Pastor Perry Cole, replaced during this year with Thomas Lape, 34, 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).
There were 72 members of the congregation at the ending of Pastor Cole's pastorate, and increase of 85 percent in 6 years.
The new pastor, Reverend Lape, was a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, receiving his A.M. degree in theology 10 years earlier. During the previous decade, he had served as pastor of the Lutheran Church in Johnstown, NY, and he had been one of the founders of the Hartwick Synod. He earned a reputation as a
clear, methodical preacher … instructive … gentle, amiable, cheerful and faithful pastor; … a humble Christian, and a sincere friend. He stood well among the Lutheran clergy of the State.(1)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:
Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], draft, quoting the 1879 tribute presented by Rev. P. A. Strobel, of the Hartwick Synod obituary committee. (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."(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, pp. 45-46, is citing Wentz, Abdel Ross, A Basic History of Lutheranism in America [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1955], p. 92. (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, 44, was Woodstock Town Supervisor.
All over the Catskills, including along our Sawkill, smelly tanneries had been 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 "young colonel" William W. Edwards. 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.
Hard times continued to plague the tanning business, and the price of leather had plunged, Pratt printed mottoes to be distributed throughout his village: "Honesty in the best policy," "Do well, and doubt not," "Be just, and fear not," and so on; his business muddled through. Likewise, the New York Tannery enjoyed good business practices of the young colonel. Other tanneries were not so lucky. Many turnpikes that reached the hemlock stands were now neglected or partly abandoned; Sullivan County tanners who could get their hides and ship their leathers over the Delaware and Hudson Canal had an advantage over those further north.
Samuel Chichester set up a furniture factory in Edwardsville, using waterpower and factory methods, not far from the New York Tannery. He employed 40 men to make chairs with cane and wooden seats.
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, 60, 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.
Many mountain folk were leaving for western New York and for Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.
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.
Livingston was now struggling to keep his Esopus Creek Navigation Company up and running.(5)
The material on the Esopus Creek Navigation Company is from ibid., pp. 171-78. (Close)
This company proposed to enable the peeled logs from the numerous tanneries in the Catskills to be shipped downstream to Kingston. The Esopus and the Beaverkill were to be cleared of obstructions, and booms would be built to prevent numerous mills to be damaged from floating logs. From Kingston, the logs could be floated downstream to market in New York City. Labor--the dangerous work on the rafts--would be provided by all his numerous tenants who were in arrears on their rent (in other words, either get on the rafts or be evicted). It was nearly impossible to get the recalcitrant tenants to do what he wanted them to, however, and by this year his company was falling apart.
So was Livingston's health: He was suffering nervous anxiety and rheumatic attacks that left him quite lame.
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.(6)Another resident doctor was Dr. John Fiero, 30. 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.
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.
Kingston entrepreneurs were able to get an enterprise chartered for building a railroad to follow the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike, through Wittenberg and on to Delaware County, in order to enable tanners in the Catskills to haul out stripped logs to market on the Hudson. (The railroad was never built, however.)
Milo Barber's inn in Shandaken on the shore of the Esopus was a favorite of trout fishermen.
Having survived nearly going out of business in 1834 because of an upturn in the general economy, James Powers's 12-year-old commodious hotel, the Catskill Mountain House near Kaaterskill Clove, continued to operate, but the principal creditor, the management of the mortgage-holding Catskill Bank, was watching developments nervously.
The once-plentiful balsam fir was disappearing from the Catskills. New York City nurseryman Michael Floy sent his son, Michael Floy, Jr., to the neighborhood of the Catskill Mountain House to dig up some balsam fir, he reported that he could find not a one. Floy obtained some 200 trees from other parts of the Catskills, far from the hotel, however.
The New York Democratic Party Tammany organization was split over the subject of "monopolies": chartered turnpikes, railroads, banks, and manufacturing corporations. At the meeting, the conservatives turned off the gas lighting, but the radicals lit candles with the new "locofoco" safety matches and continued the debate, organizing the Equal Rights Party and drew up a slate of candidates. The "Locofocos," as they were called, aimed to control the Democratic Party in order to establish hard money, abolish charter privileges, and make representatives more accountable to their constituents.
Andrew Jackson (Democrat), 68, was President. The newly elected 24th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $18.81 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Thousands of Irish and German immigrants came to the United States.
Irish immigrants drove Whigs from the polls in New York City; they put the mayor and sheriff's posse to flight with their "Irish confetti"--brickbats.
James Gordon Bennett, 40, publisher of the Biddle-patronized New York Courier and Enquirer, began publishing the New York Herald, a 4-page penny paper specializing in crime news and society gossip.
A fire in New York City destroyed 674 buildings, resulting in losses of more than $20 million ($376 million in 2006 dollars).
A French visitor to the U.S. exclaimed about the Yankee Americans:
Tall, slender, and light of figure, the American seems built expressly for labour; he has no equal for despatch of business. Nobody also can conform so easily to new situations and circumstances; he is always ready to adopt new processes and implements, or to change his occupation. He is a mechanic by nature; among us there is not a schoolboy who has not made a vaudeville, a ballad, or a republican or monarchial constitution; in Massachusetts and Connecticut, there is not a labourer who has not invented a machine or a tool. There is not a man of much consideration, who has not his scheme for a railroad, a project for a village or a town, or who has not in petto some grand speculation in the drowned lands of Red River, in the cotton lands of the Yazoo, or in the corn fields of Illinois. Eminently a pioneer, the American who is not more or less Europeanised, the pure Yankee, in a word, is not only a working man, but he is a migratory one. He has no root in the soil, he has no feeling of reverence, and love for the natal spot and the paternal roof; he is always disposed to emigrate, always ready to start in the first steamer that comes along, from the place where he had but just now landed. He is devoured with a passion for locomotion, he cannot stay in one place; he must go and come, he must stretch his limbs and keep his muscles in play. When his feet are not in motion, his fingers must be in action, he must be whittling a piece of wood, cutting the back of his chair, or notching the edge of the table, or his jaws must be at work grinding tobacco. Whether it be that a continual competition has given him the habit, or that he has an exaggerated estimate of the value of time, or that the unsettled state of everything around him, keeps his nervous system in a state of perpetual agitation, or that he has come thus from the hands of nature, he always has something to be done, he is always in a terrible hurry. He is fit for all sorts of work, except those which require slow and minute processes. The idea of these fills him with horror; it is his hell. "We are born in haste," says an American writer, "we finish our education on the run; we marry on the wing; we make a fortune at a stroke, and lose it in the same manner, to make and lose it again ten times over, in the twinkling of an eye. Our body is a locomotive, going at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour; our soul, a high-pressure engine; our life is like a shooting star, and death overtakes us at last like a flash of lightning."(7)
From Chevelier, Michael, Society, manners and politics in the United States; being a series of letters on North America (translated from the third Paris edition), Boston: Weeks, Jordan and Company, 1839, pp. 285-86, from "The Library of Congress: American Memory" (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem), accessed 23 January 2007. (Close)
There was beginning to be an oversupply of workers, and factory owners were beginning to treat their employees like machines. The factories had become larger, utilizing steam-powered machinery. More laborers worked longer hours for lower wages. Instead of planned villages with boarding houses and parks, the dwellings of the workers were dark, dingy hovels in the shadow of the factory. Owners hired entire families.
The factory day began early. A whistle sounded at 4 a.m. Father, mother, and children dressed in the dark and headed off to work. At 7:30 a.m. and at noon, the whistle announced breakfast and lunch breaks. The workday did not end until 7:30 p.m., when a final whistle sent workers home.
Hours were long, wages were low, and meals were skimpy and hastily gulped. On the job, factory workers faced discomfort and danger. Workers were forced to toil in unsanitary buildings that were poorly ventilated, lighted, and heated. In summer, the heat and humidity were stifling. In winter, the cold chilled workers' bones and contributed to frequent illnesses.
The factory's machines had no safety devices, and accidents were common. Owners ignored the hazards. There were no laws regulating factory conditions. Injured workers often lost their jobs.
Workers were forbidden by law to form labor unions to raise wages, for such cooperative activity was regarded as a criminal conspiracy. (For example, during this year, some 27,000 workers gathered in New York City Hall Park, demonstrating against the conviction of 25 union tailors on the charge of "conspiracy.") There was now considerable agitation for reducing the workday to 10 hours and for the right to smoke on the job. Employers, abhorring the rise of the "rabble" in politics, fought the 10-hour day furiously. They argued that reduced hours would lessen production, increase costs, and demoralize the workers. Laborers would have so much leisure time that the Devil would lead them into mischief. Most of the strikes the workers lost; the employer would import strikebreakers ("scabs" or "rats"), often immigrants fresh off the boat.
Especially vulnerable to exploitation were child workers. Nearly half the nation's industrial toilers were children under the age of 10. Victims of factory labor, many children were mentally blighted, emotionally starved, physically stunted, and even brutally whipped in special "whipping rooms."
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.
Nearly every household had an outdoor privy (hardly anyone had a water closet, which, anyway, was considered very unsanitary).
The United States government was free from debt; there was even a surplus. President Andrew Jackson commented:
Let us commemorate the payment of the public debt as an event that gives us increased power as a nation and reflects luster on our Federal Union.(8)
Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 164. (Close)
State banks, no longer restrained by the Bank of the United States, lent money with very little regard to their reserves. Land speculation was causing a large augmentation in bank notes in circulation, and prices were rising. New York City, with a population of 250,000, laid out and sold enough house lots to support a population of 2 million. In Chicago, with less than 3,000 people, most of the land within a 25-mile radius had been sold, and then resold in small lots, in anticipation of a huge influx of population. Farmers in the West mortgaged their land to buy more land from the government, and then borrowed even more against their new deeds. Federal income from the sale of lands was $14.8 million ($278.3 million in 2006 dollars), three times what it had been the year before, nearly six times what it had been two years before.
Actually, the United States was not free of debt. The debt had been transferred from the land-selling government to private hands.
The newly elected 24th Congress began investigating charges of misuse of funds in the Post Office Department, and Postmaster General William Taylor Barry, 50, resigned in protest, denouncing the inquiry as a political move to discredit the Jackson Administration. Jackson appointed him minister to Spain, but he died on the way there. Jackson appointed Kitchen Cabinet member Amos Kendall of Kentucky, 46, the new Postmaster General.
President Jackson appointed Acting Treasury Secretary Roger Brooke Taney of Maryland, 58, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate, who had refused to confirm his appointment as Treasury Secretary, also refused to confirm this new appointment.
French aristocrat Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clarel de Tocqueville, 35, published his first volume of La Démocracie en Amérique ("Democracy in America"), describing his impressions of the United States after his 1831 tour through eastern Canada, New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and New Orleans, on a commission to study the penitentiary system in America.
Nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of conditions.… All classes meet continually and no haughtiness at all results from the differences in social position. Everyone shakes hands.… [While the American passion for equality] tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great… there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.He noted that law, religion, and the press provided bulwarks against democratic despotism.(9)
There was now nearly 1100 miles of railway in the United States.
At the funeral of Congressman Warren Ransom Davis of South Carolina, the assassin Richard Lawrence, 35, an unmarried house painter, brandished a pair of dueling pistols at President Jackson, clearly intending to kill him. Amazingly, both pistols misfired. There was immediate suspicion that Jackson's enemies had been behind the attempt. South Carolina Senator John Caldwell Calhoun, 53, rose on the floor of the Senate and denied any complicity. Massachusetts Congressman John Quincy Adams, 68, proclaimed his allegiance to the President. Lawrence was later judged to be insane, even believing that he was the rightful King of England and that Jackson stood between him and the throne. He was confined in a madhouse.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall died at the age of 80. As the Liberty Bell was tolling for him, it cracked. One New York City newspaper rejoiced at his death:
The chief place in the supreme tribunal of the Union will no longer be filled by a man whose political doctrines led him always . . . to strengthen government at the expense of the people.(10)
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 249. (Close)
President Jackson advised a supporter on how to tell the difference between Democrats (still widely known by their original name "Democratic-Republicans" or simply "Republicans"), on the one hand, and "Whigs, nullies, and blue-light federalists," on the other hand:
The people ought to inquire [of political candidates]--are you opposed to a national bank; are you in favor of a strict construction of the Federal and State Constitutions; are you in favor of rotation in office; do you subscribe to the republican rule that the people are the sovereign power, the officers their agents, and that upon all national or general subjects, as well as local, they have a right to instruct their agents and representatives, and they are bound to obey or resign; in short, are they true Republicans agreeable to the true Jeffersonian creed?(11)
Quoted in ibid., p. 293. (Close)
Bell-voiced preacher Charles Grandison Finney, 43, 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. Finney established a theological department at Oberlin College, and he published Lectures on Revivals of Religion. He was part of the "Second Great Awakening."(12)
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.(13)
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, p. 437; 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. 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.
The Second Great Awakening was one of the most momentous episodes in the history of American religion.(14)
Quoted extensively from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 330-32; Wellman, op. cit., 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.(15)
The optimistic promises of the Second Great Awakening inspired countless souls to do battle against earthly evils.(16)
Quoted extensively from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 336-37. (Close)
The idealists dreamed anew the old Puritan vision of a perfected society: free from cruelty, war, intoxicating drink, discrimination, and--ultimately--slavery. Women were particularly prominent in these reform crusades, especially in their own struggle for suffrage. For many middle-class women, the reform campaigns provided a unique opportunity to escape the confines of the home and enter the arena of public affairs. In part, the practical, activist Christianity of these reformers resulted from their desire to reaffirm traditional values as they plunged ever further into a world disrupted and transformed by the turbulent forces of a market economy.
John Humphrey Noyes, 24, a founder of the Free Church of New Haven, continued to advocate the doctrine of perfectionism, holding that a person could become sinless by working at it.
Joseph Smith, 30, pictured here, now of Kirtland, OH, was the "Prophet" of the 5-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 (in spite of the hatred from local "gentiles" [non-Mormons]) but was waiting for word from its scout Oliver Hervy Pliny Cowdery, 29, who had been commissioned to find the sect's "Zion" somewhere in the vicinity of Missouri (and had started a satellite congregation in Independence, MO). Meanwhile, construction work on the church's first temple continued in Kirtland.
The Reverend Charles Giles addressed temperance reformers that
500,000 drunkards are now living in our blessed America, all moving onward to the dreadful verge. What a scene of immolation!(17)
Quoted in Wallechinsky and Wallace, op. cit. (Close)
Physician Charles Knowlton, 35, of Cambridge, MA, was imprisoned for 3 months for publishing the pamphlet Fruits of Philosophy, advocating contraception to combat overpopulation.
Physician Harriet Kezia Hunt, 30, began her medical practice among women and children, even though she had twice been refused admission to Harvard Medical School because of her gender. She advocated diet, exercise, hygiene, and mental health. She also defied tradition by remaining single.
The 2-year-old Oberlin College in Ohio, admitting both men and women, a hotbed of abolitionism, began admitting blacks.
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, 30, pictured here, editor of the Liberator, was mobbed, dragged half-naked through the streets at the end of a rope, and almost lynched by some 200 Boston proslavers (the so-called Broadcloth Mob of textile workers) who were enraged by his claims that "all men are created equal" (and whose livelihood would be threatened by the abolition of slavery). He was lodged in the Leverett Street jail overnight for his own safety. Wendell Phillips, 24, seeing this brutality, gave up his law career and decided to become an abolitionist himself.
Free black Arthur Lee Freeman petitioned the General Assembly of Virginia for permission to remain in the state despite a law against the residency of free blacks. After asserting Freeman's upstanding moral character, his advocate implored:
He therefore most respectfully and earnestly prays that you will pass a law permitting him on the score of long and meritorious service to remain in the State, together with his wife and four children, and not to force him in his old age to seek a livelihood in a new Country.(18)
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 366. (Close)
Abolitionists began petitioning the 24th Congress to abolish slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia, over which Congress had exclusive jurisdiction and which had become a shipping point for slaves from Virginia and Maryland to the cotton states. From the windows of the Capitol one could see coffles of chained slaves marching by, guarded by armed men. Slave auctions were common in the District. Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, 58, pictured at left, inquired why members of Congress should be continually "outraged" by scenes "so inexcusable and detestable." But Senator Calhoun, pictured at right, insisted that any intermeddling with slavery in Washington would be
a foul slander on nearly one-half the States of the Union.(19)
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 522. (Close)
A mob in Charleston, SC, looted the post office and burned a pile of abolitionist propaganda. Capitulating to Southern pressures, the federal government ordered Southern postmasters to destroy abolitionist material and called on Southern state officials to arrest federal postmasters who did not comply.
Gerrit Smith of Kentucky, 38, commented on the growing suppression of free discussion in the South, in response to abolition agitation:
It has now become absolutely necessary that slavery should cease in order that freedom may be preserved in any portion of the land.(20)
Quoted in ibid., p. 521. (Close)
One uncouth Georgian was heard to say the following at a slave auction(21):
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, pp. 334-35, quoting Stanley M. Elkins, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959, p. 131; also from Schwartz, Marie Jenkins., Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 110-12. Schwartz and many other scholars reject Elkins's childlike "Sambo" portrait of the slave and any notion that modern social problems associated with the black family were rooted in slavery. Lawrence Levine, in particular, in his Black Culture and Black Consciousness (1977), emphasized the tenacity with which slaves maintained their own culture, using the "Sambo" character as an act to confound the masters without incurring punishment. Historians now attempt to avoid the polarity of repression versus autonomy, asserting the debasing oppression of slavery while also acknowledging the slaves' ability to resist enslavement's dehumanizing effects. (Close)
You can manage ordinary niggers by lickin' 'em and by givin' 'em a taste of hot iron once in a while when they're extra ugly.… But if a nigger ever sets himself up against me, I can't never have any patience with him. I just get my pistol and shoot him right down; and that's the best way.The price of Negroes being what it was, this was probably just talk, but bad talk, harmful to speaker and listener alike.
Connecticut showman Phineas Taylor Barnum, 25, began his career by exhibiting black slave Joyce Heth, alleged to be George Washington's nurse and over 160 years old.
Henry Stannard won the 10-mile foot race in just under an hour at Union Course on Long Island, NY, winning a $1,000 purse ($18,810 in 2006 dollars) in front of 30,000 spectators. His first mile was 5:36, and his last 5:54.
A cast iron bridge was built over Dunlap's Creek in Brownsville, PA.
The French Chamber of Deputies had been stalling on paying the $80.7 million ($1.52 billion in 2006 dollars) the French government was supposed to pay the United States, according to an 1831 treaty, and it looked like war between the U.S. and France might result. In 1834, President Jackson had recommended that Congress pass a law "authorizing reprisals upon French property" unless the debt was paid promptly, and the French had been insulted. Finally, the Chamber of Deputies voted the money on condition that the French King receive des explications satisfaisantes of the President's message. Jackson flew into a rage, as though he had been challenged to a duel.
"I saw today for the first time a Rail Way Car," wrote Christopher Baldwin.
What an object of wonder! How marvelous it is in every particular. It appears like a thing of life.… I cannot describe the strange sensation produced on seeing the train of cars come up. And when I started in them… it seemed like a dream.(22)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), pp. 70-71. (Close)
Unfortunately, the treaty had never been signed by any official representative of the Cherokee Nation. After news of the treaty became public, these elected officials, led by John Ross, instantly objected that they had not approved it, and that the document was invalid. John Ross and the Cherokee tribal council begged the Senate not to ratify it.
At the end of December, Seminoles and their black slaves massacred all but 3 of a 110-man U.S. Army contingent under Major Francis L. Dade. Here is what one of the survivors reported(23):
Quoted in Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 145. (Close)
It was 8 o'clock. Suddenly I heard a rifle shot… followed by a musket shot.… I had not time to think of the meaning of these shots, before a volley, as if from a thousand rifles, was poured in upon us from the front, and all along our left flank.… I could only see their heads and arms, peering out from the long grass, far and near, and from behind the pine trees.
French immigrant Odet Philippe, former surgeon for Napoleon, settled around Tampa Bay, beginning the village of St. Petersburg, FL.
Millions of acres of U.S. public lands were offered for sale, inspiring Americans to move west of the Appalachians.
John Chapman, 60, 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."
Army Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bourneville, 39, concluded his wagon-train expedition (including Independence, MO, trapper-guide Joseph Reddeford Walker, 37, from Fort Osage on the Missouri River bound for the Columbia River and back. He made his report available to President Jackson
Richard Henry Dana, 20, a Harvard dropout, continued his 2-year voyage as a seaman on the brig Pilgrim, sailing around Cape Horn to California. (He would later describe the deplorable living conditions of ordinary seamen in a novel.)
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, New York Mirror, National Preacher, Ladies' Magazine Lady's Book (Godey's Lady's Book), Ladies' Companion, Knickerbocker Magazine, Liberator (abolitionist), Emancipator (abolitionist), 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. The Reverend John Todd, 35, published Student Manual, which warned of the "dangers" of masturbation (sections that, because of anxiety of introducing the "vice" to those not aware of it, he put into Latin [translated here], presuming that students who knew Latin were already acquainted with masturbation)(24):
From Potts, Malcolm, and Campbell, Martha, "History of Contraception" in Gynecology and Obstetrics VI: 8 (2002), (big.berkeley.edu/ifplp.history.pdf, accessed 9 February 2008). (Close)
A miser will frequently become wealthy--not because he has a great income but because he saves with the utmost care.… No light, except that of the ultimate God, can uncover the practice of pouring out by hand (the vicious act of Onan), in spite of its frequency and constancy.… I have seen some come to premature death, some in academic halls, some very quickly after leaving college… the memory is much debilitated, the mind greatly deteriorated and foolishly weakened and it bears the deadly seeds of sickness.Todd's book would be reprinted with as many as 24 new editions over the following 19 years.
The song "Amazing Grace," composed in 1789, was finally published and soon became popular. Other popular songs included "Home Sweet Home," "America," and "Old Zip Coon" (later known as "Turkey in the Straw").
In Lower Canada (Quebec) French Canadian Louis Joseph Papineau, Speaker of the Assembly, had combined with Scots liberal John Neilson and Irishman Edmund B. O'Callaghan to agitate for a government more accountable to the people than the "château clique," led by Chief Justice Jonathan Sewall (son of an old Massachusetts Loyalist). The government had rejected all the patriotic demands, including the minimum proposal, to let the voters choose the legislative council. The patriots were now boycotting British goods and wearing homespun. Young men continued organizing as Fils de la liberté ("Sons of Liberty"), and the countryside was secretly arming, displaying the tricolor, and calling extralegal conventions.
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.
William Lyon Mackenzie, 40, publisher of the Colonial Advocate, Mayor of Toronto, and Opposition leader in Upper Canada's Legislative Assembly, continued pushing his moderate program of land reform. Unfortunately, since he had become anticlerical, he had lost the support of the Methodists and Orangemen Presbyterians.
U.S. President Andrew Jackson offered $500,000 ($9.4 million in 2006 dollars) for San Francisco Bay in Alta California, but the Mexican government refused the offer.
I left Matamoros on the 12th of the present month. All vessels in the port were embargoed for the purpose of transporting troops to the coast of Texas. The commandant, General Cos, forbid all foreigners from leaving the city under any circumstances. I run away and succeeded in getting this far safe. Three thousand troops had reached Saltillo on their way to Texas. All this may or may not be news to you.(25)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 150. (Close)
Texans formed Committees of Safety, and men began to drill as militia companies. There were several small skirmishes, but General Cos's forces were able to capture and occupy San Antonio de Bexar. Stephen Fuller Austin, 42, arrived back in Texas after his 2-year incarceration in Mexico City, for having offended Mexican authorities by suggesting an autonomous status for Texas. Santa Anna had released him, hoping he would counsel peace. But now Austin advocated independence:
War is our only recourse. There is no other remedy. We must defend our rights, ourselves, and our country, by force of arms.(26)
Quoted in ibid., p. 151. (Close)
A detachment of 200 Mexican cavalry attempted to seize a six-pounder cannon in Gonzales, which the Americans had used for Fourth of July salutes. They were routed by 168 Texans, armed with long rifles, under Colonel John H. Moore. Another Texas posse under Captain Collingsworth captured Goliad, with its two artillery pieces, 300 muskets, and about $10,000 in military payroll ($188,100 in 2006 dollars). When Austin arrived in Goliad, he assumed command of this rebel "army" of 350 men, soon considerably augmented by volunteers, many directly from the United States.
Sam Houston, 42, pictured here, went to Washington to appeal for U.S. aid.
It appears that Santana [sic] has succeeded in uniting the whole of the Mexicans against Texas by making it a national war against heretics,Houston wrote U.S. President Jackson.
Let the President and the Cabinet and the Congress come out openly and at once, and proclaim their opinions--let Texas have some of the $37,000,000 [$696 million in 2006 dollars] now in the national treasury--let the war in Texas become a National war, above board, and thus respond to the noble feelings of the American people. Who can deny that it is a national war in reality--a war in which every free American who is not a fanatic, abolitionist, or cold-hearted recreant to the interests in honor and principles, country and countrymen, who is not an icicle in soul and practice, is deeply, warmly, ardently interested.…(27)President Jackson could not devote federal funds to the cause, but he probably did influence New York financiers, who lent Texas $100,000 ($1,89 million in 2006 dollars). Austin obtained other loans from private individuals, secured by Texas land.
Quoted in ibid., p. 173. (Close)
Hundreds of Americans came to Texas to help the rebels, at their own expense, from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana, as well as other states. New Orleans sent two companies of cavalry, the "New Orleans Grays" in their natty gray uniforms.
The rebels marched on San Antonio de Bexar. Bowie, now a Colonel, led an advance force of 92, which routed a Mexican detachment of more than 350 infantry and cavalry. Austin, with 1100 men, hesitated to attack San Antonio, so Houston was appointed Generilissimo (commander-in-chief) over his head. Austin was sent as a commissioner to Washington to secure supplies for the rebels, and Colonel Edward Burleson took command of the forces before San Antonio.
Burleson also hesitated, to the dismay of his forces, which dwindled to about 800. Colonel Ben Milam decided to lead the men on the attack. The Texans burrowed their way from house to house up the streets, avoiding thereby General Cos's cannons and picking off the men who manned them. Finally, after losing nearly 400 men, Cos surrendered his surviving army of 1105, 21 artillery pieces, 500 muskets, and an abundance of other war matériel. The Texans lost only 2 in their attack, including Colonel Milam, who was succeeded by Colonel Francis Johnson. Cos and his men were disarmed and paroled--sent marching south to the Rio Grande. No Mexican soldier remained in Texas.
James Bowie invented the knife named after him. He had broken his sword 20 inches from the hilt in a fight with a Mexican, so he filed the edge sharp and made it into an awesome weapon (later called "Arkansas toothpick").
Texas settlers combined various Mexican ground peppers to create chili powder.
Juan Manuel de Rosas established a dictatorship in Argentina.
The British Parliament passed the Municipal Corporations Act to ensure a uniform plan of government throughout most of the boroughs and cities of England.
Workers in Great Britain continued to demand the return of the "Tolpuddle martyrs"--George Loveless and five other workers who had been arrested for setting up a union lodge in Tolpuddle near Dorchester the previous year and who had been "transported" to Australia or Tasmania.
John Henry Newman, 34, at the Oriel College of Oxford University, delivered Tracts attacking the "national apostasy" of the Church of England in the Oxford Movement. The Church of England needed a basis in firm doctrine and discipline, rather than be an arm of the state. Was the Church of England a department of the Hannoverian state, to be governed by the forces of secular politics, or was it an ordinance of God? Were its pastors priests of the Catholic Church (as the Prayer Book insisted) or ministers of a Calvinistic sect? Did baptism bestow an indelible character on the soul? What does "consecration" of the eucharistic elements signify? Was the Reformation and Elizabethan Settlement a release from papal bondage, a disaster imposed by a heretical state, or a sophisticated via media between these two extremes? How were the "golden ages" of the early Church Fathers and Seventeenth Century Anglican theology to be recovered? Edward Bouverie Pusey, 35, focused his attention on the ritual observances of the Church.
The potato crop failed in the west of Ireland.
Plotters attempted to assassinate King Louis Philippe of France, but the attempt failed.
The Prussian Federal Diet banned the books of Heine, Börne, Gutzkow, and other "Young Germany" writers.
Prussian statesman Christian Gunther von Bernstorff died at the age of 66.
A railroad line between Nürnberg and Furth began operation.
Emperor Franz I of Austria, who had been the last Holy Roman Emperor as Franz II, died at the age of 67. He was succeeded (in Austria) by his son, Ferdinand I, 42.
The polka was introduced in Prague, Bohemia.
Insurgents forced Milosh Obrenovich, the autocratic ruler of Serbia, to convene a popular assembly and grant a constitution.
There were 11 million serfs in Russia, a 10% increase in the previous 15 years.
The Khan of Kabul, Dost Muhammad, 42, gained power over all of Afghanistan and took on the title of Emir, establishing the Barakzai Dynasty.
under the full assurance that the English Government has nothing more to require of us, and will allow us to govern ourselves without its interference in future.(28)The eastern part of the Cape Colony became seriously depopulated as a result.
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. 111. (Close)
John Batman, 34, and his associates from Tasmania joined West Australian rancher Edward Henty and his brothers in the area around Portland Bay, in what would become the colony of Victoria. The village of Melbourne (named for the British Prime Minister) was founded.
English pathologist James Paget, 21, detected the parasite Trichina spiralis, the source of trichinosis; chemists synthesized salicylic acid; and French engineer Gustav-Gaspard Coriolis, 43, described the effect named for him: the deflection of a moving body with respect to the Earth's rotation.
Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, 38, produced the opera Lucia di Lammermoor; French composer Ludovic Halévy produced La Juive (libretto by French vaudeville dramatist Augustin Eugène Scribe, 43); and Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin, 25, produced Grand Polonaise Brillante. Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini died at the age of 34 (as his opera I Puritani was being produced).
French landscape painter Jean-Babtiste-Camille Corot, 39, painted Hagar in the Desert. French historical painter Baron Antoine Jean Gros, 64, drowned himself in the Seine.