Tag Archives: clergy

September ~ Election Year 1852

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

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

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Rebecca Mann Pennell

 

September 1– Wednesday– New York City– “The time has come, not merely for the examination and discussion of Woman’s social, civil and religious rights, but also for a thorough and efficient organization—a well-digested plan of operation, whereby these sacred rights, for which our fathers fought, bled and died, may be secured and enjoyed by us. Let woman no longer supinely endure the evils she may escape, but with her own right hand carve out for herself a higher, nobler destiny than has heretofore been hers. Inasmuch as through the folly and imbecility of Woman the race is what it is, dwarfed in mind and body, and as through her alone it can yet be redeemed, all are equally interested in the objects of this Convention. We therefore solemnly urge those Men and Women who desire and look for the development and elevation of the race, to be present at the coming Convention, and aid us by the wisdom of their counsels. Our platform will, as ever, be free to all who are capable of discussing the subject with seriousness, candor and truth.” ~ The Lily on the upcoming Woman’s Rights Convention.

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

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

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

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John P Hale

 

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

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

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

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Alice Brown Davis

 

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

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

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

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Gerrit Smith

 

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

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

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

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

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August ~ Election Year 1912

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With former President Teddy Roosevelt its candidate, the Progressive Party adopts a liberal, reform-minded platform but as a gesture to the South, keeps Southern blacks from the convention. Invoking the Monroe Doctrine, the U S mends in Latin American affairs. President Taft takes away Native American lands while getting Congress to pass some important legislation. Trouble is brewing in Mexico and in the Balkans.

August 1– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– The Progressive Party announces that it will not allow African Americans from Southern states to be delegates at its organizing convention in Chicago, a statement made with the approval of former President Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt emphasizes that from Northern states, “there would be a number of Negro delegates; more, in fact, than ever before figured in a National convention.”

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August 2– Friday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate votes 51-4 to extend the Monroe Doctrine to protect the Americas, both North and South, from foreign corporations.

August 4– Sunday– Corinto, Nicaragua– One hundred U.S. Marines and sailors arrive on the USS Annapolis to protect American interests.

August 4– Sunday– Lidingo Municipality, Sweden– Birth of Raoul Wallenberg, diplomat and humanitarian who will rescue tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II, then disappear into Soviet custody in 1947 and subsequently be presumed dead.

August 5– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– The Progressive Party, nicknamed the “Bull Moose” Party to rival the Republican elephant and Democrat donkey, opens its founding convention.

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August 6– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Progressive Party presents a 16 page booklet detailing the platform which includes establishing limits and disclosure requirements ob campaign contributions, registration of lobbyists, establishment of a national health service, social insurance for the elderly and disabled, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, mandatory reporting of industrial accidents, a minimum wage for working women, an eight-hour workday, conversation of natural resources, establishment of a federal securities commission, establishment of a department of labor, regulation of interstate corporations, downward revision of tariffs, establishment of an inheritance tax, financial aid to farmers, pensions for veterans and their widows and children, use of the new Panama Canal to break the monopoly of the railroads, woman suffrage, direct election of senators, maintaining a strong military yet working for international agreements on limiting naval forces.

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Woodrow Wilson

 

August 7– Wednesday– Sea Girt, New Jersey– Speaking to a crowd of 6,000 supporters, Woodrow Wilson formally accepts the Democratic nomination.

August 7– Wednesday–Chicago, Illinois– The Progressive Party nominates Theodore Roosevelt as its candidate for President of the United States and California Governor Hiram Johnson for vice-president. [Johnson, age 46, a reform-minded lawyer, was elected governor in 1910. He will continue to serve as governor until 1917 and then as U S Senator from California from 1917 until his death on August 6, 1945. On his life and work, See: Hiram Johnson: Political Revivalist (1995) by M Weatherson and H Bochin; A Bloc of One: the Political Career of Hiram W Johnson (1993) by R C Lower.

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Hiram Johnson

 

August 8– Thursday– Mt Juliet, Tennessee– Ross Winn, age 40, American anarchist and newspaper publisher, dies from tuberculosis, “the poor people’s disease.”

August 9– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft issues a proclamation opening parts the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana for public sale as of October 21, 1912.

August 10– Saturday– Beijing, China– The Republic’s provisional government enacts its election law, creating a lower house of parliament, and limiting voting rights to male citizens who were at least 21 years of age, have at least two years residency in their district, and meet certain property and educational restrictions.

August 11– Sunday– near Mexico City, Mexico– Zapatista rebels attack a train, killing 35 soldiers and 20 civilians.

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August 12– Monday– City of Uskub (now Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia)– An army of 15,000 Kosovar Albanians march into the city, one of the European outposts of the Ottoman Empire, and expel the Turkish administrators and Serbian residents.

August 13– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Radio Act of 1912 is enacted, providing for all American radio broadcasters to be licensed by, and assigned a specific frequency, by the federal government.

August 14– Wednesday– London, England– Octavia Hill, social reformer, dies at age 73 from cancer.

August 15– Thursday–Pasadena, California– Birth of Julia Carolyn Mc Williams Child, chef, author and television personality.[Dies August 13, 2004.]

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August 16– Friday– Providence, Rhode Island– Theodore Roosevelt opens his campaign for the presidency, with an speech detailing his plans.

August 16– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– Sixteen-year-old African-American Virginia Christian is executed for the March 18th murder of her employer, Mrs Ida Belote, in Hampton, Virginia, despite pleas for clemency made to Governor William Hodges Mann, age 69, a Democrat and veteran of the Confederate Army. Miss Christian is listed as “the first woman to be put to death in the electric chair in Virginia.”

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Virginia Christian in her jail cell

 

August 17– Saturday– Los Angeles, California– Clarence Darrow, the famous trial lawyer, receives a verdict of acquittal in his own criminal trial. Darrow had been charged with having attempted to bribe a juror in the Los Angeles Times bombing case.

August 17– Saturday–Piedmont, California– Cloe Annette Buckel, physician whose career included care of Union soldiers from August, 1863 through May, 1865, dies of arteriosclerosis eight days before her 79th birthday.

August 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft signs into law the Plant Quarantine Act, giving the federal government the power to regulate the importation and interstate shipment of plant products that might carry with them insects and diseases. The law will prove effective in curtailing the spread of the gypsy moth beyond the New England area, where the population of the pest had significantly increased over the previous seven years.

August 20– Tuesday– London, England– Reverend William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, dies at age 83.

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William Booth

 

August 23–Friday– Washington, D. C.– The Pure Food and Drug Act is amended to prohibit drug manufacturers from making false claims on the labels of medication.

August 24–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–Congress gives final approval to the creation of the parcel post system.

August 25– Sunday–Beijing, China– The Kuomintang political party, also referred to as the Nationalist Chinese Party, is founded by former President Sun Yat-sen. [Under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek, the Kuomintang will be the ruling political party of mainland China until 1949, and of Taiwan since then.]

August 27– Tuesday– Veracruz, Mexico– Birth of Gloria Rubio Alatorre Guinness, who will become a well-known socialite in the Americas and in Europe. A fashion icon, she will write for and edit Harper’s Bazaar (1963-1971). [Dies November 9, 1980.]

August 29– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Claims made by entrepreneur Clarence Cunningham, to the coal fields of the Territory of Alaska, are cancelled by the Department of the Interior.

August 29– Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– Robert R. Church, African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist, dies at age 72 after a brief illness.

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Robert R Church

 

August 30– Friday– Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico– Rebel Mexican General Jose Inez Salazar begins a campaign to force American residents to leave Mexico, ordering the residents of the American Mormon settlement to leave the country within two weeks.

 

August ~ Election Year 1860

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As the country staggers toward disunion and civil war, the Republican candidate feels new confidence in his ability to win. Slavery remains the hot issue. Abolitionists attack the churches for their support of the slave system. Around the world, there are problems in Syria and Lebanon, in Central America, in Italy and with the continuing and illegal international slave trade. The heir to England’s throne is visiting Canada.

August 1– Wednesday– New York City–Today’s edition of the New York Herald quotes the mayor of Chicago as saying that Southerners are busy playing “the old game of scaring and bullying the North into submission to Southern demands and Southern tyranny.”

August 1–Wednesday– Rochester, New York–In a speech in honor of the twenty-sixth anniversary of the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire, Frederick Douglass praises Senator Sumner of Massachusetts, calling Sumner “the Wilberforce of America.” Douglass goes on to say that he hopes that the Republican party will avoid “acts of discrimination against the free colored people of the United States. I certainly look to that party for a nobler policy than that avowed by some connected with the Republican organization.”

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Frederick Douglass

 

August 3– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Liberator reports that two abolitionists have been hung in Texas for allegedly distributing arms and inciting slaves to rebel.

August 3– Friday– Paris, France–Representatives from France, Great Britain, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and the Ottoman Empire met to discuss the religious violence in Lebanon and Syria and the massacre at Damascus last month.

August 4– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “When you wrote, you had not learned of the doings of the democratic convention at Baltimore; but you will be in possession of it all long before this reaches you. I hesitate to say it, but it really appears now, as if the success of the Republican ticket is inevitable. We have no reason to doubt any of the states which voted for Fremont. Add to these, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New-Jersey, and the thing is done. Minnesota is as sure as such a thing can be; while the democracy are so divided between Douglas and Breckenridge in Penn. & N.J. that they are scarcely less sure. Our friends are also confident in Indiana and Illinois. I should expect the same division would give us a fair chance in Oregon. Write me what you think on that point.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Simeon Francis.

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August 5– Sunday– New York City–”There is a great trouble among the republicans in this State. They have their trials and misfortunes as well as the democrats. There is a tremendous quarrel going on about the Governorship, in which Greeley is mixed up. The object is to kill him off before the Presidential election, so as to destroy his political influences and cheat him out of his fair share of the spoils of office. One section of the republicans desire the renomination of Morgan. But the Seward party are determined to defeat him because he was lukewarm to their chief. If the Sewardites can, they will never let Greeley get that postmastership for which he covenanted with Blair and Bates and Lincoln. The usual contest between the republican leaders of this city and those of Albany and Western New York is now embittered by a new element of strife – the personal quarrel between the philosopher of the Tribune and the apostle of the ‘higher law.’” ~ New York Herald.

August 6–Monday– Trujillo, Honduras–William Walker, an American soldier of fortune, lands with an armed group of mercenaries in an attempt to seize the country.

August 7– Tuesday– New York City–Today’s Times quotes a Southern writer who favors Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington “paved ten fathoms deep with mangled bodies” rather than see Lincoln become president.

August 8–Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois–Lincoln appears at a campaign rally to a tumultuous response. He declines to give a long speech but limits himself to a few impromptu remarks. “I am gratified, because it is a tribute such as can be paid to no man as a man. It is the evidence that four years from this time you will give a like manifestation to the next man who is the representative of the truth on the questions that now agitate the public. And it is because you will then fight for this cause as you do now, or with even greater ardor than now, though I be dead and gone. I most profoundly and sincerely thank you.”

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August 8–Wednesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Storm King with a cargo of 619 slaves.

August 9– Thursday– Winsboro, South Carolina–Congressman William W. Boyce had earlier pressed co-operation in the sectional crisis but today at a mass election meeting, he speaks in favor of secession if needed. He concludes that “if Lincoln be elected, I think that the Southern States should withdraw from the Union. All, but if not all, as many as will, and if no other, South Carolina alone, in the promptest manner and by the most direct means.”

August 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The American Missionary Association (established by men who despaired of the reform of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions)is a thoroughly Anti-Slavery body; its organ also, the American Missionary, bears a vigorous and active testimony against our country’s great sin; and yet its concern for the credit of the church is so strong, its alliance with the church exerts upon it such a restraining influence, that it cannot bear to recognize the fact either that the American Church is the great bulwark of slavery, or that the Southern Church is as actively and heartily engaged in the support of that sin as the slave-trader, foreign or domestic, himself. It says, in its August number– ‘The evidences are accumulating that the mass of the Southern churches are drifting toward the unconditional support of slavery as it is.’ Instead of drifting towards the support of slavery, the Southern churches are, and have been for the last fifty years, anchored and fortified in the actual and efficient support of it. The evidence, to be sure, is, accumulating; but at no time for the last fifty years has it fallen short of absolute demonstration. The position of the Southern churches towards slavery remains precisely where it has been throughout the lives of all of us, as shown by its practice. They buy, sell, hold, flog and breed slaves, exactly as they have always done. It is only their position towards anti-slavery that is changed, and the change is from hypocrisy to impudence.” ~ The Liberator.

August 10–Friday– Off the coast of Mozambique–The HMS Brisk pursues and captures the American-built slave ship Sunny South with several hundred slaves aboard.

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a British warship 1860

 

August 11–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–President Buchanan sends a private letter to a journalist in which he denies that he is firing supporters of Senator Douglas from their government jobs.

August 12– Sunday– New York City– “A laughable incident occurred at the Douglas celebration in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. While the procession was crossing Division street bridge, over Fond du Lac river, it gave way under such an unwonted load of democracy as had gathered upon it, and let the crowd into the water below. Fortunately the mud was much deeper than the water, and no other serious consequences ensured than the fright, and the thick envelope of slough material brought up by those whom the bridge refused to transport in safety over this peril in the line of march. Several ladies took the unwelcome descent, and when rescued appeared in a much deeper shade of mourning than is a usual style of dress at a gala celebration. The light of torches changed to a scene of merriment among a crowd of fun loving boys what might otherwise have been a serious accident.” ~ New York Herald.

August 13–Monday– Willowdell, Ohio–Birth of Phoebe Orlando Ann Mosey who will become famous as the sharpshooter Annie Oakley. [Dies November 3, 1926.]

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Annie Oakley

 

August 14–Tuesday– Memphis, Tennessee–The Memphis Daily Appeal quotes Stephen A Douglas as favoring the acquisition of Cuba and other territories in the Caribbean and in Central America.

August 15– Wednesday– Marion, Ohio– Birth of Florence Kling Harding, who will become the wife of Warren G Harding, elected president of the United States in 1920. [Most likely she will know of her husband’s extramarital affairs and will be morally stronger than her weak-willed spouse. After his death she will systematically destroy his correspondence. She dies November 21, 1924, fifteen months after Mr Harding.]

August 16– Thursday– New York City– Birth of Helen Hartley Jenkins, philanthropist. Inheriting her father’s substantial fortune upon his death in 1902, she will give generously to Columbia University, Barnard College, nursing programs, aid to Serbian immigrants, improved housing for the poor, prison reform, political reform in New York City and other social welfare programs. [Dies April 24, 1934.]

August 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Slavery wants to be let alone. It must not be let alone. The slaveholder wants to be recognized as a gentleman and a Christian; to be treated as ‘a man of honor,’ in spite of a character stained with the height of meanness and the depth of baseness. The proper treatment for this insolent assumption is to him . . . to refuse . . . to take his blood-stained hand; to make him feel, whenever he chances to be in the company of gentlemen, or Christians, that the robbery which he systematically practices, and by which he lives, is every moment present to their minds as the prominent feature in his character. Let the people of any free country, to which he goes, speak to him of slavery when they speak to him at all, and let the same treatment be applied to his allies and defenders. If they take refuge in a meeting of the Statistical Society, let the statistics of slavery be made the order of the day. And let the demeanor of all Englishmen speak to plainly their detestation of the crime in question, that an openly pro-slavery man shall feel itself scorched with contempt whenever he appears among them, either on public business or for private pleasure. And above all, let this treatment be applied in England, to American clergyman who are known as the defenders of slavery. To treat such persons as men of honor, as gentlemen, or as Christians, is to take part against the slave.” ~ The Liberator.

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August 17–Friday– Chicago, Illinois–The Press and Tribune reports that “The opposition to Old Abe is played out. Without an union among the different parties who compose it, he will gallop over the course, not pushed to wet a hair or draw a long breath. . . . the Republicans will, at one haul, take one hundred thousand voters out of the Douglas ranks and enroll them under the free soil banner.”

August 17–Friday– Omaha, Nebraska Territory–The Democratic Territorial Convention opens with the nationwide split much in evidence. The Breckinridge forces manage to overwhelm the Douglas supporters on most issues. The gathering does manage to unanimously nominate a candidate for territorial delegate to Congress after only four ballots.

August 18– Saturday– Quebec, Canada– The Prince of Wales arrives for a four day visit as part of his continuing North American tour. He will visit the governing Assembly where he confers the first knighthood invested in Canada on Narcisse Belleau, the Speaker of the Legislative Council.

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the Prince of Wales at his wedding, 1863

 

August 20– Monday– Damascus, Syria– In order to impress the European powers that they are able to protect Christians and punish the perpetrators of the recent widespread massacres in Syria, Turkish authorities publicly execute scores said to be implicated in the mass killings of Christians the previous month. In all,170 are shot, 56 hanged, and around 400 others exiled. Western observers generally see this as a design to shelter those actually responsible.

August 22–Wednesday– Assisted by the British Navy, the troops of Giuseppe Garibaldi cross from Sicily to the Italian mainland.

August 23– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– “The active attempts made yesterday by the Douglas leaders to induce the Breckinridge men to withdraw their ticket, and unite in a Bell-Breckinridge-Douglas coalition in this State, had not succeeded at the date of our latest advances from the conference. As we understand the offer, it is to withdraw all tickets now in the field, and make a new combination for electors, which shall include B. S. Morris, L. D. Boone, and Alfred Dutch, on the part of the Know Nothings; Isaac Cook and John Dougherty, as the representatives of the slave code; and any six squatter sovereigns whom the party may select. This is the last and most desperate expedient of the Times and Herald to secure the vote of this State for Douglas, that Breckinridge’s chances may be increased. If it works – who cares?” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

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August 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “An adjourned meeting of the Political Anti-slavery Convention, which met in the city of Boston, on the 29th day of May last, will be held in the city of Worcester, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th days of September next, at 10 o’clock, A.M. The object of this Convention is to consider the propriety of organizing a Political Party upon an Anti-Slavery interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, with the avowed purpose of abolishing slavery in the States, as well as Territories of the Union. At itsf ormer meeting, resolutions setting forth the great principles of liberty and equality which must underlie and permeate a political movement, to entitle it to the confidence and support of the friends of freedom, were introduced and discussed, but without taking action upon them, the Convention adjourned to meet in the city of Worcester, at the call of the President and Chairman of the Business Committee. In discharging the duty thus devolved upon us, we now make an appeal to you, fellow-citizens, lovers of freedom of both sexes, in behalf of four millions of enslaved countrymen, who, in the name of justice and a common brotherhood, demand their liberty at your hands.Nearly an entire generation has passed away since the commencement of the present Anti-Slavery agitation, and yet slavery is still triumphant over our whole land! There is not yet a single foot of soil, inall this broad Republic, on which the escaping slave can stand, and feel that he is free! There is not yet in existence a political party . . . which does not shamelessly avow the purpose to wield the National sword in defense of the bloody slave system, wherever it exists under State jurisdiction! The Church it still in league with the tyrant, with both her heels upon the necks of his helpless victims! We have had discussions upon the character of slavery and the sources of its power, till the whole subject is thoroughly understood by all who have any disposition to investigate. What now remains for us, therefore, is ACTION. Our only hope of success is in translating our sentiments into statutes, and coining our words into deeds!” ~ Notice in today’s issue of The Liberator.

August 24–Friday– Montreal, Canada– On his continuing North American tour, the Prince of Wales and his party arrive here, the largest and richest city in Canada, for six days of parades, balls, and touring as well as necessary meetings with Canadian political and religious leaders.

August 25– Saturday– Montreal, Canada–The Prince of Wales presides over the opening ceremonies for the Victoria Railway Bridge.

August 26– Sunday– Springfield, Illinois– “I hardly know how to express the strength of my personal regard for Mr. Lincoln. I never saw a man for whom I so soon formed an attachment. I like him much, and agree with him in all things but his politics. He is kind and very sociable; immensely popular among the people of Springfield. . . . There are so many hard lines in his face that it becomes a mask of the inner man. His true character only shines out when in an animated conversation, or when telling an amusing tale, of which he is very fond. He is said to be a homely man; I do not think so.” ~ Diary entry of J Henry Brown upon seeing Lincoln at church today.

August 27–Monday– New York City–The Herald quotes Stephan A Douglas as saying, “I am for putting down the Northen abolitionists, but am also for putting down the Southern secessionists, and that too by the exercise of the same constitutional power. I believe that the peace, harmony, and safety of the country depend upon destroying both factions.”

August 28– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– Continuing his unconventional personal campaigning and his swing through Virginia, Stephen Douglas speaks to more than 3000 people at the Phoenix Hall in Petersburg on a rainy evening after spending all day receiving well-wishers at Jarrat’s Hotel. In his speech, he attacks all his opponents as endangering the Union which he strongly defends.

August 30– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “Yours of the 27th was received last evening; as also was one only a few days before. Neither of these bears quite so hopeful a tone as your former letters. When you say you are organizing every election district, do you mean to include the idea that you are ‘canvassing’ – ‘counting noses?’” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to A J McClure.

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August 31–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today The Liberator carries a report of French honors to John Brown. “We are glad to lay before our readers the following generous and hearty tribute to John Brown from the Free-Masons of France. This is all the more magnanimous as Brown was not a member of the Order. This and Victor Hugo’s touching appeals show how keenly alive France is to the cause of Justice and Liberty the world over. The words here were translated from the Monde Maconnique, Paris.”

August 31–Friday– Newark, Ohio–This day’s issue of the Newark Advocate in an article entitled “Is Lincoln an Abolitionist?” argues that since Lincoln declared that the nation cannot exist indefinitely half-slave and half-free and opposes the expansion of slavery into the western territories, he therefore must be an abolitionist.

August 31– Friday– Ottawa, Canada–On a rainy day the Prince of Wales arrives here in the recently selected capital city for the Dominion. The next three days will be full of receptions, parades, balls and other festivities.

August ~ Election Year 1856

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The new Republican Party, in its first presidential bid with the candidacy of John Fremont, finds active participation by Attorney Abraham Lincoln. The incumbent president, Franklin Pierce, finds little cooperation from Congress and his hands full with diplomatic relations. The first American diplomat arrives in Japan. The slavery issue remains heated. The British press stands aghast at the assault on Senator Charles Sumner.

August 1– Friday– Springfield, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln, joined by Mr Yates, Mr Herndon, and Mr Jayne, sign a note to John M. Palmer, encouraging him to be patient. “It is our judgment that whether you do or do not finally stand as a candidate for Congress, it is better for you to not to publicly decline for a while. It is a long time till the election; and what may turn up no one can tell.”

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Lawyer Lincoln

 

August 2– Saturday– Keene New Hampshire– Birth of Eliza White, author of 29 books for children as well as 9 novels for adults. [Dies January 23, 1947.]

August 4– Monday– New York City– “Our brethren of the South are surely mad. . . . Mr Ruggles told me that ‘if Fremont were elected, he would never be permitted to reach Washington.’ Their brag and bluster can’t well be paralleled, . . . . There are germs of insurrection among the ‘poor trash,’ the plebeians who don’t own Negroes. Such a movement once formed and recognized must triumph sooner or later, and Negro emancipation and the downfall of the . . . aristocracy of those states must follow.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith lay before the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of War, in reply to a resolution of the House requesting information in regard to the construction of the Capitol and Post-Office extensions.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the House of Representatives.

August 6– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo, requesting the President to inform the Senate in relation to any application by the governor of the State of California to maintain the laws and peace of the said State against the usurped authority of an organization calling itself the committee of vigilance in the city and county of San Francisco, and also to lay before the Senate whatever information he may have in respect to the proceedings of the said committee of vigilance, I transmit the accompanying reports from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate.

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President Pierce

 

August 7– Thursday– Grand View, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln is one of the speakers at a Republican rally to support John Fremont.

August 8– Friday– Charleston, Illinois– About 6,000 people attend a Fremont rally and hear a speech from Mr Lincoln, among others. A reporter notes that the crowd gives him “marked attention and approbation.”

August 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, and for the surrender of fugitive criminals, between the United States and the Republic of Venezuela, signed at Caracas on the 10th of July last.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate.

August 11– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “I return herewith to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, a bill entitled ‘An act for continuing the improvement of the Des Moines Rapids, in the Mississippi River,’ and submit it for reconsideration, because it is, in my judgment, liable to the objections to the prosecution of internal improvements by the General Government set forth at length in a communication addressed by me to the two Houses of Congress on the 30th day of December, 1854, and in other subsequent messages upon the same subject, to which on this occasion I respectfully refer.” ~ Veto message from President Pierce.

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August 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday.” ~ Message from President Pierce to the Senate. [These documents are relating to The declaration concerning maritime law, adopted by the diplomats of Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, and Turkey at Paris April 16, 1856.]

August 13– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “The Bible represents Satan as ruling the hearts of men at his will, just as the men who wield the slave power of the South rule the dough faces of the North at their will, dictating the choice of our Presidents and the entire legislation of the Federal Government. So Satan ruled Eve in the garden, so he now ‘works in the children of disobedience.’”~ Reverend Charles G Finney in the Oberlin Evangelist.

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Reverend Charles G Finney

 

August 14– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I return herewith to the Senate, in which it originated, a bill entitled ‘An act for the improvement of the navigation of the Patapsco River and to render the port of Baltimore accessible to the war steamers of the United States,’ and submit it for reconsideration, because it is, in my judgment, liable to the objections to the prosecution of internal improvements by the General Government set forth at length in a communication addressed by me to the two Houses of Congress on the 30th day of December, 1854, and other subsequent messages upon the same subject, to which on this occasion I respectfully refer.” ~ Veto message from President Pierce.

August 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Fourteenth annual meeting of the Western Anti-Slavery Society will be held in Salem, Ohio, commencing on Saturday, the 30th of August, at 10o’clock, A.M., and continue three days. There probably was never a time when the Anti-slavery cause required of its friends a more stern and faithful advocacy than the present. As their principles have been proclaimed amid scorn, and continually without concealment, so should they be proclaimed amid the strife of political elements, and the allurements of party interest, without compromise. While they may congratulate themselves upon the increasing favor with which their doctrines are received by the popular mind, they should not for a moment cease to inculcate the duty and necessity of demanding, not he restoration of a pro-slavery compromise of former days, not the more limitation of chattelism to State boundaries, but that every friend of human rights should cease to support, by speech or vote, by influence direct or indirect, the system of American Slavery. The infamous Slave Law of 1850, the Border foray upon Kansas, the recent cowardly and murderess attack in the Senate Chamber upon a member of the upper House [attack upon Senator Charles Sumner], are so many evidences of the utter hopelessness of abolitionists effectually laboring to promote the downfall of’ the peculiar institution, except they practically adopt the motto of ‘No Union with Slave-holders.’ All who hate slavery, and seek its extinction, are invited to assemble with us for inquiry, for counsel, and for aid. It is expected that Parker Pillsbury will be present on the occasion, and again greet his Western friends; Charles L. Remond and A. T. Foss have also given us encouragement to hope they will be with us, as well as some others whom we cannot now announce.” ~ The Liberator.

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August 16– Saturday– Oregon, Illinois– A large crowd gathers at the public square, and “then moved to a beautiful grove on the banks of Rock River. After partaking of a repast prepared by the ladies of Ogle County . . . the people listened to most excellent speeches from Honorable Abraham Lincoln, and Honorable John Wentworth” in support of Republican candidates, according to a man who was present.

August 17– Sunday– Hadlyme, Connecticut– Birth of Martha Hillard MacLeish, educator, church leader, community worker and mother of poet Archibald Macleish. [Dies December 19, 1947.]

August 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas whilst hostilities exist with various Indian tribes on the remote frontiers of the United States, and whilst in other respects the public peace is seriously threatened, Congress has adjourned without granting necessary supplies for the Army, depriving the Executive of the power to perform his duty in relation to the common defense and security, and an extraordinary occasion has thus arisen for assembling the two Houses of Congress, I do therefore by this my proclamation convene the said Houses to meet in the Capitol, at the city of Washington, on Thursday, the 21st day of August instant, hereby requiring the respective Senators and Representatives then and there to assemble to consult and determine on such measures as the state of the Union may seem to require.” ~ President Pierce calls Congress into special session.

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August 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “To refuse supplies to the Army, therefore, is to compel the complete cessation of all its operations and its practical disbandment, and thus to invite hordes of predatory savages from the Western plains and the Rocky Mountains to spread devastation along a frontier of more than 4,000 miles in extent and to deliver up the sparse population of a vast tract of country to rapine and murder. Such, in substance, would be the direct and immediate effects of the refusal of Congress, for the first time in the history of the Government, to grant supplies for the maintenance of the Army– the inevitable waste of millions of public treasure; the infliction of extreme wrong upon all persons connected with the military establishment by service, employment, or contracts; the recall of our forces from the field; the fearful sacrifice of life and incalculable destruction of property on the remote frontiers; the striking of our national flag on the battlements of the fortresses which defend our maritime cities against foreign invasion; the violation of the public honor and good faith, and the discredit of the United States in the eyes of the civilized world. I confidently trust that these considerations, and others appertaining to the domestic peace of the country which can not fail to suggest themselves to every patriotic mind, will on reflection be duly appreciated by both Houses of Congress and induce the enactment of the requisite provisions of law for the support of the Army of the United States.” ~ Message from President Pierce to Congress concerning the business of the special session.

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Townsend Harris

 

August 21– Thursday– Shimoda, Japan– America’s first diplomat to Japan, Townsend Harris, arrives. [Harris, age 52, born in New York, a merchant, politician and diplomat, works hard and successfully to build trust and friendship with the Japanese. Widely read and mostly self-educated, he speaks French, Spanish and Italian. In 1847 he founded what became the City College of New York. He will return to the United States in 1861 and dies February 25, 1878. On his life and work, see: Harris of Japan (1939) by Carl Crow; Townsend Harris, First American Envoy in Japan (1895) by William Elliot Griffis; The Complete Journal of Townsend Harris (1959); Behind the Silken Curtain; the Story of Townsend Harris (1961) by Israel E Levine.

August 22– Friday–Boston, Massachusetts– “I am moving about in this sad Lancaster fulfilling my appointments, and endeavoring to all, both Jews and Greeks, the more excellent [ways] of securing the triumphs of freedom and the overthrow of slavery, than by rushing into any political party, and withdrawing their energies from every other point, in order to concentrate all on the election of Colonel Fremont. The Fremont enthusiasm is very great here, exceeding any thing I have seen in New England. I frankly admit to them, that all the political anti-slavery there is, is embodied in the Republican party; but I argue to them, that it is wholly inadequate to the purposes of Freedom, and to saving us from the toils of the Slave Power. Some of the Fremont people are very earnest in laboring with me, to induce me to omit all discussion of the United States Constitution, and of Disunion, and Non-Voting. They speak at my meetings and they call on me is private.” ~ Letter from Reverend Samuel J May in today’s issue of The Liberator. May writes from his speaking tour in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Reverend Samuel J May

 

August 27– Wednesday– Kalamazoo, Michigan– “We are a great empire. We are eighty years old. We stand at once the wonder and admiration of the whole world, and we must enquire what it is that has given us so much prosperity, and we shall understand that to give up that one thing, would be to give up all future prosperity. This cause is that every man can make himself. It has been said that such a race of prosperity has been run nowhere else. We find a people on the North-east, who have a different government from ours, being ruled by a Queen. Turning to the South, we see a people who, while they boast of being free, keep their fellow beings in bondage. Compare our Free States with either, shall we say here that we have no interest in keeping that principle alive? Shall we say– ‘Let it be?’ No– we have an interest in the maintenance of the principles of the Government, and without this interest, it is worth nothing. I have noticed in Southern newspapers, particularly the Richmond Enquirer, the Southern view of the Free States. They insist that slavery has a right to spread. They defend it upon principle. They insist that their slaves are far better off than Northern freemen. What a mistaken view do these men have of Northern laborers! They think that men are always to remain laborers here– but there is no such class. The man who labored for another last year, this year labors for himself, and next year he will hire others to labor for him. These men don’t understand when they think in this manner of Northern free labor. When these reasons can be introduced, tell me not that we have no interest in keeping the Territories free for the settlement of free laborers.” ~ Speech by Abraham Lincoln in support of Fremont.

August 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Among the most shocking– to our notions, at least– was the assault recently committed by the representative of South Carolina, Mr. Brooks, on Mr. Sumner, Senator of Massachusetts. The provocation was a speech delivered in the Senate by the latter on the side of the abolitionists. The speech was elaborately strong, but not stronger than many delivered within the walls of our own Parliament during the discussion on the Reform and Emancipation Bills. But it was strong enough to excite Mr. Brooks, a member of the lower House, to the commission of a what we should call a monstrous outrage. He assaulted Mr. Sumner while seated writing at a table in the Senate, struck him severely with a cane over the head, and left him insensible. . . . It is this conduct which strikes us with astonishment. We can understand that in the hot conflict of passions and interest between the abolitionists and the slaveholders, one legislator might be so far carried away by his impetuosity as to strike another. But we cannot figure to ourselves a legislator deliberately and premeditatedly watching his opportunity to assail a man sitting at his desk in another House of Legislation, striking him before he could rise, beating him in the presence of his colleagues, and finally justifying this sacrilege against the national dignity to the assembled delegates of the people. Where this can be done so coolly as it seems to have been done by Mr. Brooks, we are inclined to fear that the license of action and immunity from control among the members of the American Congress are tending towards that line which separates extreme liberty from reactionary and vindictive despotism. Mr. Brooks in his speech entirely ignores the principle that Congress has a national and collective character. In his eyes it is only a fortuitous conglomeration of individual atoms, each as good as its neighbor, and the whole not a bit better than any one. Its right to regulate the conduct of members within its walls, to maintain order, to suppress violence, he says he, ‘believe that the spirit of American freedom would tolerate slander in high places, and permit a member of Congress to publish and circulate a libel on another, and then call upon either House to protect him against the personal responsibilities which he had thus incurred.’ That is to say, nobody had any right to say anything against slavery without being prepared to fight or be caned on the spot. A rational and effectual inducement to free discussion this.~ Article from the Times of London reprinted in today’s issue of The Liberator.

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assault on Senator Sumner

 

August 30– Saturday– New York City– “Saw George Curtis, wholly wrapt up in the Fremont campaign, wherein he does good and active service, speaking almost every night with great approval and with much more ability than I gave him credit for. . . . Fillmore seems rather to lose ground. Fremont rather gains. His enemies help him by the bitter malignity of their personal attacks, which will surely decide some thousands to vote in his favor.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July ~ Election Year 1920

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The Democrats nominate a liberal from Ohio. Palestine and Ireland are troublesome for Great Britain. Women seem to be making more gains in places other than the United States.

July 1– Thursday– Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The state legislature rejects the Nineteenth Amendment.

July 1– Thursday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– The Dominion Elections Act establishes uniform franchise and the right for women to be elected to parliament is made permanent.

July 1– Thursday– London, England– King George V names Sir Herbert Louis Samuel as the first British High Commissioner of Palestine.

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Sir Herbert L Samuel

 

July 3– Saturday–San Francisco, California– The platform of the Democratic Party favors joining the League of Nations, rules in the U S Senate “as will permit the prompt transaction of the nation’s legislative business,” revision of the tax code, reduction of tariffs, quick ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment “in time for all the women of the United States to participate in the fall election,” prohibition of child labor, vocational training in home economics, participation by women and federal and state employment services, larger appropriations for disabled veterans, improvement of roads, the use of motor vehicles to deliver the mail, improvement of inland waterways, acquisition of sources at home and abroad for petroleum and other minerals, self-government for Ireland and for Armenia, independence of the Philippines, statehood for Puerto Rico and prohibition of immigrants from Asia.

July 5– Monday– Franklin, New Hampshire– Birth of Mary Louise Hancock, politician and activist, known as the Queen Bee of the state’s politics.

July 6– Tuesday–San Francisco, California– The Democratic Convention closes after nominating James Cox for President on the 44th ballot. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is nominated by acclamation for Vice President. [Cox, age 50, a native of Ohio, is a journalist, publisher, liberal politician and served as Governor of Ohio from 1913 to 1915 and again from 1917 to 1921. Dies July 15, 1957.]

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James Cox

 

July 9– Friday– Quebec City, Canada– Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, age 53, a lawyer and a member of the Liberal Party, becomes premier of Quebec, replacing Sir Lomer Gouin

July 10– Saturday–Wilmington, North Carolina– Birth of David Brinkley, reporter and television journalist from 1943 to 1997. [Dies June 11, 2003.]

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David Brinkley

 

July 10– Saturday– San Francisco, California– Birth of Owen Chamberlain, physicist and advocate for peace and justice. [Wins the Nobel physics prize in1959. Dies February 28, 2006.]

July 10– Saturday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– Arthur Meighen, age 46, a lawyer and member of the Unionist Party, becomes prime minister, replacing Sir Robert Borden.

July 10– Saturday– Madrid, Spain– Donna Maria Eugenie de Montijo, widow of French Emperor Napoleon III, dies at age 94 while visiting family.

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Donna Maria Eugenie de Montijo

 

July 12– Monday– Montpelier, Vermont– Governor Percival Clement, Republican, declines to call a special legislative session to vote on ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

July 12– Monday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Birth of Beah Richards, African American actress. [Dies September 14, 2000.]

July 12– Monday– Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada– Pierre Berton, historian and author. [Dies November 30, 2004.]

July 12– Monday– Vilnius, Lithuania– Lithuania and the Soviet Union sign a peace treaty, recognizing Lithuania as an independent republic.

July 13– Tuesday– Jerusalem, Palestine– The Muslim-Christian Associations begin a two-day general strike protesting against the British mandate and the behavior of the British army.

July 14– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Farmer-Labor Party nominates Parley Christensen, a lawyer, educator and politician, age 51 [dies February 10, 1954] for President and Max Hayes for Vice President.

July 18– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– James M. Cox and Franklin Roosevelt confer with President Wilson at the White House.

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July 20– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– Birth of Elliot L Richardson, diplomat, lawyer and politician who will hold four different cabinet posts under Presidents Nixon and Ford. [Dies December 31, 1999.]

July 21– Wednesday– Dublin, Ireland– Reports abound that Irish Nationalist and Loyalists are engaging in fighting in several cities and towns over the issue of Irish independence from Britain, though the Loyalists are supported by 1500 British Auxiliaries and 5800 British troops.

July 21– Wednesday– Kreminiecz, Ukraine, Soviet Union– Birth of Isaac Stern, violinist and conductor. [Dies September 22, 2001.]

July 22– Thursday– Omaha, Nebraska– Prohibition Party nominates Aaron S. Watkins for president and D. Leigh Colvin for vice-president

July 23– Friday– Indianapolis, Indiana– May Eliza Wright Sewall, educator, school administrator, suffrage activist, lecturer, author and pacifist, dies at age 76 from nephritis.

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July 23– Friday– London, England– British East Africa is renamed Kenya and designated a British crown colony with Major-General Edward Northey named by King George V as the first governor.

July 23– Friday– Belfast, Ireland– Fourteen die and one hundred are injured in fierce rioting.

July 24– Saturday– New York City– Birth of Bella Abzug, lawyer, social activist, feminist and member of Congress. [Dies March 31, 1998.]

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Bella Abzug

 

July 25– Sunday– London, England– Birth of Rosalind Franklin, chemist and molecular biologist. [Dies April 16, 1958.]

July 28– Wednesday– Bristol, England– The first women jury members in England are empaneled at the Bristol Quarter Sessions.

July 30– Friday– off Queenstown, IrelandBritish military detain Irish-born Bishop Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, onboard the RMS Baltic and prevent him from landing in Ireland.

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June ~ Election Year 1856

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The Democratic and the Republican parties hold their conventions and adopt their platforms. Talk about the dissolution of the country is heard, debate about slavery continues and civil war rages in Kansas, which worries some Northern women. Black people adopt a wait-and-see attitude about the candidates. New York lawyer and diarist George Templeton Strong is unimpressed by the Democratic candidate but worries that a Republican victory is a decade away. Cotton is key to the American economy.

June 1– Sunday– New York City– “The idea of dissolution and division is intolerable. Union is a necessity. Schism is ruin to both fragments of the nation. Do not our preponderance in material wealth, intelligence, and every element of political power enable us to assert that union must and shall exist, that there shall be no decomposition, that we will maintain the Union against Southern folly?” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

June 2– Monday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The Democratic National Convention opens at the Smith & Nixon Hall.

June 3– Tuesday– New York City– “Nominating convention of the Democracy parturient at Cincinnati and in puerperal convulsion. It may bring forth Pierce, Douglas, Buchanan, or somebody else, as our Southern rulers shall determine, and I doubt if the north be even yet sufficiently irritated to unite in defeating their nominee.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 4– Wednesday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The platform of the Democratic Party, in its key parts, asserts that the Federal government cannot carry on internal improvements, cannot interfere with slavery, should encourage immigration, fully enforce all the provisions of the Compromise of 1850, particularly the Fugitive Slave Act, support “progressive free trade throughout the world” and make every possible effort “to insure our ascendency in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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Elizabeth Jarvis Colt & Samuel Colt

 

June 5– Thursday– Hartford, Connecticut– Inventor and industrialist Samuel Colt, age 41, weds Elizabeth Hart Jarvis, age 29, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman. Their wedding cake is six feet high and decorated with fondant pistols and rifles. [When her husband dies in early 1862, Elizabeth will run the company until retiring in 1901. Upon her death on August 23, 1905, much of her wealth is bequeathed to various arts and charitable organizations.]

June 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”The Fugitive Slave Law and its Victims. This is the title of No. 18 of the series of Anti-Slavery Tracts. It has been prepared with the utmost carefulness and great labor by [Reverend] Samuel May, Jr, the General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti– Slavery Society, a copy of which every one, desirous of knowing what have been the operations of the Fugitive Slave Law, ‘that enactment of hell,’ should posses. It is a terrible record, which the people of this country should never allow to sleep in oblivion, until the disgraceful and bloody system of slavery is swept from our land, and with it, all Compromise Bills, all Constitutional Guarantees to Slavery, all Fugitive Slave Laws. It makes 48 pages, small type, and is sold at cost price– 5 cents single; 50 cents per dozen; $4 per hundred. For sale at the Anti-Slavery Office, 21 Cornhill.” ~ The Liberator. [Samuel J May, age 58, is a Unitarian minister, a graduate of Harvard and of Cambridge, a conductor on the underground railroad to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom, an advocate of peace, woman’s rights, and efficient public education, and pastors a Unitarian congregation in Syracuse, New York since 1845. He is an important influence upon his niece, Louisa May Alcott. On his life and work, see his own Some Recollections of Our Antislavery Conflict (1869) as well as Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871 (1991) by Donald Yacovone; The Jerry Rescue: the Fugitive Slave Law, Northern Rights, and the American Sectional Crisis (2016) by Angela F. Murphy.]

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Reverend Samuel J May

 

June 6– Friday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The Democratic Convention concludes with James Buchanan the nominee after 17 rounds of balloting, supporters of President Pierce having early thrown their support to Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois. However, Douglas withdraws on the 16th ballot.Buchanan is a native of Pennsylvania, age65, a graduate of Dickinson College, an unmarried lawyer, wealthy with a personal fortune estimated at $300,000 [$8,640,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index], has served in both houses of Congress as well as in several diplomatic posts, sees the duty of the Federal government to protect the existence of slavery and joins Southerners in believing that abolitionist material may spur a slave insurrection. [On Buchanan, see James Buchanan and the Political Crisis of the 1850s (1996) edited by Michael J. Birkner.]

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James Buchanan

 

June 8– Sunday– New York City– “It ought to be remembered that slavery, which lies at the bottom of Southern institutions, society, and property, which enables the Southern gentleman to buy comforts for his wife and food for his children, on which Southern girls marry, and families depend, and which is interwoven with and supports the whole fabric of Southern life, is condemned as a wrong and a sin by the whole civilized world. . . . The South has all the culture, civilization, intelligence, and progress of the nineteenth century against it, unanimous in declaring that it lives on oppression and robbery.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 9– Monday– Iowa City, Iowa – About 495 Mormon believers begin their journey heading west for Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts. They are mostly European immigrants too poor to afford horses or oxen. Twenty will die during this trip but the others arrive safely in Salt Lake City on Friday, September 26.

June 10– Tuesday– Peace Dale, Rhode Island– Birth of Caroline Hazard, author, and president of Wellesley College from 1899 to 1910. [Dies March 19, 1945.]

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Caroline Hazard

 

June 12– Thursday– New York City– The North American Party Convention, composed of delegates who walked out of the American Party National Convention back in February, opens in the Apollo Rooms.

June 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The National Democratic Convention, last week, at Cincinnati, on the seventeenth ballot, unanimously agreed upon James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States. On the third ballot, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was selected as the Democratic candidate for the Vice Presidency. The Convention endorsed filibustering and border ruffianism, in full. In spirit and purpose, it was an infernal conclave, and ‘hell from beneath’ was moved to ecstasy at its coming.” ~ The Liberator.

June 14– Saturday– New York City– “Smith and Nixon’s Hall, used by the Democratic Convention, is situated on Fourth street, Cincinnati, in a very central position as regards both the hotels and business of the city, and is placed on the ground floor, some eighty or ninety feet back from the street, (which prevents an exterior view being given,) thus securing great convenience of access, security in case of fire, and freedom from outside ‘noise and confusion.. It is seated with arms-chairs below and pews above, and seats comfortably over two thousand persons.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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Smith & Nixon Hall

 

June 17– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican National Convention opens in the Musical Fund Hall. This is the first national convention of the new party which was formed only two years ago. About 600 delegates are present, representing primarily the Northern states and the border states of Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky. Virginia is represented but no other Southern states have delegates present.

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Musical Fund Hall

 

June 18– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican Party adopts a platform which declares: “This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; to the policy of the present Administration; to the extension of Slavery into Free Territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a Free State; of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson; and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do . . . . Resolve: That . . . we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers . . . had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, . . . it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. . . . That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism– Polygamy, and Slavery. . . . That . . . the dearest Constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them. Their Territory has been invaded by an armed force; . . . . the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished; That all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction, and procurement of the present National Administration . . . . Resolve, That Kansas should be immediately admitted as a state of this Union, with her present Free Constitution . . . . Resolve, That the highwayman’s plea, that ‘might makes right,’ embodied in the Ostend Circular [to seize Cuba by military force], was in every respect unworthy of American diplomacy, and would bring shame and dishonor . . . . Resolve, That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean by the most central and practicable route is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction . . . . Resolve, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of the Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Resolve, That we invite the affiliation and cooperation of the men of all parties, however differing from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared; and believing that the spirit of our institutions as well as the Constitution of our country, guarantees liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, we oppose all legislation impairing their security.”

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Elizabeth Marbury

 

June 19– Thursday– New York City– Birth of Elizabeth Marbury, author, theatrical agent and Democratic Party activist. [Dies January 22, 1933.]

June 19– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican National Convention concludes with John C Fremont of California having secured the nomination on the 2nd round of balloting. Fremont, the son of a French emigre, was born in Savannah, Georgia, is 43 years old, has earned a reputation as a soldier and explorer, particularly for his role in seizing California from Mexico during the war of 1846. His marriage in October, 1841, to Jessie Benton, the daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, has given Fremont connections to money and politics. He served as one of the first two U S senators from California when it became a state and he has a reputation as an opponent of slavery. [The literature on Fremont and his wife is extensive; an interested reader can start with the following: John C Fremont, Western Pathfinder (1953) by Sanford Tousey; John C Fremont and the Republican Party (1930) by Ruhl J Bartlett; The Origin and Early History of the Republican Party (1906) by William Barnes; Fremont, the West’s Greatest Adventurer (1928) by Allan Nevins; Recollections of Elizabeth Benton Fremont, Daughter of the Pathfinder General John C Fremont and Jessie Benton Fremont, His Wife (1912) by Elizabeth Benton Fremont.]

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James C Fremont

 

June 20– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In answer to this call, quite a number of men and women met at 10, this forenoon. A Mrs Hibbard was chosen President, and several women Vice Presidents and Secretaries. Committees were appointed, and the Convention organized by appointing women to perform the work of the Convention. Two men, just escaped from the murderous hands of the Border Ruffians, were present, and addressed the meeting. The President made an interesting introductory address, appealing to the women of the State to come to the help of their outraged brothers and sisters in Kansas, and their two millions outraged sisters in a slavery worse than death. They propose to form a State Society, to aid their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers, in the present struggle. The excitement is deep and powerful all over northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Three hundred men are now on their way through Iowa to the scene of conflict. A spirit of deep and bitter revenge is rising in the hearts of the people. The fugitives from the bowie-knives and rifles of the BorderRuffians, led on by Pierce and Co., are traversing all over this region, and their appeals sink deep into the heart. The clergy are beginning to see the legitimate and necessary fruits of their bitter and persevering opposition to anti-slavery, and their direct, Bible-support of slavery, But the end is not yet.” ~ Letter to William Lloyd Garrison from Henry C Wight, dated June 10th from Chicago, and printed in today’s issue of The Liberator.

June 20– Friday– New York City– Frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the Republican Party, the North American Party concludes their convention and nominates Fremont for President and Governor William F Johnston of Pennsylvania for Vice President, in expectation that William L Dayton, the Republican candidate, will withdraw in favor of Johnston.

June 21– Saturday– New York City– “The latest accounts from Kansas state that the free State forces had burned the town of Bernard, destroying from twelve to fifteen thousand dollars worth of property. The town of Franklin was captured by the abolitionists on the morning of the 4th instant after a desperate fight, in which three pro-slavery men were killed. Marshal Donaldson and four men were killed at Hickory Point on the 3rd instant. All these reports, however, require confirmation. Governor Shannon issued a proclamation on the 4th instant, ordering all the unauthorized military companies to disperse, and warning outside parties to keep away from the Territory, as he had sufficient force to enforce the laws and protect the citizens. We continue to receive dispatches from Kansas, which, although very contradictory, and evidently exaggerated, prove the existence of civil war there with all its attendant horrors. We await the receipt of our correspondence for an exposition of the true state of affairs.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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violence in Kansas

 

June 23– Monday– New York City– “Fremont promises to run pretty well. Fillmore in town; nobody cares much.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Millard Fillmore is the former president who was nominated by the American Party back in February. The Whig Party to which Fillmore belonged at his election in 1848 has basically dissolved.]

June 25– Wednesday– New York City– “Ten years hence there will be some Fremont who can make it worth one’s while to hurrah for him, but you my unknown vociferous friends and fellow-citizens, are premature. You don’t perceive that ‘the Republican party’ is a mere squirm and wriggle of the insulted North, a brief spasm of pain under pressure and nothing more.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 26– Thursday– New York City– “Fremont meeting last night very imposing in character and numbers. The new Republican Party calls out many who have long eschewed politics. It will probably sweep this state and nearly all the Northern states.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”A large and highly respectable meeting of the colored citizens of Buffalo was held at the East Presbyterian Church, in that city, on Sunday evening, . . . and the following resolutions, after the delivery of several spirited speeches, were unanimously adopted: Resolved, That we the colored citizens of the city of Buffalo, in view of the enormous wrongs and outrages which are continually being heaped upon us, and the continued aggression of the Slave Power upon our rights, feel called upon to unite our efforts for the overthrow of slavery, as far as possible, where it now exists, and also for the purpose of resisting its further spread into Territory now free. Resolved, That we owe allegiance to no party, but now, as heretofore, declare in favor of principle in preference to party, and as such in the coming political campaign we feel bound to support such men as we shall honestly believe to be the exponents of such principles as shall vouchsafe to every man, irrespective of color or condition, his God-given and inalienable rights.” ~ The Liberator.

June 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Export records reveal that the last twelve months have established new highs for the exportation of American raw cotton, 1.351 billion pounds valued at $128,000,000 or 9.4 cents per pound. [The value in today’s dollars would be $3,690,000,000 using the Consumer Price Index.]

May ~ Election Year 1856

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If there was any doubt, it becomes even more clear that slavery is a political and religious issue diving the country. Increased violence in Kansas provides a preview of what will come in 1861. And the attack upon Massachusetts Senator Sumner in the Senate chamber adds fuel to an increasing fire.

May 2– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is in no spirit of pride or fancied superiority that we make our appeal, but rather in a spirit of self-humiliation, remembering that we also (by being a part of the nation) are implemented in upholding slavery, and partakers (in a measure) of this very great iniquity. Therefore do we the more earnestly, but respectfully, appeal to you to do all in your power for the immediate, entire and unqualified emancipation of all the slaves throughout our land; and, so far as rights are concerned, place them, together with the free blacks, on an equality with the whites. Especially do we appeal to you, on the ground of justice and legality, to permit no slavery in the Territories, to do away with the domestic slave traffic between the States, and slavery in the District of Columbia. Congress having exclusive jurisdiction over these, we consider you have not even a legal, much less a just excuse for permitting or continuing slavery in them. And, in case of non-performance, we conceive the very great responsibility will attach to you of endangering the peace and the welfare of this great nation, for the best antagonistic in principle, cannot dwell together without eventually destroying the peace and unity, which should bind together, in the arms of justice and love, all nations. Under a sense of this great evil, we entreat you to labor untiringly for the establishing in the nation the standard of right. Delays are dangerous: the present time only is available for the performance of duty.” ~ Petition to the U S Congress from a quarterly meeting of the Society of Friends [Quakers], held at Easton, New York, reprinted in The Liberator.

May 5– Monday– Boscawen, New Hampshire– Birth of Lucy Jane Ames a/k/a Lucia True Ames Mead, pacifist, internationalist, suffragist, author, lecturer and an activist in the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Peace Society, the National Council for the Prevention of War and the League for Permanent Peace. [Dies November 1, 1936.]

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Lucia True Ames Mead

 

May 6– Tuesday– Freiberg, Moravia, in the Austrian Empire [now part of the Czech Republic]– Birth of Sigmund Freud, neurologist and father of psychoanalysis. [Dies September 23, 1939.]

May 7– Wednesday– New York City– “We may now end this crime against humanity by ballots; wait a little and only with sword and blood can this deep and widening blot of shame be scoured out from the Continent. No election since that first and unopposed of Washington has been so important to America as this now before us. Once the nation chose between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. When the choice is between slavery and freedom, will the North choose wrong? Any railroad company may, by accident, elect a knave for President, but when he has been convicted for squandering their substance on himself, and blowing up their engines, nay, destroying their sons and daughters, will the stockholders choose the swindler forever? I think we shall put slavery down. I have small doubt of that. But shall we do it now and without tumult, or by and by with a dreadful revolution, . . . massacres and the ghastly work of war? Shall America decide for wickedness, extend the dark places of the earth, filled up fuller with the habitations of cruelty? Then our ruin is certain—is also just. The power of self-rule, which we were not fit for, will pass from our hands, and the halter of vengeance will grip our neck, and America will lie there on the shore of the sea, one other victim who fell as the fool dieth. What a ruin it would be! Come away– I cannot look even in fancy on so foul a sight!” ~ Speech of Theodore Parker at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

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Theodore Parker

 

May 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Are these the ‘Evangelical Christians’ whom the officers of the Tract Society dare not offend? These men, who sell their brother-believers, because they are poor, to ‘support the Gospel’ for themselves and their children – who make the family a farce, and build their churches by such horrible co-partnership with the dealers in human souls– are they the ones whose resistance is to still the voice of American Christendom on those questions of our times which are a thousand-fold more deep and urgent than any other? Is it the men whose hands are dripping with this bloody sweat, wrung from the anguished souls whom God created in his own image, and whom the Savior died to redeem, whose anticipated remonstrance is more powerful at the Tract House than all the impulses of Humanity and Religion? Fellow-Christians at the North—Fellow-CHRISTIANS at the South, if there are those there, as we believe, to whom such horrible wickedness as this is just as abhorrent as it is to us – shall these things be, without dissent, and be for ever! Then there is one inspired utterance of the great and fervent Apostle to the Gentiles which flashes into the memory like a very bolt of light from the mind of God himself: ‘Ye Cannot Drink the Cup of The Lord, and the Cup of Devils !’” ~ The Liberator

May 11– Sunday– Monterey, California– Thee Mexicans along with one Native American, all awaiting trial, are snatched from the jail and lynched by a mob.

May 14– Wednesday– Salamanca, New York– Birth of Julia Dempsey, who in 1878 will enter an order of Catholic nuns, taking the name of Sister Mary Joseph and will become a hospital administrator and surgical assistant to Dr William J Mayo at St Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. [Dies March 29, 1939.]

May 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to break faith plighted between the States, in compacts made to preserve the Union and its peace. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to break faith with the constitution, and violate the representative principle on which our republics are all founded. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to disobey the instructions of constituent bodies, and exert the force of the Government to defeat the efforts of the people to redress the wrong committed by one set of representatives, by turning them out and choosing another. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now, after nullifying the clause authorizing Congress to make rules and regulations for the Territories, and all the compromises regulating their mode of settlement, and Interpolating the new principle of non-intervention as the substitute, to connive at the use of armed force to defeat the new law—to drive the settlers from the polls where they were invited to decide the question of Slavery—to introduce voters from a slave State to impose Slavery on the Territory against the w of the rightful voters, the actual settlers—and to elect a Legislature representing the slaveholders of the invading State—to usurp the Government of the Territory—repeal the organic act of Congress, and destroy the rights guaranteed under it. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to defend the establishment of test oaths, requiring all settlers opposed to slavery to swear allegiance to a law they hold to be unconstitutional, to entitle them to suffrage, and enabling these not entitled to vote as settlers, to avoid taking the oath of residence, on which the right of suffrage depends, by paying a dollar as a substitute for all other qualifications. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to expel, as aliens, citizens invited by the act of Congress to settle the Territory, and to intimidate emigrants opposed to slavery from entering, by examples of Lynch law which would disgrace barbarians. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now to put sedition laws, prohibiting discussion and the denial of slave-ownership where slavery was not authorized, denouncing the penalty of death against that as a crime which the organic law required as a duty to be performed by the people. It is [the] Democratic [Party] now in a President to see his reign of terror established by force of arms, and a usurpation made to triumph over the laws of the United States, by a series of invasions publicly prepared, announced in advance, and occupying more than a year in accomplishing their object, and yet not to raise a finger to avert the wrong; but after its consummation, to proclaim that he would use all the force of the Union, of the army and the militia, if necessary, to maintain it.” ~ The Liberator.

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May 17– Saturday–New York City– “The Legislature of Ohio has adjourned without doing anything towards extending the privileges of the elective franchise to those who are deprived of it by constitutional provision. Memorials for this purpose were addressed to the Legislature in behalf of the disfranchised women and colored people. Some of the petitions embracing both classes, others one of them. The colored people themselves sent in a memorial, in regard to their case, which was referred to a special committee. So far as we are informed, that committee never reported at all on the subject. A joint committee of both Houses was appointed to report amendments to the Constitution. They reported several clauses for amendment. But no redress was proposed for the disfranchised. The Presidential election was too near at hand, for a majority of Republicans to jeopardize their prospect of success, by advocating or granting equal rights to all.” ~ National Anti-Slavery Standard.

May 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– In the Senate, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivers a passionate verbal attack upon slavery, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the senators who support both.

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Senator Sumner

 

May 20– Tuesday– Edinburgh, Scotland– Birth of Helen Hopekirk, composer, concert performer and educator. [Dies November 19, 1945.]

May 21– Wednesday– New York City– Birth of Grace Hoadley Dodge, social welfare worker, educator, author, advocate for working women and philanthropist. [Dies December 27, 1914.]

May 21– Wednesday– Lawrence, Kansas– Pro-slavery forces attack and burn much of the town.

May 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– In the Senate chamber Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina viciously attacks Senator Charles Sumner with a stout wooden cane and so seriously injures him that Sumner will be unable to return to the Senate until 1859. [On Sumner and the attack, see: Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (1960) by David Herbert Donald; The Caning of Charles Sumner (2003) by Lloyd Benson; The Caning: the Assault That Drove America to Civil War (2012) by Stephen Puleo.

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May 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Friend Garrison, That devoted and efficient worker in the field of anti-slavery labor, Sallie Holley, spoke in Florence last Thursday evening, and twice in this village on Sunday, the 18th, in the Town Hall. This is her first visit to Northampton, and I think her lectures have been quite useful to the cause. She spoke earnestly and impassioned. Her meetings were not large, but composed of attentive and thoughtful listeners. This, you know, is a church-going town, and so full of piety that there is no room for the practical religion of anti-slavery. The eulogizers of Daniel Webster can have the highest pulpit in the place, while the Christ-like defender of the outraged and down-trodden slave would be deemed a sacrilegious and Sabbath-breaking intruder. Still, there are progressive spirits here and if the so-called religion teachers would go into the kingdom themselves, or suffer them that are entering to go in, the town might be thoroughly abolitionized; and so of every other place.” ~ Letter to Garrison from Seth Nuni, appearing in today’s issue of The Liberator. [On the life and work of Sallie Holley (1818–1893), see A Life for Liberty: Anti-slavery and Other Letters of Sallie Holley (1899) by John White Chadwick.]

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Sallie Holley

 

May 24– Saturday– New York City– “The Anti-Slavery cause has at length, after a quarter of a century of labors, taken possession, in one form or another, of almost every mind in our American community. To men of great sympathies, it has shown the sufferings of the slave; to men of a profound sense of right, it has shown his wrongs; to men whose hope is in another life, it has shown him deprived of Bibles, and Sabbaths, and sanctuary privileges; to men whose hope is in this life, it has shown him deprived of education and the means of self-improvement and success. To patriots, it has shown their country’s shame and danger. To politicians, it has shown one most selfish and accursed interest devouring every true one. To Christians, it has shown their Redeemer crucified afresh in the persons of these the least of his brethren. To philanthropists, it has shown human nature degraded and ruined in the person of both master and slave, by the outrages of the one against the liberty of the other.” ~ The National Anti-Slavery Standard.

May 24– Saturday– Dutch Henry’s Crossing, Kansas Territory– Militant abolitionist John Brown and his followers kill 25 pro-slavery settlers.

May 26– Monday– Wilmington, North Carolina–What we have to say with regard to this affair shall be brief. We think Sumner deserved what he got, but we do not approve the conduct of Brooks. Sumner had not insulted him, and he was not called upon to resent an indignity offered to Senator Butler, even though the latter was his relative and absent. Again, he attacked Sumner under very reprehensible circumstances. He caned him in the Senate chamber, and took him, moreover, at an advantage – while sitting in his chair. The Senate Chamber is not the arena for exhibitions of this character. It is disgraceful that scenes of violence like these should be permitted to occur within it. – If Congress is to be leveled to a mere ring for bullying and fighting, we had best amend the Constitution and abolish the Congress. We should at least preserve more respectability at home and abroad.” ~ Wilmington Daily Herald

May 29– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– Reverend Thomas Smith (1808– 1873), a Presbyterian minister, sells about half of the 20,000 books in his personal library to Columbia [South Carolina] Theological Seminary for $14,400. [This would equal $415,000 in today’s dollars using the Consumer Price Index.]

May 30– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In today’s issue of The Liberator, Garrison provides detailed information about the “attempt to murder” Senator Charles Sumner and on the destruction of Lawrence, Kansas.

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damage to Lawrence, Kansas

 

May 31– Saturday– Washington, D. C.– “The Senate, last Thursday, was crowded with spectators, anxious to know what course that body would pursue in relation to the outrage on Mr. Sumner, and in vindication of its privileges. After the brief, unimpassioned statement made by Senator Wilson, . . . there was a pause, it being expected that some member of the majority would move in the matter, but, as it was soon evident that no motion would come from that quarter, Mr. Seward moved the appointment of a Committee. Then the majority spoke through Senator Mason, who, unwilling to trust the appointment of the Committee to the Chair, suggested that it be elected by the Senate. The motion having been amended accordingly, it was passed unanimously, and the Senate then elected Messrs. Cass, Allen, Dodge, Pearce, and Geyer– all political opponents of Mr. Sumner, the majority taking special care to allow on the Committee not a single political friend! Such is Senatorial magnanimity. Had any other deliberating body done likewise, we might have been surprised. However, we are content. It is well that the majority have assumed the responsibility of determining what are the rights and privileges of the Senate, what protection is due to its members. Let them look at it. Their own rights are involved in the decision they may make. Their action now must furnish a precedent for proceedings hereafter, should one of their own number become a victim to lawless violence. Majorities in this country are changing – the minority in that Senate is destined to become the majority, and rules now established it will then have the benefit of. In the House, as usual, an attempt was made to prevent any action in the premises, and at one time the Southern members seemed disposed, by a resort to factious motions and calls for the yeas and nays, to hold the majority at bay- but this policy was soon abandoned.” ~ The National Era.

Election Year 1856 ~ April

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Political issues taking the forefront: slavery, the conflict in Kansas, the rise of a new political party. Women assert their claims on civil rights, much to the distress of some men. Within abolitionist circles, the debate intensifies about non-violence versus the use of force. Peace has brought an end to the carnage of the Crimean War, a loss of life soon to be over-shadowed by America’s Civil War. Divisions manifest themselves among Democrats over who should be the nominee for president. The escapades of the freebooter William Walker draw some favorable attention in the United States at a time when many have imperialistic dreams of controlling the whole of the Western Hemisphere. His conduct angers Great Britain which has led to some talk of war with the United States. Anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant talk find voice in print.

April 1– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “Man alone is but a piece– a fragment– a half of humanity, and he needs the other half by his side, with her smiles and indomitable fortitude, to strengthen his resolutions and share his aspirations and his toils. He will go heavenward when angel woman points the way, and cheers his path with the light of her genius, the power of her example, and the fascinations of her own loveliness. But when he attempts to go alone, he is too apt to go devilward, as he generally has done in political affairs. Could educated woman become an equal arbiter in the fate of nations, especially of this nation, soon indeed would the brain maddening and bloody traffic in alcoholic liquors be prohibited. Soon, too, would the gigantic wrong of American slavery be abolished. It would be no longer necessary for tender mothers to cut their children’s throats to protect them from the hellish despotism in a land which claims to be ‘the asylum of the oppressed, and the home of the free!’” ~ The Lily.

April 3– Thursday– Island of Rhodes– The Ottoman Turks who control the island use the Church of St John, attached to the almost 500 year old Palace of the Grand Masters, as a storehouse for ammunition. Today lightning strikes the church causing a fire and explosion which kills about 4,000 people and turns the two buildings into a huge pile of rubble

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April 4– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Twenty-Third Public Anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society will be held . . . In the city of New York, on Wednesday, May 7th, at 10 o’clock, A.M. . . . . As full an attendance of the members and friends of the Society as practicable, from all parts of the country, is earnestly desired and strongly urged. We reiterate our former declaration, that the object of the Society is not merely to make Liberty national and Slavery sectional, nor to prevent the acquisition of Cuba nor to restore the Missouri Compromise nor to repeal the Fugitive Slave Bill nor to make Kansas a free State nor to resist the admission of any new slave State into the Union nor to terminate slavery in the District of Columbia and in the National Territories but it is, primarily, Comprehensively, and uncompromisingly to effect the immediate, total and eternal overthrow of Slavery, wherever it exists on American soil, and to expose and confront whatever party or sect seeks to purchase peace or success at the expense of human liberty. Living or dying, our motto is, ‘No Union With Slaveholders, Religiously or Politically!’” ~ The Liberator.

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members of the American Antislavery Society

 

April 5– Saturday– New York City– New York Times quotes likely Democratic candidate James Buchanan as writing “The Missouri Compromise [of 1820] is gone, and gone forever. . . . The time for it has passed away, and I verily believe that the best– nay the only– mode now of putting down the fanatical and restless spirit of Abolition at the North, is to adhere to the existing settlement [the Compromise of 1850] without the slightest thought or appearance of wavering, and without regarding any storm which may be raised against it.”

April 9– Wednesday– Newark, New Jersey– A large number of people attend an organizing rally to create a state-wide Republican Party. Participants insist upon the admission of Kansas as a free state. “New Jersey will enroll herself among the ranks of the Freemen of the Union in the approaching struggle.”

April 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Senators of the free States, I appeal to you. Believe the prophets, I know you do. You know then, that Slavery neither works mines and quarries, nor founds cities, nor builds ships, nor levies armies, nor mans navies. Why, then, will you insist closing up this new Territory of Kansas, against all enriching streams of immigration, while you pour into it the turbid and poisonous waters of African Slavery? Which one of you all, whether of Connecticut, or of Pennsylvania, or of Illinois, or of Michigan, would consent thus to extinguish the chief light of civilization within the State in which your own fortunes are cast, and in which your own posterity are to live?” ~ Speech in the Senate by Senator William H Seward, age 54, of New York.

April 10– Thursday– New York City– “The people of this country already knew that Colonel [John C] Fremont was one of the boldest and most indomitable men who have explored our wilderness, and marked out the path of empire; but only his intimate friends knew how heartily and thoroughly he sympathized in every movement towards freedom and the emancipation of the country from an unscrupulous and oppressive oligarchy. There is no equivocation or hesitation in Colonel Fremont’s declaration of sentiments, as regards the [free state] Government of Kansas.” ~ New York Times.

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John C Fremont

 

April 10– Thursday– New Orleans, Louisiana– A ship with 200 recruits leaves to join the force of the freebooter William Walker in Nicaragua.

April 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In response to the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher’s assertion that a Sharp’s rifle is a better argument against slavery than the Bible and his defense of the practice of sending guns to Northern settlers in Kansas, in today’s issue of The Liberator William Lloyd Garrison writes: “The rhetoric . . . is very fine, and the spirit of it as tender and magnanimous at is compatible with a deadly use of Sharp’s rifles. Mr. Beecher says, ‘There are times when self-defense is a religious duty’– but not with murderous weapons, we beg leave to add. Are there no times when martyrdom becomes such a duty from which one ‘cannot shrink, without leaving honor, manhood, and Christian fidelity behind’? ‘But I say unto you, Overcome evil with good. They that take the sword shall perish with the sword.’ The weapons of our struggle are not carnal.”

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a Sharp’s rifle

 

April 11– Friday– Rivas, Nicaragua– Costa Rican forces defeat the soldiers of the American mercenary and freebooter William Walker[ 1824-1860]. On Walker and his crimes and misdeeds, see, By-ways of War; the Story of the Filibusters (1901) by James J Roche; Filibusters and Financiers; the Story of William Walker and His Associates (1916) by William O Scroggs; William Walker, Filibuster (1932) by Merritt Parmelee Allen; The Filibuster: the Career of William Walker (1937) by Laurence Greene.

WilliamWalker

William Walker

 

April 12– Saturday– New York City– “That Walker is selected as the instrument of important changes in Central and perhaps Southern America, we have a strong conviction. All the circumstances attendant upon his recent acts point to that result. The moderation which he has exhibited in his dealings with the other Central States, whilst it has won for him the respect and good will of the liberal portion of their populations, has only been regarded by their rulers as a proof of weakness. The Costa Rican government, with a fatuity which will be looked upon as suicidal, has thought fit to declare war against the man who holds its fate in his hands, and whose forbearance constituted its only security. Ere many weeks elapse, Costa Rica will in all probability be annexed to Nicaragua, under . . . Walker’s . . . sway, thereby forming the first link in the chain of a powerful Central American confederation. It is likely that this event will operate as a salutary lesson upon the other States; but if it should not, their hostility will only hasten the consummation of an object which all friends of liberty must regard as holding out the only hope of salvation for Central America.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

April 12– Saturday– California, Missouri– A sale of slaves includes a 5 year old boy for $505, a 7 year old boy for $886, a 10 year old boy for $1,015 and a 26 year old woman with her 18 month old child for $1355. [The $1355 would be the equivalent of $39,000 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 15– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “I would like to know if a woman does not need as much property to support a family of children as a man, who gets higher wages for labor? But no; they deprive her of property, reduce her wages, and then compel her to wear away her life in unremitting toil, for a mere pittance, to provide for herself and her helpless children. Now, I ask, what justice is there in this? It is no wonder that people blush at the name of Slavery! I do not intend to cast reflections upon all; for I am sure that we have some true and earnest friends– even among gentlemen– who consider that women are capable of fulfilling a higher mission than what is generally assigned them. But I do censure our unjust rulers, who pride themselves in revelry and drunkenness and he is considered the greatest hero, who can display the most vulgarity, and trample upon the rights of his fellow men!” ~ letter from Almira M. Smith in today’s The Lily.

April 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “To the exclusion of much other matter designed for our present [edition], we publish entire, (with the exception, of a small portion of the testimony which he adduced in support of his positions, as given by both parties in Kansas,) the very able, eloquent, comprehensive statesman-like speech of the Hon. William H. Seward, delivered in the U.S. Senate [April 9th] on the Kansas question. We are sure our subscribers will be eager to peruse it. Its arraignment of the President is bold, direct, explicit, worthy of the days of ‘76.” ~ The Liberator.

William_Henry_Seward_-_edited

William Seward

 

April 18– Friday– New York City– In response to a piece in the Richmond [Virginia] Enquirer which praises border ruffians as “the noblest type of mankind” and that without slavery that some white men will be reduced to the status of European peasants as “mere hereditary bondsmen” the New York Times comments “No solitary reason can be urged for extending Slavery into Kansas which would not have equal weight in favor of reducing to slavery the laboring classes in every Northern State.”

April 19– Saturday– New York City– “As the question of the probability of hostilities between this country and Great Britain has been happily set at rest by the common sense of the people of both, it hardly seems worth while to discuss any of the collateral issues raised by it. And yet there is a consideration which has been extensively made use of in the discussion of its chances, to which it may be useful, in view of future contingencies, to devote a few remarks. . . . Canada has now but little if any thing to gain by annexation to the United States. It enjoys as much of the privileges of self-government as it would do as a member of the Union, and commercially speaking, it is a question whether it could derive any additional advantages from the connection. We do not see in what respect we ourselves should be benefitted by it. The Canadian [provinces] would, to be sure, bring us a large additional territory, but of this we have enough as it is. We must not forget to balance against this acquisition the fact that it would also bring us a large French population, the most difficult of any to assimilate with our own, and with their religion likely to prove a troublesome element in our present political condition. We incline to the opinion that Canada is much more useful to us as it is than it could possibly be if it were a member of the Union. It serves as a sort of debatable land to which the discontented spirits who come out here from Europe, and who cannot settle down under republican institutions, may retire as a sort of compromise between their new prejudices and their old hatreds. We are best rid of such people. They only breed disorder and trouble amongst us, and it is, therefore, an advantage to have neighbors who are ready to take them off our hands.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

Dr__Anna_Sarah_Kugler

Anna Sarah Kugler

 

April 19– Saturday– Ardmore, Pennsylvania– Birth of Anna Sarah Kugler, who will become a physician and serve as a Lutheran medical missionary to India from 1883 until her death on July 20, 1930.

April 20– Sunday– Springfield, Massachusetts– “Most heartily do I join with those friends of peace and good will, whose thank-offerings have, through the last number of The Liberator, been so cordially poured out to you for your most triumphant vindication of the heaven-descended doctrine of non-resistance, against the insane and illogical attacks of those, in other respects, sound, consistent, and excellent men, Henry Ward Beecher and Theodore Parker. Your words were timely and refreshing to every one whose mental and moral vision has been opened to see the divinity and beauty of those precepts of the Man of Nazareth, uttered in unostentatious and simple phrase – ‘Do good to them that hate you’ – ‘Resist not evil’ – &C To me, this is not only sound morality, but true philosophy. Like begets like. . . . it was no part of my intention to argue this question; you have done it completely. H.C. Wright and Adin Ballou have done it over and over again. Humanity in general owes much to them and to you for your joint and several labors in this sacred cause. I am greatly indebted to this distinguished triumvirate of peace; for the last fifteen years, there has scarcely been a day but I have thought more or less of each of you.” ~ letter from E. W. Twing to William Lloyd Garrison.

April 21– Monday– Rock Island, Illinois– The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River opens between here and Davenport, Iowa.

April 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Mr. Conway, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., in a sermon lately preached there, said, ‘I have been ashamed to hear in Boston, the descendants of the Puritans apologizing for slavery. I am a Southern man, and they think Southerners like that. Southern politicians are willing to make use of such, while they laugh in their sleeves; but the noble men and women of the South grieve to see men falling thus meanly. I fear act contradiction from any one there when I say, they all respect a man from the North who will not bend from his principles; and not one of them thinks a doughface more to be valued than a cat’s-paw.’ We should think that Northerners who have apologized for slavery, and got down on their knees to do its bidding, would feel on reading this, that they have dirtied themselves all over for nothing.” ~ The Liberator.

April 25– Friday– New York City– The New York Times reports that President Pierce and Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois are supporting Senator Robert M Hunter of Virginia, age 47, in opposition to James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, as the Democratic nominee for president.

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Senator Robert Hunter

 

April 26– Saturday– Melbourne, Australia– Birth of Joseph George Ward, who will become the 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving from 1906 to 1912. [Dies July 8, 1930.]

April 29– Tuesday– New York City– “The official announcement that the treaty of peace [the Treaty of Paris, signed March 31st, ending the Crimean War] has at last been executed, will be received with almost universal satisfaction, although with little emotion, and no surprise. From the time when the propositions for peace were first suggested, up to yesterday afternoon, when the formal treaty was signed, scarcely any one, who gravely reflected on the matter, entertained much doubt as to what the issue would be. The public are not at present in possession of the particular terms upon which the treaty is based, but we believe that, as far as Great Britain is concerned, they will be strictly in accordance with what is fair and honorable. Although the mere announcement of the conclusion of Peace may be said to have excited comparatively little sensation, the circumstances attending it are already beginning to be felt. Lord Palmerston [British Prime Minister] assures us in his ministerial capacity, and with a full knowledge of what the terms of peace really are, that his ‘conviction is that the treaty which has just been concluded will be deemed satisfactory by this country and by Europe; that by the stipulations of the Treaty the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire’ – that is to say, the sole object of the war– will be secured, as far as human arrangements can effect that purpose; that the Treaty is honorable to all Powers who are contracting parties to it, and that he (Lord Palmerston) trusts that while, on the one hand, it has put an end to a war which every friend of humanity must naturally have wished to see concluded, it will, on the other, lay the foundation of a lasting and enduring peace. Accompanying this assurance of the Premier, we may recognize the first fruits of peace in the general news of the day. The Bank of France has already reduced the rate of discount from £6 to £5 per cent., and the Bank of England is reported to be about to make a similar reduction. The accounts from the trading and manufacturing districts are also satisfactory.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

Looking with a Critical Eye

Is the current Bishop of Rome serious about change in the Church of Rome? In a brilliant essay my friend Dr Mary Hunt speaks truth to power and identifies the porquerias which Francis verbalizes on a regular basis.

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to social justice concerns.

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Her essay:

Pope Francis is a Feminist? Not!

by Mary E. Hunt

August 5, 2015

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Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig in The New Republic thinks that feminists should not give up on Francis. Maybe not though he provides little to chime my feminist bells. My view is that any suggestion that Pope Francis is a feminist is like calling Raul Castro a Republican. It is simply absurd.

While one can affirm many good things about Francis’ views on the environment, the end of capitalism, and the need to transform global structures of power, all of which I agree with, his views on women and most ethical issues having particular impact on women are problematic with devastating consequences. Think about the ban on birth control and then try to use the word “feminist” in the same sentence. It does not compute. The educational needs of poor women and dependent children are simply too grand to pass over a key element of what opens doors for them, namely, safe, reliable, legal, and economical forms of family planning.

Time and again Francis reiterates what in Argentine Spanish is called “porquerias,” a folksy way of saying “rubbish” or “garbage.” His pious statements about women as mothers and wives are embarrassing. His notion that women theologians are like “strawberries on the cake” would make Sigmund Freud do a double take. When he isn’t joking about women, he is proclaiming the need for more women to be involved in church life without making any structural changes, e.g. ordination, to make that real. One statement in which he said having women in key positions would be a form of “functionalism” remains completely obscure. Whatever can he mean? What does having men in those jobs signal? I admit that I am confounded by it.

On his recent trip to Ecuador, Francis had lunch with a group of Jesuits. A picture of it is haunting. The pope and two dozen of his confreres were enjoying a happy occasion at a well-set table with a nice red wine, joking and toasting as the boys will do. Several women, hovering in the background and well out of their sight, served the table. One peers around the corner of the open door (to the kitchen no doubt). The men are focused entirely on one another; the women exist to serve them, if they exist at all. The photo captures a reality I have seen too often. It makes me ill.

Uncritical journalists give Francis a pass on women, as if he were someone’s old uncle who just crawled out from under a rock. Yet they praise his pastoral touch, his homilies, and his erudition on lofty matters of science and economics. What would it take to get him to sit down with a few women and hear how we see things? I could connect him with some powerful feminists in Argentina who could talk in his preferred language about experiences in settings he knows well. They would give him an earful and be ready to answer his questions with patience and kindness.

pope with colleagues-Articolo

Did it ever occur to the gentlemen at the luncheon to turn the tables and serve the women the next day? Women are not decorations and servants. We are far more than the sum of our marital status and our commitments to children. Many of us are trained and able, capable of professional work with the best of men, no questions asked. And we are well aware of the plight of most women in the world who still can’t resist their husbands sexual advances, many of whom lose children to unclean water, live with HIV/AIDS, and want the best for their families. What is so complicated that he can’t understand about twenty-first century women?

It is amazing that someone who can call for massive lifestyle changes to deal with climate change cannot see the connection between women’s reproductive choices and population issues. It is stunning that someone who preaches equality at every turn has to think twice about ordaining women to the priestly ministry and thereby including them in the decision-making structures of their own church. It is beyond belief that a pope who understands global politics does not get the fundamentals of feminism that that shares many of the same goals he espouses but with full and dynamic participation of women on women’s own terms.

How does one explain a pope who comes from a male religious community with many, perhaps a majority of, gay members who is unable to see the beautiful reality of same-sex love and justice of marriage equality? What gives Francis the right to pronounce on women’s use of contraceptives and abortion as if he were going to care for the children that result from policies he supports?

Apologists for Francis reinforce and reinscribe male power by ignoring his limitations when it comes to women. My question is why so many people, especially in the media, are so enthusiastic about him despite this major lacuna in his thinking. Obviously his predecessors were even less attuned to how cultures have changed with regard to gender and sexuality. But it is only if one brackets the matters most specific to women that such enthusiasm can be sustained. I, for one, cannot bring myself to do so.

I cannot utter a full-throated praise of Francis much as I support his efforts to socialize resources and protect our fragile Earth. I respect him, which means I have high expectations and high hopes. Thus far, I have been deeply disappointed when it comes to half of the world. What surprises me is that many others do not respect him and expect as much of him as I do.

What does he have to do to erase the asterisk I put on virtually every sentence he speaks– *except for women? First, the problem is not really the pope but the papacy. The very structure of a hierarchy with one person in the highest spot is antithetical to feminist commitments to participation and power sharing. The logical step would be to jettison the papacy and every structure that flows from it in favor of a horizontal, concentric circles model of church.

Assuming that won’t happen, I would expect him—as a minimum condition for qualifying for a history-changing papacy—to strike down all distinctions between men and women in church teachings and policies. That would mean making women eligible for every office and ministry, involving women in making decisions at every level, and ending clericalism as we know it. He would also need to regularize the sacraments for everyone, i.e., ordination of all who feel called, are trained, and vetted; marriage for all who request the sacrament, including same-sex couples.

If there is any justification for a hierarchical structure with one person having Francis’ quantity of power, it must be used to open doors. Thus, Francis could show his colors by telling recalcitrant church officials to rehire those fired because of their sexuality, reappoint priests who have married, receive with a warm welcome those who are divorced and remarried, and especially make reparations for sexual abuse and its cover-up by clergy. That’s for starters and none of it is novel, just common sense driven by history and the good example of other Christian groups.

The argument will be that no one can change a two thousand year old institution in five years. To the contrary, I think that anything less is simply more of the same power wielding of his predecessors albeit with a kinder, gentler face. After all, we now send an email in a nanosecond rather than posting a letter to the Vatican in the diplomatic pouch. Now is the time to change while there are still people who are interested. Millenials’ interest in things Catholic is surely on the wane. Concern for market share if nothing else ought to play a role in making change.

It is all well and good for Francis to decry capitalism and call for environmental changes. But without a) involving women as full partners, b) making connections between patriarchal theological ideas and problems of inequality planet-wide, and c) leaving aside outmoded notions of women as virgins and mothers, this pope will be half as effective as he could be, and nothing even faintly resembling a feminist. I know a lot of women (and a few feminist men) around the world who would be delighted to help him change that.

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My addendum:

As a liberal Protestant with intellectual roots deep in the Reformation, I personally take a much more critical view of Pope Francis. Dr Hunt’s essay is, in my mind, generous to the man. My Protestant sensibilities are offended by the very concepts of “papacy” and “infallibility” and the other assorted heresies which those unbiblical concepts have spawned. In my view Francis is a bishop, the Bishop of Rome, one among thousands of Christian bishops in the multiple branches of Christianity and he is no more unique than the bishops of the Anglican, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist churches or any other such called and anointed bishops, women and men alike.

Aiding Soldiers ~ March 1865 ~ 30th to 31st

Aiding Soldiers

black preacher

black preacher

It seems that slaves are not as happy and satisfied as their masters claimed. They are escaping in droves to Union lines, helping Confederate soldiers to desert and Yankees escaping from Southern prisons back to Federal positions. A modicum of Southern social life continues yet many from each side feel that the end draws near.

March 30– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Alexander, slave of William B. Randolph, of Henrico county, was sent to the city yesterday by General Longstreet, and committed to Castle Thunder, upon the charge of aiding soldiers to desert to the enemy from the Confederate services.” ~ Richmond Sentinel

March 30– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I have endured this life for nearly four years and I sometimes think that I enjoy it. Great events are to happen in a few days and I want to be there to see the end. The end of the war will be the end of slavery and then our land will be the ‘Land of the free.’” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

March 30– Thursday– City Point, Virginia– “I begin to feel that I ought to be at home and yet I dislike to leave without seeing nearer to the end of General Grant’s present movement. He has now been out since yesterday morning and although he has not been diverted from his program no considerable effort has yet been produced so far as we know here. Last night at 10.15 P. M. when it was dark as a rainy night without a moon could be, a furious cannonade soon joined in by a heavy musketry fire opened near Petersburg and lasted about two hours. The sound was very distinct here as also were the flashes of the guns up the clouds. It seemed to me a great battle, but the older hands here scarcely noticed it and sure enough this morning it was found that very little had been done.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

March 30– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– The state legislature has authorized the use of militia on horseback to stop the escape of slaves to Union lines.

March 30– Thursday– Presov, Austrian Empire [now in Slovakia]– Oleksandr Dukhnovych, priest, writer, educator and social activist, dies at age 61.

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

March 31– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Negroes would always assist the fugitives [Union soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons]; give them food, and pilot them to the best routes. They said that their masters generally offered them $25 reward to betray a Yankee. In spite of this tempting reward, they acted the part of the Good Samaritan in all cases. ‘They are,’ say the officers, ‘as true as steel in all cases.’ Captain Timpson says, while waiting at the banks of the Saluda River, pursued by a pack of hounds, the chivalry mounted on horseback, to the number of fifteen or twenty, armed with shot-guns, pursuing them, the slaves on the opposite shore hearing the baying of the hounds, one of them pushed into a boat, and rowed rapidly across. He knew from the sound of the dogs that they were in pursuit of some Yankee fugitives. The barking of the hounds grew louder and nearer, and the officers feared they would be overtaken and devoured before the boat could reach the shore. The faithful Negro pulled for dear life, took the officers into this boat, and bore them in safety beyond the reach of the men-hunters and their natural allies the bloodhounds, at the risk of his own life. He piloted the officers around the pickets, who were lying in wait for them, by which means they escaped. The slaves said: ‘Our masters curse you all the day, but we pray for you every night.’” ~ The Liberator.

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

March 31– Friday– New York City– “Sherman’s officers say that their campaign was made possible by the order of the rebel government that corn be planted instead of cotton. . . . They marched through a land of groaning corn cribs and granaries, and their men and their animals entered Savannah in better flesh than when they left Atlanta.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 31– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining; rained all night. My health improving, but prudence requires me to still keep within the house. The reports of terrific fighting near Petersburg on Wednesday evening have not been confirmed. Although General Lee’s dispatch shows they were not quite without foundation, I have no doubt there was a false alarm on both sides, and a large amount of ammunition vainly expended. . . .We are sinking our gun-boats at Chaffin’s Bluff, to obstruct the passage of the enemy’s fleet, expected soon to advance.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 31– Friday– Albany, Georgia– “Mrs. Callaway gave a large dining, and I wore a pretty new style of head dress Cousin Bessie told me how to make, that was very becoming. It is a small square, about as big as my two hands, made of a piece of black and white lace that ran the blockade, and nobody else has anything like it. One point comes over the forehead, just where the hair is parted, and the opposite one rests on top of the chignon behind, with a bow and ends of white illusion. It has the effect of a Queen of Scots cap, and is very stylish. The dining was rather pleasant. Kate Callaway’s father, Mr. Furlow, was there, with his youngest daughter, Nellie, who is lovely. As we were coming home we passed by a place where the woods were on fire, and were nearly suffocated by the smoke. It was so dense that we could not see across the road. On coming round to the windward of the conflagration it was grand. The smoke and cinders were blown away from us, but we felt the heat of the flames and heard their roaring in the distance. The volumes of red-hot smoke that went up were of every hue, according to the materials burning and the light reflected on them. Some were lurid yellow, orange, red, some a beautiful violet, others lilac, pink, purple or gray, while the very fat lightwood sent up columns of jet-black. The figures of the Negroes, as they flitted about piling up brush heaps and watching the fire on the outskirts of the clearing, reminded me of old-fashioned pictures of the lower regions.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

March 31– Friday– Kalyan, India– Birth of Anandi Gopal Joshi, who will become in March, 1886, the first South Asian woman to earn a degree as a physician of Western style medicine and probably the first Hindu woman to come to the United States. [Dies February 26, 1887, shortly after her return to India.]