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.
Founding and former pastor, Dr. Frederick Henry Quitman, died at the age of 72 in Rhinebeck (where he had been pastor for decades). He had been a thoroughgoing rationalist, one who denied the authority of both the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions, and had not been able to abide the tenets of the General Synod--that is, the theological norms of the Reformation.(1)
Despite Dr. Quitman's association with rationalism and the low esteem in which he has been held by many, he was clearly a hard-working and well-esteemed leader during his lifetime.
As a preacher he was brief, practical, biblical and impressive. He was somewhat stern and rugged in his speech, but his congregation revered him. As late as 1935-1945, during which time the author [Kreider] visited Rhinebeck a number of times for interviews concerning Quitman and his congregation, the sentiment of awe and reverence was still strong among people who knew Quitman intimately, and then he had been dead more than a century.(2)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:
Here Anderson, pp. 24-25, 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. 42. (Close)
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."(3)William Boyse, the pastor of the Woodstock Reformed Church, made this report to the Missionary Society:
Here Anderson, pp. 45-46, is 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 …(4)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.(5)
Here Anderson, p. 46, is citing Kreider, p. 87. (Close)
Henry P. Shultis, 41, 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. The largest such operation was the New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter), autocratically run by Colonel William Edwards, 62. 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.
Region historian Alf Evers(6)
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, 57, 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.
Tanbark and timber was also stolen by Woodstockers from landlords other than Livingston.(7)
Material on timber stealing is excerpted from ibid., p. 170. (Close)
For example, landlord Jonathan Hasbrouck of Kingston wrote to kinsman Richard M. Hasbrouck to get his help in tracking down tanbark thieves. Hasbrouck had received
authentic information [that] very extensive depredations have been committed in the lots in Yankeetown Clove, especially in peeling bark.Hasbrouck reported that the bark was carried away by night and he urged his kinsman to find the bark piles and burn them if he couldn't haul them away.
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.
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.(8)Another resident doctor was Dr. John Fiero, 27. 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.
During this year the Asiatic cholera was spreading northward from New Orleans, where it killed 6,000 people within 12 days. Corpses weighted down with stones were dumped into the Mississippi River.
To have the ague [cholera] is in some places so common than the patient can hardly claim the privilege of sickness.(9)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), p. 164, citing Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, p. 79. (Close)
With the spread of this plague, folks in the Catskills were concerned. A board of health was organized in Bethel in Sullivan County, with plans to care for victims. Reverend William Boyse of the Woodstock Reformed Church led his flock in prayers to send the plague back to where it came from. When the epidemic did not invade the Catskills, Reverend Boyse boasted:
The prayers of the church are heard. The Asiatic cholera is back away to the region of terror whence it emerged. Where is Asia? Whence is this dire pestilence?(10)
Quoted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 382, citing Boyse, William, Writings, p. 553. (Close)
James Powers's 9-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. (During this year, another Hudson River School painter, John Quidor, 31, began a series of paintings depicting Washington Irving characters.)
The hotel definitely benefited from the fact that the Asiatic cholera had not invaded the Catskills. It was crowded with apprehensive city folk.
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. And now it faced a new enemy: the Greene County Temperance Society had been formed and condemned the heavy drinking in the region, especially among the guests of the Catskill Mountain House.
[It] claimed that one in every seventeen inhabitants of the village of Catskill was a habitual drunkard and that three hundred others were fast advancing toward that state by their growing devotion to the bottle. They claimed that all local crime and poverty were caused by drinking and that were the sale of alcoholic beverages to be prohibited, the county jail and the poorhouse could be closed and the taxpayers saved a vast sum. To many Catskill citizens the Mountain House with its busy bar and its hordes of sophisticated strangers began to seem one of the local "fountains of sin… pouring forth rivers of pollution and death upon the community.…" One third of the inhabitants of the village of Catskill signed the pledge. Eight Catskill men who had been engaged "in the traffic in ardent spirits" turned to other means of making a living.&hellip: [The] directors of the Mountain House… [realized that] without the income from liquor they would surely have had to abandon their already shaky venture.(11)
Quoted from ibid., pp. 381-82, citing "Facts showing the Evils resulting from the use of Intoxicating Liquors, reported to the Catskill Temperance Society, February 26, 1833, in Sixth Report of the American Temperance Society," pp. 107-11, reprinted in Permanent Temperance Documents of the American Temperance Society, Boston, 1835. (Close)
Milo Barber's inn in Shandaken on the shore of the Esopus was a favorite of trout fishermen.
Former New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, 35, 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 had become 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).
During this year, beguiled by the animistic, mystical preachings of the self-proclaimed prophet Matthias (born Robert Matthews), she joined his Zion Hill sect. Here is a sample of one of Matthias's sermons(12):
Quoted from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), pp. 54-55. (Close)
The spirit that built the Tower of Babel is now in the world--it is the spirit of the devil. The spirit of man never goes upon the clouds; all who think so are Babylonians. The only heaven is on the earth. All who are ignorant of truth are Ninevites. The Jews did not crucify Christ--it was the Gentiles. Every Jew has his guardian angel attending him in this world. God don't speak through preachers; he speaks through me, his prophet.… Ours is the mustard-seed kingdom which is to spread all over the earth. Our creed is truth, and no man can find truth unless he obeys John the Baptist [this would be Isabella's employer, Mr. Pierson], and comes clean into the church. All real men will be saved; all mock men will be damned. When a person has the Holy Ghost, then he is a man, and not till then. They who teach women are of the wicked. The communion is all nonsense; so is prayer. Eating a nip of bread and drinking a little wine won't do any good. All who admit members into their church, and suffer them to hold their lands and houses, their sentence is, "Depart, ye wicked, I know you not." All females who lecture their husbands, their sentence is the same. The sons of truth are to enjoy all the good things of this world, and must use their means to bring it about. Every thing that has the smell of woman will be destroyed. Woman is the capsheaf of the abomination of desolation--full of all deviltry. In a short time, the world will take fire and dissolve; it is combustible already. All women, not obedient, had better become so as soon as possible, and let the wicked spirit depart, and become temples of truth. Praying is all mocking. When you see any one wring the neck of a foul, instead of cutting off its head, he has not got the Holy Ghost. (Cutting gives the least pain.)and other such gobbledygook. Matthias and his disciples did not believe in a resurrection of the body, but that the spirits of the former saints would enter the bodies of the present generation, and thus begin heaven upon earth.
All who eat swine's flesh are of the devil; and just as certain as he eats it, he will tell a lie in less than half an hour. If you eat a piece of pork, it will go crooked through you, and the Holy Ghost will not stay in you, but one or the other must leave the house pretty soon. The pork will be crooked in you as rams' horns, and as great a nuisance as the hogs in the street.
The cholera is not the right word; it is choler, which means God's wrath. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are now in this world; they did not go up in the clouds, as some believe--why should they go there? They don't want to go there to box the compass from one place to another. The Christians now-a-days are for setting up the Son's kingdom. It is not his; it is the Father's kingdom. It puts me in mind of the man in the country, who took his son in business, and had his sign made, "Hitchcock & Son"; but the son wanted it "Hitchcock & Father"--and that is the way with your Christians. They talk of the Son's kingdom first, and not of the Father's kingdom.
Andrew Jackson (Democrat), 65, was President. The 22nd Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $17.62 in 2006 for most consumable products.
A major killer other than the cholera was whooping cough, the most deadly of the infectious diseases. An acute disease that usually affected children, it involved an inflamed respiratory tract and prolonged coughing spasms that end in violent gasping as the victims attempt to catch their breath--hence the whoop.
From outbreaks of diarrhea that claimed countless infants to the dreaded cholera that destroyed the flesh, the lives of children were endangered with each new epidemic.(13)
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, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 342-43. (Close)
More young people succumbed to consumption, or tuberculosis, than all other diseases. A disease that destroyed the lungs, consumption was transmitted by sprays from the respiratory tracts of infected people or from infected cows. Affecting those between ages five and thirty, it often occurred in urban areas after extended contact with an infected person. Symptoms included fever, weight loss, night sweats, and fatigue. Its hallmarks were a persistent cough, chest pain, and, later, coughing up blood. Those in the early stages could be cured with rest, fresh air, and sunshine. Consumption was originally blamed on short sleeves and low-necked clothing.
Nearly every household had an outdoor privy (hardly anyone had a water closet, which, anyway, was considered very unsanitary).
The book Atkinson's Casket recommended that city women prevent their physical deterioration by doing calisthenics, especially to strengthen the back muscles.
German physician Johann Caspar Spurzheim, 56, arrived in Boston to demonstrate the science of phrenology, the determination of a person's character by measuring the bumps on his or her head.
John Stephenson introduced the horse-drawn streetcars, carrying 40 passengers each, of the New York & Harlem Railroad operating on lower Fourth Avenue in New York City. They ran every 15 minutes and attained speeds of up to 12 miles an hour. The fare was 25 cents ($4.41 in 2006 dollars).
The New York and Erie Railroad Co. was incorporated by the New York State legislature.
There was now 2,808 miles of railroad in the United States.
A canal connecting Cleveland, OH, with the Ohio River at Portsmouth, OH, was completed.
Construction began on the 459-mile Wabash Canal in Indiana, connecting the Ohio River with Lake Erie at Toledo, OH.
Congregationalists founded Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN.
Merchant Isaac McKim launched in Baltimore the 493-ton clipper ship Ann McKim, with yachtlike lines and three raking square-rigged masts.
The U.S. Army abolished the daily liquor ration.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (MD), the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, died at the age of 95.
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.
An Asian cholera epidemic killed 2,251 in New York City. According to the diary of New York businessman Philip Hone, 52:
The alarm about the cholera has prevented all the usual jollification under the public authority. . . The Board of Health reports to-day 20 new cases and 11 deaths since noon yesterday. The disease is here in all its violence and will increase. God grant that its ravages may be confined, and its visit short.(14)
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 343. (Close)
Thousands of Irish and German immigrants came to the United States.
Bell-voiced preacher Charles Grandison Finney, 40, pictured here, probably the greatest American evangelist, conducted religious revivals in country settlements in the Northeast and Midwest, urging true Christians to join reform movements. (To enlarge the revival meeting picture, just click it.) Finney was part of the "Second Great Awakening."(15)
This paragraph has been adapted with permission from William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069 (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991). Cited by them is Edward Pessen, Jacksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics (1985), p. 70. There is also an extensive quote from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 336, 348-50. (Close)
The movement was triggered by Finney's evangelical preaching and by widespread excitement over religious conversion, social reform, and radical idealism. During this era, reform groups of all types flourished in sometimes bewildering abundance. Reformers promoted rights for women as well as miracle medicines, communal living, polygamy, celibacy, rule by prophets, and guidance by spirits. Societies were formed against alcohol, tobacco, profanity, and the transit of mail on the Sabbath. Fad diets proved popular, including the whole-wheat bread and crackers regimen of Massachusetts Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, who preached against white bread, pepper, catsup, mustard, fats, and meat, calling them injurious to health and stimulating to carnal appetites. Eventually, the crusade against slavery would be a cause to overshadow all other reforms.
The exaltation of the individual, whether black or white, was the mainspring of a whole array of humanitarian reforms.(16)
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 Pentecostal 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.
Some aspects of the Second Great Awakening met with violent resistance. Joseph Smith, 27, pictured here, now of Kirtland, OH, was the "Prophet" of the 2-year-old "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 been receiving for several years from the angel Maroni, now 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. Unfortunately for Smith and his family, a "gentile" (non-Mormon) mob in late March broke down the front door, threatened Smith's wife, Emma, 28, with rape and murder, threw Smith's oldest child to the floor, and dragged Smith from the room. The mob strangled Smith to the point of unconsciousness, tore off his shirt and drawers, beat and scratched him, and jammed a vial of poison against his teeth until it broke. After tarring and feathering his body, they left him for dead. Smith's child died within a few days, but Smith continued on in Kirtland as Prophet. During this year, Smith baptized New York farmer Brigham Young, 31, who had formerly been a Methodist.
The Second Great Awakening was one of the most momentous episodes in the history of American religion.(17)
Quoted extensively from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., 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.
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.(18)
The westward movement also molded the physical environment. Pioneers in a hurry often exhausted the land in the tobacco regions and then pushed on, leaving behind barren and rain-gutted fields.
The first wave of settlers to farm the Old Northwest(19)
Quoted from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 246-47. (Close)
(the area north of the Ohio River, west of the Appalachians, and still east of the Mississippi) were transplants from Kentucky, Tennessee, and upland Virginia and the Carolinas: rough-hewn white farmers pushed out by the expanding plantation economy of the South. They wanted to give up "them old red fields" where you "get nothing" and take instead new soil "as black and rich as you wold want it." Here was "land so cheap that we could all be landholders, where men were all equal." These were the "Butternuts," and they contrasted with the second wave, from the Northeast: the "Yankees," who wanted to produce for the market. To the Butternuts, Yankee became a term of reproach; to be "Yankeed" was to be cheated. The Yankees in turn viewed the Butternuts as uncivilized "coon dog and butcher knife tribe" with no interest in education, self-improvement, or agricultural improvement. The Northerners were typically Presbyterians or Congregationalists, and they wanted their ministers to be educated in seminaries; the Butternuts were mostly revivalist Methodists and Baptists, and their preachers were poor and humble, and of the people.
Theodore Dwight Weld, 29, financed by Arthur and Lewis Tappan, began attending Lane Theological Seminary, in Cincinnati, OH, presided over by Lyman Beecher.
The New England Anti-Slavery Society was founded.
Hicksite Quaker preacher Lucretia Coffin Mott, 39, continued delivering sermons against slavery. Proslavery Quakers unsuccessfully tried to remove her from the ministry.
The plantation system, based as it was on the idealistic medievalism out of Sir Walter Scott novels ("a sham civilization," according to Mark Twain), shaped the lives of Southern white women in the oligarchic families. The mistress of a great plantation commanded a sizable household staff of mostly female slaves. She gave daily orders to cooks, maids, seamstresses, laundresses, and body servants. Relationships between mistresses and slaves ranged from affectionate to atrocious. Some mistresses showed tender regard for their bondswomen, and some slave women took pride in their status as "members" of the household. But slavery strained even the bonds of womanhood. Virtually no slaveholding women believed in abolition, and relatively few protested when the husbands and children of their slaves were sold. One plantation mistress harbored a special affection for her slave Annica but noted in her diary that "I whipt Annica" for insolence.(20)
The most expensive slave, a "prime field hand" 18 to 25 years old, was worth $500 on the market ($8,810 in 2006 dollars), a price that appreciated about 50 percent yearly over the next 5 years.
Virginian Thomas R. Dew, a professor at William and Mary College, published a pamphlet asserting that slavery had been the fertilizer of classical culture, that the Hebrew prophets and St. Paul had approved of it, and that civilization required most people to work and only a few to think. The South's attachment to slavery, and its growing defensiveness in reaction to Northern abolitionist agitation, was likewise a good fertilizer for ambitious Southern politicians, who could fire up supporters on anti-tariff states'-rights issues (with the underlying issue of slavery kept discreetly in the background).
Many Southern leaders were eager to obtain additional slaveholding territory, in order to regain a balance of power with the North. Cuba especially was a rich and lush temptation, with an enormous population of Negro slaves, and feebly held by a week and corrupt Spanish government. Even some Northern leaders looked with acquisitive eyes on this "Pearl of the Antilles." Former President and Massachusetts Congressman John Quincy Adams, 65, commented that possession of Cuba, the key to the Caribbean, was probably indispensable for the safety of the Union.
New England was referred to as the "land of steady habits."
Ours is the land of steady habits. And this town is remarkable for severity of religious discipline, if not for morality.(21)
Quoted in McCutcheon, op. cit., p. 41, citing Yankee, Portland, ME, April 2, 1828. (Close)
It was in… New England, where the stony soil and adverse climate handicapped farming, that the extraordinary ingenuity and energy of the Yankee mind had within one generation converted handicraft industries, in important measure, into power manufacturing. Textile machinery, designed so that relatively inexperienced operatives could make cheaply and efficiently various fabrics; interchangeable mechanisms for mass production; inventions in wood working and metal; and the use of steam to operate machinery, combined, with a growing demand for manufactured products, to bring factories by the hundreds into being, making everything from firearms to clothing to agricultural implements, tools, household appliances, even hats and clocks. Sooty chimneys appeared in the picturesque New England country, each representing a constantly rising demand for labor. Farmers and immigrants by the thousands became factory workers, their women and children drawn into the same system. About the plants rose towns, then cities, and the trend toward urbanization which would continually accelerate had its beginning.(22)
Quoted from Wellman (1996), pp. 94-95. (Close)
Women were sucked into the clanging mechanism of factory production. They typically toiled 6 days a week, earning a pittance for dreary stints of 12 or 13 hours--"from dark to dark." The Boston Associates corporation pridefully pointed to their textile mill at Lowell, Massachusetts, as a showplace factory. The workers were virtually all New England farm girls, carefully supervised on and off the job by watchful matrons. Escorted regularly to church from their company boardinghouses, forbidden to form unions, they were as disciplined and docile a labor force as any employer could wish.(23)
Quoted from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen (1998), pp. 314-15. (Close)
Clang-clang-clang-clang! At dawn each day, the factory bell woke 11-year-old Lucy Larcom. Rising quickly, she ate breakfast and hurried off to work. Lucy worked in a factory in Lowell. The factory turned raw cotton into cloth. Years later, Lucy described her workplace:I never cared much for machinery. The buzzing and hissing and whizzing of pulleys and rollers and spindles and flyers around me often grew tiresome.…
The last window in the row behind me was filled with flourishing houseplants.… Standing before that window, I could look across the room and see girls moving backwards and forwards among the spinning frames, sometimes stooping, sometimes reaching up their arms, as their work required.…
On the whole, it was far from being a disagreeable place to stay in.… [But] in the sweet June weather I would lean far out of the window, and try not to hear the unceasing clash of sound inside. Looking away to the hills, my whole stifled being would cry out, "Oh, that I had wings!"(24)
Quoted from Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 295. (Close)
The supercilious English visitor Frances Trollope, 52, pictured here, commented in her Domestic Manners of the Americans on the life of upper-class women(25):
Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 116. (Close)
Let me be permitted to describe the day of a Philadelphian lady of the upper class… This lady shall be the wife of a senator and a lawyer in the highest repute and practice.… She rises, and her first hour is spent in the scrupulously nice arrangement of her dress; she descends to her parlor, neat, stiff, and silent; her breakfast is brought in by her free black footman; she eats her fried ham and her salt fish, and drinks her coffee in silence, while her husband reads one newspaper, and puts another under his elbow; and then perhaps, she washes the cups and saucers. Her carriage is ordered at eleven, till that hour she is employed in the pastry room, her snow-white apron protecting her mouse-colored silk. Twenty minutes before her carriage should appear, she retires to her chamber, as she calls it; shakes and folds up her still snowwhite apron, smooths her rich dress, and… sets on her elegant bonnet… then walks downstairs, just at the moment that her free black coachman announces to her free black footman that the carriage waits. She steps into it, and gives the word: "Drive to the Dorcas Society."Trollope also commented on the noisome and incessant habit of tobacco chewing:
I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings, as the incessant remorseless spitting of Americans. I feel that I owe my readers an apology for the repeated use of this, and several other odious words; but I cannot avoid them, without suffering the fidelity of description to escape me.(26)"I do not like them," Trollope said of the Americans.
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 19. (Close)
I do not like their principles, I do not like their manners, I do not like their opinions.She commented repeatedly on their "uncouth advances" and "violent intimacy" of the people she came into contact with. She deplored American eating habits, reporting the huge buffets that might include
tea, coffee, hot cake and custard, hoe cake, johnny cake, waffle cake, and dodger cake, pickled peaches, and preserved cucumbers, ham, turkey, hung beef, apple sauce and pickled oysters.…(27)Here is another of Trollope's observations about American hypocrisy:
Quoted in Trager, James, ed., The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979, p. 421. (Close)
You will see them with one hand hoisting the cap of liberty, and with the other flogging their slaves.… You will see them one hour lecturing the mob on the indefeasible rights of man, and the next driving from their homes the children of the soil, whom they have bound themselves to protect by the most solemn treaties.
The French Chamber of Deputies continued to stall on the first installment of the $80.7 million ($1.42 billion in 2006 dollars) the French government was supposed to pay the United States, according to an 1831 treaty.
Senator William Learned Marcy of New York, 46, told the Senate in a long speech that he could see "nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belong the spoils," the first explicit reference to the spoils system, the Jackson Administration's practice of naming cronies to government jobs and dispensing favors that would enrich friends and supporters.
President Andrew Jackson, with the help of Attorney General Roger Brooke Taney, 57, and his allies in the 22nd Congress--Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, 50, and Congressman James Knox Polk of Tennessee, 37--was determined to destroy the Bank of the United States, which he regarded as too powerful and which he resented because it limited loans that could be made to farmers and merchants in the West. Senators Henry "Gallant Harry" Clay, 55, pictured on the left, of Kentucky, and Daniel Webster, 50, pictured in the middle, of Massachusetts, who received financial support from the President of the Bank, Nicholas Biddle, 46, pictured on the right, dreamed up a scheme to thwart Jackson and save the Bank at the same time: by making it an issue in the 1832 Presidential Campaign. Since they had assured themselves that most Americans supported the Bank, they were certain to put Jackson into a bind about renewing the Bank's charter (due to expire in 1836) 4 years early. Benton and Polk used every trick to delay the passage while other Jackson supporters--especially Kitchen Cabinet publicists Francis P. Blair, 41, and Amos Kendall, 43--widely published anti-Bank newspaper articles. Biddle and the pro-Bank forces also subsidized many newspapers (at one point they bribed the New York Trade Advocate to utterly reverse its blatant pro-Jackson stand). Biddle's judicious "loans" led to the sneer: "Emperor Nick of the Bribery Bank." Whomever he could not corrupt, it was widely believed, he could crush.
The ball that had been fired by Benton's brother Jesse back in 1813 was finally removed, without anesthetics, from Jackson's shoulder. The President sent Francis Blair to deliver the "memento" to Benton, with a note stating that he was "returning an article that he believed was rightfully the property of the Benton family," concluding the note with assurances of friendship. Benton told Blair:
No, I can't accept it. Please take it back to the President and say to him for me that he has acquired clear title to it in common law by twenty years' peaceable possession."Only nineteen years," contradicted Blair. Benton roared with laughter.
Well, in consideration of the extra care he's taken of it--keeping it constantly about his person, and so on--I'll waive the extra year.(28)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 130n. (Close)
In the Senate, Benton frequently tangled with Webster and Clay. Once Clay sarcastically referred to Benton's 1813 brawl with Jackson and his long-forgotten remark that were Jackson ever elected President,
Congress would have to guard itself with pistols and dirks.Benton jumped to his feet, yelling
That is an atrocious calumny!"What!" responded Clay.
Can you look me in the face, sir, and say that you never used such language?roared Benton, approaching Clay menacingly. Senator Littleton W. Tazewell, occupying the chair, hammered his gavel until the belligerents backed off. A little later, Benton said,
I look, and I repeat that it is an atrocious calumny, and I will pin it to him who repeats it here!
Then I declare before the Senate that you said to me the very words!
False! False! False!
I apologize to the Senate for the manner in which I have spoken--but not to the Senator from Kentucky.Clay responded:
To the Senate I also offer an apology, to the Senator from Missouri, none.(29)Finally, the pro-Bank forces overcame all the obstacles Benton and Polk had put in the way of a vote. This is not particularly surprising, because 51 members of Congress had borrowed sums from "Biddle's Bank" totaling about a third of a million dollars (nearly $6 million in 2006 dollars). The bill for rechartering the Bank passed the Senate 28 to 20 and the House of Representatives 107 to 95. Nicholas Biddle, who had come from Philadelphia to witness his triumph, gave a victory party at a Washington hotel, where the champaign flowed so freely that many members of Congress had to be assisted to their carriages afterward. "What if the President vetoes the bill?" asked Clay.
Quoted in ibid., pp. 129-30. (Close)
If Jackson vetoes that bill, I'll veto him!"(30)Jackson, sick in bed with a lung abscess when he learned of the vote, fumed:
Quoted in ibid., p. 131. (Close)
The Bank… is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!He vetoed the bill, saying that the Bank was a private monopoly allowing the rich to accumulate "many millions" of dollars that "must come directly or indirectly out of the earnings of the American people." He pointed out that many of the Bank's stockholders were foreigners:
If we must have a bank… it should be purely American.(Actually only about a quarter of the stockholders were foreign, and they were not allowed to vote their shares.) "It is to be regretted," he stated,
that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just Government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions… and exclusive privileges to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.Jackson was determined to destroy the Bank:
Until I can strangle this hydra of corruption, the Bank, I will not shrink from my duty.Webster gloomed about the veto message:
It manifestly seeks to influence the poor against the rich. It wantonly attacks whole classes of people, for the purpose of turning against them the prejudices and resentments of the other classes.Biddle wrote to Clay expressing his satisfaction with the struggle:
I have always deplored making the Bank a party question, but since the President will have it so, he must pay the penalty of his own rashness. As to the veto message, I am delighted with it. It has all the fury of a chained panther biting the bars of his cage. It is really a manifesto of anarchy… and my hope is that it will contribute to relieve the country of the domination of these miserable [Jackson] people.(31)Clay, blind to the political appeal the veto message would have to the common people but convinced it would seem demagogic and financially unsophisticated, arranged to have thousands of copies of Jackson's veto message printed and distributed as a campaign document. He also made every effort to gather support to override the veto, and Webster made one of his memorable orations against it (an oration that Biddle distributed another 140,000 copies of). Biddle boasted:
Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 270; Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 335; Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 163; Wellman, op. cit., p. 131; Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 277. (Close)
This worthy President thinks that because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned judges, he is to have his own way with the Bank. He is mistaken.(32)The veto was sustained, however.
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 439. (Close)
Jackson's war on the Bank of the United States upset many of his Democratic Party supporters in New York State: the Albany Regency, who worried that a prohibition on issuing bank notes would upset the plans for making Wall Street the nation's financial center. As a result, there was a split in the ranks of the New York Democrats.
The Democratic-Republican Party (called the "Republican Party" during the Jefferson and Madison Administrations) had already renamed itself the "Democratic Party"; they were the "Democrats" as opposed to the National Democratic Party, who were the "Nationals." The Democrats held a convention in Baltimore and established a two-thirds majority requirement for Presidential nomination. The convention renominated President Andrew Jackson, 65, for a second term, with Martin Van Buren of New York, 50, pictured, former Secretary of State, recently Acting Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was Jackson's running mate (Vice President John Caldwell Calhoun, 50, alienated from the Administration, having been bumped from the ticket). Most of the Nationals nominated Senator Henry Clay, although a Southern anti-tariff wing of the Nationals nominated John Floyd of Virginia.
William Wirt, 60, was nominated by the Anti-Masonic Party, which opposed not only the Masonic Order but all secret societies, condemning them as citadels of privilege and monopoly. (The Anti-Masons condemned President Jackson, who was a proud Mason himself.) The Anti-Masons attracted support from many evangelical Protestant groups who objected to Sunday mail deliveries and other Sabbath business.
The campaign was mostly about the Bank, but Clay and Biddle threw all their resources into the battle to defeat Jackson, pledging some $50,000 ($881,000 in 2006 dollars) as "life insurance" to Clay and the National Republicans. They drug out the Peggy Eaton scandal. They called Jackson "King Andrew I." They talked of the spoils system. Newspapers beholden to the Bank assailed the President savagely. There were predictions of a financial collapse if Jackson were reelected. Stores and factories ordered their workers to "vote their bread and butter"--that is, vote for Clay. A Cincinnati meat wholesaler notified farmers that he would cut in half the prices he would pay for their pork if Jackson were reelected. Admirers of Clay shouted "Freedom and Clay," while his detractors harped on his dueling, gambling, cockfighting, and fast living.
President Jackson stressed his war with the Bank and its president, "Czar Nicholas Biddle." "Jackson Clubs" sprang up everywhere, whose symbol was a hickory tree devoid of foliage except the tuft on top. Torchlight parades marched through village streets in support of the President; they would tarry in front of homes of Jackson supporters and cheer "Jackson Forever: Go the Whole Hog," but groan several times in front of homes of Clay supporters. "Old Hero" Jackson remained calm. "It will be a walk," he said.
President Jackson won overwhelmingly: 55 percent of the popular vote (687,502, as opposed to 530,189 for Clay). He had 219 electoral votes, compared with 49 for Clay, 11 for Floyd (all from South Carolina), and 7 for Wirt (all from Vermont). On his way back to Washington after voting in Nashville, Jackson was stricken with a severe coughing spell, raising much blood. The Boston Courier reported that
there is one comfort left: God has promised us that the days of the wicked shall be short; the wicked is old and feeble. It is the duty of every good Christian to pray to our Maker to have mercy on us.Jackson responded from his sickbed:
I have no intention of dying for the gratification of my enemies.(33)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 133. (Close)
The 23rd Congress was also elected, to begin serving the following year.
Meanwhile, Senator Clay pushed through the old 22nd Congress a new Tariff Act, reducing some of the duties of the Tariff of 1828 (the "Tariff of Abominations") from about 45 percent to about 35 percent but retaining the principle of protectionism. Clay won Western support for the tariff with the concept of "distribution": Proceeds from land sales, otherwise ballooning surplus revenues, would be distributed among the states for use in public works and education, with a special bonus to those states containing the public lands. Unfortunately, the compromise did not appease tariff opponents.
Vice President Calhoun, pictured, in his "Fort Hill letter," wrote to the Governor of South Carolina his tightly reasoned theory of state sovereignty--the previous year's Doctrine of Concurrent Majority, the right of a state to secede if it could get no satisfaction from being in the Union. During the Congressional recess, Calhoun returned home to South Carolina with Senator Robert Young Hayne, 41; they organized a convention that, as soon as the Presidential election results were known, debated the Ordinance of Nullification, containing much of the reasoning of Calhoun's Doctrine of Concurrent Majority and declaring both the Tariff of 1828 and the Tariff of 1832
unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, null, void, and no law, nor binding upon [the State of South Carolina], its officers or citizens.The ordinance would forbid federal officers from collecting custom duties within the state after 1 February 1833, threatening instant secession if the federal government attempted to blockade the port of Charleston or to use force in any way. The ordinance would also forbid any appeal to the United States Supreme Court of any case regarding the legality of nullification.
Some South Carolinians, the nullifiers (or "nullies"), took to wearing ill-fitting garments of homespun, untaxed by the hated Yankee tariff, while their slaves sported discarded broadcloth. The nullies also defiantly wore palmetto ribbons in their hats. Those in the state who were opposed to nullification were scorned as "submission men." The nullies were a majority at the convention, and they passed the Ordinance of Nullification.
President Jackson summoned General Winfield Scott, 46, hero of the War of 1812, to reinforce Forts Moultrie and Sumter in Charleston Harbor, to ensure the loyalty of federal troops, and to cooperate with seven revenue cutters and a warship sent there. Not trusting the mails, Jackson sent a courier to South Carolina Unionist Joel Roberts Poinsett, 53, with the following message:
No state or states has a right to secede.… Nullification therefore means insurrection and war.… The vain threats of resistance by those who have raised the standard of rebellion shew their madness and folly.… I will meet it at the threshold and have the leaders arrested for treason.… In forty days I can have within the limits of So. Carolina fifty thousand men, and in forty days more another fifty thousand.… The Union will be preserved.(34)President Jackson also suggested to the reconvened 22nd Congress that it lower the tariff still further, a suggestion that angered pro-Bank and pro-tariff Massachusetts Congressman John Quincy Adams, 65, the former President:
Quoted in ibid., p. 136; Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 274. (Close)
The message goes to dissolve the Union… and is a complete surrender to the nullifiers.(35)But Jackson was not surrendering at all. With the help of Secretary of State Edward Livingston, 68, he drafted a "Proclamation to the People of South Carolina," clearly denying the right of secession and asserting that the power of a single state to annul a law of the United States was
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 137. (Close)
incompatible with the existence of the Union.… The Constitution forms a Government, not a league.… Whether [the Constitution] be formed by compact between the States, or in any other manner, it is a government in which all the people are represented, which operates directly on the people individually, not upon the States. Each State having parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, cannot possess any right to secede, because each secession does not break a league but destroys the unity of a nation.… To say that any state may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States is not a Nation.… Fellow citizens of my native State [Jackson had been born in South Carolina], let me admonish you.… The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject.… Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution deceived you.… Their object is disunion.… Disunion by armed force is treason. Are you ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be dreadful consequences.… [Your] first magistrate cannot, if he would, avoid the performance of his duty.… Andrew Jackson.(36)In the Northern states, enthusiastic parades were organized and bonfires flamed supporting Jackson's stand. Militia companies offered their services. State legislatures passed resolutions denouncing nullification. Newspaper articles assailed the notion. Both Adams in the House and Webster in the Senate--Jackson enemies on everything else--supported the President. Even Clay refrained from criticism.
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 436; Garraty, op. cit., pp. 266-67; Wellman, op. cit., p. 137. (Close)
Vice President Calhoun resigned his office to take the Senate seat vacated by Robert Young Hayne of South Carolina, 41, who had been elected the new Governor of South Carolina. Governor Hayne issued a counterproclamation, promising to maintain the sovereignty of South Carolina or "perish beneath its ruins." The South Carolina legislature hurled defiance at "King Jackson" and raised a volunteer force of 10,000 men to defend the state from "invasion." Young firebrands joined companies of "Mounted Minute Men," wearing showy uniforms and boasting proper social standings. Medals were struck off in honor of Calhoun bearing the words "First President of the Southern Confederacy."
Vice-President-Elect Van Buren counseled caution, but Jackson rebuked him.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the South, Virginia regarded nullification as merely a pale caricature of her 1798 resolves, Alabama denounced the doctrine as "unsound in theory and dangerous in practice," and Georgia "abhorred the doctrine." On the other hand, Georgia proposed a Southern Convention, which might lead to wider secession threats. Virginia offered to mediate, but the offer was rejected.
Underlying the Southern defensive reactions to Northern tariff legislation was, of course, the issue of slavery. A few Southerners reacted to the previous year's bloody slave revolt of Nat Turner by advocating the end of slavery, but they were a minority. A bill was introduced in the Virginia legislature to colonize Africa with free Negroes, and any slaves that could be emancipated by their owners. This bill passed the house but was defeated by a single vote in the senate. There were some 3 million slaves in the South, and in many districts the black population was greater than the white. Many Southerners were convinced that if the large population of blacks were freed from the discipline of slavery, there would be far more violence than that caused by the abortive slave revolts the South had already seen.
John Chapman, 57, 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."
A steamboat on Lake Michigan reached Fort Dearborn (Chicago).
The Reverend Samuel Austin Worcester of Vermont, 34, a Congregationalist minister, brought a test case against the actions of Georgia gobbling up the lands of the Cherokee Nation (who were not allowed to sue in federal court on their own behalf, according to the 1831 Cherokee Nation v. Georgia decision. Actually, the case was a challenge to Worcester's conviction and imprisonment (he and his colleague Elihu Butler were sentenced to serve 16 months at hard labor on a chain gang) for having failed to swear a loyalty oath to Georgia and to take out a state license to live among the Indians. In Worcester v. Georgia, the Supreme Court of Chief Justice John Marshall, 76, ruled that the United States government had exclusive authority over tribal lands and their lands within any state. In other words, Georgia had no valid claims to the Cherokee lands. When, soon afterward, a Cherokee named Corn Tassel was convicted in a Georgia court for the murder of another Indian, he appealed on the grounds that the crime had taken place in Cherokee territory, and Chief Justice Marshall agreed, declaring that Georgia was acting unconstitutionally. President Jackson commented:
John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.Georgia authorities, essentially nullifying federal authority by disregarding the Supreme Court, hanged Corn Tassel, and then held a lottery to dispose of the Cherokee territory. Jackson, insensitive to his inconsistency on nullification when it pertained to "the poor deluded… Cherokees," did nothing in this case to enforce federal authority.
The Creek tribe signed a treaty ceding all their lands east of the Mississippi River.
Seminoles in Florida ceded their lands to the United States in a treaty signed by 15 chiefs; they agreed to move west of the Mississippi.
Treaties made under pressure and by deception broke up tribal lands into individual holdings, and each individual owner became a prey to politicians, speculators, and contractors. Many of the Creeks and Choctaws who remained on their individual plots were defrauded by land companies. One Georgia bank president who was a stockholder in a land company commented(37):
This and the following are quoted in Zinn, op. cit., p. 134. (Close)
Stealing is the order of the day.Indians who complained to the federal government received this compassionate reply from War Secretary Lewis Cass:
Our citizens were disposed to buy and the Indians to sell.… The subsequent disposition which shall be made of these payments seems to be utterly beyond the reach of the Government.… The improvident habits of the Indian cannot be controlled by regulations.… If they waste it, as waste it they too often will, it is deeply to be regretted yet still it is only exercising a right conferred upon them by the treaty.
Chickasaw lands east of the Mississippi were ceded the the United States. Most of the Chickasaws sold their land individually at good prices and went west without much suffering. This was not the case with most of the Indians, however.
The 6-foot-4-inch-tall, 180-pound, narrow-chested, stoop-shouldered melancholic Abraham Lincoln, 23, of Springfield, IL, recently out of a job when his boss closed the grocery to speculate in wheat and corn, announced himself a Whig candidate for the Illinois state legislature. Here is an excerpt from a speech he made at a political gathering(38):
Quoted in Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 430. (Close)
I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate fro the Legislature. My [Whiggish] politics are short and sweet, like the old woman's dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal-improvement system, and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.For the Sangamo Journal, a local Whig organ, he wrote:
I was born and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or popular relations or friends to recommend me.… My case is thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of this county.… But, if the good people in their wisdom, shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.(39)Lincoln was one of the first to enlist in the call for volunteers to fight in the Second Black Hawk War, joined by his friend Jack Armstrong, of the Clary's Grove Boys gang. Lincoln was elected captain of his company.
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., pp. 287-88. (Close)
As we neared them they raised a white flag and endeavored to decoy us, but we were a little too old them.A "little too old" for the women and children, certainly! Chief Black Hawk fled but was pursued by Sioux mercenaries in American service. Black Hawk finally surrendered after taking refuge with the Winnebagoes. Here is part of his surrender speech(41):
I fought hard. But your guns were well aimed. The bullets flew like birds in the air, and whizzed by our ears like the wind through the trees in the winter. My warriors fell around me.… The sun rose dim on us in the morning, the last sun that shone on Black Hawk.… He is now a prisoner to the white men.… He has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his countrymen, the squaws and papooses, against white men, who came year after year, to cheat them and take away their lands. You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies. Indians do not steal.In a new treaty, Sauk and Fox tribesmen agreed to stay west of the Mississippi. A government agent explained to them(42):
An Indian who is as bad as the white men could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and eaten up by the wolves. The white men are bad schoolmasters; they carry false books, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence, to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to leave us alone, and keep away from us; they followed on, and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us, like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterous lazy drones, all talkers and no workers.…
The white men do not scalp the head; but they do worse--they poison the heart.… Farewell, my nation!… Farewell to Black Heart.
Our Great Father… will forbear no longer. He has tried to reclaim them, and they grow worse. He is resolved to sweep them from the face of the earth.… If they cannot be made good they must be killed.
Soon after returning home from the Black Hawk War, Lincoln lost the election in the county as a whole, running eighth among thirteen candidates. In his won New Salem precinct, however, Lincoln, popular among all who knew him, won 205 out of 208 votes.
Cholera wiped out many of the Indians en route to their new reservations west of the Mississippi; also measles claimed hundreds of lives.
Painter George Catlin, 36, was painting and sketching hundreds of portraits of Indian life. He advocated the preservation of nature as a deliberate national policy: Observing Sioux Indians on the Great Plains recklessly slaughtering buffalo in order to trade the animals' tongues for the white man's whiskey, he proposed the creation of a national park (an idea that bore fruit with Yellowstone Park 40 years later).
Prussian Prince Alexander Philip Maximilian of Wied, 50, accompanied by painter Carl Bodmer, 23, began a 2-year natural science expedition in America. They landed in Boston, traveled to Indiana and St. Louis, MO, and then went up the Missouri River. Maximilian collected specimens, studied the Indians, and kept detailed accounts in diaries and other documents. Bodmer painted and drew the landscapes, vegetation, animals, and Indians they saw.
Army Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bourneville, 36, led a wagon-train expedition (including Independence, MO, trapper-guide Joseph Reddeford Walker, 34, that would take 3 years from Fort Osage on the Missouri River bound for the Columbia River. Bourneville was the first to prove that wagons could be taken over South Pass.
Nathaniel Wyeth, 30, intending to make a business out of pickled Columbia River salmon, dispatched the brig Ida around Cape Horn to Oregon. At the same time he went with 24 men and boys in flexible vehicles he called "amphibia" overland, by railway, road, and steamboat from Boston to St. Louis, and then with guides William and Milton Sublette, brothers, to the Snake River (who insisted that the amphibia be dropped), and then on to the French wooded country called Boisé, to Fort Walla Walla (a Hudson's Bay Company outpost), and then by boat reaching Fort Vancouver 233 days out of Boston, 190 days out of St. Louis. Unfortunately, the Ida had been lost at sea. Wyeth returned to Boston overland.
Naturalist and ornithologist John James Audubon, 47, published The Quadrupeds of North America with the help of Reverend John Bachman of Charleston.
Edmund Ruffin published Essay on Calcerous Manures, a manual on soil chemistry. He had introduced the use of calcium-rich "marl," which could counteract the acidity of the worn-out tobacco fields of the Upper South, and by combining marl dressings with improved drainage and plowing, Ruffin showed that corn and wheat yields could be tripled.
The Roman emperor look continued to be fashionable for men.
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), Garrison's The Liberator, and Spirit of the Times. 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.
Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, 24, won 20 encores at the City Theater in Louisville, KY, for his blackface song-and-dance set Jim Crow.
The song "America," with lyrics by Boston Baptist minister Samuel Francis Smith, 23, was released and became popular. Other popular songs included "Home Sweet Home," "Old Dan Tucker," and "Jim Crow," and "New York" (or "Oh, What a Charming City").
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. Scots merchants of the "château clique," which was led by Chief Justice Jonathan Sewall (son of an old Massachusetts Loyalist) and which supported the Governor and kept the agitators in check, wanted development and improvements. Louis Joseph Papineau, Speaker of the Assembly, combined with Scots liberal John Neilson and Irishman Edmund B. O'Callaghan to agitate for more responsible government. A cholera epidemic wiped out many in Lower Canada; it was blamed on the British. There was a Montréal Massacre (parallel to the 1770 Boston Massacre). Patriotic demands were incorporated into 92 resolutions. The patriots decided to boycott British goods and wore homespun.
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. Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists--recent immigrants from the British Isles and the United States--pressed for public money from the dominant old-Tory Anglicans and Northern Ireland Presbyterians, as well as for an overhaul of the public land system. 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), insisted on reserving a seventh of every 640-acre township for the Crown and another seventh for the Church--reserves that obstructed roads, retarded settlement, and were generally a nuisance. In addition, the clique granted immense untaxed private lands to favorites. The Opposition was led by William Lyon Mackenzie, 36, publisher of the Colonial Advocate, of York; he was repeatedly elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, and was repeatedly expelled for libel.
The American settlers in the Mexican territory of Texas who had been oppressed by martial law under the dictatorship--including those led by swashbuckling empresarios Stephen Fuller Austin, 39, Robert Leftwich, Hayden Edwards, Green De Witt, Ben Milam, James Powers, David G. Burnet (formerly of Ohio, who had been a soldier of fortune 26 years earlier in a failed Venezuelan revolution), and Branch Tanner Archer, 42 (who had fled Virginia after winning a duel)--drove the Bustamente forces out of Anahuac, Velasco, Goliad, and Nacogdoches, demonstrating thereby the superiority of their long rifles over the weapons of the poorly led vagabond Mexican troops. Former Tennessee Governor Sam Houston, 39, pictured at right, a Jackson protegé who had been living among the Cherokees in present-day Oklahoma, then entered Texas, probably as a Jackson secret agent to investigate its prospects as an American possession. Houston joined Austin and others at San Felipe de Austin who were drafting a constitution for Texas as a Mexican province in its own right, separate from Coahuila.
Thomas O. Larkin, 30, arrived in Monterey, Alta California, from the Carolinas, opened a store and began trading with Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands in lumber, flour, and other goods.
The British occupied the Falkland Islands, off the coast of Argentina. None of the Argentine gauchos were there, thanks to the naval operation of U.S. Captain Silas Duncan the year before.
The British Parliament passed reform legislation to redistribute Parliamentary seats to end the rural overrepresentation in the "nomination" boroughs: 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 House of Lords again defeated the Bill (which had overwhelmingly passed the House of Commons) by 44 votes. Earl Grey, the Prime Minister, asked King William IV to create enough new peers to carry the Bill. The King refused and his Cabinet resigned. The King asked Tories Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, 63, and Robert Peel, 44, to form a government that would carry Reform as they had done in 1829 with Catholic Emancipation. Peel, with conscientious conservatism, refused these terms.
Meanwhile, there were plans throughout the country for strikes and a refusal to pay taxes. There was a run on the Bank of England. Radical leaders promised to paralyze any Tory government that came to power. Wellington had to concede defeat.
The King then called Earl Grey and Henry Brougham to St. James's Palace to draw up a plan to pack the House of Lords with new peers who would vote for Reform. At the same time, he sent a message to leading Tories in the House of Lords, suggesting that they could avoid a packed House of Lords by abstaining from voting on the Reform Bill.
They did abstain, and the Reform Act passed the House of Lords. The upper middle classes were enfranchised; the number of eligible voters doubled to about 1 million citizens. Parliamentary seats were redistributed to create constituencies in heretofore unrepresented "new" towns. Mill owners in the Midlands were enabled to agitate more effectively to remove high tariffs on foodstuffs from overseas.
William Ewart Gladstone, 23, was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative M.P. from Newark.
Parliament appointed a royal commission to investigate the Poor Law, which was costing the nation £7 million annually (or 10 shillings per capita).
Parliament passed the Anatomy Act, allowing a person to bequeath his body for medical research, ending the need for body snatching.
The cholera epidemic spreading from India through Russia and central Europe reached Scotland and began killing there. Scots physician Thomas Latta at Leith saved one patient by injecting a saline solution into him.
The Duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon, died at the age of 21.
The first French railroad line, between St. Etienne and Andrézieux, began to carry passengers.
Austrian statesman and political writer Friedrich von Gentz died at the age of 66.
The cholera epidemic spreading from India through Russia and central Europe reached Greece and killed thousands.
President Jackson sent the U.S. frigate Potomac to attack the Sultan of Quallah Battoo on the coast of Sumatra, to retaliate for the American ship Friendship out of Salem having been ambushed and plundered, her crew slaughtered.
German naturalist and industrialist Karl von Reichenbach, 44, isolated creosote in wood tar; French shipbuilder Pierre Louis Frédéric Sauvage, 47, patented a screw propeller for steamships; and English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone, 30, invented the stereoscope.
Amongst the great body of the people at the present moment, sexual intercourse is the only gratification, and thus, by a most unfortunate concurrence of adverse circumstances, population goes on augmenting at a period when it ought to be restrained. To better the condition of the labouring classes, that is, to place more food and comforts before them, however paradoxical it may appear, is the wisest mode to check redundancy.… When [the Irish] are better fed they will have other enjoyments at command than sexual intercourse, and their numbers, therefore, will not increase in the same proportion as at present.(43)English utilitarian philosopher and economist Jeremy Bentham died at the age of 84, and German pantheistic philosopher Karl C. F. Krause died at the age of 51.
Quoted in Trager, op. cit., p. 422. (Close)
French political cartoonist Honoré Daumier, 24, was imprisoned for 6 months for his satirical lithographs of King Louis Philippe as Gargantua gorging himself on the earnings of the working class and spitting them back into the arms of the ruling elite.
German composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn, 23, produced Overture to The Hebrides and Symphony No. 5 in D Minor (Reformation); French composer Hector Berlioz, 29, produced Symphonie Fantastique (the revised version); French composer Ferdinand Hérold, 41, produced Le Pré aux clercs; Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, 35, produced L'Elisir d'Amore in Milan; and French composer Jean Scheitzhoeffer (music) and Italian ballet master Filippo Taglioni, 55, produced La Sylphide, which featured Taglioni's daughter Marie, 28, in the title role. Italian composer and pianist Muzio Clementi died at the age of 80, Spanish tenor composer and singing teacher Manuel García died at the age of 57, and German composer and conductor Karl Friedrich Zelter died at the age of 75.
French novelist Honoré de Balzac, 33, published Le Colonel Chabert; French novelist and playwright Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, Baronne Dudevant (George Sand), 28, who was shocking Paris by wearing trousers, published Indiana; French poet and dramatist Casimir Delavigne, 39, produced the drama Louis XI; Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau, 30, published Gedichte; Italian author Silvio Pellico, 44, published Le Mie prigioni; Polish poet Adam Bernard Mickiewicz, 34, published Pan Tadeusz ("Master Thaddeus"); and Russian poet Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, 33, published Eugene Onegin. German Sturm und Drang philosopher novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe died at the age of 82; his Faust: Part II was published posthumously. The celebrated German actor Ludwig Devrient died at the age of 48.