at large in a future number. The second, female physicians, is rapidly gaining ground in public favor. Our ‘Appeal’– see page 185– will demonstrate this. Since that was written, the first public Commencement of a Female Medical College ever held in the world was witnessed in Philadelphia. It was a proud day for the true friends of moral progress, which can only be attained by placing the female sex where God has ordained their power– as conservators of home, health, and happiness. The graduating class, consisting of eight ladies, deported themselves with that modest, womanly dignity commanding admiration and respect from the immense assemblage. Probably fifteen hundred persons were present, and witnessed with approbation the conferring of full degrees of Doctor of Medicine on these young women. And such is the call for female physicians that, had the number, instead of eight, consisted of eighty, or even eight hundred, we believe they would all succeed in finding places open for their practice. We advise every young woman who has a taste for the profession, and wishes for the means of supporting herself and doing good, to enter on the study of medicine without delay.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book

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March 6– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– “To the Citizens of Baltimore: The ‘Hutchinson Family’ have announced a concert at Carroll Hall, on Monday evening, the 8th instant. It is a well known fact that these noted abolitionists have figured conspicuously at the various abolition meetings at the North, in some instance opening the meeting by singing a song breathing fanatical sentiments. Citizens of Baltimore! are you willing to be insulted by a band of abolitionists, singing strains of fanaticism? Will you encourage such concerts by those whose efforts are directed against an institution guaranteed by the Constitution, and who have sought to overthrow this glorious Union?” ~ handbill distributed throughout the city to protest a concert by the Hutchinson Family Singers. [The Hutchinsons were one of the best-known musical ensembles of mid-century America. The ensemble consisted at different time of various combinations of the children of Jesse Hutchinson, a farmer from Milford, New Hampshire, and his wife Mary– mainly John, Asa, Jesse, Judson and their sister Abby with others coming and going. They sang about rural life and political issues such as abolition, temperance, war, the rights of workers and woman suffrage. They became highly respected performers and much of their music focused on social reform, equal rights, moral improvement, community activism and patriotism. By this time they were popularly identified with radical abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. The career of the Hutchinsons spanned the major social and political events of the mid-nineteenth century including the Civil War. See, \pard plain Singing for Freedom: the Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth Century Culture of Reform (2007) by Scott Gac.]

March 12– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The entire destruction of the neat and commodious Church, which Samuel J. May and his liberal and enlightened congregation have hitherto occupied at Syracuse, by the falling of the steeple during a violent gale, is a serious pecuniary loss to the parties directly interested, and calls not only for sympathy but substantial aid, for the construction of a new edifice. The case is peculiar in its appeals to the friends of humanity and progress, in whatever State located. Mr. May is one of the purest, best, and most Philanthropic men living, enjoying the unbounded confidence and regard of all who are intimately acquainted with him. His was indeed a free pulpit, and mighty have been the influence for good that have emanated from it since his settlement. It was freely offered, as opportunity presented, to the friends of reform, whether men or women, and irrespective of theological opinions; and nobly did the congregation uphold this freedom.” ~ The Liberator. [Reverend May, 1797– 1871, was a Unitarian clergyman, a radical abolitionist, conductor on the underground railroad, peace advocate, champion of the rights of women, temperance advocate, educational reformer and uncle to Louisa May Alcott.]

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Reverend Samuel J May

 

March 13– Saturday– New York City– The New York Lantern carries the first political cartoon portraying the United States in the personification of “Uncle Sam” in his classic beard and outfit. Although the term “Uncle Sam”as referring to the United States has been around since the War of 1812, this drawing by 24 year old cartoonist Frank Henry Bellew is the first such artistic use.

March 14– Sunday– Paris, France– Voting concludes in the national election. Out of 9,836,043 registered voters, 6,222,983 actually voted, representing a voter turnout of 63.3%. Emperor Napoleon III’s Bonapartists win a huge majority consisting of 258 seats out of 261. The Parti de l’Ordre that had won a majority in the 1849 election had been banned by the Emperor following their opposition to his1851 coup.

March 15– Monday– Roxborough, County Galway, Ireland– Birth of Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory, a/k/a Lady Gregory, playwright, poet, and folklorist, a leader in the Irish Literary Revival. [Dies May 22, 1932.]

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Lady Gregory

 

March 18– Thursday– Peterborough, England– Birth of Rose Coghlan, star of the theater in England and the United States. [Dies April 2, 1932.]

March 20– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– The John P Jewett & Co publisher issues the two volume novel Uncle Toms’s Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe with illustrations by the Boston architect and artist Hammatt Billings. Since June 5 of last year, it appeared in serialized form over 40 weeks in the abolitionist National Era. Mr Jewett encouraged Mrs Stowe to allow him to publish it in book form

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March 20– Saturday– London, England– The British government issues a declaration in which it claims several islands off the coast of Central America as “the royal colony of the Bay Islands.”

March 26–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Praising the new book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, William Lloyd Garrison writes in today’s issue of The Liberator that “In the execution of her very difficult task, Mrs. Stowe has displayed rare descriptive powers, a familiar acquaintance with slavery under its best and its worst phases, uncommon moral and philosophical acumen, great facility of thought and expression, feelings and emotions of the strangest character. . . . The effect of such a work upon all intelligent and humans minds coming in contact with it . . . must be prodigious, and therefore eminently service men in the tremendous conflict now waged for the immediate and entire suppression of slavery on the American soil.”

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

March 29– Monday– Columbus, Ohio–The state legislature passes a law setting a ten hour maximum workday for women.

Strike! Lawrence, Massachusetts~January, 1912

The years opens with what will become one of the most famous strikes in American labor history– textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Political and social change take place in China, South Africa, Great Britain, Germany, eastern Europe, Ecuador, as well as the cities of Toronto, Canada, Lisbon, Portugal, and Brisbane, Australia.

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January 1–Monday– Nanjing, China– Following three months of fighting and turmoil, leaders of fifteen of the country’s twenty-four provinces elect Sun Yat-sen, 45 years old, as provisional president of the new Republic of China. This marks the beginning of the end of over 2,000 years of imperial rule and the end of the power of the Quing dynasty which has ruled since 1644. Although Sun’s supporters control most of southern China, Yuan Shih-kai retains power in the north as the chief of the Imperial army in Beijing.

January 1–Monday– Toronto, Canada–In municipal elections, Mayor George R Geary, age 38,facing no opponents, wins reelection by acclamation. Two incumbent members of the Board of Control are defeated. Noted Liberal Frank Spence loses his seat but is replaced by fellow Liberal Jesse McCarthy. J. J. Ward, considered a representative of labor also loses his seat. [George Geary dies April 30, 1954.]

January 1–Monday– New York City– The NAACP, founded three years ago, issues its second annual report. The report lists active chapters in Boston and Chicago as well as here and receipts of $10,317.43 for the eight months ending in December, 1911. [That equals approximately $265,000 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Tuesday– Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada– Birth of Barbara Pentland, composer, musician and educator. [Dies February 5, 2000.]

January 2–Tuesday– Tabriz, Persia– With 4,000 Russian troops occupying the city to protect Russian interests, the Russian authorities execute eight Persian leaders who had supported the Constitutional Revolution between 1905 and 1907. Other such leaders had fled the city.

January 3– Wednesday– Disraeli, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Louise Marguerite Renaude Lapointe, one of the first Canadian women to build a career in journalism and who will serve as a senator from 1971 to 1987. [Dies May 11,2002.]

January 5– Friday– Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire–At the International Party Conference, Vladimir Ilich Lenin, age 41, and the Bolshevik Party break away from the rest of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

January 5– Friday– Nanjing, China– Dr. Sun Yat-sen issues the “Manifesto from the Republic of China to All Friendly Nations,” signaling a major change in Chinese foreign policy with a promise to end the isolationism of the Manchu Emperors and “to rejoin China with the international community.” On the same day, he meets with woman’s suffrage activist Lin Zongsu and pledges to allow women the right to vote in the new republic.

January 5–Friday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– Birth of Doris Jessie Carter, athlete who in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin will become the first Australian woman to make it into the Olympic finals. [Dies July 28, 1999.]

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January 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state in the Union.

January 6–Saturday– Bordeaux, France–Birth of Jacques Ellul, philosopher, sociologist, law professor and Christian anarchist. [Dies May 19, 1994.]

January 7–Sunday– The Red Sea outside of Kunfida (now Al Qunfudhah in Saudi Arabia)– Seven Turkish gunboats are sunk by three Italian warships as the hostilities begun last September continue.

January 7– Sunday– Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England– Dr. Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, an English physician, teacher and feminist, dies two weeks away from her 72nd birthday. She was one of the first women to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, a leading campaigner for medical education for women and involved in founding two medical schools for women, one in London and the other in Edinburgh, where she also started a women’s hospital.

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January 8– Monday– Bloemfontein, South Africa–John Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Sol Plaatie along with a number of the chiefs of indigenous peoples, people’s representatives, and church representatives form the African National Congress [the ANC] to bring all Africans together to work for liberation and freedom. From its inception the ANC represents both traditional and modern elements, from tribal chiefs to church and community bodies and educated black professionals, though women will only be admitted as affiliate members and only after 1930.

January 8–Monday– Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada– Birth of Lawrence Walsh, U.S. federal prosecutor who will gain notoriety during his investigation the Iran-Contra affair.[Dies March 19, 2014].

January 8–Monday– Washington, D. C.– The United States Monetary Commission presents its plan to Congress to establish what will become the Federal Reserve System.

January 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Democratic National Committee announces that this year’s presidential nominating convention will be held in Baltimore beginning on June 25.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

January 11–Thursday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Women weavers, mostly immigrants, at Everett Cotton Mills realize that the company has reduced their pay by 32 cents and they stop their looms and leave the mill, shouting “short pay, short pay!” and thereby begin what will become know as “the Bread and Roses strike.” [The women earn a little less than $9.00 a week for nearly 60 hours of work. This equals about $231 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 12– Friday– Berlin, Germany– The first round of the German parliamentary election is held today with 208 seats in the Reichstag at stake.

January 12– Friday– London, England– The General Post Office of the British government takes complete control of the national telephone system, leaving only the United States as the sole major industrialized nation in which the network is privately owned.

January 12–Friday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 10,00 workers in area textile plants walk out on strike as thousands more join the 1750 who walked out yesterday. At the Washington Mills, the workers turn off the power, cut belts on machines and break light bulbs as they walk out. Half of the strikers are women.

January 13–Saturday– New York City– Speaking at Bryant Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, age 21, and has worked as an I.W.W. organizer for five years, encourages striking waiters to refuse tip-taking and instead to demand a living wage from the hotel and restaurant proprietors. The idea provokes considerable debate among the strikers, many of whom are immigrants, and the final vote is unanimous against accepting gratuities.

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

 

January 13– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– The Evening Tribune reports that “It is felt that the worst uprising in the city has reached its climax and that the trouble will now gradually simmer down to normal conditions.”

January 14–Sunday– Wahoo, Nebraska– Birth of Tillie Lerner Olsen, author and feminist. [Dies January 1, 2007.]

January 15–Monday– Ecuador–The battleship USS Maryland arrives to protect American interests during the violence of the civil war.

January 15–Monday– Paris, France– Birth of Michel Jean-Pierre Debre who will serve in the French Resistance during the Second World War and as the first Prime Minister of the Fifth French Republic from 1959 to 1962. [Dies August 2, 1996.]

January 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate votes 58-8 to discuss arbitration treaties publicly rather than in closed sessions. Peace advocates see this as a step forward.

January 15–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Authorities arrest 36 strikers for throwing snowballs at police officers and militiamen. Organizers of the IWW establish twenty-four hours a day picketing of the mills. The Evening Tribune reports that “Authorities have the situation well in hand.”

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cavalry troopers in Lawrence

 

January 15– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The governor orders five companies of state militia to Lowell “to suppress the rioting, to preserve order and to protect property.”

January 16–Tuesday– Ankara, Turkey– The Sultan Abdul Hamid II on his own initiative dissolves the Turkish Chamber of Deputies. Engaged in an expensive and bloody war with Italy since the end of September, 1911, attempting to repel the Italian invasion of Libya, an Ottoman province, the Sultan appears angry and frustrated with the Chamber.

January 17– Wednesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station about 3000 strikers and supporters cheer the arrival of “Smiling Joe” Ettor, 26 years old and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. [Ettor dies in California sometime in 1948.]

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January 18– Thursday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– Members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association are dismissed from their jobs when they wear union badges to work. Although the Brisbane tramways are owned by the General Electric Company of the United Kingdom, they are managed by Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, who is responsible for the firing of these workers. Later he will refuse to negotiate with the Queensland main union body, the Australian Labour Federation. The terminated workers and supporters march to Brisbane Trades Hall where a meeting is held. In the evening 10,000 people gather in Market Square to protest the company’s action.

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Brisbane tram

 

 

January 18– Thursday– Yaguachi, Ecuador– Over 1,000 people are killed in fighting between troops from the Quito national government and the Guayaquil rebel government.

January 18– Thursday– Roanne, France– Birth of David Rousset, writer and political activist who will survive the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Second World War.

January 18–Thursday– Tientsin, China– American troops occupy the city to protect American interests. The United States is concerned about political instability in China.

January 18– Thursday– London, England– The British Miners’ Federation releases the final tally on a strike vote with 445,801 in favor and 115,921 opposed. The strike, aimed at securing a minimum wage for coal miners, is scheduled begin on March 1.

January 20– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– The second round of Reichstag elections begins with 77 seats at stake.

January 20–Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Police detectives find a stash of dynamite in an empty room in back of Marad Dye Works and arrest seven people, two of them women.

January 22– Monday– Hamilton, Georgia–A white mob lynches three black men and one black woman.

January 22–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 22,000 workers are now on strike. Business in town is at a standstill.

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January 22– Monday– Nanjing, China– Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shih-kai complete negotiations on the unification of the Republic of China, with Dr. Sun agreeing to yield the presidency to Yuan upon the abdication of the emperor.

January 23–Monday– The Hague, The Netherlands– For the first time ever, a number of countries sign a treaty to control drug trade. The International Opium Convention, signed by China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, Siam, the United States and the United Kingdom, provides that the signatories “shall use their best endeavors to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade.” Other countries are invited to agree to the terms later.

January 24– Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station thousands of strikers, their families and supporters cheer the arrival of “Big Bill” Haywood, age 42 and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. In a speech before Haywood’s arrival Joseph Ettor warns the strikers to beware of Pinkerton detectives who may act as agent provocateurs to discredit the workers.

January 25– Thursday– Guayaquil, Ecuador– General Pedro Montero, who had been proclaimed President of Ecuador on December 29, 1911, by rebelling Ecuadorian troops, is sentenced to 16 years in prison. When the sentence is announced, the crowd outside the courthouse nosily protests that the sentence is too light. A number of people rush in, shoot Montero to death, and carry his corpse outside, where others behead and then burn the body.

January 25–Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Voting in elections for the Reichstag concludes today with the Socialists having the largest number of seats, winning 100, and the Radical and National Liberal parties having won 44 and 47, respectively, and the (Catholic) Centre Party taking 91 seats. The results make possible a majority coalition of groups hostile to or ambivalent about the ruling elites of the German Empire; however, distrust and in-fighting among liberals and progressives will, for the most part, leave the government of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg free to do as it wishes.

January 26–Friday– Beijing, China– A group of 47 generals and commanders of the Imperial Army, all of whom had pledged their allegiance to the monarchy earlier in this month, sign a petition to the Emperor and the regent, asking that the dynasty give way to a republic under Yuan Shih-kai.

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factory in Lawrence

 

January 27– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Benoit Clothing Company, a local store, runs advertisements pledging 10% of each days sales to be given to relief of the strikers.

January 28– Sunday– Newark, New Jersey– Birth of Sidney Lens, author, labor organizer and socialist political activist. [Dies June 18,1986.]

January 28– Sunday– Quito, Ecuador– A mob storms the prison where former President Eloy Alfaro and his brothers Flavio and Medardo are being held as prisoners of war since their capture six days ago, and lynches them.

January 29–Monday– Chicago, Illinois– At a meeting of the “No Vote, No Tax League”–a women’s tax resistance group–an intense debate begins when Miss Belle Squire and Dr Cornelia De Bey urge the group to endorse Teddy Roosevelt for President of the United States. Dr De Bay declares that “When he sees that votes for women is a winning issue he will embrace it.” However, the proposal is defeated by a 2-to1 margin.

January 29– Monday– Pierce City, Missouri– Birth of Martha Wright Griffiths, lawyer and judge. She will become the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Michigan as a member of the Democratic Party and the first woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means. She will also be the person most responsible for including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will finish her distinguished career becoming the first woman elected as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. [Dies April 22, 2003.]

January 29–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Police and strikers clash. Annie Lo Pizza, a striker, is shot and killed. The Evening Tribune opines that while strikers appear more confident than ever, “the chaos which prevailed at the early stages of the strike has returned and it seems as if drastic efforts would be necessary to once again restore order. It is possible that the city will be placed under martial law.” In response to the threats of the mayor and business owners, Joseph Ettor declares, “Fine! We will win the strike even if they erect scaffolds on the streets.”

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January 29–Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A general strike cripples the city as newspapers, stores and theaters are closed and no streetcars run. The government blames strikers for several bombings.

January 30–Tuesday– New York City–Birth of Barbara Tuchman, historian. [Dies February 6, 1989.]

January 30–Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– In an interview with the Evening Post, former President Theodore Roosevelt goes on record as saying that he would accept nomination for the presidency, though he is not actively seek a return to the White House. The 53 year old Roosevelt has been hunting big game in Africa and lecturing in Europe since leaving office in March of 1909 but is beginning to drift apart from his old friend President Taft.

January 30–Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Soldiers bayonet and kill a 16 year old boy who is not a striker. Also, Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, IWW labor organizers, are arrested and charged as “accessories” in the murder of Annie Lo Pizza.

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Giovannitti & Ettor

 

January 30–Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– Mrs Lillian M N Stevens, National President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and Mrs Mary Harris Armour, of the Georgia WCTU, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and encourage the passage of a prohibition amendment to the federal constitution.

January 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– A bill introduced today in the House of Representatives authorizes $1,557,583 in payment for Civil War claims– $458,386 to churches and organizations for use of their buildings and property during the war; $1035,560 to individuals fror unpaid invoices for army stores and supplies; and $59,576 to various Union officers whose pay had been withheld for an assortment of reasons.

Upheavals & Transformations ~ January 1896

The year opens with much activity which foreshadows many events of the next twenty years– tension in South Africa which will erupt in the Boer War, an independence movement in Cuba which will involve Spain in a war with the United States, struggles for Irish independence which will lead to the bitter Easter Uprising of 1916, the German Emperor wanting a large navy and a prominent role for Germany on the international stage, agitation by women for the right to vote, refugees fleeing violence in the Ottoman Empire, the rise of the political star of Teddy Roosevelt, agitation by workers, a certain increased interest in socialism, tension between Britain and the United States, and racial tensions in the United States.

January 2– Thursday– Doornkop, Transvaal, South Africa– The raiders led by Dr Leander Starr Jameson are stopped and captured after a day-long battle. They will be sent to England to stand trial.

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Leander Starr Jameson

 

January 3– Friday– Berlin, Germany– In an attempt to embarrass the British, Emperor Wilhelm II sends a telegram to President Paul Kruger congratulating him for stopping the Jameson Raid

January 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Utah officially becomes the 45th state in the union. To insure admission Mormon leaders agreed to ban polygamy. Women gain the right to vote under the new state’s constitution.

January 6– Monday– Cape Town, Cape Colony, South Africa– Cecil Rhodes resigns as Prime Minister of Cape Colony, a government committee having found him guilty of having engineered the Jameson raid.

January 11– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– An editorial in today’s Washington Post calls for official American recognition of the Cuban revolutionaries.

January 12– Sunday– near New Orleans, Louisiana– A black man and his white wife are lynched because of their inter-racial marriage.

January 13– Monday– Vernon, New York– Jane Elizabeth Hitchcock Jones, abolitionist, woman’s rights advocate and lecturer, dies two months before her 83rd birthday.

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Mathew Brady

 

January 15– Wednesday– New York City– Mathew Brady, famous Civil War photographer, dies penniless at age 73 from residual problems from by being struck by a streetcar in Washington, D.C. several months prior.

January 18– Saturday– New Haven Connecticut– Clubs of Irish immigrants and Irish nationalists are said to be planning to activate a submarine-type ram for use against British warships.

January 18– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Frances Clara Cleveland, the First Lady, age 31, hosts an afternoon tea for a large number of women, both from Washington society and wives and daughters from the diplomatic corps.

January 18– Saturday– St Louis, Missouri– An announcement confirms that the city will host the National Populist Convention on July 22nd.

January 18– Saturday–Berlin, Germany– Emperor Wilhelm gives a speech at a dinner in the palace in which he describes the “wonderful” development of the Empire and declares that Germany must be well armed on the sea as well as on land in order to assert her duties and rights and therefore must increase the size and armament of the fleet.

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Clara Barton c.1900

 

January 19– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Despite the Turkish government’s position that the Red Cross will not be permitted to work in the Ottoman Empire, Clara Barton, age 74, and her staff busily prepare to do so. She announces that on Tuesday she will go to New York City to take ship for the area in order to aid the Armenians.

January 20– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– Frances E Willard, age 56, and the other officers of the W.C.T.U. send a petition to Congress, asking Congress to take action to provide relief to the Armenians “who have been driven to the last extremity by the fatal fanaticism of the Sultan and his soldiers.” Willard has served as president of the W.C.T.U. since 1879. [Worn out by years of travel, public speaking and intense work for temperance and the rights of women, Willard dies February 17, 1898.]

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Frances Willard

 

January 20– Monday– London, England– Regarding the Venezuela boundary dispute, English newspapers warn that the people of Great Britain will not endure the United States’ invocation of the Monroe Doctrine and that the U S Congress and the Administration are pandering to Irish voters and intend make Latin America increasingly dependent upon the United States.

January 21– Tuesday– Albany, New York– The 30th annual meeting of the State Workingmen’s Association calls for enforcement of the 8 hour workday law.

January 21– Tuesday– Isle of Wright, Great Britain– Queen Victoria reviews the new “flying squadron” of the Royal Navy. Rumors abound that these warships will be sent to American waters.

January 21– Tuesday– Rome, Italy– L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, denies that the pope made an offer to President Cleveland to mediate the dispute between the United States and Great Britain.

January 22– Wednesday– Hartford, Connecticut– Theodore Roosevelt, age 37, Police Commissioner of New York City, delivers a speech describing recent reforms as “the result of the application of common sense, morality, and courage to the problems presented.”

January 22– New York City– Clara Barton and some of her staff set sail on the steamer New York, headed for Southampton, England, and from there on to Constantinople, Turkey.

January 23– Thursday– New York City– An editorial in the New York Times supports Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt in his reform efforts for “manly and honest enforcement of the law” and declares that those in Roosevelt’s own [Republican] party who are attacking him ought to be subject to “exposure and rebuke” for their support of “lawlessness and corruption.”

January 24– Friday– Washington, D. C.– The Senate passes a resolution from the Committee on Foreign Relations calling on all the powers which are party to the Berlin Treaty of 1878 to take measures against Turkey to stop “the slaughter now going on” of Armenians.

January 24– Friday– Washington, D. C.– At the annual meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Susan B Anthony, weeks away from her 76th birthday, declares, “We have a sort of fellow-feeling with the Cubans. We women know what it is to be deprived of self-government, and know what it is to be taxed when we don’t have a hand in the assessments.”

January 25– Saturday– New York City– The tailors represented by the Brotherhood of Tailors win a seven weeks strike, helped by the threat of the United Garment Workers to call a general strike of 30,000 clothing workers to support the tailors.

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Daniel De Leon, circa 1904

 

January 26– Sunday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Watch the process of ‘moral development’ in this country– the classic ground in many ways to study history in, for the reason that the whole development of mankind can be seen here, portrayed in a few years, so to speak. You know how, to-day, the Northern people put on airs of morality on the score of having ‘abolished chattel slavery,’ the ‘traffic in human flesh,’ ‘gone down South and fought, and bled, to free the Negro,’ etc., etc. Yet we know that just as soon as manufacturing was introduced in the North, the North found that it was too expensive to own the Negro and take care of him; that it was much cheaper not to own the worker; and consequently that they ‘religiously,’ ‘humanly’ and ‘morally’ sold their slaves to the South, while they transformed the white people of the North, who had no means of production in their own hands, into wage slaves, and mercilessly ground them down. In the North, chattel slavery disappeared just as soon as the development of machinery rendered the institution unprofitable. . . . Socialism knows that revolutionary upheavals and transformations proceed from the rock-bed of material needs. With a full appreciation of and veneration for moral impulses that are balanced with scientific knowledge, it eschews, looks with just suspicion upon and gives a wide berth to balloon morality, or be it those malarial fevers that reformers love to dignify with the name of ‘moral feelings.’” ~ Daniel De Leon in a speech delivered at Well’s Memorial Hall. [De Leon, age 43, an immigrant who arrived in 1874, is a lawyer, educator and socialist activist.]

January 27– Monday– Washington, D. C– The newest associate justice on the Supreme Court, Rufus Peckam, age 57, a Democrat from New York just appointed by President Cleveland in December, issues his first opinion. The case involves federal acquisition of land to become part of the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, battlefield park. [Peckam will serve on the court until his death on October 24, 1909, writing 303 opinions, including the infamous anti-labor decision in Lochner v New York.]

January 27– Monday– Washington, D. C– The German Embassy hosts 700 people from the diplomatic corps at a reception and dinner in honor of Kaiser Wilhelm’s 37th birthday.

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Wilhelm II

 

January 28– Tuesday–Washington, D.C.– The Navy approves court-martial sentences imposed upon four white sailors for hazing several black seamen. The white men face four months confinement and dismissal from the service.

January 29– Wednesday– Elkhorn, West Virginia– Better than 600 African Americans from the area gather to protest the lynching of a black man two days ago. Fearful of the large number of black people, town leaders deputize and arm a substantial number of extra police officers “to be in readiness should trouble break out.”

January 30– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Boston Christian Endeavor Union, an inter-dominational youth group, reports that yesterday three different hotels in the city refused a room to Bishop Benjamin W Arnett, age 58, an educator and a leader of African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Revere House finally admitted him as a guest but required him to take his meals in his room.

January 30– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Senator William A Peffer, Populist from Kansas, age 64 and himself a veteran of the Union Army, introduces a bill to provide pension benefits to any soldier or sailor who deserted the Confederate forces and afterwards enlisted in the U S Army or Navy.

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Frances Folsom Cleveland, the First Lady

 

January 30– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President and Mrs Cleveland host an elegant dinner at the White House for the justices of the Supreme Court and their wives.

Friendly & Intimate Relations ~ January 1892

President Harrison asserts his intention to “cultivate friendly and intimate relations” with other countries despite the tensions with Chile which resolve at the end of the month. He wants to send grain to starving people in Russia and appoints a black man as American minister to Liberia. Evidence of labor tensions and the on-going problem of racism manifest themselves. Both will escalate during the coming year.

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Ellis Island Main Building

 

January 1–Friday– New York City–The facility at Ellis Island goes into operation as the location to receive and process immigrants coming into the port of New York.

January 1– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– Roswell B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago from 1869 to 1871 and who called in federal troops after the Great Chicago Fire, angering some citizens, dies at age 86.

January 1– Friday– Capiz, the Philippines– Birth of Manuel Roxas y Acuna, who will serve as first President of the Philippines after independence from 1946 to his death on April 15, 1948.

January 4–Monday– Santiago, Chile–The government advises the United States that the attack on American sailors from the U S S Baltimore in Valparaiso last year [October 16, 1891] was the action of local drunkards, not an orchestrated attack against American honor.

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USS Baltimore

 

 

January 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The famine prevailing in some of the Provinces of Russia is so severe and widespread as to have attracted the sympathetic interest of a large number of our liberal and favored people. In some of the great grain-producing States of the West movements have already been organized to collect flour and meal for the relief of these perishing Russian families, and the response has been such as to justify the belief that a ship’s cargo can very soon be delivered at the seaboard through the generous cooperation of the transportation lines. It is most appropriate that a people whose storehouses have been so lavishly filled with all the fruits of the earth by the gracious favor of God should manifest their gratitude by large gifts to His suffering children in other lands. The Secretary of the Navy has no steam vessel at his disposal that could be used for the transportation of these supplies, and I therefore recommend that he be authorized to charter a suitable vessel to receive them if a sufficient amount should be offered, and to send them under the charge of a naval officer to such Russian port as may be most convenient for ready distribution to those most in need.” ~ Message to Congress from President Benjamin Harrison.

January 7– Thursday– Krebs, Oklahoma– A mine explosion due to unsafe working conditions kills approximately 100 workers and injures about another 150. Black people trying to help rescue white survivors are driven away by armed white men.

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monument to the Krebs miners

 

January 7– Thursday– Cairo, Egypt– Tewfik Pasha, Khedive of Egypt since 1879, dies at 39 years of age.

January 9– Saturday– Neveda, Missouri– Birth of Eva Kelly Bowring, politician, who will become the first woman to represent Nebraska in the U S. Senate. [Dies January 8, 1985.]

January 10– Sunday– Indianapolis, Indiana–Streetcar employees strike.

January10– Sunday– Coldwater, Mississippi– Birth of Dumas Malone, historian who will author a six volume biography of Thomas Jefferson and will serve as the first editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of American Biography. [Dies December 27, 1986.]

January 11–Monday– Washington, D.C.–President Harrison appoints William D McCoy, an African American, 38 years old, an educator from Indiana, as United States minister to Liberia. [McCoy will present his credentials to the Liberian government in the capital of Monrovia on March 28, 1892 and will die there of fever on May 16, 1893.]

January 14– Thursday– Norfolk, England– Prince Albert Victor, age 28, grandson of Queen Victoria and son of Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, dies of influenza. [His father will become King Edward VII when Victoria dies in 1901. Victor’s fiancee, Princess Mary of Teck, will marry Victor’s younger brother George who will become King George V upon the death of his father in 1910.]

January 14– Thursday– Lippstadt, Germany– Birth of Martin Niemoller, Protestant clergyman who will initially support Adolph Hitler but change his view and be imprisoned from 1937 to 1945. He will serve as president of the World Council of Churches from 1961 to 1968. [Dies March 6,1984.]

January 15– Friday– Greeley County, Nebraska– Birth of Jane Margueretta Hoey, social worker who will become the first director of the Bureau of Public Assistance in the Social Security Administration from 1936 to 1953. [Dies October 6, 1968.]

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Jane Hoey

 

January 19– Tuesday– Borgades, Iceland– Birth of Olafur Thors, political leader who will serve as prime minister several times between 1942 and 1963. [Dies December 31, 1964.]

January 20–Wednesday– Santiago, Chile–The government demands the recall of the American minister.

January 21–Thursday– Washington, D.C.–The United States demands the payment of an indemnity from Chile for last October’s incident.

January 22– Friday– Brooklyn, New York– Adele Parmentier Bayer, who has become known as “the Guardian Angel of the sailors” for her forty years of welfare work with merchant seamen and sailors in the U S Navy, dies at 77 years of age.

January 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Joseph P Bradley, U.S. Supreme Court Justice appointed by President Grant in 1870, dies at age 78. He served on the commission which resolved the disputed election of 1876.

January 24– Sunday– Mengo, Uganda– With the help of fire from British soldiers using a Maxim gun, Protestant believers repel an attack by a large number of Catholic believers.

January 25– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The request for the recall of Mr. Egan upon the ground that he was not persona grata was unaccompanied by any suggestion that could properly be used in support of it, and I infer that the request is based upon official acts of Mr. Egan which have received the approval of this Government. But however that may be, I could not consent to consider such a question until it had first been settled whether our correspondence with Chile could be conducted upon a basis of mutual respect. In submitting these papers to Congress for that grave and patriotic consideration which the questions involved demand I desire to say that I am of the opinion that the demands made of Chile by this Government should be adhered to and enforced. If the dignity as well as the prestige and influence of the United States are not to be wholly sacrificed, we must protect those who in foreign ports display the flag or wear the colors of this Government against insult, brutality, and death inflicted in resentment of the acts of their Government and not for any fault of their own. It has been my desire in every way to cultivate friendly and intimate relations with all the Governments of this hemisphere. We do not covet their territory. We desire their peace and prosperity. We look for no advantage in our relations with them except the increased exchanges of commerce upon a basis of mutual benefit. We regret every civil contest that disturbs their peace and paralyzes their development, and are always ready to give our good offices for the restoration of peace. It must, however, be understood that this Government, while exercising the utmost forbearance toward weaker powers, will extend its strong and adequate protection to its citizens, to its officers, and to its humblest sailor when made the victims of wantonness and cruelty in resentment not of their personal misconduct, but of the official acts of their Government.” ~ Message to Congress from President Benjamin Harrison regarding the situation with Chile.

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January 25– Monday– Santiago, Chile– The government of Chile offers $75,000 indemnity to the families of U S sailors killed and injured and withdraws the request for the recall of the American minister. [This dollar amount would equal approximately $2.01 million in today’s dollars using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 26– Tuesday– Worcester, Massachusetts– Birth of Zara Cully, African American actress. [She will begin her career in 1919 and continue performing until her death on February 28, 1978.]

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Zara Cully

 

January 28– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit herewith additional correspondence between this Government and the Government of Chile . . . . The response . . . to our note of the 21st withdraws, with acceptable expressions of regret, the offensive note of . . . the 11th ultimo, and also the request for the recall of Mr. Egan [American minister to Chile]. The treatment of the incident of the assault upon the sailors of the Baltimore is so conciliatory and friendly that I am of the opinion that there is a good prospect that the differences growing out of that serious affair can now be adjusted upon terms satisfactory to this Government by the usual methods and without special powers from Congress. This turn in the affair is very gratifying to me, as I am sure it will be to the Congress and to our people. The general support of the efforts of the Executive to enforce the just rights of the nation in this matter has given an instructive and useful illustration of the unity and patriotism of our people.” ~ Message to Congress from President Benjamin Harrison reporting on additional correspondence between the United States and Chile.

January 28– Thursday– Washington, D.C.–The United States accepts Chile’s offer of $75,000 made on January 25th.

January 30– Saturday– Bucharest, Romania – Birth of Grigore Gafencu, Romanian lawyer, journalist and politician who will serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1940. [Dies January 30, 1957.]

January 31– Sunday– Menton, France– Charles Spurgeon, popular English preacher, evangelist and author dies at age 57.

Progress Day by Day~ January 1876

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Women activists have returned to their patterns of antebellum activities seeking the vote and other civil rights. Workers and farmers will make economic issues part of the campaign this year. Discord stirred up by the Civil War continues to stir partisan politics and will also play a major role in the year’s elections. Americans look at world-wide events in new ways.

January 1– Saturday– New York City– Hundreds of people are walking about or riding in carriages well into the early hours of the morning, celebrating the coming of the New Year and the arrival of the Centennial of American independence.

January 1– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– The Reichsbank opens for business.

January 2– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports that workers at a shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts, are protesting a severe reduction in their wages.

January 5– Wednesday– Belmont, Ohio– Local farmers who are owed a great deal of money by a local businessman named A. C. Williamson who has fled to Canada, raid Williamson’s factory and store, carrying off everything of value. When the local sheriff attempts to stop them, the farmers lock up the sheriff and his deputies.

January 6– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Representative James G. Blaine of Maine, a leading Republican and potential presidential candidate, opposes granting amnesty to the 750 former Confederate leaders, particularly those educated at West Point or Anapolis.

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James G Blaine

 

January 10– Monday– New York City– A large number of workers gather at Cooper Institute to hear a speech from 84 year old Mr Peter Cooper, manufacturer, inventor and philanthropist. Cooper calls for action by the federal government to American industry and provide jobs for the unemployment. The audience reacts with enthusiasm.

January 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Congress Blaine expresses opposition to Jeff Davis, former president of the Confederacy, receiving amnesty, declaring that Davis was responsible for the mistreatment of Union prisoners held at the infamous Andersonville, Georgia, prison camp.

January 11– New York City– The New York Times reports that a number of government jobs held by Republican veterans of the Union Army have been given to Democratic Confederate veterans instead.

January 11– Tuesday– San Francisco, California– Birth of Jack London, novelist, journalist and social activist, involved with socialist politics from 1896 to 1916. [Dies November 22, 1916.]

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Jack London

 

January 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– The House Judiciary Committee considers a bill to limit the president to one term in office.

January 13– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times attacks the Democratic Party for its efforts at an amnesty bill as a way to bring former Confederates, who remain hostile to the federal government, back into politics.

January 14– Friday– Washington, D. C.– Congress receives a petition signed by 22,626 women and girls in Utah asking for admission of Utah as a state, repeal of the federal law banning polygamy, and relief from “unjust and law-breaking officials forced upon us by the Government.”

January 15– Saturday– Greeneville, Tennessee– Eliza McCardle Johnson, widow of former President Andrew Johnson, dies at age 75.

January 16– Sunday– Lynn, Massachusetts– Reports indicate that the strike of shoemakers may spread to close most or all of the factories.

January 17– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state legislature begins consideration of abolishing the death penalty as well as ending imprisonment for debt.

January 17– Monday– Jersey City, New Jersey– Birth of Frank Hague, politician who will hold a number of elected offices and run Democratic machine politics in the state for decades with a reputation for menacing conduct. [Dies January 1, 1956.] [For a biography and analysis, see A Cycle of Power by Richard Connors (1971) and The Statesman and The Boss by George Rapport (1961).]

January 17– Monday– Caprera Island, Italy– The 68 year old Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian unification, still meets with visitors from England and France, speaking to them in their own languages.

January 17– Monday– Prague, Austrian-Hungarian Empire [now Czech Republic]– Birth of Olga Fastrova, author, editor, translator, educator and pioneering journalist. [Dies August 8, 1965.]

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Matilda Joslyn Gage

 

January 18– Tuesday– Albany, New York– Matilda Joslyn Gage and Lillie Divereux Blake testify before the state legislature’s judiciary committee calling on the legislature to enfranchise the women of New York state to vote in federal elections, citing the “humanizing influence” of women and declaring that the political party which grants woman suffrage will win the national elections in November.

January 18– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times reports that the Universal Peace Union met last evening at the Rose Hill Methodist Chapel. Presentations included an account of treaty violations leading to war with the Modoc people in 1872-73 and a reflection on the duties of a Christian to work for peace. It was announced that Phebe Coffin Hanaford [1829– 1921], the Universalist minister will speak at the next meeting. [The Universal Peace Union was founded by Alfred Love in 1866; see, Alfred H Love and the Universal Peace Union by Robert Doherty (1962).]

January 19– Wednesday– New York City– About 55 representatives of working people hold a meeting calling for the formation of a new labor party, protection of the 8 hour work day and other measures in the interests of workers.

January 20– Thursday– Madrid, Spain– General elections to the Cortes Generales are held. At stake are all 391 seats in the Congress of Deputies. Conservatives win 329 seats, liberals 49 seats and other parties 13 seats. Of eligible voters, 58.9% vote. Antonio Canovas del Castillo, age 48, secures a second term as prime minister.

January 21– Friday– New York City– The New York Times reports that when three citizens complained about a black man delivering their mail and demanding that a white man take over the job, the post master informed them that if they find their mail carrier objectionable, they ought not to use the U S mails.

January 21– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Grant updates the House of Representatives regarding relations with Spain in regard to Cuba.

January 21– Friday– London, England– The British Anti-Slavery Society requests that Her Majesty’s government help settle the problems of Cuba where rebels have been fighting for independence from Spain since 1868.

January 24– Monday– St Paul, Minnesota– Reports say that large quantities of gold can be found in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. [The lands are holy to the Sioux and relegated to their control by a treaty made in 1868. The prospectors are trespassing but the army does nothing to stop them.]

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Aaron Augustus Sargent

 

January 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Senator Aaron Augustus Sargent of California presents a petition signed by a large number of women asking for the creation of a local government for the District of Columbia which will give women the right to vote. The senator asserts that the “great movement of woman suffrage” will prevail and is “making progress day by day.” Further, he declares, the example of Wyoming Territory which gave women the right to vote in 1869 is “indorsed by the judiciary, by the press and by the people generally” and is an example to be followed.

January 25– Tuesday– Vienna, Austria– A dispatch says that the Sultan of Turkey intends to reject Austria’s proposal to settle the Ottoman Empire’s debts to various European powers.

January 26– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Massachusetts Woman’s Suffrage Association concludes its two day convention. Julia Ward Howe and Reverend James Freeman Clarke made key presentations.

January 26– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Garibaldi meets with surviving veterans of his campaigns. Visiting Englishmen and Americans greet Garibaldi with enthusiasm.

January 27– Thursday– Trenton, New Jersey– The State Temperance Alliance holds a large meeting, dominated by women active in the cause, and makes recommendations to voters on temperance issues both at the sate and national levels.

January 28–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Helen Benson Garrison, wife of William Lloyd Garrison dies at age 64 from pneumonia.

January 28– Friday– London, England– Government sources here and in Berlin report that it is expected that Queen Victoria will visit with the German Imperial Court during her trip on the European continent.

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Queen Victoria

 

January 29– Saturday– New York City– “Mr. Blaine has just done and said his utmost to tear asunder the half-healed lacerations of our body politic, as recently rent and torn by intestine convulsions. Standing at the brink of that gulf which was about to be opened in our history, President Lincoln could but express the hope, in his first inaugural address, that ‘the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, would yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched,’ as he believed they would be, ‘by the better angels of our nature.’ But Mr. Blaine cannot find it in his heart to utter a prayer like this, or to breathe an invocation to ‘the better angels of our nature.’ He brings the vials of wrath, filled to the brim with the quintessence of sectional hate, and publicly breaks them over the heads of sixty-one members of the House of Representatives in the presence of the whole country.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

January 29– Saturday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– The Canadian Centennial Commission has reached final agreement with the United States Commissioners regarding Canada’s display at this summer’s celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January 29– Saturday– the Wairau electorate, New Zealand– The last day of five weeks of polling throughout the country takes place here. As political parties do not yet exist in the country, precise numbers of political opinions are unavailable; however, the current government wins enough seats to remain in power.

The Great Charter~June 15, 1215

The Great Charter

King John I signs the Great Charter

King John I signs the Great Charter

On this date in 1215 England’s King John I made peace with contentious nobles by signing the Magna Carta or Great Charter. John was the fifth and youngest son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He had none of the political skill of his father and certainly none of the intelligence of his brilliant mother. He ascended the throne of the death of his older brother, King Richard, the Lion-Hearted. As I used to tell my students, King John was in every way as nasty a piece of work as portrayed in the Robin Hood legends and then some.

Circa 1150, Eleanor of Aquitaine (c.1122 - 1204), the wife of King Louis VII of France and later of Henry II of England. One of her sons by Henry was Richard the Lionheart. Original Artwork: Taken from the carving on her tomb at Fontevrault. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1150, Eleanor of Aquitaine (c.1122 – 1204)

King John declared the Magna Carta invalid in September of 1216, barely a month before his own death and fighting with the nobles– both Norman and Saxon– continued. When John died his young son, Henry, needed the support of the nobility to keep the throne, and so Henry’s guardian issued an edited version of the Magna Carta. The adult King Henry III re-issued a final version of the Magna Carta in 1225, though it did not officially become law until 1295.While most of the rights in the Magna Carta, like the protections against unreasonable taxes and fees, had already been established by the Charter of Liberties, and others had been established by previous monarchs (John’s father, Henry II, had established a fairly decent system of trial by jury), the Magna Carta included one significant provision that had never been put into law before– the Council of Barons. This turned the Magna Carta from a list of intentions and promises, like the Charter of Liberties, into a document that could actually be enforced on the king. The Magna Carta meant that the king’s power was no longer completely absolute; however, the monarch continued to exercise great power until additional changes took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, giving shape to the English monarchy as we know it today.

monument at Runnymede

monument at Runnymede

What did the Great Charter actually say and do?

The Magna Carta prevented the king from levying taxes without his nobles’ permission, except in a few special situations, and from demanding goods or services without payment from his free subjects. It also limited the power of the barons to levy taxes on their own feudal subjects, and protected debtors from having their land seized to pay their debts, except as a last resort.

The Magna Carta protected the widows and heirs of nobles from having to pay unreasonable fees to receive their inheritances, and ensured that they would receive enough money to live on even if their husbands or fathers died in debt, as well as making the royal officials who managed the estates of underage heirs accountable for how the estates were run. It also limited the power of the king to force the widows and children of barons to marry, a power King John had abused for his own profit.

The Magna Carta set up permanent courts for different kinds of cases, and forced royal officials who accused someone of a crime to produce witnesses to prove their case. It protected free men from fines that would ruin them or that were out of proportion to their crime, and protected nobles from being fined except by the rest of the nobility. On the other hand, the Magna Carta also established that priests could be fined under the same rules as lay people. It established protection for free men from being arrested or punished in any way unless the punishment has been agreed by a jury of their equals or decreed by law.

One of the most important steps the Magna Carta took was the establishment of a council of twenty-five barons to enforce the rights it granted. The Council of Barons had the right to challenge the king if he or any of his officials violated any of the provisions of the Magna Carta, and if the king refused to make reparations, the council could force him to comply by seizing his royal property. The council was not elected by the people. When members died or left, the remaining members chose noblemen to replace them but by setting up a group of subjects with the power to hold the king to account, and to punish him if he failed to abide by the law, the Magna Carta paved the way for the later creation of Parliament, beginning around 1295.

tomb of King John I

tomb of King John I

We must remember that the Great Charter was created by nobles and a king not interested in civil rights but only in reaching a bargain to avoid civil war. Its purpose was to protect the nobility from the King. It did nothing for the peasant. It offered nothing for the Jews, the Scots or the Irish, or any foreigners living in or conducting business in England.

Yet it had long-reaching effects in establishing constitutional government in Great Britain and in the United States.

I Make No Plans For The Future ~ March 1865 ~ 28th to 30th

I Make No Plans for the Future

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Much gloom pervades Southern civilians and soldiers, mourning dead family and friends.

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March 28– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “While I was gone the Regiment got into a severe fight. It was on the 25th and like to have all got killed or captured. The loss of the Regiment is 6 killed, 25 wounded, 118 captured. From what I can gather about the fight is this. Above here in front of Petersburg our forces attacked the yanks taking a number of prisoners and a good portion of their works. To retaliate they attacked our picket line, in front of this place capturing many but never got to our main line, and in trying to reestablish our picket line our Regiment got so badly cut up and failed to do it that day which was the 25th. Yesterday they reestablished the line with little loss. All is quiet now again but it is sad and heart sickening to look at our Regiment now. It seems that Providence ordained that I should miss it, or else I might now have been captured or killed. I feel sad and lonesome now, all my mess is gone, and I am alone again, but I can get along about that. The weather is pleasant now but it is uncertain about its continuing so long.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

March 28– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “You must let me off with a few lines to-night, because I have some little packing yet to do and would like a good modicum of slumber; for to-morrow we are up and moving betimes in light order. I do not look for any grand action from this (taking the liberty of guessing where I am in the dark). I fancy a heavy infantry force will move to our left and rear, to mask and protect a great movement of cavalry with Sheridan at its head, directed at the South Side Rail Roadand other communications; all of which the enemy must be fully aware of; but I don’t think he can have one half our force in cavalry. The amount of fighting will depend on the moves of the enemy ; but I do not ever expect to see more than one such field-day as we used to have in the ever memorable campaign of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania perhaps not even one. Meantime I will not recklessly run against bullets. It isn’t my style; not exactly.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

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March 28– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Misses Caro and Lou Bacon spent the day with us, but I could not enjoy their visit for thinking of the poor boy, Anderson [a slave youth], who has been sent to jail. He implored me to beg ‘missis’ to forgive him, and I couldn’t help taking his part, though I know he deserved punishment. He refused to obey the overseer, and ran away four times. A soldier caught him and brought him in this morning with his hands tied behind him. Such sights sicken me, and I couldn’t help crying when I saw the poor wretch, though I know discipline is necessary, especially in these turbulent times, and sister is sending him to jail more as an example to the others than to hurt him. She has sent strict orders to the sheriff not to be too severe with him, but there is no telling what brutal men who never had any Negroes of their own will do; they don’t know how to feel for the poor creatures.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 29– Wednesday– New York City– “I almost hope this war may last till it becomes a war of extermination. Southrons who could endure the knowledge that human creatures were undergoing this torture [the treatment of Union prisoners in Confederate prison camps] within their own borders, and who did not actively protest against it, deserve to be killed.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 29– Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia– Union General Grant begins a pincer-like operation in an attempt to prevent Confederate General Lee from evacuating the area.

cabin at City Point used as General Grant's headquarters

cabin at City Point used as General Grant’s headquarters

March 29– Wednesday– Headquarters of Confederate General Johnston, North Carolina– “I thought My duty as the friend & bother officer of your deceased husband to write you, giving the particulars of his death. Colonel King Returned to the Command from the Hospital at Charlotte, N.C. (where he had been for a few days with slight illness) on the 9th instant. On the morning of the 10th our brigade was ordered to charge the camp of the Yankee General Kilpatrick. The Cobb Legion under Colonel King led the charge which was entirely Successful until the enemy rallied & the Cobb Legion again charged the Yankee Battery in which charge the Colonel Received a mortal wound while most gallantly leading his men in the fight. When I first met him he was speechless therefore, I did not hear his last words. I learned from those who were very near him at the time that his last Remark was, (Say to My wife I die willingly defending My country). I trust Madam that you will accept My Sincere Sympathy in your great very great bereavement. You have lost a Kind good husband, I a true & tried friend, and our common country a staunch & noble patriot. I trust Madam that you May have the fortitude to bear your loss as becomes the wife of So brave & noble a man. Again I tender you My heart felt Sympathies.” ~ Letter from a fellow officer to Bessie King, the widow of Barrington Simeral King.

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March 29– Wednesday– Augusta, Georgia– “At times I feel as I was drifting on, on, ever onward to be at last dashed against some rock and I shut my eyes– almost wish it was over, the shock encountered and I prepared to know what destiny awaits me. I am tired, oh so tired, of this war. I feel the restraint of the blockade and as port after port becomes blockaded, I feel shut up, pent up and am irresistibly reminded of the old story of the iron shroud contracting more and more each hour, each moment. I may perhaps be glad hereafter that I have lived through this war but now the height of my ambition is to be quiet, to have no distracting cares, the time to read, leisure to think and write and study. Country, glory, and patriotism are great things but to the bereaved hearts of Mrs. Stovall and Mrs. Clayton, each moaning for the death of their first born, what bitter mockery there must be in the words. Thus it is I strive to get away, to forget in reading or in writing or in talking the ever present, the one absorbing theme of war and thus it is thrust upon me. I make no plans for the future.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

March 30– Thursday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I take this opportunity of thanking you for the excellent selection of tracts you sent me. I have read many of them and think them excellent. The soldiers appear glad to get them. I hope they will be read by many and be the means of doing good. I always request those to whom I give tracts to give them to others when they have read them. I have some of them yet perhaps as many as I may be able to distribute for a month that will depend very much on the movements of the army near us. I again ask the favor of another bundle when it may be convenient for you to send them. I send you $400 which I place at your disposal to be used in the way you think will do most good. There is one thing I must tell you. Some of our returned prisoners complain of the treatment they met with in Richmond. They say they came there destitute of money and could procure nothing to eat without it. If this is true it is discouraging to our soldiers who have suffered so much in Yankee prisons to meet with such neglect at home. I suppose Government has made provision for our prisoners But it may be through some neglect some are left to suffer. If you are situated so near the Landing as to have an opportunity of observing our prisoners and see such, please relieve them. We are now looking for some of our Providence and Shemariah boys– T Smiley, H Wright, of Beard, F Meatcheon. If you should see any of the above named destitute please furnish them with the means of procuring such things as they need. If you have not funds in your hands at the time they may come and you expend any thing for their comfort, Let me know and I will refund it. I do not wish you to keep this money waiting to see if they will need it But use it in any way you wish for doing good.” ~ Letter from Mr E. Martin to Reverend H. Brown.

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March 30– Thursday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “Your letter expressing the views of the commander-in-chief in reference to the policy to be pursued in raising Negro troops is received. I am apprehensive that we shall have applications and evidence enough to take from us more men than we can well spare at this critical moment in our affairs. It seems to me that any person who has the influence to raise a company or a regiment by going home could do so as well by letters to his friends at home. If I am right in this opinion, an order announcing that the officers of the companies and regiments of colored troops would be appointed from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with our armies would have the effect of bringing back more absentees than we should lose by making the appointments. If we may judge of our future success in getting up new organizations by the past, we may rely upon it that many will furnish the necessary evidence, and go home and there remain for eight and ten and twelve months. I think it would be well to publish a general order, explaining more clearly the policy indicated in your letter, in order that a better general understanding may exist amongst the parties who may desire to furnish evidence of their ability to get up new organizations. Otherwise I may adopt rules which would not be as favorable to the officers and men of this command as those of other commands.” ~ Letter from Confederate General James Longstreet to Colonel W. H. Taylor.