Tag Archives: imperialism

August ~ Election Year 1852

Woman making American Flag

Women involved in abolition move ahead on other issues. [For an excellent study of these women, see, The Slavery of Sex: Feminist-Abolitionists in America (1978) by Blanche Glassman Hersh.] The struggle against slavery takes place on many fronts, including the Senate and the campaign of the Free Soil Party.

August 1– Sunday– Seneca Falls, New York– “I was introduced by Mrs. M. A. W. Johnson, who traveled with me from Massillon [Ohio] to Philadelphia, into the family of James and Lucretia Mott, who gave me a sister’s welcome to their home. This excellent couple are well known to the world, and need no word of praise from me; but I want to add my mite, and so I will. If all fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, church members and citizens of this our republic were as good as James and Lucretia Mott, we reformers would have nothing to do beyond the dooryard gate. The world would be good enough, plenty. There would be no war, no slavery, no intemperance, no licentiousness, no crime, no wrong. Ha! what a world it would be!” ~ Letter from Frances D Gage to The Lily.

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Francis D Gage

 

August 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 23rd ultimo, requesting information in regard to the fisheries on the coasts of the British possessions in North America, I transmit a report from the Acting Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied. Commodore M. C. Perry, with the United States steam frigate Mississippi under his command, has been dispatched to that quarter for the purpose of protecting the rights of American fishermen under the convention of 1818.” ~ Message from President Fillmore to the Senate.

August 4– Wednesday– Brunswick, New Jersey– Harriet Beecher Stowe sends $20 to Betsy Cowles at Oberlin, Ohio, to provide scholarship assistance to Mary and Emily Edmundson, born in slavery and whose freedom was purchased by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, so they can attend school at Oberlin College. [Her gift would equal $633 today using the Consumer Price Index.]

August 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Free Democracy in New Jersey. A friend in New Jersey writes to the Boston Commonwealth thus: ‘I am convinced, from a residence in various parts of this State, that if the principles of the Free Democratic party were thoroughly known here, we should ere long have a Free Soil organization at General Scott’s own door, that would bury both the old parties in oblivion. But most of the people know nothing about the Free Soil party, or believe it to be hostile to the Union, as they are taught by their selfish editors and politicians.’” ~ The National Era

August 6– Friday–Boston, Massachusetts– “The time has come not only for the examination and discussion of Women’s social, civil and religious rights, but also for a thorough and efficient organization—a well-digested plan of operation, whereby these social rights, for which our fathers fought, bled and died, may be scoured, and enjoyed by us. Let woman no longer supinely endure the evils she may escape, but with her own right hand carve out for herself a higher, nobler destiny thus has heretofore been here. In as much as through the folly and of woman, the race is what it is, dwarfed in mind and body, and as, through her alone, it can yet be redeemed, all are equally interested in the objects of this Convention.” ~ The Liberator carries an announcement of the upcoming woman’s right convention to be held September 8th through 10th.

August 9– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln declines the opportunity to be a candidate of the Whig Party for the state legislature.

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August 11– Wednesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– The Free Soil Party opens its convention. One of the most powerful speakers is Frederick Douglass, present as part of the New York state delegation.

August 12– Thursday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– The Free Soil Party adopts its platform which declares: “Having assembled in national convention as the Free Democracy of the United States, united by a common resolve to maintain right against wrong, and freedom against slavery; confiding in the intelligence, patriotism, and discriminating justice of the American people; putting our trust in God for the triumph of our cause, and invoking his guidance in our endeavors to advance it, we now submit to the candid judgment of all men, the following declaration of principles and measures: . . . . That the Constitution of the United States, ordained to form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty, expressly denies to the general government all power to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and therefore the Government, having no more power to make a slave than to make a king, and no more power to establish slavery than to establish a monarchy, should at once proceed to relieve itself from all responsibility for the existence of slavery, wherever it possesses constitutional Power to legislate for its extinction. . . . That slavery is a sin against God and a crime against man, which no human enactment nor usage can make right; and that Christianity, humanity, and patriotism alike demand Its abolition. . . . That the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is repugnant to the Constitution, to the principles of the common law, to the spirit of Christianity, and to the sentiments of the civilized World. We therefore deny its binding force on the American people, and demand its immediate and total repeal. . . . . That the acts of Congress renown as the ‘compromise’ measures of 1850 . . . are proved to be inconsistent with all the principles and maxims of Democracy, and wholly inadequate to the settlement of the questions of which they are claimed to be an adjustment. . . . That no permanent settlement of the slavery question can be looked for except in the practical recognition of the truth that slavery is sectional and freedom national; by the total separation of the general government from slavery, and the exercise of its legitimate and constitutional influence on the side of freedom; and by leaving to the states the whole subject of slavery and the extradition of fugitives from service. . . . That the public lands of the United States belong to the people, and should not be sold to individuals, nor granted to corporations, but should be held as a sacred trust for the benefit of the people, and should be granted in limited quantities, free of cost, to landless settlers. . . . That emigrants and exiles from the Old World should find a cordial welcome to homes of and fields of enterprise in the New; and every attempt to abridge their privilege of becoming citizens and owners of soil among us ought to be resisted with inflexible determination. . . . That the independence of Hayti ought to be recognized by our government, and our commercial relations with it placed on the footing of the most favored nations. . . . [our] party is not organized to aid either the Whig or Democratic wing of the great slave compromise party of the nation, but to defeat them both; and that, repudiating and renouncing both as hopelessly corrupt and utterly unworthy of confidence, the purpose of the Free Democracy is to take possession of the federal government and administer it for the better protection of the rights and Interests of the whole people. . . . That we inscribe on our banner Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men, and under it will fight on and fight ever until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions.” They nominate John P Hale of New Hampshire for President and George W Julian of Indiana for Vice-President. [Hale, age 46, a native of New Hampshire and graduate of Bowdoin college, is a lawyer, politician and abolitionist. Dies November 19, 1873. On his life, see: John P Hale and the Politics of Abolition (1965) by Richard H Sewell. On the Free Soil Party, see: The Free Soilers; Third Party Politics, 1848-54 (1973) by Frederick J Blue; Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics (2016); Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: the Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1995) by Eric Foner.

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John P Hale

 

August 12– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “Our friends of the Evening Post seem to be acquainted with no New York Democrats who do not support Pierce and King. Will they allow us to introduce them to Minthrone Tompkins, a most worthy son of the late Governor Tompkins; Hiram Barney, law partner of Mr. Butler; Bradford R. Wood, of Albany, not altogether unknown as a man or a Democrat; Jabez D. Hammond, author of the Political History of New York; Judge Hiram Gardner, and Judge A.B. Brown, of Niagara, always Democrats; and Alfred Babcock, of Orleans, formerly member of Congress from that district? None of these gentlemen, we believe, find themselves able to reconcile the professions of the New York Democracy with acquiescence in the new Baltimore tests, or to perceive the consistency of rejecting the platform, and at the same time supporting candidates who fully represent it. The Post will not, we think, dispute their standing as influential Democrats.” ~ The National Era.

August 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”I know brother Jones to be a man of noble spirit and pure character. He officiated, for one year, with entire acceptance, to the Wesleyan Church in Salem, [Massachusetts] and was just engaged to preach for them another year, when he was compelled to flee from this republic to the British monarchy, because he had once been a slave, and had dared to run away and assert his manhood. Friends in Concord gave him some $25 to help him get away to a place of safety. We will try to help him a little more, in his present effort to redeem his child from slavery. Will not some one who reads this appeal from the poor fugitive slave parents, send on a trifle to R.F. Wallcut, 21 Cornhill, Boston, in answer thereto?” ~ Letter from Daniel Foster to William Lloyd Garrison published in The Liberator in an effort to help Thomas Jones, a fugitive slave now in Canada to raise money to buy his child’s freedom.

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August 14– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Writing about the Free Soil Party convention, the Daily Pennsylvanian describes the participants as traitors and declares, “In other countries better men have been executed as traitors to their country who did not half so much deserve the name.”

August 14– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received a resolution from your honorable body of the 6th instant, appearing to have been adopted in open legislative session, requesting me ‘to inform the Senate, if not incompatible with the public interests, whether any propositions have been made by the King of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii] to transfer the sovereignty of these islands to the United States, and to communicate to the Senate all the official information on that subject in my possession;’ in reply to which I have to state that on or about the 12th day of June last I received a similar resolution from the Senate adopted in executive or secret session, to which I returned an answer stating that in my opinion a communication of the information requested at that juncture would not comport with the public interest. Nothing has since transpired to change my views on that subject, and I therefore feel constrained again to decline giving the information asked.” ~ Message from President Fillmore to the Senate. [The United States will acquire Hawaii in 1898 after supporting a coup against the monarchy in 1893.]

August 14– Saturday– East Pascagoula, Mississippi– Margaret Smith Taylor, widow of former President Zachary Taylor, dies at 63 years of age.

Margaret_Taylor

Margaret Taylor

 

August 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “It will be seen by the proceedings of the Pittsburgh Convention held on the 11th instant, that Honorable John P. Hale, of New Hampshire, was nominated for President, and Honorable George W. Julian, of Indiana, for Vice President. This is a good ticket – a sound, reliable ticket, eminently worthy of the support of the Independent Democracy throughout the country. Mr. Hale, during his Senatorial career, has made himself widely and favorably known as a stanch and sturdy Reformer. To him, probably more than to any one man, is the country indebted for the abolition of the lash from [the U. S.]Navy. He was the early and untiring advocate of that beneficent measure. He was not the first choice of the Editor of the Era, and it is uncertain whether he will accept the honor thus tendered him as a free-will offering, though we hope he will.” ~ The National Era.

August 20– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Justice for the wronged and liberty for all’ is ‘immediate abolitionism.’ The abolitionists have never asked for more, never desired more. And the means by which they have proposed that this shall be done is, that every master shall himself give immediate freedom to those whom he has claimed as slaves, without waiting for their liberation by the harsher process of insurrection, which is always impending over them, or of disunion, which the abolitionists propose as the best means of abolishing slavery.” ~ The Liberator.

August 20– Friday– Lake Erie, off of Long Point, Ontario, Canada– The passenger steamer Atlantic is struck by the steamer Ogdenburg. The Atlantic begins to fill with water and gradually sinks, killing at least 262 people.

August 26–Thursday– Washington, D. C.–Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivers a three hour speech against the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and calls for its repeal.

August 27– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore sends to the Senate for ratification a treaty with the Netherlands regarding commerce and navigation.

August 30– Monday– London, England– The eccentric John Camden Nield dies at age 72, leaving his fortune to Queen Victoria.

August 31– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore updates the Senate on discussions regarding international postage.

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June ~ Election Year 1916

Woman making American Flag

Bloody warfare continues to envelop much of Europe, bringing with it a variety of political crises. The Arabs rise in revolt against the Turks. The Germans violate the rules of warfare. Both major political parties in the United States adopt political platforms which disappoint the hopes of women for a constitutional amendment establishing woman suffrage across the country. Intervention in Mexico creates an international incident.

June 1– Thursday–North Sea, near the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark– The second and final day of the naval battle finds that Britain lost 6,096 killed, 510 wounded and 14 ships sunk. Germany lost 2,551 killed, 507 wounded and 11 ships sunk. While a German victory, German submarines had withdrawn a day too soon. Britain retains control of the seas and the blockade of German ports will continue unabated.

June 2– Friday– Packard, Iowa– A passenger train derails at a bridge, killing at least 5 persons, injuring 20 others and initially leaving 15 others missing and presumed dead.

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June 3– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– The National Defense Act of 1916 goes into effect. The act includes an expansion of the Army to 175,000 soldiers and the National Guard to 450,000 members, the creation of an Officers’ and an Enlisted Reserve Corps, and the creation of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The President receives expanded authority to federalize the National Guard, with changes to the duration and the circumstances under which he can call it up. The Army can begin the creation of an aviation branch, and the federal government can ensure the immediate availability of wartime weapons and equipment by contracting in advance for production of gunpowder and other materiel.

June 3– Saturday– Danville, Illinois– The north bound Florida-Chicago Limited strikes an automobile, killing the driver and injuring the train’s engineer and fireman.

June 5– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Louis Brandeis is sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Brandeis, age 59, graduate of Harvard Law School, is a liberal lawyer who has made a name for himself in advocacy for women, industrial workers and other public interest causes. He is the first Jew to sit on the court. [Dies October 5, 1941.]

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Justice Brandeis

 

June 5– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Woman’s Party opens its convention at the Blackstone Theater. Maud Younger chairs the convention.

June 5– Monday– North Sea, near the Orkney Islands, Scotland– The HMS Hampshire strikes a German mine and sinks in 15 minutes, taking the lives of 643 of her crew along with British Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener and the six members of his staff. Kitchener, age 65, a famous military leader and colonial administrator, was on his way to a meeting with Russian military leaders.

June 5– Monday– Styr River east of Lutsk, Ukraine, the Russian Empire– Russian troops break through the Austrian lines, taking several thousand Austrian soldiers as prisoners and routing the Austrian troops.

June 6– Tuesday– Little Rock, Arkansas– In a period of less than 36 hours, beginning yesterday, twenty-four tornadoes sweep through the state, killing at least 76people, injuring hundreds of others and doing considerable damage.

June 7– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens at the Coliseum with 987 voting delegates in attendance.

June 7– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Woman’s Party Convention closes having adopted a platform with only one plank: immediate passage of a constitutional amendment to enfranchise women.

June 7– Wednesday– Verdun, France– After bitter fighting the Germans take Fort Vaux. In the last week the Germans sustained 2700 casualties in this attack upon a position defended by less than 100 French soldiers.

June 7– Wednesday– Lutsk, Ukraine, the Russian Empire– Hard-pressed by attacking Russian forces, the Austrians abandon the city and retreat beyond the Styr River. The Russians have taken more than 30,000 Austrian prisoners and captured large amounts of ammunition, supplies and military vehicles.

June 7– Wednesday– Mecca, Arabia– Sherif Hussein Ibn Ali, Amir of Mecca and Keeper of the Holy Places of Islam, encouraged by the British, proclaims the independence of the Hejaz region of Arabia.

Sherif-Hussein

Sherif Hussein

 

June 8– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention adopts a platform which favors the establishment of a world court, maintaining neutrality with regard to the war in Europe, maintaining the Monroe Doctrine, restoration of peace in Mexico, continuation of the colonial status of the Philippines, protection of naturalized American citizens if they return to their country of origin for visitation or business, raising tariff rates, strengthening the army and the navy, federal control of the transportation system, an economical federal budget, conservation of natural resources, civil service reform, workplace protection of laborers and while favoring “the extension of the suffrage to women . . . recognizes the right of each state to settle this question for itself.” This dashes the hopes of women who favor a constitutional amendment. The platform blames the Wilson administration for all American problems.

June 9– Friday– Mecca, Arabia– Forces loyal to Sherif Hussein attack the Turkish garrison.

June 10– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican Nantional Convention closes, having nominated Charles Evans Hughes for president and Charles W Fairbanks for vice-president. It took three rounds of balloting to select Hughes who on the third ballot received 949.5 votes. Fairbanks easily won the vice-presidential position on the first ballot, receiving 863 votes. Hughes, age 54, native New Yorker, a lawyer, was governor of the State of New York from 1907 to 1910, and has served as an associate justice of the U S Supreme Court since October 10, 1910. He resigns his position on the court to run for president.

June 11– Sunday– New York City– Jean Webster, author of Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and eight other novels, dies in childbirth at 39 years of age. Her baby daughter survives.

Jean_Webster

Jean Webster

 

June 11– Sunday– Rome, Italy– Facing mounting criticism because of ever increasing casualties, Prime Minister Antonio Salandra, age 62, resigns and Paolo Boselli, age 78, takes office.

June 13– Tuesday– Mecca, Arabia– The main Turkish garrison surrenders to the Arabs yet the Turks control two small forts on the city’s outskirts.

June 14– Wednesday– St. Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention opens at the St. Louis Coliseum with 1,092 voting delegates in attendance.

June 15– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– President Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.

June 15– Thursday– St Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention adopts a platform which favors reasonably lower tariffs, “economic freedom” for “man of all ranks and advantages,” an army and navy prepared to deal with “any danger of hostile action which may unexpectedly arise,” the conduct of foreign affairs “to secure the peace of the world and the maintenance of national and individual rights,” intervention in Mexico until “the restoration of law and order,” conservation of natural resources, efforts “to render agriculture more profitable and country life more healthful,” a living wage for workers, the eight hour day, workers compensation, child labor laws, pensions for elderly and disabled workers, increasing to powers and functions of the Federal Bureau of Mines, “the elimination of loathsome disease” by federal efforts, changes in the rules of the U S Senate to “permit the prompt transaction of the Nation’s legislative business,” enforcement of civil service laws, self-government for the Philippines, reform of the federal prison system, and development of flood control of American waterways. The platform favors woman suffrage but, like that of the Republicans, leaves the matter to the states. It attacks the Republican party as “the refuge of the money trust.”

June 16– Friday– St. Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention closes, having renominated President Wilson to run for a second term. Wilson is now age 59. His wife Ellen died in August, 1914, and in December, 1915, he married Edith Bolling Galt, 43 years of age.

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Wilson campaign button

 

June 16– Friday– Paris, France– The Chamber of Deputies meets in secret session to discuss the on-going battle at Verdun which has raged since late February and cost a great number of French casualties. [Most likely French total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are in excess of 180,000 by this time. However, neither France nor Germany have ever fully acknowledged the true extent of their losses in this battle which will continue until December 20, 1916.]

June 16– Friday– Jeddah, Arabia– Besieged by Arab forces and bombed by British airplanes and warships, the Turkish garrison of 1500 soldiers surrenders.

June 17– Saturday– the Italian Alps, Trentino Region– The Austrian offensive begun early in the year comes to halt as Austrian divisions are sent to fight the Russians. The campaign has cost the Austrians 5,000 dead, 23,00 wounded and 2,000 captured by the Italians. The Italians have suffered 12,000 killed and wounded and 40,000 captured by the Austrians.

June 18– Sunday– Arras, France– The first German ace, Max Immelmann, age 25, is shot down and killed by a British fighter plane. Immelmann had scored 15 kills.

June 21– Wednesday–Carrizal, Mexico– Attempting to push past 250 Mexican soldiers, a force of 100 American cavalry troopers become involved in a fire fight with the Mexicans. Among the Americans, 12 are killed, 11 wounded and 24 taken prisoners. The Mexicans lose about 35 killed and approximately 45 wounded.

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June 21– Wednesday– Athens, Greece– In response to demands by Britain and France that Greece demobilize, dismiss police officials hostile to the Allies, and hold new elections, Prime Minister Skouloudis, age 77, resigns and his replacement, Alexander Zaimis, age 60, agrees to demobilization and replacement of certain police officials. Britain and France lift the naval blockade of Greek ports.

June 22– Thursday– Verdun, France– In clear violation of the 1899 and 1907 Hague international agreements, the Germans unleash phosgene gas against French positions.

June 22– Thursday– Karlsruhe, Germany– French airplanes bomb the city, killing 120 civilians and wounding 150 others.

June 23– Friday–near Verdun-sur-Meuse, France– Victor Chapman, age 26, the son of the author John Jay Chapman and a graduate of Harvard, flying with the Lafayette Escadrille becomes the first U.S. airman to be killed in action, shot down by a German fighter.

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Victor Chapman

 

June 24– Saturday– Makunda, German East Africa [now Botswana]– British troops defeat a force of German troops and their African auxiliaries.

June 25– Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II orders the drafting of 250,000 Muslims from Kazakhstan, Kirghiz and other provinces of the Russian Empire in central Asia, to serve as a labor force, despite the 1886 law established by his father Tsar Alexander III exempting these people from military service.

June 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– A report prepared by Captain Lewis S Morey for General John Pershing demonstrating that the American commanding officer at Carrizal provoked the incident with the Mexican soldiers appears in newspapers here and around the country.

June 26– Monday– London, England– Roger Casement, age 51, Irish nationalist, poet, human rights investigator, and diplomat in Britain’s foreign service, goes on trial for treason for his role in the Easter Uprising. He has been stripped of his knighthood and other honors.

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June 28– Wednesday– Mexico City, Mexico– General Venustiano Carranza orders the release of the American soldiers captured at Carrizal.

June 30– Friday– New York City– President Wilson addresses the New York Press Club.

June ~ Election Year 1912

Woman making American Flag

The Monroe Doctrine is alive and well as the United States intervenes in Cuba and exploits Mexico. Natural disasters and man-made accidents take lives and do damage. The Republicans spurn former president Roosevelt and nominate Taft for re-election. At the end of the month, the Democratic National Convention remains in session, looking like Speaker of the House Clark will win the nomination instead of Governor Wilson. Both parties go on record in oppopsition to corporate donations to political campaigns.The issues of working people draw attention. Law and politics make news around the world.

June 1– Saturday– New York City– Waiters from 17 major restaurants are on strike, demanding regular wages in place of tips from patrons. The strike was organized by Joseph James Ettor and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the Industrial Workers of the World, both key helpers to the textile workers who went out on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, back in January of the year.

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on the podium

 

June 1– Saturday– near Lake Opinicon, Ontario, Canada– Premature detonation of dynamite kills 18 men working on construction of the Canadian Northern road.

June 1– Saturday– Heidelberg, Germany– Daniel Hudson Burnham, age 65, American pioneer urban planner and architect, designer of Chicago’s Montauk Building [at 10 stories high it was the city’s first distinctly tall building] and the chief planner of the buildings for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, dies while traveling in Europe with his sons.

June 1– Saturday– Fez, Morocco– French troops open fire with artillery, killing 600 Moroccan lightly armed tribesmen who had marched to protest French presence in the country.

June 2– Sunday– Brussels, Belgium– General elections result in a victory for the Catholic Party, led by Charles de Broqueville (age 51), which wins 101 of the 186 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 54 of the 93 seats in the Senate. [The Catholic Party gained majority control of the government in 1884 and will hold its majority until 1918.]

June 3– Monday– South Orange, New Jersey– Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster, author and magazine editor, dies from a cerebral thrombosis at age 74.

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Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

 

June 3– Monday– Hampton Roads, Virginia– President Taft welcomes a visit by German warships, led by the battle cruiser SMS Moltke.

June 4– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state becomes the first in the United States to pass a law authorizing a guaranteed minimum wage. The law will take effect on July 1, 1913, applies only to women and children, and provides that a state commission will issue regulations and the penalties for its violation are light.

June 5– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– George S. Nixon, age 52, Republican U.S. Senator for Nevada since 1905, dies from an infection following surgery.

June 5– Wednesday– Mexico City, Mexico– President Francisco I. Madero and the Standard Oil Company agreed to “one of the most one-sided business concessions imaginable” with Standard Oil being allowed to operate in Mexico tax free for ten years, and the rights to eminent domain over any private or public property it wished to obtain to support its oil fields in four Mexican states.

June 5–Wednesday– Havana, Cuba–American Marines, 570 in number, land in order to protect American interests.

U S Marines ~1912

U S Marines 1912

 

June 6– Thursday– Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska– The Mount Katmai volcano erupts, dumping a foot of ashes at Kodiak and killing hundreds of people, wiping out the populations of seven villages.

June 7–Friday– Gulf of Mexico– The first hurricane of the season forms. It will make landfall near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, causing minimal damage.

June 7– Friday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius X issues an encyclical to the Catholic bishops of South America calling upon them to stop exploitation of the Indian peoples, which includes slave trade, by people motivated by “the lust of lucre”.

June 8– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– At the unveiling of a monument to Christopher Columbus President Taft eulogizes Columbus as “the greatest mariner in history” as he addresses an audience of 100,000 people, many of them members of the Knights of Columbus.

June 10– Monday– East Walpole, Massachusetts– Birth of Mary Lavin, American-born Irish novelist, short-story writer and feminist. [Dies March 25, 1996.]

Mary_Lavin

Mary Lavin

 

June 10– Monday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sophie Wright, educator and welfare worker, dies from heart disease at 46 years of age.

June 10– Monday– Havana, Cuba– The cruiser USS Washington and the battleship USS Rhode Island arrive to support the Marines protecting American interests.

June 10– Monday– St Petersburg, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II of Russia pardons Kate Malecka, on condition that she leave the country forever. Malecka, of Polish and British parentage, had been sentenced to four years imprisonment for aiding secessionists in Poland. The British public and elements of the British government have pressed for her release.

June 11– Tuesday– Bar Harbor, Maine– Elizabeth Kimball Hobson, philanthropist, welfare worker and advocate of educational reform, dies at 80 years of age.

June 11– Tuesday– London, England– For the first time in the Parliamentary debates over the Irish Home Rule question, the proposal is made by MP Thomas Agar-Robartes to treat northeast Ireland differently from the rest of the island. He offers an amendment to exclude the predominantly Protestant counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down and Londonderry from Home Rule.

June 12– Wednesday– Dalton, Georgia– Three people are killed and 30 others injured in the wreck of a passenger train.

June 12– Wednesday– Neuilly-sur-Seine, France– Frederic Passy, economist, author, educator, peace advocate, and co-winner, with Henry Dunant, of the first Nobel Peace Prize in1901, dies at 90 years of age.

Frederic_Passy

Frederic Passy

 

June 15– Saturday– Kansas City, Missouri– A tornado sweeps through Bates, Johnson and Henry Counties, killing 26 people and injuring more than 50 others.

June 17– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft vetoes the Army appropriation bill that had been passed by Congress with cuts to defense spending. The President says, “The army of the United States is far too vital an institution to the people of this country to be made the victim of hasty or imperfect theories of legislation.” It is reported that Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson had threatened to resign if the bill was not vetoed.

June 17– Monday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– The Supreme Court of Canada holds that Parliament could not pass a national law governing marriage, and that mixed marriages of persons from different religious faiths solemnized by Protestant clergy can not be outlawed.

June 18– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens with incumbent President Taft having 454 ½ committed delegates, former President Theodore Roosevelt having 469 ½ committed delegates and 239 claimed by both sides. With a simple majority (513 of 1026) required to win the nomination, the awarding of the contested delegates is critical to the nomination. The Republican National Committee, controlled by Taft’s supporters, resolves the matter by finding 6 in favor of Roosevelt, and the other 233 in favor of Taft.

June 18– Tuesday– Hastings, Colorado– An explosion at the Victor-American Fuel Company mine kills twelve coal miners.

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Mine explosion

 

June 19– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft signed into law a provision that workers on U.S. government contracts are limited to an eight-hour day.

June 20– Thursday– St Petersburg, Russia– The State Duma votes in favor of a £50,000,000 program to increase the size of the Russian Navy over the next five years.

June 20– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– Voltairine de Cleyre, age 45, anarchist, feminist, orator and prolific writer, dies of meningitis.

June 21– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican Party finalizes its platform which favors “all measures for the establishment and protection of the peace of the world”, an international court of justice, establishment of the Federal Trade Commission, strong enforcement of laws against monopoly, continuation of tariff protections against foreign goods and foods, support of “a prompt scientific inquiry into the causes” of the high cost of living, “a sound currency and . . . safe banking methods” along with the establishment of organizations to loan money to farmers, enforcement of civil service laws and regulations, the establishment of pensions for elderly and disabled civil service workers, prohibition of corporations making campaign contributions, conservation of natural resources, establishment of a parcel post system, construction of additional warships for the Navy, improvement of rivers and harbors, an end to “the constantly growing evil of induced or undesirable immigration”, and greater efficiency in the financial affairs of government.

June 22– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– President William Howard Taft receives the Republican Party nomination, by a vote of 561 to 107, after 344 of the delegates refused, out of protest, to participate in the vote. The aggrieved delegates are primarily supporters of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Robert M. LaFollette received 41votes and Albert B. Cummins received17. Roosevelt has left the convention and proposes to form a new Progressive Party. Hiram Johnson, Governor of California and also a progressive Republican, voices support for Roosevelt’s third party movement.

June 23– Sunday– Grand Island, New York– Over 100 people fall into the swiftly moving waters of the Niagara River when a dock collapses. Thirty-nine drown or are hurled over Niagra Falls several miles away. Three of the dead are children under 10 years of age.

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victims of the dock collapse

 

June 24– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft implements the first specific regulations governing the proportions and design of the flag of the United States, with the signing of an Executive Order. The President accepted the recommendation of a committee, chaired by former Admiral George Dewey, hero of the war with Spain and now 74 years old, for the new, 48 star flag, to be arranged in six rows of eight stars each.

June 24– Monday– Paris, France– Julia Richman, American educator, author, school principal and administrator, dies at 56 years of age during a visit to Europe.

June 25–Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland–The Democratic National Convention opens at the Fifth Regiment Armory with 1,095 voting delegates present. The main contenders are House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri and Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey. Both Speaker Clark and Governor Wilson have won a number of primaries. Although Clark enters the convention with more pledged delegates than does Wilson, he lacks the two thirds vote necessary to win the nomination.

June 26– Wednesday– Southampton, England– The R M S Olympic, a sister ship to the Titanic, sets sail for the United States with 397 passengers on board. In response to the Titanic disaster, Olympic carries additional lifeboats.

June 27– Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic Party’s platform favors tariff reform, enforcement of anti-trust laws, states’ rights, prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns, “efficient supervision and rate regulation of railroads, express companies, telegraph and telephone lines engaged in interstate commerce”, federal appropriations for vocational education in agriculture, construction of post roads, extension of rural mail delivery, the right of workers to organize, creation of a department of labor, the development of workers’ compensation laws, conservation of natural resources, strengthening of pure food and public health laws, and rigid enforcement of civil service laws while opposing Republican high tariffs which have created excessive prices in common goods and “imperialism and colonial exploitation in the Phillippines or elsewhere.”

June 27– Thursday– Miraca, Cuba– Soldiers of the Cuban Army kill Evaristo Estenoz, leader of the uprising of Afro-Cuban rebels, in battle. His death brings an end to the uprising, which had caused the killing of 3,000 black Cubans.

June 28– Friday– Baltimore, Maryland– On the first ballot at the Democratic Party convention, former House Speaker Champ Clark received 440 ½ votes, New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson 324, Judson Harmon 148, Oscar Underwood 117 ½ and Thomas R. Marshall 31.

Bennet_Champ_Clark_1912

Champ Clark 1912

 

June 29– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– Champ Clark moves closer to the Democratic nomination for President, when a shift of votes from the New York delegation gives him 556 votes, more than all of the other candidates combined, but still short of the two-thirds (730) needed to win. However, the New York support has come through the machinations of Tammany Hall Democrats from New York City. This infuriates William Jennings Bryan who remains a leader of the progressive wing of the party. Bryan introduces a motion which says “As proof of our fidelity to the people, we hereby declare ourselves opposed to the nomination of any candidate for President who is the representative of or under any obligation to J. Pierpont Morgan, Thomas F. Ryan, August Belmont, or any other member of the privilege-hunting and favor-seeking class.” Bryan switches his support to Woodrow Wilson.

June 29– Saturday– La Crosse, Wisconsin– Birth of John Toland, historian, [Dies January 4, 2004.]

June 30– Sunday– Baltimore, Maryland– On the 30th ballot, Woodrow Wilson edges slightly ahead of Champ Clark for the first time, with 460 votes to 455 for Clark, as the Iowa delegation swings its support to Wilson.

The_YMCA,_after_the_June_30,_1912_cyclone

Regina YMCA destroyed

 

June 30– Sunday– Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada– At about 4:50 in the afternoon green funnel clouds form and touch down south of the city, tearing a swath through the residential area between Wascana Lake and Victoria Avenue and the downtown business district. The twister kills 28 people, injures several hundreds, and leaves about 2500 people homeless. Approximately 500 buildings are destroyed or damaged. Property damage totals $1.2 million Canadian. [It remains the deadliest tornado in Canadian history.]

May~Election Year 1892

 

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

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

GCleveland

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.

lynching-20

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.

Maxim_machine_gun_Megapixie

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.

Benjamin_Harrison

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.

John_Muir_c1902

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.]

 

Contemporary Russian History

Contemporary Russian History

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

When I was in college in the 1960’s I did my undergraduate study in history. One of my professors, a brilliant man who had fled from Hungary after the failed revolution of 1956, told us repeatedly, “Russia will always have a Tsar!” Watching the conduct of Mr Putin, particularly his expansionist and belligerent policy in Ukraine, I am convinced my old teacher was correct. Putin acts like the worst Tsars of old.

 

Alexander III

Alexander III

Nicholas I

Nicholas I

Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible

Alexander I

Alexander I

Inclined at Various Angles~February 1859~13th to 28th

Inclined at Various Angles ~ H. D. Thoreau

Thoreau admires winter’s wonders. American politics grow increasingly confrontational. Economic issues, including slavery, are ever more divisive. A member of Congress kills his wife’s lover; the murder and legal proceedings will make news for weeks to come. Politics are boiling in Mexico and in Britain. French imperialism reaches southeast Asia. A chess prodigy reaches fame. A book of translations of old poetry does not initially sell well.

February 13– Sunday– New York City– “The Charleston Mercury, upon the question of a protective tariff, says: ‘We trust that the members of Congress from the South will stand firm, and will rule out of all political or party association every man and any wing which may join the black republicans in this flagrant device of sectional plunder.’ The same warning authority further remarks that, ‘already Southern Presidential aspirants, with their retainers and followers, have sought to sustain and keep in affiliation the traitor [Senator Stephen] Douglas and his Northern clan,’ but that, protective tariff men included, ‘we trust the State Rights men in Congress will repudiate such allies, and purge the party of their corrupting presence and association.’ This demand for mere ‘purging’ when the party has already been purged to the verge of the grave, is a very severe one. The party wants a tonic. [The acquisition of] Cuba will do; and even an incidental protective revenue tariff may strengthen the backbone of the party. In default of these specifics, it must be turned over to the undertaker. We agree with our Charleston contemporary however, upon the main point ‘that when the party has ceased to be true to its principles, whatever they may be, it were better that it ceased to exist.’” ~ New York Herald.

February 13– Sunday– Hampstead, England– Eliza Acton, poet and one of the foremost women to publish cookbooks in the 19th century, dies eight weeks before her 60th birthday. Her most famous book is Modern Cookery for Private Families, first published in 1845.

February 14–Monday– Washington, D.C.– Oregon joins the Union as the 33rd state and a free state. However, while the state constitution bans slavery, it also limits citizenship to white people and bans free black people from settling.

February 14– Monday– near Galesburg, Illinois– Birth of George Washington Ferris, son of George Washington and Martha Hyde Ferris. [He will graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and have a successful career as an engineer, achieving fame for inventing the amusement ride, the Ferris Wheel. He will die of typhoid fever on November 22, 1896.]

George Washington Ferris

George Washington Ferris

February 14– Monday– London, England– Birth of Henry Valentine Knaggs. He will become a prominent physician, advocate of “nature cure methods” and author of 37 books about healthy living. [Dies July 11, 1954.]

February 15– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– “A collision occurred in the Senate this morning between Senators Gooding and Heffron, in consequence of some personal remarks made by both in the Senate some days ago. During the fight a brother of Gooding interfered and struck Heffron on the head with a cane, wounding him severely. Otherwise little damage was done to either party. Both were armed, but had no opportunity to use their weapons. The excitement in the Senate during the difficulty was intense.” ~ report from a correspondent of the New York Times.

February 15– Tuesday– London, England– The bookseller Bernard Quarich [1819 – 1899] first publishes the translation of the poetry of an eleventh century Persian writer under the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur [1048 –1131], translated by the British poet Edward Fitzgerald [1809 – 1883]. Quarich prints two hundred copies, priced at five shillings each. However, sales are so poor that he ends up selling them on the stall outside his Leicester Square shop for a penny a piece. [Five shillings equaled $4.90 U S in 1859 and 1 British penny equaled 2cents U S at the time.]

Edward FitzGerald

Edward FitzGerald

February 16– Wednesday– Centre County, Pennsylvania– The Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania formally opens its doors. [Under Lincoln’s program to establish land grant colleges, it will become Penn State University.]

February 17– Thursday– New York City– “[Francis] Lieber’s address tonight . . . was the best of the four. Embodied much thought and clever illustration. Unlike the others, it was not delivered from manuscript.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [German-born Francis Lieber (1800 – 1872) is a jurist, political scientist, educator and author. In 1857, with the aid of Strong and others, Lieber acquired a teaching position at Columbia. He will serve as a legal consultant to the Lincoln Administration during the Civil War.]

Francis Lieber

Francis Lieber

February 17– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– In one of the most glamorous social events of the season, high society hosts a grand ball at Willard’s Hotel in honor of Lord Francis and Lady Anne Jane Napier, the retiring British ambassador and his wife. The presence of many from the Buchanan Administration, the Congress and the military constitutes a sure sign of the general American satisfaction with the service of the popular Napier. A career diplomat, age 39 at this time, Napier has served here only since 1857 and leaves to take a post as Her Majesty’s minister to the Netherlands. In his short stay he has charmed Americans and is considered the best British envoy since American independence.

Francis Napier, Her Majesty's Minister to the United States

Francis Napier, Her Majesty’s Minister to the United States

February 17– Thursday– Rome, Italy– The premiere of Guiseppe Verdi’s opera The Masked Ball takes place at the Teatro Apollo. The story of assassination and intrigue was originally set in Stockholm, Sweden, but Italian nervousness over political murder prompts the opera’s setting to be described as seventeenth century Boston, Massachusetts.

February 17– Thursday– Saigon, Vietnam– With the stated aim of protecting Vietnamese adherents to the Catholic faith, French army and naval forces, supported by some Spanish troops, capture the city.

February 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Oregon, with its tyrannical constitution, outlawing all free colored persons, was admitted to the Union on Saturday last, by a vote of 114 to 103 in the House of Representatives– Comins and Thayer, of this State, voting in the affirmative!” ~ The Liberator

February 18– Friday– New York City– “The bark Ottawa sailed yesterday [from Mobile, Alabama], ostensibly for St. Thomas, but it is believed that her destination is the southern coast of Africa [to engage in illegal international slave trade].” ~ New York Times.

February 18– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Buchanan seeks authority from Congress to send U.S. ground and naval units to protect the transit of American citizens and trade across the isthmus of Panama. Since the discovery of gold in California a decade ago, this area has become increasingly important as a short-cut to the west coast ports of California.

February 19– Saturday– Wik Castle, Sweden– Birth of Svante August Arrhenius, who will win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. [Dies October 2, 1927.]

February 20– Sunday– outside Havana, Cuba– “On the plantations the slaves of both sexes wear hardly clothes enough to make them appear decently. The intense heat of the summer to those exposed to field labor is the excuse given for this, and all the clothing a . . . congo Negro desires to wear in the field is a broad palm leaf hat.” ~ Diary of American businessman Joseph Dimock.

February 21– Monday– New York City– “The general feeling among the best informed is, that the Liberal cause is lost forever, and the supremacy of France and England established in Mexico, unless the Government of the United States acts immediately. Nineteen-twentieths of the people are with the Liberals, but they are without the capital, and have no arms and ammunition to make their power effectual. It is believed fully that a recognition by the United States would give the Liberal Government moral support, such as would lead England immediately to abandon her intervention for the Church Party. In the even that Liberals would have little difficulty in disposing of Miramon, and the only remaining trouble would be in shaking off the influences of France and Spain.” ~ New York Times.

February 22– Tuesday– Hannibal, Missouri– The 207-mile Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad providing service to the western part of the state at St. Joseph commences operations today. It is the first railroad completed in the state.

February 22– Tuesday– Paris, France– Americans host a ball in honor of the birthday of George Washington.

February 23– Wednesday– Concord, Massachusetts– “Walk to Quinsigamond Pond, where was good skating yesterday, but this very pleasant and warm day it is suddenly quite too soft. I was just saying to Blake that I should look for hard ice in the shade, or [on the] north side, of some wooded hill close to the shore, though skating was out of the question elsewhere, when, looking up, I saw a gentleman and lady very gracefully gyrating and, as it were, curtseying to each other in a small bay under such a hill on the opposite shore of the pond. Intervening bushes and shore concealed the ice, so that their swift and graceful motions, their bodies inclined at various angles as they gyrated forward and backward about a small space, looking as if they would hit each other, reminded me of the circling of two winged insects in the air, or hawks receding and approaching.” ~ Journal of H. D. Thoreau.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

February 24– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The American Sunday School Union, founded in1824, concludes its three-day convention with several hundred Sunday school teachers from around the country in attendance.

February 24– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President James Buchanan vetoes a bill passed by Congress which provided for “donating public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanical arts.” Buchanan questions the constitutionality of the measure as well as the effect of such a transfer of public land on future development within the states. [A similar act will be passed and signed into law during the Lincoln administration.]

February 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Liberator carries a letter from Susan B Anthony urging readers to petition their state legislatures to enact protection for fugitive slaves. She calls upon them to remember that “one half of the slave victims are women.”

Susan B Anthony

Susan B Anthony

February 25– Friday– Keokuk County, Iowa– Birth of John Burke, who will serve as governor of North Dakota (1907 to 1913) and U S Treasury Secretary (1913 to 1921). [He will die May 14, 1937.]

February 25– Friday– San Francisco, California– “The lamentable frequency of Senatorial brawls and Representative street-fights in these days is a matter worthy of the serious attention of the people of the United States. My thoughts are led in this direction by the account, taken from an Eastern paper, in the Bulletin of 23rd February, of the recent misunderstanding in the Senate between Mr. [Stephen A] Douglas [of Illinois] on the one side, and Messrs [Graham] Fitch [of Indiana] and [Jefferson] Davis [of Mississippi] on the other. The very words of the article which I speak of are sufficiently indicative of the indifference with which these things have come to be regarded by the people at large. Mr. Douglas, a Senator of the United States, in the hall of that formerly dignified body, is represented as ‘pitching into’ the Postmasters of Illinois, and Senator Fitch as giving the lie direct to his assertions, while Mr. Davis uses language for which he afterwards deems fit to apologize. Such things are beneath the dignity of men anywhere, to say nothing of Senators in the Senate Chamber. The members of the House are not a whit behind their leaders in the display of their unmanly jealousies, and in their ardent attempts at imitation, are in imminent danger of cutting their throats, like the monkey in the fable when he tried to shave. The worst of it is, that now these disgraceful scenes have become so common, they attract no attention, not even contempt. But notwithstanding our indifference, nothing is looked upon with greater satisfaction in Europe than such unworthy exhibitions of our belligerent propensities.” ~ editorial comment in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin.

February 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the 4th day of next month, at 12 o’clock at noon of that day, of which all who shall then be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby required to take notice.”

February 26– Saturday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– Birth of Basil King. After a career as a clergyman, he will turn to writing novels and books, publishing 24 volumes between 1900 and 1927. [Dies June 22, 1928.]

February 26– Saturday– London, England– American Paul Morphy, age 21, begins a chess match against Augustus Mongredien, age 52, an English merchant and chess master. The first game is a draw. Morphy wins the next seven in a row. [Morphy emerged as a child chess prodigy at age 12. He speaks French, Spanish and German as well as English. However, after 1864 he will play less and less often and not all after 1869. He will live quietly and unmarried in New Orleans, enjoying his family’s wealth, until his own death at age 47 in July, 1884.]

February 27– Sunday– Washington, D.C.–In Lafayette Park, Congressman Daniel Sickles of New York shoots and kills Philip Barton Key, the well-liked district attorney for the District of Columbia and son of Francis Scott Key, for having an affair with his wife. [Sickles, age 33 at this time, is a lawyer and politician. His attractive wife Theresa is 23. He accused her of having an affair with Key, a 40 year old widower and popular with fashionable women. Sickles himself had an affair with a prostitute whom he took to Europe while Theresa was pregnant. Sickles will be found not guilty of Key’s murder by reason of temporary insanity. He will lose his right leg at the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and will live until May 3, 1914.]

Sickles murders Key

Sickles murders Key

February 27– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– “We have received the Santa Fe Gazette of the 29th ult., from which we take the following items: ‘We are proud to announce that the House of Representatives of the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico yesterday passed, with but one dissenting voice, a very stringent bill providing for the protection of property in slaves in the Territory, which was sent to the Senate, where it will pass by a like very large majority.’ Let the statesmen and politicians of the Union, North and South, stick a pin there!”~ Memphis Appeal

February 27– Sunday– Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The fully loaded steamboat Princess had just left the city, headed downstream to New Orleans, when its boilers blow up and the vessel quickly sinks. Nearby steamboats and other craft pick up survivors but approximately seventy passengers are killed, drowned, or will later die of their injuries.

February 28– Monday– Little Rock, Arkansas– The state legislature passes a measure requiring that all free black people in the state choose between enslavement or exile. The law requires that free black people either leave the state or if they still remain after the stated period of grace, they will be subject to arrest and will be sold at a slave auction. Slaves constitute 25% of the state’s total population while “free people of color” total less than 1% of the total population.

February 28– Monday– London, England– In the House of Commons, 54 year old Benjamin Disraeli introduces plans for the moderate reform of the parliamentary franchise in Britain. The bill would extend the right to vote and redistribute seats in parliament, largely in favor of the Conservatives. [However, the measure is doomed to failure as Conservatives themselves are divided on the measure and opposition Liberals and Radicals remain too strong for such a partisan bill to prevail. When it ultimately is voted down, the Conservative Government will resign. A modest expansion of the franchise will come in 1867.]

February 28– Monday– Thusis, Switzerland– Birth of Florian Cajori, historian of mathematics. [Dies August 15, 1930.]