Tag Archives: scholars & educators

June ~ Election Year 1860

Woman making American Flag

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

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


slaves prepare to escape


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

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

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

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


Senator Sumner


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

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

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


Josiah Quincy


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

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

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

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

Giuseppe Garibaldi on Caprera

 Giuseppe Garibaldi


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

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


Mary Jane Rathbun


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

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

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

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


William Cullen Bryant


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

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

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


Carl Schurz


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

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

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


Stephen A Douglas


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

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

May ~ Election Year 1916


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”

wilson speaks from the back of a train-WGj

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.


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.

Taney Must Have Shivered in the Tomb ~ February 1865 ~ the 1st to 2nd

Roger B Taney Must Have Shivered in the Tomb ~ George Templeton Strong

The recently deceased author of the infamous decision in the Dred Scott case is criticized as the constitutional amendment banning slavery goes to the states for ratification. Lincoln’s home state proudly becomes the first to ratify. Sherman begins major operations in South Carolina. Lincoln attempts to negotiate peace.


February– Boston, Massachusetts– “By this record will the world judge Chief Justice Taney. His great familiarity with the special practice; his knowledge of the peculiar jurisdiction of his tribunals . . . after doing service for the day in the mechanical branch of his craft, will soon be all forgotten. But the slavocrats’ revolution of the last two generations, and the Secession war, and the triumph of Liberty, will be the theme of the world; and he, of all who precipitated them, will be most likely, after the traitor leaders, to be held in infamous remembrance; for he did more than any other individual,– more than any President, if not more than all,– more in one hour than the Legislature in thirty years,– to extend the Slave Power. Indeed, he had solemnly decided all and more than all  that President Buchanan, closing his long political life of servility in imbecility, in December, 1860, asked to have adopted as an ‘explanatory amendment’ of the Constitution, to fully satisfy the Slave Power. . . . But those he served themselves with the sword cut the knot he so securely tied; his own State was tearing off the poisoned robe in the very hour in which he was called before the Judge of all. America stood forth once more the same she was when the old man was a boy. The work which he had watched for years and generations, the work of evil to which all the art of man and the power of the State had been subservient, that work which he sought to finish with the fatal decree of his august bench, one cannon-shot shattered forever. He is dead. Slavery is dying. The destiny of the country is in the hand of the Eternal Lord.” ~ Article by Charles M Ellis on the late Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in this month’s issue of the Atlantic Monthly. [Charles M. Ellis, 1818 – 1878, a Boston lawyer and determined abolitionist, was one of the attorneys who represented the fugitive slave Anthony Burns. For a history of the case and more about Ellis, see, The Trials of Anthony Burns: Freedom and Slavery in Emerson’s Boston by Albert J Von Frank (1999), pp. 75-79, 127-128, 131-146, 191-207.]

page from Godey's Lady's Book

page from Godey’s Lady’s Book

February– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “The sending of Valentines is going out of date, but still the custom is somewhat kept up. Our illustration shows a family so anxiously watching the postman going to their neighbors that they do not see the servant bringing in their own letters. It is a very pretty engraving any way, and reflects great credit on the artist, Lauderback, about whom we take this occasion to say, that he is the best engraver on wood in this city. The most sensible Valentine to send a lady is a copy of Godey for one year.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book.

February 1– Wednesday–Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln signs the resolution for the Thirteenth Amendment, sending it to the states for ratification.

February 1– Wednesday– New York City– “The constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery within the United States passed the House yesterday by a vote of 119 to 56, a little more the required two-thirds. . . . The Senate has already passed on it, but three-fourths of the states must endorse the amendment before it can become part of the Constitution. Unless affairs change greatly for the worse within six months, it will be ratified. The current sets steadily that way; witness this vote compared with the last, 95 to 65, when the measure failed for want of a two-thirds majority. No one expected it to prevail in this Congress. Who thought four years ago that John Brown would march so fast? And here has the Supreme Court of the United States just been admitting a colored person one of its attorneys and counsellors, on motion of Charles Sumner. . . . The dust that was Roger B Taney must have shivered in its tomb when the motion was granted.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

February 1– Wednesday–Washington, D.C.– “Well, mother, how are you getting along? we had a cold week, but the past three days has been much moderated. I am satisfied in the main with my room. I have such a good bed & my stove does very well– it is a little bit out of the way in location. My work as clerk in the Indian office is quite easy. I am through by 4. I find plenty who know me. I received a week’s pay on Monday, came very acceptable. My appetite is not very good, but I feel very well upon the whole. . . . I am very glad I have employment (& pay). I must try to keep it. I send you an envelope, so that you can write me a letter soon as convenient.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

February 1– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “It has been more than a month since the writer left Richmond; he has mingled freely with people of all shades of opinion; with the friends as well as with the opponents of the Administration; and he is painfully convinced that he does not exaggerate when he says that the authorities at Richmond must concede something to popular sentiment – that the press must be more reticent and forbearing, remembering that it is one-thing to criticize the conduct of public men and point out their errors as we would those of a friend, and quite another thing to denounce them and destroy their power for future good – and that the standard of private virtue and public morals must be elevated, and the people called away from the groves and high places where Mammon is worshiped, and where patriotism is bartered away for gold. If something like this be not done; if, in other words, a remedy for existing disorders be not found and speedily applied, those in authority, as well as the press and the people, may live to see the day when they will call upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the consequences of their own infatuation. People in Richmond, at the time I left the capital, had but a faint idea of the real condition of affairs. The Administration itself did not begin to realize the estimation in which it is held by the country – whether rightfully or wrongfully, I need not now stop to consider. The fact is what I am after, and the fact is as I have stated it to be. Such is the malady. What is the remedy? Patience and firmness on the part of the people; reticence, forbearance and judicious criticism on the part of the press; and conciliation and a generous confidence on the part of the Government, and an energetic administration of military affairs, so that all the resources of the country, whether of men or material, and of men, whether black or white, shall be made available in the struggle for our liberties. A long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together, would secure our independence as surely as to-morrow’s sun will rise and set.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to the editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch.

disabled veterans

disabled veterans

February 1– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and pleasant; subsequently thawing and foggy. General Robert E. Lee has been appointed General-in-Chief by the President, in response to the recent action of Congress and the clamorous demands of the people. It is to be hoped he will, nevertheless, remain in person at the head of the Army of Virginia, else the change may be fraught with disaster, and then his popularity will vanish! He has not been fortunate when not present with the troops under his command, as evidenced by Early’s defeat and Jones’s disaster in the Valley last year. A general must continue to reap successes if he retains his popularity. General Lee has called upon the people everywhere to send in any cavalry arms and equipments in their possession– the importation being stopped.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 1– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– In the President’s home state of Illinois, the legislature becomes the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment as soon as they receive notice by telegraph of Lincoln having signed the resolution.

the Thirteenth Amendment

the Thirteenth Amendment

February 1– Wednesday– across southern South Carolina– Federal forces under General Sherman are moving in force. As in Georgia, Sherman has multiple columns of troops moving at one time in slightly different directions, causing the Confederate forces to wonder if his target is Charleston or some other place.

February 1– Wednesday– Manchester, Indiana– Birth of Henry Luke Bolley, educator, botanist and researcher. [Dies November 10, 1956.]

Henry Luke Bolley

Henry Luke Bolley

February 2– Wednesday– Providence, Rhode Island– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 2– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “An erroneous supposition in regard to the rights of a substitute in the army is very generally prevalent and needs correction. It seems to be understood that a substitute has the right to elect to what regiment he shall be designed. Such is not the case. All substitutes are assigned by squads to different regiments as fast as the War Department has need for them. The mistake perhaps arises from a confusion of the rights accorded to a substitute with those belonging to a representative recruit– a substitute for a person act liable to draft– who enjoys all the privileges of a volunteer. But a substitute for an enrolled person, whether that person has been drafted or merely liable to draft, is not allowed the government bounty, or the right of choosing his own regiment.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 2– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The President and Mr. Seward have gone to Hampton Roads to have an interview with the Rebel commissioners– Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell. None of the Cabinet were advised of this move, and without exception, I think, it struck them unfavorably that the Chief Magistrate should have gone on such a mission.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


February 2– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “In response to a serenade last night, President Lincoln said he supposed the passage through Congress of the Constitutional Amendment for abolishing slavery throughout the United States was the occasion to which be was indebted for the honor of this call. (Applause.) The occasion was one of congratulation to the country, and to the whole world. But there lay a task yet before us, to go forward and consummate by the votes of the States, that which Congress so nobly began yesterday.(Applause, and cries ‘they will do it’). He had the honor to inform those present that Illinois had already to-day done the work. Maryland was about half through, but he felt proud that Illinois was a little ahead. He thought this measure was a very fitting, if not an indispensable adjuncts to the winding up of the present difficulty. (Applause.) He wished the Union of all the States perfected, and so effected to remove ail causes of disturbance in the future; and to obtain this end It was necessary that the original disturbing cause should, if possible, be rooted out. He thought all would bear him witness that he had never shrunk from doing all that he could to eradicate slavery, by issuing an emancipation proclamation. (Applause.) But that proclamation falls far short of what the amendment will be when fully consummated. A question might be raised whether the proclamation was legally valid. It might be said, that it only freed those who came in our lines, and that it was inoperative as to those who did not give themselves up; or that It would have no effect upon children of slaves born hereafter. In fact, it would be urged that it did not meet the evil; but this amendment is a King’s cure for all evils. (Applause.) It winds the whole thing up. He would repeat, that it was the fitting, if not indispensable adjunct to the consummation of the great game we are playing. He could not but congratulate all present, the country, the whole world, and himself, upon this great moral victory.” ~ An abolitionist reporter’s article for The Liberator.

Breaking Barriers~75 Years of Wild Women

This April marks the 75th anniversary of the women’s magazine Glamour. The magazine published a list in its April issue of 75 women they picked as “a highly selective list of bad-ass U.S. barrier-breakers who changed the world for all of us.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

From their list I would select, in no particular order: 1) Hattie McDaniel, 2) Dorothea Lange, 3) Georgia O’Keffee, 4) Margaret Sanger, 5) Billie Holiday, 6) Eleanor Roosevelt, 7) Dolores Huerta, 8) Hedy Lamarr, 9) Flannery O’Connor, 10) Audrey Hepburn, 11) Serena Williams, 12) Rosa Parks, 13) Harper Lee, 14) Wilma Rudolph, 15) Rita Moreno, 16) Rachel Carson, 17) Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 18) Julia Child, 19) Aretha Franklin, 20) Betty Friedan, 21) Katherine Graham, 22) Carol Burnett, 23) Maya Angelou, 24) Carole King, 25) Shirley Chisholm, 26) Diana Ross, 27) Toni Morrison, 28) Gloria Steinem, 29) Billie Jean King, 30) Sandra Day O’Connor, 31) Maya Lin, 32) Sally Ride, 33) Geraldine Ferraro, 34) Dolly Parton, 35) Oprah Winfrey, 36) Wilma Mankiller, 37) Meryl Streep, 38) Florence Griffith Joyner, 39) Katherine Hepburn, 40) Mary Lou Retton, 41) Anita Hill, 42) Madeleine Albright, 43) Barbara Streisand, 44) Nancy Pelosi, 45) Hillary Clinton, 46) Barbara Walters, and 47) Michelle Obama.

Helen Prejean

Helen Prejean

To round out my own 75 women list of American agitators, trouble-makers and pioneers in the last 75 years, I would add: 48) Dorothy Day, 49) Bernice Johnson Reagon, 50) Barbara Mikulski, 51) Fannie Lou Hamer, 52) Jeanette Rankin, 53) Bella Abzug, 54) Marian Wright Edelman, 55) Frances Perkins, 56) Janis Joplin, 57) Mary Ritter Beard, 58) Zora Neale Hurston, 59) Josephine Baker, 60) Emily Greene Balch, 61) Joan Chittister, 62) Constance Baker Motley, 63) bell hooks, 64) Joan Baez, 65) Helen Prejean, 66) Peace Pilgrim, 67) Gerda Lerner, 68) Margarethe Cammermeyer, 69) Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 70) Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 71) Jo Carol LaFleur 72) Joan Didion 73) Blanche Wiesen Cook, 74) Lillian Faderman, 75) Mary Beth Tinker.

Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper

And if I took my list to 100 women who shook things up in the last 75 years, I would add 76) Florence Allen, 77) Jessie Daniel Ames, 78) Hannah Arendt, 79) Charlotta Spears Bass, 80) Ella Reeve Bloor, 81) Susan Epperson, 82) Anna Julia Cooper, 83) Lavinia Lloyd Dock, 84) Jessie Redmon Fauset, 85) Alice Hamilton, 86) Dorothy Kenyon, 87) Daisy Lampkin, 88) Gypsy Rose Lee, 89) Lucy Randolph Mason, 90) Dorothy Parker, 91) Jane Hodgson, 92) Ethel Rosenberg, 93) Rose Schneiderman, 94) Vida Scudder, 95) Mary Church Terrell, 96) Barbara Elfbrandt, 97) Alberta Hunter, 98) Odetta, 99) Daisy Bates, 100) Whoopi Goldberg.

Obviously this list is my personal one and could grow much longer. And if I were to include more American history and then add world history, the list might well become unmanageable. I encourage you to try making your own list. What American women within the last 75 years have been game-changers for you?

Signs of Stress~February 1859~the 1st to 12th

There are some signs of stress in the fabric of the Union.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

February– Rochester, New York– In this month’s issue of Douglass’ Monthly, Frederick Douglass writes firmly against plans and attempts to force free black people to go to Africa. “When in slavery we were liable to perpetual sales, transfers and removals; now that we are free, we are doomed to be constantly harassed with schemes to get us out of the country. We are quite tired of all this, and wish no more of it.”

February 1– Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio– “A friend sends us from New Orleans the auctioneer’s advertisement of a sale of ‘choice slaves,’ which took place January 18th , and the prices at which these human cattle were struck off. There were nineteen of them that were guaranteed, and a lot of refuse stuff which went off at almost any price. There was Frances, a girl about 14 years, very likely and intelligent, speaks French and English– she brought $1000. Celeste, another girl of 15 years, likely and intelligent, speaks English and French– she brought $1310. Charity with a baby of three years, was knocked down at $1220. Patsey ‘a No. 1 cook’ brought $1180. Bella, with two children, 7 and 4 years, brought $1400. Clarissa, aged 19, very likely, went at $1350. Rachel ‘a field hand’ was struck off at $1000. Julia ‘a Creole’ brought $1000. Anna Maria, aged 17 years ‘very nice’ went at $1190. Griffin, a fine looking fellow, was sold for $1100. Hiiby ‘a first rate carpenter’ sold for $1800. A number of boys ‘all described as orphans’ averaged about $1000 each. It was evident the young women were the most saleable, but all went off at brisk prices.” ~ Cleveland Herald. [As used at this time “likely” meant suitable or promising. To understand the value of the slaves mentioned, $1,000 of 1859 would equal $28,500 today, using the Consumer Price Index. To understand the value of slave labor, a $1,000 would match about $175,000 worth of work performed today.]

February 1– Tuesday– Flint, Michigan– Birth of Lydia Maria Adams De Witt, second daughter and second of three children 0f Oscar and Elizabeth Walton Adams. She will earn an MD from the University of Michigan and become an experimental pathologist and well-known for her work in the pioneer studies in the chemotherapy of tuberculosis. She will die March 10, 1928.

February 1– Tuesday– London, England– Mary Anne Evans, a/k/a George Eliot, age 39, releases her new three volume first novel, Adam Bede, with an initial print run of 2100 copies. [These will be sold out within weeks and the novel will go on to become her most popular and best-selling work during her lifetime, with more than 30,000 copies sold.]

George Eliot

George Eliot

February 1– Tuesday– Dublin, Ireland– Birth of Victor Herbert, musician, composer and conductor. [Dies May 26, 1924.]

February 2– Wednesday– Albany, New York– On the second day of its two day meeting the New York State Anti-Slavery Committee hears speeches from Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, and several others. The meeting debates and passes resolutions advocating the dissolution of the federal Union and terming the Union “a covenant with Death” that ought to be annulled because of the constitutional protections of slavery. The New York Times reporter writes that “all the speeches made were of an extreme character.” Garrison, now 53, has been advocating such a radical measure for much of the last decade. Phillips, age 47, a Harvard graduate, endowed with a good personal income, known as the “golden trumpet” of abolition, has spent the last 22 years in the forefront of the radical abolitionists.

February 2– Wednesday– San Antonio, Texas– German immigrant William Menger opens his three story hotel. He had built a home in 1855 that he expanded with a boarding-house and a brewery, all on the southwest corner of Alamo Plaza, near the famous mission in San Antonio. His hotel will became one of the most famous and luxurious hostelries in Texas.

William Still, abolitionist & underground railroad conductor

William Still, abolitionist & underground railroad conductor

February 2– Wednesday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– “It have [sic] been two years since I was at your house, at that time I was on my way to Canada, and I told you that I had a wife and had to leave her behind, and you promised me that you would help me to get her if I ever heard from her, and I think my dear friend, that the time is come for me to strike the blow, will you help me, according to your promise. I received a letter from a friend in Washington last night and he says that my wife is in the city of Baltimore, and she will come away if she can find a friend to help her, so I thought I would write to you as you are acquainted with folks there to whom you can trust with such matters . . . if we can do any thing it must be done now, as she will leave there in the spring, and if you will take the matter in hand, you must write me on to reception of this letter, whether you will or not.” ~ Letter from escaped slave Lewis Burrell to William Still in Philadelphia. Still, 37 years old, a free-born black man, has been a conductor on the underground railroad since 1844, aiding about 95% of the fugitives passing through Philadelphia.

February 2– Wednesday– Croydon, England– Birth of Henry Havelock Ellis, physician and author who will write extensively about sexuality and gender. [His most influential work will be Studies in the Psychology of Sex, published between 1897 and 1928. He will die July 8, 1939.]

Havelock Ellis

Havelock Ellis

February 3– Thursday– Rheydt, Rhine Province, Prussia– Birth of Hugo Junkers, engineer and aircraft designer. [Dies February 3, 1935].

February 4– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–The Liberator quotes Reverend Parker Pillsbury on the increasing tensions about the issue of slavery. Pillsbury declares that unless action is soon take, even the streets of Boston will “run with blood from Beacon Hill to . . . Broad Street.” Today’s issue also reprints the following from the Erie (Pennsylvania) True American, an abolitionist paper: “Now that the wheels of Legislation are again in motion at Harrisburg, we wish to urge upon our Senators and Representatives there, the necessity of enacting a Personal Liberty Law for this Commonwealth– a law securing to every man within the limits of the State, a right to his person and his liberty. We ask that hunting for men with a view to enslave them be forever prohibited in this State. We ask that the homes and the hearths of the old Keystone, be protected by law from the ravages of the kidnapper, and the plunderings of the manhunter. We perceive that movements toward urging such beneficent and needed legislation are being made in another section. A large and influential Anti-Slavery Convention was recently held in Philadelphia, at which strong resolutions were passed upon the subject.” [Since the Fugitive Slave act of 1850, a number of Northern states have passed “Personal Liberty Laws” which defy the federal law, prohibit state and local law enforcement from assisting in the capture of fugitive slaves and prevent Southern slave catchers from operating in these states. Southern slave-holders despise these laws. Pillsbury, age 50, is a Congregational minister and outspoken abolitionist.]

February 4– Friday– Cambridge, Massachusetts– “Only this I will say, that I am honestly delighted with ‘The Minister’s Wooing;’ that reading it has been one of my few editorial pleasures; that no one appreciates your genius more highly than I, or hopes more fervently that you will let yourself go without regard to this, that, or t’other. Don’t read any criticisms on your story: believe that you know better than any of us, and be sure that everybody likes it. That I know. There is not, and never was, anybody so competent to write a true New England poem as yourself, and have no doubt that you are doing it. The native sod sends up the best inspiration to the brain, and you are as sure of immortality as we all are of dying, if you only go on with entire faith in yourself.” ~ Letter from James Russell Lowell to Harriet Beecher Stowe. [Lowell, age 40, is serving as editor of the Atlantic Monthly and began two months ago to run in serial form Beecher’s new novel, The Minister’s Wooing. Stowe, 47 at this time, has written this story with as strong an anti-slavery flavor as Uncle Tom’s Cabin but also with a critical look at some aspects of Calvinist theology for which she has drawn criticism from some quarters. A fine recent evaluation of Beecher’s struggles with Calvinism can be found at David Reynold’s Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America (2011), pp 1-42, 81, 157, 169.]

February 4– Friday– Asuncion, Paraguay– After barely a week of negotiations between United States Commissioner James Bowlin and Paraguayan officials the parties sign a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation. [Paraguay will ratify the treaty a week later and the United States Senate will ratify it on February 27, 1860.]

February 4– Friday– Smolensk, Russia– Birth of Timofei Mikhailov. He will join a group of revolutionaries and become one of the plotters in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in March of 1881, for which he will be hanged on April 3, 1881.

February 4– Friday– Mt Sinai, Egypt– The German biblical scholar Constantin Tischendorf discovers the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest known complete version of the Bible, dating from the middle of the fourth century, written in Greek on 346 parchments, in the ancient Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint Catherine. Tischendorf, age 44, a graduate of the University of Leipzig, is determined to make the most authentic translation of the Christian scriptures. He has undertaken this trip under the auspices of the Russian Tsar Alexander II. [Tischendorf, a friend of Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelson, will publish his Critical Edition of the New Testament in 1869 and 1872 and die of overwork and exhaustion in December, 1874. The manuscript will eventually make its way to Imperial Russia and in 1933 the Soviet government will sell it to the British Museum for £100,000.]

Constantin Tischendorf

Constantin Tischendorf

February 5– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– The new Russell’s Mechanical Steam Bakery on Commercial Street is completely destroyed by a fire that breaks out at eleven o’clock at night. The recently completed and furnished six-story brick bakery extended the length of a city block and went back 120 feet from the street. Several injuries occur when walls crumble into neighboring homes but no deaths take place, although police barely have time to push back a crowd of about 500 people that had gathered before the whole stone front of the building collapses into the street. The losses estimated to the bakery alone are about $100,000. [ The loss would amount to $2,850,000 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

February 6– Sunday– Huron County, Ontario, Canada– Elias Disney is born to Irish immigrants. [He and his family will moved to Kansas in 1884. His own fourth son, Walter Elias Disney, a/k/a Walt Disney, will become the famous entertainer, animator and entrepreneur.]

February 7– Monday– New York City– “There seems to be a very active and formidable rebellion on foot in Virginia against the National Administration. Both the leading organs of the Democratic Party at Richmond denounce the policy of the President with great vehemence. His Pacific Railroad scheme– his general extravagance, and the thirty million scheme have found scarcely any favor among the Democrats of the Old Dominion. And now the Enquirer is out against the whole project of acquiring Cuba, and submits some very forcible arguments in support of this view.” ~ New York Times.

February 7– Monday– west of El Passo, Texas– Soldiers from Fort Bliss engage in a fire fight with a group of Mescalero Apaches. The Army loses 3 killed and 7 wounded out of their 22 soldier unit. They estimate that the Apache casualties total 9 but the soldiers retreat as they are outnumbered.

February 8– Tuesday– Williamsburg, Virginia– William and Mary College suffers the disastrous loss of its main building in a fire that erupts around one in the morning, probably in the science laboratory. All students sleeping in their rooms are awakened in time to escape and no injuries are reported. With the help of a crowd of townspeople, the college records and the college seal are saved, along with some historical paintings and antique furniture, but all the college library books and all of the scientific apparatus are destroyed along with the building.

February 9– Wednesday– New York City– “The Mobile Mercury of the 1st instant publishes an extremely interesting account of the reception of General [William] Walker, of filibustering notoriety, into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. It is gratifying to know that the General has become a member of any church; but it is possible that there may be some people uncharitable enough to imagine that his change of religion is only a prelude to another foray upon Central America, and that he is preparing to render himself acceptable to the people of that distracted country by embracing their religion. The Mercury has no doubt that General Walker was induced to enter the fold of the Catholic Church from ‘overwhelming conviction,’ and we have no doubt such was the case. The great filibuster, to do him no more than strict justice, appears to have always been influenced by an overwhelming conviction in all his escapades.” ~ New York Times. [Walker, age 34, is an adventurer and soldier of fortune who tried in 1856 to overthrow the government of Nicaragua and establish his own government which would restore slavery to the country. His efforts were stopped in May, 1857 but at this time he is secretly preparing another attempt which will cost him his life in September, 1860.]

William Walker, soldier of fortune

William Walker, soldier of fortune

February 10– Thursday– New York City– “May a Negro go to college? This question was decided in the negative, a few days ago, at Schenectady. . . . . This was at the North, in the Free State of New-York. The community where it occurred no doubt hold stock in the under-ground railroad. They would lend their sympathy;, if not more active aid, in thwarting the odious Fugitive Slave law. But they would not suffer a man of Negro blood to study in Union College. We refer to the case as a curious illustration of the relations between the white and the blacks in the Free States. The course pursued towards the man in question, whose desire it was to fit himself for usefulness by means of public institution of learning, shows how much easier it is to utter sentiment in behalf of black ‘men and brothers’ than to extend practical sympathy. We neither judge nor censure the people of Union College. They but participate in a pervading sentiment or prejudice. Many others have their full share of that feeling whose professions might lead to contrary conclusions. It is proper to say that the applicant referred to was eventually admitted, the vote of exclusion being reconsidered and rescinded upon proof that he was a half-breed Indian, without a particle of African blood in his veins.” ~ New York Times

February 11– Friday– Jacksonville, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln lectures on “Discoveries and Inventions” at the Congregational Church. The address is sponsored by Phi Alpha Society of Illinois College, which has elected Mr Lincoln an honorary member. After the lecture Lincoln is the guest of honor at tea party given by Dr Owen M. Long at his home. A newspaper says of the lecture, “It was received with repeated and hearty bursts of applause.”

February 12– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– Abraham Lincoln turns 50 years of age.

February 12– Saturday– Atchison, Kansas– “Several publications have recently been made in the papers of the Territory in relation to some of the citizens of Atchison turning out to aid in arresting old John Brown. To set right the minds of any who might be misled by these paragraphs, we would state that if any one supposes there is any feeling or excitement here in regard to the matter, he is mistaken; or if any one imagines there was anything political connected with this affair, they are deceived. The whole matter is simply this: The Marshal sent a written summons to Atchison, for help to arrest Old Brown. The message arrived on Sunday, and on the spur of the moment several turned out, and went solely with the view of assisting the Marshal in executing any process he might have. The expedition did not turn out very profitable to the Atchison boys, and they and some others who were there think the Marshall was not the man to send on such an expedition. The above is the whole story, and there is nothing political or excitable about it. Peace and good will prevail here, and there are no hard feelings or bickering among our citizens. We discuss political and other questions cooly and calmly, and our citizens are determined, let others do as they may, to have peace. We hope our neighboring towns will not become jealous of our peace and prosperity, and attempt to throw fire brands among us. We are too busy building up our town to quarrel among ourselves.” ~ Atchison Freedom’s Champion


Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

February 12– Saturday– Moor Park, England– A sickly Charles Darwin celebrates his fiftieth birthday by “taking the waters” as he finishes preparation of his manuscript on the origin of the species. [It will be published this coming November and promptly sell out.]

Mobs, Riots & Disturbances~July 1863~the 14th and 15th

Mobs, Riots, and Disturbances~Gideon Welles

While rioters run rampant in New York, life goes on in other ways and in other places. A Confederate soldier asserts to his wife that Gettysburg was not a Southern defeat while a government clerk in Richmond laments the loss of control of the Mississippi River. President Lincoln explains his dissatisfaction to General Meade. Secretary Welles sees a rebel conspiracy reaching even to New York City. A Memphis paper calls for compassion for street walkers.

Mid-week brings a third day of disturbances in New York and elsewhere. Clucking his disdain for Yankees Sir Arthur Fremantle departs for England.

New York City rioters

New York City rioters

July 14– Tuesday– 2 miles east of Martinsburg, West Virginia– Confederate soldier Jedediah Hotchkiss writes to his wife Sara. He does view Gettysburg as a defeat nor does he see the surrender of Vicksburg as a serious loss. “The talk of the Yankee papers about the routed & demoralized condition of our army is the purest of nonsense. We could have remained at Gettysburg if we had seen fit – the enemy did not come out to attack us & only followed when the found we were gone . . . . We regret the loss of Vicksburg, because of the noble stand she has made & the heroic endurance of her citizens & soldiers but she is not the Confederacy & freedom does not die with her – its fall sets free a band of noble spirits to harass and annoy the enemy in his imagined possession of the Mississippi & he will find his much coveted & dearly obtained prize an apple of Sodom now he has gained it. Our army is in fine spirits and ready to meet the foe any where in the open field.”

July 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General George Meade, explaining his dissatisfaction. “Again, my dear general, I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so South of the river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do not expect you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it. I beg you will not consider this a prosecution, or persecution of yourself As you had learned that I was dissatisfied, I have thought it best to kindly tell you why.”

July 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary Welles smells a conspiracy. “We have accounts of mobs, riots, and disturbances in New York and other places in consequence of the Conscription Act. Our information is very meager; two or three mails are due; the telegraph is interrupted. There have been powerful rains which have caused great damage to the railroads and interrupted all land communication between this and Baltimore. There are, I think, indubitable evidences of concert in these riotous movements, beyond the accidental and impulsive outbreak of a mob, or mobs. Lee’s march into Pennsylvania, the appearance of several Rebel steamers off the coast, the mission of A. H. Stephens to Washington, seem to be parts of one movement, have one origin, are all concerted schemes between the Rebel leaders and Northern sympathizing friends, the whole put in operation when the Government is enforcing the conscription. This conjunction is not all accidental, but parts of a great plan. In the midst of all this and as a climax comes word that Lee’s army has succeeded in recrossing the Potomac. If there had been an understanding between the mob conspirators, the Rebels, and our own officers, the combination of incidents could not have been more advantageous to the Rebels.”

July 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones wonders and worries. “To-day we have tidings of the fall of Port Hudson, on the Mississippi River, our last stronghold there. I suppose some 10,000 or 12,000 of our men had to surrender, unconditionally. Thus the army of General Pemberton, first and last, some 50,000 strong, has been completely destroyed. There is sadness and gloom throughout the land! The enemy are established on Morris Island, and the fate of Charleston is in doubt. We have nothing authentic from General Lee; but long trains of the slightlywounded arrived yesterday and to-day. It has been raining, almost every day, for nearly two weeks.”

July 14– Tuesday– Memphis, Tennessee– The Memphis Bulletin addresses a moral issue. “In all the large cities and towns in the North and East, they have houses of refuge and correction. Here, however, if a frail female falls, and commits a wrong act, or in other words, forfeits a place in genteel society, and happens to violatethe ordinances of the city, she is immediately arrested and carried to the station-house,where there are no adequate arrangements for her accommodation. Could we not have a ‘house of refuge’ and correction for dissipated and fallenwomen? It is true that many of them are beyond redemption, and no act of kindness to recall them to the path of rectitude and virtue could be successful in accomplishing the object. But there are others, who have not traveled the road to degradation so far; perhaps these might be recalled, their youthful years would justify such a hope at least. Harshness cannot recall them, scorn will only drive them further, but separation from vicious associations may do much.”

July 14– Tuesday– Manitowaning, Manitoulin Island, Canada– George Ironside, Jr, a conscientious, humane, and knowledgeable government agent dealing with First Nation peoples, dies unexpectedly of a heart attack. His exact age is unknown but most likely is 63 at the time he dies.

July 14– Tuesday– Hamburg, Germany– The first of five days of meetings, with veterinarians from all over Europe, begins today. The topic of the meeting is discussion on systems to combat epizootic diseases. This meeting will become the first International Veterinary Congress, later known as The World Veterinary Congress.

July 15– Wednesday– New York City– The third day of the riots includes yet more destruction, death, arson and lynchings. A group of white men attack Abraham Franklin, a disabled African American coachman, beat him and his sister, Henrietta, then lynch Abraham. After he is dead, Patrick Butler, a 16 year old Irish butcher, cuts down the body and drags it through the streets. Another mob beats to death Joseph Reed, a 7 year old black child. Susan B Anthony writes that the mob violence in the city caused her and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to leave the Stanton house for safer quarters. The New York Times observes, “In the movements of the mob yesterday, moreover, there was no mistaking the fact that pillage was the prime incentive of the majority. ‘Resistence to the draft’ was the flimsiest of veils to cover the wholesale plundering which characterized the operations of the day.”

draft rioters

draft rioters

July 15– Wednesday– New York City– Martha Perry tells of what happened in her house. “Hurrying to the kitchen, I found our colored servants ghastly with terror, and cautioned them to keep closely within doors. One of them told me that she had ventured out early that morning to clean the front door, and that the passing Irish, both men and women, had sworn at her so violently, saying that she and her like had caused all the trouble, that she finally rushed into the house for shelter. Now that I began to realize our danger, I tried with all my power to keep John [her injured husband] in ignorance of it, for in his absolutely disabled condition the situation was most distressing. The heat was intense: and during the morning I sat in his room behind closed window shutters, continually on the alert to catch every outside noise, while watching the hot street below in the glare of sunlight. Men and women passed with all sorts of valuables taken from plundered houses.”

July 15– Wednesday– New York City– Dr John Torrey, age 67, a prominent scientist describes his day for his friend Dr Asa Gray. This morning I was obliged to ride down to the office in a hired coach. A friend who rode with me had seen a poor negro hung an hour or two before. The man had, in a frenzy, shot an Irish fireman, and they immediately strung up the unhappy African. At our office there had been no disturbance in the night. Indeed the people there were “spoiling for a fight.” They had a battery of about 25 rifle barrels, carrying 3 balls each, & mounted on a gun- carriage. It could be loaded & fired with rapidity. We had also 10-inch shells, to be lighted & thrown out of the windows. Likewise quantities of SO3, with arrangements for projecting it on the mob. Walking home we found that a large number of soldiers – infantry, artillery & cavalry are moving about, & bodies of armed citizens. The worst mobs are on the 1st & 2nd & 7th Avenues. Many have been killed there. They are very hostile to the Negroes, & scarcely one of them is to be seen. A person who called at our house this afternoon saw three of them hanging together. The Central Park has been a kind of refuge to them. Hundreds were there to-day . . . . This evening there was a great light north of us & I found, on looking with a spyglass, that it was from the burning a fine bridge over the Harlem valley used by one of the railroads. There was some cannon-firing in the 1st Avenue, with what result I don’t know. The city looks very strangely. Nothing in Broadway but a few coaches. Most of the stores closed, but the side walks are full of people & not a few ladies are out. It is half past 10 o’clock, & I must go to bed”

Dr John Torrey

Dr John Torrey

.July 15– Wednesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes of events near and far. “There will be much trouble today. Rabbledom is not yet dethroned any more than its ally and instigator, Rebeldom. News from the South is consolatory. Port Hudson surrendered. Sherman said to have beaten Joseph Johnston somewhere near Vicksburg. Operations commencing aganst Charleston. Bragg seems to be abandoning Chattanooga and retiring on Atlanta.”

July 15– Wednesday– New York City– Sir Arthur James Fremantle departs for England. “The hotel this morning was occupied by military, or rather by creatures in uniform. One of the sentries stopped me; and on my remonstrating to his officer, the latter blew up [at] the sentry, and said, You are only to stop persons in military dress– don’t you know what military dress is?’ ‘No,’ responded this efficient sentry– and I left the pair discussing the definition of a soldier. I had the greatest difficulty in getting a conveyance down to the water. I saw a stone barricade in the distance, and heard firing going on– and I was not at all sorry to find myself on board the China.”

July 15– Wednesday– Troy, New York– Violence against the draft law and against black people erupts here. The trouble makers are primarily Irish immigrants. The New York Times reports, “The mob was addressed by Reverend Father Haveeman, who advised them to go to their homes, to keep the peace and obey the laws. The mob then broke away, and visited the colored church, and threatened to destroy it. Again Father Haveeman addressed the excited crowd, and implored them to desist, and, through his efforts, the church was saved. The mob next went to the jail, and forcing it open-released all the prisoners confined there. The Steamer Francis Skiddy, having colored waiters on board, was warned away from the dock, and quietly slipped down to Albany.”

Organized Insurrection in the Interest of Rebellion~July 1863~the 13th and 14th

Organized Insurrection in the Interest of the Rebellion~George Templeton Strong.

Riot and mayhem grip new York City. What begins as an anti-draft protest quickly becomes a racist campaign of violence against African Americans and contains elements of class struggle as vandalism and looting increase. Sir Arthur Fremantle, on his way home to England after witnessing the battle at Gettysburg, becomes an eye witness to the riots. [In his account of his time in the country which he will publish next year in England, he will steadfastly predict victory for the Confederacy.] Some observers predict another battle between Lee and Meade. President Lincoln congratulates General Grant.

July 13– Monday– South Norwalk, Connecticut– Birth of Mary Emma Woolley, educator who will become president of Mount Holyoke College, 1901 to 1937. She will also become a peace advocate, suffragist, a vice-chairperson of the American Civil Liberties Union and a president of the American Association of University Women.

Dr Mary Emma Woolley

Dr Mary Emma Woolley

July 13– Monday– New York City–Rioting erupts as workers, many Irish immigrants, turn violent in response to the draft. At mid-morning a mob of around 500 people, aroused by anti-draft speeches from several agitators. attack the office where the draft is taking place. As the mob increases in numbers the violence gets out of hand. They cut telegraph wires, collect weapons, stop traffic in a number of streets, attack John Kennedy, the Superintendent of Police and stone the homes of police officers. Taking advantage of increasing chaos some rioters plunder jewelry, hardware, and liquor stores, eight draft offices, and vandalize the offices of Horace Greeley’s Tribune. Others burn the armory, although doing it so carelessly that some of their own people perish in the blase. About 4:00 PM, protesters loot and set fire to the Colored Orphan Asylum. The children are safely evacuated. The focus shifts from an anti-draft protest to one of racial violence against black people. A gang led by an Irish immigrant named John Nicholson attack and lynch William Jones, a black man, then burn his body. Peter Heuston, a member of Mohawk people, is taken for an African-American and badly beaten. [Two weeks later Heuston will die in the hospital.] Uncontrolled rioters burn the homes and shops of black people. A number of black persons are killed or injured. Because the New York State Militia had been sent to assist Union troops in Pennsylvania, the local police are left to suppress the riots.

rioting in New York City

rioting in New York City

July 13– Monday– New York City– George Templeton Strong renders an opinion about the day’s rioting. “The fury of the low Irish women in that region [the area around Lexington & 45th] was noteworthy. Stalwart young vixens and withered old hags were swarming everywhere, all cursing the ‘bloddy draft’ and egging on their men to mischief. . . . If a quarter one hears be true, this is an organized insurrection in the interest of the rebellion and Jefferson Davis rules New York today. . . . . We telegraphed, two or three of us, from General Wood’s rooms, to the President, begging that troops be sent on and stringent measures taken. The great misfortune is that nearly all our militia regiments have been dispatched to Pennsylvania.”

July 13– Monday– New York City– Martha Perry, nursing her injured husband, an officer from the 20th Massachusetts, describes what she saw and hear. “In the early morning, I heard loud and continued cheers at the head of the street, and supposed it must be news of some great victory. In considerable excitement I hurried downstairs to hear particulars, but soon found that the shouts came from the rioters who were on their way to work. About noon that same day we became aware of a confused roar; as it increased, I flew to my window, and saw rushing up Lexington Avenue, within a few paces of our house, a great mob of men, women and children . . . . At all points fires burst forth, and that night the city was illuminated by them. I counted from the roof of our house five fires just about us.”

fighting in the streets of New York

fighting in the streets of New York

 July 13– Monday– New York City– Having reached the city by train from Philadelphia last night, Sir Arthur James Fremantle witnesses another key series of events. “The luxury and comfort of New York and Philadelphia strike one as extraordinary after having lately come from Charleston and Richmond. The greenbacks seem to be nearly as good as gold. The streets are as full as possible of well-dressed people, and are crowded with able-bodied civilians capable of bearing arms, who have evidently no intention of doing so.– They apparently don’t feel the war at all here; and until there is a grand smash with their money, or some other catastrophe to make them feel it, I can easily imagine that they will not be anxious to make peace. I walked the whole distance of Broadway to the Consul’s house, and nothing could exceed the apparent prosperity; . . . . On returning to the Fifth Avenue [Hotel], I found all the shopkeepers beginning to close their stores, and I perceived by degrees that there was great alarm about the resistance to the draft which was going on this morning. On reaching the hotel I perceived a whole block of buildings on fire close by: engines were present, but were not allowed to play by the crowd. In the hotel itself, universal consternation prevailed, and an attack by the mob had been threatened. I walked about in the neighborhood, and saw a company of soldiers on the march, who were being jeered at and hooted by small boys, and I saw a Negro pursued by the crowd take refuge with the military; he was followed by loud cries of ‘Down with the b—-y n*****! Kill all n******!’ &c. Never having been in New York before, and being totally ignorant of the state of feeling with regard to Negroes, I inquired of a bystander what the Negroes had done that they should want to kill them? He replied civilly enough–“Oh sir, they hate them here; they are the innocent cause of all these troubles.’”

July 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a personal letter to General Ulysses Grant. “I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment of the almost inestimable service you have done the Country. I write to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do what you finally did–march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below . . . . When you dropped below, and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join General Banks; and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong.”

General Ulysses S Grant

General Ulysses S Grant

July 13– Monday– Hagerstown, Maryland– Union Officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes: “I have not changed my clothes for five weeks but still I am happy, and we are doing good work.”

July 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– Clerk John Jones laments. “Lee and Meade have been facing each other two or three days, drawn up in battle array, and a decisive battle may have occurred ere this. The wires have been cut between Martinsburg and Hagerstown. Not another word have we from either Charleston or Jackson; but we learn that monitors, gun-boats, and transports are coming up the James River. Altogether, this is another dark day in our history. It has been officially ascertained that Pemberton surrendered, with Vicksburg, 22,000 men! He has lost, during the year, not less than 40,000!”

July 13– Monday– Calcutta, India– Birth of Margaret Murray, an English woman who will become an archaeologist. Her 1921 and 1931 scholarly studies of witches and their practices will gain great popularity among modern practitioners.

Dr Margaret Murray

Dr Margaret Murray

July 14– Tuesday– New York City–Commerce in the city grinds to a halt with some workers joining the mob. Rioters attack the homes of notable Republicans. Governor Horatio Seymour, a Democrat, arrives in town and speaking at City Hall, he attempts to calm the crowd by declaring that the Conscription Act is unconstitutional. Republicans see the speech as encouraging the rioters. City police are reinforced by approximately 800 troops from forts in the New York Harbor and from West Point. In several neighborhoods the rioters build barricades from debris to keep police out. The nature of the disturbance is clearly racial and political, directed against African Americans and prominent Republicans who are seen as responsible for the war and the draft. William Williams, an African-American sailor, is beaten, stabbed and left to die. Henry O’Brien, the commander of the 11th New York volunteers, is murdered by the mob. Rioters fight off police and loot the Brooks Brothers clothing store, causing more than $50,000 in damages. Democratic and Republican leaders busily argue about the riots. Mayor George Opdyke, age 58, a Republican, sends for federal troops, but will not call for martial law which would give control of the city to the federal government. Militia units receive orders to return to New York. Authorities temporarily suspend the draft.

July 14– Tuesday– New York City– Martha Perry describes some of the day’s events. “Men, both colored and white, were murdered within two blocks of us, some being hung to the nearest lamppost, and others shot. An army officer was walking in the street near our house, when a rioter was seen to kneel on the sidewalk, take aim, fire and kill him, then coolly start on his way unmolested. I saw the Third Avenue street car rails torn up by the mob. . . . . I passed the hours of that dreadful night listening to the bedlam about us; to the drunken yells and coarse laughter of the rioters wandering aimlessly through the streets, and to the shouts of a mob plundering houses a block away.”

Sir Arthur Fremantle, British observer of the Gettysburg campaign

Sir Arthur Fremantle, British observer of the Gettysburg campaign

July 14– Tuesday– New York City– Sir Arthur James Fremantle observes the chaos. “At breakfast this morning two Irish waiters, seeing I was a Britisher, came up to me one after another, and whispered at intervals in hoarse Hibernian accents–‘It’s disgraceful, sir. I’ve been drafted, sir. I’m a Briton. I love my country. I love the Union Jack, sir.’ I suggested an interview with Mr. Archibald, but neither of them seemed to care about going to the Counsel just yet. These rascals have probably been hard at work for years, voting as free and enlightened American citizens, and abusing England to their hearts’ content. . . . . The consternation in the streets seemed to be on the increase; fires were going on in all directions, and the streets were being patrolled by large bodies of police followed by special constables, the latter bearing truncheons, but not looking very happy. I heard a British captain making a deposition before the Consul, to the effect that the mob had got on board his vessel, and cruelly beaten his colored crew. As no British man-of-war was present, the French Admiral was appealed to, who at once requested that all British ships with colored crews might be anchored under the guns of his frigate. The reports of outrages, hangings, and murder, were now most alarming, the terror and anxiety were universal. All shops were shut: all carriages and omnibuses had ceased running. No colored man or woman was visible or safe in the streets, or even in his own dwelling. Telegraphs were cut, and railroad tracks torn up. The draft was suspended, and the mob evidently had the upper hand.”

July 14– Tuesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong watches “a strong squad of police marching eastward down this street, followed by a company of infantry with gleaming bayonets.”