Pastor Perry G. Cole, conducting services at the second church building, designated the "Church on the Rocks," because it sat on a rocky ledge overlooking the Sawkill about ¾ mile east of our present location (that is, north of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).
Pastor Cole lived in Saugerties and served Athens and West Camp as well as Woodstock.
This was the 25th anniversary of the church.
Trustee Lewis Edson, Jr. (owner of a sawmill in Mink Hollow that supplied the Shady glass factories nearby) was involved in leading the singing at the church.
William J. Edson, probably the son of Milton Lewis Edson and Eliza Jane Edson and grandson of Lewis Edson, Jr., was baptized.
During this time, many ordinary American citizens were caught up in the the Second Great Awakening. At religious revivals, preachers would be "inviting" people to come forward to be saved. (To enlarge the picture, just click it.) This practice was started in the Erie Canal region by itinerant preacher Charles Grandison Finney, who understood the Gospel to be a means of societal change as well as personal salvation; such social reforms as the temperance movement, women's suffrage, and abolition were all linked with the evangelism of the Second Great Awakening. Even Lutherans were affected:
Lutherans were not immune, particularly those who used the English Language.… [There were] reported protracted meetings in Lutheran congregations, periods of special interest and emotional excitement in pulpit and pew, and sudden extraordinary growth in church membership. There was much debate as to the proper methods for Lutherans to use in stimulating these revivals. Sharp distinction was drawn between the traditional methods of catechization and the high-pressure appeal to the emotions. One was called "responsible accessions to our congregations," the other was called "the new measures."(1)William Boyse, the pastor of the Woodstock Reformed Church, made this report to the Missionary Society:
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], pp. 45-46, citing Wentz, Abdel Ross, A Basic History of Lutheranism in America [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1955], p. 92. (Close)
The Methodists … were off--set all their machinery to work, hired the Lutheran church [that would be our church],… set all their runners a going, called for meetings, sung, prayed, preached, called and dragged to get men, women, boys and children to come to the altar; called for earthquakes, kept their wagons flying like a gangway of a populous city, predicted the sudden downfall of Calvinism, declared they saw it tottering like the temple of Dagon …(2)In general, pastors and congregations belonging to the New York Ministerium (the synod) were not in favor of revivals. In the Hartwick Synod, which our church belonged to, however, revivals became a regular part of congregational life. President Lintner of that synod reported
Here Anderson, p. 47, is citing Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town [Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987], p. 227. (Close)
so powerful and extensive has been the work of the Holy Spirit that upwards of 1,000 souls have been hopefully converted and admitted into the church.(3)
Here Anderson, p. 46, is citing Kreider, Harry J., History of the United Lutheran Synod of New York and New England, Volume I, 1786-1860 [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1954], p. 87. (Close)
Henry P. Shultis, 40, was Woodstock Town Supervisor.
All over the Catskills, including along our Sawkill, smelly tanneries were converting animal hides into leather, using chips and powder from hemlock bark in the tanning (softening) process and thereby leaving millions of bark-skinned hemlocks to die while standing. New turnpikes were being built to reach the hemlock stands. The largest tanning operation was the New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter), autocratically run by Colonel William Edwards, 61. In the atypically neat factory town of Prattsville, workers in the factory of Zadock Pratt lived in some hundred handsome classical-style houses, with pilasters and sunburst gable windows. A 224-foot covered wooden bridge crossed the Schohariekill, and a thousand elms, maples, and hickories lined the streets. There were fine churches and a three-story school. Pratt boasted that by getting rid of the hemlocks, he was providing pastureland to the village, so that in time, butter produced by cows grazing there would rival the famous butter from Orange County.
The tannery of Gilbert Palen in Kaaterskill Clove suffered an intense fire, probably caused by dust from ground tanbark. He set up a new tannery at Fallsburgh in Sullivan County, and he forbade even the builders from smoking.
Region historian Alf Evers(4)
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town [Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987], 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, 56, 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. 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 S. Wigram, residing on Wigram Lane (Rock City Road) near the barn now known as Parnassus Square and riding around town on his horse while wearing his "fine plug hat"--initiated several legal proceedings against recalcitrant tenants: those who failed to pay rent or 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. Livingston hired people to visit his sawmills weekly to claim decent wood to be sent off to Clermont. Nonetheless, trespassing and unlawful lumbering continued, becoming part of the Woodstock way of life by indigent tenants (termed "beggars" or "rascals" by Livingston agents), in spite of deputy sheriffs being sent to Woodstock to discourage the practice.
Two glass factories in Bristol (Shady), both just over the boundary from Livingston land--the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company and the New York Crown and Cylinder Glass Company--continued, with inefficient operation, to produce window glass and bottles, shipping their products down the Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then by sloop on to New York City. Unfortunately, their operation required vast amounts of fuel, principally wood, which denuded the forests around Woodstock and, as a result of the deforestation, caused massive erosion of the mountainside soil.
Silas Moore Stilwell, son of the owner of the New York Crown and Cylinder Glass Company, authored a state law enacted this year that abolished imprisonment for debt.
One of Woodstock's only resident doctors was Dr. Larry Gilbert Hall, who had thorough academic training and a good medical library and who lived in the house later torn down to make room for the present Woodstock Library. Dr. Hall was the owner of Woodstock's first recorded bathtub (described in his estate inventory as a "bathing trough"). Dr. Hall employed many herbal remedies:
[T]ake equal parts of bloodroot and sweet flag--dry and pulverize--used as snuff 5 or 6 times a day--is said to relieve deafness.… [For] dissolving gravel in the bladder, [use] the bark of red thorn berry [probably a blackberry] and high blackberry made into a tea with plenty of flaxseed tea to prevent acrimony in the urine. Tried it on Matthew--it works.(5)Another resident doctor was Dr. John Fiero, 26. 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.
All quotations and other information in this section on medicine are from ibid., pp. 204-7. (Close)
An "Indian doctor" on Tinker Street was said to be able to cure consumption by herbal means. His doctoring involved "powing-wowing," the use of incantations inherited from ancient Indian medicine men.
John George Happy, 95, the oldest Ulster County veteran of the Revolutionary War, hosted a commemorative dinner marking the fiftieth anniversary of the surrender of Cornwallis.
Before the dinner he marched with his fellow veterans to the sound of "bands of music and cannons booming."(6)
Quoted from ibid., p. 218. (Close)
A great mass of rock fell away from "Minister's Face" on Overlook Mountain (called South Peak in those days), possibly due to local tremors from the Logan's Line fault.(7)
The information about this rock fall and the quotes supporting it come from ibid., p. 3. (Close)
According to a Kingston newspaper,
Trees eighteen inches in diameter were flattened, as the great mass of rock fell down.… A chasm sixty feet in width, resembling … the bed of a rapid streamappeared below. According to the Ulster Palladium,
The noise resembled heavy thunder, or rather the deep-toned sounds of an approaching earthquake, and was distinctly heard at a distance of six miles. For some minutes afterward the sides of the mountain were enveloped in smoke like the effects from the discharge of heavy artillery.
Milo Barber's inn in Shandaken on the shore of the Esopus was a favorite of trout fishermen.
James Powers's 8-year-old commodious hotel, the Catskill Mountain House (also called the House on the Pine Orchard)--near Kaaterskill Clove and just a few minutes walk southeast of North Lake and South Lake and affording a dramatic view of the Hudson River and much of the entire region--enjoyed another glorious tourist season (with more guests than rooms, the surplus obliged to sleep outside), benefiting from the lower Hudson River steamboat fares from the 1824 Supreme Court decision Gibbons v. Ogden, from the fact that steamboat tourists could see the hotel in the mountains, from romantic descriptions of the region in Washington Irving's 1819 tale of Rip Van Winkle and James Fennimore Cooper's 1823 novel The Pioneers, and from the Hudson River School paintings of famous "romantic realist" landscape painter Thomas Cole.
Unfortunately, however, the hotel with its corporation, the Catskill Mountain Association, was failing as a business venture: It had never shown a profit, its bills were paid slowly, its note regularly went to protest, and it was falling behind in interest payments to the Catskill Bank. Its expenses could not keep pace with its revenues: Bringing the sides of beef and bottles of wine up the mountain incurred steep transport costs; horses and oxen charged with the steep hauling frequently died and needed replacement.
Former New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, 34, originally from Hurley and now residing in New York City, continued her job as a domestic while she pursued her religious interests. She felt that she was in direct communication with God. She became part of a Methodist perfectionist commune headed by her employer, Mr. Pierson. They often went to large revival meetings up the Hudson River in Sing Sing (to enlarge the picture, just click it).
Andrew Jackson (Democrat), 64, was President. The newly elected 22nd Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $17.62 in 2006 for most consumable products.
There were 13 million people in the United States, a third of them slaves.
Thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States. Some 15,000 German immigrants came as well.
The immigrant ship Lady Sherbrooke sank off Cape May, NJ, killing 263 people.
Indoor lighting came from whale-oil lamps and tallow and spermaceti candles.
Housewives preserved food by drying, salting, and smoking. The fireplace or woodstove fire had to be stoked relentlessly, and it invariably extinguished itself during the wee--and coldest--hours of the night. The kitchen in summer was sweltering.
The standard bathtub, for those who believed in bathing at all, was a wooden box lined with copper or zinc, filled with buckets from the stove. With water needing to be heated over the stove, little wonder than irregular bathing was the norm. Many people, convinced that bathing caused colds and other illnesses, bathed their bodies no more than once a year.
One of the most hideous diseases was cholera.(8)
The material here on diseases is quoted from Frisch, Karen, "Childhood Diseases in the Victorian Age, Part II: The Victims," featured in "Ancestry Daily News" of MyFamily.com Inc. (© Copyright 1998-2002 by MyFamily.com Inc. and its subsidiaries). There are also quotes from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, pp. 342-43. (Close)
Usually fatal, cholera resulted in violent diarrhea and vomiting with muscular cramps, chills, pain, fever, and circulatory failure ending in collapse. Striking infants and young children as well as adults, the disease worsened in sultry weather. Victims often died within hours from diarrhea and dehydration. The body would swell and decay so rapidly after death that burial was often immediate.…
Typhoid fever was an acute infectious disease acquired by drinking infected milk or water. Symptoms included high lingering fever and intestinal discomfort, chills, diarrhea, and prostration. At the end of the first week rosy spots appeared on the chest and abdomen.…
Deadly and highly infectious, diphtheria affected children especially, striking the upper respiratory system. It was spread through saliva and through touch, with bacilli entering the body by the mouth and nose. Bacteria attacked the walls of the nose and throat five days after exposure. Those who survived might be temporarily paralyzed in the eyes, legs, or one side of the body.
Every household had an outdoor privy.
The western (most inland) border between Maine and the British colony of New Brunswick had not been adequately settled by the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War. Supposedly all the territory in that region that drained into the St. Lawrence River would be part of British Canada, and all the territory that drained into the Atlantic would be part of the United States--but the wording was obscure and the old maps were conflicting. The King of the Netherlands had agreed 4 years earlier to adjudicate the dispute, but now he announced that the treaty had been "inexplicable and impractical" and suggested a completely arbitrary division that the United States Senate was unwilling to accept. So the border remained in dispute.
Boston merchant Samuel Stillman Pierce, who vowed that he would build a fine reputation even if he did not make money, founded the S. S. Pierce Co. to sell "choice teas and foreign fruit."
Massachusetts printers George Merriam, 28, and his brother Charles Merriam, 25, founded the printing firm Merriam, Little & Co., changed after a few months to G. & C. Merriam.
Samuel Francis Smith, 22, a student in Andover, Massachusetts, wrote the words "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" to the tune "God Save Our Gracious King."
Wesleyan University was founded in Middletown, CT.
John and Peter Delmonico opened Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City.
Horse-drawn buses appeared on New York City streets.
Stone cutters in New York City rioted in protest against the use of stone cut at Sing Sing prison in construction at the University of the City of New York (later New York University).
Samuel Ruggles created Gramercy Park in New York City.
The locomotive DeWitt Clinton, built by the West Point Foundry, began service on the new Mohawk and Hudson Railroad between Albany and Schenectady in New York.
New Jersey industrialist Matthias William Baldwin, 35, began manufacturing Baldwin locomotives, some of which were soon capable of speeds of 62 miles an hour.
The 102-mile Morris Canal, between Newark, NJ, and Easton, PA, began operation, carrying Pennsylvania's anthracite coal to New York City.
Denison College was founded by Baptists in Granville, OH.
St. Xavier College was founded by Catholics in Cincinnati.
Shurtleff College was founded by Baptists in Alton, IL.
Bell-voiced preacher Charles Grandison Finney, 39, pictured here, probably the greatest American evangelist, stumped up and down New York State and even the Midwest, bringing souls to Christ and urging true Christians to join reform movements. (To enlarge the revival meeting picture, just click it.) Finney held a massive revival in New York City, preaching a version of the old-time religion. He devised the "anxious bench," where repentant sinners could sit in full view of the congregation, and he encouraged women to pray aloud in public. He held out the promise of a perfect Christian kingdom on Earth, and he denounced both alcohol and slavery:
Let the churches of all denominations speak out on the subject of temperance, let them close their doors against all who have anything to do with the death-dealing abomination, and the cause of temperance is triumphant. A few years would annihilate the traffic. Just so with slavery.… It is a great national sin. It is a sin of the church. The churches by their silence, and by permitting slaveholders to belong to their communion, have been consenting to it.… The church cannot turn away from this question. It is a question for the church and for the nation to decide, and God will push it to a decision.(9)Finney was part of the "Second Great Awakening."(10)
Quoted in Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 331. (Close)
The exaltation of the individual, whether black or white, was the mainspring of a whole array of humanitarian reforms.(11)
Much of the following, including the quoted material at the end of this paragraph, is from Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, pp. 517-18. (Close)
Many reformers were simply crackbrained cranks. But most were intelligent, inspired idealists, usually touched by the fire of evangelical religion then licking through the pews and pulpits of American churches. The non-intellectuals in America were influenced only indirectly by the New England transcendentalists, were taken with the wider romantic movement (Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Longfellow)--with its sensitivity and love of the natural, its somewhat gloomy otherworldliness, its imaginative treatment of a dark inner struggle with inherent evil--but they were inspired by old-time revivalist religion and fervent causes, especially in the "leatherstocking region" of New York State.
The great breeding ground of mid-century 'isms' was… the area peopled by [transplanted New England] Yankees in the rolling hills of central New York and along the Erie Canal. These folk were so susceptible to religious revivals and Pentacostal beliefs that their region was called "The Burned-Over District" from all the hellfire and brimstone sermons preached there. There antimasonry began and the temperance movement gathered strength.
The Second Great Awakening was one of the most momentous episodes in the history of American religion.(12)
Quoted extensively from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen (1998), pp. 330-32; Wellman, Paul I., The House Divides: The Age of Jackson and Lincoln, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1966, pp. 24-25, citing Mrs. Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of Americans. (Close)
This tidal wave of spiritual fervor left in its wake countless converted souls, many shattered and reorganized churches, and numerous new sects. Itinerant preachers who traveled from church to church, as well as judges, serving very small and scattered populations, were known as circuit riders. The Second Great Awakening was spread to the masses on the frontier by huge "camp meetings." Whole families came from long distances to camp around the meeting places. As many as 25,000 people would gather for an encampment of several days to drink the hellfire gospel as served up by an itinerant preacher.
At times there was a tent for the revivalists, but more often the eager congregations sat on wooden benches in the open and listened to the exhortations of the evangelists who preached from wooden platforms. Unlettered and rude, the frontier cared little for tolerant religion. What it craved was violence in the pulpit, a strong smell of brimstone and fire, furious declamation, and turgid polemics. The Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian persuasions all lent themselves easily to such pulpit pyrotechnics. English visitor Frances Trollope, pictured, was shocked by the "sectarian license," as she put it. Her description of one sermon, Methodist in this case, is an illustration of the general type:
The sermon had considerable eloquence, but of a frightful kind. The preacher described with ghastly minuteness, the last feeble fainting moments of human life, and then the gradual process of decay after death, which he followed through every process up to the last loathsome stage of decomposition. Suddenly changing his tone, which had been that of sober accurate description, into the shrill voice of horror, he bent forward his head, as if to gaze on some object below the pulpit. As Rebecca made known to Ivanhoe what she saw through the window, so the preacher made known to us what he saw in the pit that seemed to open before him. The device was certainly a happy one for giving effect to his description of hell. No image that fire, flame, brimstone, molten lead, or red hot pincers could supply, with flesh, nerves, and sinews quivering under them, was omitted. The perspiration ran in streams from the face of the preacher; his eyes rolled, his lips were covered with foam, and every feature had the deep expression it would have borne, had he, in truth, been gazing at the scene he described. The acting was excellent.It was also effective. There were, of course, plenty of sinners in the West, and since the object of each revival was to bring as many converts as possible to the "mourner's bench"--thus turning each camp meeting into a sort of scoring contest for the evangelists--the field for conversions was rich. Thousands of spiritually starved souls "got religion" at these gatherings and in their ecstasy engaged in frenzies of rolling, dancing, barking, and jerking. Under the lashings of tongue from the preachers, men, women, and even young children, rolled upon the earth, shrieked, shouted, went into contortions, and wept, in a perfect saturnalia of emotional excitement. While it is to be doubted that all who were thus "struck with conviction" remained godly for long--whiskey barrels stood conveniently about the camp meetings and religion was, after all, thirsty work--it cannot be denied that many remained as godly as they knew how to be for the rest of their lives.(13)
William Miller, 49, leader of the Second Adventists in America, began preaching.
Joseph Smith, 26, pictured here, now of Kirtland, OH, was the "Prophet" of the new "Church of Christ" (later called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), with the followers called "Saints" (or Mormons), whose doctrine was based on the alleged revelations Smith said he had received from the angel Maroni, all gathered, translated, and published in the 522-page Book of Mormon. The book claimed that the New World aborigines (the Indians) were descended from the lost 10 tribes of Israel, who had sailed from the Near East 2,500 years earlier, and who had received a visit from Jesus Christ after his resurrection in Palestine. Smith and his followers were commanded to redeem these lost Israelites from the paganism they had fallen into. The book also sanctioned polygamous marriage. The ever-growing congregation was now based in Kirtland.
The Anti-Masonic Party met in Baltimore and castigated the Jackson Administration.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (MD), 93, observed that
the race of men is disappearing, after providing America with the greatest men. With them is lost the tradition of cultivated manners. The people become educated, knowledge extends, a middling ability becomes common. Outstanding talents and great characters are more rare. Society is less brilliant and more prosperous.(14)
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 424. (Close)
George Bancroft, 31, described the following scene at the White House:
Yesterday the President's house was open at noon.… The old man stood in the center of a little circle… and shook hands with anybody that offered.… There was a throng of apprentices, boys of all ages, men not civilized enough to walk about the rooms with their hats off: the vilest… [group] that ever [gathered] in a decent house; many of the lowest gathering around the doors, pouncing… upon the wine and refreshments, tearing the cake… all fellows with dirty faces and dirty manners, all the [trash] that Washington could turn forth from its workshops and stables.(15)
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 327. (Close)
Former Tennessee Governor Sam Houston, 38, a Jackson protegé and a sworn enemy of Vice President John Caldwell Calhoun, 49, since 1818 (when he had been castigated by then War Secretary Calhoun for wearing Indian attire and wrongly accused by him of slave smuggling), arrived in Washington from eastern Oklahoma (where he had been living with the Cherokees), in the attire of a Cherokee chief (buckskin coat, moccasins, blanket, and a Bowie knife at his belt), bearing a letter that had been written by former President Monroe, indicating that Calhoun--contrary to his assurances to Jackson--had not supported the General during his unauthorized 1818 invasion of Spanish Florida, that he had in fact recommended to Monroe that Jackson be summoned before a court of inquiry and charged with disobeying orders. President Jackson, already alienated from Calhoun over the Peggy Eaton business (convinced that Calhoun had put his wife up to organize the snubbing of the wife of Secretary of War John Henry Eaton, 41, remarked when he saw the letters:
My hair stood on end for an hour.(16)On this occasion, Secretary of State Martin Van Buren ("Little Van"), 51, convinced Jackson not to confront Calhoun, to avoid an open break that might jeopardize the 1832 Presidential campaign.
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., pp. 113-14. (Close)
William H. Crawford of Georgia, 59, like Houston apparently animated by a strong hatred of Vice President Calhoun, wrote to Jackson that Calhoun indeed had been ready and willing in 1818 to have the General arrested and disgraced to mollify Spain and Britain. Jackson forwarded a copy of this letter to Calhoun, with a curt covering note demanding an explanation:
Sir… The Enclosed copy of a letter from William Crawford, Esq… was placed in my hands yesterday.… My object in making this communication is to announce to you the great surprise which is felt, and to learn whether it is possible that the information given is correct.… I am, sir, very respectfully, Your humble servant, Andrew Jackson.Calhoun responded with a lengthy and unconvincing letter, to which Jackson responded:
This is full evidence of the duplicity and insincerity of the man.It was now pretty certain that Jackson would never support Calhoun to succeed him as President, and equally certain that Calhoun had no reason to refrain from erecting state sovereignty as a national issue, promoting nullification and secession whenever he felt it necessary.(17)
Calhoun, pictured on the right, published a pamphlet attacking Secretary of State Van Buren as a political troublemaker. He thereby succeeded in further alienating President Jackson.
After Jackson castigated the Calhoun men in the Cabinet over the Peggy Eaton business, Van Buren. pictured on the left, tendered his resignation, in order to "smooth" matters for the President, who reluctantly accepted. When this resignation was announced in the Cabinet, Secretary of War Eaton cried: "Gentlemen, this is all wrong. I am the one who ought to resign." "Will your wife agree?" asked Van Buren. "She will agree," said henpecked Eaton, who presented his resignation, which was accepted. Other resignations, some requested by the President, followed. In the end, the entire Cabinet except the Postmaster General, who had offended nobody, resigned. Edward Livingston of Louisiana, 67, became the new Secretary of State, General Lewis Cass of Michigan, 49, became the new Secretary of War, Levi Woodbury of New Hampshire, 42, became the new Secretary of the Navy, Louis McLane of Delaware, 45, became Secretary of the Treasury, and Roger Brooke Taney of Maryland, 54, became Attorney General. Eaton was appointed Ambassador to Spain. President Jackson decided to run for a second term.
Jackson nominated Van Buren to be Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and he exercised the post for seven months awaiting Senate confirmation. In the end, Vice President Calhoun, presiding over the Senate, had the satisfaction of casting the tie-breaking ballot against confirmation. He exulted:
It will kill him, sir, kill him dead. He will never stir, never kick.Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, 49, remarked:
You have broken a minister, sir, and elected a Vice President.Jackson soon thereafter, over considerable opposition, selected Van Buren as his running mate (and as his chosen successor).(18)
The new 22nd U.S. Congress was a lively place. Sam Houston beat up Ohio Congressman William Stanbery for a statement he had made in the House ("Was not the late Secretary of War [Eaton] removed because of his attempt fraudulently to give Governor Houston the contract for Indian rations?"). Stanbery had attempted to shoot his assailant, but his pistol misfired. Houston was summoned before the House to answer a charge of assaulting a Representative. President Jackson told Houston to dress like a gentleman. In the end, the House voted that Houston be punished with the mildest possible reprimand that, when delivered by Speaker Andrew Stevenson, amounted to an accolade.
After conferring with Jackson--probably about Texas possibilities--Houston departed Washington, with $500 for expenses ($8,810 in 2006 dollars), back into the wilderness, to live among the Cherokees in present-day eastern Oklahoma.
William Cabell Rives, U.S. Ambassador to France, negotiated a treaty whereby France agreed to pay the U.S. $5 million ($88.1 million) to compensate for French depredations on American ships and property during the Napoleonic Wars, less $300,000 ($5.3 million) to pay for French supplies furnished to the American colonies at the beginning of the Revolution. In return, Rives agreed to reduce American customs duties on French wines by about a third. The treaty was ratified in France and approved by the U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives reduced the wine tariff, despite objections from vintners in New York State. Unfortunately, when the first payment was due, the check bounced! The French government refused to honor it because the Chamber of Deputies had not yet appropriated the money. The U.S. Treasury had to pay 15 percent damages--$170,041.18 ($2,996,125.50)--to the Bank of the United States.
President Jackson, furious, appointed Secretary of State Livingston to relieve Rives in Paris. The French Chamber of Deputies continued to stall, however.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands attempted arbitration in the dispute between the United States and the United Kingdom over the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. But Maine would not accept the result, arguing that no treaty could deprive her of territory without her consent. President Jackson did not press the matter. (Had Maine accepted this arbitration, she would have ended up with more territory than she now has.)
Former President James Monroe died at the age of 73.
Former President John Quincy Adams, 64, was elected U.S. Representative from his Quincy, MA, Congressional district, where he would serve term after term until his death 17 years later.
Congress amended the copyright law: Copyrights would last for 28 years, renewable for another 14 years.
French aristocrat Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clarel de Tocqueville, 31, set sail from Le Havre, France, for America with his companion, Gustave de Beaumont. Their ostensible goal was to study the American prison system, but they had greater ambitions: "We are leaving," wrote de Tocqueville,
with the intention of examining, in detail and as scientifically as possible, all the mechanism of that vast American society which everyone talks of and no one knows.… We are counting on bringing back the elements of a fine work.De Tocqueville kept detailed notes of his extensive travels in most of the cities of the United States, in the wilderness of Michigan, on Southern plantations.
The roads, the canals, and the mails play a prodigious part in the prosperity of the Union.… In the Michigan forests there is not a cabin so isolated, not a valley so wild, that it does not receive letters and newspapers at least once a week.… America has undertaken and is finishing some immense canals. It already has more railroads than France.… Of all the countries of the world, America is the one where the movement of thought and human industry is the most continuous and the most swift.…
[Cincinnati is] a city which seems to want to rise too quickly for people to have any system or plan about it. Great buildings… houses under construction, no names on the streets, no numbers on the houses, no outward luxury, but the image of industry and labor obvious at every step.…
For the first time we have had the chance to examine… the effect that slavery produces on society. On the right [north] bank of the Ohio everything is activity, industry; labor is honored; there are no slaves. Pass to the left [south] bank and the scene changes so suddenly that you think yourself on the other side of the world; the enterprising spirit is gone. There work is not only painful; it's shameful, and you degrade yourself in submitting yourself to it. To ride, to hunt, to smoke like a Turk in the sunshine: there is the destiny of the white.… [Slavery] brutalizes the black population and debilitates the white.… Man is not made for servitude.… You see few churches [in the South], no schools. Society, like the individual, seems to provide for nothing.… [The South will end] by being dominated by the North. Every day [the North] grows more wealthy and densely populated while the South is stationary or growing poor.…
The first result of this disproportionate growth is a violent change in the equilibrium of power and political influence. Powerful states become weak, territories without a name become states.… Wealth, like population, is displaced. These changes cannot take place without injuring interests, without exciting violent passions.(19)
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, pp. 281-93. (Close)
Slaves had to get their owner's permission in order to marry.(20)
This paragraph is from Schwartz, Marie Jenkins., Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 368. (Close)
Owners generally insisted that any ceremony include a waiver that spouses might be separated if they owner needed to sell one or both of them; one minister married a couple with the words "until death or distance do you part." Slave weddings were not considered legally binding.
Nonetheless, with impressive resilience, blacks managed to sustain family life in slavery, and most slaves--especially in the Deep South--were raised in two-parent households.(21)
Quoted from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 369. (Close)
Continuity of family identity across generations was evidenced in the widespread practice of naming children for grandparents or adopting the surname not of a current master, but of a forebear's master. African-Americans also displayed their African cultural roots when they avoided marriage between first cousins, in contrast to the frequent intermarriage of close relatives among the ingrown planter aristocracy.
Hicksite Quaker preacher Lucretia Coffin Mott, 38, continued delivering sermons against slavery. Proslavery Quakers unsuccessfully tried to remove her from the ministry.
Abolitionist delegates meeting in Utica, NY, were dispersed by a mob of "very respectable gentlemen" led by a Congressman and a judge.
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, 26, pictured here, began publishing in Boston The Liberator, urging the immediate emancipation of all slaves (who comprised a third of the U.S. population).
On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation.… I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice.… I am in earnest--I will not equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a single inch--AND I WILL BE HEARD.(22)The Georgia Senate offered a $5,000 reward ($88,000 in 2006 dollars) for Garrison's apprehension and conviction. A Boston "broadcloth mob" attacked Garrison and paraded him around town with a rope around his neck.
Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 162; Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 373. (Close)
And on May 12, 1828, I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke He had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight, against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the 1st should be last and the last should be 1st.(23)Turner was tried, convicted, and hanged along with 19 accomplices.
Quoted in Wallechinsky and Wallace, op. cit. (Close)
The outbreak was blamed on the abolitionist newspaper Liberator, published by William Lloyd Garrison, although there was not a shred of evidence that any of the slaves had read it. Mrs. Lawrence Lewis of Woodlawn, VA, niece of George Washington, appealed to Mayor Harrison Gray Otis of Boston to suppress the paper. "It is like a smothered volcano," she pleaded.
We know not when, or where, the flame will burst forth, but we know that death in the most repulsive forms awaits us.Otis replied that he had no authority to suppress the paper, and he asserted that any attempt to do so would incite moderates "to make common cause to the fanatics." He later observed that nothing would satisfy the Southerners:
The force of opinion in favor of emancipation throughout the world must blow upon them like a perpetual tradewind, and keep them in a constant state of agitation and discomfort.(24)
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., pp. 508-09. (Close)
Meanwhile, Garrison published the following in his Liberator, directed against his Northern critics:
Ye patriotic hypocrites! ye panegyrists of Frenchmen, Greeks and Poles!… Cast no reproach upon the conduct of slaves, but let your lips and cheeks wear the blisters of condemnation! Ye accuse the pacific friends of emancipation of instigating the slaves to revolt. Take back the charge as a foul slander. The slaves need no incentives at our hands. They will find them in their stripes… in your speeches, your conversations, your celebrations!(25)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 184. (Close)
Old liberal families combined with western Virginians in the Virginia state legislature to push for emancipation of the slaves. W. B. Preston moved:
It is expedient to adopt some legislative amendment for the abolition of slavery.(26)The motion was defeated 73 to 58.
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 510n. (Close)
Two merchants in Charleston, SC, decided to test the constitutionality of federal tariff laws by refusing to pay certain duties. The local federal district attorney sympathized with them and refused to prosecute; he was fired. President Jackson stated that a state could not nullify a federal law, and he would not appoint anyone in the district attorney's post who did not agree with this stand. Vice President Calhoun, thoroughly alienated from the Jackson Administration, came forward with the Doctrine of Concurrent Majority, the right of a state to secede if it could get no satisfaction from being in the Union.
The Supreme Court, in the case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, ruled that an Indian tribe could not sue in federal court, since the tribes were not foreign nations. A non-Indian, the Reverend Samuel Austin Worcester of Vermont, 34, a Congregationalist minister who was also a federal postmaster, volunteered to take up the issue on the Indians' behalf. Along with other ministers living with the Indians, he was arrested and imprisoned for failing to swear a loyalty oath to Georgia and to take out a state license to live among the Indians. Worcester was released when he claimed to be a federal employee, and then he challenged the conviction in federal court in the case Worcester v. Georgia.
The Jackson administration fired Worcester and allowed the Georgia militia to move into the Cherokee Nation and arrest 10 missionaries as well as the white printer of the Cherokee Phoenix, all of whom were savagely beaten, chained, and forced to march 35 miles a day to the county jail. They were tried and convicted; 9 of them were released when they agreed to swear allegiance to the laws of the State of Georgia. Samuel Worcester and Elizur Butler refused to swear and were sentenced to 4 years at hard labor.
In accordance with the previous year's Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, some 13,000 Choctaws began emigrating on ox wagons, on horses, and on foot from the State of Mississippi westward to a land they would call "Oklahoma" (in their language, "land of the red man"). Private contractors escorted them, cheating them of food. Hundreds died from hunger, from pneumonia, and from cholera.
Chief Black Hawk (Makataemishklakiak), 64, of the Sauk and Fox tribes, agreed to withdraw his tribesmen from Illinois to lands west of the Mississippi River.
John Chapman, 56, 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 Fur Company (of John Jacob Astor) began to operate the steamboat S.S. Yellowstone on the Missouri River.
Explorer and trapper Jedediah Strong Smith, 32, joined a trading caravan from St. Louis to Santa Fe. The caravan went astray between the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers and ran short of water. Smith set out alone on foot to find water. He found it, but was trapped by a Comanche war party. Both Smith and the Commanche chief died in the encounter.
Army Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bourneville, 35, was commissioned by the U.S. government to explore
the country to the Rocky Mountains and beyond, with a view of ascertaining the nature and character of the several tribes of Indians inhabiting those regions… the quality of the soil, the productions, the minerals, the natural history, the climate, the geography and topography, as well as the geology, of the various parts of the country within the limits of the territories belonging to the United States [and] between our frontier and the Pacific… in short, every information which you may conceive would be useful to the government.(27)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 101. (Close)
The trading brig Owhyhee returned to Boston from the coast of the Oregon Country, laden with pickled Columbia River salmon, which sold readily--although the U.S. Treasury Department levied an import duty on the "foreign-caught fish." Nathaniel Wyeth, 29, noted this and laid plans to make a business out of the pickled salmon, and determined that Oregon should no longer be a foreign land.
Sloop-of-war U.S.S. Vincennes concluded its round-the-world voyage, presenting letters from President Jackson to various rulers.
Rhode Island engineer Robert Livingston Stevens, 44, president and chief engineer of the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Company, purchased the 30-horsepower British locomotive engine John Bull and established the first steam railway in America, with the flanged track called the "Stevens rail" or "T-rail"; and engineer Isaac Dripps invented the locomotive cowcatcher.
Virginia inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick, 22, invented a horse-drawn mechanical reaper, demonstrating it in Lexington, VA, and proving that it enabled one man to do the work of six in mowing wheat and other grains; and inventor Seth Boyden, 43, patented his method for making malleable cast iron.
Massachusetts inventor Samuel Guthrie, 49, devised a process for producing chloroform. Guthrie's work was simultaneous with (and independent of) that of German chemist Baron Justus von Liebig. Guthrie called the gas "chloric ether" and promoted its use as an anesthetic.
The Roman emperor look continued to be fashionable for men.
William Trotter began publishing his popular weekly racing sheet, the Spirit of the Times. Other popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, the New York Mirror, National Preacher, Ladies' Magazine, Lady's Book (Godey's Lady's Book), and Garrison's The Liberator. 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.
The song "New York" (or "Oh, What a Charming City") was released and became popular. Other popular songs included "Home Sweet Home," "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," "Old Dan Tucker," and "Jim Crow."
French Canadian politicians in the Assembly of Lower Canada (Québec) made vehement speeches and refused to vote money for the salaries of royal judges and British-appointed officials. A Tory oligarchy called the "château clique," led by Chief Justice Jonathan Sewall (son of an old Massachusetts Loyalist) supported the Governor and kept the agitators in check.
In Upper Canada (Ontario) newly arrived settlers struggled for political equality with the United Empire Loyalists (those who had left the United States after the Revolution) and their descendants. Liberals wanted to make the executive responsible to the Assembly and threatened to secede from the British Empire. But a Tory oligarchy called the "Family Compact," led by Anglican Archdeacon John Strachan and John Beverley Robinson (a Loyalist whose background was Virginia and New York), controlled affairs here. The Opposition was led by William Lyon Mackenzie, 35, publisher of the Colonial Advocate, of York; he was repeatedly elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, and was repeatedly expelled for libel.
A large number of citizens of both Lower Canada and Upper Canada were frustrated with this political stagnation. Just south of the border, the United States was advancing rapidly in wealth and power, with an apparently workable representative government responsive to the public.
Scots navigator Sir James Ross, 54, and his nephew James Clark Ross, 31, planted the British flag at the North Magnetic Pole in Canada.
The grant of land on the Rio Brazos in Texas to Stephen Fuller Austin, 38, as well as the grants to swashbuckling empresarios Robert Leftwich, Hayden Edwards, Green De Witt, Ben Milam, James Powers, David G. Burnet (formerly of Ohio, who had been a soldier of fortune 25 years earlier in a failed Venezuelan revolution), and Branch Tanner Archer, 41 (who had fled Virginia after winning a duel), were imperiled by the policies of Mexican dictator Anastasio Bustamente, 51, who was now prohibiting any further entrance of Americans into Texas, suspending all empresario contracts, and outlawing the importation of any more black slaves. (Texans evaded the prohibition against slavery by "freeing" their slaves and then signing them to lifetime contracts as indentured servants.) Bustamente had sent troops to enforce the prohibition against slavery (as well as the prohibition against Protestants). He also placed heavy duties on imported goods, closed most of the Texas seaports, and authorized his military commanders to impose martial law whenever they saw fit. The Mexican troops were composed largely of convicts taken out of prison to be "enlisted," together with "vagabonds and disorderly persons" and other recruits "obtained by entrapment and decoy." Though they were brutalized by harsh discipline, they committed thefts, robberies, rapes, and murders of people among whom they were garrisoned.
Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, 33, abdicated and returned to Europe. He was succeeded by his son, Pedro II, 5.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury ordered sloop-of-war Lexington, under Captain Silas Duncan, to the Falkland Islands to protect American interests (American seal hunters from Stonington, CT, had slaughtered some of the Falkland Islands cattle of the gauchos on the ranch of Argentine Governor Louis Vernet, and Vernet had caused two of the American vessels seized, plundered, and sent to Buenos Aires). Captain Duncan rounded up all the gauchos (who were long unpaid and heartily sick of the Falklands) and shipped them home to Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Meanwhile, the British government had decided to take possession of the Falklands, which had been ceded to the British in 1771.
There were 12.2 million people in Great Britain.
Amid shouting and scornful laughter in Parliament, Lord John Russell introduced a Reform Bill to abolish all "nomination boroughs," utterly unrepresentative rural Parliamentary districts: pocket boroughs (controlled by single individuals or families) and rotten boroughs (election districts with the same voting power in Parliament as other districts with far more inhabitants). The measure would finally give more representation to the London metropolitan area, the industrial north of England, and the Midlands. Among the supporters of the measure were Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, William Cobbett, Francis Place, and Thomas Attwood, working hard to ensure that the bill would not be watered down with amendments.
The Tories fought the measure vehemently, and they were able to defeat it. Earl Grey, the Prime Minister, then asked King William IV to dissolve the Parliament, and the King realized that refusing this might spark a revolution in the country. When the roar of cannon announced that the King had left St. James and was coming in person to dissolve the Parliament. One Tory jumped to his feet and screamed at the jubilant Whigs:
The next time that cannons are heard they will not be firing blanks and it will be your heads that they will carry off!(28)The Parliament was dissolved and elections were called on the single issue of Reform. The Whigs and their allies gained a majority of 136 in the House of Commons. Once Parliament had reassembled, the battle was shifted to the House of Lords. Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, 62, leader of the Tory Opposition, once again made the case against the Reform Bill:
Quoted in Churchill, Winston S., The Great Democracies, vol. 4 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1957, p. 48. (Close)
A democracy has never been established in any part of the world that it has not immediately declared war against property, against the payment of the public debt, and against all the principles of conservation, which are secured by, and are in fact the principal objects of the British Constitution as it now exists. Property and its possessors will become the common enemy.… [Reforms will break] the strength which is necessary to enable his Majesty to protect and keep in order his foreign dominions and to ensure the obedience of their inhabitants. We shall lose these colonies and foreign possessions, and with them our authority and influence abroad.(29)The peers were sharply divided, but 21 Bishops decided the issue against Reform, which was defeated in the House of Lords.
Quoted in ibid., p. 49. (Close)
Lord John Russell introduced the Reform Bill again in the House of Commons and it passed by a majority of two to one. Still the House of Lords held out.
London Bridge was opened.
English miner Thomas Hepburn founded the Union of Northumberland and Durham Coalminers to press for shorter hours.
There were 7.7 million people in Ireland.
The potato crop failed in the west of Ireland.
Irish Catholics, objecting to forced tithes to support the Established (Anglican) Church of Ireland, rioted.
The war was finally over as the Ottoman Empire was forced to recognize Greek complete independence. Greek dictator Ioannes Antonios Kapodistrias, 55, was assassinated. His brother, Avgoustinos Kapodistrias, 53, became provisional President.
German statesman Baron H. F.K. vom und zum Stein died at the age of 74. Prussian Field Marshal August Neithardt von Gneisenau, veteran of the Napoleonic wars, died at the age of 74. Prussian general and military historian Karl von Clausewitz died at the age of 51.
Charles Albert became King of Sardinia-Piedmont.
The reactionary Cardinal Bartolomeo Alberto Capellari, 66, became Pope Gregory XVI. There were widespread revolts in the Papal States as a result of the election. Also there were uprisings in Modena and Parma, inspired by the Paris Revolution of 1830. Austrian troops only temporarily quelled the uprisings.
The cholera epidemic spreading from India through central Asia and Russia was now killing in central Europe.
Muslim leader Titu Mir led Bengalis in an unsuccessful rebellion against Hindu control. He was killed.
The American ship Friendship out of Salem was ambushed and plundered, and her crew slaughtered, by the Sultan of Quallah Battoo on the coast of Sumatra.
English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, 22, embarked on a 5-year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle to South America, New Zealand, and Australia; Scots scientist Robert Brown, 58, discovered and named the nucleus of the cell; and Scots physicist Sir David Brewster, 50, published Treatise on Optics.
German chemist Baron Justus von Liebig, 28, invented chloroform (simultaneously with and independently of Samuel Guthrie, 49, in the United States). The British Association for the Advancement of Science was founded.
English tragic actress Sarah Siddons died at the age of 76.
French composer Ferdinand Hérold, 40, produced the opera Zampa at the Opéra Comique in Paris; German composer Jakob Liebmann Beer (Giacomo Meyerbeer), 40, produced the opera Robert Le Diable; Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, 30, and librettist Felice Romani produced the operas La Sonnambula and Norma; and German composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn, 22, performed Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor in Munich. French-Austrian composer and pianoforte maker Ignaz Pleyel died at the age of 74.
Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, 33, published Canti; Russian poet Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, 32, published Boris Godunov; French novelist and playwright Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, Baronne Dudevant (George Sand), 27, collaborated with author Jules Sandeau, 21, to publish Le Figaro; French novelist Honoré de Balzac, 32, published La Peau de chagrin; and French poet Victor Marie Hugo, 29, depressed over the failure of the previous year's July Revolution, published Notre Dame de Paris ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame") and Les feuilles d'automne ("Autumn Leaves").
German playwright Friedrich Maximilian von Kluger, author of the play Sturm und Drang, died at the age of 79, and German historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr died at the age of 55.