Tag Archives: peace

September ~ Election Year 1860

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Republican candidate Lincoln and his supporters increase campaign activities. Slavery remains a key issue with many abolitionists not yet supportive of the Republican cause. The Prince of Wales is touring the United States, a contact with Great Britain which will be of increasing significance in the next four years. Italy moves to unification. The American mercenary Walker is tried and executed.

September 1– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “The point you press– the importance of thorough organization– is felt, and appreciated by our friends everywhere. And yet it involves so much more of dry, and irksome labor, that most of them shrink from it– preferring parades, and shows, and monster meetings. I know not how this can be helped. I do what I can in my position, for organization; but it does not amount to so much as it should.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Wilson.

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September 2– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Roman Catholic churches here raise money to send to Pope Pius IX who is seen as in trouble from Garibaldi and the movement for Italian unification.

September 3–Monday– Tinto River, Honduras– Pressed by a combined Honduran and British military force, William Walker surrenders to Commander Salmon of the Royal Navy. Salmon reports that Walker does so unconditionally.

September 4–Tuesday– Detroit, Michigan–Speaking to a large gathering at a railroad yard, Senator William Seward gives an energetic speech supporting Lincoln and other Republicans.

September 4– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois–”Yours of the 29th is received; and I presume I understand what has prompted you to write it. In 1832 I was first a candidate for the Legislature, with some ten or a dozen other candidates. Peter Cartwright, and three others were elected, of whom I was not one. In 1834 he, and I, and several others, again become candidates; he declined before the election, I saw the race through, and, with three others, was elected. In 1835 he became a candidate to fill a vacancy in the State Senate, and his sole competitor, Job Fletcher, beat him by near six hundred majority. In 1836, 1838, & 1840, I was successively elected to the Legislature– he not being a candidate at either of those elections. I then ceased to be a candidate for anything till 1846, when I ran for Congress. Mr. Cartwright was my competitor, and I beat him, as I recollect 1511 majority, being about double the party majority of the District. I was never a candidate for congress at any other time, and never had any contest with Mr. Cartwright other than as I have stated.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to John Coulter.

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September 5– Wednesday– Jersey City, New Jersey– New Jersey Republicans held a massive evening meeting. After a torch-lit parade, Senator John Ten Eyck speaks, warning all party members to be watchful of Democratic attempts at electoral fraud. Governor William Pennington urges everyone to work to make sure of a Republican victory in November. Newspaper reports put the crowd at more than 6,000 people, the largest such gathering on record up to that time.

September 6–Thursday– Cedarville, Illinois– Birth of Jane Addams, social worker, peace activist, author, lecturer, advocate for immigrants, suffrage activist, first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1931, a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and a reformer. [Dies May 21, 1935.]

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Jane Addams

 

September 6–Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– Senator Douglas speaks for two hours to a large crowd of his supporters. He attacks Breckinridge, saying that without Breckinridge’s interference, he could readily beat Lincoln in every state with the exception of Vermont and Massachusetts.

September 6– Thursday– Sacramento, California– With the state Democratic Party irrevocably split, the Douglas loyalists, claiming to be the true Democratic Party, close their two day convention, endorsing the Douglas ticket and the national platform passed in Baltimore. They also strongly condemn the withdrawals at the national conventions which resulted in the alternative nomination of Breckinridge.

September 7–Friday–Boston, Massachusetts–Garrison pokes fun at the Democrats and President Buchanan in the current issue of The Liberator. Under the headline “Lost: One Cent Reward,” he describes the Democratic Party as lost on the road between Charleston and Baltimore and last seen running after a fugitive slave. “The stock in trade being hopelessly lost, the above reward will be paid by James Buchanan, Caleb Cushing, Benjamin D. Butler, Assignees.”

September 7–Friday– Greenwhich, New York– Birth of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, who will become known as the painter “Grandma Moses.” [Dies December 13, 1961.]

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Anna Robertson Moses as a child

 

September 7–Friday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania–Hard on the campaign trail, Senator Douglas arrives here by rail from Baltimore. On the way, he stopped at York, Pennsylvania where he spoke to 3000 people. Here he meets with Democratic leaders and gives a speech in the evening to a crowd of several thousand.

September 8– Saturday– Trujillo, Honduras–In negotiations with Honduran military and political leaders, Commander Salmon surrenders William Walker to them in return for safe passage home for the other American mercenaries.

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William Walker, mercenary

 

September 8–Saturday– New York City–Today’s Herald quotes William H Seward’s recent speech in Lansing, Michigan in which he said, “I favor . . . the decrease and diminution of African slavery in all the states.”

September 10– Monday– Augusta, Maine– In a heavy voter turn-out, Republicans win all state offices with significant majorities. Israel Washburn, Jr, age 47 and a founder of the Republican Party in the state, is easily elected as governor, beating Democrat Ephraim K Smart, age 47.

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September 11– Tuesday– Albany, New York– As many as 4,000 men parade in support of the Republican ticket.

September 12– Wednesday– Trujillo, Honduras–Authorities court-martial William Walker and execute him by firing squad. Walker is 36 years old.

September 13–Thursday– Laclede, Missouri–Birth of John J Pershing, who will have an important career in the U S Army, including command of American forces in France during 1917 and 1918. [Dies July 15, 1948.]

September 13–Thursday– Fort Worth, Texas–A white mob breaks into the jail and lynches Anthony Bewley, a fifty-six year old white Methodist preacher accused of violent abolitionism and inciting slave insurrection.

September 14–Friday– Upstate New York–Traveling with his wife, Senator Douglas speaks in five towns in the region.

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September 14– Friday– New York City– “I don’t know clearly on which side to count myself in. I’ve a leaning toward the Republicans. But I shall be sorry to see Seward and Thurlow Weed with their profligate lobby men promoted from Albany to Washington. I do not like the tone of the Republican papers and party in regard to the John Brown business of last fall, and I do not think rail-splitting in early life a guarantee of fitness for the presidency. . . . But I can’t support . . . Douglas, the little giant, for I hold the little giant to be a mere demagogue. As to Breckenridge, the ultra Southern candidate, I renounce and abhor him and his party. He represents the most cruel, blind, unreasoning, cowardly absolute despotism that now disgraces the earth.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 14– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Prince of Wales and the Colored People of Canada– An address of welcome and congratulation was presented to the Prince of Wales by the colored citizens, on His Royal Highness’s arrival in Montreal. At a recent meeting of the colored people of Toronto, the following resolutions were moved and unanimously adopted: Resolved, That appreciating, as we do, the visit of the Prince of Wales to this and other parts of the British dominions, we do with all loyalty to our Severing Lady the Queen, as a free people, escaped from slavery, deem it our duty to appoint a committee to wait upon His Royal Highness, and present him with a suitable address, such as would be creditable to ourselves and those connected with us at large. Resolved, That as freemen we are willing to show all classes in this noble Province, that we will not be behind them in coming forward to show our Queen’s Representative, the Prince of Wales, all the loyalty we can bestow. Resolved, That if her Majesty the Queen, from invasion, or rebellion, or otherwise, should require the services of the colored inhabitants of the British Provinces, we will be ready to assist, with our fellow inhabitants, in maintaining the integrity of the Mother Country both at home and abroad.” ~ The Liberator

September 15– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– The Army Corps of Engineers begins repairs on Fort Sumter.

September 17– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Democrats hold a large rally

September 18–Tuesday– Rochester, New York–After his well-attended speech, Senator Douglas is honored at night by torch-light parade through the downtown.

September 20– Thursday– Detroit, Michigan–The mayor of the city and the governor of Michigan greet the Prince of Wales as he arrives from Windsor, Ontario, to begin his historic visit to the United States.

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September 20– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “Yours of the 17th is just received. Here, in Illinois, we are precisely in the condition you seem to understand– safe, as we think, on the National and State tickets, but in danger as to the Legislature. How the National committee can do anything in the premises I do not quite understand; tho, on this point I would refer to Mr. Judd. I shall confer with some friends, and write you again soon– saying no more now that, in my opinion, no one thing will do us so much good in Illinois, as the carrying of Indiana at the October election. The whole surplus energy of the party throughout the nation, should be bent upon that object up to the close of that election. I should say the same of Pennsylvania, were it not that our assurances seem so abundant of Curtin’s election there. If I might advise, I would say, bend all your energies upon Indiana now.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to E D Morgan, Republican National Chairman.

September 21–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today The Liberator reports on the activities of the abolitionist activist William Wells Brown, himself an escaped slave who has been in Vermont for four weeks. He comments that he finds the most illiterate and ignorant people in the Democratic party. He tells of a series meetings in a number of towns In one place he could not find a hotel in which he could stay. “Still, there are many warm hearts in the Green Mountain State, who are anxious to have the American Anti-Slavery Society send in an agent or two, to lecture in all the towns. Vermont is certainly a good field for missionary labor.”

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September 22– Saturday– Dwight Station, Illinois–The Prince of Wales begins four days of rest and quiet on the farm of Charles Spencer, one of the town’s founders.

September 23–Sunday– St Joseph, Missouri–Senator William Seward encourages a crowd of 2000 people to support Lincoln.

September 25–Tuesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Cora with a cargo of 705 slaves.

September 26–Wednesday– Lawrence, Kansas– Senator Seward receives a hero’s welcome in this center of free soil Kansas. Several thousand people listen attentively to his rousing speech recounting the efforts Kansas is making to reject slavery and enter the Union as a free state. When he asks them to vote for the Republican ticket his audience claps and cheers.

September 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “If . . . the Republican party shall succeed in getting the rein of government into its own hands, and preserving the Territories absolutely and beyond a peradventure from the designs of the Slave Power, it will do no slight service to the cause of freedom; and to that extent, and for that reason, it has our sympathies and best wishes as against its three antagonistically and thoroughly pro-slavery rivals. If this is our view of the present political struggle, it may be asked why we do not espouse the Republican party, and urge abolitionists to vote for its candidates. Our answer is, that the greater includes the less, and the immediate abolition of slavery is a matter of incomparably greater concern than an effort simply to prevent its extension; that ‘an ounce of remedy is worth a pound of cure’; that the slave-holding guarantees of the Constitution are such as morally to vitiate that instrument, and no party can be justified on any presence in swearing to uphold it; that the North ought to take disunion ground at once, in order to clear her skirts of blood-guiltiness, instead of remaining an accomplice in slaveholding where it now exist at the South; that the result of such disunion must inevitably and speedily be the extinction of the slave system universally; and that to make no compromise with oppressors is to do the highest service to all classes and all interest in the land. It is not necessary for us to elucidate these points in this connection, as it is our constant aim to show that upon the Northern banner should be inscribed the motto, ‘No Union with Slaveholders!’and the battle carried to the gate.” ~ The Liberator

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William Lloyd Garrison

 

September 29– Saturday– Cleveland, Ohio– “A call is issued for a meeting of the Bell-Everett party in this city, the alleged object of the meeting being the establishment of a Bell-Everett Club. We warn such of the old Whigs as may be inclined to favor the Bell movement, that such a ‘Club’ will be used for no other purpose than to dash out their own brains. In Ohio, as in other Northern States, the real object of the wire-workers in the Bell-Everett movement is the election of Douglas. The men who are controlling the movement are Douglas men, open or disguised. Some of them make no scruple of avowing their only intention to be the distraction of the Republican party, and the election of Douglas. They are to be found on the platform at Douglas meetings, and are in the counsels of the Douglas leaders, and are aided and abetted in their efforts by Douglas presses. We cannot believe that any of the gallant band of old Whigs will allow themselves to be humbugged in this manner. The men who at the name of Henry Clay felt their blood stirred as at a trumpet call to action, will never act as the allies of the man who stigmatized their pure and patriotic leader as a ‘black hearted traitor.’ That Henry Clay Whig, who, by diverting a vote from Abraham Lincoln, the warm friend of Henry Clay, aids the election of Stephen A. Douglas, his bitter enemy, assents to the villainous abuse which that arch-demagogue heaped on the Sage of Ashland.” ~ The Cleveland Herald.

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August 1 to 17 ~ Election Year 1864

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In the midst of his bid for re-election, President Lincoln must deal with divisions within his own party, hostility from those who favor peace, an opposition candidate who is a general in the Union Army, handling diplomacy, encouraging immigration and citizen peace initiatives. Quietly he considers the possibility of losing the election, while encouraging Generals Grant and Sherman and receiving a great victory from the Union Navy.

August 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President went yesterday to Fortress Monroe to meet General Grant, by prior arrangement, which made me distrust final operations at Petersburg, for if such were the fact, he could not well be absent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 2– Tuesday– New York City– “Clement C. Clay, of Alabama, is one of the very meanest of those mean conspirators who helped Davis, Toombs & Co. to set up their Confederacy of Treason, Slavery and Crime. . . . Such are the actors in the farce, and we see at once, they are none of the common herd, the profanum vulgus, but of the genuine stock of Southern bragadocias; the bloviators of the Confederacy . . . . they have made a great mistake. It is not Mr. Lincoln, but the American people, who reject any terms of compromise whatever. The people and Congress will not allow the Administration to make any other terms than that the rebels shall return unconditionally to an obedience to the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is, therefore, a mere absurdity to be talking about their independence, or their separation intellectual condition, to have set up a rebellion on mere delusion, and think they can end it by proposing impossible terms. . . . The falling leaves of November will find the Confederacy in that decaying state which precedes its final fall and dissolution.” ~ New York Times.

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August 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received the letter which Your Majesty has been pleased to address to me, conveying the melancholy intelligence of the decease, on the 2nd of April last, of the Archduchess Hildegarde, wife of Your Majesty’s well beloved cousin, the Archduke Albrecht. I deeply sympathize in the grief with which this afflicting event has filled Your Majesty, and I pray Your Majesty to accept for yourself, and for Your Royal Family, my cordial condolence. May God have Your Majesty in his holy keeping.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria. This is one of four to European monarchs which Lincoln sends today.

August 3– Wednesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “All the wicked passions of the people seem to be left without restraint– such are some of the fruits of war. How often have I wished that I had with me all the warm advocates of this War to witness with me from day to day the sad effects of war, sufferings enough to melt the Heart.”~ Diary of William King

August 4– Thursday– New York City– In response to President Lincoln’s request for a day of prayer and fasting, many businesses close and many places of worship hold services. A number of churches take up special collections for the Sanitary Commission.

August 5– Friday– New York City– “A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated. Congress passed a bill; the President refused to approve it, and then by proclamation puts as much of it in force as he sees fit, and proposes to execute those parts by officers unknown to the laws of the United States and not subject to the confirmation of the Senate! The bill directed the appointment of provisional governors by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, after defeating such a law, proposes to appoint without law, and without the advice and consent of the Senate, military governors for the rebel States! He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation. . . .The President has greatly presumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his administration have so long practiced, in view of the arduous conflict in which we are engaged, and the reckless ferocity of our political opponents. But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; and that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties ‘to obey and execute, not makes the laws’ to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people, whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it!” ~ an attack upon President Lincoln by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis [known as the “Wade-Davis Manifesto”] which appears in today’s New York Tribune, the paper of Horace Greeley.

August 5– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– Union naval vessels under the command of Admiral Farragut storm past the Confederate forts, sink one Confederate warship and capture two others, thus sealing off the port and leaving the city open to land operations by Federal infantry. At the start of the assault when the lead Federal ship sinks, Farragut allegedly yells out to his crew, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

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Battle of Mobile Bay

 

August 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I remarked that I had seen the Wade and Winter Davis protest. He [President Lincoln] said, Well, let them wriggle, but it was strange that Greeley, whom they made their organ in publishing the protest, approved his course and therein differed from the protestants. The protest is violent and abusive of the President, who is denounced with malignity for what I deem the prudent and wise omission to sign a law prescribing how and in what way the Union shall be reconstructed. . . . In getting up this law it was as much an object of Mr. Winter Davis and some others to pull down the Administration as to reconstruct the Union. I think they had the former more directly in view than the latter. Davis’s conduct is not surprising, but I should not have expected that Wade, who has a good deal of patriotic feeling, common sense, and a strong, though coarse and vulgar, mind, would have lent himself to such a despicable assault on the President. There is, however, an infinity of party and personal intrigue just at this time. A Presidential election is approaching, and there are many aspirants, not only for Presidential but other honors or positions. H. Winter Davis has a good deal of talent but is rash and uncertain. There is scarcely a more ambitious man, and no one that cannot be more safely trusted. He is impulsive and mad and has been acute and contriving in this whole measure and has drawn Wade, who is ardent, and others into it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 8– Monday– New York City– “Then as if this were not enough, the Political Caldron is seething as if it were much nitric acid in contact with boundless copper filings. There is fearful evolution of irritating offensive gas and Heaven only knows what compound will be generated by the furious reaction of which we now see only the beginning. Peace Democrats and McClellanites are blatant. McClellan, it’s said, will accept no nomination except on a war platform.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 8– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President, in a conversation with Blair and myself on the Wade and Davis protest, remarked that he had not, and probably should not read it. From what was said of it he had no desire to, could himself take no part in such a controversy as they seemed to wish to provoke. Perhaps he is right, provided he has some judicious friend to state to him what there is really substantial in the protest entitled to consideration without the vituperative asperity. The whole subject of what is called reconstruction is beset with difficulty, and while the executive has indicated one course and Congress another, a better and different one than either may be ultimately pursued. I think the President would have done well to advise with his whole Cabinet in the measures he has adopted, not only as to reconstruction or reestablishing the Union, but as to this particular bill and the proclamation he has issued in regard to it. When the Rebellion shall have been effectually suppressed, the Union government will be itself again, ‘re-union will speedily follow in the natural course of events,’ but there are those who do not wish or intend reunion on the principle of political equality of the States. Unless they can furnish the mode and terms, and for fear they may not be successful, various schemes are projected.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles

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Gideon Welles

 

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are requested to place to the credit of the Department of State the sum of $25,000 as appropriated in the seventh section of the Act entitled ‘An Act to encourage immigration,’ approved July 4, 1864.” ~ Directive from President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury. [The amount would equal $389,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index.

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 9– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– “Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home [in the upcoming election]. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S. Grant to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

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General Ulysses S Grant

 

August 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Thurlow Weed meets with President Lincoln and advises him that “reelection is an impossibility” because the President has angered the Radical Republicans who want harsher measures approved against the South for reconstruction after the war as well as conservative members of the party who worry about the increasing cost and increasing death toll.

August 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Had some talk with Senator Lot Morrill, who is a good deal excited, not to say alarmed. The slow progress of our armies, the mismanagement of military affairs exemplified in the recent raids, the factious and discontented spirit manifested by Wade, Winter Davis, and others, have generated a feeling of despondency in which he participates. Others express to me similar feelings. There is no doubt a wide discouragement prevails, from the causes adverted to, and others which have contributed. . . . The worst specimens of . . . wretched politicians are in New York City and State, though they are to be found everywhere. There is not an honest, fair-dealing Administration journal in New York City. A majority of them profess to be Administration, and yet it is without sincerity.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion. Freedom has given us one hundred and fifty thousand [black] men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy, and, instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.” ~ President Lincoln in an interview with John T Mills.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “From Mobile Bay the news continues favorable. Had Farragut’s preliminary dispatch of the 5th to-day. Have just written a congratulatory letter to him. ” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 16– Tuesday– New York City– “The great election of next November looks more and more obscure, dubious and muddled every day. Lincoln is drifting to the leeward. So much is certain. There is rumor of a move by our wire-pullers and secret unofficial governors to make him withdraw in favor of Chase, or somebody else, on whom the whole Republican party (if such a thing exists) can heartily unite. Fremont’s nomination is coldly received here, though it may find favor in Missouri.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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August 17– Wednesday– New York City– “Great complaints , even by the most loyal men, of the shortcomings and mistakes of government and the ‘Peace Democrats’ vocal and truculent in threats of vengeance on Black Republicans and Abolitionists and in talk about revolution and repudiation of the war debt– all which will do them no good.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen your despatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S Grant.

July ~ Election Year 1864

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President Lincoln keeps busy dealing with political opposition, inaction in Congress and problems with his Cabinet. Journalist and activist Horace Greeley fails in his personal effort to negotiate peace with the Confederacy. General Grant’s siege of Richmond/Petersburg area continues while General Sherman makes slow, steady progress in capturing Atlanta.

July 1– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At most any other time, the repeal by Congress of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 would be the theme of general comment. But it comes now as a matter of course. The signature of the President, perfectly certain, is now all that is needed to make the repeal a law.” ~ The Liberator.

July 1–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln appoints William Pitt Fessenden, Senator from Maine, as Secretary of the Treasury. Fessenden, age 57, a lawyer, politician and financier, has served in the Senate since 1854. [He will serve only until March 3, 1865, when he will return to the Senate, having restored the U S Treasury to a relatively sound condition. Lincoln describes him as “a Radical without the petulant and vicious fretfulness of many Radicals.” He dies in Portland, Maine on September 8, 1869, five weeks before his 63rd birthday.]

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July 2–Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The last business day of the session, and many of the Members have gone home already. Much is done and omitted to be done during the last hours of Congress. Members do wrong in abandoning their post at these important periods, and no one who does it should be trusted. I am told by the members of our naval committees that all naval matters are rightly done up in the two houses, but I discredit it. Some matters will be lost, and hurried legislation is always attended with errors.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting information upon the subject of the African slave trade, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

July 5– Tuesday– New York City– Editor Horace Greeley, age 53, a critic of President Lincoln and advocating peace with the South, receives a letter from friends in Canada, asserting that Confederate representatives are available to discuss peace terms. Greeley in turn urges Lincoln to negotiate.

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Horace Greeley

 

July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Telegrams this a.m. inform us that the pirate Alabama was sunk on the 19th of June off Cherbourg by the steamer Kearsarge, Commodore Winslow, after a fight of one hour and a half. Informed the President and Cabinet of the tidings, which was a matter of general congratulation and rejoicing. . . . The President appeared more constrained and formal than usual.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws, do hereby declare that in my judgment the public safety especially requires that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, so proclaimed in the said proclamation of the 15th of September, 1863, be made effectual and be duly enforced in and throughout the said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the present established therein. I do therefore hereby require of the military officers in the said State that the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that martial law be established therein, to take effect from the date of this proclamation, the said suspension and establishment of martial law to continue until this proclamation shall be revoked or modified, but not beyond the period when the said rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end. And I do hereby require and command as well all military officers as all civil officers and authorities existing or found within the said State of Kentucky to take notice of this proclamation and to give full effect to the same. The martial law herein proclaimed and the things in that respect herein ordered will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding of lawful elections, or with the proceedings of the constitutional legislature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in the courts of law existing therein between citizens of the United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the military operations or the constituted authorities of the Government of the United States.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

July 5– Tuesday– Roswell, Georgia– Federal cavalry under the command of General Kenner Garrard arrives to find the bridge across the Chattahoochee River had been burned by withdrawing Confederate soldiers. Garrard orders his troopers to commence burning all the mills and industrial buildings in town. According to his report, one of the cotton mills destroyed today contained over one million dollars worth of machinery and employed four-hundred workers.

July 6– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “Received dispatches to-day from Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge relative to sinking the Alabama. Wrote congratulatory letter. There is great rejoicing throughout the country over this success, which is universally and justly conceded a triumph over England as well as over the Rebels. . . . Our large smooth-bore guns, the Dahlgrens, have been ridiculed and denounced by the enemies of the Navy Department, but the swift destruction of the Alabama is now imputed to the great guns which tore her in pieces.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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USS Kearsarge

 

July 7– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolution and heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln

July 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln vetoes the Wade-Davis reconstruction bill.

July 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If you can find any person, anywhere, professing to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, whatever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you; and that if he really brings such proposition, he shall at the least have safe conduct with the paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to the point where you shall have to meet him. The same if there be two or more persons.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

July 12– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you received my letter of the 9th. I have just received yours . . . and am disappointed by it. I was not expecting you to send me a letter, but to bring me a man, or men.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

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July 12– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “What sufferings have been occasioned by this sad, useless war– how much happier would we all be had not the political demagogues North and South been permitted to force this war upon a happy, prosperous people.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The passage of the bill by Congress which takes from the States formally declared to be in rebellion the right to participate in the next Presidential election will reduce the votes in the electoral college to be chosen next November to two hundred and forty-one. The States thus excluded are Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida– eleven in all, comprising eighty-nine electoral votes, were they in a condition to cast them. Three territories have been authorized to form State governments, but none of them will have time to do so in season to vote at the next Presidential election, and one of them (Nebraska) has already declined this tender of the privilege of becoming a State.” ~ The Liberator.

July 18– Monday– Niagra Falls, New York– Horace Greeley arrives to attempt peace negotiations.

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln calls for a half million more volunteers, in large part because of the large number of casualties suffered in Virginia and Georgia.

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with James R. Gilmore to discuss peace. Gilmore, age 42, a Massachusetts-born businessman, had made a secret trip, with Lincoln’s permission, to meet with President Davis in Richmond. However, he reports that the Confederacy demands recognition of its independence and the continuance of slavery. After the meeting Lincoln issues this announcement: “Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points; and the bearer or bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.” This effectively ends Horace Greeley’s efforts at peace talks.

July 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Copperheads seem to neglect a great argument which might be used against Mr. Lincoln. It is from a recent speech of Hon. J. L. M. Curry, the Secession leader of Alabama. ‘Should Lincoln be re-elected,’ says Mr. Curry, ‘our fond hopes will be dashed to the ground.’ This is an argument the Copperheads neglect to use.” ~ The Liberator.

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July 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President read his correspondence with Horace Greeley on the subject of peace propositions from George Saunders and others at Niagara Falls. The President has acquitted himself very well– if he was to engage in the matter at all– but I am sorry that he permits himself, in this irregular way, to be induced to engage in correspondence with irresponsible parties like Saunders and Clay or scheming busybodies like Greeley. . . . Greeley is one of those who has done and is doing great harm and injustice in this matter. In this instance he was evidently anxious to thrust himself forward as an actor, and yet when once engaged he began to be alarmed; he failed to honestly and frankly communicate the President’s first letters, as was his duty, but sent a letter of his own, which was not true and correct, and found himself involved in the meshes of his own frail net.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 23– Saturday– New York City– “I will not let myself doubt the final issue. What further humiliation and disaster, public and private, we must suffer before we reach the end, God only knows; but this shabbiest and basest of rebellions cannot be destined to triumph.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 24– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– “We all feel that upon Grant and you, and the armies under your command, the fate of this country depends. If you are successful, it is ardently hoped that peace may soon follow with a restored union. If you fail, the wisest can hope for nothing but a long train of disasters and the strife of factious.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 26– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We expect to await your program for further changes and promotions in your army. My profoundest thanks to you and your whole army for the present campaign so far.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 28– Thursday– Lowell, Massachusetts– “As to our situation here, you are doubtless well informed. My own feeling has always been confident, and it is now hopeful. If Mr. Lincoln is re-chosen, I think the war will soon be over. If not, there will be attempts at negotiation, during which the rebels will recover breath, and then war again with more chances in their favor. Just now everything looks well. The real campaign is clearly in Georgia, and Grant has skillfully turned all eyes to Virginia by taking the command there in person. Sherman is a very able man, in dead earnest, and with a more powerful army than that of Virginia. It is true that the mercantile classes are longing for peace, but I believe the people are more firm than ever. So far as I can see, the opposition to Mr. Lincoln is both selfish and factious, but it is much in favor of the right side that the Democratic party have literally not so much as a single plank of principle to float on, and the sea runs high. They don’t know what they are in favor of – hardly what they think it safe to be against. And I doubt if they will gain much by going into an election on negatives. I attach some importance to the peace negotiation at Niagara (ludicrous as it was) as an indication of despair on the part of the rebels . . . . Don’t be alarmed about Washington. The noise made about it by the Copperheads is enough to show there is nothing dangerous in any rebel movements in that direction. I have no doubt that Washington is as safe as Vienna. What the Fremont defection may accomplish I can’t say, but I have little fear from it. Its strength lies solely among our German Radicals, the most impracticable of mankind. If our population had been as homogeneous as during the Revolutionary war, our troubles would have been over in a year. All our foreign trading population have no fatherland but the till, and have done their best to destroy our credit. All our snobs, too, are Secesh.” ~ Letter from James Russell Lowell to his friend John Lothrop Motley, American Minister to the Austrian Empire.

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James Russell Lowell

 

July 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “‘A Bridge from Slavery to Freedom’ is the title of an able speech (printed in pamphlet form) delivered by Honorable Charles Sumner, in the United States Senate, on the bill to establish a Bureau of Freedmen, June 13th, 14th and 15th, 1864.” ~ The Liberator.

May~Election Year 1932

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

May ~ Election Year 1916

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

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Dublin’s General Post Office after the fighting

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tired French troops on Cote 304

 

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

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

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

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location where Irish prisoners were executed

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Clara Louise Kellogg

 

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

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

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pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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President Wilson prepares to speak from the back of a train

 

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

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

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

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

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John Wanamaker

 

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

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

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

May ~ Election Year 1856

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

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

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

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Lucia True Ames Mead

 

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

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

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Theodore Parker

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Senator Sumner

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Sallie Holley

 

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

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

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

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

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

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damage to Lawrence, Kansas

 

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

Election Year 1852~April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parker Pillsbury

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s History~ Emily Greene Balch

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Emily Greene Balch

 

Emily Greene Balch, peace advocate, feminist, social reformer, economist, educator, social worker, researcher, author, internationalist, journalist and Nobel Laureate, was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts on January 8, 1867. She graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1889 and studied political science at the Sorbonne during 1890 to 1891 and taught at Wellesley College from 1896 to 1918. A friend and colleague of women such as Jane Addams and Vida Scudder, she was active in the Woman’s Peace Party and was one of the founders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) where she served for some years as one of the executive officers. Out of deeply-held personal convictions she became a Quaker in 1921. In 1926 she investigated conditions in Haiti and published an expose of problems there, many caused by repeated interventions by the United States. Always politically astute, Ms Balch encouraged the United States in 1939 to accept a large number of refugees fleeing conditions in Germany. During the Second World War she opposed the internment of Japanese Americans and advocated for fair treatment. In 1955 she reached out to the people of China via a poem addressed to them. A co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946, she said in her acceptance, “I am hoping that 1946 will mark a turning point in the age-old effort to rid the world of war, to national disarmament, to renunciation of power politics, and to development of international trusteeship, not only for dependent peoples, but for regions and interests which are essentially supranational in character, such as the Polar regions and the main waterways of the world . . .” She donated her prize money to the WILPF.

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In her Nobel Lecture which she delivered on April 7, 1948, Ms Balch declared, “As the world community develops in peace, it will open up great untapped reservoirs in human nature. Like a spring released from pressure would be the response of a generation of young men and women growing up in an atmosphere of friendliness and security, in a world demanding their service, offering them comradeship, calling to all adventurous and forward reaching natures. We are not asked to subscribe to any utopia or to believe in a perfect world just around the comer. We are asked to be patient with necessarily slow and groping advance on the road forward, and to be ready for each step ahead as it becomes practicable. We are asked to equip ourselves with courage, hope, readiness for hard work, and to cherish large and generous ideals.”

Zurich Congress Session, 1919

Zurich Congress Session, 1919

Emily Greene Balch died in Cambridge Massachusetts, on January 9, 1961, a day after her 94th birthday. On her life and work, see: Emily Greene Balch: the Long Road to Internationalism (2010) by Kristen E Gwinn; Champions for Peace: Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize (2006) by Judith Hicks Stiehm; Vote and Voice: Women’s Organizations and Political Literacy, 1915– 1930 (2004) by Wendy B Sharer; Pioneers for Peace: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 1915– 1965 (2nd ed. 1980) by Gertrude Bussey and Margaret Tims; Beyond Nationalism: the Social Thought of Emily Greene Balch (1972) edited by Mercedes M Randall; For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America, 1914– 1941 (1971) by Charles Chatfield; Improper Bostonian: Emily Greene Balch (1964) by Mercedes M Randall; The Miracle of Living (1941) by Emily Greene Balch; Women at the Hague: the International Congress of Women and its Results (1915) by Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch and Alice Hamilton

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Balch, circa 1899

The War Is Certainly Drawing to a Close ~ February 1865 ~ 25th to 26th

The War Is Certainly Drawing to a Close ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

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North and South, people such as Rhodes believe that the end of the conflict is soon at hand. A reporter describes the sorry condition of Yankee soldiers returning from rebel prison camps. A citizen writes to the governor of Georgia, calling for an immediate end to fighting. A Southern belle loves the singing of slaves but fails to see their humanity, reflecting the racist nature of the slave system.

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February 25– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Out of all the recruits that have been enlisted at the office of the Provost Marshal of this district, under the late call, only two or three bounty jumpers have been found, and it is thought that even these may not be purposely keeping out of the way. Heretofore there have been a great many bounty jumpers, and the fact which we have just mentioned speaks louder than anything else for the character of the men lately mustered to the credit of the State.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 25– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Two days after the storming of Fort Fisher, I went over the scene of that desperate struggle where Southern will yielded, after a seven hours hand-to-hand conflict, to Northern valor. I thought it was one of the saddest sights of war. The storm of Porter’s shell had left scarcely a foot of good untouched. Dead bodies, as they fell, in all the horrid mockery of life, headless trunks, scattered limb, shattered guns, here a Union soldier side by side with his rebel foe in the equality of death, there an artillery officer crushed in a heap beside his gun, a relic-hunter cutting off his confederate buttons, over and about all, riot and desolation, and a sense as if nature’s economies had been insanely wronged, and her thought outraged. But that picture, framed with death and ruin, was not to me so sad or pitiful as the sights I chanced upon yesterday near Aiken’s Landing. At the rude river wharf lay two trim steamers, flying at the foretop Colonel Mulford’s white flag. Across the rebel flag-of-truce boat. A thousand rebels, just down from your sharp Northern air, marched ashore. A motley crew, but all warmly clad, and a hale, supple, robust set of men. They booted, joked and jostled about as they pushed across the fenceless fields towards Cox’s Landing. I knew we might expect every man of them on our front, musket in hand, within a fortnight. I saw but two or three with canes, not a dozen who seemed ill or weak. Why was the long train of ambulances sent down the line waiting? My query was soon answered. Our prisoners turned over, back came a thousand of our boys, among friends again after their terrible captivity. I tell the sober truth– you cannot imagine the sight. It was a better lot than previous ones, the best that had been received lately, I believe. But the appearance was pitiful. Every ambulance was needed now, and hundreds hobbled or dragged themselves along through the drizzly rain treacherous mud, of foot. A thousand hungry, ragged men or wrecks of men. Their faces had a sallow, pinched look that told of a slow starvation, and cumulation of mental and physical suffering. Their clothes were in tatters, in many cases only held together by coarse strings. The pictures you have seen of bony, half-clad, famished men are no exaggeration. There was little cheering as they came under the old flag, but to every passer or spectator the pleadings of hunger. Crackers trampled in the mud, the old shoes and the cast-off clothing of contrabands even, were scrambled for as if they were gold. The wild, passionate greed of those men for food told a fearful story. It was the same story from all of months of shelterless exposure to winter storms, and of systematic starvation. May had been stripped of their own clothing, and had received in exchange the cast off garments of their captors, or nothing. I saw their daily ration, a piece of corn bread which one had hoarded as a relic of those miserable days. It was a cake less than two and a half inches across– a child would eat it at a single lunch, were it palatable. Yet this, with a morsel of meat, not one fourth at large, was all the daily allowance, week in and oat, to grown up, hungry men. It was deliberate, needless starvation; the system, only half supplied with fuel, feeding the life-fires on itself, till so weak that, if disease set in, there was no recuperation. I say needless, for there was no excuse for this cruelty by the rebels. They have always had a plentiful supply of the staples which form the prisoner’s ration– corn meal and bacon. And so, feeble and shivering, these poor men turned their faces home ward. Home! Even that word had little power to kindle dull eyes, and strengthen nerveless limbs. The wrongs of the months past could not be made right so easily. If ever I felt to like hating, cursing a fellow-being before as the authors of such a crime, I thought, as I often had, that any loss less than life were better than to fall into a rebel prison pen.” ~ a reporter for the Cleveland Leader.

Federal troops around Petersburg

Federal troops around Petersburg

February 25– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The war is certainly drawing to a close and I am thankful to God for it, for although I love a soldier’s life, yet I love my home better and want peace.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 25– Saturday– Macon, Georgia– “I have never been a politician. You do not know me. I have been introduced to you and we have conversed together as Baptists. I live in the country, and I think I know the minds of the country people better than you do yourself. Many of your friends who live in cities and towns and have daily intercourse with military officers still retain a considerable war spirit, but that spirit is out in the county! I live in a district where there are now about sixty voters. There were than number present at our election lasts month for justices, and there were only four war men in the crowd, all the balance were Union men, ready and anxious to throw down arms on any terms that reconstruction could be obtained. One of the justices elected said that if the country people would all turn out, they could go and drive every government officer and newspaper editor out of Macon, and he pledged himself to raise 300 men in twenty-four hours for that purpose if required. I have suffered more from the war than many others. All of my property has been destroyed. I have had one son killed, and one maimed for life in battle, and I have three more sons now in the Confederate service, and never one of them away from their post without liberty. Yet all of them and myself think if we as a state would throw down our arms now, we would make a far better arrangement with the old government than if we try to hold out longer. Leave the sinking ship! The statement of the President’s hirelings, writing for the papers, all state falsehoods when they say that the armies are anxious still to fight. It is not true. The offices with high [station] and easy situations make these opinions and get up meetings and pass resolutions to that effect, without the knowledge and consent of nine-tenths of the privates in the army. And it is not the feeling of the people generally through the country. You cannot get the people to fight any more. They are going home as fast as they can get there. The country is full of deserters and almost every man in the community will feed them and keep them from being arrested. Stop it, my friend, stop it. All the enlightened world is against us, and God himself is against us!” ~ Letter from a local man to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

February 26– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “There is much alarm on the streets. Orders have been given to prepare all the tobacco and cotton, which cannot be removed immediately, for destruction by fire. And it is generally believed that General A. P.Hill’s corps has marched away to North Carolina. This would leave some 25,000 men to defend Richmond and Petersburg, against, probably, 60,000. If Richmond be evacuated, most of the population will remain, not knowing whither to go.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 26– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp Commander Henry Wirz writes to a Confederate official in Richmond that many of the prisoners are performing valuable duties on the post, but have no shoes. He requests permission to purchase either shoes or the leather to make them, as some of the inmates are cobblers by trade.

hands of an elderly slave

hands of an elderly slave

February 26– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Flora and the captain have returned to Gopher Hill, whither Metta, Mecca, and I are invited to follow on Friday, when sister goes up to Macon. Jimmy Callaway and his father have just come from Washington with such glowing accounts of the excitement and gaiety there that I am distracted to go back home. If father don’t write for us to come soon, I think we will go to Chunnenuggee by way of Eufaula and the Chattahoochee, and if Thomas’s raiders catch us over in Alabama, father will wish he had let us come home. After dinner I took Mecca over to the Praise House to hear the Negroes sing. I wish I was an artist so that I could draw a picture of the scene. Alfred, one of the chief singers, is a gigantic creature, more like an ape than a man. I have seen pictures of African savages in books of travel that were just like him. His hands and feet are so huge that it looks as if their weight would crush the heads of the little p***********when he pats them; yet, with all this strength, they say he is a great coward, and one of the most docile Negroes on the plantation. The women, when they get excited with the singing, shut their eyes and rock themselves back and forth, clapping their hands . . . . Old Bob and Jim are the preachers, and very good old darkies they are, in spite of their religion. But the chief personages on the plantation are old Granny Mimey, old Uncle Wally, and Uncle Setley, who are all superannuated and privileged characters. I tell sister that Uncle Wally has nothing to do, and Uncle Setley to help him. The latter is very deaf, and half crazy, but harmless. I am a special favorite of Uncle Wally’s. We have a chat every morning when he passes through the back yard on his way to the cowpen. The other day he said to me: ‘You is de putties lady ever I seed; you looks jes like one er dese here alablaster dolls.’ We walked to the bluff on the river bank, after leaving the quarter, and sat there a long time talking. Spring is here in earnest. The yellow jessamine are bursting into bloom, and the air is fragrant with the wild crab apples.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

interior of a slave cabin

interior of a slave cabin

Fighting Can Never End This War ~ February 1865 ~ 23rd to 24th

Fighting Can Never End this War ~ the Georgia state legislature

federal ambulances

Continuing with a veiled degree of animosity toward the government in Richmond, the Georgia legislature calls for a negotiated settlement to end the war and reaffirms the doctrine of states’ rights. The Confederate Congress defeats the bill to enlist slaves in the Confederate army. In Missouri the new governor outlines a peaceful and prosperous future and calls for an end to party politics. George Whitman is free and arrives in Union territory.

13th_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC

February 23– Thursday– St Paul, Minnesota– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 23– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Yesterday was [George] Washington’s birthday and we celebrated in fine style.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “It is rather mortifying to the people of Virginia to find that Mr. Joseph Segar, their representative to the United States Senate, has been denied a seat in that august body by a very decisive vote taken upon his ‘credentials.’ The rejection appears to be based upon the fact that Virginia is ‘a State in armed rebellion’– a little circumstance that probably Mr. Segar, in his hurry to take the boat for [ Washington ] had overlooked. Mr. Charles Sumner, a citizen of Massachusetts, who is more fortunate than Mr. Segar in occupying a seat in the Federal Senate, took a very sensible view of the matter. He could not see– what nobody else can see– the propriety of a Virginia representative in a Yankee Senate. He said: ‘It will be the duty of the committee to consider, in the first place, whether a State in armed rebellion, like Virginia, can have Senators on this floor. That is a great question — constitutional, political and practical. It will be their duty, then, in the second place, to inquire whether the gentleman whose credentials have been presented has been chosen legally, under the Constitution of the United States, by any State. I do not intend to prejudge either of these questions. I simply offer them for the consideration of the Senate; but I do insist that a measure of this importance shall not be acted on without due consideration or in absolute indifference to those facts which now stare us in the face, glaring upon us every day in every newspaper that we read. You cannot be insensible to facts. It is in vain that Senators say that Virginia, now at war against the Union, is entitled to representation on this floor, when you have before you the inexorable fact that the greater part of the State is at this moment in the possession of an armed rebellion– when you have before you the other fact, filling almost all the newspapers in the land, that the body of men who have undertaken to send a Senator to Congress are a little more than the Common Council of Alexandria. And you have that question distinctly presented to you whether a representative of the Common Council of Alexandria is to enter this chamber and share the same powers and privileges with my honorable friends, the Senators from New York and Pennsylvania. I merely open these points without now undertaking to decide, and simply as an unanswerable argument in favor of the reference to the committee.’” ~ Richmond Daily Dispatch. [Segar, 1804 to 1880, a lawyer and state politician from Hampton, Virginia, had remained loyal to the Union but the investigating committee will deny him permission to be seated in the U S Senate.]

Joseph Segar

Joseph Segar

February 23– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, It is believed that a majority of the people of Georgia desire that a Convention be called to consider the condition of the country and to devise ways and to initiate measures which will result in opening negotiations, by which an honorable peace may be obtained between the Confederate States and the United States, Resolved 1st, That in the opinion of this General Assembly that, with the resources of the Confederate States, it is in their power to prolong this war for an indefinite number of years, and that the State of Georgia ought to, and will, reject the late ultimatum of President Lincoln to the Commissioners of the Confederate States. That whilst this is our stern determination, yet we believe that if the subject is approached in the proper spirit by negotiations, peace may be obtained. If, however, we shall fail, we will have the proud satisfaction of knowing that we have exhausted the argument, and the people of the State of Georgia will stand united as one man prepared to win by our arms the just measures of our rights, or fill patriots’ graves. Resolved 2nd, That this General Assembly pledges the entire resources of the State for the prosecution of the war until an honorable peace can be obtained; but in our opinion fighting can never end this war, and we desire to withdraw as far as practicable the questions at issue from the arbitrament of the sword, and refer the same to the umpire of reason. With a view to this end, Resolved 3rd, That an election for delegates to a Convention be held on the 20th day of March next, which Convention shall assemble at Macon on the 15th day of April next. That each county shall be entitled to send two delegates. That each voter shall endorse on his ticket Convention or No Convention If a majority of the voters shall say No Convention, then said Convention shall not be held, but if a majority shall endorse Convention, then said Convention shall assemble at the time and place hereinbefore stated. That in those counties having no mail or railroad facilities, it shall be the duty of the Justices of the Inferior Courts to forward the returns by special couriers, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to make the result known by proclamation so soon as the result is ascertained.” ~ Resolutions passed by the Georgia state legislature.

infantry charge

February 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The new Governor of Missouri, Thomas C. Fletcher, is the man for the times. We have read with intense interest and complete satisfaction his inaugural Message, delivered on the 2nd of January. It as of the true radical grit, and thoroughly loyal, of course. A radical hater of slavery is, from the very nature of things, loyal, and a radical hater of slavery-engendered rebellion. With the incoming of the new State Administration at the head of which stands Governor Fletcher, a near era of prosperity, happiness, and honor for Missouri has commenced. We like the Governor’s Inaugural so well, that we cannot forbear letting our readers have the privilege of sharing in our satisfaction by perusing the following passage, which is all aglow with the holy enthusiasm of Liberty: ‘In the name of Truth, of Justice, of Freedom, and of Progress, God has permitted us a political triumph, bringing with it toe solemn responsibility of promoting those great principles by an enforcement of the fundamental law for securing the peace, happiness and prosperity of the people of the State. Through the blood and fire of a civil war, we have attained to a new era, effulgent with the glory of the decree of the people, In their sovereign capacity, emancipating themselves from servitude to principles and policies which have weighed down their energies, opposed barriers to their progress, and armed the hand of treason for shedding of patriot blood. . . . Let it be announced that, in the new era which has come, ours is to be the first of States, with the largest freedom and the widest charities. Let ours be a State where, with the administration of inflexible justice, the abandonment of mere partyisms, and the domination of industrial politics, all the advancements of statute law progress towards combining labor and capital, rather than placing them in the cruel antagonisms of the past; where the light of hope is shut out by the fundamental law from no human being, of whatever race, creed or color, but where a free people heeding the stroke of inevitable destiny on the horology of time in the great crisis of changeful progress guards the right of permitting the position and privileges of every man to be such as his virtues, talents, education, patriotism, enterprise, industry, courage or achievements may confer upon him. The victorious armies of the Republic are with deadly thrusts piercing the enemy on every side. The giant rebellion, bleeding at every pore, begins to reel and faint. Our Sherman, with his veteran braves, stands on the ocean’s beach, gazes back at the last deep mortal wound inflicted, and awaits only to see if another is necessary. The legions of Grant, Butler, Sheridan, Thomas and Canby are rushing on to complete the work; the coming spring time will bring the final blow, and amid the battle cry of freedom, the death of rebellion will be consummated, and blessed peace once more breathe its benisons over the land.’” ~ The Liberator. [Fletcher, age 38, Missouri-born, is a lawyer and Union officer. Because of his distinguished military service, the Republicans nominated him for governor, which he won by a large majority. He serves as governor from January, 1865 to January, 1869. Eventually, he will move to Washington, D.C. to practice law and dies there March 15, 1899.]

Thomas C. Fletcher, Governor of Missouri

Thomas C. Fletcher, Governor of Missouri

February 24– Friday– Anapolis, Maryland– “I arrived here yesterday from the Hotel De Libby [Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia] and if ever a poor devil was glad to get in a Christian Country it was me. I am perfectly well Mother although I am in the Hospital Buildings, and am not under Medical treatment. The reason that I am quartered here is that the Hotels and Boarding Houses in town are crammed full, I stay here for one dollar and a half a day while the Hotels charge three or four dollars and we are just as comfortable as I want to be. I drew 2 months pay to day and bought a new suit of clothes and now I feel something like a white man. I made an application this morning for a leave of absence for 30 days and I expect to be home in the course of 3 or 4 days. We left Danville on the 19th of this Month and stopped in Richmond until the morning of the 22nd. On our arrival at Richmond I found 2 boxes filled with Clothing and grub for me and the way we went into the eatables while we were in Libby was a caution. Mother I am very anxious indeed to hear from you all and wish you get to write or Telegraph to me (as soon (as you get this) as possibly I may get it if you write before I leave here. I have lots of yarns to tell you Mother but will wait until I get home as I can’t do justice to the darn Rebs, in a letter. You cant imagine how I want to see you and Mattie and the children and all the rest.” ~ Letter from George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

February 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all day yesterday; cloudy and cool this morning. We have no news– only rumors that Wilmington has been abandoned . . . . Yesterday the Senate voted down the bill to put 200,000 Negroes in the army. The papers to-day contain a letter from General Lee, advocating the measure as a necessity. Mr. Hunter’s vote defeated it. He has many Negroes, and will probably lose them; but the loss of popularity, and fear of forfeiting all chance of the succession, may have operated on him as a politician. What madness!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 24– Friday– Charlotte, North Carolina– “The fact is my darling we are retreating without fighting & Sherman is, in fact now marching through South Carolina as easily as he did through Georgia. I rejoined the command on Monday as I told you I would. & the next day threw up breastworks for the protection of Columbia. Kept in the ditches that night raining & freezing as it fell. All next day Wednesday was occupied in strengthening our works, we were on the right. Some skirmishing all day on the left. Sherman to save ammunition would not press on but moved up across the Saluda river, thereby causing us to fall back across the Congarce which was done Wednesday night & the long bridge burned. Thursday the Yankees kept moving up the river all day in plain view from Columbia. Slight skirmishing was kept up all day across the river. The Yankees very sparing of ammunition could not resist the temptation of firing a few shells at the new capitol 3 of which struck the end towards the river defacing it very little. All knew the place was to be evacuated the next morning & the stores were rapidly being plundered by soldiers & citizens. Words cannot describe my feelings at seeing Ladies and children running about wild with excitement & fear, ringing their hands & crying. There was not a man but gripped his sabre tighter & felt more than ever determined never to give up this struggle till liberty or death be our lot. Friday night the Yankees destroyed by fire 3/4 of the city. Prisoners say it was accidental but we can believe as much of that as we please.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.

federal canon

February 24– Friday– Macon, Georgia– “The General Assembly of the State of Georgia do Resolve, 1. That the independence of the Confederate States of America, as based upon the constitutional compact between the sovereign States composing the Confederacy, and maintained through nearly four years of gigantic war, justly claims from their former associates and from the world, its recognition as a rightful fact. 2. That all the States which composed the late American Union, as well those embraced within the present United States as those embraced within the Southern Confederacy, are what the original thirteen States were declared to be by their common ancestors of 1776 and acknowledged to be by George the Third, of England independent and sovereign States: not as one political community, but as States, each one of them constituting such a people as have the inalienable right to terminate any government of their former choice by withdrawing from it their consent; just as the original thirteen States through their common agent acting for, and in the name of each of one them, by the withdrawal of their consent, put a rightful termination to the British government which had been established over them with their perfect consent and free choice. 3. Resolved, That in the judgment of this General Assembly the sovereignty of the individual and several States is the only basis upon which permanent peace between the States now at war with each other can be established consistently with the preservation of constitutional liberty; and that the recognition of this principle, if the voice of passion and war can once be hushed, and reason be allowed to resume her sway, will lead to an easy and lasting solution of all matters of controversy involved in the present unnatural war, by simply leaving all the States free to form their political associations with one another, not by force of arms which excludes the idea of consent, but by a rational consideration of their respective interests, growing out of their condition, resources and situation. 4. Resolved, That we do spurn with indignation the terms on which the President of the United States has proposed peace to the people of the Confederate States; and that Georgia pledges herself to her sister States to use constitutionally all the resources which Providence has placed in her power for the maintenance of the principles herein announced, the security of our rights and in maintaining the independence and sovereignty of these States. 5. Resolved, That whilst we spurn with indignation the terms on which the President of the United States has offered peace to the people of the Confederate States; and whilst Georgia renews her pledges to use constitutionally her resources for the attainment of an honorable peace upon the principles herein laid down; we appeal from the terms offered by President Lincoln to the reason and justice of all friends of constitutional liberty wherever found. And that we echo a hearty response to the proposition for an armistice and the withdrawal of the decision of this question from the arbitrament of the sword to the forum of reason and justice. 6. Resolved, That the freedom with which President Davis has received even unofficial Commissioners from the United States, his ready response to unofficial invitations to send Commissioners, the wise and discreet choice of persons made by him commands our highest admiration and is proof conclusive of an honest and sincere desire to withdraw the decision of the questions involved, from the arbitrament of the sword to the forum of reason and justice. 7. Resolved, That our profoundest gratitude is due to our soldiers who on many a bloody battle-field have illustrated their State by deeds of heroic valor, and that while we look to them with pride and confidence we will see that their efforts are generously sustained and that the amplest resources of the State are applied for the support and comfort of their families at home. 8. Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded by His Excellency the Governor to the President of the Confederate States, to our Senators and Representatives in the Confederate Congress, and to the Governors of the several independent States.”

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

February 24– Friday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Last evening I was most agreeable surprised by the reception of your most interesting letter of the 4th instant. Having heard that communications were cut off, I greatly feared a long time would elapse before I would again have the happy pleasure of hearing from you. I was almost afraid to expect a letter, lest I should be disappointed; but I’m truly glad my supposition was wrong, that Sherman had not accomplished that which he so much desires, and I so hope he may never be permitted to destroy effectually the communication. Well something else now. I’m truly glad you arrived safely in camps with your boxes. You certainly had a most disagreeable trip. Soldiers going from here won’t carry anything back for their friends, owing to the conditions of the roads. I know it must be very troublesome to carry boxes through, but of course one hates to refuse knowing how much they appreciate such a favor from others. The people seem to very uneasy about the condition of General Lee’s army, lest it should suffer for provisions. We cannot hear any news from South Carolina whatever. The movements of the two armies are kept secret for some purpose. I hope Sherman will get a good whipping whenever he makes an attack.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer, her fiancé.