Tag Archives: European women

July ~ Election Year 1920


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

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

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

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

NPG Ax39163; Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel by Walter Stoneman, for  James Russell & Sons

Sir Herbert L Samuel


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

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

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


James Cox


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

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


David Brinkley


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

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

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


Donna Maria Eugenie de Montijo


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Bella Abzug


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

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

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


May~Election Year 1932


The United States keeps falling into the Great Depression and citizens look to the federal government to do something. Violence and political troubles shake Germany, France, New Zealand, Peru, Japan, India, Austria and Cuba.

May 2– Washington, D.C.– In the case of Nixon v Condon, the Supreme Court by a 5 to 4 decision holds the Democratic Party’s primary election system in Texas which excludes black people is unconstitutional. Justice Benjamin Cardozo writes the majority opinion while Justice James McReynolds writes for the four dissenters. Cardozo, age 62, is the newest member of the Court, appointed by the president on March 2nd.


Benjamin Cardozo


May 3– Tuesday– New York City– Columbia University announces the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes who include five reporters from the Detroit Free Press, one from the St Louis Post-Dispatch, one from the New York Times, and a cartoonist from the Chicago Tribune. Book awards go to Henry F Pringle for his biography Theodore Roosevelt, Pearl Buck for The Good Earth and retired General John J Pershing for My Experiences in the World War.

May 3– Tuesday– Sacramento, California– John Nance Garner, age 63, a lawyer and politician from Texas, wins the Democratic primary.

May 4– Wednesday– Moscow, Russia– The Soviet union and Estonia sign a non-aggression pact.

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The imperative need of the nation today is a definite and conclusive program for balancing the budget. Uncertainty is disastrous. It must be in every sense a national program. Sectional, partisan, group, or class considerations can have no place in it. Ours is a government of all the people, created to protect and promote the common good, and when the claims of any group or class are inconsistent with the welfare of all, they must give way.” ~ Message from President Herbert Hoover to Congress.

May 6– Friday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer, age 75, is shot and mortally wounded by a Russian emigre named Paul Gorguloff at a book fair.

May 7– Saturday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer dies of his wound.

May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Hoover vetoes a bill which have allowed civilians who served in the Quartermaster Corps to be cared for in old soldiers’ home.

May 10– Tuesday– Paris, France– Albert Francois Lebrun becomes the new President of France.

May 10– Tuesday– Wellington, New Zealand– A riot ensues when the government refuses to respond to the demands of 4,000 relief workers.

May 12– Thursday– Hopewell Township, New Jersey– The body of Charles Lindbergh, Jr, the 20 month old son Charles Lindbergh, is found two months after his kidnaping.

May 12– Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Wilhelm Groener, Defense Minister, resigns from his post. The Reichstag is shut down after violence by four Nazi members.

May 13– Friday– Marseilles, France– Former king Alfonso XIII of Spain is assaulted by a Spanish citizen.

May 14– Saturday– Mexico City, Mexico– The government breaks diplomatic relations with Peru after that country accused Mexican diplomats of plotting to stir up public disorder.

May 15– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– A group of naval officers and army cadets assassinate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi in a failed coup attempt.

May 17– Tuesday– Bombay, India– British troops end four days of rioting between Hindus and Muslims by opening fire on the rival crowds.

May 18– Wednesday– Havana, Cuba– Police arrest several hundred people on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

May 19– Dublin, Ireland– By a vote of 77 to 69, the lower house of the Irish Free State parliament passes a bill to abolish the oath of allegiance to the English king which was mandated of all legislators by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which had concluded the Irish War for Independence.

May 20– Friday– Vienna, Austria– Engelbert Dollfuss becomes Chancellor of Austria.


Amelia Earhart


May 21–Saturday– Culmore, Northern Ireland–Amelia Earhart, age 34, arrives from Newfoundland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Engine trouble prevents her from going on to Paris as Charles Lindbergh had done.

May 22–Sunday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper, criticizes the Hoover administration for providing only segregated facilities for black Gold Star Mothers going to visit the graves of their sons in Europe.

r l vann

Robert L Vann, founding editor of Pittsburgh Courier


May 22– Sunday– County Galway, Ireland– Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory, folklorist, poet, dramatist and key figure in the Irish literary revival, dies of breast cancer at 80 years of age.

May 22– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– The Emperor appoints Saito Makoto as the new Prime Minister.

May 23– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– The scientist Albert Einstein, age 53, issues a call for pacifists worldwide to demand total disarmament to take place within the next five years. “War can’t be humanized. It can only be abolished,” he asserts.


Albert Einstein, circa 1921


May 25– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Italy and Turkey renew their non-aggression treaty of 1928 for another five years and agree to improved trade relations.

May 26– Thursday– Hamburg, Germany– The shortage of food leads to a riot in which two people are killed.

May 27– Friday– Washington, D.C.– At his press conference President Hoover explains his opposition to a pending bill in Congress. “A total of over 3,500 projects of various kinds are proposed in this bill, scattered into every quarter of the United States. Many of these projects have heretofore been discredited by Congress because of useless extravagance involved. Many were originally authorized as justified only in the long-distant future. I do not believe that 20 percent could be brought to the stage of employment for a year. I am advised by the engineers that the amount of labor required to complete a group of $400 million of these works would amount to only 100,000 men for 1 year because they are in large degree mechanized jobs. This is not unemployment relief. It is the most gigantic pork barrel ever proposed to the American Congress. It is an unexampled raid on the Public Treasury. Detailed lists of these projects have been broadcast to every part of the country during the past 24 hours, to the cities, towns, villages, and sections who would receive a portion of this pork barrel. It is apparently expected that the cupidity of these towns and sections will demand that their Congressmen and Senators vote for this bill or threaten to penalize them if they fail to join in this squandering of money. I just do not believe that such lack of intelligence or cupidity exists amongst the people of the United States.”


President Herbert Hoover


May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received Your Majesty’s gracious message. The tribute which you and the Belgian people are paying on Decoration Day to the memory of those American soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for the cause of justice and whose bodies rest in Belgium, echoes and resounds in every American heart with gratitude and affection for their Belgian comrades and friends. I and my fellow country men in dedicating this day to our own dead will be keenly mindful of your own country’s great sacrifice and will bend our heads in silent prayer for Belgium’s heroic dead.” ~ Message from President Hoover to King Albert of Belgium, in response to the king’s memorial day message of friendship.

Election Year 1892 ~ April


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

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

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

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


Mary Pickford


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

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

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


President Benjamin Harrison


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

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


Senator David B Hill


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

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

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

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

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


First Lady Caroline Harrison


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Memorial to the Haymarket Martyrs


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

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

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


the late Justice Bradley


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

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

Strains of Fanaticism ~ March, 1852

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

dr hannah-longshore

Dr Hannah Longshore

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

hutchinson family2


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

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


Reverend Samuel J May


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

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

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


Lady Gregory


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

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


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

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


Harriet Beecher Stowe


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

Progress Day by Day~ January 1876


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

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

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

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

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

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


James G Blaine


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

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

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

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


Jack London


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Matilda Joslyn Gage


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aaron Augustus Sargent


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Queen Victoria


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

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

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

The Buzz~January, 1860


January 1–Sunday– Troy, New York– Local vigilance members, including several black women, gather at the federal commissioner’s office and lead a crowd against the officers holding Charles Nalle, a fugitive slave from Virginia, and spirit him away to safety.

January 2–Monday– Ellington, New York–Mrs Brooks of the local Anti-slavery Society writes to William Still of Philadelphia. “Enclosed are $2.00, to pay freightage on the box of bedding, wearing apparel, etc., that has been sent to your address. It has been thought best to send you a schedule of the contents of said box. Trusting it will be acceptable, and be the means of assisting the poor fugitive on his perilous way, you have the prayers of our Society, that you may be prospered in your work of mercy, and you surely will meet with your reward according to your merciful acts.” [Today her $2 gift would equal $54.10.]


William Still


January 2–Monday– Columbus, Ohio– In his annual message to the state legislature, Governor Salmon P Chase [1808– 1873], in his second term in office, responds to Virginia Governor Henry Wise’s [1806– 1876] condemnation of northern encouragement of slave revolts. Chase denounces any incitement to violence but lays most of the blame for disturbances in the slave states, following John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry, on southerners themselves, and Chase goes on to condemn the southern arrests of strangers and organized demonstrations against northern neighbors. [Chase will become a member of Lincoln’s Cabinet and later Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; Wise will become a general in the Confederate army.]

January 2–Monday– Sacramento, California– The state legislature convenes with a narrow Democratic majority. The pro-southern wing of the California Democratic Party has done well in the election. However, even as the new session begins the Democrats are showing signs of a developing split among themselves over the question of slavery.

January 4–Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– The state Democratic Party Convention meets to select delegates for the upcoming national convention in Charleston, South Carolina. They charge those selected to make sure the Party’s platform resists all federal regulations concerning slavery in the western territories and to support Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois as the official Democratic Party nominee.

January 4–Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– Abolitionist John Hossack and seven other residents of Ottawa, Illinois are indicted under the Fugitive Slave Law for assisting the escape of a Missouri fugitive on October 29, 1859.

January 5–Thursday– Paris, France– Emperor Napoleon III orders a series of free trade reforms in France with the immediate removal of custom’s duties on wool and cottons and a gradual reduction in other items, including sugar.

January 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “We have asserted, on another occasion, that, morally speaking, the South is one vast Bedlam on the subject of slavery, and the slaveholders lunatics. In demonstration of the truthfulness of this charge, read Governor Wise’s harangue to the squad of medical students who recently left Philadelphia in great dudgeon because freedom of speech was protected by the city authorities, and whose presence has always been a curse and a poisonous contagion to that city. Did Bedlam ever exhibit any thing more ludicrous or more incoherent: Such a person as Governor Wise, in Massachusetts, would be deemed a fit candidate for the asylum at Worcester.” ~ The Liberator.

January 6–Friday– Vienna, Austria– Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary issues the first of a series of edicts lifting restrictions against Jews throughout the Empire.

January 8– Sunday– Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky– Birth of Nancy Jones, African American missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). She will graduate from Fisk University and become the first unmarried black woman commissioned by the ABCFM, serving in Mozambique from 1888 to 1893 and later in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) from 1893 to 1897. [Her death date is unknown.]

January 8–Sunday– London, England– Birth of Emma Booth, the fourth child and second daughter of William and Catherine Booth, who will soon found the Salvation Army. She will become one of her father’s key advisors and will lead operations in the United States for several years. [Dies October 28, 1903.]


Emma Booth


January 9–Monday– Frankfort, Kentucky– The state Democratic Party convention opens today with generally moderate discussion. Participants voice support for slavery and remaining loyal to the Union. The delegates elected to the national convention are committed to native son James Guthrie, who supports the Dred Scott decision, states’ rights, and adherence to the Union.

January 10–Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Due to faulty construction, the Pemberton Mill building collapses, killing or injuring 270 workers, mostly women and young girls. As rescue workers try to free the trapped workers, fire erupts in the debris, adding to the number of dead.

January 11– Wednesday–Albany, New York–Workers form the Iron Molders Union of America.

January 11–Wednesday– New York City–George Templeton Strong writes in his diary about yesterday’s industrial accident in Lawrence, Massachusetts. “Of course, nobody will be hanged. Somebody has murdered about two hundred people, many of them with hideous torture, in order to save money, but society has no avenging gibbet for the respectable millionaire and homicide. Of course not.”

January 11–Wednesday– Montgomery, Alabama– The state Democratic Convention opens its four day meeting controlled by advocates of states’ rights. William L Yancey, one of the Southern fire-eaters, gives an important speech. The meeting will end by endorsing a series of resolutions that defend slavery in the western territories, affirm the Dred Scott decision, and threaten a withdrawal from the national convention should these demands not be met.

January 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “A public meting of the citizen of Marlborough (Massachusetts) was convened in the town hall on Friday evening, Dec. 2, to express their sentiments respecting the execution of John Brown, and their sympathy with his affected family. The meeting was called to order by O. W. Albee, principal of [the old Gates Academy] High School Mr. Howe was chosen Chairman, and Wm. F. Brigham, Secretary. Mr. Howe a made a few remarks on the event that had called the people together, and then called on Mr. Albee to address the meeting. Mr. A. responded by referring to the tragic event of to-day, and then passed to a review of the aggression of the Slave Power, and their affect on such minds as his who bad that day passed to heaven from a Virginia gallows. John Brown could not have been true to his convictions of right and duty, and have done or suffered less. He said he (Brown) was a believer in the Old Testament as well as in the New, and believed in gunpowder as well as in prayer; and, acting up to this standard, he inevitably must meet such an end. Mr. A. would not argue that all his actions were judicious; but, viewed from Brown’s standpoint, he saw a heroism and an unselfishness rarely equaled, and never surpassed, in history. Charles Brigham expressed his deep sorrow for so painful an event, and expressed a determination to be more devoted to the cause of freedom than he had heretofore been. Rev. Mr. Wakefield, of Feltonville, was the next speaker; and for more than thirty minutes he spoke with a fervor and eloquence rarely surpassed– portraying the wrongs of the slave, the outrages inflicted upon Kansas, the stirring scenes through which Brown and his compeers had passed, and the terrible destiny that awaits this guilty nation, and the certainty that disunion and bloodshed must be the final result. . . . . A collection was taken for the family of Brown, and the meeting closed.” ~ The Liberator.

January 14–Saturday–Sacramento, California– Democrat Milton Latham [1827– 1882]resigns as governor after only taking office five days ago. He leaves the governorship to take the unexpired U S Senate seat of David Broderick. Broderick died September 16, 1859, from a gunshot received in a duel with the former chief justice of the California supreme court. [John Downey (1827– 1894) takes over the office of governor; Latham will serve one term in the Senate.]

January 15– Sunday– Springfield, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln writes to a colleague about the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. “I said . . . in substance, and have often said, I think Congress has constitutional power to enact a Fugitive slave law; that the law of 1850 appears to me objectionable in some of its provisions; but whether it is unconstitutional in any of it’s provisions, I do not remember that I have ever undertaken to decide. I should be glad to see you, and to talk with you more fully than I can write.”

January 15–Sunday–Buffalo, New York– Birth of Katherine Bement Davis, social reformer and penologist. [Dies December 10, 1935.]


January15–Sunday– New Orleans, Louisiana–In response to an invitation from Fabre Nicholas Geffrard, President of Haiti, eighty-one free black persons set sail for a new life in Haiti as immigrants.

January 16– Monday– Washington, D.C.–The forty-third annual meeting of the American Colonization Society, founded by slave-holders in 1816 to encourage free black people to move to West Africa, opens at the Smithsonian Institution under its president, John Latrobe, age 56, a lawyer, engineer, inventor, author and artist from Baltimore, Maryland. The membership hears reports on the current state of Liberia and a variety of speeches. A Mr N. G. Taylor of Tennessee notes that the recent efforts in some states to expel free black people means that the society should redouble its efforts by providing a safe haven in Liberia.

January 17– Tuesday– Baton Rouge, Louisiana– In a farewell message, former governor Robert Wickliffe [1819– 1895] denounces Northern anti-slavery criticism and calls for Southern economic self-defense. The North, he says, is a “dependent” economy and “if the cotton crop of the South were to fail, for a single year, there would not be a solvent bank capitalist, manufacturer, or ship owner in the entire North.”

January 17– Tuesday– Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland– Birth of Douglas Hyde, educator and Gaelic scholar who will serve as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. [Dies July 12, 1949.]


Douglas Hyde


January 18–Wednesday– Meriden, Connecticut– About 300 businessmen attending the state Convention of Manufacturers divide into Republican and Democratic factions in heated debate about the upcoming elections. Eventually the Democrats walk out and hold their meeting in another location.

January 18–Wednesday– San Francisco, California–Today’s edition of the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin complains about the laxity of the eight-year-old San Quentin prison and the way the prison staff allows “trusty” prisoners freedom to roam. “Grand Juries have repeatedly presented this defiance of the statute on the part of the prison authorities, by allowing certain trusty inmates to go at large before the expiration of the time of the sentence. It is time to stop the practice. Otherwise abolish the State Prison, and the expensive luxury of convicting culprits who are to range the streets at will and make conviction popular among rogues.”

January 19–Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “We are gratified to announce that the Council or Senate of Nebraska Territory has retraced its steps, and has passed an act for the exclusion of slavery from that Territory. Some weeks ago, the Council rejected a bill from the House of Representatives having the same object in view; but subsequently a Democratic member reconsidered the matter, and a new bill was brought in and adopted. It was immediately sent to the House, and met the approbation of that body; so that if it is approved by the Federal Governor, Mr. Black, who was appointed from Pennsylvania by Mr. Buchanan, it will become a law. But a veto, we are sorry to learn, is expected. This act of abolishing slavery by a Territorial Government is perhaps the first assertion of ‘popular sovereignty’ against the wishes of the President and the decision of the Dred Scott case. The moral effect of the victory will enure to the Republicans, to whom it belongs, since they introduced the subject, and pressed it upon the attention of the Legislature. It is true that the Legislature is Democratic in both its branches, but the party drill was compelled to give way before the moral pressure. . . . . The squatter [pro-slavery] sovereigns have a right to do right, but not a right to do wrong. All honor to Nebraska. In two years, if not sooner, she will be knocking at the doors of Congress for admission into the Union as a free Republican State.” ~ The National Era.

January 19–Thursday– Springfield, Illinois–Abraham Lincoln answers a letter from recently retired Congressman Alexander Stephens of Georgia. Lincoln details his own position on slavery and his understanding of states rights and the federal constitution. There is, Lincoln asserts, “no loop hole left for nullification, and none for secession– because the right of peaceable assembly and of petition and by article Fifth of the Constitution, the right of amendment, is the Constitutional substitute for revolution. Here is our Magna Carta not wrested by Barons from King John, but the free gift of states to the nation they create and in the very amendments harped upon by states rights men are proposed by the Federal congress and approved by Presidents, to make the liberties of the Republic of the West forever sure. All of the States’ Rights which they wished to retain are now and forever retained in the Union, including slavery; and so I have sworn loyalty to this constitutional union, and for it let me live or let me die. But you say that slavery is the corner stone of the south and if separated, would be that of a new Republic; God forbid. When a boy I went to New Orleans on a flat boat and there I saw slavery and slave markets as I have never seen them in Kentucky . . . . I hoped and prayed that the gradual emancipation plan . . .might lead to its extinction in the United States.”

January 20–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I called at 24 Portland Place, the office of the American Minister, Hon. Mr. Dallas, with my passport which I had obtained before leaving the United States. I asked to have it vised for the purpose of going to Paris. The Secretary said I was not a citizen of the United States, and he could not sign it. I informed him that I was a citizen of Salem in Massachusetts, and Massachusetts, acknowledged my citizenship and the fact of my having the passport was a proof of my citizenship. The Secretary still refused to sign it, and said I ought to be satisfied with his refusal. During the conversation, I turned to my sister and said, ‘Thank God we are in a country where our rights are respected, and I have no doubt we can obtain passports which will take us to France.’ This remark called froth from the gentlemanly Secretary this reply, ‘If you do not cease this conversation, I will have you put out of this house.’ Most earnestly would I ask all who read this letter to judge what the spirit of a country is that will allow such treatment to its citizens, the spirit which enslaves four million of men and women, and insults the free colored population of the United States? You may read the facts, but no words can express the mental suffering we are obliged to bear because we happen to have a dark complexion. No language can give one an idea of the spirit of prejudice which exists in the States.” ~ a letter from Sarah Parker Remond, age 44, African American abolitionist agent working in London, England, printed in today’s issue of The Liberator. [The American Minister she had to deal with was George Mifflin Dallas, (1792– 1864) a career diplomat and lawyer, conservative, pro-slavery, defender of illegal international slave trade, vehemently anti-abolitionist. Lincoln will replace him with Charles Francis Adams.]


Sarah Parker Remond


January 21– Saturday– Klara, Sweden– Birth of Karl Staaff, lawyer, liberal politician, advocate of universal suffrage who will serve as Sweden’s Prime Minister from 1905 to 1906 and again from 1911 to 1914. [Dies October 4, 1915.]

January 23–Monday– Paris, France– Great Britain and France sign the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty, which substantially liberalizes trade between the two countries. The treaty is less popular in France than in Britain and weakens the popularity of Napoleon III.

January 26– Thursday– Brookline, Massachusetts– Eliza Lee Cabot Follen, abolitionist, author and editor, dies at 73 years of age from typhus fever.

January 26–Thursday– Coburg, Germany– Wilhelmine Schroeder-Devrient, opera soprano who was known for her dramatic intensity, dies at age 55. She participated in the Revolutions of 1848 and spent some time in prison for her activism. She had three short-lived marriages. In 1872 Richard Wagner will dedicate his essay “On Actors and Singers” to her memory.

January 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “No one who knows me, or who has read my writings, Can be doubtful for a moment as to my position– Utter abhorrence of war, and of slavery as in itself a State of war, where the violence is all on one side. The pledge which we gave to the world at Philadelphia, twenty-six years ago, when we signed the Declaration of Sentiments, fresh from thy pen, that We would reject ourselves, and entreat the oppressed To reject the use of all carnal weapons for deliverance From bondage; that we admitted the sovereignty of the State over the subject of slavery within their limits; and that we were under high moral obligations to use, for the promotion of our cause, moral and political action as prescribed in the Constitution of the United States, we have since reiterated in a thousand forms, and on as many occasions. I have seen no reason to doubt the wisdom of that pledge. Slavery was just what it is now, neither better nor Worse, when we made it. If it is right and proper Now to use forcible means in behalf of the slave, it was right and proper then. If it be said that Old Testament Christians are not bound by our pledges, and that we are at liberty to applauded them in appeals To the sword, I can only say that I dare not encourage others who have not my scruples to do what I regard as morally wrong. . . . . I am painfully sensible of many errors of feeling and judgment, but my conscience bears me witness that I have, at least, honestly striven to be faithful alike to Freedom and Peace. That this is thy own earnest Desire I have as little doubt.” ~ letter from the Quaker poet, pacifist and abolitionist, John Greenleaf Whittier to his old friend William Lloyd Garrison, in their on-going discussion about John Brown’s resort to violence to free slaves, printed in today’s issue of The Liberator.


John Greenleaf Whittier


January 27–Friday– Washington–Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts writes to his friend, John Greenleaf Whittier, that tensions are so high in the city that foreign “diplomats cannot give a dinner without studying their lists as a protocol.” They are obliged to invite American guests by the section of the country from which they come.

January 29–Sunday– Paris, France– Emperor Napoleon III issues an imperial decree closing The Univers, a Catholic newspaper which supported the Pope in the increasing conflict between the French government and the Papacy.

January 29–Sunday– Nice, France–Stephanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais dies at age 70. From 1811 to 1818, she was the consort of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden, during which time she bore him five children. After the Duke’s death, she remained a widow. For many years her salon in Mannheim was important to and popular with artists and intellectuals.

January 29– Sunday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX visits the newly opened Pontifical North American College which began only December 8, 1859, to train American men for ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood.

January 30– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– The Savannah News claims that there really has been violence in Canada between black people and white people, despite abolitionist denials. “It is easier to believe that vagabond free Negroes and the equally mean white people who harbor them, would fall to fighting each other, than to believe a respectable newspaper capable of fabricating such wholesale falsehood.”