Pastor Ephraim DeYoe, conducting services at the third church building, which, like the second one, was known as 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).
We have no description of what it was like in the first or second church building, but here is a reminiscence(1)
Quoted from Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976], itself citing Nathaniel M. Nash. (Close)
about what the third was like in the 1850s (and, no doubt, in the 1840s as well):
My memory dates back fifty years, and that old church standing upon the rocks is the same in outward appearance now as it was then. The door in the center of the south end opened directly into the church, there being no vestibule or hall. The stove stood between the door and the first row of seats.… The stove was a solid cast iron stove … it took long wood and when it got hot it was awful hot. The pipe suspended by wire ran the whole length of the church to the chimney at the north end.… The seats were planed pine boards with backs and ends, and I think the hard side of the boards was up. I could not sit still on them. …Pastor DeYoe was serving at Ghent, in the conservative New York Ministerium, as well as in Woodstock, in the revivalist Hartwick Synod. Here is part of his report to the Ministerium:
The church was lighted with candles, a candlestick on each end post of the pulpit and tin candle holders hanging upon the wall--just enough of them to make darkness visible. Every little while the sexton would go around with the snuffers and snuff the candles and sometimes he would snuff too low when out would go the light.
There was no carpet on the floor.… There was no bell, so when it was time to commence service, someone would come out and tell those outside to come in.
We have been favored during the past year with the gracious outpourings of the Spirit of God. We held a series of meetings last winter which were blessed beyond our expectations. The church was greatly revived and many an impenitent person was heard inquiring, "What shall I do to be saved?"It was reported to the Hartwick Synod that
as a result of an interesting work of grace, 67 were added to the church.(2)We can only imagine the reception his report must have received from his older colleagues at the Ministerium!
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 48, citing Traver, Charles H., D.D., of West Camp, "History of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, N.Y., 1806-1906." (Close)
The Baptists organized and built a church near the junction of Mink Hollow Road and Route 212. It was known as the Second Baptist Church, an offshoot of the "First" church in Kingston.
Henry P. Shultis, 53, was reelected Woodstock Town Supervisor.
Region historian Alf Evers(3)
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. Until 1843, 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, had been the late Robert L. Livingston, who had dwelled in his Clermont estate on the other side of the Hudson. Livingston's heirs, his sons, socialite Eugene Augustus Livingston, 31, and painter Montgomery Livingston, 28, were trying to dispose of these holdings before they might lose them in the Anti-Rent War, which was now affecting their lands. They wanted to get a good price, however, and they wanted to collect the back rents that were due.
Together with all and singular the trees, woods and under woods to be made use of on the premises and nowhere else; saving and reserving to the party of the first part, her heirs and assigns, all water courses suitable for the erection of mills, with a right to erect mills or other works thereon with three acres of land adjacent, thereto; and also saving and reserving a right to erect dams and out ditches for the use of such water work. And also saving all mines or minerals found on the devised premises with the sole right to dig for and work the same, the said party of the first part compensating for any damage sustained thereby.…Just as in the previous 4 years, the legislature, dominated by the great landlords and their moneyed allies, did nothing to ameliorate the laws.
Yielding and paying therefore during the continuance of this present lease, yearly and every year the yearly rent of two fat hens and one day's labor, with a wagon, sled or plough with a yoke of oxen or pair of horses and a driver, at such time and place within ten miles as the party of the first part, her heirs and assigns shall require.…
And also it is further covenanted and agreed that upon every sale or assignment of the said premises… the party of the second part shall pay to the party of the first part one tenth part of the consideration money.(4)
Quoted in "Welcome Page of the Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site" (http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:WUORtZrvW34J: www.rootsweb.com/"nydelawa /books/murraysectionVIII. html+Delaware+County,Moses+Earl ,rent&hl=en&ie=UTF-8). (Close)
Encouraged by Dr. Smith Boughton of East Manor (who had participated in the 1837 Papineau Rebellion in Quebec) and by Thomas Ainge Devyr (who had fled England after the suppression of the 1837 Chartist Rebellion), farmers had been protesting in Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia, Ulster, and Schoharie counties, and many of them had been planning forcible resistance. Now sheriffs sent out to collect back rent for leaseholds in the Manor of Rensselaerwyck were being tarred and feathered. With pull-over sheepskin masks ornamented with false nose, fur, feathers, and tin, men so disguised as "Calico Indians," shouting "Down with the rent," burned the official papers of the sheriffs and other agents. Anti-Rent associations had been formed with elaborate attempts at secrecy. So-called "lecturers" among the tenants aroused every group of farmers that might listen to vote for whatever politician might cater to the Anti-Rent vote.
With liberal state Senator Erastus Root's blessings, some of these lecturers were dispatched to Delaware and Ulster counties, where they held enthusiastic rallies at Andes in Delaware County and at other venues. Many attendees took the secret oath to refuse to pay any more rent. Especially younger men joined the brotherhood of the Calico Indians. Many of the tenants on Livingston land had become convinced that the Livingston claims to the lands were invalid. Horace Greeley's New York Tribune urged testing the claims in court(5):
The following quotes and their "Downrenter" context are excerpted from Evers, op. cit., pp. 187ff. (Close)
We say let all disputed land titles be litigated… let whoever claims the land which another has redeemed from barrenness and now lives by cultivating show that it is his.…Woodstock farmers had already been withholding their rents and increasing their trespassing on Livingston land. On July 4, some 5,000 tenants met in Pine Hill on the Delaware County line to form an underground Anti-Rent organization in Woodstock, Olive, and Shandaken. The Kingston Democratic Journal, edited by Livingston lawyer W, H. Romeyn, noted the following:
Tenants who favor the opposition to the payment of rent dress in Indian fashion, and, as far as possible, in an uniform style wearing mostly frock coats, either of red or some other bright color, with a belt around the waist containing a scalping knife, pistol, etc., a false face cut out of leather, and cape ornamented in various ways.The Journal warned the Anti-Renters not to take any rash action.
Anti-Renters continued to organize, reserving their dinner horns to warn the approach of agents or a sheriff. Since their password was "Down with the Rent," they became known as Downrenters. Landlord adherents were correspondingly Uprenters (or Tories). Abram W. Hoffman of the Kingston Freeman noted (several years later) that the Downrenter organization
was patterned after the Irish patriotic societies of '98 … Each band of ten was known to their leader but not to the members of other bands. The leaders were known to the chief of the organization but not to each other. Thus was the danger of treachery discounted to the utmost. The meetings were in secluded forest glades to which they repaired secretly, only appearing to each other when fully disguised. The chiefs of the bands were disguised as squaws. The chief would hide a bag containing the disguises for his men in a thicket.The men would arrive one by one, don their disguises and then be led out by the "squaw" chief. Here is a ballad verse signifying the approach of a sheriff:
The horns will toot from door to doorAs the statewide elections approached, Downrenter fever rose in Woodstock. Livingston agent Henry P. Shultis was reelected as Town Supervisor by schmoozing with both Downrenters and Uprenters, and candidates for Governor and for the Assembly were trying to do the same thing. Whigs and "Locofoco" radical anticapitalist Democrats both appealed to the Downrenters. Montgomery Livingston was being solicited to run for the Assembly on the Uprenter Whig ticket in Columbia County, but he declined.
While old tin pans they clatter;
There's Indians scalping all around--
For Lord's sake what's the matter
Supervisor Shultis put all his energy behind the survey of Livingston land then in progress, conducted for Livingston heirs Eugene and Montgomery by expensive attorneys John Cochrane and his partner Rathbun. Shultis soothed the tenant suspicion and opposition to the survey by recommending the hiring of tenants on the survey crew. Surveyors Henry Ramsay of Schenectady and John B. Davis of Olive were trying to appraise each farm and swath of uncultivated wilderness, but many of the tenants were hostile.
Shultis helped the surveyors persuade tenants that the completed survey would enable the tenants to buy their own farms. This possibility inspired many to try to expand their holdings at the expense of their neighbors or depreciate their holdings to reduce the purchase price. Cochrane wrote to Montgomery in dismay:
I think I never knew a more mendacious race of depredators and rascals. I soon discovered that no one of these could be relied upon.Shultis was playing both sides as best he could: He sympathized with whichever Downrenter he met, and he secretly denounced them to his Livingston employers. Cochrane asked him for a list of Downrenter names, but Shultis neglected to answer the request.
The election installed U.S. Senator Silas Wright, 49, a Democrat and an Anti-Rent sympathizer, as Governor (to be inaugurated in 1845). Several Anti-Rent sympathizers were elected to the Assembly.
In December, two men died as a result of the tensions on Van Renssalaer lands, and Dr. Broughton was arrested and charged with murder. When he was thrown into the jail at Hudson, Columbia County Anti-Renters threatened to storm the jail and release him. Governor William Boucke ordered the militia to protect the jail.
Archibald Niven, Adjutant-General of the State Militia, ordered General Joseph S. Smith of Kingston to
hold the military companies under [his] command in readiness for prompt and energetic action.General Smith called up the Rondout Guards, the Ulster Grays, the Hurley Riflemen, and other militia units. They all paraded in Kingston at the end of December, demonstrating the distinct possibility for a violent confrontation in the coming weeks.
The New York Crown and Cylinder Glass Company of Bristol (Shady)--founded 34 years earlier by Stephen Stilwell as the Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company--was still in business, although it was suffering ups and downs. The company shipped its 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, its 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. Stephen L. Heath, whose house still stands just to the east of the old brick post office building on Tinker Street. Dr. Heath was active in politics and was commissioner of schools. He would ride his horse all the way to the end of Mink Hollow to deliver a baby--for a fee of $5.00 ($100.90 in 2006 dollars). 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.
Betsy Booth MacDaniel was a local herb doctor, nurse, and midwife, who had learned her craft from an "Indian doctor" on Tinker Street. She is said to have been able to cure consumption by herbal means.
Hudson Valley School landscape painter Charles Lanman, a fervent admirer of Thomas Cole, and a number of writer and painter friends stayed at the "Dutch farmhouse" of Levi Myer at the foot of Plattekill Clove. Lanman was sketching Overlook Mountain (then known as South Peak) and was very enthusiastic about it, as the following indicates:
Like a cornerstone, it stands at the junction of the northern and western ranges of the Catskills, and as its huge form looms up against the evening sky, it inspires one with awe, as if it were the ruler of the world; yet I have learned to love it as a friend. Its name, its image, and every tree, and shrub and vine, which springs from its rocky bosom, can never be forgotten. I have reflected upon it when reposing in the noonday sunshine, or enveloped in clouds, when holding communion with the most holy night, when trembling under the influence of a thunderstorm, or encircled by a rainbow. It has filled my soul with images of sublimity, and made me feel the omnipresence of God.(6)
Qutoed in Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, pp. 445-46, citing Lanman, Charles, Letters of a Landscape Painter, Boston, 1845, pp. 36-37. (Close)
Milo Barber's inn in Shandaken on the shore of the Esopus was a favorite of trout fishermen. The oldest inn in Roxbury, a noted haunt of fishermen, was now called the Hendrick Hudson House and was growing more and more elegant.
John Tyler, 54 (nominally a Whig) was President. The 28th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $20.18 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Thousands of German immigrants came to the United States, at an annual rate of 43,000.
Thousands of Irish immigrants also came to the United States, at an annual rate of 78,000. Any of them who had money left after their passage over the Atlantic became victims of waterfront sharpers.(7)
This description of the Irish immigrant experience liberally quoted from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, pp. 302-03. (Close)
"Runners," themselves immigrants a few years back, steered these gullible arrivals into run-down boarding houses and hovel hotels. They often conned them to voyage out west, promising first-class passage but delivering the worst possible accommodations. Eventually, the immigrants got word of this swindle and insisted on staying in the port city they had arrived at. Note the conditions in Ireland that led to the massive emigration of the Irish.
Many in the North resented the Irish and other immigrants, who were gathered in urban slums and voted in blocs according to what their political bosses told them to do. Anti-immigrant bigots, who had the previous year organized the American Republican Party, called for reforms in the naturalization laws, including a 20-year waiting period before citizenship could be conferred.
During the preceding year, a Catholic bishop had petitioned the Philadelphia school board to allow Catholic pupils to be able to use the Catholic Douay version of the Bible rather than the King James version and to be exempted from other, Protestant religious exercises. Local anti-Catholics had been enraged and had started a vilification campaign: "The Pope reigns in Philadelphia" had been a headline in their weekly newspaper. Now, during the spring municipal election, nativist American Republican voters were driven from the polls in Irish Catholic districts. Such incidents inspired the "Americans" at the beginning of May to hold mass meetings in the heart of Kensington, a predominantly Irish Catholic district. Catholics rallied outside the meetings to drive out the nativists with stones, clubs, and guns; a Protestant boy was shot to death. Armed nativists then advanced into Kensington and burned down some 30 houses along with 2 Catholic churches, rendering more than 200 Irish families homeless. The militia was called out to quell the riots, which flared up again when the nativists staged an anti-Catholic parade and attacked a third Catholic church, which had to be defended by sailors from the USS Princeton, who finally dispersed the rioters. More than 30 had been killed and 150 wounded.
Meanwhile, another Rhode Island citizen who had taken part in the rebellion, ironically named Martin Luther, and who had been arrested by Luther Borden, a state official, was escalating the matter of the rebellion toward the U.S. Supreme Court. Borden had searched Luther's home and had allegedly damaged his property; Luther had sued, contending that the charter government had not been "republican" in nature because it had restricted the electorate to only the most propertied classes. Luther had cited Article IV of the U.S. Constitution that
the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Governmentand had argued that Borden acted without proper authority. If Luther's argument were to prevail in court, Dorr's alternative republican government would be found to have been the lawful government of Rhode Island.
A woman worker in the textile mills at Lowell, MA, wrote a friend about her life:
You wish to know minutely of our hours of labor. We go in [to the mill] at five o'clock; at seven we come out to breakfast; at half-past seven we return to our work, and stay until half-past twelve. At one, or quarter-past one four months in the year, we return to our work, and stay until seven at night. Then the evening is all our own, which is more than some laboring girls can say, who think nothing is more tedious than a factory life.(8)
Quoted in ibid., p. 314. (Close)
Columbia, SC, entrepreneur William Gregg, 44, traveled to New England to inspect its textile districts. On his return, he wrote a series of essays for the Charleston Courier that would become known as the "Essays on Domestic Industry," a visionary call for the active development of mills in the South.
Concord, MA, social reformer Amos Bronson Alcott, 44, having returned from a trip to England funded by his friend philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, 41, there to observe experimental education (at the "Alcott House School," which had been named in his honor), founded the utopian commune Fruitlands in northern Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the Fruitlands communards neglected practical activities such as tending to crops, and they nearly starved. The community was abandoned.
The Brook Farm commune in West Roxbury, MA, founded 3 years before by George Ripley, 41, and his wife, Sophia Dana Ripley, committed to the philosophy of transcendentalism, to pursue truth, justice, and order ("plain living and high thinking"), continued to grow and thrive. It included 4 houses, work rooms, and dormitories, with an infant school, a primary school, and a 6-year college preparatory course that included classes in botany, philosophy, Greek, Latin, Italian, German, music, and drawing. Students were attracted from as far away as Havana and Manila. Charles Anderson Dana, 25, publisher of the Brook Farm publication Harbinger, stated the aims of reformers generally:
Our ulterior aim is nothing less than Heaven on Earth,--the conversion of this globe, now exhaling pestilential vapors and possessed by unnatural climates, into the abode of beauty and health, and the restitution to humanity of the Divine Image, now so long lost and forgotten.
Boston dentist Horace Wells, 39, learned how to administer nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") from Gardner Q. Colton, who deadened pain with it while extracting his own tooth. Wells began demonstrating anaesthesiology before medical classes.
"A grand exhibition of the effects produced by inhaling Nitrous Oxide, Exhilerating, or Laughing Gas! will be given at Union Hall this evening, December 10, 1844," promised an advertisement for a Laughing Gas Entertainment in the Hartford Courant.
Forty gallons of gas will be prepared and administered to all in the audience who desire to inhale it. Twelve Young Men have volunteered to inhale the gas to commence the entertainment. Eight strong men are engaged to occupy the front seats to protect those under the influence of the gas from injuring themselves or others. This course is adopted that no apprehension of danger may be entertained. Probably no one will attempt to fight.… The gas will be administered only to gentlemen of the first respectability. The object is to make the entertainment in every respect a genteel affair.(9)Georgia physician Crawford Williamson Long, 29, began using ether as an anaesthetic during childbirth, administering it to his wife during the birth of their second child.
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), pp. 158-59. (Close)
Americans in general disliked uniforms. During this year, the New York City police force struck, protesting a requirement to wear a uniform blue coat because they considered it servile. (Railroad conductors and postmen also refused to wear uniforms.)
Moses Yale Beach, 44, owner of the New York Sun, published Wealth and Biography of Wealthy Citizens of the City of New York, which listed some 850 New Yorkers worth $100,000 or more ($2,018,000 or more in 2006 dollars)--including John Jacob Astor ($44 million [$888 million]), Stephen Van Rensselaer ($10 million [$202 million]), William B. Astor ($5 million [$101 million]), Peter Stuyvesant ($4 million [$81 million]), and Cornelius van Derbilt--also known as Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, 50 ($1.2 million [$24 million]).
Dancers Mary Ann Gannon, 15, and L. de G. Brockes introduced the polka to New York City.
Irving House in New York City made a bridal suite available for newlyweds--an exciting innovation.
The New York Hotel installed private baths in its rooms--a luxurious innovation.
Poet and essayist William Cullen Bryant, 50, coeditor of the New York Post, proposed a public park for Manhattan (which would later become Central Park)(10):
Commerce is devouring inch by inch the coast of the island, and if we rescue any part of it for health and recreation, it must be done now.… All large cities have their extensive public grounds and gardens, Madrid and Mexico have their Alamedas, London its Regent's Park, Paris its Champs Elysées, and Vienna its Prater.
The Knickerbocker Baseball Club were playing the "New York game" in an open area near Broadway and 22nd Street in New York City.
The New York Yacht Club was founded.
The State University of New York (SUNY) was founded at Albany.
Henry Wells, 38, who had worked as a messenger for the Harnden Express Company, collaborated with Silliam George Fargo, 26, and another partner to set up Wells, Fargo, & Co. as an express service between Buffalo, NY, and Detroit, MI.
Edward Zane Carroll Judson, 21, whose pseudonym for his action stories in Knickerbocker Magazine had been Ned Buntline, began publishing Ned Buntline's Magazine in Cincinnati but soon failed.
In the House of Representatives, South Carolina Representative Richard Barnwell Rhett, 44, moved that his old enemy, Massachusetts Congressman John Quincy Adams, 77, be chosen to occupy the chair until the 28th Congress was organized. Two of Adams's former foes of the "gag rule" debates--Rhett himself and Congressman Lewis Williams of North Carolina--escorted him to the seat of honor.
Another great wagon train, even larger than the previous year's "Great Emigration," set out from Independence, Missouri, for the Oregon Country, with thousands of settler aspirants, called "emigrants," afflicted with "Oregon fever." The entire group, divided into self-governing sections each with an elected dictatorial leader, started out in the early spring, determined to cover the 2,000 miles before mountain snow would be falling in early October. Each morning, the families woke to a bugle blast to get ready to move by 6 a.m., stopping for a brief meal at noon, and staying on the hard trail until dusk, when the canvas-covered Conestoga wagons (known as "prairie schooners") were drawn up in a circle to keep the cattle from wandering. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison described what it was like for the emigrants(11):
From Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, pp. 543-46. (Close)
Numerous tributaries [of the Missouri and Platte], swollen and turbid in the spring of the year, had to be forded or swum, to the damage of stores and baggage.… Sentries stood guard [at night] and the howling of prairie wolves was drowned by a chorus of hymns and old ballads. At dawn the horses and mules were let out to browse for an hour or two; then the oxen were rounded up and hitched to the wagons, bugles blew gaily, and another start was made down-sun.Women would use the rocking of the moving wagons to churn their butter. Most families were burdened with heavy gear, often to be discarded when crossing swollen rivers or scaling steep mountain passes--thereby littering the Oregon Trail with such precious but deteriorated junk as clothing, barrels, harness, baking ovens, grinding stones, plows, and anvils. The summer heat was blistering on the treeless plains. The greatest threat was cholera among the closely crowded group.
The caravan continued up the hilly country along the north fork of the Platte, finally to cross the Continental Divide through the relatively easy South Pass and then down westward-flowing rivers, including the Snake and onward toward the Columbia River Valley. Unfortunately, the emigrants in this year's contingent were snowed in and spent the winter in great suffering in the Walla Walla Valley of eastern Oregon Country. Most reached the Willamette Valley in destitution.
The 8-year-old Christian mission of Dr. Marcus Whitman, 42, and his wife, Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, 28, continued to flourish among the Cayuse Indians at Waiilatpu in the Walla Walla Valley. The missionaries had established schools and grist mills and had introduced crop irrigation. Unfortunately, however, the Cayuse were nervous about agriculture, since they believed that to plow the ground was to desecrate the spirit of the Earth. There were also misunderstandings because of the huge migration of white emigrants into Oregon: The Cayuse expected payment from wagon trains passing through their territory and eating the wild food on which the tribespeople depended; the settlers did not understand this and instead drove away the men sent to exact payment, in the belief that they were merely "beggars."
Missions were now being established not only among the Cayuse but also among the Flatheads (near the site of present-day Spokane, WA) and the Nez Percé, who were using a New Testament printed in the Nez Percé language.
Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, 62, pictured here, from a region predictably opposed to any expansion of the United States, blasted a resolution for establishing a mail route from Independence, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River:
What do we want with this vast, worthless area? This region of savages and wild beasts, of deserts, of shifting sands and whirlpools of dust, of cactus and prairie dogs? To what use could we ever hope to put these great deserts, or those endless mountain ranges, impenetrable, and covered to their very base with eternal snow? What can we ever hope to do with the western coast, a coast of three thousand miles, rock-bound, cheerless, uninviting, and not a harbor on it? What use have we for such a country? Mr. President, I will never vote one cent from the public treasury to place the Pacific coast one inch nearer to Boston than it now is.(12)
Quoted in 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, p. 205. (Close)
The United States and the United Kingdom, whose pioneers and fur traders had been living peacefully side by side in the Oregon Country for a quarter century, were now disputing over possession of the region--particularly the area between Latitude 49°N and the Columbia River (the present western third of Washington State). The U.S. repeatedly proposed that the border be 49°N, and the UK repeatedly proposed that the border be the Columbia River.
Since his appointment to Secretary of State the preceding year (replacing Daniel Webster), Abel Parker Upshur, 53, had been pressing for the annexation of the Texas Republic into the United States. In February Secretary Upshur negotiated an annexation treaty with the Texas chargé Isaac Van Zandt and was about to sign it on behalf of the United States.
Unfortunately, President Tyler, Secretary of State Upshur, Virginia Governor Thomas Walker Gilmer, 42, and other notables inspected a new type of heavy gun, named "the Peacemaker," one of two smooth-bore 12-inch wrought-iron models just installed on the 950-ton auxiliary screw frigate battleship Princeton. The Peacemaker was loaded and given a trial, along with its sister, the "Oregon," to demonstrate its power and efficiency. Both guns tested satisfactorily, but, unfortunately, a little later, the Peacemaker burst, blowing off its lower part from the trunnions to the breech and killing Secretary Upshur, Governor Gilmer, a New York State senator, and five others. Nine seamen were also injured. President Tyler, who had been called back from where he stood for a conference just a moment before the explosion, escaped injury.
The President appointed John Caldwell Calhoun of South Carolina, 62, to replace Upshur as Secretary of State. Now with the old feud between him and Texas hero Sam Houston, 51, still festering, the prospect of Texas annexation, the treaty for which the late Secretary had not had a chance to sign, seemed remote. (Houston had recently been reelected as Texas President, to succeed interim President Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, 46.) But Tyler had appointed Calhoun primarily to work the Texas annexation (and also for Calhoun's help in winning Tyler's reelection).
Calhoun immediately began to deal with the British designs on Texas. The UK had been intensely interested in an independent Texas and had been employing many diplomatic schemes to prop up that independence: Such a republic would be able to check the southward surge of the American colossus into the Caribbean and South America, where there were British colonies and British economic spheres of interest. An independent Texas could clash with the U.S., creating a diversion while the UK and France could exploit the New World without worrying about the Monroe Doctrine. British merchants regarded cotton-producing Texas as a potentially important free-trade (tariff-free) area, relieving British textile manufacturers of their dependence on American cotton. Britain had even gone so far as to supply arms to the Texans to build up its defenses against a Mexico that regarded it as a province in revolt and refused to recognize its independence. George Hamilton Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen ("Lord Aberdeen"), 60, the British Foreign Secretary, had offered to guarantee Texan independence if only the Texans would agree to abolish slavery; Aberdeen had promised loans to compensate the slaveholders (as Britain had done with slaveholders in its West Indian possessions). When Southern leaders had learned of this, they were extremely alarmed that Texas might soon become a refuge for fugitive slaves from the Gulf states, even a springboard for hated abolitionist propaganda.
Aberdeen, however, sent to Secretary Calhoun a dignified denial of such a scheme(13):
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 555. (Close)
Great Britain desires, and is constantly exerting herself to procure, the general abolition of slavery throughout the world. But the means which she has adopted, and will continue to adopt, for this humane and virtuous purpose, are open and undisguised.Calhoun responded with a lesson on the beauties of black slavery; he also observed that the "threatened danger" to the "safety and prosperity of the Union" justified an American annexation of Texas before it might entertain even any prospect of abolition.
Meanwhile, the foes of American expansion--"conscience" Whigs and others--assailed annexation, calling it an extension of damned slavery; Texas in the Union would be red meat to nourish the lusty "slave power" (as well as the power of the Democratic Party). The Whig legislatures of Maryland and Delaware joined four Northern legislatures in a resolution declaring the annexation of any foreign country unconstitutional and
an alarming encroachment upon the rights of the freemen of the Union.Actually, the appointment of Calhoun itself alienated many Northerners who had formerly favored annexation (but Illinois, New Hampshire, and Maine, all controlled by Democrats, continued to favor it). In response to the Northern resistance, Southern hotheads threatened secession if Texas were not annexed, with cries of "Texas or Disunion!" This became a leading issue in the Election of 1844.
Both Sam Houston and John Calhoun rose above their old feud, and a treaty of annexation was signed: The United States agreed to accept Texas into the Union, and assume her public debt up to $10 million ($202 million in 2006 dollars), with all public lands of the territory to be owned by the government. Texas asserted once again that her boundary was the Rio Grande, and was accepted into the Union on that basis.
The U.S. Senate was thrown into fury with the submission of this treaty. Northern Senators shouted that the South was seeking to extend slavery. Henry Clay of Kentucky, 67, feeling assured of the Whig nomination for President in the coming election, announced that he was against annexation, chiefly on the grounds that it might provoke a war with Mexico. Former President Martin Van Buren of New York, 64, feeling assured of the Democratic nomination, made a similar announcement, on the same grounds. (Neither men wanted to further alienate Southerners with the grounds of limiting the extension of slavery.)
The treaty needed a two-thirds majority to be ratified by the Senate; it was defeated 35-16, rebuffing the Texans once again. Angered and embarrassed, Texas President Houston began negotiations with the United Kingdom for possible annexation by that country. President Tyler was alarmed. Former President Andrew Jackson, 77, blind in one eye and barely able to see out of the other, confined most of the time to his bed, wrote to his protogé Houston(14):
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., pp. 208-209. (Close)
My dear Genl I tell you in all sincerity and friendship, if you will achieve this annexation [to the United States] your name & fame will become enroled amongst the greatest chieftains.… Now is the time to act & that with promptness & secrecy & have the treaty of annexation laid before the United States Senate where I am assured it will be ratified.… It will be an unfailing laurel to your ploom.… I am scarcely able to write--the Theme alone inspires me with the strength.… Let me hear from you if only three lines.… your friend, Andrew JacksonJackson based his optimism about the Senate's approval of annexation on the gains the Democrats had made in 1842. Houston responded with lines that were less than encouraging to Jackson:
Texas with peace could exist without the U. States, but the U. States cannot, without great hazard, exist without Texas.… An effort to postpone [discussion] may be tried in the U. States, to subserve party purposes and make a President; Let them beware!… [Texas] has been sought by the United States, and this is the third time she has consented. Were she now to be spurned, it would forever terminate expectation on her part; and… she would seek some other friend [among the nations of the world].
Secretary Calhoun was also interested in purchasing California from Mexico. He called San Francisco, with its excellent harbor, the "New York of the Pacific." Mexican authorities spurned Calhoun's offer.
Egad! he has found one of Jackson's old pens!There was now no chance that Tyler would be the Whig candidate. Clay was nominated unanimously and enthusiastically on the first ballot at the Whig convention in Baltimore.
Certain that his Democratic opponent would be Martin Van Buren, Clay reached a gentlemen's understanding with Van Buren: They had each 2 years earlier come out against Texas annexation in published letters, and now neither would discuss this question nor any other sectional issues; they agreed to debate relatively innocuous questions only.
Van Buren, controlling the Democratic Party machinery, was confident that he had the nomination sewn up at the Democratic convention, scheduled for May, also in Baltimore. But Southern Democrats had never liked him very much, and they rallied around Secretary of State Calhoun, who was all for grabbing Texas and keeping it safe for slavery. Calhoun boasted:
I can beat Clay and Van Buren together on this issue. They are behind the age.(15)
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 315. (Close)
Former President Jackson wrote to Texas President Houston that confidential polls indicated that 39 Senators would vote for annexation--4 more than the two-thirds required. But with the election coming on, it was no longer certain that those votes could be counted on. Jackson had given up on Van Buren for the Democratic nomination, now that he could see the secret deal with Clay was obvious. Jackson looked around for a replacement, and focused on another of his protogés: James ("Jimmie") Knox ("Young Hickory") Polk, 48, of Tennessee, pictured here, whom he summoned to his Hermitage to fire up.
Van Buren arrived at the Democratic Party convention, and it seemed that a majority of delegates were pulling for him. Unfortunately, however, the Southern pro-slavery Democrats and a few Northern expansionists--all those who wanted to annex Texas, led by Robert J. Walker of Mississippi--sought to derail Van Buren's supposedly certain nomination. They forced through a rule requiring the nomination be decided by a two-thirds majority. This tied up the nomination in deadlock between Van Buren and Lewis Cass of Michigan, 62, while a number of other names were put forward as a compromise candidate, including Richard Mentor "Rumpsey-Dumpsey" Johnson of Kentucky, 59, who had been Van Buren's Vice President.
Meanwhile, Jackson had sent his nephew Jack Donelson to Baltimore to submit Polk's name as a "dark horse" (or "surprise") deadlock-dissolving candidate. An all-night session followed, and finally Polk was nominated to general acclamation.
To mollify the Van Buren partisans, the convention nominated Van Buren's friend New York Senator Silas Wright, 49, as Vice President. Wright, who was in Washington at the time, was opposed to annexing Texas, however; when word reached him in the Capitol over the new "magnetic telegraph" that had just been installed in the Baltimore convention hall, he refused to run. (Wright was more interested in running for Governor of New York, propelled to that office by the Anti-Rent agitation.) The delegates then nominated George Mifflin Dallas of Pennsylvania, 52, as Polk's running mate.
Jackson assisted behind the scenes in the campaign, dictating numerous letters to his adopted son's wife, Sarah Yorke Jackson, to make Polk famous. Jackson's help was necessary, because Polk was a relative unknown. Whigs attempted to jeer him into oblivion with the taunt "Who is James K. Polk?" Charismatic Clay sneeringly boasted that he could defeat the inarticulate Polk with his left hand.
But the weasly Great Compromiser Clay was straddling the expansionist issue; he wrote a series of letters seeming to say that whereas he personally favored annexing slaveholding Texas (an appeal to the South), he also favored postponement (an appeal to the North). Polk, in contrast, spoke from his heart, with fervent conviction about Manifest Destiny. (Also, Jackson instructed Polk to "lash Clay on Texas.") In fact, Polk's Democratic platform demanded that Texas be "re-annexed," implying that it had actually been part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and had been criminally given up in the 1819 Florida Purchase Treaty with Spain.
To appease Northern Democrats, Polk added to the Texas issue the dream of Oregon, extending U.S. control to the southern border of Russian expansion at latitude 54 °40': "Fifty-four-forty or fight!" or "All of Oregon or None!" Polk's campaign included the slogan "Reoccupation of Oregon" as well as "reannexation of Texas." Polk also campaigned against high tariffs and against a national bank, but his most important issue was imperialist expansion.
The Democrats denounced Clay as a "corrupt bargainer" (like the proto-Whig John Quincy Adams, who had made a secret deal with Clay following the 1824 Election and who, incidentally, had negotiated that deplorable 1819 treaty giving up claims to Texas). They also called Clay a dissolute character and--tsk, tsk--a slaveowner (not mentioning that Polk was also a slaveowner).
The Whigs countered with such slogans as "Hooray for Clay" and "Polk, Slavery, and Texas, or Clay, Union. and Liberty." Whigs spread the lie that a gang of Tennessee slaves had been seen on their way to an auction, branded with Polk's initials.
Meanwhile, the friends of President Tyler, who had long ago been rejected by the Whigs, also met in Baltimore and nominated him on an independent "Tyler and Texas" ticket. Old Andrew Jackson, harboring nothing but contempt for "Tiler" was persuaded to write to him, professing for him "real regard," praising his "good sense and patriotism," and counseling him to withdraw from the campaign, so as not to siphon votes away from Polk. The President was also flattered by Polk himself, and he finally was convinced to get out of the race.
Clay, meanwhile, continued to straddle. Sensing the expansionist mood in the country, he tried to hedge on his well-known opposition to annexation. By thus surrendering principle, he probably lost as many votes as he gained. Anti-slavery voters were appalled, and many of them went for an avowed antislavery candidate, James Gillespie Birney, 52, a "reformed" Kentucky slaveholder, running on the ticket of the 4-year-old Liberty Party.
The campaign proceeded with slogans, mass meetings, parades, and nonsense. Democrats shouted their allegiance to "Young Hickory" and made stupid puns about "polking" Whigs. The Whigs continued to wonder "Who is James K. Polk?"
In the end Birney, of the Liberty Party, polled 62,300 votes, some 16,000 of them in western New York--effectively splitting the Whig vote in that state, which Clay lost by a mere 5,000 votes--and shifting a mere 7,918 votes overall in the right states in favor of Polk over Clay. Out of 2,700,000 popular votes cast, Clay lost by barely 38,000 (he received 1,299,000 votes to 1,337,000 for Polk). In the Electoral College, Clay had 105 votes against Polk's 170. (If New York's 36 electoral votes had been Clay's--that is, if the Liberty Party had not split the Whig vote--Clay would have won 141 to 134. So much for the strategy of straddle!)
Democrat George M. Dallas was elected Vice President.
Clay was attending a wedding party when the final votes came in. Handed a paper with the numbers, he "stood for a moment as if frozen" while pallor went over his face. Then he laid down the paper, poured himself a glass of wine, and raising it to his lips with a smile, he said:
I drink to the health and happiness of everyone here.Later he was quite bitter, however.
The late blow that has fallen upon our country is very heavy. I hope that she may recover from it, but I confess that the prospect ahead is dark and discouraging.(16)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 211. (Close)
Prodded by his wife, the 6-foot-4-inch-tall, 180-pound, narrow-chested, stoop-shouldered melancholic Illinois Whig state assemblyman Abraham Lincoln, 35, ran for the 29th U.S. Congress, but the Whigs nominated Edward D. Baker instead. Baker was elected. Lincoln was also a Whig candidate for Presidential elector and made speeches all over Illinois in support of Henry Clay. Polk carried Illinois, however.
The 29th Congress was elected as well as the President and Vice President; they would begin serving in the coming year.
Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, 41, pictured here, a Whig, was deplored by the results of the election. Here is what he wrote in his journal a few months later, as the Democrats took over(17):
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 491. (Close)
The real life and strength of the American people, find themselves paralyzed and defeated everywhere by the hordes of ignorant and deceivable natives and the armies of foreign voters who fill Pennsylvania, New York and New Orleans.… The creators of wealth, and conscientious, rational and responsible persons,… find themselves degraded into observers, and violently turned out of all share in the actions and counsels of the nation.In his Politics, Emerson included the following observation:
The less government we have, the better.
The outgoing Senate once more rejected the Texas annexation treaty that Houston had offered. Jackson pleaded with Houston not to give up hope or to yield to England who, he said, "wants Texas, next Cuba, and then Oregon." In his farewell address as President of Texas, Houston noted:
The attitude of Texas is now one of peculiar interest. The United States has spurned her. Let her, therefore, work out her own political salvation.Houston wrote a long letter to William S. Murphy, United States chargé d'affaires in Texas, outlining carefully what would happen should annexation finally fail. It would mean that
the Glory of the United States has already culminated. A rival power will be built up.… The Pacific as well as the Atlantic will be component parts of Texas.He was basically predicting the secession of the Southern States. The new Republic of Texas would contain all of the South, including Virginia, but excluding the border states of Kentucky and Missouri. It would also include the present states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Kansas and Colorado, all of Oregon, and parts of Wyoming and Idaho, all of Baja California, Sonora, and Chihuahua.(18)
In spite of the vote in the Senate, and in spite of Polk's narrow victory--it seemed apparent to the Democrats that they had a popular "mandate" for annexation of Texas and the acquisition of Oregon. Outgoing lame-duck President Tyler, interpreting the narrow Democratic victory as such a "mandate," decided to try for annexation one more time. Aware of Whig opposition, Tyler despaired of securing the needed two-thirds vote in the Senate for a treaty of annexation. This time he arranged for annexation by a joint resolution of both the House and the Senate, requiring only a simple majority in both houses of Congress. The resolution provided that Texas come into the Union as a state, not a territory.
The Mexican minister in Washington immediately presented an ultimatum that Mexico would consider such annexation, an annexation of the Mexican "Province" of Texas (a fiction maintained even though the de facto independence of Texas had been officially recognized by the United States, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom), as equivalent to a declaration of war.
Pro-annexation Americans were in a "lick all creation" mood when they sang "Uncle Sam's Song to Miss Texas":
If Mexy back'd by secret foes,
Still talks of getting you, gal;
Why we can lick 'em all you know
And then annex 'em too, gal.(19)
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 385. (Close)
Under the annexation resolution, Texas retained title to all the public lands within its boundaries. It also promised to accept full responsibility for all the debts incurred while it was an independent republic. The resolution, which President-Elect Polk accepted, recognized that four new states might be carved out of its vast territory--but only with the approval of the Texans.
The southern Baptists and the northern Baptists were splitting over the issue of slavery.
The southern Methodists and the northern Methodists were splitting over the issue of slavery.
Some slaveowners granted a slave mother time off from the field or other chores to care for a newborn infant, but generally such generosity was granted only to women who had already given birth to a requisite number of children.(20)
The following information on the gestation and rearing of slave children is quoted from Schwartz, Marie Jenkins., Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 19-47. (Close)
One Georgia planter explained his policy to readers of the journal Southern Agriculturalist:
When the family increases to ten children living, I require no other labour from the mother than to attend to her children.At times the offer was really for the woman to attend to all the plantation's slave children. The slaveowner's response to childbirth among the slaves reflected basically a financial calculation. Owners wanted to cultivate and harvest a cash crop (and thus needed as many slaves as possible in the field), and they also wanted to raise hardy slave babies and preserve the health of new mothers (thereby protecting their investment for the future). No planter wanted to sacrifice a crop, but excusing pregnant women from rigorous field work served to protect an owner's future crops and other economic interests as much as sending the women to work in the field. Some planters excused pregnant women from arduous chores to prevent harm to mother and child. One set of instructions for overseers advised them
to preserve the health of the negroes… [by relieving pregnant women of] any but the lightest labor for several months before and after confinement.Many slaveowners did not consider hoeing or even picking cotton arduous enough even for black women to warrant excusing them from the work, even as an expected due date drew near. Many a slave woman could not put down the hoe until labor pains began, no matter how poorly she felt. The weight of the hoes ranged from 6 to 9 or 12 pounds each. When not working with a hoe, expectant women performed other arduous chores, such as wading into a river to fill baskets or tubs with mud to enrich the soil. The women had no choice in the matter. Most owners believed that pregnant women of African descent could withstand such work without harm to themselves or their babies.
The "grapevine telegraph" carried news south of an "Underground Railroad" to liberty. Slaves who had the courage to strike for freedom would take cover in woods or swamps near their master's plantation until the hue and cry was over, then follow the North Star to the free states. The most dangerous part of the escape route was in the South itself, where slaves helped one another. The following is one of the earliest known documented mentions of the Underground Railroad, an "advertisement" that appeared in an abolitionist newspaper and that included a picture of an actual train going into a tunnel:
L I B E R T Y L I N E .
NEW ARRANGEMENT -- NIGHT AND DAY.
The improved and splendid Locomotives, Clarkson and Lindy, with their trains fitted up in the best style of accommodation for passengers, will run their regular trips during the present season, between the borders of the Patriarchal Dominion and Libertyville, Upper Canada. Gentlemen and Ladies, who may wish to improve their health or circumstances by a northern tour, are respectfully invited to give us their patronage.
SEATS FREE, irrespective of color.
Necessary Clothing furnished gratuitously to such as have "fallen among thieves."
"Hide the outcasts--let the oppressed go free."--Bible
For seats apply at any of the trap doors, or to the conductor of the train.
J. CROSS, Proprietor
N.B. For the special benefit of the Pro-Slavery Police Officers, an extra heavy wagon for Texas, will be furnished, whenever it may be necessary, in which they will be forwarded as dead freight to the "Valley of Rascals," always at the risk of the owners.
Extra Overcoats provided for such of them as are afflicted with protracted chilly-phobia.
There were, however, many in the North who were not sympathetic to the cause of abolition. For example, Francis Wayland, 48, president of Brown University, declared that to end slavery "by violence, or without previous moral and social preparation," would be morally wrong and catastrophic.
Though laws of the United States and almost every Western nation declared the African slave trade to be piracy, a capital offense, the laws against it were not enforced, at least not by the United States. British war ships attempting to suppress the trade were forbidden to search vessels, American or otherwise, that raised the U.S. flag, that "proud banner of freedom." Conversely, any American slaver had only to raise a foreign flag to evade search by the U.S. Navy, whose four vessels designated for "suppressing the slave trade" were in any event far slower than most of the slavers. The Navy Department warned its officers that they would be held personally liable for damages if they made any mistakes--such as cases being dismissed for "want of evidence" (chains and fetters on board apparently not considered evidence). As a result, tens of thousands of fresh Africans, "black ivory," were imported each year by Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. Many of the slave ships had been fitted out in New York City and other Northern states, where the profits from the trade ended up. Every Northern seaport (as well as New Orleans, Mobile, and Charleston) took part.
Lard oil was replacing the more expensive whale oil in lamps.
Iron was used for railroad tracks for the first time.
Painter-inventor Samuel Finley Breeze Morse, 53, with help from Ezra Cornell, 37, and Ithaca, NY, miller, and Hiram Sibley, 37, a Rochester, NY, banker businessman, Morse constructed his "talking wire," the world's first long-distance telegraph line. He sent the message "What hath God wrought?" from the U.S. Supreme Court room in Washington to his friend Alfred L. Vail at the Mount Clare Station of the B&O Railroad at Baltimore. Vail transmitted the message back.
It was now fashionable for men to brush their hair forward to form a cowlick. Side and middle parts became more common. Unruly hair was greased down with macassar oil. Mustaches were also fashionable, as were sideburns, ever more bushy. Some men were growing beards.
Fashionable women were piling their hair progressively higher in the back, sometimes with masses of sausage curls. Women's topknots began to move further back on the head; long coils of hair at the nape of the neck were held in place with silk nets.
The New York Mirror had the following program for a dinner conversation:
When you are seated next to a lady, you should be only polite during the 1st course; you may be gallant in the 2nd; but you must not be tender till the dessert.(21)
Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 166. (Close)
John Chapman, 69, known as "Johnny Appleseed," continued distributing Swedenborgian religious tracts and apple seeds to settlers in the Indiana wilderness. 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."
There were fewer than 30,000 Indians still living east of the Mississippi River--less than a quarter of the number just two dozen years earlier.
The entire Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) was split into two mutually hostile factions, the "Old Settlers," who had moved west years earlier in response to pressure from white settlers, and the Eastern Cherokees, who had arrived from (and had survived) the 1838 forced removal they called Nuna-da-ut-sun'y ("The Trail Where They Cried"), better known as the "Trail of Tears." Several missionaries and teachers who had been with the Indians a long time in the East had come with the Eastern Cherokees on the cruel journey. Now new teachers were arriving from the North. Some of these missionaries were violently opposed to slavery, but the Indian agents and other government officials, many of whom were from the South, believed in slavery very strongly, and, in fact, several Cherokees owned slaves.
Joseph Smith, 39, pictured here, was the "Prophet" of the 14-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.
Responding to persistent hatred from "gentiles" (non-Mormons), typically reacting to the polygamy doctrine but sometimes to bank fraud and general nuisance, the ever-growing Mormon congregation had been migrating from bases in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and finally, 5 years earlier, to their own very rapidly growing theocratic settlement in Hancock County, Illinois, which they called "Nauvoo," with its own state charter authorizing independent municipal courts, the foundation of a university, and even its own army, the "Nauvoo Legion." During this year, Smith declared himself a candidate for President of the U.S., with his loyal lieutenant Sidney Rigdon, 51, as his running mate.
Unfortunately, robbers and outlaws gathered within the settlement, called themselves "Mormons," and used the town as a base for committing crimes in the region. They then would take refuge in Nauvoo, secure from arrest from the county sheriff. The true Mormons were fanatics labeling all other forms of religion the "works of the devil," and they defended anyone who called himself a Mormon. The arrogance of Smith in his dealings with the gentiles, as well as the facts that robbers and murderers were being sheltered in Nauvoo and that Smith's "revelations" not only sanctioned but actually enjoined polygamy, inspired public sentiment in the region against the Mormons. There were also internal difficulties among the Mormons themselves.
A few disaffected Nauvoo Mormons published a newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor, expounding many beliefs critical of Smith and outlining several grievances against him. Smith declared the newspaper a public nuisance and ordered the city marshal to destroy the paper and the press. Gentiles accused Smith of violating the freedom of the press and brought charges against him. Smith submitted to incarceration in Carthage, the county seat. Illinois Governor Thomas Ford promised protection and a fair trial, but on one late-June evening a mob of 200 men stormed the jail and shot and killed Smith and some of his associates.
Brigham Young, 43, pictured here, assumed command of the religious sect. He ordered his people to get ready to leave their homes and move westward. In the meantime, Young took over 5 of Smith's 27 "widows" and directed the "avenging angels" (apparently a special force of the Nauvoo Legion) to raise havoc in western Illinois.
Furniture maker John Henry Belter, 40, introduced the Victorian Rococo furniture style in the U.S.
Over the River, and through the woodsPoet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 38, published "The Day is Done"; and feminist (Sarah) Margaret Fuller, 34, an editor of the transcendentalist magazine The Dial, published Summer on the Lake and was subsequently invited by New York Tribune published Horace Greeley, 33, to be a literary critic there.
To Grandfather's house we go.…
Virginia poet and novelist Edgar Allan Poe, 35, published the short stories "The Premature Burial" and "The Purloined Letter," the latter one of the first in the detective-story genre (Poe called it a "tale of ratiocination"). Poe concocted a news hoax that was reported in the New York Sun that a balloon trans-Atlantic crossing had brought passengers from Europe to America.
Architect Charles Bulfinch died at the age of 81.
Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, New York Mirror, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Companion, Yale Literary Magazine, Knickerbocker Magazine, Liberator (abolitionist), Spirit of the Times, and Graham's Magazine. Aristotle's Masterpiece, an anonymous sex education book, illustrated with explicit woodcuts and describing sexual mechanics, was popular among young men, who read it behind the barn.
The song "Buffalo Gals" (varioulsly known as "Pittsburgh Gals" and "Bowery Gals" and "Louisiana Gals" or "Lubly Fan, Will You Come Out Tonight?" depending on where the minstrel show was playing), by Cool White, was released and became popular. The same was true of "The Blue Juanita" by Marion Dix Sullivan. Other popular songs included "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean," "Stop Dat Knockin' at My Door," "The Old Granite State," "Old Dan Tucker," "Old Rosin the Beau," "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," "Home Sweet Home," "Turkey in the Straw," "Amazing Grace," and "Woodman, Spare That Tree." Composer Stephen Collins Foster wrote the song "Open Thy Lattice, Love."
Showman Edwin Pearce Christy, 29, continued to perform with his Christy Minstrels. Here is a description of a typical minstrel show by historian Samuel Eliot Morison(22):
Morison, op. cit., pp. 495-96. (Close)
In the first act the performers, most of them white men in blackface, sat in a semicircle around the interlocutor, a dignified colored gentleman in dress suit who acted both as master of ceremonies and butt for the jokes of the end men--"Mistah Tambo" who banged a tambourine, and "Mistah Bones" who rattled castanets. Besides repartee and horseplay, the cast played banjo melodies and sang comic or sentimental songs. The second act, known as the olio, included a "hoe-down" dance, comic parodies of grand opera, and a "walk-around," in which the players one by one took the center of the stage for individual songs or dances while the rest clapped time to the music.
President José Joaquín de Herrera, 52, staged a coup overthrowing the government of Mexico.
Dominicans in Santo Domingo revolted against Haitian rule and set up the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola as the Dominican Republic.
The 3-year-old civil war continued in Peru.
Manuel Oribe, 48, former President of Uruguay who had been ousted from power 6 years earlier, in alliance with Juan Manuel de Rosas, 49, the dictator of Argentina, continued his civil war in Uruguay and his prolonged siege of the capital, Montevideo. De Rosas was intent on making both Uruguay and Paraguay client states of Argentina.
The year-old Cambridge bookshop of English bookseller Daniel Macmillan, 31, and his brother, Alexander Macmillan, 29, went into publishing under the name Macmillan & Co.
English dry-goods clerk George Williams, 23, who had been holding prayer and Bible-reading meetings with fellow workers, founded the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) to combine interests in religious welfare with those in social welfare.
Public baths and wash-houses were opened in Liverpool, England.
British gold reserved had been depleted by shipments of gold abroad (largely to investments in the United States), and British joint-stock companies had issued vast amounts of paper money. To deal with the crisis, the British Parliament passed the Bank Charter Act, giving control of the national currency to the private bankers of Lombard Street in London and permitting the "Street" to control the sovereignty of the British Empire. All banknotes were to be issued against securities and bullion in the bank vaults, and the Bank of England could increase or decrease banknote issues as it deemed proper within certain limits. Nonetheless, the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" would not be able to increase the total amount of banknotes thus issued "on the Credit of such Securities, Coin and Bullion." Now the banking department of the Bank of England was separated from its note-issuing department; and all notes other than those issued by the Bank of England would gradually be eliminated.
The Rochedale Society of Equitable Pioneers, formed the year before by weavers in Rochedale, Lancashire, advocated the cooperative reinvestment of part of retail profit into social and cultural projects targeted to adequately inform and educate consumers. This was the beginning of the cooperative movement involving voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community.
Parliament passed its second Factory Act, augmenting the act of 11 years earlier, forbidding children under 13 from working more than 6½ hours per day.
Samuel Laing, 31, published a prize-winning essay addressing Britain's "National Distress," revealing the effects of machinery on the country's working class(23):
About one-third plunged in extreme misery, and hovering on the verge of actual starvation; another third, or more, earning an income something better than that of the common agricultural labourer, but under circumstances very prejudicial to health, morality, and domestic comfort--viz. by the labour of young children, girls, and mothers of families in crowded factories; and finally, a third earning high wages, amply sufficient to support them in respectability and comfort.
English eccentric William Beckford died at the age of 85.
Railroad mileage in Great Britain reached 2,236--an 86-fold increase over 16 years earlier.
Milk reached consumers in Manchester, England, by rail; English food prices sank.
The first public bath and wash houses opened in Liverpool.
Irish tenant farmers, on the 663,153 landholdings of less than 15 acres, were attempting to raise cattle and grain in order to raise rent money; for their own food they were dependent on potatoes. Now, at least in the west of Ireland, the potato crop failed. Some 60,000 people were emigrating each year. Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell, 69, was released from prison by the British House of Lords (he had been arrested and convicted the year before for conspiracy in advocating a free Ireland). Note Irish immigration into the United States and the conditions experienced by the immigrants.
German socialist Karl Marx, 26, living in self-imposed exile in Paris, published Introduction to a Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of the Right, which included the following statement(24):
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people.Marx met and began collaborating with German political philosopher Friedrich Engels, 24, who was working on his The Conditions of the Working Class in England.
Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, died at the age of 76.
German hausfrau Henriette Davidis-Holle published Praktisches Kochbuch.
The German humorous weekly paper Fliegende Blätter began publication in Munich.
There were attempts on the life of King Frederick Wilhelm IV of Prussia, 48.
Danish educator Bishop Nikolai Grundtvig, 61, established an institute for adult education in Denmark, where young people from any class could attend.
King Charles XIV (John Bernadotte) of Sweden (and Norway) died in Stockholm at the age of 81 and was succeeded by his son, Oskar I, 44.
Swedish innovator Gustaf Pasch proposed safer matches by placing some of the combustion ingredients on the striking surface rather than on the match.
The Guardia Civil, with its patent leather hats and green capes, was created in Spain to police rural areas and soon became a symbol of governmental repression, especially to anarchists, gypsies, and Basques.
French missionaries Evariste R. Huc and Joseph Gabet began journeying from China into Tibet.
Caleb Cushing, 44, the commissioner and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to China negotiated with that country a treaty by which American ships would gain access to Chinese ports, along with insulting extraterritorial privileges for American merchants.
The great auk (Pinguinus impennis) became extinct after rampant, heedless hunting for its flesh and feathers for sale in Europe. The last one was killed by collectors on Eldey Island, 10 miles west of Iceland.
German engineer Friedrich Gottlob Keller, 38, invented a wood pulp paper process that significantly reduced the price of newsprint; and German scientist Ernst Werner von Siemens, 28, developed a mechanical copying method.
Odes to Rosa by the late English poet Thomas Haynes Bayly, who had died in 1839 at the age of 42, was published posthumously. It contained the line
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.Translator Henry Francis Cary died at the age of 67, poet John Sterling died at the age of 38, and poet Thomas Campbell died at the age of 67.
Spanish dramatist José Zorilla y Moral produced Don Juan Tenorio at Teatro de la Cruz in Madrid; and German poet Heinrich Heine, 47, published Deutschland, Ein Wintermarchen and Neue Gedichte. French novelist Alexandre Dumas père, 42, published the swashbuckling adventure The Three Musketeers. Russian author Ivan Andreyevich Krylov died at the age of 76.
French painter Jean-François Millet, 34, exhibited his The Milkmaid. Danish sculptor Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen died at the age of 74.