Tag Archives: Europe

July ~ Election Year 1860

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

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

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

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

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Charlotte Perkins  Gilman

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hannibal Hamlin

 

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

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

Garibaldi departing on the Expedition of the Thousand in 1860

Garibaldi & his soldiers

 

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

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

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Mother Marie Joseph Butler

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June ~ Election Year 1860

Woman making American Flag

The Democratic Party is fracturing along regional lines, North versus South. Senator Douglas of Illinois is selected by northern and western party members to run against Republican Lincoln. The debate about slavery continues to heat up to an even higher degree. While the United States slips toward dissolution, Italy moves toward unification under Garibaldi.

June 1– Friday– Annapolis, Maryland– Maryland’s new law banning all types of manumission of slaves takes effect today. This law completely bans the practice of manumission by deed or by the will of a deceased slave owner. In keeping with the state’s desire to reduce its free black population, the statute also contains a provision to allow free black persons to petition state courts to renounce their freedom and to choose a master for themselves.

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slaves prepare to escape

 

June 1–Friday– Waterdown, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Margaret Mick, who while serving as a prison guard, will become the first Canadian woman to be killed in the line of duty as a peace officer. She will be slain by three female prisoners in an escape from a prison farm on May 25, 1925.

June 2– Saturday– New York City– “I learn that the Government has received information that the fishermen off the coast of Florida and South Carolina are in the habit of running over to Cuba, on the pretense of disposing of their fish, and returning with two or three native Africans, bought there at a low figure, which they dispose of, at a great advance, to parties who meet them on the coast, purchase the Negroes, and take them into the interior. This gross and notorious violation of law has been going on for some time, and it remains to be seen whether any steps will be taken to arrest it.” ~ National Anti Slavery Standard

June 4–Monday– Washington, D.C.–In the Senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, age 49, delivers a long, blistering speech called “The Barbarism of Slavery” in which he severely criticizes the slave system and the whole of Southern culture. In it he declares “It is in the Character of Slavery itself that we are to find the Character of Slave-masters; but I need not go back to the golden lips of Chrysostom, to learn that ‘Slavery is the fruit of covetousness, of extravagance, of insatiable greediness;’ for we have already seen that this five-fold enormity is inspired by the single idea of compelling men to work without wages. This spirit must naturally appear in the Slave-master. But the eloquent Christian Saint did not disclose the whole truth. Slavery is founded on violence, as we have already too clearly seen; of course it can be sustained only by kindred violence, sometimes against the defenseless slave, sometimes against the freeman whose indignation is aroused at the outrage. It is founded on brutal and vulgar pretensions, as we have already too dearly seen; of course it can be sustained only by kindred brutality and vulgarity. The denial of all rights in the slave can be sustained only by a disregard of other rights, common to the whole community, whether of the person, of the press, or of speech.”

In response, Senator James Chesnut of South Carolina, age 45, attacks the adulation given to Sumner in the North and in Britain as modern idolatry. “In Egypt, also, we know they deified beasts and reptiles; but even that bestial people worshiped their idols on account of some supposed virtue. It has been left for this day, for this country, for the Abolitionists of Massachusetts, to deify the incarnation of malice, mendacity, and cowardice. Sir, we not intend to be guilty of aiding in the apotheosis of pusillanimity and meanness.”

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Senator Sumner

 

June 4–Monday– Buffalo, New York–Having been in session since Tuesday, May 1st, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church concludes when the conference can no longer produce a quorum. Hundreds of delegates from all over the country have been in attendance; however, bitter debate about slavery and some other issues caused some to leave in anger, others to return home out of exhaustion.

June 4–Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Buchanan extends an official invitation to Queen Victoria that should the Prince of Wales, 18 year old Albert Edward, the Queen’s oldest son (who will succeed her as King Edward VII in 1901), wish to extend his upcoming visit to Canada with a visit to the United States, he would receive an enthusiastic welcome.

June 5–Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts–Josiah Quincy, former president of Harvard and now 88 years old, sends a letter of praise to Senator Sumner. “I have read enough to approve, and rejoice that you have been permitted, thus truly, fully, and faithfully to expose the ‘Barbarism’ of Slavery on that very floor on which you were so cruelly and brutally stricken down by the spirit of that Barbarism.” [Quincy, 1772– 1864, is a municipal reformer, politician, educator, orator, college president and life-long critic of the Southern slave power. For more on his life and work, see: Josiah Quincy, 1772-1864; the Last Federalist (1974) by Robert A McCaughey; The Magic of the Many: Josiah Quincy and the Rise of Mass Politics in Boston, 1800-1830 (1999) by Matthew H Crocker.]

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Josiah Quincy

 

June 6–Wednesday– Elmira, New York–John W Jones, a conductor on the underground railroad writes to William Still in Philadelphia. Still, a black man, is considered “the Father of the Underground Railroad” and has been helping about sixty fugitives a month for the last few years. Jones reports. “All six came safe to this place. . . . the two men went this morning, and the four went this evening. ‘O old master don’t cry for me, For I am going to Canada where colored men are free.’”

June 7–Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Boston Herald reports that “Yesterday forenoon, a smart, active, and intelligent looking man, about 23 years of age, called at the mayor’s office and asked for something to eat. He represented that he ran away from his master in North Carolina . . . and arrived in Boston yesterday morning, leaving immediately for this city, on his way to Canada. . . . He was furnished with a good meal of victuals, and left shortly after on the underground railroad for her majesty’s dominions.”

June 8–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–The current issue of the Liberator reports that at the recent annual meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Mary Ann Day Brown, the widow of John Brown, was in attendance. Garrison called her a “truly noble woman” and as he recognized her presence the participants expressed a spontaneous and genuine deep sympathy for her and her children.

June 9–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–Senator Stephen A. Douglas writes to Follett Foster & Company with complaints about their reprint of his 1858 debates with Mr Lincoln. “I find that Mr Lincoln’s speeches have been revised, corrected and improved since their publication in the newspapers of Illinois, while mine have been mutilated, and in some instances, the meaning changed by the omission of interrogatories and expressions of approbation and disapprobation by persons in the crowd to which my remarks were made responsive, but by the omission of which my replies seemed ambiguous, incoherent or unintelligible. . . . In short, I regard your publication as partial and unfair and designed to do me injustice by placing me in a false position.”

Giuseppe Garibaldi on Caprera

 Giuseppe Garibaldi

 

June 9–Saturday– Genoa, Italy– Around 2,400 men along with their equipment, reinforcements for Giuseppe Garibaldi’s ongoing campaign against the Bourbon forces in Sicily, leave the port aboard three American registered ships, the Washington, the Oregon, and the Franklin, all clearly flying the U.S. flag. Garibaldi, age 53, for the last two months has been leading armed struggle to unite Italy and make it a free country. [For a biography and analysis, see: Cavour and Garibaldi, 1860: a Study in Political Conflict (1954) by D Mack Smith; Garibaldi and the Making of Italy, June– November, 1860 (1982– reprint of 1928 edition) by George Macaulay Trevelyan; Giuseppe Garibaldi: a Biography of the Father of Modern Italy (1998) by Benedict S LiPira.

June 11– Monday– Buffalo, New York– Birth of May Jane Rathbun, marine zoologist, educator, researcher and author. [Dies April 4, 1943.]

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Mary Jane Rathbun

 

June 11–Monday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin–The Milwaukee Sentinel evaluates Democratic response to the Republican convention. “The Chicago Convention accomplished one thing very effectually. It opened the eyes of the Democratic journals to the shining qualities and eminent public services of Senator Seward. Heretofore the Democratic papers have been accustomed to speak in disparaging and denunciatory terms of Mr. Seward, his doctrines and public career. Now all that is changed, and they have no language but praises, for the great statesman of New York.”

June 15– Friday– Baden, Germany–The French Emperor Napoleon III begins two days of meetings with the Prince Regent of Prussia and the Kings of Bavaria, Hanover, and Saxony, and a number of other German royalty, to build goodwill and calm fears in Germany over France’s opposition to Italian unification and possible renewed tension with Austria.

June 16– Saturday– New York City– “The conduct of the Republicans towards Mr. Sumner’s admirable speech is not one of the least observable signs of their times. It was ‘ill-timed’ and injudicious, forsooth! And that because the slaveholders may, peradventure, make it the pretense of voting against the admission of Kansas. As if the slave-masters were ever moved by anything men or angels could say from the line of their deliberate policy! Whoever else may give up the substance for the shadow at the bidding of their passions, they never do. If they have fully made up their minds that it is better for their interest to keep Kansas out, it is possible they may make Mr. Sumner’s speech the stalking-horse from behind which they may aim at her life. But it would be a mere pretense, and the same thing would have been done if he had never opened his lips. If, on the other hand, they think that this would be giving the Republicans the very cry they need in order to elect Lincoln, and that they had better toss this tub to the Western whale, they will do it, though Mr. Sumner should make a speech ten times worse every day for the rest of the session. The real objection they have to it lies in its substantial anti-slavery merits, and in the hold it will give their enemies to make them out worse (or better) than they are.” ~ National Anti Slavery Standard.

June 16– Saturday– New York City– William Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post, writes a private letter to congratulate Lincoln upon his nomination. Bryant advises the nominee on how to wage a successful campaign. “Make no speeches, write no letters as a candidate, enter into no pledges, make no promises, nor even give any of those kind words which men are apt to interpret into promises. Several of our Presidents have had a great deal of trouble from this cause.”\

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William Cullen Bryant

 

June 17– Sunday– Castellamare, Sicily–The reinforcements for Garibaldi arrive on the three American ships.

June 18– Monday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democrats convene again at the Front Street Theater. A dispute over credentials and the delegates who walked out at Charleston splits the party yet again.

June 18–Monday– Springfield, Illinois–Lincoln writes to Carl Schurz, German immigrant “Forty-eighter” and actively involved in Republican politics. “I beg you to be assured that your having supported Governor Seward, in preference to myself in the convention, is not even remembered by me for any practical purpose, or the slightest unpleasant feeling. I go not back of the convention, to make distinctions among its members; and, to the extent of our limited acquaintance, no man stands nearer my heart than yourself.” [Schurz, now 31 years old, was active in the failed revolution of 1848, fleeing first to England, then to the United States in 1852. He will campaign for Lincoln, giving speeches in German to immigrants, serve as Lincoln’s minister to Spain, become a general in the Union Army, serve in the Senate, become a cabinet member in Rutherford Hayes administration, be an advocate for African Americans, support anti-imperialism, be an editor, journalist and historian before his death on May 14, 1906.]

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Carl Schurz

 

June 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–In the abolitionist Liberator, a report mocks Senator Mason. “The ponderous Senator Mason has made a long report from the Committee on the Harpers Ferry Investigation, but the labor of the mountain has produced only a ridiculous mouse. A more flagrant failure, after so sounding a manifesto, never before occurred, and if the haughty Virginian had a proper sense of his ludicrous position, he would have been ashamed to make any report.”

June 22–Friday– Washington, D.C.–Congress passes a Homestead Bill which President Buchanan vetoes, because, the President asserts, the government can not give land to individual citizens.

June 23–Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland–The national convention of the Democratic Party adjourns, having nominated Stephen A Douglas of Illinois, age 47, for president and Herschel Johnson of Georgia for vice-president. Their adopted platform calls for a decision by the Supreme Court on slavery in the territories, building a transcontinental railroad, acquiring Cuba, and an end to Northern resistance to enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. [On Douglas, see: Stephen Douglas; the Last Years, 1857-1861 (1971) by Damon Wells.]

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Stephen A Douglas

 

June 27–Wednesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Thomas Achorn.

June 28–Thursday–Richmond, Virginia–The break-away Southern Democrats finish a three day convention in Richmond where they select John C. Breckinridge as their nominee for president. They adopt a platform which affirms the right to expand slavery into the western territories as settlers may decide, favors “the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment,” stringent enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, supports “the duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens,” and to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.”

May~Election Year 1940

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The so-called phony war which has raged in Europe since last September turns into a very hot shooting war with parts of the continent overrun by German forces and British and Allied soldiers forced to evacuate. The Olympic Committee cancels the summer games. Churchill becomes Prime Minister of England. The difficulties of the war will add pressure upon President Roosevelt as he weighs seeking an unprecedented third term. The Prohibition Party puts forward a slate of candidates.

May 3– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave who became a soldier, engineer, author and the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, dies at 84 years of age.

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Henry Ossian Flipper, circa 1900

 

May 6– Monday– New York City– Columbia University announces the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes. The public service award goes to the Waterbury Republican-American. Other journalism awards go to a reporter for the New York World-Telegram, a reporter from the New York Times, an editor from the St Louis Post-Dispatch and a cartoonist from the Baltimore Sun. Book awards go to John Steinbeck for The Grapes of Wrath, Carl Sandburg for Abraham Lincoln: the War Years and Ray Stannard Baker for volumes 7 and 8 of Woodrow Wilson, Life and Letters.

May 6– Monday– Lausanne, Switzerland– The International Olympic Committee announces the cancellation of the Summer Olympic Games.

May 10– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– The Prohibition Party nominates Roger W Babson for president and Edgar V Moorman for Vice-President. [Babson, 1875– 1967, was born in Massachusetts and became a successful statistician, business executive and author. Until 1938 he was active in the Republican Party. Moorman is a business executive from Illinois. On this election, see Babson’s own recollections in Our Campaign for the Presidency in 1940; America and the Churches (1941); on the party and its politics, see Ardent Spirits: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition (1993) by John Kobler; Partisan Prophets; a History of the Prohibition Party, 1854-1972 (1972) by Roger C Storms; Women and Gender in the New South: 1865-1945 (2009) by Elizabeth Hayes Turner.

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Roger W Babson, circa 1919

 

May 10– Friday– London, England– Winston Churchill, age 65, becomes Prime Minister as King George VI officially invites him to form a government.

May11– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas a state of war unhappily exists between Germany, on the one hand, and Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands, on the other hand; Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States and of its citizens and of persons within its territory and jurisdiction, and to enforce its laws and treaties, and in order that all persons, being warned of the general tenor of the laws and treaties of the United States in this behalf, and of the law of nations, may thus be prevented from any violation of the same, do hereby declare and proclaim that all of the provisions of my proclamation of September 5, 1939, proclaiming the neutrality of the United States in a war between Germany and France; Poland; and the United Kingdom, India, Australia and New Zealand apply equally in respect to Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands.”

May 12– Sunday– Sedan, France– In a massive thrust, German forces invade France as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

May 14– Tuesday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– Emma Goldman, anarchist, feminist, political activist, author and orator, dies of complications from a stroke, six weeks away from her 71st birthday.

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grave of Emma Goldman

 

May 14– Tuesday– London, England– Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, age 59, and her government arrive. [She leads the government in exile until she can return to her home in March, 1945.]

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Queen Wilhelmina, 1942

 

May 15– Wednesday– London, England– Winston Churchill sends a private telegram, the first of many, to President Roosevelt requesting American aid and asking the United States to join the Allied effort.

May 22– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “When Reorganization Plan No. IV was submitted to Congress, I did not contemplate the transmittal of any additional plans during the current session. However, the startling sequence of international events which has occurred since then has necessitated a review of the measures required for the nation’s safety. This has revealed a pressing need for the transfer of the immigration and naturalization functions from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice. I had considered such an interdepartmental transfer for some time but did not include it in the previous reorganization plans since much can be said for the retention of these functions in the Department of Labor during normal times. I am convinced, however, that under existing conditions the immigration and naturalization activities can best contribute to the national well-being only if they are closely integrated with the activities of the Department of Justice.” ~ Message from President Roosevelt to Congress.

May 26– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “For more than three centuries we Americans have been building on this continent a free society, a society in which the promise of the human spirit may find fulfillment. Commingled here are the blood and genius of all the peoples of the world who have sought this promise. We have built well. We are continuing our efforts to bring the blessings of a free society, of a free and productive economic system, to every family in the land. This is the promise of America. It is this that we must continue to build—this that we must continue to defend. It is the task of our generation, yours and mine. But we build and defend not for our generation alone. We defend the foundations laid down by our fathers. We build a life for generations yet unborn. We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind. Ours is a high duty, a noble task. Day and night I pray for the restoration of peace in this mad world of ours. It is not necessary that I, the President, ask the American people to pray in behalf of such a cause—for I know you are praying with me. I am certain that out of the heart of every man, woman and child in this land, in every waking minute, a supplication goes up to Almighty God; that all of us beg that suffering and starving, that death and destruction may end—and that peace may return to the world. In common affection for all mankind, your prayers join with mine—that God will heal the wounds and the hearts of humanity.” ~ President Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chat” with the American people via radio.

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Dunkirk evacuation

 

May 26– Sunday– Dunkirk, France– The British begin the evacuation of their own and allied troops.

May 29– Wednesday– New York City– “In various places I have moved about recently, I have been confronted with red poppies. I hurriedly look in my bag to see if I still have the last one to show, but finding it gone each time, I fish out more money and buy a new one. Veterans of the last World War are still in the hospitals and it is fitting that we should make their lot pleasanter by remembering them in this week before Memorial Day and by paying our share to the veterans’ fund. I want to congratulate the Amalgamated Clothing Workers on their silver jubilee, which they have just celebrated. This union has pioneered in many fields. Of course, their primary purpose has been to obtain the best possible wages and working conditions for the workers in the clothing and related industries, but they have undertaken labor banking, cooperative housing, unemployment insurance, life insurance and a real program of cultural activities.” ~ My Day column by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, age55 [written today it will appear in newspapers tomorrow]

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First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

May ~ Election Year 1916

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The world is in turmoil as the United States prepares to elect a president. Incumbent Woodrow Wilson faces challenges within his party, from Republicans and from several third parties. Most of Europe is being consumed by the Great War. Yet all is not quiet in Western Hemisphere as the United States sends troops into Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Americans express concern for peace and want to avoid involvement in the war. Britain quells rebellion in Ireland and executes Irish leaders.

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Dublin’s General Post Office after the fighting

 

May 1– Monday– Dublin, Ireland–The Easter Rising collapses as Irish fighters, out-gunned by British forces either surrender or go into hiding. Sir John Maxwell, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces announces that all involved in the insurrection have surrendered. The dead include 82 Irish fighters, 126 British soldiers, 17 Irish police officers and 260 civilians.

May 1– Monday– The Hague, Netherlands– The German Counsel recruits a Dutch dancer and courtesan who uses the stage name Mata Hari, to serve as a spy for Germany. She has lived and worked in Paris since 1905 and has numerous friends and clients among French officials and officers.

May 3– Wednesday– New York City– The Socialist Labor Party of America concludes it five day national convention, having nominated Arthur Reimer, a Massachusetts lawyer, age 34 for president and issues its platform which calls upon working people to assume control of “industrial production.”

Arthur_Elmer_Reimer_(1882–1969)_circa_1916

May 3– Wednesday– Verdun, France– The Germans begin an intense artillery bombardment of the French position known as Cote 304.

May 4– Thursday– Dublin, Ireland– British authorities execute Ned Daly, Willie Pearse, Michael O’Hanrahan and Joseph Plunkett for their roles in the Easter Rising.

May 5– Friday– Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic– Two companies of U S Marines land from the U.S.S. Prairie to protect the U.S. Legation and the U.S. Consulate, and to occupy Fort San Geronimo. Within hours, the Marines are reinforced with seven additional companies.

May 5– Friday– Berlin, Germany– In response to American protests, the German government pledges not to sink any more merchant ships without warning and to allow time for crew and passengers to abandon ship.

May 5– Friday– Verdun, France– German troops begin an assault against Cote 304.

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tired French troops on Cote 304

 

May 7– Sunday– Waterbury, Connecticut– Mrs Ethel O’Neill and her sister Mrs Bedelia Griffen head to Washington, D.C., to call upon the State Department to have the British release their brother James Mark Sullivan whom the British government has charged with involvement in the Easter rising. [Sullivan, age 43, a lawyer born in Ireland, is a naturalized American citizen, was visiting family in Ireland and had a reputation for making anti-British public statements. He will be released by the British. He dies in Florida on August 15, 1935.]

May 8– Monday– Marathon, Texas– Units of United States cavalry set out to pursue Mexican raiders who attacked Texas towns.

May 8– Monday– Dublin, Ireland– British authorities execute Eamon Kent, Michael Mallin, Con Colbert and Sean Houston for their roles in the Easter Rising.

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location where Irish prisoners were executed

 

May 8– Monday– Verdun, France– After three days of fierce fighting German troops capture Cote 304.

May 9– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– About 15,000 workers at Westinghouse Electric plants who went out on strike April 22, return to work without winning any improvements in wages and working conditions as the company threatens to fire them all. However, the union reports that about 2,000 machinists have left the region to find work elsewhere.

May 9– Tuesday– New Haven, Connecticut– Homer S Cummings, a member of the Democratic National Committee, declares that Republican critics of President Wilson place party ahead of the best interests of the country and while attacking the current administration have offered “no definite policy indicating what alternative course the Administration could have pursued which would have more completely accorded with the dignity and traditions of America.”

May 11– Thursday– London, England– During a debate in Parliament on the Irish crisis, John Dillon of the Irish Parliamentary Party calls on the British government to end the executions of the Easter Rising leaders.

May 13– Saturday– New Hartford, Connecticut– Clara Louise Kellogg, dramatic soprano who was a popular performer in both the United States and Europe from 1863 through 1881, dies from cancer at 73 years of age.

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Clara Louise Kellogg

 

May 13– Saturday– London, England– The government orders the call-up of married men between the ages of 36 and 41 for military service.

May 13– Saturday– Luxeuil-les-Bains, France– The Escadrille Americaine, a/k/a the Lafayette Escadrille, American pilots fighting for the French, fly their first patrol.

Lafayette_Escadrille_pilots

pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille

 

May 14– Sunday– New York City– In today’s New York Times Dr Abbott Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, presents a lengthy article calling for educators to join others in building an international body of the League to Enforce Peace by utilizing arbitration, economic sanctions and an international tribunal to discourage nations from going to war. [Lowell, age 59, has been Harvard’s president since 1909. He is one of 7 children and his sisters are the poet Amy Lowell and the advocate of pre-natal care Elizabeth Lowell Putnam. He dies on January 6, 1943, ten years after leaving Harvard. On Lowell’s life and work, see Lawrence Lowell and His Revolution (1980) by Nathan M. Pusey. On the League to Enforce Peace, see Blocking New Wars (1918) by Herbert S Houston; The League to Enforce Peace (1944) by Ruhl J Bartlett; Development of the League of Nations Idea: Documents and Correspondence of Theodore Marburg (2003) edited by John H Latane.]

May 15– Monday– Waco, Texas– Jesse Washington, a teenaged black farmhand, is brutally lynched by a crowd of nearly 10,000 white people, for allegedly murdering his employer’s wife. He is mutilated, then hung and burned while photographs are taken and sold as souvenirs.

May 15– Monday– Trentino, Province, Italy– The Austrians launch a major offensive with a heavy artillery barrage which does severe damage to Italian positions.

May 16– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Speaking at the National Press Club President Wilson declares that the United States must remain out of the war in Europe so that it can, with other neutral nations, help build an impartial peace.

May 17– Wednesday– Limerick, Ireland– Thomas O’Dwyer, Roman Catholic Bishop, refuses a request to discipline two of his priests who expressed sympathies for the establishment of an Irish republic. He reminds British General Maxwell that the general has shown no mercy to those fighters who surrendered.

May 17– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Sir Henry Howard, British Minister to the Vatican, reports that Pope Benedict XV has urged Germany to abandon submarine warfare.

May 18– Thursday– London, England– The Royal Commission established to inquire into the Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, begins hearings today.

May 19– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Wilson and his wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, head by train to North Carolina to visit several towns and cities, including Salisbury, Greensboro and Charlotte.

May 20– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– This issue of the Saturday Evening Post uses the first cover with a painting by a young artist named Norman Rockwell, age 22. The picture is entitled “Boy with Baby Carriage.”

May 20– Saturday– Charlotte, North Carolina– In a speech here President Wilson says that as the United States has learned and continues to learn “that it is made up out of all the nations of the world”, it can teach other countries how “this great cataclysm of European war” may “be turned into a coordination and cooperation of elements” which will make for “peace . . . accommodation and righteous judgment.”

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President Wilson prepares to speak from the back of a train

 

May 23– Tuesday– New York City– The sixth annual convention of the National Council of Settlements closes. Speaking at the luncheon Lillian D Wald warns against the rising spirit of militarism which threatens peace and can derail the social work of settlement houses. [On settlement houses generally, see Settlement Houses: Improving the Social Welfare of America’s Immigrants (2006) by Michael Friedman & Brett Friedman; American Settlement Houses and Progressive Social Reform: an Encyclopedia of the American Settlement Movement (1999) by Domenica M Barbuto; Settlement Houses and the Great Depression (1975) by Judith Ann Trolander; Children of the Settlement Houses (1998) by Caroline Arnold.

May 23– Tuesday– Vienna, Austria– The Austrian government is reviewing President Wilson’s speech of May 20th.

May 27– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If it should ever be our privilege to suggest or initiate a movement for peace among the nations now at war, I am sure that the people of the United States would wish their Government to move along these lines: First, such a settlement with regard to their own immediate interests as the belligerents may agree upon. We have nothing material of any kind to ask for ourselves, and are quite aware that we are in no sense or degree parties to the present quarrel. Our interest is only in peace and its future guarantees. Second, an universal association of the nations to maintain the inviolate security of the highway of the seas for the common and unhindered use of all the nations of the world, and to prevent any war begun either contrary to treaty covenants or without warning and full submission of the causes to the opinion of the world,—a virtual guarantee of territorial integrity and political independence. But I did not come here, let me repeat, to discuss a program. I came only to avow a creed and give expression to the confidence I feel that the world is even now upon the eve of a great consummation, when some common force will be brought into existence which shall safeguard right as the first and most fundamental interest of all peoples and all governments, when coercion shall be summoned not to the service of political ambition or selfish hostility, but to the service of a common order, a common justice, and a common peace. God grant that the dawn of that day of frank dealing and of settled peace, concord, and cooperation may be near at hand!” ~ President Woodrow Wilson speaking to the First National Assembly of the League to Enforce Peace

May 30– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Giving a Memorial Day speech at G. A. R Post #1, John Wanamaker, age 78, businessman, civic and political figure, asserts that the United States, as a friend to all nations, is called to emancipate the world from the scourge of war.

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John Wanamaker

 

May 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political program of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,-a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.” ~ Proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson.

May 31– Wednesday– London, England– In a letter to the Times of London, Lord Cromer asserts that the British government has no confidence in President Wilson’s ability to broker peace. “It is more than doubtful in spite of the very friendly feelings entertained toward America and Americans generally that the people of this country would under any circumstances welcome the idea that President Wilson should assume the role of mediator.”

May 31– Wednesday– North Sea, near the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark– British naval forces of 111 warships commence the first day of a two day battle with 99 warships of the German navy.

May ~ Election Year 1864

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Certainly before this time, no American president had faced re-election in the midst of a difficult war, compounded by problems at home and abroad. Union military operations seemed stalled– Grant unable to reach Richmond, Sherman not yet at Atlanta. Casualties keep mounting higher and higher. A bogus proclamation appears in several New York newspapers. Black soldiers had been massacred. Radical Republicans break from the party and nominate their own candidate. A European power is meddling in the affairs of Mexico. Many fear that Lincoln cannot win again.

May 1– Sunday– New York City– “In another column we give copious extracts from our files of English journals, together with translations of notable passages from our French files, to illustrate the popular feeling abroad regarding the progress of events in Mexico. The supercilious, insulting tone in which reference is made to the disability of our Government to interfere at present with the erection of a monarchy upon the ruins of the Mexican Republic might, and perhaps would, excite our indignation, were it not for the ludicrous perplexity in which both the English and French journalists appear to be regarding what has actually been accomplished by Napoleon, and the fears which seem to haunt them unless the would-be Emperor may not after all find his path to the Mexican capital strewn with roses.” ~ New York Times

May 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– A group of 73 women, most of them the wives of senators, congressmen, judges, clergy or military officers, form a “Ladies National Covenant” and agree to help the war effort by refraining from purchasing European goods. “For the good of our country and the honor of our sex, let us redeem ourselves from this reproach of wanton extravagance.” They agree to encourage women across the country to make the same pledge.

May 2– Monday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Alice Bertha Kroeger, first daughter and second child of Adolph and Eliza Curren Kroeger. She will become a librarian, author, lecturerer, advocate for suffrage, organizer and first director of the school of library science at Drexel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [Dies October 31, 1909]

Gideon_Welles_-_Ambrotype

Gideon Welles

 

May 3– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President requested each member to give him an opinion as to what course the Government should pursue in relation to the recent massacre at Fort Pillow. The committee from Congress who have visited the scene returned yesterday and will soon report. All the reported horrors are said to be verified. The President wishes to be prepared to act as soon as the subject is brought to his notice officially, and hence Cabinet advice in advance. The subject is one of great responsibility and great embarrassment, especially before we are in possession of the facts and evidence of the committee. There must be something in these terrible reports, but I distrust Congressional committees. They exaggerate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 5– Thursday– Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania– Birth of Elizabeth Jane Cochran, a/k/a Nellie Bly, journalist, author and inventor. [Dies January 27, 1922.]

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I have written a letter to the President in relation to the Fort Pillow massacre, but it is not satisfactory to me, nor can I make it so without the evidence of what was done, nor am I certain that even then I could come to a conclusion on so grave and important a question. The idea of retaliation,– killing man for man,– which is the popular noisy demand, is barbarous, and I cannot assent to or advise it. . . . The whole subject is beset with difficulties. I cannot yield to any inhuman scheme of retaliation. Must wait the publication of the testimony.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Between Mr. Bates and Mr. Blair a suggestion came out that met my views better than anything that had previously been offered. It is that the President should by proclamation declare the officers who had command at the massacre outlaws, and require any of our officers who may capture them, to detain them in custody and not exchange them, but hold them to punishment. . . . I expressed myself favorable to this new suggestion, which relieved the subject of much of the difficulty. It avoids communication with the Rebel authorities. Takes the matter in our own hands. We get rid of the barbarity of retaliation. Stanton fell in with my suggestion, so far as to propose that, should Forrest, or Chalmers, or any officer conspicuous in this butchery be captured, he should be turned over for trial for the murders at Fort Pillow. I sat beside Chase and mentioned to him some of the advantages of this course, and he said it made a favorable impression. I urged him to say so, for it appeared to me that the President and Seward did not appreciate it. We get no tidings from the front. There is an impression that we are on the eve of a great battle and that it may already have commenced.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Some fragmentary intelligence comes to us of a conflict of the two great armies. A two days’ fight is said to have taken place. The President came into my room about 1 p.m., and told me he had slept none last night. He lay down for a short time on the sofa in my room and detailed all the news he had gathered.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “To the Friends of the Union and Liberty: Enough is known of the army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God, while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him, without whom all human efforts are in vain. I recommend that all patriots, at their homes, in their places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in common thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

May 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The army news is interesting and as well received as the great loss of life will permit. Hancock has made a successful onset and captured Edward Johnson and two other generals, with about fifty other officers and four thousand prisoners, thirty pieces of cannon, etc. General Sheridan, with his cavalry, has got in rear of Lee and destroyed about ten miles of railroad, captured two trains, and destroyed the depot of Rebel supplies at Beaver Dam. Our troops are in good heart and everything looks auspicious for the republic. Many valuable lives have been offered up for the Union, and many a Rebel has fallen.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 13– Friday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “We have been fighting as brave as ever there was any soldiers fought. I know if every regiment that are out and have been out would have done as well as we have the war would be over. I do really think that it’s God’s will that this war Shall not end till the Colored people get their rights. It goes very hard for the White people to think of it But by God’s will and power they will have their rights. Us that are living now may not live to see it. I shall die a trying for our rights so that other that are born hereafter may live and enjoy a happy life.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Christy, a black man, to his sister Mary Jane Demus.

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May 16– Monday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “We have had the best of the fighting so far and its my opinion that General Grant has got Lee in a pretty tight spot. We had a severe fight here on the 12th and the loss was heavy on both sides . . . . The Army is in first rate spirits and everyone seems confident and hopeful.”~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Seward informed me that a forged proclamation had been published by sundry papers in New York, among others by the World and Journal of Commerce, imposing a fast on account of the failures of Grant and calling for a draft of 300,000 men. Seward said he at once sent on contradicting it . . . . He then had called on Stanton to know whether such a document had passed over the regular telegraph. Stanton said there had not. . . . Seward then asked if the World and Journal of Commerce had been shut up. Stanton said he knew of their course only a minute before. Seward said the papers had been published a minute too long; and Stanton said if he and the President directed, they should be suspended. Seward thought there should be no delay. Gold, under the excitement, has gone up ten per cent . . . . It seems to have been a cunningly devised scheme– probably by the Rebels and the gold speculators, as they are called, who are in sympathy with them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.” ~ Executive order from President Lincoln to General John Adams Dix.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, I see such awful things– I expect one of these days, if I live, I shall have awful thoughts & dreams– but it is such a great thing to be able to do some real good, assuage these horrible pains & wounds, & save life even– that’s the only thing that keeps a fellow up,” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

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Walt Whitman

 

May 19– Thursday– New York City– “The undersigned, editors and publishers of a portion of the daily press of the city of New York, respectfully represent that the leading journals of this city sustain very extended telegraphic news arrangements, under an organization established in 1848 and known as the New York Associated Press, which is controlled by its members, acting through an executive committee, a general agent in this city, and assistant agents immediately responsible to the association at every important news center throughout this country and Europe. Under the above-named organization the rule has always been to transmit by telegraph all intelligence to the office of the general agent in this city, and by him the same is properly prepared for publication, and then written out by manifold process on tissue paper, and a copy of the same is sent simultaneously in sealed envelopes to each of the editors who are entitled to receive the same. From foregoing statement of facts Your Excellency will readily perceive that an ingenious rogue, knowing the manner in which the editors were supplied with much of their telegraphic news, could, by selecting his time and opportunity, easily impose upon editors or compositors the most wicked and fraudulent reports. . . . . the suspension by Your Excellency’s orders of the two papers last evening has had the effect to awaken editors and publishers and news agents, telegraph companies, &c., to the propriety of increased vigilance in their several duties, the undersigned respectfully request that Your Excellency will be pleased to rescind the order under which The World and the Journal of Commerce were suppressed.” ~ Message from Sidney Howard Gay of the New York Tribune, Erastus Brooks, of the New York Express, Frederick Hudson for James G. Bennett, of the New York Herald and Moses Sperry Beach, of the New York Sun to President Lincoln. [The four of them together represent a spectrum of both journalistic approaches and political views.]

May 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The bogus proclamation has been the principal topic to-day. The knowledge that it is a forgery has not quieted the public mind.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 21– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln decides to lift publication ban on New York newspapers World and Journal of Commerce.

May 23– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The author of the forged proclamation has been detected. His name is Howard, and he has been long connected with the New York press, but especially with the Times. . . . He is of a pestiferous class of reckless sensation-writers for an unscrupulous set of journalists who misinform the public mind. Scarcely one of them has regard for truth, and nearly all make use of their positions to subserve selfish, mercenary ends. This forger and falsifier Howard is a specimen of the miserable tribe. The seizure of the office of the World and Journal of Commerce for publishing this forgery was hasty, rash, inconsiderate, and wrong, and cannot be defended. They are mischievous and pernicious, working assiduously against the Union and the Government and giving countenance and encouragement to the Rebellion, but were in this instance the dupes, perhaps the willing dupes, of a knave and wretch.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 28–Saturday– Veracruz, Mexico– The nobles Maximilian, age 32, and his wife Charlotte, age 24, arrive from Europe. Maximilian has claimed the throne of Mexico at urging of and with the military support of French Emperor Napoleon III. [Maximilian will be captured by the Mexicans and executed June 19, 1867. Charlotte will flee to Europe before her husband’s capture and will eventually die in seclusion in Belgium on January 19, 1927.]

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Emperor Maximilian

 

May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The army movements have been interesting for the last few days, though not sensational. Grant has not obtained a victory but performed another remarkably successful flank movement. Sherman is progressing in Georgia.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 31–Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio–A convention of 350 Radical Republicans nominates John C Fremont for president and John Cochran of New York for vice-president. Their platform calls for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, no compromise with the Confederacy, a one term limit for the office of president, direct election of president and vice-president, a policy of reconstruction for the defeated South to be set by Congress and not the president, the plantations of Southern rebels to be given to Union veterans and no toleration of “the establishment of any anti-republican government on this continent by any foreign power.”

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John C Fremont

 

May 31–Tuesday– Washington, D.C.–The House of Representatives defeats a resolution for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery [which will eventually become the Thirteenth Amendment] by a vote of 55 in favor but 75 opposed.

May~Election Year 1892

 

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

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

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Grover Cleveland

 

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

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

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

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a lynching in the South

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Maxim gun

 

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

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Benjamin Harrison

 

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

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

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

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John Muir, circa 1902

 

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

 

May ~ Election Year 1860

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The slavery question is dividing the country. Southern attempts to reinvigorate the African slave trade cause various problems. The new Republican Party nominates Illinois attorney Abe Lincoln for president and adopts a platform which promises protection for the rights of immigrants. [My, how things have changed in 2016!!] A sitting Supreme Court justice dies. [The Senate will defeat President Buchanan’s nominee but only after a proper hearing, debate and vote.]

May 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.–The Senate defeats a treaty with Spain because it includes a payment for damages to the slave ship Amistad in the notorious 1839 slave revolt episode.

May 3– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina–After failing in 57 rounds of balloting to give Senator Douglas the nomination, the Northern Democratic delegates vote to adjourn the convention and to reconvene in Baltimore in June.

May 3– Thursday– Stockholm, Sweden– The thirty-four year old Charles XV is crowned as King of Sweden and Norway.

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King Charles XV ~ 1860

 

May 3– Thursday– Newcastle, England–A Quaker abolitionist, Anna H. Richardson writes to William Still, an African-American conductor on the underground railroad in Philadelphia, with a promise of five British pounds to support his work, saying she “would gladly have enclosed a £5 note in this envelope, but we are rather afraid of sending the actual money in letters, and our London bankers do not like to remit small sums. I shall continue to watch for the first opportunity of forwarding the above.”

May 6– Sunday– Atlantic Ocean–A U S warship captures the slaver Falmouth.

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May 9–Wednesday– Off the coast of Cuba– An American warship, the U.S.S. Wyandotte captures the slaver William in international waters. A Baltimore company owns the William which set sail from West Africa two months ago, bound for Cuba with a cargo of 744 slaves. When intercepted, 513 surviving Africans remain in the hold. The bodies of those who died were simply thrown overboard.

May 9–Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland–In a one day convention, the Constitutional Union Party nominates John Bell of Tennessee for president and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice-president. They reject traditional specific platform statements and call for citizens to do “both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the Country, the Union of the States, and the Enforcement of the Laws, and that, as representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the country, in National Convention assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, these great principles of public liberty and national safety, against all enemies, at home and abroad; believing that thereby peace may once more be restored to the country.”

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Bell & Everett campaign poster

 

May 10– Thursday– New York City– The tenth National Women’s Rights Convention, held at the Cooper Union Hall, concludes it two-day meeting today. Approximately 700 persons are in attendance with Martha Coffin Pelham Wright as presiding officer. [Wright, 1806– 1875, a sister of Lucretia Coffin Mott, is a feminist and abolitionist and was one of the planners of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.]

May 10–Thursday– Florence, Italy– Theodore Parker, clergyman, Transcendentalist, and abolitionist, dies of tuberculosis at age 49.

May 12–Saturday– Chicago, Illinois–The Republican national convention opens. Mary Ashton Rice Livermore covers the proceedings for New Covenant, a magazine which employs her as associate editor. By her presence she becomes the first woman working as a reporter to cover a political convention in the United States. [Livermore, 1820– 1905, is an advocate of temperance and of woman suffrage. During the Civil War she will work with the Chicago Sanitary Commission to meet the needs of Union soldiers.]

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Mary Livermore

 

May 14– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The first diplomatic mission from Japan to the United States arrives after a long journey from Japan, via Hawaii, San Francisco, and Panama. Excitement is high in the city and both the House of Representatives and the Senate adjourn so as to watch the visitors land. The seventy-four person party are hosted at the Willard Hotel in the city.

May 15– Tuesday– Savannah, Georgia– Birth of Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, who will become the first wife of Woodrow Wilson while he is a professor at Bryn Mawr College. She will die on August 6, 1914, while her husband serves his first term as President of the United States and war is erupting in Europe.

May 16– Wednesday– Buffalo, New York– Methodist bishops are meeting in their annual conference. The Committee on Slavery presents both a majority and minority report on the controversial topic with the majority wishing to strengthen language to say that the very holding of slaves is a sin, not just their sale or traffic. The minority report objects to any changes, saying the issue would make Methodism in the South impossible at such an “excited time.”

May 17– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican Party adopts its platform which says, among other things:7. That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country. 8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to givelegal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States. 9. That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic. . . . . 14. That the Republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws or any state legislation by which the rights of citizens hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad. . . . 16. That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the federal government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily overland mail should be promptly established.”

May 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s issue of The Liberator carries a letter from “T.T.C.” which criticizes Elizabeth Cady Stanton for disrupting the Anti-Slavery Society meeting in New York City with her demands for the rights of women.

May 18–Friday– Chicago, Illinois–The Republican national convention closes, having nominated Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for president and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for vice-president.

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May 19–Saturday– New York City–”The Chicago Convention nominates Lincoln and Hamlin. They will be beat, unless the South perpetrate some special act of idiocy, arrogance, or brutality before next fall. . . . The Tribune and other papers commend him [Lincoln] to popular favor as having but six months’ schooling in his whole life . . . . ‘Honest Abe’ sounds less efficient than ‘Fremont and Jessie,’ and that failed four years ago.” ~ George Templeton Strong.

May 19– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– On the 26th day of April last Lieutenant Craven, of the United States steamer Mohawk , captured the slaver Wildfire on the coast of Cuba, with 507 African Negroes on board. The prize was brought into Key West on the 31st of April and the Negroes were delivered into the custody of Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the southern district of Florida. The question which now demands immediate decision is, What disposition shall be made of these Africans? In the annual message to Congress of December 6, 1858, I expressed my opinion in regard to the construction of the act of the 3rd March, 1819, ‘in addition to the acts prohibiting the slave trade,’ so far as the same is applicable to the present case. . . . The capturing officer, in case he should bring his prize directly to the United States, ought to be required to land the Negroes in some one or more ports, to be designated by Congress, where the prevailing health throughout the year is good. At these ports cheap but permanent accommodations might be provided for the Negroes until they could be sent away, without incurring the expense of erecting such accommodations at every port where the capturing officer may think proper to enter. On the present occasion these Negroes have been brought to Key West, and, according to the estimate presented by the marshal of the southern district of Florida to the Secretary of the Interior, the cost of providing temporary quarters for them will be $2,500 and the aggregate expenses for the single month of May will amount to $12,000. But this is far from being the worst evil. Within a few weeks the yellow fever will most probably prevail at Key West, and hence the marshal urges their removal from their present quarters at an early day, which must be done, in any event, as soon as practicable. For these reasons I earnestly commend this subject to the immediate attention of Congress. I transmit herewith a copy of the letter and estimate of Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the southern district of Florida, to the Secretary of the Interior, dated 10th May, 1860, together with a copy of the letter of the Secretary of the Interior to myself, dated 16th May. It is truly lamentable that Great Britain and the United States should be obliged to expend such a vast amount of blood and treasure for the suppression of the African slave trade, and this when the only portions of the civilized world where it is tolerated and encouraged are the Spanish islands of Cuba and Porto Rico.” ~ Message to Congress from President James Buchanan.

May 21– Monday– Springfield, Illinois–Lincoln writes to his friend Joshua R Giddings, radical abolitionist, now age 64, retired from Congress and home in Jefferson, Ohio. “It is indeed, most grateful to my feelings, that the responsible position assigned me, comes without conditions, save only such honorable ones as are fairly implied. . . . Your letter comes to my aid in this point, most opportunely. May the Almighty grant that the cause of truth, justice, and humanity, shall in no wise suffer at my hands.”

May 22– Tuesday– New York City– George McClellan, age 33, weds Mary Ellen Marcy, age 25, at Calvary Church.

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McClellan & his wife Mary Ellen Marcy ~ he made her sit because she was a few inches taller than him

 

 

May 22–Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “Our special dispatch announces the nomination of Levi Lincoln, of Illinois, to lead the future crusades of Northern fanaticism against the domestic institutions of the South. A great error of memory or haste has been committed, for the Savannah Republican cannot be ignorant of ‘Abe Lincoln,’ the great apostle of rail splitting, who has been selected to split the Union. ‘Abe’ is the man, not Levi.” ~ Charleston Courier

 

May 23–Wednesday– Off the coast of Cuba–An American warship seizes the slaver Bogota with 500 slaves on board.

May 23–Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln writes to George Ashmun, 56 years old and former Congressman from Massachusetts who is one of the founders of the Republican Party. “I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over which you presided, and of which I am formally apprized in the letter of yourself and others, acting as a committee of the convention, for the purpose. The declaration of principles and sentiments, which accompanies your letter, meets my approval; and it shall be my care not to violate, or disregard it, in any part. Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were represented in the convention; to the rights of all the states, and territories, and people of the nation; to the inviolability of the constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony, and prosperity of all, I am most happy to co-operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the convention.”

May 25–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s issue of Garrison’s Liberator contains a notice of a meeting soon to be held at Mercantile Hall to consider the formation of a political anti-slavery party and “to take such other political action as may be deemed advisable.”

May 26–Saturday– Rochester, New York–Frederick Douglass writes to British friends to explain why he has returned to the United States. “Even in the event of the election of a Republican President, which I still hopefully anticipate, the real work of abolitionizing the public mind will still remain, and every pen, press and voice now employed will then, as now, be needed to carry forward that great work. The Republican party is . . . only negatively anti-slavery. It is opposed to the political power of slavery, rather than to the slave power itself . . . . The triumph of the Republican party will only open the way for this great work.”

May 28– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts–The American Peace Society, with only a few members in attendance, convenes its annual meeting and calls for arbitration and peace between North and South.

May 30–Wednesday–Washington–Congressman Schuyler Colfax of Indiana writes to candidate Lincoln to inform him about discussion with another representative from Indiana. “The Chicago platform contained some things with which he did not agree: but knowing you, & having confidence in you, both from personal knowledge & from having read your discussions with Douglas, he had the highest possible confidence in you, and the most assured conviction that you could do right. That Indiana must not be carried by the Democracy; and that he expected to oppose the formation of any Bell Electoral ticket in the State, so that it might be carried for you, as, in the event, it would certainly be.”

May 31–Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– Peter Vivian Daniel, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court , age 76, dies at his home. A Democrat appointed by President Van Buren in 1841, Justice Daniel has been a defender of states’ rights, limited government, and slavery. [The Senate will reject President James Buchanan’s choice, Jeremiah Black of Pennsylvania, by one vote on February 21, 1861, and Daniel’s seat on the Court will remain empty until July 16, 1862, when President Lincoln will nominate Samuel F. Miller of Iowa.]

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Justice Peter Daniel

Immigration in 1860

Immigration (U.S.):

Even as the United States enters one of the most contentious elections in our history and teeters on the verge of civil war, the country continues to receive immigrants, especially those fleeing poverty and starvation in Ireland and political refugees from continental Europe. The vast majority are men between 15 and 40 years of age and unemployed or fit only for unskilled labor.

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Irish immigrants

 

>153,640 immigrants enter the United States:

> 35.4% come from the German states;

> 31.6% come from Ireland;

> 19.4% come from Great Britain;

> 3.6% come from China;

> 3.4% come from France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland combined;

> 2.9% come from Canada;

> 1.2% come Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.7% come from Spain, Portugal and Greece combined;

> 0.7% come from Italy;

> 0.5% come from Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined;

> 0.6% come other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

41.4% are female;

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Immigrant women

 

> 74.5% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 15.9% are under age 15;

> 9.6% are over age 40

Occupations:

> 52.3% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 17.4% have general labor occupations;

> 12.1% have agricultural occupations;

> 10.8% have skilled labor occupations;

> 6.2% have commercial occupations;

> 0.8% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.4% have professional occupations.

Immigration in 1856

Immigration to the United States in 1856

Almost 85% of immigrants come from Great Britain, Ireland and Germany. The majority are men between the ages of 15 and 40, with no occupation or are general laborers.

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200,436 immigrants enter the United States:

> 35.4% come from the German states;

> 27.1% come from Ireland;

> 22.3% come from Great Britain;

> 6.2% come from Northwest Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland);

> 3.2% come from Canada;

> 2.4% come from China;

> 1.3% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.7% come from Italy;

> 0.7% come from Scandinavia:

> 0.7% come from other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

> 42.2% are female;

> 57.8% are male;

> 63.2% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 19.0% are under age 15;

> 17.8% are over age 40.

Occupations by major categories:

> 58.2% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 16.5% are general laborers;

> 11.0% are farmers;

> 8.4% are skilled craft workers;

> 4.9% are commercial workers;

> 0.8% are domestic workers;

0.2% are professional workers.

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Aiding Soldiers ~ March 1865 ~ 30th to 31st

Aiding Soldiers

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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.

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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.]