Christ's Lutheran Church in 1858

[ Christ's Church on the Sawkill ]

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) remembered that
[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) Quoted from Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976], citing Nathaniel M. Nash. (Close) about what the third one was like in the 1850s:
[ The stove in the church ] 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 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.…

[ Farm wagon ] 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.

The church owned no parsonage. The pastor
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.
This was the last year of Pastor Cutter's service. At the end of his pastorate, in September, he wrote(3): From Anderson, For All the Saints, op. cit., p. 89, citing Traver, Charles H., D.D., of West Camp, "History of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, N.Y., 1806-1906." (Close)
I have labored here two years in this field and been permitted to add to the church 50 odd members nearly all steadfastly in the truth. We have received many tokens of kindness for which we should ever feel thankful, and pray the Lord that he may bless them and reward them many fold.

The Woodstock Region in 1858

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 ($100.85 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 commodious Catskill Mountain House, the becolumned Greek Revival temple hotel near Kaaterskill Clove, owned and operated by Charles L. Beach, 49, benefited from writers elaborating on its "spiritual" aspect, such as the following testimonial of Professor C. C. Bennett:

I have seen and heard unutterable things in the mountains--visions and voices--forms of mighty and bewildering magnificence beyond mortal ken.(4) Quoted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 455, citing the Catskill Examiner, December 18, 1858. (Close)

The piratical-minded, foghorn-voiced shipping magnate Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt (van Derbilt), 64, director of the profitable Accessory Transit Corporation, a New York City-to-California shipping line that had been transporting California-bound Argonauts [Forty-Niners] across the Isthmus of Nicaragua (and which had been fighting takeover battles for the previous several years), sold for $20 million ($403 million in 2006 dollars) the enterprise at last to his rivals (who moved the operation to Panama rather than Nicaragua). Vanderbilt used the proceeds to begin buying up shares in the Harlem Railroad and the Hudson River Railroad.

The United States in 1858

[ James Buchanan ]

James Buchanan, 67 (Democrat), was President. The 35th Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 36th Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $20.17 in 2006 for most consumable products.

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.


The U.S. continued to feel the dire effects of the Panic of 1857. Factories had closed their doors, steamboats on rivers and lakes weren't running nearly to capacity, canal boat traffic was moribund as well, and railroad traffic had been cut in half. Nearly 5,000 business firms had failed. There were tens of thousands of unemployed in the North and West, and there the Buchanan Administration and the party in power--the Democrats--were blamed for the crash; many disaffected voters turned to the Republicans. Industrialists in the North, many of them Republicans, blamed their misfortunes on the lowered duties from the Southern-inspired Tariff of 1857.

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.

Possibly resulting from the financial depression and the sectional tensions in the country, a religious revival started in New York and Pennsylvania and swept the country, with daily prayer meetings in every major city. There were record numbers of conversions.

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, and many Southerners were overconfidently touting their region as the "stabilizer" of national finances. Southerners saw in the economic distress of the North adequate proof of the superiority of the slave system.

South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond, 41, taunted critics of the South by proclaiming:

You dare not make war upon cotton! No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is king.(5) Quoted in Trager, James, ed., The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979, p. 493. (Close)

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.

Four years earlier Wisconsin abolitionist editor and leader Sherman Miller Booth, now 46, 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, 81, 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 year.

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.

Students and a professor at Oberlin College in Ohio rescued a fugitive slave and spirited him away to Canada.

Churches were divided on the slavery question. Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist denominations separated into two independent bodies, North and South.

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 had not been enforced over the preceding several decades, at least not by the United States. British war ships attempting to suppress the trade had been forbidden to search vessels, American or otherwise, that raised the U.S. flag, that "proud banner of freedom." Conversely, any American slaver had had only to raise a foreign flag to evade search by the U.S. Navy, whose four vessels in the "Africa squadron," designated for "suppressing the slave trade," were in any event far slower than most of the slavers.

Now, at last, President Buchanan and Navy Secretary Isaac Toucey, 66, ashamed of the monstrous proportions of the traffic, began to make serious efforts to suppress it. Four steam war ships joined the Africa squadron, with a supply base nearer to the coast. Nonetheless, tens of thousands of fresh Africans, "black ivory," were still imported each year by Brazil, Cuba, and even the United States; in fact, the number was now greater than it had been half a century earlier, when the trade had been legal. For instance, during this year, the USS Dolphin captured the slave ship Echo off the coast of Cuba and forced it into the port of Charleston, with 300 captured Congo natives on board. Newspapers in Charleston and Richmond began an agitation to have "these useless barbarians" given "good masters" and put to work. Why return them to darkest Africa when they had now reached the "threshold of civilization"? Buchanan, however, enforced the law and sent them to Liberia.

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. 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 [$40,340 in 2006 dollars]). If there were more fresh slaves available, the price per slave would go down. One such convention in Montgomery, AL, pointed out that the South would be able to gain more power in the Union only by obtaining fresh slaves to bring into Kansas and the other territories. Here are some of the resolutions passed by the convention(6):

Quoted in "We Need to Do Things at the Very Moment When They Ought to Be Done: The Middle Passage Traffic in Man-Body" ( (Close)
1. Resolved, That slavery is right, and that being right, there can be no wrong in the natural means to its formation.

2. Resolved, That it is expedient and proper that the foreign slave trade should be re-opened, and that this Convention will lend its influence to any legitimate measure to that end.

3. Resolved, That a committee, consisting of one from each slave State, be appointed to consider of the means, consistent with the duty and obligations of these States, for re-opening the foreign slave-trade, and that they report their plan to the next meeting of this Convention.

William Lowndes Yancey, 44, of Alabama, responding to the charge that the report was actually a "proposition to dissolve the Union," declared that he was for disunion now. He declared that it was unjust for the North to enjoy free immigration of European labor while the South was forbidden access to the vast pool of African labor(7): Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 599. (Close)
If it is right to buy slaves in Virginia and carry them to New Orleans, why is it not right to buy them in Cuba, Brazil, or Africa, and carry them there?
Leonida W. Spratt reassured the South Carolina legislature that decriminalizing the slave trade would enable every white man to afford a slave. He painted an attractive picture of
prosperity to be poured upon us by the teeming thousands from the plains of Africa.(8): Quoted in ibid. (Close)

[ Jefferson Davis ] [ Stephen Douglas ]

The Democratic Party was now hopelessly divided into Southern Democrats, who spoke of running Mississippi Senator Jefferson "Ten Cent Jimmy" Davis, 50, pictured left, for President, and Northern Democrats, who spoke of running Illinois Senator Stephen Arnold "Little Giant" Douglas, 45, pictured right. Douglas realized, though, that he first must be reelected to the Senate, and the northern part of Illinois was fast becoming Republican country.

[ Abraham Lincoln ] The 6-foot-4-inch-tall, 180-pound, narrow-chested, stoop-shouldered melancholic Abraham Lincoln, 49, pictured here, was looking for the Republican nomination for the Illinois Senate seat, to face Douglas in the Illinois legislature (which, in those days, chose the Senators).(9)

Much of the following text in the next few paragraphs (about the Lincoln-Douglas debates) has been quoted liberally from 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. 402-414; there are also some quotes from Trager, op. cit.; from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, pp. 430-32; and from Morison, op. cit., pp. 595-97. (Close) His rival for the nomination was "Long" John Wentworth, 43, Mayor of Chicago, who was assured that he could control the legislature if its majority were Republican.

[ Horace Greeley ] [ William Henry Seward ]

Senator Douglas, the Democratic incumbent, knew he faced the displeasure of President Buchanan, also a Democrat, whom he had defied on the Lecompton constitution and who used his patronage power to dismiss almost all Douglas supporters from federal offices and who threatened to retaliate against anyone else who backed Douglas. The President's supporters in Illinois were called "Buchaneers." But most of the Democrats in Illinois supported Douglas. Even many old-line Whigs supported him. Douglas was very popular throughout the North--even among such Republicans as Horace Greeley, 47 (pictured left), William Henry Seward, 57 (pictured right), and (Edward) Thurlow Weed, 61--because of his stand on the Lecompton constitution.

Lincoln sent his law partner, William Henry Herndon, 40, to plead his cause with Greeley, whose New York Tribune had a wide and influential circulation in Illinois. Greeley wouldn't budge, however; "Douglas is a brave man," he said. "Forget the past and sustain the righteous." Herndon received a cold reception throughout the East; Republicans in Boston were surprised that anyone would oppose Douglas. But Lincoln doggedly persisted in Illinois, and when the Republican state convention opened in Springfield in June, he had secured endorsements from most of the county organizations. He easily wrested the nomination from Mayor Wentworth.

In his acceptance speech, which became known as the House Divided speech, Lincoln pointed out, with profound gravity, the danger of the situation, how all attempts at compromise on the slavery question had failed, and how agitation on that question was growing ever more bitter.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed-- A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, North as well as South.
He questioned his opponent's policies and denied that Douglas was the best man to keep slavery out of the territories.
They [the Douglas supporters] remind us that he is a very great man and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a living dog is better than a dead lion." Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one.… Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have opposed no adventitious obstacle.
But since Douglas was not with the Republicans, the cause of union and liberty had to be carried on by the union's undoubted friends, "whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work." Lincoln then criticized the Republicans themselves, who in the previous election had been composed "of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements." Nonetheless, the party had "formed and fought the battle through, under the constant fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy." He was sure that the Republicans would win, if not in 1858, then soon after.

Greeley printed Lincoln's entire speech in the Tribune, and he stopped urging Republicans to support Douglas.

Some Democrats denounced the speech as "little short of treason," since, they said, it was an incitement to civil war. When some of his supporters urged him to tone down his remarks, Lincoln remarked:

The time has come when these sentiments should be uttered; and if it is decreed that I should go down linked with the truth--let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.

Douglas, learning that he would face Lincoln, remarked:

I shall have my hands full! He is the strong man of his party, full of wit, facts, dates--and the best stump speaker, with his droll ways and dry jokes, in the West. He is as honest as he is shrewd and if I beat him my victory will be hardly won.

Douglas was sure that there was a conspiracy between Buchanan Democrats and Illinois Republicans to defeat him for reelection, and he was determined to prevail. He returned from Washington to Chicago and restated his position: that popular sovereignty--the will of the people--should determine what laws were imposed upon them. He complimented his opponent, who was sitting on the platform at Chicago, as "a kind, amiable, and intelligent gentleman, a good citizen and an honorable opponent." But he charged that Lincoln's "House Divided" speech invited

a war of sections, a war of the North against the South, of the free states against the slave states--a war of extermination to be continued relentlessly, until one or the other shall be subdued and the states shall either become free or become slave.
Douglas defended the Supreme Court in the 1857 Dred Scott decision, on the ground that it had done its duty in expounding the Constitution and construing its laws, and that its decision must remain final until reversed by an equally high authority.

Lincoln responded the following night and pointed out how ineffective was any theory of popular sovereignty in the face of the Dred Scott decision. He insisted that he had not "invited" a war between the sections; he had merely offered a prediction--and "it may have been a foolish one." He insisted that the North should not meddle with slavery in the states where it already existed, but the institution must be confined where it was.

In a later speech at Edwardsville, IL, Lincoln pointedly referred to the Dred Scott decision in his comparison of the Democrats and the Republicans:

Every measure of the Democratic party of late years, bearing directly or indirectly on the slavery question, has corresponded with this notion of utter indifference whether slavery or freedom shall outrun in the race of empire across to the Pacific--every measure, I say, up to the Dred Scott decision, where, it seems to me, the idea is boldly suggested that slavery is better than freedom. The Republican party, on the contrary, hold that this government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom, and that slavery is an unqualified evil to the negro, to the white man, to the soil, and to the State.
In that speech, Lincoln issued this warning:
Familiarize yourself with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.
Here is a summary of his points in that speech:
Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.

Douglas began a campaign swing through Illinois, riding with his wife in a gaily decorated private car in a special train provided by George Brinton McClellan, 31, then superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad. There was a flat car at the rear of the train, on which was mounted a "twelve-pounder" brass cannon that would thunder when a town was approached, announcing the coming of Senator Douglas, dressed in the best that DC tailors could produce. Lincoln, wearing a rusty frock coat with sleeves too short and well-worn trousers that didn't reach low enough, rode on the same train, in one of the ordinary passenger cars, so that he could respond to Douglas's speeches.

In Bloomington, Douglas spoke to 2,000 in the courthouse square. He said that just as the North would resist any effort to force slavery on it, so would the South fight any attempt to abolish slavery there.

I will not judge them, lest I be judged.
He questioned how Lincoln would go about making all the states free, or reversing the Dred Scott decision. Slavery, he said, could not exist in any place where the people did not want it.
I tell you, my friends, it is impossible under our institutions to force slavery on an unwilling people.
Therefore, he said, the Dred Scott decision was nothing more than an abstraction, without any practical effect. Lincoln sat on the platform but did not respond this time, because he said the meeting had been called by the friends of Douglas.

In Springfield, Douglas argued that Lincoln favored Negro equality, that he was, in fact, an abolitionist. Lincoln responded that the Declaration of Independence meant only that blacks were equals of whites in their right to

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All I ask for the Negro is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.
Newspapers began ridiculing Lincoln for riding around on Douglas's train, stating that he could get a crowd in no other way. Lincoln's friends urged him to challenge Douglas to a joint debate. Finally Lincoln sent his campaign manager, Norman Buell Judd, 43, to Douglas with a note:
Will it be agreeable to you to make an arrangement for you and myself to divide time, and address the same audiences at the present canvass? Mr. Judd, who will hand you this, is authorized to receive your answer; and if agreeable to you, to enter into the forms of such arrangement.
Douglas was reluctant; he had said to his friends:
I do not feel that I want to go into this debate. The whole country knows me and has me measured. Lincoln, as regards myself, is comparatively unknown, and if he gets the best of this debate--as I want to say he is the ablest man the Republicans have got--I shall lose everything. Should I win, I shall gain but little. I do not want to go into the debate with Mr. Lincoln.
Republican newspapers announced that the challenge had been given, however, and Douglas did not want to appear afraid of debate. So they agreed to meet once in each Illinois Congressional district where they had not yet debated: Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton.

At Ottawa, IL, more than 10,000 came to see the faceoff. The well-groomed and polished Douglas, with bearlike figure and bullhorn voice, began by reading a Republican resolution adopted in 1854 that called for repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, admission of no more slave states into the Union, abolishment of slavery in the District of Columbia, and no further acquisition of territory unless slavery were excluded from it. He demanded that Lincoln answer if he was pledged to those positions. Douglas also told of his long acquaintance with Lincoln:

I was a school-teacher… and he a flourishing grocery keeper [equivalent in that day of running a saloon].… He was then just as good at telling an anecdote as now… could beat any of the boys wrestling, or running a foot-race… could ruin more liquor than all the boys in the town together; and the dignity and impartiality with which he presided at a horse-race or fist-fight… won the praise of everybody that was present and participated. I sympathized with him because he was struggling with difficulties, and so was I.
Douglas recited Lincoln's history: his legislative career, and how he had dropped out of sight; his brief term in Congress, and how he had again dropped out of sight; and now how he was back helping promote the strange Republican platform. Douglas dissected the "House Divided" speech. He charged that Lincoln and Lyman Trumbull, 45, had conspired to wreck the Whig Party in order to form the Republican Party.

With baggy clothes and unshined shoes, absurdly exaggerating his height by wearing a stovepipe hat--a common repository for bills, letters, scribbled notes, and other scraps--Lincoln, appearing somewhat ill at ease and speaking with a piercing, high-pitched voice, referring to himself in the third person, responded that Douglas was mistaken about his being a grocery-keeper.

I don't know how as it would be a great sin if I had been. It is true that Lincoln did work the better part of one winter in a little still house, up at the head of a hollow.
Lincoln asserted that slavery was wrong and that anything that aided slavery was wrong. But before casting the first stone, Northerners should look into their own hearts. He confessed:
If all earthly power were given to me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia,--to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, the would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition?… What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot, then, make them equals.… But all this; to my judgement, furnishes no more excuse for permitting slavery to go into our own free territory, than it would for reviving the African slave trade by law.
Lincoln asserted that he had had nothing to do with the 1854 Republican abolitionist resolution. He was hardly an abolitionist, he said.
I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position [whenever the necessity of choice arises]. I have never said anything to the contrary.… There is a physical difference between the two [races] which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together on a footing of perfect equality… but I hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to those rights as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects--certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anyone else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.
He returned to the charge of a conspiracy to extend slavery over the country, which Douglas had refuted.
I know the Judge is a great man, while I am a small man, but I feel that I have got him. If the evidence proves the existence of the conspiracy, does the broad answer denying all knowledge, information, or belief, disturb that fact? It can only show that he was used by the conspirators, and was not a leader of them.… I do not say that I know such a conspiracy to exist… but I believe it.
Never shy about implying that "Honest Abe" was a liar, Douglas, in rebuttal, exclaimed:
Mr. Lincoln has not character enough for integrity and truth, merely on his own ipse dixit, to arraign President Buchanan, President Pierce, and nine judges of the Supreme Court, not one of whom would be complimented by being put on an equality with him.
Six days later the candidates met at Freeport, IL, in a drizzle in front of a crowd of 15,000. Lincoln spoke first this time. He addressed Douglas's Ottawa questions in detail: The Southern states were entitled to the Fugitive Slave Act, but, since repeal was not being urged, why talk about it? He doubted that future territories would apply for statehood with slavery, but if one did, they would have to be admitted. He would rejoice to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia if it were done gradually and the majority of the District residents wanted slavery ended and the owners were compensated. It was the right and the duty of Congress to exclude slavery from the territories. He would oppose or favor the acquisition of new territories depending on whether it would or would not aggravate the vexed slavery question. Then he asked Douglas if the people in a U.S. territory exclude slavery prior to the adoption of a state constitution if any U.S. citizen wanted slavery. Douglas responded forthrightly with what became known as the Freeport Doctrine, clearly contradicting the Dred Scott decision of the year before:
I answer emphatically… that in my opinion the people of a territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a state constitution. Mr. Lincoln knew that I had answered that question over and over again.… It matters not what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into a territory under the Constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere, unless it is supported by local police regulations.
By forcing Douglas to state this doctrine, Lincoln had shrewdly widened the breach between the Douglas Democrats and the Buchanan Democrats in Illinois. In any event, the Freeport Doctrine was given national attention in the press, and, with its refutation of the Dred Scott decision, it ruined Douglas's Presidential chances in the South.

In the debate at Charleston, Lincoln affirmed his solid racism, denying that he was advocating any kind of racial equality:

I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.… And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
He assured his audience that he did not favor racial intermarriage:
I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.
At Galesburg, Lincoln pointed to the morality of the slavery issue:
Judge Douglas is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them.
At Quincy, Lincoln pointed out that the controversy over strategic positions was really an effort to dominate the fundamental moral issue; it was
the difference between the men who think slavery a wrong and those who do not think it wrong. The Republican party think it wrong--we think it is a moral, a social and a political wrong. We think it is a wrong not confining itself merely to the persons or the states where it exists, but that it is a wrong in its tendency, to say the least, that extends itself to the existence of the whole nation. Because we think it wrong, we propose a course of policy that shall deal with it as a wrong. We deal with it as with any other wrong, in so far as we can prevent its growing any larger, and so deal with it that in the run of time there may be some promise of an end to it.… I will add this, that if there be any man who does not believe that slavery is wrong in the three aspects which I have mentioned, or in any one of them, that man is misplaced, and ought to leave us. While, on the other hand, if there be any man in the Republican party who is impatient… of the constitutional guarantees thrown around it, and would act in disregard of these, he too is misplaced standing with us.
Douglas replied that the rights and wrongs of slavery were nobody's business outside the slave states:
If each state will only agree to mind its own business, and let its neighbors alone,… this republic can exist forever divided into free and slave states, as our fathers made it and the people of each state have decided.
Lincoln, in his rejoinder, thanked Douglas for his admission that slavery must exist forever. At Alton, Lincoln reiterated his focus on morality:
The real issue in this controversy--the one pressing on every mind--is the sentiment on the part of one class that looks upon slavery as a wrong and of another class that does not look upon it as a wrong. The sentiment that contemplates the institution of slavery in this country as a wrong is the sentiment of the Republican party. It is the sentiment around which all their actions, all their arguments, circle, from which all their propositions radiate. They look upon it as being a moral, social and political wrong; and while they contemplate it as such, they nevertheless have due regard for its actual existence among us, and the difficulties of getting rid of it in any satisfactory way, and to all the constitutional obligations thrown about it.… I have said there is a sentiment which treats it as not being wrong. That is the Democratic sentiment of this day.… That class will include all men who positively assert that it is right, and all who, like Judge Douglas, treat it as indifferent and do not say it is either right or wrong.…

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles--right and wrong--throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

Lincoln carried Illinois in the popular vote: 125,275 for the Republicans, 121,090 for the Douglas Democrats, and 5,071 for the Buchaneers (Buchanan Democrats). But this election was for seats in the state legislature, which would ultimately choose the Senator. Because the legislative districts were apportioned according to the 1850 census, before the Republicans had become so numerous in northern Illinois, Douglas supporters ended up with the majority, and the vote in the legislature was 54 for Douglas to 46 for Lincoln. Douglas was reelected to the coming year's 36th Congress, and Lincoln, though bitterly disappointed, regarded his loss as "a slip, and not a fall."

That campaign marked Douglas's last triumph and Lincoln's last defeat. Outside of Illinois, the midterm elections in the North went heavily for the Republicans: The Democrats lost 8 seats in New York, 11 seats in Pennsylvania, 3 in Indiana, and 3 in Ohio. Many Southerners were nervous about the future of their section and began to talk of secession if a Republican were elected President in 1860.

Republican William H. Seward echoed in October the sentiments of Lincoln's "House Divided" speech:

It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation.

[ John Brown ] Kansas abolitionist John Brown, 58, pictured left, laid down to a handful of followers in Chatham, Ontario, a plan to foment a gigantic slave uprising in the South by arming blacks to slaughter whites, wreak havoc on a very wide scale, and set up a Negro government to continue to prosecute the war on slavery. He had obtained generous funding from abolitionist groups in New England and by associating himself with such noted antislavery people as Wendell Phillips, 47, Theodore Parker, 48, Frederick Douglass, 41 (pictured below left), Ralph Waldo Emerson (pictured below center), 55, and Henry David Thoreau, 41 (pictured below right).

[ Frederick Douglass ] [ Ralph Waldo Emerson ] [ Henry David Thoreau ]

Brown drew up a "Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States" that would govern the new slave-controlled area. The Chatham group solemnly "adopted" this constitution, elected Brown commander in chief; John Henry Kagi, 23, secretary of war; and Aaron Dwight Stevens, 27, captain. The group chose Harper's Ferry, on the Virginia-Maryland border, as the objective of the initial attack, because it was a "gateway" to the South and because there was an important federal arsenal there.

Massachusetts financier and New York paper merchant Cyrus West Field, 39, got the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable to be laid. Messages were exchanged between President Buchanan and Queen Victoria. Her message was "Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth, good will to men." Soon after, London merchant John Cash, whose J. and J. Cash firm made woven name labels, wired his New York City representative at $5 per word ($100.85 per word in 2006 dollars) the following instruction: "Go to Chicago," The cable's electrical insulation failed within a few weeks, and the cable stopped working.

Boston bookseller Edward Payton Dutton, 17, founded the publishing firm E. P. Dutton & Co.

Harvard University set up a chemistry department and research laboratory.

Boston began filling in its Back Bay using steamshovels and rail lines to bring gravel from Needham, 9 miles away.

Massachusetts philosopher Henry David Thoreau pleaded for

national preserves in which the bear and the panther, and some even of the hunter race may still exist, and not be civilized off the face of the earth--not for idle sport or food, but for the inspiration and our own true recreation.(10) Quoted in Trager, op. cit., p. 496. (Close)

South Abingdon, MA, shoemaker Lyman Reed Blake, 23, invented a shoe-making machine that eliminated the heavy work of hand sewing; shoemaker Gordon McKay, 37, heavily promoted the machine, which became known as the McKay machine.

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.

The ship Austria, en route from Hamburg, Germany, to New York City, burned in the Atlantic, killing 471 people.

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.(11)

This description of the Irish immigrant experience liberally quoted from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., 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.(12)

Information in this paragraph has been quoted in Wellman, op. cit., 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.

Seven independent engraving-printing firms contracted to print U.S. paper currency merged to form the American Bank Note Company in New York City.

With less than $100 ($2,000 in 2006 dollars) between them, bookkeeper Francis S. Street and reporter Francis Shubael Smith, 38, purchased the 15-year-old fiction magazine New York Weekly Dispatch for $40,000 ($800,000 in 2006 dollars) from Amos J. Williamson, who agreed to wait for his money until Street and Smith earned it. The two renamed the magazine the New York Weekly and named their company Street & Smith Publications, Inc.

Emanuel Lehman, 31, opened a branch office at 119 Liberty Street in New York City of the Montgomery, AL, cotton trading and credit firm H. Lehman & Bros., which had been started by his elder brother Henry Lehman 13 years earlier.

The 40-year-old firm of Brooks Brothers opened a branch at Broadway and Grand Street in New York City, featuring a custom department housed in a circular room lit from a 68-foot dome.

Massachusetts entrepreneur Rowland Hussey Macy, 36, opened an 11-foot storefront under the name R. H. Macy Company on 14th Street in New York City, using flamboyant advertising and selling at fixed prices only for cash, and grossed only $11.06 ($223.28 in 2006 dollars) on his first day of selling ribbons, trimmings, hosiery, and gloves.

H. W. Johns established his manufacturing company (later known as Johns-Manville Corporation) in New York City to produce roofing materials and paint.

Actor-mechanic Isaac Merrit Singer, 46, offered $50,000 ($1 million in 2006 dollars) in five annual payments to New York City sewing machine inventor Walter Hunt, 62, to clear up any possible patent claims (unfortunately Hunt died a few months later before the first payment fell due, having derived little benefit for his many inventions).

Texas inventor Gail Borden, 57, established the New York Condensed Milk Company in New York City.

The New York Symphony Orchestra gave its first public concert.

Central Park opened to the public in New York City, at a cost of $5 million ($100 million in 2006 dollars) and 5 years shy of completion. Architects Frederick Law Olmsted, 36, and Calvert Vaux, 34, had resisted proposals that the park include a permanent circus, a church, a race track, and a stadium.

Erastus Flavel Beadle, 37, and Robert Adams moved to New York City from Buffalo and founded the Beadle & Adams publishing house, disseminating 10-cent paperbound songbooks, joke books, etiquette books, and soon mystery novels. (10 cents in 1858 would be worth $2.02 in 2006 dollars.)

Brooklyn, NY pharmacist Edward Robinson Squibb, 39, whose lower eyelids had been burned off in an ether explosion, founded a chemical and pharmaceutical laboratory to supply ether to the medical profession.

The Oneida "Perfectionist Community" of farmers and mechanics in central New York State, founded in 1848 by New England clergyman John Humphrey Noyes, 47, 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. One member, Samuel Newhouse, invented a trap that would soon be considered the best trap available.

New York metalworker John Landis Mason, 26, patented a reusable glass jar with a thread molded into its top and a zinc threaded lid, and had them manufactured at the Whitney Glass Works in Glassboro, NJ, thereby freeing (eventually) farm families from having to rely on pickle barrels, root cellars, and smoke houses to get through the winter.

Unemployed New Haven & Hartford Railroad conductor "Colonel" Edwin Laurentine Drake, 39, established the Seneca Oil Company in Titusville, PA, and searched for a salt driller to help him get petroleum out of the ground. Skeptics scoffed at the scheme, calling him "Crazy Drake" and his project "Drake's Folly."

Tobacco merchant John Edmund Liggett, 29, took his brother William into partnership to establish the plug chewing tobacco firm J. E. Liggett & Brother.

Episcopalian bishops Leonidas Polk and James H. Otey founded the University of the South in Suwanee, TN (but classes would not begin for another 10 years).

Charles Farrar Browne, 24, editor of the 17-year-old Cleveland Plain Dealer used the name "Artemas Ward" to sign letters to the editor ostensibly from a shrewd showman with a Yankee dialect.

The 6-year-old H. and C. Studebaker Company of South Bend, IN, producing wagons and carriages, directed by Clement Studebaker, 27, and his older brother Henry, was now augmented by another brother: John M. Studebaker, who had been making wheelbarrows for gold miners in Placerville, CA, and who infused the business with $8,000 ($161,360 in 2006 dollars) in savings.

Chicago shoe salesman Dwight Lyman Moody, 21, started his own Sunday School in an abandoned freight car and soon moved to an old vacant saloon on Michigan Street. A modern urban circuit rider, he proclaimed a gospel of kindness and forgiveness.

Brockton, NY, cabinetmaker George Mortimer Pullman, 27, perfected the first practical railroad sleeping car, with retractable upper berths, for the Chicago & Alton Railroad.

Iowa State College was founded in Ames.

Minnesota was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state. It was a free state; that is, slavery was prohibited there. Representatives of several bands of the Dakota Sioux (or Santee Sioux), led by Taoyateduta (commonly known as "Chief Little Crow"), 48, traveled to Washington, DC, to negotiate concerning the broken 7-year-old treaties (the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and the Treaty of Mendota), by which, in exchange for money and goods, the Indians had ceded vast amounts of land in Minnesota Territory and had consented to live on a 20-mile-wide reservation centered on a 150-mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. This deal had immediately begun to sour when the U.S. Senate deleted Article 3 of each treaty during the ratification process; much of the promised compensation never arrived, lost or effectively stolen due to corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and wrongful conduct by traders. In the present negotiations, the Indians lost the northern half of their reservation as well as the rights to the quarry at Pipestone, MN. This humiliation cost Little Crow much standing among his people.

The land that the Sioux had ceded was quickly being divided into townships and individual settlement plots; the forest, prairie, and other lands used in the traditional yearly cycle of farming, hunting, fishing, and wild rice gathering were stripped of timber. Bison, elk, whitetail deer, and bear were hunted intensively, and their populations dwindled, and the fur trading efforts of the Dakota were ruined. Tensions increased.

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.

Kansas-Missouri border war

This was a savage, merciless little war: Men would be shot from ambush, or called to their doors and shot down, or hanged without benefit of trial. There were murderous skirmishes at many places in both Kansas and Missouri as raiders from each side invaded the other's territory. William Clarke Quantrill, 21, invaded from Kansas into Missouri, until he changed sides. Charles Jennison invaded from Missouri into Kansas. Other reprehensible characters sneaked and looted and murdered on both sides.

Americans foresaw a bitter fight when Kansas should again seek to be admitted to the Union. In the Senate and in the House of Representatives, debates grew noisier and angrier. On January 4, 10,388 Kansas voters flocked to the polls and utterly defeat (10,226 to 162) the fraudulently drafted proslavery Lecompton constitution. It seemed that Kansas was to remain a territory, at least for now. Many in Congress wanted to "bribe" the Kansans to accept the notorious constitution, however. Robert John Walker, 57, who had resigned the preceding year as Governor of Kansas Territory because of his opposition to Lecompton, influenced the passage by a sufficient number of Democrats of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Indiana Democratic Congressman William Hayden English, 36, an offer to Kansans of 3.5 million acres of public land if they would only accept the Lecompton document. In August, however, by a vote of 11,300 to 1,788, Kansas settlers resisted this temptation, rejecting the Lecompton constitution once and for all, making the territory non-slaveholding.

(The idea of bringing slaves into Kansas had been silly at any rate. The slaveowners had a lot of money invested in their human "property" and would not have wanted to take them where bullets were flying (and where the popular sovereignty vote might go against slavery). One wit had commented that the entire quarrel over slavery in the territories was about "an imaginary Negro in an impossible place.")

Socialist communard followers of the late French social philosopher and reformer Charles Fourier, dead for the previous 22 years, abandoned their socialist community of La Reunion in Texas and moved to nearby Dallas.

Colorado Gold Rush

William Greeneberry Russell, 38, with his party of Cherokee prospectors, continued to look for gold where Cherry Creek flows into the South Platte in the western part of Kansas Territory (the site of present-day Denver). During the winter layover they and other prospectors who had come into the area staked out two rival towns on opposite sides of Cherry Creek--one they named Auraria (a corruption of the Latin aurum "gold") and the other they named Denver, in honor of Kansas Territory Governor James W. Denver. They found a little bit of gold, and they hyped up the discovery to create a gold rush in order to invigorate the towns' business. They printed glowing pamphlets about the fictitious discoveries, and they had them distributed throughout the East and Middle West. The apparent cautiousness of Russell's reports in the newspapers convinced many that he was trying to hide the true riches in the Rockies. Soon waves of gold seekers were rushing to the region. Roads were lined with wagons, steamboats crowded with passengers. Businesses on the Missouri River again were booming, supplying the second flood of Argonauts, with "Pike's Peak or Bust!" inscribed on the canvas of their wagons.

When the victims of the gold rush hype learned that they had been duped (many of them returning with "Busted, by Gosh" inscribed on the canvas of their creaking wagons), they were furious, of course--and dangerous. One of them composed this threatening rhyme:

Here lies the body of D. C. Oakes
Killed for aiding the Pike's Peak hoax.
But then gold really was discovered: two strikes, on two branches of Clear Creek, between Denver and Berthoud Pass. Horace Greeley, writing that very rich deposits had been found, described the situation in the New York Tribune:
As yet the entire population of the valley [Gregory Gulch]--which cannot number less than 4000, including five white women and seven squaws living with white men--sleep in tents or under booths of pine boughs, cooking and eating in the open air. I doubt that there is as yet a table or chair in these diggings.… The food… is restricted to a few staples--pork, hot bread, beans, and coffee forming the almost exclusive diet… but a meat shop has just been established, on whose altar are offered up the ill-fed and well-whipped oxen who are just in from a 50-day journey across the plains.(13) Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., pp. 388-91. Much of the description of the Colorado gold rush comes from Wellman. (Close)
Some $1 million ($20.2 million in 2006 dollars) worth of gold was taken out of the claims that year.

Deseret Revolt ("Mormon War")

[ Brigham Young ] President Buchannan had removed Brigham Young, 57, pictured here, as Governor of Utah Territory (the State of Deseret, as the Mormons called it), replacing him with Alfred Cummins, and he had appointed three new federal judges, a marshal, and a secretary. To escort them, he had sent a force from Fort Leavenworth under General Albert Sydney Johnston, 55, to establish the primacy of federal rule in the territory. General Johnston's force had restrained his troops from hostile action but had endured Mormon raiders looting his wagon trains, running off his horses and mules, and inciting the Indians against them. After suffering great winter losses in men, women camp followers, and livestock at a camp near Fort Bridger, Johnston's force had lost all patience with the Mormons. Young, anticipating a furious attack from Johnston, ordered his Mormon followers to evacuate their homes and prepare to march south, perhaps to Mexico. They were to cache their food, and leave their homes "in smoking ashes." Some 25,000 men, women, and children prepared to obey without question. Thomas Leiper Kane, 36, forestalled this exodus, however, by acting as intermediary to Governor Cummins, convincing him that
the Mormons were rather more peaceable than average lambs, if let alone.
Without an escort, Cummins accompanied Kane to Salt Lake City to make a deal with Young. The Mormons accepted federal sovereignty over Utah, provided that the religion of the inhabitants would not be interfered with. President Buchanan granted full pardon to his lately rebellious subjects.

The Territorial Enterprise began publication at Mormon Station in the Territory of Western Utah (present-day Nevada) with a press that had been shipped in from San Francisco.

With the Overland Mail Stage, both regular stagecoach service and mail delivery began between San Francisco, CA, and St. Louis, MO, a distance of 2,812 miles. The eastbound stage covered the distance in 23 days and 4 hours on its first trip; a westbound stage covered the distance in 24 days 20 hours and 35 minutes.

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).

Elias S. Cooper established a medical college at the University of the Pacific in Santa Clara, CA, the first such school on the West Coast.

Oregon State College was founded in Corvallis.

Science and technology in America: Specifics

Hamilton E. Smith invented a mechanical washing machine.

Economist Henry Charles Carey, 65, published Principles of Social Science.

Arts and culture in America: Specifics

Furniture maker John Henry Belter, 54, opened a factory in New York City to manufacture his exquisitely carved furniture; dramatist Tom Taylor produced Our American Cousin at Laura Keene's Theater in New York City; Anglo-Irish immigrant dramatist Dion Boucicault (né Dionysius Lardner Boursquot), 37, produced Jessie Brown, or The Relief of Lucknow at Wallack's Theater in New York City; painter Winslow Homer, 22, painted Eight Bells; Massachusetts poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, 49, published "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," the first in a series in the Atlantic Monthly, including the satirical poem "The Deacon's Masterpiece, or. The Wonderful One Hoss Shay" and "The Chambered Nautilus"; Swiss immigrant Philip Schaff, 39, began publishing History of the Christian Church, which would take another 34 years to complete (these Web pages will not take that long); and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 52, published The Courtship of Miles Standish.

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.

"The Yellow Rose of Texas" by composer "JK" was released and became popular. Songwriter J. Warner released "The Old Grey Mare (Get Out of the Wilderness)," which also became popular. Other popular songs included "Darling Nelly Gray," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Gentle Annie," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Old Folks at Home," "Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna," "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "One-Horse Open Sleigh" ("Jingle Bells"), "Buffalo Gals," "Old Dan Tucker," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."

The World at Large in 1858

A wild gold rush descended on the Fraser River Valley in far western Canada, some 30,000 of the newcomers from California (disappointed prospectors from the "panned-out" gold rush there); the population in the valley grew so fast that residents organized the territory of British Columbia there.

Ottawa became the capital of Canada.

The Chelsea Bridge was completed across the River Thames in London.

In Mexico the conservadores (conservatives), led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, had launched a revolt the preceding year and had arrested Benito Pablo Juárez García, 52, a Zapotec Indian. Juárez escaped, however, and now led the liberale (liberal) side in the Mexican War of the Reform, first from Querétaro and later from Veracruz. The conservadores controlled areas bordering the Rio Grande, and U.S. President Buchanan, who had recognized the Juárez government, asked for Congressional authorization to establish military posts in Sonora and Chihuahua to "restore order." Buchanan attempted to extort from Mexico, in return for paying several million dollars, the State of Baja California (as a sop to Southern expansionists still complaining of Alta California becoming a free state 8 years earlier).

The Conservative (Tory) Lord Derby became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Lionel de Rothschild, 50, became the first Jewish Member of the British Parliament.

The daughter of Queen Victoria, 39, and Prince Albert, 39--Victoria (Vicky), the Princess Royal of England, 18--was married to Friedrich Wilhelm, 27, who had just become Crown Prince of Prussia, because his father had become regent for his insane uncle, the King. Both the "Wedding March" from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Felix Mendelssohn and the "Wedding March" from the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner were played at the ceremony, thereby starting a tradition.

English social reformer Robert Owen died at the age of 87.

The General Medical Council convened its first meeting in London.

Architect Sir Charles Barry, 63, completed the Covent Garden Opera House in London.

The 316-foot-tall clock tower of London's Westminster Palace--"Big Ben," named for chief commissioner of public works, Sir Benjamin Hall, Baron Llanover-- began chiming out the hours, half-hours, and quarter-hours. The 23-foot clock was tuned to the note E, the lowest note in the quarter-hour chimes.

London tobacco merchant Philip Morris opened a cigarette factory using the smoke-cured Latakia leaf from the Ottoman Empire.

The 27,000-ton three-masted iron steamship Great Eastern was launched from England, the largest ship up to that time.

The South Foreland lighthouse on the White Cliffs of Dover was lit by electricity.

French schoolgirl Bernadette Soubrious, 14, had a series of visions at Lourdes of "a lady" (presumably the Blessed Virgin Mary) who cured her of her asthma and instructed priests there to build a chapel at the grotto near a bend in the Gave de Pau River to provide miraculous cures.

Struggle for Italian independence

In a series of bomb explosions, Italian patriot Felice Orsini, 39, and his accomplice Joseph Pieri attempted to assassinate French Emperor Napoleon III, 50, and his wife, Eugènie de Montijo, 31, but the explosions, which killed 10 commoners and injured 150 more, failed to hurt the royal pair. From prison Orsini appealed to the Emporer to help free Italy from Austrian rule. Although the idea was appealing to Napoleon III, Orsini and Pieri were executed.

Napoleon III met secretly with the Premier of Sardinia, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, 48, at Plombières, France, and promised military aid against Austria, on condition that the war could be provoked in a way that would seem justified to European public opinion. After the Emperor had sent Prince Jérôme to Warsaw to assure himself of Russian goodwill, he signed a formal treaty with Cavour.

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, 62, was declared insane after his two paralytic strokes of the previous year; his brother Wilhelm, 61, was declared regent, thereby making Friedrich Wilhelm, son of Regent Wilhelm, the Crown Prince and a bachelor much more eligible to marry Princess Royal Vicky, daughter of Queen Victoria.

Rebuilding of the Ringstrasse in Vienna began.

The Serbian Diet deposed Prince Aleksandr Karageorgevic, 52, at the end of his 16-year uninspired reign, and recalled Milosh Obrenovic, 79, to be their Prince 19 years after his having been deposed. King Milosh began exacting cruel vengeance on those who had deposed him.

Russian Tsar Aleksandr II, 39, began the emancipation of the serfs by allotting land not to individual serfs but rather to serf village communes (mirs), which would redistribute the land every decade to assure equality and for which the serfs were required to pay (in "redemption" payments) over a 49-year period; each peasant, ostensibly newly "liberated," could buy only half the land he had cultivated as a serf and often could not afford the annual redemption payment and thus benefited but little.

Sepoy Mutiny

The British Parliament assumed for the Crown the governmental and commercial powers of the East India Company. British forces captured Delhi and Lucknow and suppressed the rebellion.

T'ai P'ing Rebellion, with British, Russian, and American imperialism

Kwangsi Province mystic Hung Hsiu-ch'uan, 46, proclaiming himself the younger brother of Jesus Christ as well as the T'in-wang ("Heavenly Prince," effectively the Emperor of China) of the so-called T'ai P'ing ("Great Peace") dynasty, continued his rebellion, 8 years old so far, against the government of China's Manchu dynasty. Because imperial troops had withdrawn from Anhuei, North Kiangsu, and Shantung provinces in order to cope with the T'ai P'ing rebels, bandits there under the name Nien Fei continued their campaign of plunder, now 5 years old.

With the Treaty of Tientsin China was forced to open 11 more of its ports to trade with the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Russia.

With the Treaty of Aigun China ceded the north side of the Amur River to Russia.

The U.S. and China concluded a treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce.

U.S. Consul Townsend Harris, 54, pointed out to Ii Naosuke, 43, the Japanese tairo (Prime Minister to Shogun Iesada Tokugawa), how China had fared with rapacious European imperialist powers and convinced him that terms with the U.S. would be more favorable. They concluded a valuable commercial treaty, covering tariffs and the exchange of diplomats and opening up six Japanese ports to American ships. Japan soon concluded similar treaties with The Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.

Shogun Iesada Tokugawa died at the age of 34 without an heir, but was succeeded by Iemochi, 12, who had been appointed to the position.

English explorers Richard Francis Burton, 37, and John Hanning Speke, 31, discovered Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria Nyanza in Africa.

World science and technology

English nurse Florence Nightingale, 38, published Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration, about her experiences in the Crimean War.

London physician Henry Gray, 33, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, published Anatomy of the Human Body, Descriptive and Surgical; English surgeon Joseph Lister, 31, studied the coagulation of blood; English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, 33, published The Theory of the Vertebrate Skulls; English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, 35, described his theory of the survival of the fittest to naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, 49, and the two together presented a paper on the theory before the Linnaean Society in London; English geologist Henry Sorby, 32, shared his microscopic studies in geology and urged that more be done.

German pathologist Rudolf Virchow, 37, after analyzing diseased tissues, published the foundational Die Cellullarpathologie ("Cellular Pathology as Based upon Physiological and Pathological History"), identifying the cell as the basic element in the life process and concluding that all cells arise from cells ("omnis cellula e cellula").

German botanist Nathanael Pringsheim, 35, founded the Annals of Scientific Botany; German chemist Friedrich August von Kekule con Stradonitz, 29, demonstrated the composition of organic molecules, specifically how carbon formed four bonds in long skeletal chains; English chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, 20, synthesized the amino acid glycine.

English geologist Charles Lyell, 61, determined that Italy's Mount Etna was formed by volcanic eruptions; and English scientist William Thomson (much later to be named Baron Kelvin of Largs), 34, patented the mirror galvanometer to be used as a telegraph receiver on the transatlantic cable.

French inventor Ferdinand P. A. Carré devised the first mechanical refrigerator, using liquid ammonia in the compression machine.

Arts and culture in the British Isles

Scots historian Thomas Carlyle, 63, began publishing Frederick the Great, which would take another 7 years to complete; English dramatist-novelist Charles Reade, 44, and dramatist Dion Boucicault (who had emigrated to the U.S.) produced Foul Play at Adelphi Theatre in London; painter William Powell Frith, 39, unveiled Derby Day; socialist poet and artist William Morris, 24, published The Defense of Guinevere, and Other Poems; poet Adelaide Ann Procter, 33, published The Lost Chord; and novelist Anthony Trollope, 43, published the humorous Doctor Thorne.

World arts and culture

French novelist Octave Feuillet, 37, published Roman d'un jeune homme pauvre; German comic writer Wilhelm Busch, 26, published Max und Moritz; Russian novelist Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov, 46, published Fregat Pallada; and Norwegian novelist Björnstjerne Mrtinuius Björnson, 26, published Arne.

German-French comic opérette composer Jacques Offenbach (Jacob Eberst), 39, produced the opera Orphée aux Enfers ("Orpheus in the Underworld"), including the first performance of "Le Cancan," at the Bouffés Parisiens in Paris; German composer Carl August Peter Cornelius, 34, produced the opera Der Barbier von Bagdad in Weimar; and French composer Charles François Gounod, 40, produced the opera Le Médecin malgré lui ("The Mock Doctor"), based on a 1666 Molière comedy.

German painter Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel, 53, unveiled Bon soir, Messieurs, depicting Frederick the Great and his circle in Lissa; and Japanese artist Ando Hiroshige, 61 showed his color-print series One Hundred Views of Edo and died soon thereafter.


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