Pastor William I. Cutter, conducting services in 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).
This was Pastor Cutter's first charge after his return from mission work in India. He gave lectures on India and showed the heathen gods that he had brought back with him. Nathaniel M. Nash(1)
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 101, citing Nathaniel M. Nash. (Close)
[e]very two weeks or once a month on Sunday afternoon he preached a sermon in German as there were several German families in the congregation. He was sure to have a full house on that occasion as many of us had never heard a German sermon before.We have no description of what it was like in the first or second church building, but here is Nathaniel Nash's reminiscence(2)
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.
The Ulster County Glass Manufacturing Company, founded four years earlier in Shady (also called Bristol) by a group headed by Kingston lawyer Marius Schoonmaker, on the ruins of (and thereby reviving) the New York Crown and Cylinder Glass Company, which had gone out of business more than a decade earlier, itself went out of business. Although some blamed the failure on the worker-owners having bought too freely from the well-stocked company store, there was a more likely cause: It had been difficult for this factory, originally sited 47 years earlier for its proximity to plenty of wood, to compete effectively with coal-fueled glass factories that were located close to good sources of coal. Besides the original hardwood forests nearby had already been depleted, necessitating either that wood (or coal) be brought in at great expense from an ever-increasing distance or that the furnaces be fired by hemlock or other less efficient fuels. Plant superintendent Peter Reynolds bought whatever lands owned by the company that had not been sold off earlier.(3)
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 ($104.60 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.
The apple variety known variously as the Esopus Spitzenberg (New), the Ulster Seedling, the Rickey, the Jonathan, the King Philip, or the Philip Rick, which had originated decades earlier in the Bearsville Flats orchard of Philip Rick, a congregant of Christ's Lutheran Church, was recommended by H. H. Reynolds, a local Woodstocker (probably Herman Reynolds, Town Supervisor and longtime justice of the peace), in The Horticulturist. Reynolds stated tat the Jonathan was
cultivated a little in this vicinity [and that] it ripens about Christmas and deserves a more extended reputation and cultivation.… [This] variety has been much esteemed wherever known.(4)Downing mentioned that the apple was sometimes also known as King Philip or as Philip Rick. The fruit was now being grown as far west as Illinois and Michigan.
Quoted in ibid., p. 241. (Close)
Painter Frederick E. Church, 31, of the Hudson River School of painting, unveiled his Niagara.
Nathaniel Booth of Kingston described the dreariness of staying inside at the famous 34-year-old commodious Catskill Mountain House near Kaaterskill Clove, owned and operated by Charles L. Beach, 48, when the weather was rainy or foggy and nothing was available to entertain the guests but Bibles and hymnbooks, copies of The Scenery of the Catskill Mountains by the Reverend Dr. David Murdoch, and a couple of billiard tables. An excellent Sunday sermon did nothing to dispel the fog; in fact, the fog thickened. After the slight distraction of dinner, the fog grew even thicker. The fog
drives through the passages--the verandah is deserted--coats are buttoned to the chin--the twice-read papers are again perused--no use--ennui reigns supreme. Nothing is left to sustain existence but a nap--we ascend the reeking stairs from which the damp is falling in drops--tumble on the beds--just begin to dream of shower baths--Niagara--or the great deluge when ding! dong! supper is ready.(5)
Quoted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, pp. 457-58, citing Booth, Nathaniel, Ms. Diary, vol. 2, entry for August 16, 1857. (Close)
Wealthy apple grower, world traveler, and art collector Robert Livingston Pell proposed building a hotel atop Woodstock's Overlook Mountain (formerly called South Peak, and often now called Woodstock Mountain or Woodstock Point), a hotel he promised would outshine Beach's Catskill Mountain House, because of its higher elevation and its more breathtaking views. His backers began calling the mountain Pell's Mountain. Unfortunately, the economic slump known as the Panic of 1857 ruined Pell's dreams, and the name Pell's Mountain was forgotten.
The New York Tannery in Edwardsville, started 40 years earlier, was finally abandoned after several years of decline. There just was no longer enough hemlock bark within easy reach to keep the operation going. The local villagers felt little love or loyalty for the founder of the tannery, William Edwards, or his son, William W. Edwards, so they renamed the village Hunter. A bedstead factory moved into one end of the tannery building, and a manufacturer of ash rims for sieves moved into the other end.
Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, now an abolitionist itinerant preacher known as Sojourner Truth, 60, pictured here, moved to Michigan and worked on abolitionist and feminist causes there.
Franklin Pierce, 53 (Democrat), was President, succeeded during this year by James Buchanan, 66 (also Democrat). The newly elected 35th Congress was in session.A dollar in that year would be worth $20.92 in 2006 for most consumable products.
The government banned all foreign coins and reckoning from the marketplace.
Thousands of German immigrants came to the United States, at an annual rate of 95,000. The bulk of them were uprooted farmers, displaced by crop failures and other hardships. Some were liberal political refugees, fleeing after the collapse of the democratic revolutions of 1848. Many of the Germans possessed a modest amount of material goods. Most of them pushed out to the lush lands of the Midwest, notably Wisconsin, where they settled and established model farms.
Thousands of Irish immigrants also came to the United States, at an annual rate of 92,000. The luckless immigrants received no red-carpet treatment on their arrival in America.(6)
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. 302-05. (Close)
With the new transoceanic steamships, the immigrants--Irish, German, and others--could come across speedily, in a matter of 10 or 12 days rather than 10 or 12 weeks. On board they were jammed into unsanitary quarters, thus suffering an appalling death rate from infectious diseases, but the nightmare was more endurable because it was shorter. Liverpool, Le Havre, and Hamburg were the principal points of embarkation; most arrived in the seaports between Boston and Baltimore, and remained in the North. Many arrived penniless, after exhausting their savings on the journey.
Forced to live in squalor, the Irish immigrants were rudely crammed into the already-vile slums. They were scorned by the older American stock, especially "proper" Protestant Bostonians, who regarded the scruffy Catholic arrivals as a social menace. Barely literate "Biddies" (Bridgets) took jobs as kitchen maids. Broad-shouldered "Paddies" (Patricks) were pushed into pick-and-shovel drudgery on canals and railroads, where thousands left their bones as victims of disease and accidental explosions. It was said that an Irishman lay buried under every railroad tie. Large numbers of these unskilled laborers, eager for work of any kind, were absorbed into the factories of the Northeast. They depressed wages and discouraged union organization; destitute, they accepted whatever an employer offered them.
The invasion of the immigrant "rabble" created religious, economic, political, and social problems, which inflamed the prejudices of American nativists and often provoked mob action.(7)
Information in this paragraph has been 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, pp. 201-202; and from Bailey et al., op. cit., pp. 305-06. (Close)
The nativists feared that these foreign hordes would outbreed, outvote, and overwhelm the old "native" stock. Not only did the newcomers take jobs from "native" Americans, but the bulk of the displaced Irish were Roman Catholics, as were a substantial minority of the Germans. The Church of Rome was still widely regarded by many old-line Americans as a "foreign" church; convents were commonly referred to as "popish brothels." Nativists professed to believe that in due time the "alien riffraff" would "establish" the Catholic Church at the expense of Protestantism and would introduce "popish idols." Irish Catholics were a special target for violence, although Germans were sometimes involved. In some places Catholic churches were burned and priests beaten. For a time it seemed that the forces of law and order could not cope with these adjustments.
Slavery agitation, however, furnished the most ominous undertone to the nation's life. The Irish fiercely resented the blacks, with whom they shared society's basement, for the same reasons that the older American stock had resented them: wage-depressing competitors for jobs. Race riots between black and Irish dockworkers flared up in several port cities, and the Irish were generally cool to the abolitionist cause. The German immigrants, in contrast, tended to favor the abolition of slavery.
Slavery was an unmitigated evil.(8)
The following is from Wellman, op. cit., pp. 428-29. (Close)
It belonged to the dark ages and backward peoples. It caused extremes of wealth and poverty and hindered development in the districts where it existed. It was doomed for its very injustices and for its economic faults. Yet the badgered Southern people sought to preserve it even as the catastrophe of Civil War stared them in the face.
Churches were divided on the slavery question. Presbyterians separated into two independent bodies, North and South.
In the cotton fields of the Deep South, slaves brought several hundred dollars per head more than in the Upper South; the urge to sell slaves "down the river," therefore, remained strong. Slave trading was a thriving business. There were some 50 dealers in Charleston, 200 in New Orleans, most of them very prosperous and thus now considered quite respectable in high society. John Armfield and Isaac Franklin were the most successful dealers, collecting slaves at their "model jail" in Alexandria, VA, and shipping them either by sea or land to their huge depot in Natchez, MS.
The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was "tested" by many incidents: The Underground Railroad, which for years had smuggled slaves over the border into Canada, increased its activities. Black prisoners were delivered from jails by white mobs. Many slaves were recaptured, and some free Negroes were carried off into slavery. Pulpits and newspapers denounced the law, there were meetings of protest, and many of the Northern states in effect set about to nullify the law by simply refusing to comply with it--which increased the South's feeling of injury and aggravation.
Three years earlier Wisconsin abolitionist editor and leader Sherman Miller Booth, now 45, had helped to rescue black fugitive slave Joshua Glover in Milwaukee and had therefore been arrested for violating the Fugitive Slave Law. Booth had appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, stating that he had been restrained of his liberty by U.S. marshal Stephen V. R. Ableman and that his imprisonment had been illegal because the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional and void. A justice had initially ruled that Booth be freed, but Ableman had applied for a certiorari; in the resulting case Ableman v. Booth, the court had ultimately ruled the Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional, freeing Booth, and assessing costs against Ableman. But Marshal Ableman took the suit to federal court: In January of the preceding year, the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin in a grand jury proceeding had indicted Booth on the original charge. Convicted by a jury, Booth had been sentenced for 1 month and had been fined $1,000 ($20,920 in 2006 dollars) plus costs. Booth had again appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on the grounds that the Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional and that the federal court had no jurisdiction to try or punish him. Again the state court had freed Booth. A few months later, however, the U.S. Attorney General had petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court (the emaciated Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 80, from the slave state of Maryland, presiding), arguing that the state court had no jurisdiction. The case would continue to drag on for the next 2 years.
Northern antipathy toward not only slavery but toward the South itself and toward all Southern white people was further inflamed by the continued popularity of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1851 sentimental slavery-indicting novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, which was going through scores of editions and selling hundreds of thousands of copies. In Europe too, especially in England and France, the novel was immensely popular, creating a feeling of "Tom-mania" and a hostility toward American slaveholders.
Maryland ex-slave Harriet Tubman, 37, who had 8 years earlier escaped to the North and begun her career as "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, had been able in 19 dangerous trips in the intervening years to escort upward of 300 slaves to freedom. Now she brought her aged parents out of the South.
Missouri slave Dred Scott, 62--who, backed by interested abolitionists, had brought suit in 1846 to claim his legitimate freedom on the ground that he and his wife, Harriet, had resided in free territory (in both Illinois and Wisconsin Territory), who had lost that original suit in the Missouri state supreme court in 1852 (on the grounds that since he had returned to Missouri voluntarily, he had resumed his status as a slave), who had again brought suit in federal district court against John F. A. Sanford (who was administering the estate of Scott's late owner, army surgeon Dr. John Emerson), who had in 1854 lost again, and who had, with his attorney, Roswell M. Field, 50, and with the help of abolitionist Henry Taylor Blow, 40 (the son of Scott's original owner), appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Field had written to Maryland lawyer Montgomery Blair, 44, who argued cases before the Supreme Court, that it would be well to test the constitutionality of the 1820 Missouri Compromise once and for all.
Now, in March, just 2 days after the inauguration of President Buchanan, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, bolstered by four associate justices who were Southerners like him, announced the Dred Scott decision, ruling that fugitive slave Dred Scott, now 62, could not legitimately claim his freedom as he had sued in 1846 based on his residence in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory.(9)
Much of the following on the Dred Scott decision is from Bailey et al., op. cit, pp. 427-28. (Close)
Taney wrote that blacks
had for more than a century [before the Constitution was adopted] been regarded as beings of an inferior order; and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.… This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race.Blacks were therefore, according to the decision, not a part of "the people" who had framed the Constitution; whether free or slave, they had never really been citizens anyway.
In an orbita dicta to forestall arguments by two Free-Soil justices on the Court who were preparing dissenting opinions and to lay to rest the odious issue of slavery in the territories, Taney asserted
[An] Act of Congress which deprives a person… of his liberty or property merely because he came himself or brought his property into a particular Territory… could hardly be dignified with the name of due process of law.
[The] question is, whether any person of African descent, whose ancestors were sold as slaves in the United States, can be a citizen of the United States. If any such person can be a citizen, this plaintiff has the right to the judgment of the court that he is so; for no cause is shown by the plea why he is not so, except his descent and the slavery of his ancestors."Due process of law," Curtis said, referred in the Constitution not to the substance of the law itself but only to the method of the law's enforcement. Only once before, in Marbury v. Madison (1803), had the Court declared an act of Congress unconstitutional, and in that case it had concerned the federal judiciary, not a revered Missouri Compromise, which had been in force for 36 years (until undone 3 years before by the Kansas-Nebraska Act). Curtis resigned in disgust from the Court soon after the decision.
In his inaugural address 2 days earlier, President Buchanan, who had been tipped off in advance of the decision by two of the justices, declared that the Supreme Court was about to decide "at what point of time" the people of a territory could decide for or against slavery, and sanctimoniously pledged his support to the forthcoming ruling--"whatever this may be"--as a final settlement and urged "all good citizens" to do likewise.
Slaveowners were encouraged and delighted with the ruling, foes of extending slavery to the territories, especially Republicans, enraged. Republicans, noticing the irony of using the Bill of Rights to preserve slavery, argued that the ruling of the Court, "the greatest crime in the judicial annals of the Republic," whose justices were mostly from the South, was merely an opinion, no more binding than the opinions of a Southern "debating society." They argued that the Taney and the other Southern justices had "sullied the ermine," debasing themselves by wallowing in the gutter of politics. A Cincinnati newspaper declared:
We are now one great… slaveholding community.Indeed, Northerners argued that if the decision were allowed to stand, the Republican Party, whose program stood for stopping the extension of slavery into the territories, would have no more constitutional basis for existing.
(Dred Scott himself, his wife, and his entire family were officially given their freedom a few weeks after this decision.)
North Carolina farmer Hinton Rowan Helper, 28, published The Impending Crisis of the South, and How to Meet It, which demonstrated that slavery was not only economically unprofitable but that it was ruinous to small farmers who did not own slaves. Slavery was, he asserted,
the root of all the shame, poverty, ignorance, tyranny and imbecility of the South.Slaveowners (about 5 percent of the South's white population), he said, had for generations kept the white people of the lower social and financial classes in the South ignorant of the terrible effect that slavery had on their personal and economic lives, molding their thoughts and prejudices so that they acted "in direct opposition" to their "dearest rights and interests." He claimed that slaveowners "owed" the poorer people of the South more than $7 billion ($146 billion in 2006 dollars), because they had by that much impoverished the status of free labor. He advocated a tax on slaveholders of $60 ($1,255) on every slave owned, and the revenue raised by such a tax used to transport every black to Africa or some place in South America or, perhaps, to some "comfortable settlement within the boundaries of the United States" (probably Oklahoma, or "Indian Territory").(10)
A prime field hand slave in the South fetched $1,500 ($31,380 in 2006 dollars) and up in the market. Helper pointed out that slavery tied up capital in human beings when it might better have been employed in labor-saving improvements. Some 1,000 Southern families shared in an income of $50 million per year ($1.04 billion per year)--an average of $50,000 per family ($1.04 million per family)--whereas another $60 million ($1.26 billion) was divided among 600,000 families--an average of $100 per family per year ($2,092 per family per year). Even rich Southern slaveholders, however, had their earnings eaten up by commissions, freight charges, tariffs, imports of manufactured goods from the North, and by the care and maintenance of slaves whose labor was actually more costly than was free labor in the North.
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; in fact, the number was now greater than it had been half a century earlier, when the trade had been legal. 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.
Several Southern commercial conventions contained speeches and resolutions urging a repeal of the 1807 law against the slave trade. (May as well repeal it; it wasn't being enforced anyway.) These urgings were reactions to pressure from members of the Southern middle class, who could not afford to buy slaves at the prevailing price (more than $2,000 for a prime field hand [$41,840 in 2006 dollars]). If there were more fresh slaves available, the price per slave would go down.
A story that was repeated many years later described a burial in Pickens County, Georgia, to show how the South depended on the North for many goods during this decade:
The grave was dug through solid marble, but the marble headstone came from Vermont. It was in a pine wilderness, but the pine coffin came from Cincinnati. An iron mountain overshadowed it, but the coffin nails and screws and the shovels came from Pittsburg. With hard woods and metals abounding, the corpse was hauled on a wagon from South Bend, Indiana. A hickory grove grew near by, but the pick and shovel handles came from New York. The cotton shirt on the dead man came from Cincinnati, the coat and breeches from Chicago, the shoes from Boston; the folded hands were encased in white gloves from New York, and round the poor neck, that had worn all its living days the bondage of lost opportunity, was twisted a cheap cravat from Philadelphia. That country, so rich in undeveloped resources, furnished nothing for the funeral except the corpse and the hole in the ground, and would probably have imported both of those if it could have done so. And as the poor fellow was lowered to his rest, on coffin bands from Lowell, he carried nothing into the next world as a reminder of his home in this, save the halted blood in his veins, the chilled marrow in his bones, and the echo of the dull clods that fell on his coffin lid. (11)
Excerpted from Harlan, Louis R., Kaufman, Stuart B., and Smock, Raymond, W., Eds., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3 (1889-1895), Chicago, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000, p. 188, http://www.historycooperative.org/btw, accessed 24 January 2007. (Close)
Testing the "popular sovereignty" doctrine of Illinois Senator Stephen Arnold "Little Giant" Douglas, 44 (5 feet 4 inches tall), proslavery "residents" of Kansas Territory (mostly visitors from Missouri) had in 1855 elected a proslavery legislature, chosen Shawnee Mission as the territorial capital, and declared slavery legal. Free Soil "residents" had also elected a legislature, this one antislavery, chosen Topeka as the territorial capital, and outlawed slavery.(12)
Much of the following information about the Lecompton constitution is from Wellman, op. cit., pp. 397-400; and from Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, pp. 381-84, 390-91. (Close)
Each legislature refused to vote in the other's "election."
In a sensible attempt to quell the craziness in Kansas Territory, President Buchanan appointed Robert John Walker, 56, of Mississippi as governor there. Although he was a Southerner, Walker had no desire to foist slavery on Kansas against the will of its inhabitants. Proslavery leaders in Kansas soon came to detest him.
These leaders managed to convene a state constitutional convention at Lecompton. The Free-Soil forces boycotted the election of delegates. The appallingly disordered rump convention drafted a proslavery constitution. This Lecompton constitution made slave property inviolable; immigrants were permitted to bring in slaves, and emancipation of a slave without the owner consenting and being compensated was forbidden.
Strangely, the Lecompton constitution had a clause authorizing a referendum on whether a "constitution with slavery" or a "constitution without slavery" be adopted. Were the "constitution without slavery" adopted, the slavery provisions would be removed, but there would be no interference with slave property already in Kansas at that time.
Even the "constitution without slavery" possibility was unacceptable to the antislavery Kansans, however. When the referendum was held, the antislavery Kansans, clearly the majority in the territory, boycotted the election. The proslavery Kansans, who had abetted the boycott by refusing to submit the constitution to a fair vote of all the settlers, approved the Lecompton "constitution with slavery" late in the year, and the Border War, of course, continued to rage.
Governor Walker denounced the ploy of the Lecompton forces and hurried back to Washington to explain the situation to the President. Meanwhile, the antislavery Kansans submitted their own proposed constitution to Congress, opposed to the Lecompton document, as a preliminary to having Kansas being admitted to the Union.
In spite of the way the Lecompton constitution had been passed, President Buchanan--owing his office largely to Southern votes and with Southern advisors clamoring for him to "save" Kansas--refused to back Governor Walker, who resigned in November. The President decided that Kansas should be admitted to the Union under the notorious document.
I intend to make my policy a test,he said, stubbornly refusing to listen to friends and wiser advisers.
Senator Douglas, the leader of the Northern Democrats, understood that this "test" was likely to be the ruin of the Democratic Party, and he was dead set against the Lecompton constitution, which had been rejected by a majority of the citizens of Kansas (and therefore a violation of the "popular sovereignty" doctrine that Douglas championed). All but one of the 56 newspapers in Illinois declared editorially against Lecompton, so Douglas knew that he would never be reelected as Senator in the following year's election if he supported it. So Douglas was resolute. As his train rode from Illinois to Washington, DC, crowds cheered him at railroad stations on the way. Here is one of Douglas's characteristic remarks concerning the President he had contempt for:
By God, sir, I made James Buchanan, and by God, sir, I will unmake him!
Douglas confronted Buchanan at the White House in defiance, telling the President that he would denounce any message to Congress urging acceptance of the Lecompton constitution. Buchanan tried to force Douglas into line:
Mr. Douglas, I desire you to remember that no Democrat ever yet differed from an Administration of his own choice, without being crushed.And here is Douglas's scornful response:
Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jackson is dead!
Less than a week later, President Buchanan presented his message to both houses of the 35th Congress, recommending a proposed railroad to the Pacific, condemning filibustering (the meddling of American soldiers of fortune in the affairs of other countries), and the adoption of the Lecompton constitution. Douglas argued the next day against Lecompton, that the document was contrary to the American principle, that it violated the spirit of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act that had enshrined popular sovereignty, that the Lecompton convention itself was not legal (since it had never been recognized by Congress), and that Congress should recognize no constitution that did not express the popular will of the people in the territory.
Unfortunately, the Senate--with 39 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 5 Know Nothings--went along with the President and voted in favor of the Lecompton constitution, 33 to 25. Douglas was irrevocably opposed to the methods being used; when asked if he considered what might be the cost to himself, he replied,
I have taken a through ticket and checked all my baggage!Douglas essentially tossed away the strong support he had heretofore enjoyed in the South (and therefore his chance of being elected President).
The House of Representatives was another story; it contained 131 Democrats (many from the anti-Lecompton North [5 from Illinois, 3 from Indiana, 6 from Ohio, 3 from Pennsylvania, and 2 from New York]), 92 Republicans, and 14 Know Nothings. Douglas worked hard on these potential allies, and the President employed every device of patronage and preferment against him. The debates were spirited, especially this one, reported by Benjamin "Ben:" Perley Poore, 37:
About half-past one, Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, then standing on the Democratic side of the House, objected to General Quitman's making any remarks. "If you are going to object," shouted Mr. Keitt, of South Carolina, "return to your own side of the hall." Mr. Grow responded: "This is a free hall, and every man has a right to be where he pleases." Mr. Keitt then came up to Mr. Grow and said: "I want to know what you mean by such an answer as that." Mr. Grow replied: "I mean just what I say; this is a free hall, and a man has the right to be where he pleases." "Sir," said Mr. Keitt, "I will let you know that you are a Black Republican puppy." "Never mind," retorted Mr. Grow, "I shall occupy such place in this hall as I please, and no negro-driver shall crack his whip over me." The two men then rushed at each other with clenched fists. A dozen Southerners at once hastened to the affray, while as many anti-Lecompton men came to the rescue, and Keitt received--not from Grow, however--a blow that knocked him down. Mr. Potter, of Wisconsin, a very athletic, compactly built man, bounded into the centre of the excited group, striking right and left with vigor. Washburne, of Illinois, and his brother, of Wisconsin, also were prominent, and for a minute or two it seemed as though we were to have a Kilkenny fight on a magnificent scale. Barksdale had hold of Grow, when Potter struck him a severe blow, supposing that he was hurting that gentleman. Barksdale, turning around and supposing it was Elihu Washburne who struck him, dropped Grow, and struck out at the gentleman from Illinois. Cadwallader Washburne, perceiving the attack on his brother, also made a dash at Mr. Barksdale, and seized him by the hair, apparently for the purpose of drawing him "into chacery" and pummeling him to greater satisfaction. Horrible to relate, Mr. Barksdale's wig came off in Cadwallader's left hand, and his right fist expended itself with tremendous force against the unresisting air. This ludicrous incident unquestionably did much toward restoring good nature subsequently, and its effect was heightened not a little by the fact that in the excitement of the occasion Barksdale restored his wig wrong-side foremost.The Speaker pounded his desk and shouted for order, the sergeant-at-arms paraded the official mace among the members, and the tumult subsided. Several distinguished Congressmen "were found to present an excessively tumbled and disordered appearance," and not a few "sustained slight bruises and scratches." The lawmakers crossed over to each other to explain that they had only wanted to prevent a fight. Poore noted that "no weapons were openly displayed," except that Congressman John Covode of Pennsylvania had been poised to hurl a heavy stoneware spittoon.
In the end, the House rejected the Lecompton constitution, but it passed a substitute resolution proposed by Kentucky Senator John Jordon Crittenden, 71, that the popular vote in Kansas should determine its constitution.
Still President Buchanan and the Southern Democratic leaders were unwilling to accept this verdict and requested a conference between committees from both houses of the 35th Congress. The result was a compromise bill that, in effect, submitted the entire Lecompton constitution, not with the "with slavery" or the "with no slavery" alternatives, to a popular vote in Kansas. This compromise allowed the President to save face but actually permitted the free-soil Kansans to choose a new legislature in a fair election in October, and--on January 4 of the coming year, to flock to the polls (10,388 voters) and utterly defeat (10,226 to 162) the fraudulently drafted Lecompton constitution. Kansas was to remain a territory.
(The idea of bringing slaves into Kansas was silly at any rate. The slaveowners had a lot of money invested in their human "property" and would not want to take them where bullets were flying (and where the popular sovereignty vote might go against slavery). One wit commented that the entire quarrel over slavery in the territories was about "an imaginary Negro in an impossible place.")
The Democratic Party was now hopelessly divided into Northern Democrats, who spoke of running Senator Douglas for President in 1860, and Southern Democrats, who spoke of running Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, 49, pictured here. Davis had the nickname "Ten Cent Jimmy," given him by his enemies because of a remark he was supposed to have made that ten cents a day was enough for a workingman ($2.09 per day in 2006 dollars). Now, with the Whig Party dead and the Republican Party clearly section, there was no longer any national party.
Massachusetts defiantly reelect the invalid Senator Charles Sumner, 46, who had been beaten badly the year before with a cane by South Carolina Representative Preston Smith Brooks, 39, for his attacks on Brooks's proslavery uncle in the Senate. Still suffering from his injuries, Sumner was not able to assume his senatorial duties, however, for another two years. Massachusetts left his seat eloquently empty.
Meanwhile, the 35th Congress, embarrassed by a large surplus in the Treasury and responding to pressure from the South, enacted the Tariff of 1857, reducing duties to about 20 percent on dutiable goods, the lowest point since the War of 1812. Also in response to Southern pressure, U.S. shipping subsidies that had been introduced in 1845 were abandoned. Hardly had the revised rates taken effect when financial misery struck.
The Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company, which had been overinvested in shaky railroad enterprises, went bankrupt. Announcement of this failure "fell like a bomb" in financial circles. Soon many banks and business houses stopped specie (money in coins) payments. Three financial houses in Philadelphia failed. Crowds of people thronged the streets in front of bank buildings, demanding their savings in vain. Within two months, New York and New England banks began to fail. So rapid was the failure of the railroads that all Northern banks suspended specie payments. Commerce and industry were paralyzed. Property values fell from 25 to 75 percent.
Factories closed their doors, steamboats on rivers and lakes stopped running, canal boats stopped as well, and railroad traffic was cut in half. More than 5,000 business firms failed before the end of the year. Soon there were 20,000 to 40,000 unemployed workers in New York City alone. Hungry mobs marched in the city streets, shouting "Bread or work!" or "Bread or Death!" There was considerable vandalism and looting. Soldiers and Marines were placed on guard at the New York subtreasury building.
In the North and West, the party in power--the Democrats--were blamed for the crash, and many disaffected voters turned to the Republicans. Industrialists in the North, many of them Republicans, blamed their misfortunes on the lowered tariff and were consequently angry at the Southern-dominated Congress that had enacted it. It was foreign competition, they were sure, that had caused prices to plummet and unemployment to soar; the South had sacrificed the prosperity of the nation for its own selfish advantage.
Financial distress in Northern agriculture stimulated the growing demand for free 160-acre homestead farms carved out of the public domain in the West, a demand resisted by industrialists who didn't want their underpaid labor force to strike out for the West and by Southern slaveowners who needed more than 160 acres for their slave gang labor and who didn't want the land in the territories gobbled up by Free-Soilers.
For its part, the South, especially the Deep South and the western South, so invested in the cotton that Europe still demanded, was relatively unaffected by the Panic. Southerners saw in the economic distress of the North adequate proof of the superiority of the slave system.
Virginia was still an important producer of tobacco, although states west of the Appalachians raised more than half of the total U.S. crop--especially the Bright Yellow variety, which grew best on poor soil. The tobacco-growing states of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina 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.
Neal S. Dow, 53, the Mayor of Portland, ME, sponsored a statute, hailed as "the law of Heaven Americanized," prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor in the State of Maine. (By that time, Dow had persuaded 13 states to pass laws prohibiting alcohol.)
The 25-year-old Boston publishing house Ticknor & Fields began publishing the Atlantic Monthly (Massachusetts poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, 48, had suggested the title), The house would gain renown by publishing works of Holmes, as well as those of Emerson, Hawthorne, Lowell, Longfellow, Thoreau, Whittier, and English authors and poets Browning, De Quincey, Leigh Hunt, and Tennyson.
The population of Boston was 165,000. There were 6,500 WCs in the city--8 of them in the basement of the Tremont House, which served 200 to 300 guests.
Boston had nearly as high a death rate as New York City, the worst in the world.
Oliver Fisher Winchester, 46, changed the name of his 7-year-old Connecticut arms manufacturing company, the New Haven Volcanic Repeating Arms Company, to the name New Haven Arms Company.
In an economy move, the New York Tribune fired all but two of its foreign correspondents; one of the two retained was German communist Karl Marx, 39.
The first commercial passenger elevator was installed in the five-story E. G. Haughwort store at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City.
Industrialist and inventor Peter Cooper, 66, founded the Cooper Institute on Astor Place in New York City for adult education in arts and sciences.
New York City lithographer Nathaniel Currier, 44, with 22 years experience, and his bookkeeper of the preceding 5 years, James Merritt Ives, 33, collaborated on their new business to issue prints, priced from 15 cents to $3 ($3.14 to $62.80 in 2006 dollars).
Architects Frederick Law Olmsted, 35, and Calvert Vaux, 33, designed Central Park in New York City on a site filled with hog farms, bone-boiling works, and squatter's shacks. Olmsted remarked that the site was
a pestilential spot, where rank vegetation and miasmatic odors taint every breath of air.(13)Work on the site became a relief project for city politicians coping with the economic depression brought on by the Panic of 1857.
Quoted in Trager, op. cit., p. 492. (Close)
New York City had one of the highest death rates of any other place in the world, with tuberculosis (not then considered contagious) killing 400 out of every 100,000 people.
Elizabeth Blackwell, 36, and her younger sister Emily, with help from another woman, opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in New York City. It was run entirely by women, "to give to poor women an opportunity of consulting physicians of their own sex." The following is from her first Annual Report(14):
Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, pp. 118-19. (Close)
My first medical consultation was a curious experience. In a severe case of pneumonia in an elderly lady I called in consultation a kind-hearted physician of high standing.… This gentleman, after seeing the patient, went with me into the parlour. There he began to walk about the room in some agitation, exclaiming, "a most extraordinary case! Such a one never happened to me before; I really do not know what to do!" I listened in surprise and much perplexity, as it was a clear case of pneumonia and of no unusual degree of danger, until at last I discovered that his perplexity related to me, not to the patient, and to the propriety of consulting with a lady physician!
Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper railed against "swill milk" from Brooklyn cows fed with distillery mash, and instead promoted the condensed milk that had been patented by Texas inventor Gail Borden, 56, although the absence of fat in that milk was contributing to rickets in young working-class children. Borden was producing his condensed milk from a plant in Burrville, CT, with financial backing from New York City grocery wholesaler Jeremiah Milbank. 39. The product was definitely selling better in New York City than it had a year earlier (because New Yorkers had been too accustomed to watered-down milk doctored with chalk to make it white and with molasses to make it creamy).
Brooklyn entrepreneur Eugene R. Durkee created a spiced mayonnaise-based combination salad dressing and meat sauce in his kitchen and began seling it door to door in New York City.
The American Chess Association was organized at the First American Chess Congress in New York City. New Orleans player Paul Charles Morphy, 20, won the championship, becoming the first American international chess master.
The National Association of Baseball Players was organized from 25 amateur baseball clubs in the country.
The Oneida "Perfectionist Community" of farmers and mechanics in central New York State, founded in 1848 by New England clergyman John Humphrey Noyes, 46, sawmill owner Jonathan Burt, and farmer Joseph Ackley, continued to thrive, with hundreds of converts living in communal buildings made of timber from the community's farms. 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. Men and women were treated equally, and all classes of work were viewed as equally honorable. Noyes called his system "Bible Communism." Children were reared in the "children's house," operated by men and women considered best qualified. Community members developed dishwashing machines as well as machines for paring apples and washing vegetables.
Philadelphia had nearly as high a death rate as New York City, the worst in the world.
Napoleon Le Brun and C. Runge designed the Philadelphia Academy of Music at the corner of Broad and Locust Streets.
The Pennsylvania Railroad obtained control through lease or purchase of the entire rail route between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The company eliminated competition by buying up the state's canal system.
The increase in U.S. literacy had been spurring demand for more lighting. According to an 1857 Scientific American article,
The whale oils which hitherto have been much relied on in this country to furnish light and yearly become more scarce, may in time almost entirely fail.(15)
Quoted in ibid., p. 490. (Close)
Unemployed New Haven & Hartford Railroad conductor "Colonel" Edwin Laurentine Drake, 38, studied Oil Creek at Titusville, PA, and the salt works to Syracuse, NY, considering a way that might be done to drill for petroleum, which would be useful for lubricating machinery.
Financier George Peabody, 62, bestowed a gift of $1.4 million ($29.2 million in 2006 dollars) to set up the Peabody Institute--a music conservatory, reference library, art collection, and great concert hall--at Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore.
Michigan State College of Agriculture opened, offering scientific and practical agriculture courses.
John Deere, 52, produced his lightweight steel-moldboard plows, which could be pulled by a horse rather than by a team of slow-moving oxen, at an annual rate of 10,000.
The population of Chicago was now 93,000, an increase of 25,000 percent in two decades.
Illinois State University was founded.
Marquette University was founded in Milwaukee, WI.
Septuagenarian John C. Johnson finished a 2-year stint of lining up the $200,000 ($4.2 million in 2006 dollars) in life insurance policies required to receive a state charter for his Janesville, WI, Mutual Life Insurance Company of Wisconsin.
Dakota Sioux chieftains had signed 6 years earlier the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, ceding millions of acres in Minnesota Territory and agreeing, in exchange for money and goods, to live on a 20-mile-wide reservation centered on a 150-mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. But the U.S. Senate had failed to ratify all the provisions, and much of the compensation had never arrived. Renegade members of the Wahpekute Sioux, led by local chieftain Inkpaduta (Scarlet Point), 60, attacked Spirit Lake, a white settlement in the northwestern territory of Iowa near the Minnesota border, whose residents had come from Milford, Massachusetts. In this Spirit Lake Massacre, the Sioux killed between 35 or 40 settlers.
The secret organization Mystic Kiewe of Lomus began the tradition of decorated floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration.
Rail travel was now possible between New York City and St. Louis, MO.
Train passengers had to make do with "refreshment saloons," dining stations located in towns on the railroad. Passengers were forced to bolt their food and reembark within 15 minutes:
If there is any good word in the English language more shamefully misused than another, it is the word refreshment, as applied to the hurry scurry of eating and drinking at railroad stations. The dreary places in which the painful and unhealthy performances take place are called Refreshment Saloons, but there could not be a more inappropriate designation for such abominations of desolation.… The traveler who has been riding all night in a dusty and crowded care, unable to sleep, and half suffocated with smoke and foul air, will be suddenly roused… by hearing the scream of the steam whistle, which tells of the near approach to a station; but before the train stops, the door of the car opens, and the conductor shouts at the top of his voice, "Pogramville--fifteen minutes for breakfast!"(16)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians, Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993, p. 75, citing The New York Times (June 10, 1857). (Close)
In response to Congress's passing of an overland mail bill, John Butterfield, 55, of American Express organized the Overland Mail Company and won a government contract to carry mail from St. Louis to San Francisco via Little Rock, El Paso, Tucson, Yuma, and Los Angeles.
Many of the full-blood Cherokees in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) belonged to a secret society known as Kee-too-wah (the "Pins"), so named because each member wore two common pins in the form of a cross on the coat or hunting shirt. Its purpose was to encourage the retention of the old tribal customs and to prevent their taking up the ways of the whites. Few of the full-bloods owned slaves, and the Kee-too-wah was usually opposed to slavery. Nonetheless, many Cherokees did own slaves.
Historian John Garraty has summarized the miners' point of view(17):
Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 485. (Close)
The miners enthusiastically adopted the get-rich-quick philosophy, willingly enduring privations and laboring hard, but always with the object of striking it rich. Anything that stood in the way of their ambitions they struck down. They trespassed on Indian lands without the slightest qualm and "claimed" public land with no thought of paying for it. The idea of reserving any part of the West for future generations never entered their heads. The sudden prosperity of the mining towns attracted every kind of shady character, all bent on extracting wealth from the pockets of the miners rather than from the unyielding earth. Gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels mushroomed wherever precious metal was found [or was rumored to have been found]. Around these tawdry palaces of pleasure and forgetfulness gathered thieves, confidence men, degenerates, and desperados. Crime and violence were commonplace, law enforcement was a constant problem.
Brigham Young, 56, pictured here, continued to develop the State of Deseret (Utah Territory, as it was known by the federal government and other non-Mormons), considered by its residents as an independent nation with Young as President, extending, according to the Mormons (and disregarding the arrangement that Congress had worked out in 1850, from the Great Salt Lake down to southern California (encompassing most of present-day Arizona, all of Nevada, and parts of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon, as well as all of Utah). 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 the first major irrigation project ever undertaken by American whites, irrigation that enabled the settlers to raise crops and herds on the desert. 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. Young was suspected of involvement in the 1849 murder by Ute Indians (Mormon allies) of surveyor John Williams Gunnison, who had exposed the Mormon practices of polygamy and blood atonement.
one set of courts for Mormons, another set for Gentiles.President Buchannan removed Young as Governor of Deseret, replacing him with Alfred Cummins, and he appointed three new federal judges, a marshal, and a secretary. To escort them, he sent a force from Fort Leavenworth under General Albert Sydney Johnston, 54, to establish the primacy of federal rule in the territory. General Johnston sent Captain Van Vliet ahead to assure the Mormons that the army was on a peaceful mission and to purchase supplies from them. Before the force could reach Utah, however, the Fancher wagon train bound for California from Arkansas and Missouri arrived in Salt Lake City with 60 men, 40 women, and 50 children, most of them Methodists. They found the capital in a turmoil but continued south through the territory. Some 300 to 400 Paiute (Pah-Ute) braves led by Danite fanatic John D. Lee, 45, foster son of Young and acting on Young's orders, ambushed the Fancher party about 320 miles south of Salt Lake City. The party's riflemen were able to repulse the attackers for four days until Lee--with active support from Danites Orrin Porter Rockwell, 44, and William A. "Bill" Hickman--induced the emigrants to pile up their arms in a wagon. The Indians then slaughtered all but a dozen or so children under the age of 8.
Meanwhile, William Hepburn Russell, 45, of the freighting firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, was commissioned to furnish supplies and transportation to the General Johnston's troops, and Brigham Young prepared to meet the Johnston's "invasion."
We will send them to hell across lots!he cried. He refused to accept the authority of Governor Cummins as superseding his own, and he declared the territory under martial law. General Johnston restrained his troops from taking any aggressive action, but Mormon raiders looted his wagon trains, ran off horses and mules, and incited the Indians against them. Some raiders attacked a supply wagon train of the freighting firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell; they burned the wagons, drove away the livestock, and sent the 80 wagon drivers eastward without any provisions; many of the drivers died of cold and privation before reaching settlements on the Missouri River. General Johnston camped near Fort Bridger, where many men, women camp followers, and livestock died in the winter storms. Young was certain that he had "whipped the United States," and many Deseret bards wrote jubilant poems, such as the following:
Up, awake, ye defenders of Zion!
The foe's at the door of your homes;
Let each heart be the heart of a lion,
Unyielding and proud as he roams.
Remember the wrongs of Missouri,
Remember the fate of Nauvoo;
When the God-hating foe is before ye,
Stand firm, and be faithful and true.
Ocean freight rates between New York City and San Francisco dropped to $10 per ton ($209 per ton in 2006 dollars), an 83-percent drop in only 8 years. There was now intense competition among shippers to carry whatever freight there was. Some clippers could cover as much as 400 miles a day, much faster than the typical steamship of this time.
The tuition-free University of California was founded in Oakland, but classes would not begin for another 12 years.
Hundreds of Chinese immigrants were fleeing the disintegrating Chinese Empire, risking the penalty of beheading to do so, almost all from the southern district of Toishan, and coming to the United States, at an annual rate during this decade of 4,140, many of them gold seekers sailing into San Francisco, which they named "golden mountain." Some came with money pooled by their families back home, but most were desperately poor and in debt to Chinese middlemen. Most were men (the ratio was 19 males for each female).
San Jose State College was founded in California.
Hungarian immigrant Count Agoston Haraszthy de Moksa, 55, planted Tokay, Zinfandel, and Shiras grapes at his vineyard at Buena Vista in the Valley of the Moon near Sonoma Mission in California.
Hives of Italian honeybees were introduced to San Diego, CA.
The dry-goods store Meier & Frank opened in Portland, OR.
Mind, acting through the useful arts, is the vital principle of modern civilized society. The mechanician, not the magician, is now the master of life.
Maine inventor Joseph Peavey devised the cant hook (peavey) for breaking up log jams; and Swiss-born naturalist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, 50, began publishing (continuing over the next 5 years) his Contributions to the Natural History of the United States, suggesting that changes during embryonic development (ontology) are similar (recapitulates) changes in a species over millennia (phylogeny).
Kentucky inventor and iron-kettle manufacturer William Kelly, 46, patented a steel-making process similar to the one developed during this year in England by Henry Bessemer (precipitating a legal battle between the two inventors that will delay adoption of the new technique). His "air-boiling" technique involved blowing cold air onto red-hot iron, causing the metal to become white hot by igniting the carbon in it, thereby eliminating impurities. His customers decried "Kelly's fool steel" and stopped buying his kettles, but his and Bessemer's technique would gradually win acceptance.
Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Harper's Weekly, Yale Literary Magazine, Knickerbocker Magazine, Spirit of the Times, National Police Gazette, and Scientific American.
Boston composer James Pierpont, 35, released the song "One-Horse Open Sleigh" ("Jingle Bells"), which immediately became popular. Other popular songs included "Darling Nelly Gray," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Gentle Annie," "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna," "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "Buffalo Gals," "Old Folks at Home," "Old Dan Tucker," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace." English immigrant clergyman John Henry Hopkins, Jr., composed the hymn "We Three Kings of Orient."
Detroit grocer Hiram Walker, 41, founded a whiskey distillery and small flour mill just across the Detroit River in Canada, the basis for a settlement to be named Walkerville in his honor.
In Mexico the liberales (liberals), who had been ruling for the preceding 2 years under a provisional government (presided by Juan Álvarez), and which had inaugurated the period known as La Reforma, with new reform laws sponsored by the puro (pure) wing of the liberales, curtailing the power of the Catholic church and the military, while trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy on the North American model, now were able to promulgate a new federalist constitution. The liberale Benito Pablo Juárez García, 51, a Zapotec Indian, became Chief Justice and Vice-President of Mexico, under moderado (moderate) president Ignacio Comonfort. The unhappy conservadores (conservatives), led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, launched a revolt under the Plan of Tacubaya in December. Juárez was arrested.
From New York City Vanderbilt responded by organizing with his international agents a Central American alliance of Costa Rica, Honduras, San Salvador, and Guatemala against Walker's Nicaragua. The United Kingdom cooperated with Vanderbilt by preventing any reinforcements from reaching Walker from the Caribbean. Walker had already alienated the antislavery North by his suspension of the Nicaraguan antislavery laws; now he alienated the slaveholding South by deciding not to seek annexation to the United States. Walker wanted to keep Nicaragua as his personal empire. The odds against him were too great, however. The U.S. withdrew the diplomatic recognition it had granted the year before. In order to escape capture by enemies determined to kill him, Walker surrendered to U.S. Navy Commander Charles N. Davis, skipper of the sloop-of-war St. Mary's and was returned to the United States. He was formally charged with violating the neutrality laws, but since his adventure was popular with many Americans, President Buchanan allowed Walker to escape prosecution. Walker went back to Nicaragua, where he was once again captured by Commodore Hiram Paulding, 60, and returned once again to the U.S.
The British Parliament passed the Matrimonial Causes Act, establishing a husband's responsibility to provide for his wife even after the dissolution of a marriage--the first provision for alimony payments.
Game laws were eased in the United Kingdom: No longer was a poacher trying to feed his family subject to "transportation" to Australia for 7 years.
The Alpine Club was founded in London.
The Science Museum was founded in South Kensington, London.
The National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Ornamental Art (later known as the Victoria and Albert Museum) opened in London.
The Birmingham Post began publication.
English chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, 19, and his father founded a mauve dye works near Harrow, England, for making the synthetic dye the young man had discovered the preceding year.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood (the Fenians) was founded in New York City.
A new railroad law in France guaranteed interest payments on railroad company bonds, thereby spurring railroad construction. By year's end, there were 16,207 kilometers of railway in France, a 350-percent increase in just 6 years.
The transatlantic steamship company North German Lloyd was founded.
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia suffered two paralytic strokes.
The Milan-Venice Railroad was completed after the 3.5-kilometer bridge was built spanning the lagoon between San Giobbea and San Lucia and San Giuliano on the mainland.
Sir Charles T. Newton, 41, discovered the ruins of one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World": the Mausoleum of King Mausolus in Asia Minor.
The Universities of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras were founded in India.
King Mindon Min of Burma made Mandalay the capital of his country.
Through the efforts of U.S. envoy Townsend Harris, 53, the U.S. and Japan concluded a treaty opening the port of Nagasaki to U.S. commerce.
Life isn't all beer and skittles.Charles Hallé founded the Hallé Concerts in Manchester.
French painter Jean François Millet, 43, unveiled The Gleaners. German sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch died at the age of 80.
Austrian poet and painter Adalbert Stifter, 52, published Nachsommer; Norwegian author Björnstjerne Mrtinuius Björnson, 25, published Synnöve Solbakken ("Sunny Hill"); French Realist novelist Gustave Flaubert, 36, published Madame Bovary, earning him prosecution on immorality charges (he was acquitted); and French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire, 36, published his suggestive poetry in Les Fleurs du mal and was fined for offending the public morality (six of his poems were banned). French poet Alfred Louis Charles de Musset died at the age of 47, and German poet Joseph von Eichendorff died at the age of 69.