Pastor William H. Emerick, 42, replaced during this year by Hiram Wheeler, 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. …The church owned no parsonage. The pastor
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.…
It would be a sight worth seeing today to see the vehicle on a Sunday morning that stood about the church grounds with the teams tied to the pine trees.… [F]arm wagons with long boxes on them and boards laid across for seats, and bed quilts for lap coverings in cold weather, the same kind of wagon with wooden springs with seats attached which they put inside the box (which simply emphasized the jolts); the Gondola pleasure wagon which turned up slightly at both ends with no door but with springs under it; and others of various styles. And in the winter the long sleigh, the farm bobs and … you could see any Sunday that there was sleighing … in some neighborhoods one farmer would take his team and long box wagon and gather up all that wanted to go to church and the next Sunday another would take his team and bring them. In this way those not having teams could get to church. How they all enjoyed the ride! Neither do I think they were proud, for many if not all wore the garments spun, woven, dyed and fashioned by their own mother's hands.
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.… [Reverend Emerick] lived part of the time in West Camp on [his own place], coming up on Saturday and going back on Sunday afternoon or Monday.…
In the wake of the Anti-Rent War of the early 1840s, a land rush continued, with tenants besieging the Livingston brothers and other manorial landlords with offers to buy the farms they had been tilling for generations. In the years following that war and continuing for several more years, Woodstock-area tenant farmers named Short, Shultis, Hasbrouck, DeWall, Riseley, Ricks, Happy, Lasher, Winne, Duboise, Hogan, Elting, Van de Bogart, and Lewis became fee-simple farm owners. Because some tenants could not afford to buy, Livingston agent Henry P. Shultis would be collecting rents for several more years; there were even still a couple of Livingston tenants left in the mid-1880s.
Quite a few Anti-Rent tenants in Delaware County had been refusing opportunities to buy their acres, convinced that they would gain possession without paying once the state invalidated the landlords' titles. Their pressure finally obliged the state legislature to authorize the attorney general to bring lawsuits to test the validity of "the manorial titles." The suits dragged on in the justice system.
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 ($100.95 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.
Smelly tanneries in the Catskill region continued 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. During the war with Mexico, there was a huge demand for leather, and the tanning business was booming (and none of the large stands of hemlock was safe). James A. Simpson and a partner from Woodstock ran the Phoenix Tannery in Phoenicia (the village named for their business), and took advantage of the boom. The largest such operation was the New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter).
Laws of "free incorporation" were passed in New York State; now businessmen could create corporations without applying for individual charters from the state legislature.
James Knox Polk, 52 (Democrat), was President. The 30th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $20.19 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States, at an annual rate of 78,000. Liverpool was their chief point of embarkation.
Thousands of German immigrants had already been coming to the United States, at an annual rate of 43,000. Hamburg was their chief point of embarkation. Now, the failure of the revolutions in the German states forced thousands more of young German men to flee for their lives. German Jews emigrated to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and some cities in the South.
The 538-ton mail clipper Deutschland began transatlantic service for the Hamburg-American Packet Company.
Most immigrants arrived in the seaports between Boston and Baltimore, and remained in the North. Many arrived penniless, after exhausting their savings on the journey. Many German Gentiles, however, were leaving the seaports to settle in Wisconsin. Fast-growing Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as the 30th state. The University of Wisconsin was founded at Madison, capital of the new state.
New England clergyman John Humphrey Noyes, 37, having been driven out of his antimonogamy commune in Putney, VT, and 25 of his adherents joined sawmill owner Jonathan Burt and farmer Joseph Ackley to found the Oneida "Perfectionist Community" of farmers and mechanics in central New York State. The community practiced free love ("complex marriage"), birth control (through "male continence," or coitus reservatus), and the eugenic selection of parents to produce superior offspring. Noyes called his system "Bible Communism."
Spirits from the other world seeking means to communicate with this, appropriately chose Rochester, New York, the burned-over metropolis, where the Fox sisters' spirit-rappings and table-burnings had the whole country agog in 1848. From their performances issued the cult of Spiritism.… And from central New York a vast swarm of Yankee "isms" descended on the West like a flight of grasshoppers.(2)
The Pennsylvania legislature enacted a child labor law to restrict the age of workers.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 33, pictured left, and Hicksite Quaker preacher Lucretia Coffin Mott, 55, pictured right, organized a Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. More than 300 women (and a few men) attended. One of the resolutions demanded the ballot for women. At the conclusion of the convention, a "Declaration of Principles" was signed by 68 women and 32 men, which included the following language (adapted from an earlier well-known document):
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the familly of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that they have hitherto occupied… We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the puruit of happiness.… The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward women, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. He has never permitted her inalienable right to the elective franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.… He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.… He had endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.…One of the series of resolutions demanded the ballot for women. Another resolution was more inclusive:
That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.Press reports of the event and of the declaration that women are the equal of men were generally hostile. According to the Public Ledger and Daily Transcript of Philadelphia:
A woman is nobody. A wife is everything. A pretty girl is equal to ten thousand men, and a mother is, next to God, all powerful. The ladies of Philadelphia, therefore,… are resolved to maintain their rights as Wives, Belles, Virgins, and Mothers, and not as Women.Some women at the convention introduced garments designed by Elizabeth Smith Miller: full-cut trousers (later known as "bloomers") under a short skirt. Many men mocked the style:
Gibbey, gibbey gab
The women had a confab
And demanded the rights
To wear the tights
Gibbey, gibbey gab.
The Boston Female Medical School opened, with 12 students attending.
Massachusetts Congressman John Quincy Adams, 81, suffered a stroke while sitting in the House of Representatives, attacking slavery to the end. He died shortly afterward, his last words being
This is the last of earth. I am content.
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.
In the case Luther v. Borden, the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 71, presiding, found that it was up to the President and Congress to enforce this clause in Article IV and that, as an inherently political question, it was outside the purview of the Court. (The case is considered to be the first instance of judicial restraint.) The ruling established that the "Republican Form of Government" clause was non-justiciable, a ruling that still holds today. In other words, Dorr's entire movement was ruled an extralegal rebellion--and it is OK that constitutional reform can be denied in several states, including Massachusetts, unless the government that needs to be reformed authorizes the reform. So much for constitutional guarantees!
The President liked the treaty, however: Mexico gave up its claims to its "province" of Texas and ceded 35% of its territory: all its lands north of the Rio Grande del Norte, as well as the vast territories of Alta California and New Mexico Territory (in addition to Texas, the current states of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming). For this cession they received $15 million ($303 million in 2006 dollars), and the U.S. assumed all American claims against Mexico.
President Polk submitted the treaty to the Senate, whose antiwar Whigs were astonished by the breathtaking conquest it confirmed but continued to denounce the "damnable war" and its results. Now another problem arose: Some Democratic Southern Senators, intoxicated by the Manifest Destiny notion, seemed determined to overreach: Why not seize all of Mexico? South Carolina Senator John Caldwell Calhoun, 66, however, alarmed by the increasing wrath of antislavery agitators, dampened this greediness. The treaty was approved 38 against 14 opponents, who consisted of both those who wanted none of Mexico and those who wanted all of it.
The war had cost about 13,000 American lives, most from disease (only 1,721 had been killed in battle or had died of wounds from battle).(3)
The summary in this paragraph, including the quotes from Emerson and Calhoun, has been taken from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 398. (Close)
Millions of dollars had been invested into a vast war machine. Most of the officers destined to become Civil War generals gained valuable field experience. Mexico nursed an enduring bitterness against the yanquis, and henceforth all of Latin America would be fearing the "Colossus of the North." American abolitionists assailed the war as having been provoked by the Southern "Slavocracy," and the Wilmot Proviso of 2 years earlier, endorsed by all but one of the free states and condemned by every slave state, symbolized the issue of slavery in the territories, an issue that would tear the country apart during the coming decade. Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson predicted on this legacy of the Manifest Destiny imperialist notion:
Mexico will poison us.Senator Calhoun had a similar prediction:
Mexico is to us the forbidden fruit.… the penalty of eating it would be to subject our institutions to political death.Mexicans could later take some satisfaction that the coming Civil War could be considered Santa Anna's revenge.
Meanwhile, the Texas state legislature claimed all of New Mexico that was east of the Rio Grande, and named that part of New Mexico "Santa Fe County." The federal government did not confirm this claim.
The Young America movement--modeled on European youth movements, inspired by the "manifest destiny" notion, and founded 3 years earlier by Edwin de Leon and by 43-year-old newspaper editor and social reformer George Henry Evans (organizer of the National Reform Association to lobby Congress for free homesteads in the West, insisting with his "Vote yourself a farm" slogan that every man had the same natural right to a piece of land as to air and sunlight ["Equality, inalienability, indivisibility"])--advocated support for republican movements overseas (such as each of the uprisings in Europe this year), free trade (reduction or elimination of tariffs), and American expansion into new territory. Young America adherents argued for the spreading of American "democracy" over, first, the North American continent and, ultimately, around the world, by all means necessary. The movement was already an important faction within the Democratic Party and had been influential in promoting the expansionist war with Mexico. During this year, many in the movement were talking wildly of annexing Ireland and Sicily, inspired by revolutionaries of those lands.
Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, 66, pictured here, opposing territorial expansion into the newly conquered lands during the debate over ratifying the treaty with Mexico, commented on the prospects the lands offered for growth. Texas, he said, could hardly be expected to exceed 150,000 in population in any future time, New Mexico (which included present-day New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah) 60,000, and California "we may suppose" might
amount to sixty or seventy thousand. We will put them down at seventy thousand.The whole territory,
in this estimate, which is as high as any man puts it, will contain two hundred and ninety thousand persons… a population less than that of the State of Vermont, and not the eighth part of New York.(4)Webster stormed against the idea that there would be new states carved out of this territory--California, "New Mexico," and the already admitted Texas--with two Senators from each of them.
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. 216. (Close)
We shall have six Senators then for less than 300,000 people! We shall have as many Senators for 300,000 people in that region as we have for New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, with 4 or 5 millions of people; and that is what we call equal representation!… I say, Sir, that according to my conscientious conviction, we are now fixing on the Constitution of the United States and its frame of government, a monstrosity, a disfiguration, an enormity!(5)Webster was assuming that all the new territory would be sympathetic to slaveholding. He was certainly not an adherent of the Young America movement.
Quoted in ibid., p. 306. (Close)
Senator Calhoun, pictured here, proclaimed that the new territories were the "common property" of all the states, and that therefore slavery was legal in all those territories, he was furiously denounced by Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, 66, who correctly foresaw the seeds of disunion in this debate. Michigan Senator Lewis Cass, 66, who detested slavery, declared that self-government was inherent in the American way of life, and that the people of the territories themselves ought to have the right to express their own opinions on the question: the "Popular Sovereignty" theory.
It took 6 months of acrimonious debate just for Congress to bar slavery from the new Oregon Territory, where no one seriously considered slavery economically feasible (two Southern Senators finally voted with their Northern colleagues). The question about slavery in California and New Mexico Territories promised to be far more difficult.
Slavery brought out the ugliest sadistic tendencies in overseers. Floggings were common, for the whip was the substitute for the wage-incentive system and the most visible symbol of the planter's mastery.(6)
Quoted from Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 369. (Close)
Strong-willed slaves were sometimes sent to "breakers," whose technique consisted mostly in lavish laying on of the lash. As an abolitionist song of the 1850s lamented:
To-night the bond man, Lord
Is bleeding in his chains;
And loud the falling lash is heard
On Carolina's plains!
Escaped slave and abolitionist preacher Henry Highland Garnet, 33, in his address to the Female Benevolent Society of Troy, NY, stated the following:
Some people of color say that they have no home, no country. I am not among that number.… America is my home, my country.… I love every inch of soil which my feet pressed in my youth, and I mourn because the accursed shade of slavery rest[s] upon it. I love my country's flag, and I hope that soon it will be cleansed of its stains, and be hailed by all nations as the emblem of freedom and independence.(7)
Quoted from Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 402. (Close)
Toward the end of the year, William and Ellen Craft, a slave couple (married 2 years earlier) in the rice-growing region of Macon, GA--he employed as a cabinet maker and she as a "ladies' slave" in a white household--decided to act on their plan to escape. Light-skinned Ellen disguised herself as an infirm white man, and William played the part of her faithful slave, accompanying his "master" to Philadelphia for medical treatment. Obtaining passes from their respective masters to go to the next town for a Christmas party, they instead took a train to Savannah, then by train and steamboat through South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland--arriving in Philadelphia on Christmas Day, where they spent 3 weeks with a Quaker farmer and his family.
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.
In the Presidential campaign, the Whigs had four great names to choose among, to take advantage of the opportunity: Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, 71, Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, the recent war hero General Zachary "Old Rough and Ready" Taylor, 63, and another recent war hero General Winfield "Old Fuss and Feathers" Scott, 62, pictured left. Both Clay and Webster figured that they deserved the Whig nomination, and Clay fully expected that he would receive it. But he did not control events at the convention; controlling them were New York Whig boss (Edward) Thurlow Weed, 51, editor of the Albany (NY) Evening Journal, former New York Governor William Henry Seward, 47 (pictured center), a devout antislavery politician, Thaddeus Stevens, 56 (pictured right), of Pennsylvania, Truman Smith, 57, of Connecticut, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, 36, of Georgia, and Robert Augustus Toombs, 38, of Georgia.
Now that the war had been won, it was no longer fashionable to have been opposing it--and the Whigs began thinking a war hero might be a good candidate. In their Philadelphia convention, they passed over their controversial party leaders Clay and Webster--each with too many speeches in their background and with too many enemies--and, infected with "Taylor fever," nominated the tobacco-chewing, heavy-featured, squinty-eyed "Old Rough and Ready" warrior, the "Hero of Buena Vista," pictured here, almost everything Whigs had been denouncing: a slave owner from Louisiana, a militarist through and through, an expansionist, a virtually unread, opinionated, narrow-minded ass. He had never held public office or even voted for President. But, as a war hero, Taylor appeared to be electable. As Taylor's running mate the delegates selected Millard Fillmore, 48, a colorless lawyer from Buffalo, NY, who had dallied with such weird splinter parties as the Anti-Masons.
The Whig platform dodged all troublesome issues and simply extolled Taylor's supposed homespun virtues. He was a brave man and a fine general. He was a common, unpretentious, ordinary fellow, who had been mistreated by the Democratic administration. He announced:
I am a Whig, but not an ultra Whig. If elected… I should feel bound to administer the government untrammeled by party schemes.His Democratic enemies sneered at his militaristic reputation, however, even publishing a cartoon depicting him smiling while sitting on a pile of hundreds of Mexican skulls.
The badly divided Democratic Party was now dominated by cynical and cautious politicians rather than dynamic, charismatic, inspiring leaders--men such as Secretary of State James Buchanan, 57, from Pennsylvania, and Secretary of War William Learned Marcy, 62, from New York. Ultimately, the party nominated General Lewis Cass of Michigan, 66, a sour-visaged and somewhat pompous veteran of the War of 1812, a teetotaler who had an annoying habit of raising a glass to his lips at social functions yet never sipping a drop. The party platform was silent on the burning issue of extending slavery into the territories, even though Cass himself was well known as the father of "popular sovereignty" (or "squatter sovereignty") the notion that the people within each territory should determine the status of slavery there. Cass's enemies dubbed him "General Gass" and in the campaign could not resist how that rhymed with "jackass."
Ardent antislavery voters distrusted both Taylor and Cass and they organized the Free-Soil Party, advocating the 2-year-old Wilmot Proviso that had been defeated in the Senate, which called for prohibiting slavery in the territories wrested from Mexico, and advocating the banning of slavery in any other territory as well. The new party also advocated federal aid for internal improvements and free government homesteads for settlers. The party attracted industrialists who wanted protective tariffs; radical "Barnburner" Democrats from New York (who could not stomach Cass because of his "popular sovereignty" notion and, more important, because he had led the swing toward Polk over Van Buren in the 1844 convention); other Democrats who were unhappy with not getting all of the Oregon Country from Britain; "Conscience Whigs," who condemned slavery on moral grounds; and racist Northerners who didn't want any blacks, slave or free, in the territories. The party platform condemned slavery not so much for its treatment of blacks but mainly because it was seen as destroying the chances for free white wage-earners to gain the esteemed status of property-owning self-employment: With free soil in the West, upward mobility could flourish. The Free-Soilers chanted
Free soil, free speech, free labor, and free menand they selected former President Martin Van Buren, the "Little Magician," 66, favorite son of the Barnburners, as their Presidential candidate. For Vice President, they nominated Charles Francis Adams, 41, son of the recently departed John Quincy Adams. Van Buren at last was willing to take a stand:
The minds of nearly all mankind have been penetrated by a conviction of the evils of slavery.(8)
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 324. (Close)
Abolitionist Gerrit Smith, 51, was nominated for President by the remnant of the Liberty Party that had not been absorbed into the Free-Soil Party. Concerning "free" blacks in the North, he remarked:
[Even the noblest African] is denied that which is free to the vilest white. The omnibus, the car, the ballot box, the jury box, the halls of legislation, the army, the public lands, the school, the church, the lecture room, the social circle, the table, are all either absolutely or virtually denied to him.
Both Whigs and Democrats avoided the slavery issue in the campaign and concentrated on personalities. Whigs puffed the amateurish Taylor up as a gallant knight, an American Napoleon, attributing to him a remark he had allegedly uttered before the previous year's Battle of Buena Vista:
General Taylor never surrenders.His promoters watched him carefully, ever worried that he would now utter something to make him unelectable.
But the bitter division within the Democratic Party helped to ensure a Taylor victory. The division had been particularly acute in typically Democratic New York State, where the radical Barnburner reformers had overwhelmed the conservative "Hunkers," who opposed any changes in the laws, especially those involving slavery. These radicals gave the state's electoral votes to favorite son Martin Van Buren of the Free Soil Party, thereby guaranteeing a Democratic defeat: Successfully avoiding the sectional issues, Taylor received 163 electoral votes (from 8 of the 15 slave states and 7 of the 15 free states) to 127 electoral votes for Cass. Taylor had a 5% margin of the popular vote; he won 1,360,967 votes, compared with 1,222,342 for Cass and 291,263 (10% of the total) for Van Buren.
Taylor was the last President ever to be elected by the Whigs. His running mate, Millard Fillmore, was elected Vice President.
The 31st Congress was elected in addition to the President and Vice President, to begin serving in the following year.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4-inch-tall, 180-pound, narrow-chested, stoop-shouldered melancholic Illinois Whig Representative Abraham Lincoln, 39, pictured here, was not able to stem the negative reactions of his constituents to the intemperate antiwar speech he had made late in the preceding year. He apparently had serious doubts about the legality of the war. Here he is responding in February to his law partner, William Henry Herndon, 30, who had written him arguing that the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, possessed the right to initiate a war against Mexico without specific Congressional authorization(9):
Quoted in Sullivan, Andrew, "The Daily Dish," Atlantic Monthly, 12 February, 2007 (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/02 /lincoln_on_pree.html, accessed 14 February 2007). (Close)
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him,--"I see no probability of the British invading us"; but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."This quote appears to have relevance to presumptions of Presidential powers today.
The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
Anyway, though Lincoln afterward voted for a war loan of $18.5 million ($374 million in 2006 dollars) and against tabling an army appropriation bill, his political career, it seemed, was ruined. Still believing in the "turn about" system, he had no plans to stand for reelection into the coming year's 31st Congress, and his district went Democratic anyway (part of the blame for which was laid at Lincoln's door).
It was now fashionable for men to brush their hair forward to form a cowlick. Side and middle parts had become 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 men were wearing very stiff collars.
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.
Women's skirts had grown shorter from the styles of previous decades, but sleeves were now enormous. Very large hats had become fashionable, and they were ornamented with flowers and ribbons.
The cruise ship Ocean Monarch caught fire off Carnarvonshire, Wales; some 200 Americans aboard perished.
John B. Curtis of Bangor, ME, manufactured the first commercially available chewing gum.
The Massachusetts legislature authorized the use of public money to back the Boston Public Library, the first such use of government funds.
Boston authorities improved its water system by tapping Lake Cochituate, introducing its water with a great display of fountains in the Frog Pond.
Enoch Bartlett, 69, of Dorchester, MA, bought bon chrétien pears form Roxbury farmer-sea captain Thomas Brewer, and popularized the variety, which became known as the "Bartlett" pear.
The Broadway Theater in New York City boasted that it had installed "air conditioning," promising "3,000 Feet of Cool Air per Minute."
New York inventor James Bogardus, 48, designed and contracted the building of a five-story factory building, using cast iron throughout.
Anesthesia pioneer Horace Wells, 33, was jailed in New York City while under the influence of chloroform; he committed suicide in a fit of despondence.
John Jacob Astor, the richest man in America, died at the age of 84, leaving a fortune of $20 million ($403.8 million in 2006 dollars) acquired in the fur trade and in New York City real estate. He left a bequest of $400,000 ($8.08 million) to found the Astor Library; his son, William Backhouse Astor, 56, added another $550,000 ($11.1 million) to the endowment.
David Van Nostrand, 37, opened a bookstore (later to become a publishing house) in New York City.
The New York High Bridge was erected, carrying an aqueduct to bring water into Manhattan from Croton Reservoir beyond the Harlem River.
The Royal Mail Steamship Line of Samuel Cunard made New York City its base for transatlantic operations.
Telegraph communication began between New York City and Chicago. David Hale, publisher of the Journal of Commerce, and James Gordon Bennett, 53, publisher of the New York Herald, combined efforts to provide wider coverage of world events by contributing to a general fund under the name New York News Agency (later named the Associated Press), taking advantage of the new telegraph connection.
Lutherans founded Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.
Indiana adopted a free public school system by a narrow majority in its legislature (but the law adopting it was not enforced for many years; indeed, most new Indiana high schools were forced to close in the coming decade because local authorities were restrained by court decisions from raising taxes for their maintenance).
More than 80 Chicago businessmen organized the Chicago Board of Trade as a commodity exchange. (Served by some 400 vessels, 64 of them steamers, Chicago was by now a major shipping point for grain and livestock from the Midwest bound for the Atlantic seaboard.)
Cyrus Hall McCormick, 39, produced 500 mechanical horse-drawn reapers in time for the harvest.
Many New Englanders were migrating to the Upper South, successfully restoring worn-out farmlands there. Using the 16-year-old methods of Edmund Ruffin (getting calcium into the soil and introducing better drainage) as well as using imported nitrogen-rich Peruvian guano, contour plowing to control erosion, these farmers were getting better yields. Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, even with their reputation as tobacco-growing states, were concentrating more and more on diversified farming--corn, wheat, vegetables, fruits, and livestock. Cotton growing had been migrating ever westward, more and more of it was being grown west of the Mississippi River.
The Montgomery, AL, 3-year-old dry-goods business of merchants Henry Lehman, 26, and his brother Emanuel Lehman, 21, adopted the name H. Lehman & Bro. It prospered in cotton trading and in extending long-term credit to planters.
The University of Mississippi was founded at Oxford, MS.
The year-old New Orleans dry-good business of French immigrant Alexandre Lazard expanded when the proprietor was joined by two of his brothers; the name of the business changed to Lazard Frères.
Learning of the disastrous Donner Party experience in the Sierra Nevada of the preceding year, surveyor-land agent Gail Borden, 47, of Galveston, TX, determined to find ways to make food portable and long-lasting.
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.
Brigham Young, 47, pictured here, continued to organize the State of Deseret, an independent nation with Young as President. Young's Salt Lake City had adobe brick buildings, avenues wide enough for a wagon and four oxen to make a U-turn, an ornate temple, and now the first major irrigation project ever undertaken by American whites. With the new water on this desert land, the settlers raised crops and herds. Other well-planned towns were springing up.
Thousands of Young's Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) followers, from different parts of the world, obeyed his commands without question. They paid a tenth of all they acquired into the coffers of the church. Young made polygamy part of the Mormon doctrine (he himself had some 27 wives and begat 56 children during his lifetime). From his spacious and rich "Lion House" mansion in Salt Lake City, Young, acting in what he was convinced were the best interests of his people, brooked no opposition from his followers, or from anyone else, and he was unscrupulous to that end. He condoned, if not actually ordered, many murders, and he warped justice in the courts. He was determined to resist the rule of the United States government. Young and his followers made emigrant travel to the Pacific Coast difficult and sometimes dangerous, since the Territory of Deseret lay right athwart the Overland Trail. Discipline in the church was maintained by a more or less secret body of men known as Danites (or "Destroying Angels"). Those disobeying church laws, especially "apostates," were sometimes murdered by these agents. Emigrants passing through Mormon country were frequently robbed and their livestock stolen.
The Deseret crops of that year were threatened by hordes of crickets, but were saved by flocks of sea gulls that appeared, as if by a miracle, to gulp down the invaders.
It was a clear, cold morning; I shall never forget that morning. As I was taking my usual walk,… my eye was caught with the glimpse of something shining in the bottom of the ditch. There was about a foot of water running then. I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. The piece was about half the size and shape of a pea. Then I saw another.(10)In spite of Sutter's efforts to keep the discovery secret, Mormon leader Sam Brannan broadcast the news in the hamlet San Francisco, and soon the coastal towns were depopulated after their residents rushed to Sutter's Fort and the American River. San Francisco lost three-fourths of its population in 4 months as men dashed off to the gold fields. By every means of communication, the news spread around the world. James Gordon Bennett, 53, published the news in his New York Herald. Ships with every sail carried the word to Hawaii, Chile, China, Australia, the Atlantic seaboard of America, and every nation of Europe. Mormon messengers hurried across the Sierra to Salt Lake City. Hudson's Bay Company officials sped it across Canada, and to England.
Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 369. (Close)
Thomas O. Larkin, 46, the American consul at Monterey, reported the news to Washington by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Later a tea caddy filled with gold dust and nuggets was dispatched to the capital and President Polk caused it to be exhibited in the War Office. In his message to Congress, he referred to the discovery:
The accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory [California] are of such extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public service who have visited the mineral district and derived the facts which they detail from personal observation.(11)
Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 312. (Close)
By the summer San Francisco had become nearly a ghost town, most of its residents having flocked to the gold fields. Some two-thirds of Oregon's adult males had hastened south. By the end of the year the first great influx of gold seeker outsiders arrived in California. Many came northward out of Mexico. Soon between 8,000 and 10,000 men were hacking and digging and sifting with pickaxes, shovels, washing pans, even knives and spoons for yellow nuggets, flakes, and dust in the streams and canyons of the great Mother Lode, which stretched for more than 150 miles along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
And what is so rare as a day in June?and Fable for Critics, which included the following observation:
Then, if ever, come perfect days…
A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.
Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, Police Gazette, Scientific American, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, New York Mirror, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, 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.
Louisville composer Nelson Kneass released his "Ben Bolt, or Oh! Don't You Remember" (with lyrics by Thomas Dunn English), which immediately became popular. Other popular songs included "The Blue Juanita," "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "Oh! Susanna," "Buffalo Gals," "Old Dan Tucker," "Old Rosin the Beau," "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," "Home Sweet Home," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."
The Christy Minstrels of showman Edwin Pearce Christy, 33, continued their long engagement at Mechanic's Hall on Broadway in New York City. Part of their repertoire was Stephen Collins Foster's "Oh! Susanna!," sung by Christy himself, helping to make that song part of every minstrel show repertoire. It would soon be sung by gold seekers bound for California. Here is a description of a typical minstrel show by historian Samuel Eliot Morison(12):
Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, 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.
The Musical Fund Society began its seasonal orchestral concerts in Tremont Temple in Boston.
U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan, 57, pictured here, on instructions from the Polk Administration, tried to buy Cuba from Spain for $100 million ($2.02 billion in 2006 dollars), but Spain refused the offer to sell its most important remnant of its once-mighty New World empire. The sensitive Spaniards replied that they would rather see it sunk into the ocean before considering selling it to the Americans at any price.
British influence had been increasing in Central America; there had been for several years a British protectorate over the Meskito Indians on the eastern coast of present-day Nicaragua. "Mosquitia" had become a British satellite state, with its own flag incorporating the Union Jack. Now the United Kingdom, in an effort to forestall U.S. ambitions for a canal across Central America, sent a squadron to seize the little port of San Juan del Norte at the mouth of the San Juan River (the eastern terminus of the Nicaraguan ship canal) on that coast, claiming that it was part of Misquitia and renaming the port Greytown. The U.S. protested but was too busy fighting Mexico to do anything about it.
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was incorporated to open a route across the Isthmus of Panama to facilitate the passage of the California-bound gold seekers.
English naturalists Henry Walter Bates, 23, and Alfred Russell Wallace, 25, funded by a mere £100, journeyed up the River Amazon to Manaus and then separated to search for insect specimens. Wallace collected rare butterflies and beetles in the primeval forest up the Rio Negro.
Manuel Oribe, 52, former President of Uruguay who had been ousted from power 9 years earlier, in alliance with Juan Manuel de Rosas, 53, the dictator of Argentina, continued his civil war in Uruguay and his prolonged siege (now in its fifth year) of the capital, Montevideo. De Rosas was intent on making both Uruguay and Paraguay client states of Argentina, but the governments of the United Kingdom and France opposed these efforts. British and French naval forces continued their blockade (now in its fourth year) of the Rio de la Plata.
Famine struck Europe.
Since the incendiary pamphlet of Marx and Engels appeared in virtually every European language, liberal revolutions swept from France into the various German states. A Frankfurt Parliament was convened to draft a constitution for a united Germany. Marx returned to Cologne from his self-exile, founded the radical journal Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and published a new pamphlet, Wage, Labour and Capital.
The spirit of revolution spread into Austria; there was a serious uprising in Vienna. Prince Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg, 74, Austrian Foreign Minister, resigned and exiled himself to London. The periodically insane Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand I, 55, escaped the disorder by fleeing to Innsbruck, but a new insurrection forced him to flee again. He abdicated in favor of his nephew, Franz Josef, 18. The government suppressed the revolution but did abolish serfdom.
As the liberal and radical movements were suppressed in Austria and the German states, hundreds of young men fled for their lives, many of them to the United States.
Social and political rebellions also occurred in Bohemia, Hungary, Denmark, and Schleswig-Holstein, and Italy. Austrian troops under field marshal Prince Alfred Candidus Ferdinand zu Windisch-Graetz, 61, were able to suppress the revolution in Prague. Citizens of Milan and Parma rose up against their Austrian overlords. Roman revolutionists assassinated Count Pellegrino Rossi, 61, the Prime Minister of the Papal States. Pope Pius IX, 56, took refuge at Gaeta.
The forces of King Charles Albert of Sardinia-Piedmont defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Goito and the Battle of Pastrengo. Austrian forces smashed the Piedmontese, however, in the Battle of Vicenza and, under General Radetzky, 82, in the Battle of Custozza, forcing Charles Albert to sign an armistice and to evacuate Venice.
In the United Kingdom, the Chartist movement of 1842 revived. Feargus O'Connor, 54, who had been elected to Parliament from Nottingham the previous year, presented a Chartist petition ostensibly with 6 million signatures. A procession to support Chartism was scheduled but was called off, because the government garrisoned London on suspicion that the action would spark a revolt. The government dismissed the petition, claiming it had fewer than 2 million signatures.
The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended in Ireland in response to political seething from the recurrent famine and exorbitant food prices in that land. Smith O'Brien, 45, led an insurrection in Tipperary; he was captured, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to death (but eventually pardoned).
Marx began publishing the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, a Communist organ.
London was still afflicted with an influenza epidemic since the previous year, and by the end of this year some 15,000 people perished.
The British Parliament passed a public health act that established sanitary regulations. John Simon was appointed medical officer and established the science of epidemiology, demonstrating how environmental conditions could influence the spread and severity of disease.
Analytical chemist John Mitchell published A Treatise on the Falsification of Foods and the Chemical Means Employed to Detect Them.
Waterloo Station opened in London.
The solid gutta-percha golf ball began to replace (and traveling 25 yards further than) the traditional feather ball.
Switzerland became a single federal union under a new constitution.
The Prussian army adopted the bolt-action breech-loading military rifle invented 7 years earlier by Johann Nikolas Dreyse.
The Neue Prüssische Zeitung began publication in Prussia.
Sebastian Kneipp, 27, introduced cold-water cures at Worrishofen, Germany.
King Christian VIII of Denmark died at the age of 51 and was succeeded by his son Frederick VII, 39.
The Danish government permitted duty-free grain imports to relieve the famine.
Muhammad Ali, 79, pasha of Egypt, became mad and was deposed. His adopted son Ibrahim, 59, served as regent, but unfortunately he died and was succeeded by Abbas I, 35.
The Shah of nearly bankrupt Persia, Kajar Shah Muhammad, died at the age of 38 and was succeeded by his son Nasir ad-Din, 17, who became the Shah and began rule with the help of his capable minister Taki Khan.
German linguist and storyteller Jakob Grimm, 63, published History of the German Language; French novelist and poet Henri Murger, 26, published Scènes de la vie de Bohème; French writer Alexandre Dumas fils, 24, published the novel Le dame aux camelias ("Camille"); French author and diplomat François-René, vicompte de Chateaubriand, 80, published Mémoires d'outre-tombe; French dramatist Emile Augier, 28, produced L'Aventurière; and French dramatist Alfred Louis Charles de Musset, 38, produced Le Chandelier ("The Candle-Stick") at the Théâtre Historique in Paris and André de Sarto ("Andrea de Sarto") at the Comédie-Française in that city.
French painter Jean-François Millet, 38, completed his peasant portrait The Winnower; French painter Théodore Chassériau unveiled his Portrait Equestre d'Ala ben Hamet, Calife de Constantine; and the new style of French political cartoonist and lithographer Honoré Daumier, 40, established him as a founder of the Impressionist School. German poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff died at the age of 51.