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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post is to introduce a Kindle version of Volume 6 of a series entitled "AMERICA Great Crises In Our History Told by Its Makers" which was published as a print version by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The sixth volume covers the period 1820-1845. This Kindle version is published in partnership with the VFW who receive 50% of sales revenue.

The thread title refers to the latest extract from this volume which will be found at the end of the thread.

REVIEWERS WANTED! If you would like to review any of the books in this series, PM me with your Amazon email address and I will gift copies to you.



Introduction to Volume 6.

The years 1820 to 1845 saw immense changes to the United States, which this
volume of eye-witness accounts brings to life. You'll read William H Seward on
the building of the Erie Canal, accounts of the first American locomotive, an
early steamboat journey, and Samuel Morse describing the invention of the
telegraph - all developments which spurred the expansion of the nation. It was a
turbulent time politically. You'll compare the differing opinions of Andrew
Jackson and John C Calhoun. The abolition of slavery was a major issue, and
you'll learn much from the words of Frederick Douglass, Horace Greeley and
William Lloyd Garrison - and Dr Dew's defense of the practice. Then there's Sac
indian chief Black Hawk's own account of his war of 1832; and Charles Dickens's
memorable record of his visit to the USA. There's Sam Houston on the Battle of
San Jacinto, and gripping accounts of the fall of the Alamo, the annexation of
Texas, and the Creek and Seminole wars - all compulsive reading.

Introduction To The Series

"After you've heard two eyewitness accounts of an auto accident, you begin to
worry about history." This observation, attributed to the comedian Henny
Youngman, summarizes the dilemma you face when you want to find out what really
happened in the past. When you read a history book, the "facts" are actually the
author's own interpretation, often colored by a conscious or unconscious wish to
have you share a particular point of view. You're one step (or many steps)
removed from the original source material.

That's why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States compiled this 12-
volume collection of writings of people who actually witnessed the key events in
American history - the actual actors in the events or contemporary observers of
them. Past historians have spent decades locating, studying and consulting vast
amounts of material such as this. This meticulously chosen selection brings you
the essence of history as originally recorded by those who participated in it.

You'll be reading mostly eye-witness accounts, by people contemporary with the
events they describe, including many significant historical figures themselves.
So you can make your own assessments, draw your own conclusions and gain an
understanding of past events undistorted by the prejudices, assumptions and
selectivity of professional historians. In some instances where there aren't
reliable or easily accessible eye-witness accounts, the compilers have chosen
extracts from objective, authoritative historians of past generations such as
Francis Parkman whose judgements have stood the test of time. Through these
accounts, your knowledge of American history will be immeasurably greater, your
understanding of the key events in the building of the nation immensely
increased.

Founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a
nonprofit organization dedicated to foster camaderie among United States
veterans of overseas conflicts, from the Spanish-American War to Iraq and
Afghanistan, and to ensure that they receive due respect and entitlements for
the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of the nation. With
this mission, the VFW has a natural desire to encourage a broad understanding
and appreciation of American history, and this essential collection of
historical documents makes a huge contribution to that aim.

This reissue was scanned, formatted and converted to e-book format by
Library4Science.com with the permission and encouragement of the VFW, to make
the series more accessible to a wider public. The VFW will receive 50% of all
sales revenue from these e-books. This book is about 300 print pages.
 

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Congratulations on your the new volume in your series!

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Building Of The Erie Canal

By William H. Seward.

SEWARD, at the time of the Is building of the Erie Canal (1818-25), was a lawyer in Auburn, New York. As the agent of what was known as the Holland Land Company, he laid the foundation of a comfortable fortune. In 1838 he was elected Governor of New York as a Whig, and served a second term. Going to the United States Senate in 1849, he at once took a prominent place in the Whig party councils, being a formidable candidate for President at the Chicago Convention which nominated Lincoln in 1860.

As early as 1850 Seward vigorously denounced slavery on the floor of the Senate, and startled the opposition by declaring that "there is a higher law, than the Constitution."

He served in the Lincoln Cabinet as Secretary of State, continuing in that office during the administration of Andrew Johnson. He negotiated many important treaties with foreign governments, and directed the State Department over a critical period of American history.

HISTORY will assign to Gouverneur Morris the merit of first suggesting a direct and continuous communication from Lake Erie to the Hudson. In 1800 he announced this idea from the shore of the Niagara River to a friend in Europe, in the following enthusiastic language:

"Hundreds of large ships will, in no distant period, bound on the billows of these inland seas. Shall I lead your astonishment to the verge of incredulity? I will! Know then that one-tenth part of the expense borne by Britain in the last campaign would enable ships to sail from London through the Hudson into Lake Erie. As yet we only crawl along the outer shell of our country. The interior excels the part we inhabit in soil, in climate, in everything. The proudest empire of Europe is but a bauble compared with what America may be, must be."

The praise awarded to Gouverneur Morris must be qualified by the fact that the scheme he conceived was that of a canal with a uniform declination, and without locks, from Lake Erie to the Hudson. Morris communicated his project to Simeon De Witt in 1803, by whom it was made known to James Geddes in 1804. It afterward became the subject of conversation between Mr. Geddes and Jesse Hawley, and this communication is supposed to have given rise to the series of essays written by Mr. Hawley, under the signature of "Hercules," in the Genesee Messenger, continued from October, 1807, until March, 1808, which first brought the public mind into familiarity with the subject. These essays, written in a jail, were the grateful return, by a patriot, to a country which punished him with imprisonment for being unable to pay debts owed to another citizen. They bore evidence of deep research and displayed singular vigor and comprehensiveness of thought, and traced with prophetic accuracy a large portion of the outline of the Erie Canal.

In 1807 Albert Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, in pursuance of a recommendation made by Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, reported a plan for appropriating all the surplus revenues of the general government to the construction of canals and turnpike roads; and it embraced in one grand and comprehensive view, nearly without exception, all the works which have since been executed or attempted by the several States in the Union. This bold and statesmanlike, though premature, conception of that eminent citizen will remain the greatest among the many monuments of his forecast and wisdom.

In 1808 Joshua Forman, a representative in the New York Assembly from Onondago County, submitted his memorable resolution:

"Resolved, if the honorable the Senate concur herein, That a joint committee be appointed to take into consideration the propriety of exploring and causing an accurate survey to be made of the most eligible and direct route for a canal, to open a communication between the tide-waters of the Hudson River and Lake Erie, to the end that Congress may be enabled to appropriate such sums as may be necessary to the accomplishment of that great national object."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Pioneering Against Slavery

By William Lloyd Garrison.

GARRISON had been imprisoned for libel in expressing his anti-slavery views in his Baltimore. publication. The Genius of Universal Emancipation, when, in 1831, he started The Liberator in Boston, without capital or subscribers. This paper, with which his name is inseparably associated, was published weekly for thirty-five years, until slavery was abolished in the United States. In that time he was constantly threatened with assassination, and the Georgia Legislature offered $5,000 reward for his prosecution and conviction in accordance with the laws of that State.

This organizer of the American Anti-Slavery Society was "egotistic, unpractical, uncompromising, courageous and zealous to the point of fanaticism." Being a pacifist he advocated a moral agitation only: he would not vote, repudiated the Constitution, and, besides denouncing slavery, sanctioned other reforms such as temperance and woman's rights.


IN the month of August I issued proposals for publishing "The Liberator" in Washington City; but the enterprise, though hailed in different sections of the country, was palsied by public indifference. Since that time, the removal of the "Genius of Universal Emancipation" to the seat of government has rendered less imperious the establishment of a similar periodical in that quarter.

During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the free States and particularly in New-England---than at the South. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among slave owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birth place of liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondsman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble let their secret abettors tremble let their northern apologists tremble let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble.

I deem the publication of my original prospectus unnecessary, as it has obtained a wide circulation. The principles therein inculcated will be steadily pursued in this paper, excepting that I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties.

Assenting to the "self-evident truth" maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park Street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity. A similar recantation, from my pen, was published in the "Genius of Universal Emancipation" at Baltimore, in September, 1829. My conscience is now satisfied.

I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest I will not equivocate---I will not excuse I will not retreat a single inch and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years not perniciously, but beneficially not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that He enables me to disregard "the fear of man which bringeth a snare" and to speak His truth in its simplicity and power. And here I close with this fresh dedication:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Fall Of The Alamo

By Captain R. M. Potter.

CAPTAIN POTTER lived in Matamoros, Mexico, on the Rio Grande River, when the Alamo fell, and, long residing near the scene of the massacre that occurred in 1836, had exceptional opportunities for obtaining the accurate information contained in this account. Urged repeatedly to publish it in the interests of history, he gave to the San Antonio Herald, in 1860 an imperfect outline of this record which was afterwards circulated in pamphlet form.

Subsequently he obtained many additional and interesting details from Colonel Juan Seguin, U. S. A., who was an officer of the Alamo garrison up to within six days of the assault and whose death removed the last of those who were soldiers of the Alamo when it was first invested. The accompanying article is a revision made by Captain Potter of his narrative of 1860.


THE FALL of the Alamo and the massacre of its garrison, which in 1836 opened the campaign of Santa Ana in Texas, caused a profound sensation throughout the United States, and is still remembered with deep feeling by all who take an interest in the history of that section; yet the details of the final assault have never been fully and correctly narrated, and wild exaggerations have taken their place in popular legend. The reason will be obvious when it is remembered that not a single combatant of the last struggle from within the fort survived to tell the tale, while the official reports of the enemy were neither circumstantial nor reliable. When horror is intensified by mystery, the sure product is romance.

A trustworthy account of the assault could be compiled only by comparing and combining the verbal narratives of such of the assailants as could be relied on for veracity, and adding to this such lights as might be gathered from military documents of that period, from credible local information, and from any source more to be trusted than rumor. As I was a resident at Matamoros when the event occurred, and for several months after the invading army retreated thither, and afterwards resided near the scene of action, I had opportunities for obtaining the kind of information referred to better perhaps than have been possessed by any person now living outside of Mexico.

Before beginning the narrative, however, I must describe the Alamo and its surroundings as they existed in the spring of 1836. San Antonio, then a town of about 7,000 inhabitants, had a Mexican population, a minority of which was well affected to the cause of Texas, while the rest were inclined to make the easiest terms they could with whichever side might be for the time being dominant. The San Antonio River, which, properly speaking, is a large rivulet, divided the town from the Alamo, the former on the west side and the latter on the east. The Alamo village, a small suburb of San Antonio, was South of the fort, or Mission, as it was originally called, which bore the same name. The latter was an old fabric, built during the first settlement of the vicinity by the Spaniards; and having been originally designed as a place of safety for the colonists and their property in case of Indian hostility, with room sufficient for that purpose, it had neither the strength, compactness, nor dominant points which ought to belong to a regular fortification. The front of the Alamo Chapel bears date of 1757, but the other works must have been built earlier. As the whole area contained between two and three acres, a thousand men would have barely sufficed to man its defenses; and before a regular siege train they would soon have crumbled. Yoakum, in his history of Texas, is not only astray in his details of the assault, but mistaken about the measurement of the place. Had the works covered no more ground than he represents, the result of the assault might have been different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The "Log-Cabin And Hard Cider" Campaign

By Horace Greeley.

GREELEY, whose editorship of "The Log-Cabin" played no small part in the election of General William Henry Harrison as ninth President of the United States, was a delegate to the Whig Convention at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which nominated Harrison, in preference to Henry Clay and General Scott, in 1839. There forthwith began a political campaign which for popular enthusiasm and widespread activity has probably never been equaled in American politics. As Greeley records, in his "Recollections of a Busy Life," new methods were introduced, and the log-cabin and hard cider became special emblems of the party of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

Although in good health at the time of his inauguration, 1840, General Harrison fell ill and died a year later, the whole political situation being thus suddenly altered. He was succeeded by John Tyler.


NEW YORK, which gave Mr. Van Buren the largest majority of any State in 1836, had been held against him throughout his administration, though she was his own State, and he had therein a powerful body of devoted, personal adherents, led by such men of eminent ability as Silas Wright, William L. Marcy, and Edwin Croswell. She had been so held by the talent, exertion and vigilance of men equally able and determined, among whom Thurlow Weed, William H. Seward (now Governor), John C. Spencer, and Willis Hall were conspicuous. But our majority of 15,000 in 1837 had fallen to 10,000 in 1838, and to 5,000 in 1839, despite our best efforts; Governor Seward's school recommendations and dispensation of State patronage had made him many enemies; and the friends of Mr. Van Buren counted, with reason, on carrying the State for his reelection, and against that of Governor Seward, in the impending struggle of 1840. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and all the Northwest had been carried against the Whigs in the most recent contests; Mr. Van Buren's star was clearly in the ascendant at the South ; while New England and New Jersey were nicely balanced Massachusetts, as well as Maine and New Hampshire, having chosen a Democratic Governor (Marcus Morton) in 1839.

Mr. Van Buren's administration, though at first condemned, was now sustained by a popular majority: New York alone his own State stood forth the flagship of the opposition. Both parties were silently preparing to put forth their very best efforts in the Presidential contest in prospect; but fully two-thirds of the States, choosing about that proportion of the electors, were now ranged on the Democratic side many of them by impregnable majorities while scarcely one State was unquestionably Whig. Mr. Van Buren, when first overwhelmed by the popular surge that followed close upon the collapse of the pet bank system, had calmly and with dignity appealed to the people's "sober second thought"; and it now seemed morally certain that he would be triumphantly reelected.

Such were the auspices under which the first Whig National Convention (the second National Convention ever held by any party that held in 1840 by the Democrats at Baltimore, which nominated Van Buren and Johnson, having been the first) assembled at Harrisburg, Pa., early in December, 1839. Of its doings I was a deeply interested observer. The States were nearly all represented, though in South Carolina there were no Whigs but a handful; even the name was unknown in Tennessee, and the party was feeble in several other States. But the delegations convened included many names widely and favorably known including two ex-Governors of Virginia ( James Barbour and John Tyler), one of Kentucky (Thomas Metcalf), one of Ohio (Joseph Vance), and at least one from several other States. I recollect at least two ex-Governors of Pennsylvania ( John Andrew Shultze and Joseph Ritner) as actively counseling and sympathizing with the delegates.

The sittings of the convention were protracted through three or four days, during which several ballots for President were taken. There was a plurality, though not a majority, in favor of nominating Mr. Clay; but it was in good part composed of delegates from States which could not rationally be expected to vote for any Whig candidate. On the other hand, the delegates from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana said, "We can carry our States for General Harrison, but not for Mr. Clay." New York and New Jersey cast their earlier votes for General Scott, but stood ready to unite on General Harrison whenever it should be clear that he could be nominated and elected; and they ultimately did so. The delegates from Maine and Massachusetts contributed powerfully to secure General Harrison's ultimate nomination. Each delegation cast its vote through a committee, and the votes were added up by a general committee, which reported no names and no figures, but simply that no choice had been effected; until at length the Scott votes were all cast for Harrison, and his nomination thus effected; when the result was proclaimed.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Dickens Visits America

His Own Account in Letters to Friends in England.

MUCH less familiar and in some respects more interesting and important than his "American Notes" are the letters of Charles Dickens, describing his travels in this country, included in John Forster's life of the novelist, published in London thirty years later. The freshness of first impressions is in them; they are simple and direct, unweakened by the rhetorical additions of his more formal book. "Written amid such distraction, fatigue and weariness as they describe," says Forster, "amid the jarring noises of hotels and streets, aboard steamers, on canal boats, and in log huts, there is not an erasure in them."

Dickens celebrated his thirtieth birthday (February 7, 1842) while in America. He had planned a more extended tour, but his wife's health interfered. Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland to Buffalo, Niagara which he viewed with something like ecstasy and Montreal were in his itinerary.


DURING the whole voyage the weather had been unprecedentedly bad, the wind for the most part dead against them, the wet intolerable, the sea horribly disturbed, the days dark, and the nights fearful. On the previous Monday night it had blown a hurricane, beginning at five in the afternoon and raging all night.

As his first American experience is very lightly glanced at in the Notes, a fuller picture will perhaps be welcome. "As the Cunard boats [in Boston] have a wharf of their own at the custom-house, and that a narrow one, we [wrote Dickens] were a long time (an hour at least) working in. I was standing in full fig on the paddle-box beside the captain, staring about me, when suddenly, long before we were moored to the wharf, a dozen men came leaping on board at the peril of their lives, with great bundles of newspapers under their arms; worsted comforters (very much the worse for wear) round their necks; and so forth.

'Aha !' says I, 'this is like our London Bridge'; believing, of course, that these visitors were newsboys. But what do you think of their being editors? And what do you think of their tearing violently up to me and beginning to shake hands like madmen? Oh! if you could have seen how I wrung their wrists! And if you could but know how I hated one man in very dirty gaiters, and with very protruding upper teeth, who said to all comers after him, 'So you've been introduced to our friend Dickens?' There was one among them though, who really was of use; a Doctor S., editor of the-----. He ran off here (two miles at least), and ordered rooms and dinner. And in course of time Kate, and I, and Lord Mulgrave (who was going back to his regiment at Montreal on Monday, and had agreed to live with us in the meanwhile) sat down in a spacious and handsome room to a very handsome dinner, bating peculiarities of putting on table, and had forgotten the ship entirely. A Mr. Alexander, to whom I had written from England promising to sit for a portrait, was on board directly we touched the land, and brought us here in his carriage. Then, after sending a present of most beautiful flowers, he left us to ourselves, and we thanked him for it."

What further he had to say of that week's experience finds its first public utterance here. "How can I tell you," he continues, "what has happened since that first day? How can I give you the faintest notion of my reception here; of the crowds that pour in and out the whole day; of the people that line the streets when I go out; of the cheering when I went to the theater; of the copies of verses, letter of congratulation, welcomes of all kinds, balls, dinners, assemblies without end? There is to be a public dinner to me here in Boston, next Tuesday, and great dissatisfaction has been given to the many by the high price (three pounds sterling each) of the tickets. There is to be a ball next Monday week at New York, and 150 names appear on the list of the committee. There is to be a dinner in the same place, in the same week, to which I have had an invitation with every known name in America appended to it. But what can I tell you about any of these things which will give you the slightest notion of the enthusiastic greeting they give me, or the cry that runs through the whole country? I have had deputations from the Far West, who have come from more than two thousand miles' distance: from the lakes, the rivers, the backwoods, the log houses, the cities, factories, villages, and towns. Authorities from nearly all the States have written to me. I have heard from the universities, Congress, Senate, and bodies, public and private, of every sort and kind. 'It is no nonsense, and no common feeling,' wrote Dr. Channing to me yesterday. 'It is all heart. There never was, and never will be, such a triumph.' And it is a good thing, is it not, . . . to find those fancies it has given me and you the greatest satisfaction to think of, at the core of it all? It makes my heart quieter, and me a more retiring, sober, tranquil man, to watch the effect of those thoughts in all this noise and hurry, even than if I sat, pen in hand, to put them down for the first time. I feel, in the best aspects of this welcome, something of the presence and influence of that spirit which directs my life, and through a heavy sorrow has pointed upward with unchanging finger for more than four years past. And if I know my heart, not twenty times this praise would move me to an act of folly."
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Lafayette Revisits America

By Thurlow Weed.

AT the time General Lafayette revisited America in 1824, Thurlow Weed was editor of the Rochester (New York) Daily Telegraph, and was laying the foundation of an extraordinary political career in which he is credited with "making" two Presidents of the United States, Harrison in 1840, and Taylor in 1848. He also was a dominating figure in the i Convent ons that nominated Clay in 1844 ' Winfield Scott in 1852, and Fremont in 1856. Establishing the Albany Evening Journal in 1830, Weed was its editor for thirty-three years and was an influential member of the so-called "political firm of Seward, Weed and Greeley."

The reception tendered Lafayette in Washington and elsewhere is described by Thomas H. Benton in his political reminiscences "Thirty Years' View," from which the following account is taken. Benton represented Missouri for thirty successive years in the United States Senate, and was a member of the reception committee which welcomed Lafayette to the national capital.


GENERAL LE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, after an absence of thirty-nine years, revisited our country, on the invitation of Congress, as the nation's guest in 1824. He reached New York on the 15th of August, in the packet-ship "Cadmus," Captain Allyn, with his son and secretary. The Government had tendered him a United States frigate, but always simple and unostentatious, he preferred to come as an ordinary passenger in a packet-ship.

There were no wires fifty years ago over which intelligence could pass with lightning speed, but the visit of Lafayette was expected, and the pulses and hearts of the people were quickened and warmed simultaneously through some mysterious medium throughout the whole Union. Citizens rushed from neighboring cities and villages to welcome the French nobleman, who, before he was twenty-one years old, had devoted himself and his fortune to the American colonies in their wonderful conflict with the mother country for independence; and who, after fighting gallantly by the side of Washington through the Revolutionary War, returned to France with the only reward he desired or valued the gratitude of a free people. General Lafayette was now sixty-seven years of age, with some physical infirmities, but intellectually strong, and in manners and feeling cheerful, elastic, and accomplished.

The General's landing on the Battery, his reception by the military under General Martin, his triumphant progress through Broadway, his first visit to the City Hall, awakened emotions which can not be described. I have witnessed the celebration of the completion of the Erie Canal and the mingling of the waters of Lake Erie with the Atlantic Ocean, the completion of the Croton Water Works celebration, the reception of the Prince of Wales, and other brilliant and beautiful pageants, but they all lacked the heart and soul which marked and signalized the welcome of Lafayette. The joy of our citizens was expressed more by tears than in any other way. It is impossible to imagine scenes of deeper, higher or purer emotion than the first meeting between General Lafayette and Colonel Marinus Willett, Colonel Ebenezer Stevens, Colonel Varick, Major Platt, General Anthony, Major Popham, Major Fairlee, and other officers of the Revolution, whom he had not seen for nearly forty years, and whom without a moment's hesitation he recognized and named.

But the crowning glory of that series of honors and festivities was the fete at Castle Garden on the evening of the General's departure for Albany. The Castle was expensively, elaborately and gorgeously fitted up and adorned for the occasion. I remember that, even without the aid of gas, the illumination was exceedingly brilliant. There was a ball and supper; the occasion was graced by the intelligence, beauty and refinement of the metropolis. How many or rather how few of that then youthful, joyous throng remain to recall, with memories subdued and chastened by time and change, the raptures of that enchanting scene!

The steamboat "James Kent," Commodore Wiswall, chartered by the city for the occasion, dropped down the river opposite Castle Garden, brilliantly illuminated, at 12 M., where she remained until half-past 2 A.M., when the General and his friends embarked.

About three o'clock General Lafayette retired, and his friends were soon afterward in their berths. I rose at five o'clock. General Lafayette came on deck before six for the purpose of showing his son and secretary where Major Andre was arrested; but the view was shut off by a fog, in attempting to grope through which the steamer grounded on Oyster Bank, where she lay until nearly ten o'clock; so that instead of reaching West Point at half past six, it was nearly twelve when the multitude assembled there announced our approach by a discharge of cannon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Mobbing Of Garrison In The Streets Of Boston

William Lloyd Garrison's Own Account.

THIS incident, described in the "Life of Garrison, Told by His Children," illustrates the kind of persecution to which pioneer abolitionists were subjected, even in New England. The Boston mob was roused to action by a meeting of the Boston Anti-Slavery Society, in October, 1835, at which, it was rumored, the English abolitionist, Thompson, was to speak. Garrison's life had been threatened repeatedly; and at one time the State of Georgia offered $5,000 for his arrest and prosecution.

His earlier tribulations came about through his zeal as editor of the "Liberator," which he founded in Boston in 1831, and by his publication of "Thoughts on African Colonization," denouncing the moderate opponents of slavery. Later on Garrison went so far as to denounce the United States Constitution as "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell." His own account of the mobbing is a good example of his vigorous style of writing.


IT was apparent that the multitude would not disperse until I had left the building; and as egress out of the front door was impossible, the Mayor and his assistants, as well as some of my friends, earnestly besought me to effect my escape in the rear of the building.

Preceded by my faithful and beloved friend, Mr. J R C--, I dropped from a back window onto a shed, and narrowly escaped falling headlong to the ground. We entered into a carpenter's shop, through which we attempted to get into Wilson's Lane, but found our retreat cut off by the mob. They raised a shout as soon as we came in sight, but the workmen promptly closed the door of the shop, kept them at bay for a time, and thus kindly afforded me an opportunity to find some other passage.

I told Mr. C. it would be futile to attempt to escape I would go out to the mob, and let them deal with me as they might elect; but he thought it was my duty to avoid them as long as possible. We then went upstairs, and, finding a vacancy in one corner of the room, I got into it, and he and a young lad piled up some boards in front of me to shield me from observation. In a few minutes several ruffians broke into the chamber, who seized Mr. C. in a rough manner, and led him out to the view of the mob, saying, "This is not Garrison, but Garrison's and Thompson's friend, and he says he knows where Garrison is, but won't tell." Then a shout of exultation was raised by the mob, and what became of him I do not know; though, as I was immediately discovered, I presume he escaped.

On seeing me, three or four of the rioters, uttering a yell, furiously dragged me to the window, with the intention of hurling me from that height to the ground; but one of them relented, and said "Don't let us kill him outright." So they drew me back, and coiled a rope about my body probably to drag me through the streets. I bowed to the mob, and, requesting them to wait patiently until I could descend, went down upon a ladder that was raised for that purpose. I fortunately extricated myself from the rope, and was seized by two or three powerful men, to whose firmness, policy and muscular energy I am probably indebted for my preservation.

They led me along bareheaded (for I had lost my hat), through a mighty crowd, ever and anon shouting "He sha'n't be hurt!! You sha'n't hurt him! Don't hurt him! He is an American," etc., etc. This seemed to excite sympathy among many in the crowd, and they reiterated the cry, "He sha'n't be hurt!" I was thus conducted through Wilson's Lane into State Street, in the rear of the City Hall, over the ground that was stained with the blood of the first martyrs in the cause of liberty and independence, by the memorable massacre of 1770 and upon which was proudly unfurled, only a few years since, with joyous acclamations, the beautiful banner presented to the gallant Poles by the young men of Boston!

Orders were now given to carry me to the Mayor's office in the City Hall. As we approached the south door, the Mayor attempted to protect me by his presence; but as he was unassisted by any show of authority or force, he was quickly thrust aside and now came a tremendous rush on the part of the mob to prevent my entering the hall. For a moment the conflict was dubious but my sturdy supporters carried me safely up to the Mayor's room.

Having had my clothes rent asunder, one individual kindly lent me a pair of pantaloons another, a coat. a third, a stock a fourth, a cap as a substitute for my lost hat. After a consultation of fifteen or twenty minutes, the Mayor and his advisers came to the singular conclusion, that the building would be endangered by my continuing in it, and that the preservation of my life depended upon committing me to jail, ostensibly as a disturber of the peace! A hack was got in readiness at the door to receive me and, supported by Sheriff Parkman and Ebenezer Bailey, Esq. (the Mayor leading the way), I succeeded in getting into it without much difficulty, as I was not readily identified in my new garb.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Black Hawk War

From Black Hawk's Autobiography.

HAVING sided with the British in the War of 1812, Black Hawk, the celebrated chief of the Sac Indians, remained, until his death in 1838, a confirmed enemy of the United States. What is known as the Black Hawk War of 1832 was occasioned by the whites occupying lands vacated by the Sacs and Foxes in the upper Mississippi Valley.

The Indians were defeated by General Dodge, near the Wisconsin River; and by General Atkinson, whom Black Hawk calls the White Beaver in his autobiography, at the Bad Axe River, after which he surrendered. The Keokuk mentioned here was a Sac and Fox chief, after whom Keokuk was named.

Black Hawk and nine other Sac warriors were held as hostages, and, after being exhibited in several cities, were confined in Fortress Monroe until 1833. Later Black Hawk was permitted to accompany his tribe to a reservation near Fort Des Moines (Iowa) where he died at 71.


CONCEIVING that the peaceable disposition of Keokuk and his people had been in a great measure the cause of our having been driven from our village, I ascribed their present feelings to the same cause, and immediately went to work to recruit all my own band, and making preparations to ascend Rock River, I made my encampment on the Mississippi, where Fort Madison had stood. I requested my people to rendezvous at that place, sending out soldiers to bring in the warriors, and stationed my sentinels in a position to prevent any from moving off until all were ready.

My party having all come in and got ready, we commenced our march up the Mississippi; our women and children in canoes, carrying such provisions as we had, camp equipage, &c. My braves and warriors were on horseback, armed and equipped for defense. The prophet came down and joining us below Rock River, having called at Rock Island on his way down, to consult the war chief, agent and trader; who, he said, used many arguments to dissuade him from going with us, requesting him to come and meet us and turn us back. They told him also there was a war chief on his way to Rock Island with a large body of soldiers.

The prophet said he would not listen to this talk, because no war chief would dare molest us so long as we were at peace. That we had a right to go where we pleased peaceably, and advised me to say nothing to my braves and warriors until we encamped that night. We moved onward until we arrived at the place where General Gaines had made his encampment the year before, and encamped for the night. The prophet then addressed my braves and warriors. He told them to "follow us and act like braves, and we have nothing to fear and much to gain. The American war chief may come, but will not, nor dare not interfere with us so long as we act peaceably. We are not yet ready to act otherwise. We must wait until we ascend Rock River and receive our reenforcements, and we will then be able to withstand any army."

That night the White Beaver, General Atkinson, with a party of soldiers passed up in a steamboat.

Our party became alarmed, expecting to meet the soldiers at Rock River, to prevent us going up. On our arrival at its mouth, we discovered that the steamboat had passed on.

I was fearful that the war chief had stationed his men on some high bluff, or in some ravine, that we might be taken by surprise. Consequently, on entering Rock River we commenced beating our drums and singing, to show the Americans that we were not afraid.

Having met with no opposition, we moved up Rock River leisurely for some distance, when we were overtaken by an express from White Beaver, with an order for me to return with my band and recross the Mississippi again. I sent him word that I would not, not recognizing his right to make such a demand, as I was acting peaceably, and intended to go to the prophet's village at his request, to make corn.

The express returned. We moved on and encamped some distance below the prophet's village. Here another express came from the White Beaver, threatening to pursue us and drive us back, if we did not return peaceably. This message roused the spirit of my band, and all were determined to remain with me and contest the ground with the war chief, should he come and attempt to drive us. We therefore directed the express to say to the war chief "if he wished to fight us he might come on." We were determined never to be driven, and equally so, not to make the first attack, our object being to act only on the defensive. This we conceived to be our right.

Soon after the express returned, Mr. Gratiot, sub-agent for the Winnebagoes, came to our encampment. He had no interpreter, and was compelled to talk through his chiefs. They said the object of his mission was to persuade us to return. But they advised us to go on assuring us that the further we went up Rock River the more friends we would meet, and out situation would be bettered. They were on our side and all of their people were our friends. We must not give up, but continue to ascend Rock River, on which, in a short time, we would receive reinforcements sufficiently strong to repulse any enemy. They said they would go down with their agent, to ascertain the strength of the enemy, and then return and give us the news. They had to use some stratagem to deceive their agent in order to help us.

Having ascertained that White Beaver would not permit us to remain where we were, I began to consider what was best to be done, and concluded to keep on up the river, see the Pottowattomies and have a talk with them. Several Winnebago chiefs were present, whom I advised of my intentions, as they did not seem disposed to render us any assistance. I asked them if they had not sent us wampum during the winter, and requested us to come and join their people and enjoy all the rights and privileges of their country. They did not deny this; and said if the white people did not interfere, they had no objection to our making corn this year, with our friend the prophet, but did not wish us to go any further up.

The next day I started with my party to Kishwacokee. That night, I encamped a short distance above the prophet's village. After all was quiet in our camp I sent for my chiefs, and told them that we had been deceived. That all the fair promises that had been held out to us through Neapope were false. But it would not do to let our party know it. We must keep it secret among ourselves, move on to Kishwacokee, as if all was right, and say something on the way to encourage our people. I will then call on the Pottowattomies, hear what they say, and see what they will do.

We started the next morning, after telling our people that news had just come from Milwaukee that a chief of our British Father would be there in a few days. Finding that all our plans were defeated, I told the prophet that he must go with me, and we would see what could be done with the Pottowattomies. On our arrival at Kishwacokee an express was sent to the Pottowattomie villages. The next day a deputation arrived. I inquired if they had corn in their villages. They said they had a very little and could not spare any. I asked them different questions and received very unsatisfactory answers. This talk was in the presence of all my people. I afterwards spoke to them privately, and requested them to come to my lodge after my people had gone to sleep. They came and took seats. I asked them if they had received any news from the British on the lake. They said no. I inquired if they had heard that a chief of our British Father was coming to Milwaukee to bring us guns, ammunition, goods and provisions. They said no. I told them what news had been brought to me, and requested them to return to their village and tell the chiefs that I wished to see them and have a talk with them.

After this deputation started, I concluded to tell my people that if White Beaver came after us, we would go back, as it was useless to think of stopping or going on without more provisions and ammunition. I discovered that the Winnebagoes and Pottowattomies were not disposed to render us any assistance. The next day the Pottowattomie chiefs arrived in my camp. I had a dog killed, and made a feast. When it was ready, I spread my medicine bags, and the chiefs began to eat. When the ceremony was about ending, I received news that three or four hundred white men on horseback had been seen about eight miles off. I immediately started three young men with a white flag to meet them and conduct them to our camp, that we might hold a council with them and descend Rock River again. I also directed them, in case the whites had encamped, to return, and I would go and see them. After this party had started I sent five young men to see what might take place. The first party went to the camp of the whites, and were taken prisoners. The last party had not proceeded far before they saw about twenty men coming toward them at full gallop. They stopped, and, finding that the whites were coming toward them in such a warlike attitude, they turned and retreated, but were pursued, and two of them overtaken and killed. The others made their escape. When they came in with the news, I was preparing my flags to meet the war chief. The alarm was given. Nearly all my young men were absent ten miles away. I started with what I had left, about forty, and had proceeded but a short distance, before we saw a part of the army approaching. I raised a yell, saying to my braves, "Some of our people have been killed. Wantonly and cruelly murdered! We must avenge their death!"
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Slave-Breaking In The South

By Frederick Douglass.

DOUGLASS, whose father was a white man, was the most conspicuous of the fugitive slaves. He escaped from bondage in 1838, and worked as a day laborer in New York City and New Bedford, Mass. He made the most of his ability to read and write, and, developing an aptitude for oratory, he became a noted lecturer under the auspices of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

This account, purporting to be his experience as a slave, is taken from his "Autobiography," published in 1845. Following its publication Douglass lectured successfully in England, and while abroad his freedom was purchased. The Civil War served as his stepping-stone to a number of public offices, including that of Minister to Haiti.


MASTER THOMAS at length said he would stand it no longer. I had lived with him nine months, during which time he had given me a number of severe whippings, all to no good purpose. He resolved to put me out, as he said, to be broken; and, for this purpose, he let me for one year to a man named Edward Covey. Mr. Covey was a poor man, a farm-renter. He rented the place upon which he lived, as also the hands with which he till it. Mr. Covey had acquired a very high reputation for breaking young slaves and this reputation was of immense value to him. It enabled him to get his farm tilled with much less expense to himself than he could have had it done without such a reputation. Some slaveholders thought it not much loss to allow Mr. Covey to have their slaves one year, for the sake of the training to which they were subjected, without any other compensation. He could hire young help with great ease, in consequence of this reputation. Added to the natural good qualities of Mr. Covey, he was a professor of religion a pious soul a member and a class-leader in the Methodist church. All of this added weight to his reputation as a "nigger-breaker." I was aware of all the facts, having been made acquainted with them by a young man who had lived there. I nevertheless made the change gladly; for I was sure of getting enough to eat, which is not the smallest consideration to a hungry man.

I left Master Thomas's house, and went to live with Mr. Covey, on the 1st of January, 1833. I was now, for the first time in my life, a field hand. In my new employment, I found myself even more awkward than a country boy appeared to be in a large city. I had been at my new home but one week before Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger. The details of this affair are as follows: Mr. Covey sent me, very early in the morning of one of our coldest days in the month of January, to the woods, to get a load of wood. He gave me a team of unbroken oxen. He told me which was the in-hand ox, and which the off-hand one. He then tied the end of a large rope around the horns of the in-hand ox, and gave me the other end of it, and told me, if the oxen started to run, that I must hold on upon the rope. I had never driven oxen before, and of course I was very awkward. I, however, succeeded in getting to the edge of the woods with little difficulty; but I had got a very few rods into the woods, when the oxen took fright, and started full tilt, carrying the cart against trees, and over stumps, in the most frightful manner. I expected every moment that my brains would be dashed out against the trees. After running thus for a considerable distance, they finally upset the cart, dashing it with great force against a tree, and threw themselves into a dense thicket. How I escaped death, I do not know. There I was, entirely alone, in a thick wood, in a place new to me. My cart was upset and shattered, my oxen were entangled among the young trees, and there was none to help me. After a long spell of effort, I succeeded in getting my cart righted, my oxen disentangled, and again yoked to the cart. I now proceeded with my team to the place where I had, the day before, been chopping wood, and loaded my cart pretty heavily, thinking in this way to tame my oxen. I then proceeded on my way home.

I had now consumed one half of the day. I got out of the woods safely, and felt out of danger. I stopped my oxen to open the woods gate; and just as I did so, before I could get hold of my ox-rope, the oxen again started, rushed through the gate, catching it between the wheel and the body of the cart, tearing it to pieces, and coming within a few inches of crushing me against the gate-post. Thus twice, in one short day, I escaped death by the merest chance. On my return, I told Mr. Covey what had happened, and how it happened. He ordered me to return to the woods again immediately. I did so, and he followed on after me. Just as I got into the woods, he came up and told me to stop my cart, and that he would teach me how to trifle away my time, and break gates. He then went to a large gum-tree, and with his ax cut three large switches, and, after trimming them up neatly with his pocket-knife, he ordered me to take off my clothes. I made him no answer, but stood with my clothes on. He repeated his order. I still made him no answer, nor did I move to strip myself. Upon this he rushed at me with the fierceness of a tiger, tore off my clothes, and lashed me till he had worn out his switches, cutting me so savagely as to leave the marks visible for a long time after. This whipping was the first of a number just like it, and for similar offenses.

I lived with Mr. Covey one year. During the first six months of that year, scarce a week passed without his whipping me. I was seldom free from a sore back. My awkwardness was almost always his excuse for whipping me. We were worked fully up to the point of endurance. Long before day we were up, our horses fed, and by the first approach of day we were off to the field with our hoes and plowing teams. Mr. Covey gave us enough to eat, but scarce time to eat it. We were often less than five minutes taking our meals. We were often in the field from the first approach of day till its last lingering ray had left us; and at saving-fodder time, midnight often caught us in the field binding blades.

Covey would be out with us. The way he used to stand it was this. He would spend the most of his afternoons in bed. He would then come out fresh in the evening, ready to urge us on with his words, example, and frequently with the whip. Mr. Covey was one of the few slaveholders who could and did work with his hands. He was a hard-working man. He knew by himself just what a man or a boy could do. There was no deceiving him. His work went on in his absence almost as well as in his presence; and he had the faculty of making us feel that he was ever present with us. This he did by surprising us. He seldom approached the spot where we were at work openly, if he could do it secretly. He always aimed at taking us by surprise. Such was his cunning, that we used to call him, among ourselves, "the snake."

When we were at work in the cornfield, he would sometimes crawl on his hands and knees to avoid detection, and all at once he would rise nearly in our midst, and scream out, "Ha, ha! Come, come! Dash on, dash on!" his being his mode of attack, it was never safe to stop a single minute. His comings were like a thief in the night. He appeared to us as being ever at hand. He was under every tree, behind every stump, in every bush, and at every window, on the plantation. He would sometimes mount his horse, as if bound to St. Michael's, a distance of seven miles, and in half an hour afterwards you would see him coiled up in the corner of the wood-fence, watching every motion of the slaves. He would, for this purpose, leave his horse tied up in the woods. Again, he would sometimes walk up to us, and give us orders as though he was upon the point of starting on a long journey, turn his back upon us, and make as though he was going to the house to get ready; and, before he would get half way thither, he would turn short and crawl into a fence-corner, or behind some tree, and there watch us till the going down of the sun.

Mr. Covey's "forte" consisted in his power to deceive. His life was devoted to planning and perpetrating the grossest deceptions. Every thing he possessed in the shape of learning or religion, he made conform to his disposition to deceive. He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and a long prayer at night; and, strange as it may seem, few men would at times appear more devotional than he. The exercises of his family devotions were always commenced with singing; and, as he was a very poor singer himself, the duty of raising the hymn generally came upon me. He would read his hymn, and nod at me to commence. I would at times do so; at others, I would not. My non-compliance would almost always produce much confusion. To show himself independent of me, he would start and stagger through with his hymn in the most discordant manner. In this state of mind, he prayed with more than ordinary spirit. Poor man! such was his disposition, and success at deceiving, I do verily believe that he sometimes deceived himself into the solemn belief, that he was a sincere worshipper of the most high God.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Transmitting Anti-Slavery Mail

By Postmaster-General Amos Kendall.

APPOINTED Postmaster-General by Jackson in 1835, the year in which this letter was addressed to the postmaster at New York, Amos Kendall had ably filled many public offices, and during the Jackson administration was extremely influential. He aided in shaping Jackson's anti-bank policy, was a special treasury agent to conduct negotiations with State banks, and is credited with having written several of Jackson's state papers. He was a prominent member of what was known as Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet," a group of advisers who are supposed to have influenced "Old Hickory" more than did the members of the Cabinet themselves.

For the first time in its history, Kendall cleared the Postoffice Department of debt, and introduced numerous salutary reforms. Later he became associated with S. F. B. Morse in the ownership and management of the Morse electric telegraph patents, bringing about their commercial success and amassing a fortune.


IT was right to propose to the Anti-Slavery Society voluntarily to desist from attempting to send their publications into the Southern States by public mails; and their refusal to do so, after they were apprised that the entire mails were put in jeopardy by them, is but another evidence of the fatuity of the counsels by which they are directed.

After mature consideration of the subject, and seeking the best advice within my reach, I am confirmed in the opinion, that the Postmaster-General has no legal authority, by any order or regulation of his department, to exclude from the mails any species of newspapers, magazines or pamphlets. Such a power vested in the head of this department would be fearfully dangerous, and has been properly withheld. Any order or letter of mine directing or officially sanctioning the step you have taken, would therefore be utterly powerless and void, and would not in the slightest degree relieve you from its responsibility.

But to prevent any mistake in your mind, or in that of the abolitionists, or of the public, in relation to my position and views, I have no hesitation in saying, that I am deterred from giving any order to exclude the whole series of abolition publications from the Southern mails only by a want of legal power; and that if I were situated as you are, I would do as you have done.

Postmasters may lawfully know in all cases the contents of newspapers, because the law expressly provides that they shall be so put up that they may be readily examined; and if they know those contents to be calculated and designed to produce, and if delivered, will certainly produce the commission of the most aggravated crimes upon the property and persons of their fellow citizens, it cannot be doubted that it is their duty to detain them, if not even to hand them over to the civil authorities. The Postmaster-General has no legal power to prescribe any rule for the government of postmasters in such cases, nor has he ever attempted to do so. They act in each case upon their own responsibility, and if they improperly detain or use papers sent to their offices for transmission or delivery, it is at their peril and on their heads falls the punishment.

From the specimens I have seen of anti-slavery publications, and the concurrent testimony of every class of citizens except the abolitionists, they tend directly to produce in the South, evils and horrors surpassing those usually resulting from foreign invasion or ordinary insurrection. From their revolting pictures and fervid appeals addressed to the senses and passions of the blacks they are calculated to fill every family with assassins and produce at no distant day an exterminating servile war. So aggravated is the character of those papers that the people of the Southern States with an unanimity never witnessed except in cases of extreme danger, have evinced, in public meetings and by other demonstrations, a determination to seek defense and safety in putting an end to their circulation by any means, and at any hazard. Lawless power is to be resisted; but power which is exerted in palpable self-defense, is not lawless. That such is the power whose elements are now agitating the South, the united people of that section religiously believe; and so long as that shall be their impression, it will require the array of armies to carry the mails in safety through their territories, if they continue to be used as the instrument of those who are supposed to seek their destruction.

As a measure of great public necessity, therefore, you and the other postmasters who have assumed the responsibility of stopping these inflammatory papers, will, I have no doubt, stand justified in that step before your country and all mankind.

But perhaps the legal right of the abolitionists to make use of the public mails in distributing their insurrectionary papers throughout the Southern States, is not so clear as they seem to imagine. When those States became independent they acquired a right to prohibit the circulation of such papers within their territories; and their power over the subject of slavery and all its incidents, was in no degree diminished by the adoption of the Federal Constitution. It is still as undivided and sovereign as it was when they were first emancipated from the dominion of the king and Parliament of Great Britain. In the exercise of that power, some of those States have made the circulation of such papers a capital crime; others have made it a felony punishable by confinement in the penitentiary; and perhaps there is not one among them which has not forbidden it under heavy penalties. If the abolitionists or their agents were caught distributing their tracts in Louisiana, they would be legally punished with death; if they were apprehended in Georgia, they might be legally sent to the penitentiary; and in each of the slave-holding States they would suffer the penalties of their respective laws.

Now, have these people a legal right to do by the mail carriers and postmasters of the United States, acts, which if done by themselves or their agents, would lawfully subject them to the punishment due to felons of the deepest dye? Are the officers of the United States compelled by the Constitution and laws, to become the instruments and accomplices of those who design to baffle and make nugatory the constitutional laws of the States to fill them with sedition, murder and insurrection to overthrow those institutions which are recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution itself ?

And is it entirely certain, that any existing law of the United States would protect mail carriers and postmasters against the penalties of the State laws, if they shall knowingly carry, distribute or hand out any of these forbidden papers? If a State by a constitutional law declare any specific act to be a crime, how are officers of the United States who may be found guilty of that act, to escape the penalties of the State law? It might be in vain for them to plead that the post office law made it their duty to deliver all papers which came by mail. In reply to this argument it might be alleged, that the post office law imposes penalties on postmasters for "improperly" detaining papers which come by the mail, and that the detention of the papers in question is not improper, because their circulation is prohibited by valid State laws. Ascending to a higher principle, it might be plausibly alleged, that no law of the United States can protect from punishment any man, whether a public officer or citizen, in the commission of an act which the State, acting within the undoubted sphere of her reserved rights, has declared to be a crime.

Upon these grounds a postmaster may well hesitate to be the agent of the abolitionists in sending their incendiary publications into States where their circulation is prohibited by law, and much more may postmasters residing in those States refuse to distribute them. Whether the arguments here suggested be sound or not, of one thing there can be no doubt. If it shall ever be settled by the authority of Congress, that the post office establishment may be legally, and must be actually employed as an irresponsible agent to enable misguided fanatics or reckless incendiaries to stir up with impunity insurrection and servile war in the Southern States, those States will of necessity consider the General Government as an accomplice in the crime they will look upon it identified in a cruel and unconstitutional attack as their unquestionable rights and dearest interests, and they must necessarily treat it as a common enemy in their means of defence. Ought the postmaster or the department, by thrusting these papers upon the Southern States now, in defiance of their laws, to hasten a state of things so deplorable?
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Improving Transportation

By Frances (Fanny) Anne Kemble.

IN 1832 Fanny Kemble, celebrated in a former generation as an English actress-author, toured this country with her father, Charles Kemble,and met with an enthusiastic reception. She recorded her impressions in A Journal of a Residence in America," (Henry Holt), first published in 1835. From it is taken the accompanying account of her journey by boat and stage from New York City to Utica via the Delaware River. Her writing is spirited and clever, though somewhat deficient in maturity of judgment. Married and divorced in this country, she retained her maiden name and for many years was a stage favorite. Her grandson, Owen Wister, is a well-known American author.

THE steamboat was very large and commodious as all these conveyances are.... These steamboats have three stories; the upper one is, as it were, a roofing or terrace on the leads of the second, a very desirable station when the weather is neither too foul, nor too fair; a burning sun being, I should think, as little desirable there, as a shower of rain. The second floor or deck, has the advantage of the ceiling above, and yet, the sides being completely open, it is airy, and allows free sight of the shores on either hand. Chairs, stools and benches are the furniture of these two decks. The one below, or third floor, downwards, in fact, the ground floor, being the one near the water, is a spacious room completely roofed and walled in, where the passengers take their meals, and resort if the weather is unfavorable. At the end of this room, is a smaller cabin for the use of the ladies, with beds and sofa, and all the conveniences necessary, if they should like to be sick; whither I came and slept till breakfast time.

Vigne's account of the pushing, thrusting, rushing, and devouring on board a western steamboat at meal times, had prepared me for rather an awful spectacle; but this, I find, is by no means the case in these civilized parts, and everything was conducted with perfect order, propriety and civility. The breakfast was good, and was served and eaten with decency enough.

At about half past ten, we reached the place where we leave the river, to proceed across a part of the State of New Jersey, to the Delaware. . . . Oh, these coaches! English eye hath not seen, English ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of Englishmen to conceive the surpassing clumsiness and wretchedness of these leathern inconveniences. They are shaped something like boats, the sides being merely leathern pieces, removable at pleasure, but which in bad weather are buttoned down to protect the inmates from the wet. There are three seats in this machine, the middle one having a movable leathern strap, by way of a dossier, runs between the carriage doors, and lifts away, to permit the egress and ingress of the occupants of the other seats. . . . For the first few minutes, I thought I must have fainted from the intolerable sensation of smothering which I experienced. However, the leathers having been removed, and a little more air obtained, I took heart of grace, and resigned myself to my fate. Away wallopped the four horses, trotting with their front, and galloping with their hind legs: and away went we after them, bumping, thumping, jumping, jolting, shaking, tossing and tumbling, over the wickedest road, I do think, the cruellest, hard-heartedest road that ever wheel rumbled upon. Through bog and marsh and ruts, wider and deeper than any Christian ruts I ever saw, with the roots of trees protruding across our path, their boughs every now and then giving us an affectionate scratch through the windows ; and, more than once, a half-demolished trunk or stump lying in the middle of the road lifting us up, and letting us down again, with most awful variations of our poor coach body from its natural position. Bones of me! what a road! Even my father's solid proportions could not keep their level, but were jerked up to the roof and down again every three minutes. Our companions seemed nothing dismayed by these wondrous performances of a coach and four, but laughed and talked incessantly, the young ladies, at the very top of their voices, and with the national nasal twang.

The few cottages and farm-houses which we passed reminded me of similar dwellings in France and Ireland; yet the peasantry here have not the same excuse for disorder and dilapidation, as either the Irish or French. The farms had the same desolate, untidy, untended look; the gates broken, the fences carelessly put up, or ill repaired; the farming utensils sluttishly scattered about a littered yard, where the pigs seemed to preside by undisputed right; house-windows broken, and stuffed with paper or clothes; dishevelled women, and barefooted, anomalous looking human young things. None of the stirring life and activity which such places present in England and Scotland; above all, none of the enchanting mixture of neatness, order, and rustic elegance and comfort, which render so picturesque the surroundings of a farm, and the various belongings of agricultural labor in my own dear country. The fences struck me as peculiar; I never saw any such in England. They are made of rails of wood placed horizontally, and meeting at obtuse angles, so forming a zigzag wall of wood, which runs over the country like the herringbone seams of a flannel petticoat. At each of the angles, two slanting stakes, considerably higher than the rest of the fence, were driven into the ground, crossing each other at the top, so as to secure the horizontal rails in their position.

At the end of fourteen miles we turned into a swampy field, the whole fourteen coachfuls of us, and by the help of heaven, bag and baggage were packed into the coaches which stood on the railway ready to receive us. The carriages were not drawn by steam, like those on the Liverpool railway, but by horses, with the mere advantage in speed afforded by iron ledges, which, to be sure, compared with our previous progress through the ruts, was considerable. Our coachful got into the first carriage of the train, escaping, by way of especial grace, the dust which one's predecessors occasion. This vehicle had but two seats, in the usual fashion; each of which held four of us. The whole inside was lined with blazing scarlet leather, and the windows shaded with stuff curtains of the same refreshing color; which with full complement of passengers, on a fine, sunny, American summer's day, must make as pretty a little miniature held as may be, I should think. . . . This railroad is an infinite blessing; 'tis not yet finished, but shortly will be so, and then the whole of that horrible fourteen miles will be performed in comfort and decency, in less than half the time. In about an hour and a half, we reached the end of our railroad part of the journey, and found another steamboat waiting for us, when we all embarked on the Delaware. . . . At about four o'clock, we reached Philadelphia, having performed the journey between that and New York (a distance of a hundred miles,) in less than ten hours, in spite of bogs, ruts and all other impediments.

We proceeded by canal to Utica, which distance we performed in a day and a night, starting at two from Schenectady, and reaching Utica the next day at about noon. I like traveling by the canal boats very much. Ours was not crowded, and the country through which we passed being delightful, the placid moderate gliding through it, at about four miles and a half an hour, seemed to me infinitely preferable to the noise of wheels, the rumble of a coach, and the jerking of bad roads, for the gain of a mile an hour. The only nuisances are the bridges over the canal, which are so very low, that one is obliged to prostrate oneself on the deck of the boat, to avoid being scraped off it; and this humiliation occurs, upon an average, once every quarter of an hour.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The First Anti-Slavery Convention

By John C. Whittier.

WHITTIER was pre-eminently the poet of the antislavery conflict. There is almost no phase of the subject and no episode in the struggle for its abolition which did not inspire his muse. His prose writings against slavery were also numerous he was a vigorous polemic and some twenty of his papers, including an interesting account of his association with William Lloyd Garrison in forming the American Anti-Slavery Society, may be found in his prose works, published by Houghton, Mifflin fr Co.

In a pamphlet, originally entitled "Justice and Expediency," Whittier refers to his report of the anti-slavery convention of 1833 as his first venture in authorship. He attended the convention as a delegate, at the age of twenty-six, and this particular version of the event was written in 1874. His active participation in politics virtually ceased with the development of antislavery opinion in the North.


IN THE gray twilight of a chill day of late November, forty years ago, a dear friend of mine, residing in Boston, made his appearance at the old farm-house in East Haverhill. He had been deputed by the abolitionists of the city, William L. Garrison, Samuel E. Sewall, and others, to inform me of my appointment as a delegate to the convention about to be held in Philadelphia for the formation of an American Anti-slavery Society, and to urge upon me the necessity of my attendance.

Few words of persuasion, however, were needed. I was unused to traveling, my life had been spent on a secluded farm; and the journey, mostly by stagecoach, at that time was really a formidable one.

Moreover, the few abolitionists were everywhere spoken against, their persons threatened, and in some instances a price set on their heads by Southern legislators. Pennsylvania was on the borders of slavery, and it needed small effort of imagination to picture to one's self the breaking up of the convention and maltreatment of its members. This latter consideration I do not think weighed much with me, although I was better prepared for serious danger than for anything like personal indignity. I had read Governor Trumbull's description of the tarring and feathering of his hero MacFingal, when, after the application of the melted tar, the feather bed was ripped open and shaken' over him, until:

"Not Maia's son, with wings for ears,

Such plumes about his visage wears,

Nor Milton's six-winged angel gathers,

Such superfluity of feathers";

and, I confess, I was quite unwilling to undergo a martyrdom which my best friends could scarcely refrain from laughing at. But a summons like that of Garrison's bugle-blast could scarcely be unheeded by one who, from birth and education, held fast the traditions of that earlier abolitionism which, under the lead of Benezet and Woolman, had effaced from the Society of Friends every vestige of slave-holding. I had thrown myself, with a young man's fervid enthusiasm, into a movement which commended itself to my reason and conscience, to my love of country and my sense of duty to God and my fellow men. My first venture in authorship was the publication at my own expense, in the spring of 1833, of a pamphlet entitled "Justice and Expediency," on the moral and political evils of slavery, and the duty of emancipation. Under such circumstances I could not hesitate, but prepared at once for my journey. It was necessary that I should start on the morrow; and the intervening time, with a small allowance of sleep, was spent in providing for the care of the farm and homestead during my absence.

So the next morning I took the stage for Boston, stopping at the ancient hostelry known as the Eastern Stage Tavern; and on the day following, in company with William Lloyd Garrison, I left for New York. At that city we were joined by other delegates, among them David Thurston, a Congregational minister from Maine. On our way to Philadelphia we took, as a matter of necessary economy, a second-class conveyance, and found ourselves, in consequence, among rough and hilarious companions, whose language was more noteworthy for strength than refinement. Our worthy friend the clergyman bore it awhile in painful silence, but at last felt it his duty to utter words of remonstrance and admonition. The leader of the young roisterers listened with ludicrous mock gravity, thanked him for his exhortation, and, expressing fears that the extraordinary effort had exhausted his strength, invited him to take a drink with him. Father Thurston buried his grieved face in his coat-collar, and wisely left the young reprobates to their own devices.

On reaching Philadelphia, we at once betook ourselves to the humble dwelling on Fifth Street occupied by Evan Lewis, a plain, earnest man and lifelong abolitionist, who had been largely interested in preparing the way for the convention.

We found about forty members assembled in the parlors of our friend Lewis, and after some general conversation Lewis Tappan was asked to preside over an informal meeting preparatory to the opening of the convention. A handsome, intellectual-looking man, in the prime of life, responded to the invitation, and in a clear, well-modulated voice, the firm tones of which inspired hope and confidence, stated the objects of our preliminary council, and the purpose which had called us together, in earnest and well-chosen words. In making arrangements for the convention, it was thought expedient to secure, if possible, the services of some citizen of Philadelphia, of distinction and high social standing, to preside over its deliberations. Looking round among ourselves in vain for some titled civilian or doctor of divinity, we were fain to confess that to outward seeming we were but "a feeble folk," sorely needing the shield of a popular name. A committee, of which I was a member, was appointed to go in search of a president of this description. We visited two prominent gentlemen, known as friendly to emancipation and of high social standing. They received us with the dignified courtesy of the old school, declined our proposition in civil terms, and bowed us out with a cool politeness equaled only by that of the senior Winkle towards the unlucky deputation of Pickwick and his unprepossessing companions. As we left their doors, we could not refrain from smiling in each other's faces at the thought of the small inducement our proffer of the presidency held out to men of their class. Evidently, our company was not one for respectability to march through Coventry with.

On the following morning we repaired to the Adelphi Building, on Fifth Street, below Walnut, which had been secured for our use. Sixty-two delegates were found to be in attendance. Beriah Green, of the Oneida (New York) Institute, was chosen president, a fresh-faced, sandy-haired, rather common-looking man, but who had the reputation of an able and eloquent speaker. He had already made himself known to us as a resolute and self-sacrificing abolitionist. Lewis Tappan and myself took our places at his side as secretaries, on the elevation at the west end of the hall.

Looking over the assembly, I noticed that it was mainly composed of comparatively young men, some in middle age, and a few beyond that period. They were nearly all plainly dressed, with a view to comfort rather than elegance. Many of the faces turned towards me wore a look of expectancy and suppressed enthusiasm. All had the earnestness which might be expected of men engaged in an enterprise beset with difficulty and perhaps with peril. The fine, intellectual head of Garrison, prematurely bald, was conspicuous. The sunny-faced young man at his side, in whom all the beautitudes seemed to find expression, was Samuel J. May, mingling in his veins the best blood of the Sewalls and Quincys, a man so exceptionally pure and large-hearted, so genial, tender, and loving, that he could be faithful to truth and duty without making an enemy.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Crushing Of The Creeks

United States War Department Report.

THIS official communication was sent by Governor William Schley, of Georgia, on October 7, 1836, to two Federal commissioners, Alfred Balch and T. Hartley Crawford, who were in Georgia for the purpose of fixing the blame for the Creek War and to determine what future ac-lion the United States government ought to take. Some of the Creek Indians had joined the United States forces against the Seminoles, while others had begun raiding Georgia and Alabama towns and villages.

Defeated by Government and State troops under Generals Scott and Sanford, nearly 25, 000 Creek were removed to the Arkansas River in 1837, less than 800 being left behind. The Government tried to Christianize and civilize them, but they fiercely refused either missionaries or schools; especially Christianity which was scorned by them as the religion of their negro slaves.


I HAVE the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3d instant, in which you request me to communicate to you, as commissioners on the part of the United States to inquire into the causes of the recent Creek hostilities, such information as I may have, and which may be communicated consistently with my ideas of propriety and public duty, in regard to the causes of these hostilities, the time when the aspect of things on the Chattahoochee became alarming, the time when the means of meeting reasonable anticipations of danger to the white population of Alabama and Georgia were resorted to by the State and General Governments, and what these means were.

Of the causes which led to the Creek War I know nothing, and can, therefore, only give you my opinion, with the reasons on which it is founded.

The great majority of the Creek Indians are idle, dissolute vagrants, many of whom had, for a long time, been subsisting on provisions stolen, mostly from the people of Georgia living on and near the Chattahoochee. They were in the daily practice of crossing the river, stealing cattle, horses, hogs, corn, and such other articles as they wanted. If the people thus robbed objected, or attempted to resist or punish them, they would add murder to their other crimes. Many of them were in a state of starvation, and had no means of obtaining subsistence, except by depredations on the property of the white people. In the prosecution of their unlawful purpose they were sometimes detected, and in the conflict which ensued, some of each party were occasionally killed. A state of bad feeling was the consequence on both sides, and, with the Creeks ripened into a determination to revenge the death of their guilty comrades. They were, moreover, determined not to emigrate to Arkansas; and believed that, in the moment of panic and consternation produced by their hostilities, they could escape to Florida with the booty they could obtain from the murdered and fleeing inhabitants.

These, in my opinion, were some of the causes which produced the Creek War.

Public opinion has, in some sections of the State, assigned, as a principle cause of hostilities, the frauds which are alleged to have been committed on the Creeks in the purchase of their lands. Of this I know nothing, and have no evidence on which to form an opinion. I cannot, therefore, either affirm or deny the truth of the report.

The predatory incursions of the Creeks into Georgia kept up a constant excitement in the counties on and near the Chattahoochee, which produced repeated calls on the Executive of the State for protection. In the month of January last, arms and ammunition were sent to the counties thus annoyed, and in each a corps of twenty men was formed and called into service as spies to watch the movements of the Indians, and give notice of their conduct to the commanding officer of the county, or to chastise and drive them off, if their numbers were not too great.

These companies were kept in service until about the tenth of March, when they were superseded by a small battalion of mounted men, consisting of about two hundred, under the command of Major John H. Howard. This force was placed on the Chattahoochee, eighteen miles below Columbus, with instructions to patrol the country; and it had the effect to tranquilize the frontier until early in the month of May, when the Creeks commenced open active hostilities by murdering the white people and burning their towns and property, and carrying away such booty as they could procure.

The first notice I received of this state of things on the frontier was contained in a communication from the honorable John Fontaine, Mayor of Columbus [Georgia], dated on the 9th day of May, and received at the Executive office on the 11th. On the 12th I sent to Columbus one six-pound field piece and all the small arms remaining in the arsenal, and wrote to the Secretary of War, giving him information of the situation of the people in that quarter, and the general hostility of the Indians. On the 13th I issued an order inviting volunteers to march to the scene of danger, and used all the exertions in my power to bring to the field a competent force, and furnished them with munitions of war.

The troops began to arrive on the frontier the last of May, and the first company was mustered into the service on the 2d or 3d of June, as well as I now recollect.

Previous to this, however, the militia of the neighborhood had been called out for temporary protection, and until the army could be assembled. The troops, as fast as they arrived and could be provided with arms, etc., were placed at different points on the river below Columbus, to prevent the escape of the enemy to Florida. The number of Georgia troops that flocked to the standard was between four and five thousand, besides which there was a considerable number of regular troops. But most of the Georgians were without arms, and, consequently, were not in a condition to go in search of the hostile Indians, until about the 18th or 20th of June, when the troops received arms and took up the line of march under Generals Scott and Sanford.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Emigration Into Oregon

By Thomas H. Benton.

THE Oregon Question had occupied much of the attention of Congress since 1820, and when Russia agreed to make no settlements south of 54 40' the idea gained ground that this was the proper northern boundary. Emigration to the Oregon country had begun in 1832; the Methodists founded a mission under Jason Lee in 1834, and the Presbyterians under Marcus Whitman in 1836. By 1843-4 the American population numbered many thousands more than the British, who were limited to Hudson Bay Company trappers, and the boundary dispute becoming acute, the cry "Fifty-four forty, or fight," was raised. It was finally agreed that the boundary should be 49 to the channel between Vancouver and the mainland, thence down the middle of this channel, through the Straits of San Juan de Fuca to the sea. The rush of American settlers described by Benton, in his "Thirty Years' View," as saving Oregon to the United States took place at this period.

THE great event of carrying the Anglo-Saxon race to the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and planting that race firmly on that sea, took place at this time, beginning in 1842, and largely increasing in 1843. It was not an act of the Government, leading the people and protecting them; but, like all the other great emigrations and settlements of that race on our continent, it was the act of the people, going forward without government aid or countenance, establishing their possession, and compelling the government to follow with its shield, and spread it over them. So far as the action of the Government was concerned, it operated to endanger our title to the Columbia, to prevent emigration, and to incur the loss of the country.

The title to the country being endangered by the acts of the Government, the saving of it devolved upon the people and they saved it. In 1842, invited by numerous newspaper publications, upward of a thousand American emigrants went to the country, making their long pilgrimage overland from the frontiers of Missouri, with their wives and children, their flocks and herds, their implements of husbandry and weapons of defense traversing the vast inclined plane to the base of the Rocky Mountains, crossing that barrier (deemed impassable by Europeans) and descending the wide slope which declines from the mountains to the Pacific. Six months would be consumed in this journey, filled with hardships, beset by dangers from savage hostility, and only to be prosecuted in caravans of strength and determination. The Burnets and Applegates from Missouri were among the first leaders, and in 1843, some two thousand more joined the first emigration.

To check these bold adventurers was the object of the Government: to encourage them, was the object of some Western Members of Congress, on whom (in conjunction with the people) the task of saving the Columbia evidently devolved. These Congressmen were ready for their work, and promptly began. . . . An American settlement grew up at the mouth of the Columbia. Conventional agreements among themselves answered the purpose of laws. A colony was planted had planted itself and did not intend to retire from its position and did not. It remained and grew; and that colony of self-impulsion, without the aid of government, and in spite of all its blunders, saved the Territory of Oregon to the United States: one of the many events which show how little the wisdom of government has to do with great events which fix the fate of countries.

Connected with this emigration, and auxiliary to it, was the first expedition of Lieutenant Fremont to the Rocky Mountains, and undertaken and completed in the summer of 1842 upon its outside view the conception of the Government, but in fact conceived without its knowledge, and executed upon solicited orders, of which the design was unknown. Lieutenant Fremont was a young officer, appointed in the topographical corps from the class of citizens by President Jackson upon the recommendation of Mr. Poinsett, Secretary at War. He did not enter the army through the gate of West Point, and was considered an intrusive officer by the graduates of that institution. Having, before his appointment, assisted for two years the learned astronomer, Mr. Nicollet, in his great survey of the country between the Missouri and Mississippi, his mind was trained to such labor; and instead of hunting comfortable berths about the towns and villages, he solicited employment in the vast regions beyond the Mississippi.

Colonel Abert, the chief of the corps, gave him an order to go to the frontier beyond the Mississippi. That order did not come up to his views. After receiving it he carried it back, and got it altered, and the Rocky Mountains inserted as an object of his exploration, and the South Pass in those mountains named as a particular point to be examined, and its position fixed by him. It was through this pass that the Oregon emigration crossed the mountains, and the exploration of Lieutenant Fremont had the double effect of fixing an important point in the line of the emigrants' travel, and giving them encouragement from the apparent interest which the Government took in their enterprise. At the same time the Government, that is, the executive administration, knew nothing about it. The design was conceived by the young lieutenant: the order for its execution was obtained, upon solicitation, from his immediate chief importing, of course, to be done by his order, but an order which had its conception elsewhere.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Chicago As A Growing Village

By Patrick Shirreff.

SHIRREFF Was a Scotch farmer who, in 1833, visited this country for the purpose of studying the adaptability of its various sections to agricultural emigration. His written reports deal primarily with this subject, but comment generally on the country and its inhabitants.

Chicago, which is an Indian Word meaning wild onion a plant which formerly flourished in that vicinity was laid out as a town in 1830, and was incorporated in 1833. Its first settler was Jean Baptiste Point de Saible, a mulatto refugee Who came from Haiti about 1779, and whose cabin-store was acquired in 1804 by John Kinzie, the first white man of American birth to make his home there.

At the time of which this article tells (1833), the Indians sold a large tract of land in the vicinity, agreeing to move across the Mississippi. This they did two years later; and the Fort Dearborn mentioned, being no longer necessary, was abandoned in 1837 and later demolished.


CHICAGO is situated on Lake Michigan, at the confluence of the Chicago River, a small stream, affording the advantages of a canal to the inhabitants for a limited distance. At the mouth of the river is Fort Dearborn, garrisoned by a few soldiers, and one of the places which has been long held to keep the Indian tribes in awe. The entrance from the lake to the river is much obstructed by sand banks, and an attempt is making to improve the navigation.

Chicago consists of about 150 wood houses, placed irregularly on both sides of the river, over which there is a bridge. This is already a place of considerable trade, supplying salt, tea, coffee, sugar and clothing to a large tract of country to the south and west; and when connected with the navigable point of the river Illinois, by a canal or railway, cannot fail of rising to importance. Almost every person I met regarded Chicago as the germ of an immense city, and speculators have already bought up, at high prices, all the building ground in the neighborhood. Chicago will, in all probability, attain considerable size, but its situation is not so favorable to growth as many other places in the Union. The country south and west of Chicago has a channel of trade to the south by New Orleans; and the navigation from Buffalo by Lake Huron is of such length, that perhaps the produce of the country to the south of Chicago will find an outlet to Lake Erie by the waters of the rivers Wabash and Mamee. A canal has been in progress for three years, connecting the Wabash and Mamee, which flows into the west end of Lake Erie ; and there can be little difficulty in connecting the Wabash with the Illinois, which, if effected, will materially check the rise of Chicago.

At the time of visiting Chicago, there was a treaty in progress with the Pottowatamy Indians, and it was supposed nearly 8000 Indians, of all ages, belonging to different tribes, were assembled on the occasion, a treaty being considered a kind of general merrymaking, which lasts several weeks; and animal food, on the present occasion, was served out by the States government. The forests and prairies in the neighborhood were studded with the tents of the Indians, and numerous herds of horses were browsing in all directions.

Some of the tribes could be distinguished by their peculiarities. The Sauks and Foxes have their heads shaven, with exception of a small tuft of hair on the crown. Their garments seemed to vary according to their circumstances, and not to their tribes. The dress of the squaws was generally blue cloth, and sometimes printed cotton, with ornaments in the ears, and occasionally also in the nose. The men generally wore white blankets, with a piece of blue cloth round their loins; and the poorest of them had no other covering, their arms, legs and feet being exposed in nakedness. A few of them had cotton trousers, and jackets of rich patterns, loosely flowing, secured with a sash ; boots, and handkerchiefs or bands of cotton, with feathers in the head-dress, their appearance reminding me of the costume of some Asiatic nations. The men are generally without beards, but in one or two instances I saw tufts of hair on the chin, which seemed to be kept with care, and this was conspicuously so among the well-dressed portion. The countenances of both sexes were frequently bedaubed with paint of different kinds, including red, blue and white.

In the forenoon of my arrival, a council had been held, without transacting business, and a race took place in the afternoon. The spectators were Indians, with exception of a few travelers, and their small number showed the affair excited little interest. The riders had a piece of blue cloth round their loins, and in other respects were perfectly naked, having the whole of their bodies painted of different hues. The race horses had not undergone a course of training. They were of ordinary breed, and, according to British taste at least, small, coarse and ill-formed.

Intoxication prevailed to a great extent among both sexes. When under the influence of liquor, they did not seem unusually loquacious, and their chief delight consisted in venting low shouts, resembling something between the mewing of a cat and the barking of a dog. I observed a powerful Indian, stupefied with spirits, attempting to gain admittance to a shop, vociferating in a noisy manner; as soon as he reached the highest step, a white game gave him a push, and he fell with violence on his back in a pool of mud. He repeated his attempt five or six times in my sight, and was uniformly thrown back in the same manner. Male and female Indians were looking on and enjoying the sufferings of their countryman. The inhuman wretch who thus tortured the poor Indian, was the vender of the poison which had deprived him of his senses.

Besides the assemblage of Indians, there seemed to be a general fair at Chicago. Large wagons drawn by six or eight oxen, and heavily laden with merchandise, were arriving from, and departing to, distant parts of the country. There was also a kind of horse-market, and I had much conversation with a dealer from the State of New York, having serious intentions of purchasing a horse to carry me to the banks of the Mississippi, if one could have been got suitable for the journey. The dealers attempted to palm colts on me for aged horses, and seemed versed in all the trickery which is practiced by their profession in, Britain.

A person showed me a model of a threshing-machine and a churn, for which he was taking orders, and said he furnished the former at $30, or L.6, 1,0s. sterling. There were a number of French descendants, who are engaged in the fur-trade, met in Chicago, for the purpose of settling accounts with the Indians. They were dressed in broadcloths and boots, and boarded in the hotels. They are a swarthy scowling race, evidently tinged with Indian blood, speaking the French and English languages fluently, and much addicted to swearing and whisky.

The hotel at which our party was set down, was so disagreeably crowded, that the landlord could not positively promise beds, although he would do everything in his power to accommodate us. The house was dirty in the extreme, and confusion reigned throughout, which the extraordinary circumstances of the village went far to extenuate. I contrived, however, to get on pretty well, having by this time learned to serve myself in many things, carrying water for washing, drying my shirt, wetted by the rain of the preceding evening, and brushing my shoes. The table was amply stored with substantial provisions, to which justice was done by the guests, although indifferently cooked, and still more so served up.

When bed-time arrived, the landlord showed me to an apartment about ten feet square, in which there were two small beds already occupied, assigning me in a corner a dirty pallet, which had evidently been recently used, and was lying in a state of confusion. Undressing for the night had become a simple proceeding, and consisted in throwing off shoes, neck-cloth, coat and vest, the two latter being invariably used to aid the pillow, and I had long dispensed with a nightcap. I was awakened from a sound sleep towards morning, by an angry voice uttering horrid imprecations, accompanied by a demand for the bed I occupied. A lighted candle, which the individual held in his hand, showed him to be a French trader, accompanied by a friend, and as I looked on them for some time in silence, their audacity and brutality of speech increased. At length I lifted my head from the pillow, leaned on my elbow, and with a steady gaze, and the calmest tone of voice, said, "Who are you that address me in such language?" The countenance of the angry individual fell, and he subduedly asked to share my bed. Wishing to put him to a farther trial, I again replied, "If you will ask the favor in a proper manner, I shall give you an answer." He was now either ashamed of himself, or felt his pride hurt, and both left the room without uttering a word. Next morning, the individuals who slept in the apartment with me, discovered that the intruders had acted most improperly towards them, and the most noisy of the two entered familiarly into conversation with me during breakfast, without alluding to the occurrence of the preceding evening.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Pioneering Against Slavery

By William Lloyd Garrison.

GARRISON had been imprisoned for libel in expressing his anti-slavery views in his Baltimore. publication. The Genius of Universal Emancipation, when, in 1831, he started The Liberator in Boston, without capital or subscribers. This paper, with which his name is inseparably associated, was published weekly for thirty-five years, until slavery was abolished in the United States. In that time he was constantly threatened with assassination, and the Georgia Legislature offered $5,000 reward for his prosecution and conviction in accordance with the laws of that State.

This organizer of the American Anti-Slavery Society was "egotistic, unpractical, uncompromising, courageous and zealous to the point of fanaticism." Being a pacifist he advocated a moral agitation only: he would not vote, repudiated the Constitution, and, besides denouncing slavery, sanctioned other reforms such as temperance and woman's rights.


IN the month of August I issued proposals for publishing "The Liberator" in Washington City; but the enterprise, though hailed in different sections of the country, was palsied by public indifference. Since that time, the removal of the "Genius of Universal Emancipation" to the seat of government has rendered less imperious the establishment of a similar periodical in that quarter.

During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the free States and particularly in New-England---than at the South. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among slave owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birth place of liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondsman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble let their secret abettors tremble let their northern apologists tremble let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble.

I deem the publication of my original prospectus unnecessary, as it has obtained a wide circulation. The principles therein inculcated will be steadily pursued in this paper, excepting that I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties.

Assenting to the "self-evident truth" maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park Street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity. A similar recantation, from my pen, was published in the "Genius of Universal Emancipation" at Baltimore, in September, 1829. My conscience is now satisfied.

I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest I will not equivocate---I will not excuse I will not retreat a single inch and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years not perniciously, but beneficially not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that He enables me to disregard "the fear of man which bringeth a snare" and to speak His truth in its simplicity and power. And here I close with this fresh dedication:

Oppression, I have seen thee face to face,

And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow;

But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now For dread to prouder feelings doth give place,

Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace,

Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,

I also kneel but with far other vow,

Do hail thee and thy herd of hirelings base:

I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,

Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,

Thy brutalizing sway till Afric's chains,

Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land,

Trampling Oppression and his iron rod:

Such is the vow I take so help me God.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Invention Of The Telegraph

By Samuel F. B. Morse.

MORSE first conceived the idea of the telegraph while aboard the packet-ship "Sully on his way from Europe to America in 1832, while discussing the then recent French discovery of a method for obtaining the electric spark from the magnet. He was a graduate of Yale and was reckoned a successful artist, ranking with Washington Alston and Benjamin West. He was the first president of the National Academy of Design.

His right to the discovery of the telegraph was attacked and he labored for many years in defending his patent, and even his honor and integrity; but all his claims. were finally established. The device brought him honors such as come to few inventors.

This account of the inauguration of the telegraph, through the aid of Congress in voting him $30,000 in 1843 was written by the inventor for Bishop Stevens of Pennsylvania. The supplementary account of the first telegraph instrument is taken from the "Life of Samuel F. B. Morse," by S. I. Prime.


I HAD spent at Washington two entire sessions of Congress, one in 1837-38, the other in 1842-43, in the endeavor so far to interest the government in the novel telegraph as to furnish me with the means to construct a line of sufficient length to test its practicability and utility.

The last days of the last session of that Congress were about to close. A bill appropriating thirty thousand dollars for my purpose had passed the House, and was before the Senate for concurrence, waiting its turn on the calendar. On the last day of the session (3d of March, 1843), I had spent the whole day and part of the evening in the Senate-chamber, anxiously watching the progress of the passing of the various bills, of which there were, in the morning of that day, over one hundred and forty to be acted upon, before the one in which I was interested would be reached; and a resolution had a few days before been passed, to proceed with the bills on the calendar in their regular order, forbidding any bill to be taken up out of its regular place. As evening approached, there seemed to be but little chance that the Telegraph Bill would be reached before the adjournment, and consequently I had the prospect of the delay of another year, with the loss of time, and all my means already expended.

In my anxiety, I consulted with two of my senatorial friends Senator Huntington, of Connecticut, and Senator Wright, of New York asking their opinion of the probability of reaching the bill before the close of the session. Their answers were discouraging, and their advice was to prepare myself for disappointment. In this state of mind I retired to my chamber, and made all my arrangements for leaving Washington the next day. Painful as was this prospect of renewed disappointment, you, my dear sir, will understand me when I say that, knowing from experience whence my help must come in any difficulty, I soon disposed of my cares, and slept as quietly as a child.

In the morning, as I had just gone into the breakfast-room, the servant called me out, announcing that a young lady was in the parlor, wishing to speak with me. I was at once greeted with the smiling face of my young friend, the daughter of my old and valued friend and classmate, the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth, the Commissioner of Patents. On expressing my surprise at so early a call, she said, "I have come to congratulate you."

"Indeed, for what?"

"On the passage of your bill."

"Oh, no, my young friend, you are mistaken; I was in the Senate-chamber till after the lamps were lighted, and my senatorial friends assured me there was no chance for me."

"But," she replied, "it is you that are mistaken. Father was there at the adjournment, at midnight, and saw the President put his name to your bill ; and I asked father if I might come and tell you, and he gave me leave. Am I the first to tell you?"

The news was so unexpected that for some moments I could not speak. At length I replied: "Yes, Annie, you are the first to inform me; and now I am going to make you a promise: the first dispatch on the completed line from Washington to Baltimore shall be yours.

"Well," said she, "I shall hold you to your promise."

In about a year from that time, the line from Washington to Baltimore was completed. I was in Baltimore when the wires were brought into the office, and attached to the instrument. I proceeded to Washington, leaving word that no dispatch should be sent through the line until I had sent one from Washington. On my arrival there, I sent a note to Miss Ellsworth, announcing to her that everything was ready, and I was prepared to fulfill my promise of sending the first dispatch over the wire, which she was to indite. The answer was immediately returned. The dispatch was, "What hath God wrought!" It was sent to Baltimore, and repeated to Washington, and the strip of paper upon which the telegraphic characters are printed, was claimed by Governor Seymour of Hartford, Connecticut, then a member of the House, on the ground that Miss Ellsworth was a native of Hartford. It was delivered to him by Miss Ellsworth, and is now preserved in the archives of the Hartford Museum, or Athen um.

I need only add that no words could have been selected more expressive of the disposition of my own mind at that time, to ascribe all the honor to Him to whom it truly belongs.
THE FIRST TELEGRAPH INSTRUMENT

I COMMENCED, with very limited means, to experiment upon my invention. My first instrument was made up of an old picture or canvas frame fastened to a table; the wheels of an old wooden clock, moved by a weight to carry the paper forward; three wooden drums, upon one of which the paper was wound and passed over the other two; a wooden pendulum suspended to the top piece of the picture or stretching frame, and vibrating across the paper as it passes over the centre wooden drum; a pencil at the lower end of the pendulum, in contact with the paper; an electro-magnet fastened to a shelf across the picture or stretching frame, opposite to an armature made fast to the pendulum; a type rule and type for breaking the circuit, resting on an endless band, composed of carpet-binding, which passed over two wooden rollers, moved by a wooden crank, and carried forward by points projecting from the bottom of the rule downward into the carpet-binding; a lever, with a small weight on the upper side, and a tooth projecting downward at one end, operated on by the type, and a metallic fork also projecting downward over two mercury-cups, and a short circuit of wire, embracing the helices of the electro-magnet connected with the positive and negative poles of the battery and terminating in the mercury-cups.

When the instrument was at rest the circuit was broken at the mercury-cups; as soon as the first type in the type-rule (put in motion by turning the wooden crank) came in contact with the tooth on the lever, it raised that end of the lever and depressed the other, bringing the prongs of the fork down into the mercury, thus closing the circuit; the current passing through the helices of the electro-magnet caused the pendulum to move and the pencil to make an oblique mark upon the paper, which, in the mean time, had been put in motion over the wooden drum. The tooth in the lever falling into the first two cogs of the types, the circuit was broken when the pendulum returned to its former position, the pencil making another mark as it returned across the paper. Thus, as the lever was alternately raised and depressed by the points of the type, the pencil passed to and fro across the slip of paper passing under it, making a mark resembling a succession of V's. The spaces between the types caused the pencil to mark horizontal lines, long or short, in proportion to the length of the spaces.

With this apparatus, rude as it was, and completed before the first of the year 1836, I was enabled to and did mark down telegraphic intelligible signs, and to make and did make distinguishable sounds for telegraphing; and, having arrived at that point, I exhibited it to some of my friends early in that year, and among others to Professor Leonard D. Gale, who was a college professor in the university.

I also experimented with the chemical power of the electric current in 1836 and succeeded in marking my telegraphic signs upon paper dipped in turmeric and a solution of the sulphate of soda (as well as other salts), by passing the current through it. I was soon satisfied, however, that the electro-magnetic power was more available for telegraphic purposes and possessed many advantages over any other, and I turned my thoughts in that direction.

Early in 1836 1 procured forty feet of wire, and putting it in the circuit I found that my battery of one cup was not sufficient to work my instrument. This result suggested to me the probability that the magnetism to be obtained from the electric current would diminish in proportion as the circuit was lengthened, so as to be insufficient for any practical purposes at great distances; and to remove that probable obstacle to my success I conceived the idea of combining two or more circuits together in the manner described in my first patent, each with an independent battery, making use of the magnetism of the current on the first to close and break the second; the second, the third, and so on. This contrivance was fully set forth in my patents.

My chief concern, therefore, on my subsequent patents was to ascertain to what distance from the battery sufficient magnetism could be obtained to vibrate a piece of metal, knowing that, if I could obtain the least motion at the distance of eight or ten miles, the ultimate object was within my grasp. A practical mode of communicating the impulse of one circuit to another, such as that described in my patent of 1840, was matured as early as the spring of 1837, and exhibited then to Professor Gale, my confidential friend.

Up to the autumn of 1837 my telegraphic apparatus existed in so rude a form that I felt a reluctance to have it seen. My means were very limited so limited as to preclude the possibility of constructing an apparatus of such mechanical finish as to warrant my success in venturing upon its public exhibition. I had no wish to expose to ridicule the representative of so many hours of laborious thought. Prior to the summer of 1837, at which time Mr. Alfred Vail's attention became attracted to my telegraph, I depended upon my pencil for subsistence. Indeed, so straitened were my circumstances that, in order to save time to carry out my invention and to economize my scanty means, I had for many months lodged and eaten in my studio, procuring my food in small quantities from some grocery, and preparing it myself. To conceal from my friends the stinted manner in which I lived, I was in the habit of bringing my food to my room in the evenings, and this was my mode of life for many years.
 

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This is an excerpt from Volume 6 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The First American Locomotive

By John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe.

LATROBE thus describes Peter Cooper's pioneer steam engine in his "Personal Recollections of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad," of which he was counsel for more than fifty years. This particular locomotive was not the first one placed on an American track, that distinction belonging to an English-built engine, which, however, was not a success. This was the first American locomotive to make a successful trip.

Among his diverse activities, Latrobe founded the Maryland Institute; invented the "Baltimore heater"; and was long identified with the American Colonization Society, to the presidency of which he succeeded Henry Clay in 1853. He also became president of the Maryland Historical Society; and wrote a "History of Mason and Dixon's Line."


IN the beginning, no one dreamed of steam upon the road. Horses were to do the work; and even after the line was completed to Frederick, relays of horses trotted the cars from place to place.

. . . To ride in a railroad car in those days was, literally, to go thundering along, the roll of the wheels on the combined rail of stone and iron being almost deafening.

When steam made its appearance on the Liverpool and Manchester Railroad it attracted great attention here. But there was this difficulty about introducing an English engine on an American road. An English road was virtually a straight road. An American road had curves sometimes of as small radius as two hundred feet. . . . For a brief season it was believed that this feature of the early American roads would prevent the use of locomotive engines. The contrary was demonstrated by a gentleman still living in an active and ripe old age, honored and beloved, distinguished for his private worth and for his public benefactions; one of those to whom wealth seems to have been granted by Providence that men might know how wealth could be used to benefit one's fellow-creatures.

The speaker refers to Mr. Peter Cooper of New York. Mr. Cooper was satisfied that steam might be adapted to the curved roads which he saw would be built in the United States ; and he came to Baltimore, which then possessed the only one on which he could experiment, to vindicate his belief. He had another idea, which was, that the crank could be dispensed with in the change from a reciprocating to a rotary motion ; and he built an engine to demonstrate both articles of his faith. The machine was not larger than the hand cars used by workmen to transfer themselves from place to place ; and as the speaker now recalls its appearance, the only wonder is, that so apparently insignificant a contrivance should ever have been regarded as competent to the smallest results. But Mr. Cooper was wiser than many of the wisest around him. His engine could not have weighed a ton; but he saw in it a principle which the forty-ton engines of to-day have but served to develop and demonstrate.

The boiler of Mr. Cooper's engine was not as large as the kitchen boiler attached to many a range in modern mansions. It was of about the same diameter, but not much more than half as high. It stood upright in the car, and was filled, above the furnace, which occupied the lower section, with vertical tubes. The cylinder was but three-and-a-half inches in diameter, and speed was gotten up by gearing. No natural draught could have been sufficient to keep up steam in so small a boiler; and Mr. Cooper used therefore a blowing-apparatus, driven by a drum attached to one of the car wheels, over which passed a cord that in its turn worked a pulley on the shaft of the blower.

Mr. Cooper's success was such as to induce him to try a trip to Ellicott's Mills ; and an open car, the first used upon the road, already mentioned, having been attached to his engine, and filled with the directors and some friends, the speaker among the rest, the first journey by steam in America was commenced. The trip was most interesting. The curves were passed without difficulty at a speed of fifteen miles an hour; the grades were ascended with comparative ease; the day was fine, the company in the highest spirits, and some excited gentlemen of the party pulled out memorandum books, and when at the highest speed, which was eighteen miles an hour, wrote their names and some connected sentences, to prove that even at that great velocity it was possible to do so. The return trip from the Mills a distance of thirteen miles was made in fifty-seven minutes. This was in the summer of 1830.

But the triumph of this Tom Thumb engine was not altogether without a drawback. The great stage proprietors of the day were Stockton & Stokes; and on this occasion a gallant gray of great beauty and power was driven by them from town, attached to another car on the second track for the Company had begun by making two tracks to the Mills and met the engine at the Relay House on its way back. From this point it was determined to have a race home; and, the start being even, away went horse and engine, the snort of the one and the puff of the other keeping time and tune. At first the gray had the best of it, for his steam would be applied to the greatest advantage on the instant, while the engine had to wait until the rotation of the wheels set the blower to work. The horse was perhaps a quarter of a mile ahead when the safety valve of the engine lifted and the thin blue vapor issuing from it showed an excess of steam. The blower whistled, the steam blew off in vapory clouds, the pace increased, the passengers shouted, the engine gained on the horse, soon it lapped him the silk was plied the race was neck and neck, nose and nose then the engine passed the horse, and a great hurrah hailed the victory.

But it was not repeated; for just at this time, when the gray's master was about giving up, the band which drove the pulley, which drove the blower, slipped from the drum, the safety valve ceased to scream, and the engine for want of breath began to wheeze and pant. In vain Mr. Cooper, who was his own engine-man and fireman, lacerated his hands in attempting to replace the band upon the wheel: in vain he tried to urge the fire with light wood; the horse gained on the machine, and passed it; and although the band was presently replaced, and steam again did its best, the horse was too far ahead to be overtaken, and came in the winner of the race. But the real victory was with Mr. Cooper, notwithstanding. He had held fast to the faith that was in him, and had demonstrated its truth beyond peradventure. All honor to his name.

In the Musee d'Artillerie at Paris there are preserved old cannon, cotemporary almost with Crecy and Poictiers. In some great museum of internal improvement, and some such will at some future day be gotten up, Mr. Peter Cooper's boiler should hold an equally prominent and far more honored place; for while the old weapons of destruction were ministers of man's wrath, the contrivance we have described was one of the most potential instruments in making available, in America, that vast system which unites remote peoples and promotes that peace on earth and good will to men which angels have proclaimed.
 
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