Pastor Augustus Wackerhagen (also spelled Wacherhagen), 45 (stepson-in-law of founder and former pastor, Dr. Frederick Henry Quitman), conducting services at the first church building on the Sawkill about ¾ mile east of our present location (that is, north [or should it be south?] of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).(1)
In general, pastors and congregations belonging to the New York Ministerium (the synod) were not in favor of the evangelical revivals that were just beginning to be popular among American Christians--in particular, among the Methodists.
Since the Methodist movement grew out of Episcopal roots and shared much of the emphasis on "experimental religion" that dominated Lutheran piety, one might expect that Lutherans would cooperate with them fully.(2)Such was not the case in the New York Ministerium, however, including the pastor in Woodstock. Reverend Wackerhagen reported
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 33, citing Nelson, E. Clifford, ed., The Lutherans in North America [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975], p. 92. (Close)
the principles of unostentatious piety seem to prevail among the generality of my people.(3)Both Lewis Edson, 71, and his son, Lewis Edson, Jr.--owner of a sawmill in Mink Hollow that supplied the Bristol (Shady) glass factories nearby--were involved in leading the singing at Christ's Lutheran Church. The sawmill business, like many enterprises in the Woodstock area, was in trouble during this year's financial panic, and Lewis, Jr., needed to file a bankruptcy petition to avoid being sent to debtor's prison. According to region historian Alf Evers(4),
Here Anderson, p. 46, is citing Schalk, Carl, God's Song in a New Land: Lutheran Hymnals in America [St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995], p. 69, and Kreider, Harry J., History of the United Lutheran Synod of New York and New England, Volume I, 1786-1860 [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1954], p. 181. (Close)
The Woodstock Dutch Reformed Church, without a pastor for two years, was advertised for sale by Ulster County Sheriff Abram Cantine
a public vendue at the Court-House in the village of Kingston on the seventeenth day of January next.(5)Congretation members took action to prevent the sale of their church.
Quoted from ibid., p. 226. (Close)
The huge New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter), run by Colonel William Edwards, 49 years old, 6 feet 4 inches tall, with a huge head proportioned for a man twice that height, continued to convert the shipments of smelly hides sent from the colonel's financial backers in New York City into tanned (softened) leather (with its reddish color characteristic of hemlock tanning) to be shipped back to the city for finishing. Millions of hemlocks in the surrounding countryside were being skinned for their bark to be used in the tanning process, the rest of the naked trees left to die while standing. Edwards's operation was so successful that other enterprising men began copying it; scores of new tanneries nourished by the same New York City backers were springing up in the Kaaterskill Clove, along the Sawkill, the Bataviakill, the Esopus, wherever there were hemlocks to slaughter.
Travelers seeking romantic thrills among the Catskills… met long lines of wagons laden with stinking hides destined for mountain tanneries. Flies buzzed around the wagons and tortured horses and oxen as well as men. Those who visited the Catskills in order to see its great primeval forests sometimes saw instead vast mountainsides and hollows covered with bleaching trunks which a long dry spell would convert into fire-blackened wastes.… Trout were vanishing from the many streams because the temperature of the water was raised too high for their comfort as the shading forests were ripped away. The water became polluted with tannery wastes and ashes. As the mountain cover of matted roots and decaying leaves and branches burned out here and there, the very earth of the Catskills was migrating to the valleys and the sea below, transported by streams or slowly oozing down slopes. The great profits to be made in the leather trade had not only doomed the hemlock groves of the Catskills, but had also set off a bombardment directed at the soil, the air, and the water of the mountains.(6)
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 338, citing Richards, J. A., "The Catskills," in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 9, no, 1 (July 1854), p. 153. (Close)
Region historian Alf Evers(7)
Excerpted from Evers, Woodstock, op. cit., pp. 23ff, 41, 150ff. (Close)
has described the Catskills as largely a region of absentee landlords and struggling tenants, in a manorial relationship more or less transplanted to upstate New York from medieval Europe. The principal landlord for tenant farmers and tavern keepers in the Town of Woodstock, and for all his other Catskills holdings of some 66,000 acres, was Robert L. Livingston, 44, dwelling in his Clermont estate on the other side of the Hudson.
The typical official arrangement under which the tenant held his land was the "three-life lease": A tenant would be permitted use of Livingston land for three generations, and after the grandson of the original tenant died, the lease "fell in"--that is, the land would revert to Livingston. (For this reason, a tenant typically build a wood frame house or a rough log house, rather than the stone houses like those found in the Hurley or Marbletown lowlands.)
Livingston expected the tenants to increase the value of the land by clearing it, cutting the trees to feed the sawmill he had built on the Sawkill near the present-day golf course, and hauling the resulting boards and planks to the Hudson to supply the manufacture of gunstocks, houses, and ships. Stipulated in the typical lease was an annual rent of fifteen to twenty bushels of wheat per hundred acres, plus three or four "good fat hens" and from one to three days' work with team on the common land. A tenant could sell his leasehold, but he had to pay the landlord one-sixth of the sale.
Livingston--through his agent John Wigram, pictured here, the town supervisor who resided on Wigram Lane (Rock City Road) near the barn now known as Parnassus Square, and who farmed there with the help of his slaves--initiated several legal proceedings against recalcitrant tenants whom he considered scofflaws and trespassers, those who failed to pay rent and who cut the landlord's timber for sale as boards, shingles, and other uses. Livingston "regarded the tenants' own shiftlessness and dishonesty as responsible for most of their troubles."
The life of the tenant on Livingston land was not especially easy. The men worked at subsistence farming, they hunted, they logged, they produced maple sugar, they did part-time blacksmithing, and--with wood harvested from the still-large Woodstock forests (much of it belonging to the Livingston landlord, its harvesting thus constituting trespassing)--they produced charcoal and made such wood products as shingles and barrel and hogshead staves. In the late spring or early summer they peeled hemlock bark used for tanning, piling it in the woods and in the winter hauling it by sledge to smelly tanneries of John C. Ring or of Samuel, Philip A., or John Culver on the Tannery Brook in the heart of Woodstock hamlet. (A few Woodstock tenants were sawmill operators [on sites reserved by the Livingston landlord] or tavern owners.)
Women cooked and baked in fireplaces, washed on the rocks beside a stream, sewed and spun flax and wool, churned butter, gave birth to children and then cared for them, and helped with the farm work, especially at harvest and slaughtering times: They made soap from ashes and animal fats, they dried apples, they pickled and preserved.
Meanwhile, Livingston was having trouble managing the resources on his manor lands. Trees cut down on Livingston land were taken to non-Livingston sawmills, and the sawed boards taken to market with little attempt at concealment. As for the Livingston sawmills, the operators apportioned inferior boards for the landlord's share, selling the better ones for their own profit.
Agent Wigram revived the Woodstock Post Office, which had been founded five years earlier but had closed; this time he became the postmaster.
Imports from Great Britain continued their flood into the United States, and domestic manufacturing enterprises were suffering against the cutthroat competition. Manor lord Robert Livingston's Woodstock and Saugerties General Mining and Manufacturing Company languished, its reports of iron and coal deposits unfounded and its stock unsalable. The two glass factories in Bristol (Shady)--the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company of William and John Mott and the Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company of Stephen Stilwell (managed by Daniel Elliot), both just over the boundary from Livingston land--had been muddling through against the competition, the extremely cold weather, and the dearth of good-quality sand. Now a financial panic brought many industries down; yet the two factories continued to produce window glass and bottles.(8)
The material on the glass factories is excerpted from ibid., pp. 131, 135. (Close)
They shipped their wagons loaded with wooden boxes of window glass (and their clay, sand, and soda) down the Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then by sloop on to New York City. Unfortunately, the glassmaking industry denuded the forests around Woodstock and, as a result of the deforestation, caused massive erosion of the mountainside soil.
Glassworkers, by the way, with their lungs well developed from blowing glass, were typically good singers, and they have been credited with bringing an interest in music to the Woodstock area.
Dr. Ebenezer Hall, superintendent of Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company, practiced medicine, as one of Woodstock's only resident doctors. Another doctor was Dr. Larry Gilbert Hall (no relation), who had much better academic training and a good medical library and who lived in the house later torn down to make room for the present Woodstock Library. A doctor in those days could pull teeth, bleed a sufferer, and lance a boil, as well as other medical duties. There was no hospital available to Woodstockers, but many women were skilled in nursing and midwifery. There were no drug stores, but the remedies most in demand were available at the general store, including opodeldoc, a soap-based liniment; camphor; spirits of hartshorn; castor oil; gum guaicum; syrup of squills; and opium and its derivatives, such as laudanum.
Dr. Jacob Brink of Lake Katrine, known in Woodstock and its environs as a "white witch" and "conjurer," was often called upon to deal with the black magic of reputed witches in the area.
The New York State Legislature had 20 years before enacted a gradual emancipation of slaves in the state: Any child born to a slave mother after July 4, 1799, would be freed from bondage after serving the mother's master until age 25 if female or age 28 if male. Then, 2 years before, the legislature had provided that
any Negro, mulatto or mustee within this State born before the fourth of July, 1799, shall from and after the fourth day of July, 1827, be free.New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree, 22, originally of Hurley (unfortunately born before the 1799 cutoff, and so looking ahead to another 8 years of bondage)--now in a "marriage" after a fashion to fellow slave Thomas (in a relationship that could at any time be sundered by the sale of either of them)--had been bearing children, thereby increasing the property of her master, John J. Dumont, who could at least get some labor out of the children for a few years. Dumont boasted about Isabella (whom he called "Bell"):
That wench is better for me than a man--for she will do a good family's washing in the night, and be ready in the morning to go into the field, where she will do as much at raking and binding as my best hands.(9)
Quoted from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), p. 14. (Close)
William Darby from New York City reported being told that it was an easy matter to obtain a night's lodging in the rude home of a settler almost anywhere in the Catskills.
Connecticut scholar Henry E. Dwight polled 50 of his cultivated New England friends and discovered that only a quarter of them had ever heard of the Catskills. Author Washington Irving, 36, would help to make that result three quarters after the publication of his Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., (under the pen name Diedrich Knickerbocker), a book that included the short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." Many Americans became convinced that Rip was a historical figure who had lived and slept in the enchanting Catskill Mountains.
Hudson attorney Elisha Williams had been an investor in some of the rugged Catskill land on the Schohariekill Road (approximately present-day Route 23A), land known as the "Pine Orchard," at the head of Kaaterskill Clove just a few minutes walk southeast of the twin lakes (North Lake and South Lake) and, with a little trimming, providing a dramatic view of the Hudson River and much of the entire region. As more and more nature pilgrims hiked into the wilderness, he had been biding his time on his investment, now held for the past 10 years, certain that one day it would become quite valuable. With the romantic interest that many Americans now had for exploring where Rip Van Winkle had hunted, Williams was now to be rewarded for his long wait. Already Hiram Comfort and Joseph Bigelow had set up a barroom and bunkhouse there for romantic pilgrims as well as hunters and business travelers.
Construction (begun in 1817) continued on the Erie Canal to connect the Great Lakes with the Hudson River (and, thus, the Atlantic Ocean). It was to be 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, with 10-foot-wide towpaths on either side. Stretching for 363 miles, it was to have 83 locks, since Lake Erie was 570 feet higher than the Hudson. A horse-drawn crane lifted rock debris out of the cut, and an "endless screw" attached to a roller, cable, and crank pulled down tall trees. A stump-pulling machine could extract 40 tree stumps per day. Most of the workers were Irish immigrants earning 37.5 cents ($4.60 in 2006 dollars) and about a quart of whiskey per day; snakebite, malaria, and pneumonia killed thousands of them. A section connecting the New York villages of Utica and Rome was finished this year, only 15 of the 363 miles; critics referred to it as "Clinton's Ditch," doubting that it would ever be completed.
James Monroe (Democratic Republican), 61, was President. The newly elected 16th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $12.26 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Boston Congregationalist pastor William Ellery Channing, 30, founded Unitarianism. He and his followers denied the holiness of the Trinity and asserted that there was only a single Divine Being.
The deaf, dumb, and blind of Massachusetts were housed in an asylum in Hartford, CT.
Ezra Dagett and Thomas Kensett packed salmon, lobster meat, and oysters in tin cans.
The Maine District was formally separated from Massachusetts.
The New Hampshire legislature proposed to amend the charter of Dartmouth College, which had been granted in colonial times, so as to have some control over its operations. The college protested, and the case Dartmouth College v. Woodward went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Marshall, 64, ruled that the charter of a benevolent institution (that is, not a civil institution participating in government) was an inviolable contract that could not be canceled or altered without the consent of both parties. The legislature, in other words, had no right to meddle with the charter.
Norwich University opened in Vermont, specializing in technical training.
Vermont inventor John Conant patented an iron cooking stove.
Women considered the home a haven from the harsher, more commercial, and more demanding world outside. The religious lecturer (and pious wife) Nancy Sproat commented that
the air of the world is poisonous. You must carry and antidote with you, or the infection will prove fatal.(10)This attitude was not to challenge the world of commerce and industry, of competition and nascent capitalism, but to make it slightly more palatable.
Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 114, who was citing Cott, Nancy F., The Bonds of Womanhood: "Women's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1987. (Close)
Vermont educator Emma Hart Willard, 32, addressed the New York State legislature on the subject of education for women, asserting that it had
been too exclusively directed to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty.… [The problem was that] the taste of men, whatever it might happen to be, has been made into a standard for the formation of the female character.… [Both religion and reason teach that] we too are primary existences… not the satellites of men.(11)
Quoted from ibid., p. 118. (Close)
The Supreme Court, in the case of Sturges v. Crowninshield, declared a New York State bankruptcy law unconstitutional since it applied to debts incurred before the law was passed.
A reward of 6 cents (74 cents in 2006 dollars) was offered (in the New York Evening Post for a 19-year-old apprentice blacksmith who was either "lost, stolen, or strayed."(12)
Cayuga County (NY) farmer Jethro Wood, 45, constructed a cast-iron plow in several interchangeable pieces. Many farmers continued to insist that cast iron poisoned the soil.
The Maryland legislature enacted a law providing that if a branch of the Bank of the United States were set up in Maryland without express permission of the state government (regarding it as a "foreign" institution), its notes could be taxed. The state proceeded to sue the branch's cashier, James W. McColloch, and the case McCulloch v. Maryland went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall denied the right of a state to tax a federal (not "foreign") institution ("the power to tax involves the power to destroy"), upheld the right of Congress to create the Bank of the United States, and strongly asserted the doctrine of implied powers in the Constitution (that is, the loose construction):
The government of the Union… is emphatically and truly a government of the people. In form and substance it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit.… The government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action.… [The Constitution was] intended to endure for ages to come and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.… We admit, as all must admit, that the powers of the government are limited, and that its limits are not to be transcended. But we think the sound construction of the Constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion, with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it, in the manner most beneficial to the people. Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the Constitution are constitutional.(13)There was intense reaction to this decision. "A deadly blow has been struck at the Sovereignty of the States," a Baltimore newspaper commented. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois proposed an amendment to the Constitution to confine any Congress-created "moneyed institution" within Washington, DC. On the other hand, the South Carolina legislature defended the Marshall opinion:
Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 401. (Close)
Congress is constitutionally vested with the right to incorporate a bank.… [T]hey apprehend no danger from the exercise of the powers which the people of the United States have confided in Congress.(14)[Both regions would reverse their positions later.]
Quoted in ibid., pp. 401-2. (Close)
Westerners were outraged at the McCulloch v. Maryland decision: They couldn't even tax the "monster" Bank of the United States, while their region suffered intensely:
Crops rotted in the field, trade stood still, and helpless farmers watched miserably as a numbing paralysis settled upon the [West].(16)The country suffered deflation, depression, bankruptcies, bank failures, unemployment, soup kitchens, and overcrowded pesthouses known as debtor's prisons. A good many farmers in the Mississippi Valley began to make plans for emigrating westward. Meanwhile, the major U.S. economic depression inspired manufacturers to demand higher protective tariffs.
Quoted in ibid., p. 235, where historian Ray Allen Billington was quoted. (Close)
John Chapman, 44, known as "Johnny Appleseed," continued distributing Swedenborgian religious tracts and apple seeds to settlers in the Ohio Valley. A small, wiry man with "eyes that sparkled with a peculiar brightness," he had a reputation for loving children and all living creatures, even mosquitoes. He made friends with all the Indians he encountered. He traveled barefoot, dressed in cast-offs or a coffee sack. He liked to read to settlers from the New Testament, calling it "news right fresh from heaven."
The American Tract Society circulated with "circuit riders" (pictured here) religious literature to outlying settlements and isolated farms in the frontier.
William Henry Harrison, 46, was elected to the Ohio state senate.
U.S. Army engineers built Fort Snelling near St. Anthony's Falls on the Mississippi River in Minnesota. (The site eventually became Minneapolis, MN.)
Former President Thomas Jefferson, 76, established the University of Virginia, which made chapel attendance voluntary.
At least 60 light-draught stern-wheeler steamboats were now plying between New Orleans and Louisville. The General Pike had marble columns, thick carpets, mirrors, and crimson curtains in its cabins and public rooms. Such a floating palace set the fashion for steamboats. Raft and flatboat traffic downriver increased, because folks could sell the lumber from their rafts in New Orleans and return home by steamboat.
Elihu Embree, 37, a Quaker member of the abolitionist Manumission Society of Tennessee, began publishing the Manumission Intelligencer (later called the Emancipator).
There were over 5 million people in the North and about 4.5 million in the South (the ratio had been about even in earlier years). The Senate had basically even representation from the two regions, but the House of Representatives was now imbalanced: 105 Congressmen from the North to 81 from the South.
Life was downright grim for most pioneer families.(17)
This description of pioneer life liberally quoted from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, pp. 297-98. (Close)
Poorly fed, ill clad, housed in hastily erected shanties, they were perpetual victims of disease, depression, and premature death. Above all, unbearable loneliness haunted them, especially the women, who were often cut off from human contact, even their neighbors, for days or even weeks, while confined to the cramped orbit of a dark cabin in a secluded clearing. Breakdowns and even madness were all to frequently the "opportunities" that the frontier offered to pioneer women.
Frontier life was tough and crude for men as well. No-holds-barred wrestling, which permitted such niceties as the biting off of noses and the gouging out of eyes, was a popular entertainment. (It became fashionable on the American frontier to grow very long thumbnails, which could be used to gouge out an opponent's eyes.) Pioneering Americans, marooned by geography, were often ill informed, superstitious, provincial, and fiercely individualistic. Popular literature of the period abounded with portraits of unique, isolated figures. Yet even in this heyday of rugged individualism, there were important exceptions. Pioneers in tasks clearly beyond their own individual resources, would call upon their neighbors for logrolling and barn raising.
Missouri Territory, whose inhabitants included many slave owners, petitioned Congress to be admitted to the Union as a State. In the House of Representatives, Congressman James Talmadge of New York, 41, proposed an amendment prohibiting the further importation of slaves into Missouri and specifying that all new slave children there would be emancipated at the age of 25. The amendment passed the Northern-dominated House but was defeated in the evenly balanced Senate. Southern slave states were appalled. Southerners charged that Congress should not impose such conditions for the entrance of new states; Northerners pointed out that Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois had had to observe the antislavery stipulations in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
With the Adams-Onís Treaty, or "Transcontinental Treaty," negotiated by Spanish Ambassador to the U.S. Luis de Onís y Gonzales and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, 52 (pictured at right), Spain ceded Florida to the U.S., convinced that it was better to sell its neglected province than to have it simply conquered. Spain gave up any claim to "West Florida" (the land along the Gulf between the Mississippi River and the current Florida panhandle), too. The U.S., in return, assumed responsibility for $5 million in claims ($61.5 million in 2006 dollars) of U.S. citizens against Spain. In addition, the western border of the Louisiana Purchase (between the U.S. and Spanish Mexico) was established along the Sabine, Red, and Arkansas Rivers to the Continental Divide (with the U.S. controlling both banks of these rivers). Finally, Spain agreed to eschew all claims to the Pacific Coast territory north of latitude 42°N.
In the new 16th Congress, Henry Clay of Kentucky, 42 (pictured, above, at left), ever critical of the Monroe Administration, criticized the treaty that it did not include Texas. General Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory"), 52 (pictured, above, at right), though Clay's enemy, joined in the criticism.
Actually, Secretary of State Adams believed that the United States had the right to all of North America:
[The world has to accept] the idea of… the continent of North America as our proper dominion. From the time we became an independent nation, it was as much a law of nature that this would become our claim as that the Mississippi should flow to the sea.(18)Alabama was admitted to the Union as the 22nd state. Its population was 128,000.
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 360. (Close)
The city of Memphis, TN, was laid out at Fort Adams on the Mississippi River. The name was borrowed from the ancient Egyptian city famous for its cotton.
Methodist missionary Ebenezer Brown began his attempt to convert the French speakers in New Orleans, LA. It was unsuccessful.
New Hampshire explorer Stephen Harriman Long, 35, began his two-year expedition from Pittsburgh, PA, to the Rocky Mountains.
The American Geological Society was established at Yale College.
The Roman emperor look continued to be fashionable for men.
Popular periodicals included Niles' Weekly Register, American Journal of Science, American Farmer, and the Christian Herald.
Aristotle's Masterpiece, an anonymous sex education book, illustrated with explicit woodcuts and describing sexual mechanics, was popular among young men, who read it behind the barn.
Lower Canada (Québec), populated mostly by Catholic French Canadians, and Upper Canada (Ontario), populated mostly by Protestant Loyalists driven out of the U.S. after the American Revolution, faced immigration from the British Isles now that the Napoleonic Wars were over. The natives of Lower Canada, however, were worried that immigrants would outnumber and dominate them. The natives of Upper Canada welcomed newcomers (who would increase land prices), but they would not treat them as equals. Also, Lower Canada and Upper Canada were quarreling with each other: Upper Canada's external trade had to pass through Lower Canada, where it was heavily taxed, and they disliked each other's religion.
English explorer John Barrow, 55, discovered Barrow's Straits in the North Arctic.
With the Adams-Onís Treaty, which clearly recognized the province of Tejas (Texas) as being part of Spanish Mexico, not the U.S.'s Louisiana, Spanish administrators considered it an excellent policy to allow the americanos to enter, to become a buffer against such hostile Indian tribes as the Apaches, the Commanches, the Caddos, the cannibal Karankawas, and others. Land-hungry Americans began to enter.
King Kamehameha of Hawaii died at the age of 82 and was succeeded by his son, Kamehameha II, 22. The new King welcomed Christian missionaries and, bedazzled by Western culture, helped to abolish the native religion and taboo system. There were some 60 Caucasians living on Oahu. The Hawaiian population plunged as a result of diseases introduced by Europeans and Americans.
Freedom of the press was allowed in France.
The British Prince Regent summoned a commission to investigate the conduct of his estranged and banished wife, Princess Caroline, 50, then residing in Italy, to "prove" that she was living an unsavory life worthy of divorce. The commission obliged with a nasty report with lots of circumstantial "evidence" against the Princess. The Whigs sided with her, the Tories with the report and with the Prince Regent.
A maximum 12-hour working day was established in England.
Economic depression continued in the United Kingdom, with huge inventories, plunging prices, and hundreds of thousands of demobilized troops. The Corn Law that had been passed in 1815 to "deal" with the postwar economic crisis enabled British landholders to keep grain prices high by restricting imports (no foreign wheat unless the domestic price per quarter rose above 80 shillings). The cost of bread was high, and manufacturers were forced to raise wages to save the labor force from hunger. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, could not deal with the mounting government deficit and the unstable currency. Distress grew.
To feed the increased population in Great Britain, the area of cultivated land as well as its yield needed to increase. The great landlords and squires who controlled Parliament were wont to evict tenants with little notice, the better to exploit the recent advances in scientific agriculture: crop alternation, use of fertilizers, improving livestock breeds. Common field cultivation in small strips gave way to gentry-owned enclosures into consolidated farms that produced higher yields. The small yeoman peasants were deprived of their strip of meadow where a cow could graze, the small grove where a sow could grub for acorns and where they could gather firewood, so they drifted into the towns, into the slum hovels-- or they emigrated to the colonies overseas. The high prices of produce during the Napoleonic Wars enabled many of the yeomanry to keep their land, but from 1815 onward, the rural middle class disappeared.
Parliament, persuaded by Lord Sidmouth, then passed the repressive Six Acts to outlaw public meetings, outlaw firearm training, authorize search and seizure procedures, institute speedy trials, impose draconian punishments for sedition, and impose a stamp tax on newspapers.
A cholera epidemic struck Sumatra.
Whalers began plying the waters off Japan.
Théphile Hyacinthe Laënnec, 38, published his stethoscopic chest medicine research; Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted, 42, determined that electric current can set up a magnetic field; German chemist Eilhardt Mitcherlich, 25, devised the theory of isomorphism (that compounds of similar chemical makeup have similar crystalline structures); French chemists Pierre Louis Dulong, 34, and Alexis Therèse Petit, 30, determined that the product of an element's relative atomic weight and its specific heat is constant; and German astronomer Johann Encke, 28, discovered a comet with a 3.5-year orbital period.