Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bennett & Gross' Advertisement to Hire Out Two Negro Boys and Two Women, January 8, 1857

To Hire,

From first of January next, Two NEGRO BOYS and TWO WOMEN.  The Women are good plain Cooks.

Dec 18             43        tf

SOURCE: The Carolina Spartan, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Thursday, January 8, 1857, p. 2
57, p. 3

P. H. Flanigan's Advertizement for the Return of Tom Vinegrum & Jeremiah, Fugitive Slaves, published January 15, 1857


From the subscriber, at Columbia, S. C., About thirty days ago, two indentured apprentice Boys to Boot and Shoe Making, named TOM VINEGRUM and JEREMIAH—both nearly white.

Tom is about 17 years old, 5 feet 8 inches high, well-dressed, but slovenly looking.

Jeremiah about 15 years old, sallow complexion, knock need, and has a frightened look.

They have in company another boy, a brother of Tom’s, stout built, freckled-faced, and as tall as Tom.  He is a tailor.

Tom is a pretty good workman—Jerry can make coarse shoes.

They were heard of in Union, and may changed their names and go further.

I will pay all expenses attending their lodgment in jail, so I can get them.

Columbia, S. C.
Dec 18 43 tf

SOURCE: The Carolina Spartan, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Thursday, January 15, 1857, p. 3

High Price of Negroes - published January 22, 1857

The Montgomery (Alabama) Messenger of the 7th instant says:

We mentioned something yesterday of the sale of negroes on Monday, but we did not give the highest price paid which was a fellow, field hand, $1,800.  The lot of sixteen—of which the above was one—old, young and every description, averaged something over 800 each.  Yesterday another lot was sold here, bringing large prices—the highest we learn, bringing $1,600.

On Tuesday last, the sale day in Muscogee county, we are credibly informed by the sellers that a lot of negroes—a large one—“old an[d] young, and every description averaged” $850 each.  Now who can believe there is no money in the country?  And negroes hired at very high rates—ordinary female servants were bid off at $120 and upwards, and others in proportion.—Columbus Sun.

SOURCE: The Carolina Spartan, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Thursday, January 22, 1857, p. 2

Headquarters. - published January 22, 1857

UNIONVILLE, January 6, 1857

AN ELECTION is hereby ordered for COLONEL to command the 36th Regiment of S. C. M., on Saturday, the 7th day of March next, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Col. S. M. SNODDY.

Lieut. Col. McDowell and Maj. A J. Foster are charged with the extension of this order.

By order of
STATES R. GIST, Brig. Gen.,          
9th Brig. S. C. M.
W. H. TRIMMIER, Brig. Major.

Dec 15             47        tf

SOURCE: The Carolina Spartan, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Thursday, January 22, 1857, p. 3

Important to the Owners and Hirers of Slaves - published January 22, 1857

The Supreme Court of this State have recently decided that the hirer of a slave, under a general contract of hire, is guilty of a conversion, if he hires said slave to another during the term of hire, without the consent of the owner, and is liable to an action of trover for his value.  The question was made in the case of Cummings vs. Bell, from the Circuit Court of this county.—Nashville (Tenn.) Patriot.

SOURCE: The Carolina Spartan, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Thursday, January 22, 1857, p. 4

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wide Difference Between the State Laws of the Hebrews and the Moral Law Which Was Given Them.

There is a most important difference between the state laws, or judicial statutes of the Hebrew nation, and the moral law as expressed in the decalogue. Both these systems of legislation, emanated indeed from the same Divine author, but they were given for different purposes. The state laws had respect to the particular circumstances of that nation in distinction from all others, and were evidently designed to be superseded, as they have been, by the Christian dispensation, to which many of them were preparatory, and at whose introduction the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles was entirely broken down. Whereas the moral law is founded on principles of immutable rectitude, equally applicable to all men in all circumstances and ages; and was designed to be neither abrogated nor modified by the introduction of Christianity, but to be interpreted and confirmed by the Author of both. The apostolic substitution of the first for the last day of the week for a sabbath constitutes no exception, as the very letter and spirit of the original command may and should be as fully regarded under the change, as before its occurrence. It is still every seventh day which is to be hallowed. The state laws in view of the established usages of those to whom they were given, the prejudices of their minds and hardness of their hearts, suffered and regulated certain evils, because by the enaction and enforcemcnt of judicial statutes they could not be removed, without producing consequences still more deplorable. On this point we have testimony which will not be contradicted. When the Pharisees captiously inquired of our Lord, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” He, evidently designing to condemn polygamy, and divorces as commonly practised together, reminded them that at the beginning, the Creator made but one man and one woman and joined them together as one flesh. Others similarly united in marriage, he said were no more twain but one flesh. And impressively added, “What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” They said, “Why did Moses then command to give her a writing of divorcement and send her away?” His remarkable reply was, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, MOSES suffered you to put away your wives: but in the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery, and whoso marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery.” Even the disciples were startled at this decision of the Lord and remarked, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.” So greatly prejudiced were they in consequence of their Jewish education, against the original purity and binding nature of this sacred institution. Now if Moses suffered the Jews to put away their wives for every cause, not because it was right for them to do so, but on account of the hardness of their hearts and the evils which this obduracy might have led them to inflict on their helpless companions with whom they were not pleased; it is obvious that they might have been suffered, by the same code of laws, to do other things which they had no right to perform. So it is in regard to the laws of all nations. God, in the dispensations of his providence, is continualy suffering men to do what they ought not. But the Moral Law lays the axe at the root of all moral evil, it strictly, without regard to persons or circumstances, forbids the least deviation from the path of absolute rectitude, and binds transgressors to answer for their conduct not to earthly tribunals but to the Supreme Lawgiver himself, in the day of final judgment. The laws of the state not merely suffered the Hebrews to do things, but in some cases, required them to do things, which without such authority from God, they would have had no right to perform; and might not without great criminality attempt. As instances of this sort we must reckon the stoning of children to death for such immoralities as have been mentioned, and a man for gathering sticks for his fire on the Sabbath day, and especially the destruction of the Canaanites, who by their great sins had forfeited to divine justice not only their earthly possessions, but their lives. God had a right to cut off these transgressors by pestilence or earthquakes, or fire from heaven, or the agency of his angelic hosts, or by the hands of their fellow men, as he saw fit. The wonderful miracles which attended the march of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan, while they were passing the Jordan, and besieging Jericho, gave indubitable testimony that they were indeed divinely commissioned to cut off the guilty nations, inhabiting the land which God had promised to give them for their possession. But to plead that since it was right for the Jews to do these things when expressly commanded, it must be so for others to do such things when not commanded, seems as egregiously absurd as for every man in this country to claim the right of acting as a public executioner at his own discretion, because some men have been authorized by law to inflict sentence of death on others, and were in justice bound to do it. On the contrary, the moral law enjoins duties which are common to all. Our Savior has taught us, that the substance and scope of it all is this, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself.” These are things right in themselves, and which all men would have been bound to do, even if no express law to this effect had been given.

Wide indeed, then, is the difference between the judicial statutes of the Hebrew commonwealth and that moral law, contained in the decalogue which binds all men to obedience, and with which the great principles of christian morality laid down in the New Testament perfectly harmonize. The former was given to an individual nation, in peculiar circumstances, for special purposes; and are at present no further a rule of conduct than they in particular instances, inculcate duties which are confirmed by the latter, as expounded or enforced by Christ or his apostles. Without this sanction, you have no more authority from the political laws of the Jews to practice slaveholding; even in the sense and manner in which they practised it, than you have to practise polygamy.— And we have seen that the system of servitude which prevailed among them was so mild that it cannot according to the correct meaning of the term in this country, be denominated slavery at all. It is as plain then as the sun at noon day, that the laws of the Hebrew nation, do not, and cannot afford your cherished institution any support or cover.

If slavery can be justified from the Bible a tall, it must be on the ground of the great principles of universal benevolence and perfect rectitude, which constitute the foundation of christian morality. We therefore agree with you to refer the great question to Christ and his apostles for ultimate decision.

Continued from: Reverend Silas McKeen to Thomas C. Stuart, August 20, 1839

SOURCE: Cyrus P. Grosvenor, Slavery vs. The Bible: A Correspondence Between the General Conference of Maine, and the Presbytery of Tombecbee, Mississippi, p. 76-82

Nathaniel Peabody Rogers: Reverend Ralph Randolph Gurley, December 8, 1838

[From the Herald of Freedom of Dec. 8, 1838.]

We must give the whole of this euphonic line, so harmonious to the colored ear. This silver-spoken expatriationist has appeared again, we understand, in our New England horizon, with his northern aspect on, having doffed his slaveholder phases, as he crossed his equinoctial—the Mason and Dixon line. He ranges from tropic to tropic along his crooked ecliptic—from New Orleans on the south, to — the old town hall in Concord (his northmost declination) on the north—shifting his disk, like the changing moon.

Hail to thee, in the “clear cold sky” of the North, thou star of evil promise to liberty! Welcome, caterer of slavery, to the regions of paid labor! Thou reverend advocate of a double origin of the human family, and denier that “God hath made of one blood all nations of men,” &c. Thou promoter of human banishment, and sunderer of the strong ties of native country, hail to thy dubious aspect—thy Janus facies! Come, stir, with thy magician's rod, among the hushed and abashed mobocracy of your native New England. Kindle afresh the slumbering fires of prejudice. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of persecution! Mount the consecrated pulpit, under the ushering of the shepherds of the flock, who care for the sheep, and “pour” thence “your leprous distilment into” the common ear, till “public sentiment” shall “posset and curd” under your infusion, and the blotch and tetter of colonization shall “bark out over all” the surface of the body politic.

Thou angler for consent to exile! thou fisher for funds in the pockets of prejudice! thou recruiting sergeant for the ranks of banishment! Thou art earning the deep and indelible displeasure of thy colored brother. He must forgive thee unpardonable enmity, and “seventy times seven,” and God help him to charity unbounded—for he needs it in this emergency.

Elliot[T] Cresson, too, a satellite of the Secretary, is up here, on a winter campaign. Why does not Elliot cast the shadow of his broad brim on the snows of Canada, this winter, in the service of the Patriots, and help them become a free republic, and so break up that nest of self-emancipated niggers? For if this province of Canada were only a free, democratic state, it would not afford a refuge to those insolent fugitives, but they would have to be “given up on claim of those to whom” their souls and bodies, their time and eternity, “might be due.” Bethink thee, Friend! Elliot, thou mightest strike a capital stroke for thy master (who can enlarge his brim till it is as broad as William Penn's, to suit his turn) in the extinction of this tyrant monarchy, this refuge of runaway democrats. Thou mightest solicit the fugitives, with good prospect of colonizing them. If thou shouldest succeed in abolishing monarchy in said province, and open a way for the restoration of the lost property to be found there, thou mightest then solicit it for consent to great advantage. Thou mightest offer the candidates, either a sudden, and, as it were, a reluctant return to the patriarchs from whom they strayed, (with fetter on heel and hand-cuff on wrist,) or the glorious alternative of voluntary emigration, “with their own consent,” to the steepled paradise of Liberia. And would they not be free to go or stay? Yea, verily. Thee would say to them, "Friend, I do thee no injustice. Go to Liberia; but go freely. I abate not a tithe of thy free, thy voluntary, thy spontaneous choice. Go if thee choose. If not, stay and return south with me, whence, in an evil hour, thou came out.” Peradventure some of them would "consent," For They Have Been South. Yes, reader, they have been south.

SOURCE: Collection from the Miscellaneous Writings of Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, Second Edition, p. 54-6 which states it was published in the Herald of Freedom of December 8, 1838.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

George Thompson To the Editor of the Boston Daily Atlas, September 30, 1835

Boston, SEPTEMBER 30, 1835.
To the Editor of the Daily Atlas —

SIR,—Through the kindness of a friend, I have just received a copy of your paper of this day, in which the following paragraph appears, extracted from the New York Commercial Advertiser.

“Mr. Thompson, in conversation with some of the students, repeatedly averred that every slaveholder in the United States, ouGHT To HAVE HIs THROAT CUT, or deserved to have his throat cut; although he afterward publicly denied that he had said so. But the proof is direct and positive. In conversation with some of the theological students, in regard to the moral instruction which ought to be enjoyed by the slaves, he distinctly declared, THAT EVERY SLAVE SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO CUT HIS MASTER'S THROAT. I state the fact—knowing the responsibility I am assuming, and challenge a legal investigation.”

In justice to myself, and the cause in which I am engaged, I feel it my duty, in the most solemn and emphatic manner, to deny the above allegations. They are at total variance with all the sentiments I have ever either publicly or privately expressed. I refer with the utmost confidence, to all who know me, and to the many thousands who have listened to my public addresses, as witnesses to the perfectly pacific character of my views and principles, on the subject of slavery. I hold in utter abhorrence the shedding of blood, and would, if I had the power, inculcate upon the mind of every slave in the world, the apostolical precept, “Resist not evil.” These doctrines I hold in common with the advocates of immediate emancipation universally. Their views, on the subject under discussion, are, I believe, in strict coincidence with the views of the Society of Friends.

I shall endure, without wrath, the epithets, censures, and accusations heaped upon me; nor can I wonder at the treatment I am daily receiving, when I remember that it was said of Him, whose benevolent doctrines I am humbly endeavoring to set forth, “Behold he hath a devil.”

It may be as well to add, that I heard a rumor of the first charge, when some time ago in Andover, and there most publicly repelled it. The latter charge is entire new.

Yours, respectfully,

SOURCES: Isaac Knapp, Publisher, Letters and Addresses by G. Thompson [on American Negro Slavery] During His Mission in the United States, From Oct. 1st, 1834, to Nov. 27, 1835, p. 93-4

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Samuel J. Tilden to Noah H. Swayne, February 6, 1860

feb. 10, 1860.

My Dear Sir,—It being designed, if possible, to provide for a reorganization of the Pittsburg, F. W. and Chicago R. R. Co. during the present year, such legislation as is necessary should be obtained at the present sessions of the Legislatures of Penn. and Ohio. That would be expedient even if we were to wait for legislation in Indiana and Illinois until next winter. But I do not think it is necessary so to wait. I suppose that a corporation created by one of the States in which the road is situate, if endowed by the law of its creation with the capacity to exercise its functions in the other States, may hold and operate the road in those States if the sovereigns there will allow it to do so. I suppose that express permission is not necessary. It may do so on the principle of comity, unless prohibited by the legislation or declared public policy of those States. It may still be prudent to get the assent of those States declared legislatively. The act which governs the constitution of the corporation may be obtained in Penn. That will avoid any question as to the operation of the clause of your constitution imposing a personal liability upon stockholders. In Indiana there is a general law adequate to enable us to reorganize a corporation of that State. Its Legislature, like that of Illinois, does not meet till next year. There is nothing in the statutes or decisions of Illinois to prevent a corporation of Penn. or Indiana from holding and operating a railroad in Illinois. I presume there is not in Ohio, but that I have not investigated, as it is wiser to have an act of recognition. In Penn. the statutes of mortmain exist by judicial adoption, and no foreign corporation can hold real estate there without express permission.

We propose, then, immediately to get what we can, viz., a parent act from Penn. and an act of recognition from Ohio.

The act for Penn. was finally agreed upon between Mr. Campbell and me yesterday, and was taken by Mr. Ogden to Mr. Cass to be passed. I will send you a copy as soon as I get one.

I have drawn and send herewith what I deem to be a suggestion towards the bill proper to be passed by your Legislature.

There may be a disposition to add some provision bringing the corporation under the jurisdiction of Ohio. You must be careful that nothing of this kind is done in such general terms as to bring the stockholders under the operation of your Constitution or laws as to personal liability.

I would like to have you revise this bill and put it in motion. We must rely on you and Judge Thompson to have it passed. It would be prudent to urge it forward as fast as possible.

I enclose some passages cut from my points in a recent case, which touch on the questions I have alluded to.

It is very desirable that Mr. Stansbery's bill, converted into a general form, or some other bill applicable to all railroad corporations in your State needing reconstruction, should pass. I trust you and Thurman will aid in effecting such a result. There are plenty more of cases needing your doctoring. I regret that I must write in so much haste. I have to leave here in half an hour, having just returned from Phil.

Mr. Ogden is to-day in Pittsburg with authority to have a settlement effected if it can be.

Do me the favor to let me have your views as soon as possible.


SOURCE: John Bigelow, Editor, Letters and Literary Memorials of Samuel J. Tilden, Volume 1, p. 129-30

Friday, November 15, 2019

Joseph Green Cogswell to George Ticknor, April 29, 1861

NEW YORK, April 29, 1861.

. . . The humiliating condition to which Southern insolence and ruffianism have reduced us has preyed upon me greatly. I never wished to be young again until now, and, old as I am, I would have volunteered with any adequate number to go down and force a way through Baltimore, by laying it in ruins, if it could have been done in no other way. It was no disgrace to have the lawful authority of the country fallen upon by a mob, for that might happen under the strongest government. It is an indelible one to have allowed the mob to keep up the obstruction for days, between every part of the country and the capital of it. If it is not soon wiped out I shall be ashamed to own that I am an American.

The course which has been pursued by the South has changed all my feelings towards them. If they had taken the ground, that they had a right to secede if such was the clear and express will of the people, and maintained the right like honest men, I, for one, would have said, “Go, you shall have what fairly belongs to you”— but to buccaneers I would give no answer except from the mouth of the cannon.1

Out of all this evil great good will come. The Northern States will be more united, the principle of unlicensed democracy will be checked, our vainglorious boasting will be silenced, and the practical acknowledgment that Cotton is King will no more be heard. I firmly believe that the substantial and permanent prosperity of the North was secured by the first gun that was fired at Fort Sumpter, and the rapid decline of the South will date from the same event. I rejoice to find that Massachusetts has come up so nobly to the rescue.

1 In connection with this strong expression of feeling it is pleasant to be allowed to present the testimony of a lady whose relations with different parts of the country, as well as her high standing in society, and refined estimate of the demands of good breeding, entitle her words to be accepted and highly valued.  In a note written after Mr. Cogswell’s death, Mrs. Gilpin of Philadelphia speaks of “His information on all subjects of conversation so correct and extended, and his manners so mild and unobtrusive, with great delicacy of feelings for others. This,” she goes on to say, “I particularly observed during the war, as he was often my guest during that unfortunate period, when, from the peculiarity of my own position, Southern ladies and gentlemen were often with us.  No word ever escaped his lips to wound the feelings of any, and at the same time he was known to be firm in his own opinion.  He avoided argument or heated discussion on the merits of the war question, and gave to all around him a beautiful example of forbearance, with the most kindly feeling for those whom I knew he thought in the wrong.”

SOURCE: Anna Eliot Ticknor, Editor, Life of Joseph Green Cogswell as Sketched in His Letters, p. 286-7

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Horace Greeley to Charles A. Dana, December 1, 1855

WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 1, 1855.

FRIEND DANA: I think ——— worth $150 per month. He has facilities at the west end which I have not and never can have, and living here is horribly dear for those who have to see people. By and by he may perfect his opportunities with Marcy & Co., and then you can stop him. For the present better pay $200 a month than lose him. I see him and confer with him several times a day; but it is best that the business should all go through one channel. So I wish you would write him accepting his terms. If you can easily repeat the hint I have given him, that we value facts more than opinions, it will be well. Everybody we employ to gather information seems to think he has the paper to edit, and I expect soon to have a notice from Dennis that, if we don’t change our course on some public question, he will be obliged to relieve himself of all responsibility in the premises by dissolving his connection with the Tribune.

I thank you for your reply to Dr. Bailey. He is eaten up with the idea of making Chase President.

I am doing what I can for Banks; but he won't be Speaker. His support of the Republicans against the K. N. ticket this fall renders it impossible. If we elect anybody it will be Pennington or Fuller. I fear the latter. Pennington is pretty fair, considering. He will try to twist himself into the proper shape, but I would greatly prefer one who had the natural crook.

Phelps to-night announced in Democratic caucus that two of the Missouri Whigs would vote their side. Glad of it.

The news from Kansas is helping us.

You ought to see the loving glances I get from Whitfield. We know each other first-rate, but are not introduced.  I think the House will organize on Monday; if not, Tuesday will fetch it.

I hate this hole, but am glad I have come. It does me good to see how those who hate the Tribune much, fear it yet more. There are a dozen here who will do better for my eye being on them. Schouler is particularly cordial.

As to old McRea, I think, we may as well let him have his $10 a week for a few weeks yet, though I can't use him. I wouldn’t mind his being a genius, if he was not a fool. He has no idea of keeping his mouth shut, but tells everybody he is connected with the Tribune, but doesn’t go its isms, etc. He annoys me to the amount of $10 per week at least; but let him wait a little.

H. G.
C. A. DANA, Esq.

SOURCE: Horace Greeley, Greeley on Lincoln: With Mr. Greeley's Letters to Charles A. Dana and a Lady Friend, p. 87-9

Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher et al to Gerrit Smith, June 1865

June, 1865.
Gerrit Smith, Esq., New York:

Dear Sir, — The events which, with increasing emphasis are inscribing our national history, attract and impress the public mind. We think that information is needed and counsel required. We know that the interest which you have felt in the conflict which is passed, continues to the stages of its pacification and close.

Understanding your willingness to communicate with your fellow citizens on national topics, we would be pleased could you address a public meeting in this city, at the Cooper Institute, on the evening of next Thursday, the 8th instant, on the present attitude of the country.

Horace Greeley,
C. Godfrey Gunther,
E. H. Chapin,
Henry Ward Beecher,
Rich'd O'gorman,
David Dudley Field,
Sam'l L. M. Barlow,
Henry W. Bellows,
Hiram Ketchum.

SOURCES: Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Gerrit Smith: A Biography, p. 293

Diary of to Amos A. Lawrence: August 1, 1859

Fine day. Annoyed by being forced to decline several applications for money. My experience leads me to know that the greater part of those who apply for loans or for gifts of money either live more expensively than their means warrant or they are unwilling to fix themselves down to one pursuit. If we should undertake to criticise cases, there would be found very few where hardship does not follow bad management and where relief can be anything but temporary.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 162

Diary of to Amos A. Lawrence: December 11, 1859

Rainy. No beggars. Quiet day but busy in counting-room.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 162

Diary of to Amos A. Lawrence: December 12, 1859

Fine day. Beggars plenty.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 162

Diary of to Amos A. Lawrence: April 27, 1861

The President and exPresidents of Harvard College met at Whipple's by my request, to be photographed together for the college library. Messrs. Quincy, Everett, Sparks, Walker, and Felton. We waited for Mr. Everett, who had forgotten his appointment, and had a great deal of talk. Mr. Quincy was very bright and earnest. He told me he had enjoyed his life since he was seventy-four more than any previous part of it. He is now about ninety.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 161

Thomas W. Gilmer* to Congressman Robert M. T. Hunter, March 11, 1840

Richmond, [va.], March 11th, 1840.

Dear Hunter: I have frequently during the winter desired to write to you and to receive a letter from you, as one watchman likes occasionally to hail and to hear from another in a dark night. I hope that nothing has occurred or will ever occur to interrupt for a moment that perfect and confidential familiarity which has so long subsisted between us. From all that I learn of you through the medium (a bad one, I confess) of the newspapers, I take it for granted that we are now as nearly together in politics as we were when I saw you last summer. Nothing that has happened here or at Washington, I presume, can have shaken your steadfastness or mine in the great principles to which we have both given evidence of our attachment. But let this be as it may, though you are (without design on your part) the speaker of the H[ouse] of R[epresentatives] and though I in like manner have been appointed with the executive of Virginia, you are still Bob Hunter and I am as I always was your humble servant. We can never forget the Friar Tuck scene of the Expunging winter here, nor should either of us desire its oblivion. I suppose the labors of your station have allowed you very little time for correspondence and though I shall not be more respectful than the governor of New Jersey was to you, I venture to drop you a line, to say that I hope we may occasionally interchange a thought and a word. Is there any hope that parties will ever come back to the good old lines of honest differences of opinion as to principles. For until parties do so, there is really little or no hope that the government (in any hands) will. Are we always to see the millions of freemen in our country, marshalled as the mere clansmen of ambitious aspirants for the presidency? Many, I know, indulge the hope that after November next, there will be some more definite and durable organization of political parties. I confess, however, that I see little prospect for it. The radical fault is with the press and that I fear is past remedy. I am, however, on the outposts and can see but little of the chess board. You are at the fountain head, and I have only to ask that when you have time and can communicate any intelligence which you think would do good, that you may drop me a line, not that I would have you write as a letter writer from Washington, but that you may speak as one friend should speak to another about matters of the highest public concern. We have been grasping our way onward; so far together. I shall sink the partisan of course in my new vocation here. Indeed I have been little of one for some years past. The grease has been scarcely worth the candle. If you don't find time sooner, writer to me in the dry days.

* Governor of Virginia, 1840-1841; a Whig Representative in Congress, 1841-1843; a Democratic Representative in Congress. 1843-1844; appointed Secretary of the Navy, Feb. 15, 1844, and served until his death on the Princeton, Feb. 28, 1844.

SOURCE: Charles Henry Ambler, Editor, Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1916 in Two Volumes, Volume II, Correspondence of Robert M. T. Hunter 1826-1876, p. 33-4

Miss Fanny —— to Congressman Daniel Webster, May 29, 1823

Columbia, May 29, 1828.

Sir,— You have probably before this time entirely forgotten that you ever had an acquaintance by the name of Fanny. It is a long time since I have heard any thing of you. I lately, by accident, heard that you were settled in Boston, and in affluence. Very different is my situation. I live in this town with my aged parents, who are unable to do any thing towards supporting themselves. I have one sister; we have nothing but our hands to support our parents and a helpless brother. As a help towards doing this, I took an orphan child under my care. I was to receive six dollars per month for board and tuition; I have kept the child two years, and received but forty dollars, and have no expectation of ever receiving more. His guardian has failed and fled to parts unknown. I agreed with a merchant in this vicinity for some of the necessaries of life, expecting to receive payment quarterly, and pay it to him; he now calls loudly for his pay, and I have nothing to pay with; I expect he will take the steps of the law; in that case you know how dreadful would be the situation of a poor defenceless female. I can do nothing towards paying the debt unless some of my rich friends will help me. The debt due to me is about eighty dollars, and the debt which I owe about fifty dollars. Should you feel able and willing to bestow some pecuniary assistance, you will please to send by mail. I live in Columbia, Brooklyn County, Connecticut. Should you not find it convenient to assist me, I should be glad to hear of your health and happiness and that of your dear ones. If you could make it convenient to answer this the first mail after receiving it, you would much oblige

Your unfortunate friend.

P. S. Where is Hervey Bingham, and what is his situation? Do you correspond with him? Perhaps you would be willing to state my condition to him. My great anxiety to do all in my power to render the few remaining days of my parents in some measure comfortable, is all the apology I can offer for thus troubling you.

SOURCE: Fletcher Webster, Editor, The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster, Volume 1, p. 326

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, August 1860

August, 1860

The [boarding] house was further enlivened last night by the presence of Mr. Longfellow's son and heir . . . who with a companion sailed round from Nahant. Late in the evening — that is, probably so near the small hours as half-past nine — he was heard in the entry, rousing the echoes with the unwonted cry of Landlord! and when at last Mary Moody or some similar infant appeared, it appeared that they desired pen, ink, paper, and postage stamps. Mary thinks they had run away from their nurses and wished to send word home.

We have decided that Americans think their own race so beautiful, something must be done to disguise it; and bathing is taken as the occasion, certainly with great success. Mary was especially impressed with one man in scanty raiment, exhibiting an amount of bald head which Mary declared to be positively indelicate.

Also a tall, slim, red, unpleasing Californian with a perpetual pipe and a capacity for steady flirtation so long as his wife can be kept at a safe distance.

. . . To-day (Sunday) we thought would be hot, but there is a cool breeze and Miss Susanna's supposed lover is patiently stirring or revolving water-ice for dinner. Little “Parkie” Haven just called to him from the window, “Is it did yet?” — he responding, “No.”

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

I had a characteristic letter from Charles H. [a cousin] yesterday, closing with a hint that there was often trouble in the army about delay of pay, etc., and begging me to draw on him up to five hundred dollars at any time, if needed. I have a great mind to take it and then turn miser and strike out a new path for Higginsons.

This is Sunday, the B—— visiting day, and their, loud voices pervade the promontory — Miss Susanna perhaps does not extend into the afternoon her impressive attire of this morning, which consisted of three vast curtains of white cotton (shall I say dimity?), the first draping her head, the second reaching to her waist, the third touching the ground, and the whole filling the horizon and making a shade in sunny places. She and Isa and brother David can protect this place from sunstroke, never fear. The present delight of visitors is the calf, to inspect which all are invited by the mighty voice of Mr. George Swett, resident ambassador from the court of Cupid near the headquarters of Susanna. “George” is the Gloucester widower of whom we used to hear, and who is now admitted to a nearer probation, and has been so indispensable in the family for two years that if he struck for higher wages I certainly think Miss B. would, with the family eye for the main chance, give him herself instead. Many are the anxious observations made with the sleepless microscopic eyes of childhood by Florence and Annie, who think nothing of popping out of bed for this purpose by moonlight, and who have composed a poem thereon, which ends, perhaps ingloriously, with

Another rhyme I wish to make
That his name is Mr. Swett, —

which may remind you of some of Pet Marjorie's poetical difficulties.

It is a singular compensation of human skill that while all other B—— voices are so vast and resounding, that their copperness of head must go down to the lungs, at least; one youth of eighteen next door was born with a squeak. Yet by one stroke he has outwitted Fate, and by dint of a piano fortissimo and twelve hours' daily and nightly practice he has attained skill to drown any of his relations, voice and all, and is now performing “The Maiden's Prayer” in tones to silence the Mighty Deep.

. . . Looking about for some literature suited for “a lonely and athletic student” temporarily on half rations, I have selected Miss Austen, the only author except Dr. Bartol whose complete works the house possesses, and one whose perfect execution cheers, while her mild excitements do not inebriate the mind of man.

. . . There is a Mrs. D—— of Cambridge, with a gentle dyspeptic daughter, whom (the mother) I should define as a Cambridge waiter — a perpetual tone of motherly despair, with the personal grandeur peculiar to that classic town, when represented by its citizens abroad. She was née W——, and there is a suppressed-Quincy sacredness in her every gesture. Her husband is the noted antiquarian, I believe; but nothing unbends her but perch, of which she has caught more than anybody; thus linking her to humanity through the indirect tie of a fishline.

SOURCE: Mary Potter Thacher Higginson, Editor, Letters and Journals of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1846-1906, p. 148-50

Congressman Roscoe Conkling to Colonel Charles Wheelock of the 97th New York Infantry, December 25, 1861

Washington, Christmas Day, 1861.

My Dear Colonel: The regiment you command has, I am informed, done me the honor to assume my name. A compliment so unexpected, bestowed upon me in my absence, and by so large a body of my fellow-citizens from different sections of the State, awakens, I need hardly say, lively and enduring emotions.

Grateful as I am for unnumbered and undeserved marks of confidence and kindness showered upon me by the generous people of Oneida County, among them all there is scarcely one that I shall cherish longer than this token of approbation at once so spontaneous and expressive.

A thousand men, who as winter approaches leave their homes for the camp, to defend on distant battlefields the life and honor of their country, are inspired and consecrated by heroic purposes and unfaltering faith. Earnestness and sincerity abide with them, and they mean in seriousness all they say. When they inscribe a name upon their colors, they mean not a mere token of courtesy or friendship, nor simply to make the name less humble than it was before; but they adopt it because they consider it associated with some idea. In this case that idea is a vigorous and unconditional prosecution of the war till the Union is restored and the Government acknowledged on the Gulf of Mexico as much as on the river St. Lawrence. It is the idea that whoever and whatever stands in the way of national success must go down before the advancing columns of the Union.

The colors you carry will never be disgraced; they will be borne forward by men many of whom I have long known and respected as neighbors and friends, and though the regiment, however called, would have been an object of interest and pride with me, I shall now watch its career with double solicitude, its advancement with double pleasure.

Do me the favor to present my warm acknowledgments to the regiment and reserve them to yourself.

I remain your friend,
Col. Chas. Wheelock, Boonville, N. Y.

SOURCE: Alfred Ronald Conkling, The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling: Orator, Statesman, Advocate, 137-8

Friday, November 8, 2019

George L. Stearns, writing from Nashville, Tennessee, September 21, 1863

This is a gloomy day in Nashville, for the army of Rosecrans has been brought to a stand, and is in peril. He is, however, a brave commander and will do his best. We are not in any danger here, being 100 miles from the seat of war, with an almost impassable country between, and troops enough here to guard us from any guerilla attack that might be made.

If you could understand the nature of my work you would say, “Stay and do it.” I am already looked up to by those poor people as their guardian, and they are very grateful. I am offered fruit and carriage rides, and other demonstrations, which are gratifying to me. Yesterday they impressed some men for work, and in the process shot a slave, who, I learn, will probably die. I am doing all I can for him, and am taking measures to prevent a recurrence of those painful scenes. I am busy to-day for I have just commenced recruiting.

SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 310

Samuel Gridley Howe to Horace Mann, December 16, 1853

Boston, Dec. 16th, 1853.

My Dear Mann: — I cannot express to you the relief — yes ! relief as well as pleasure, which the sight of your beloved old sign manual has given me. I wrote to you soon after your departure,1 and though nothing that I said was worthy your notice I have been hoping for some reply.

From Downer's and from all other accounts you are doing a noble work. I will not say God speed you in it, for I think the sooner we get rid even of the forms of speech which favour the doctrine implied in them, the better for the world. You ask, may not a man be a cripple and a hunchback in his soul, as well as in his legs and his dorsal vertebrae? Doubtless he may — nay! how few are not so! But I cannot help thinking that this doctrine of reliance upon something outside of and above us helps to cripple us. This constant reference to we know not what leads us to disregard we do know what — the capacities and dispositions put within us. I presume that au jond we think much alike, however much we may differ in forms of expression. I believe that what is called religion — the creeds, the sects — even the mildest of them, swaddle humanity and keep it in the wickedness and weakness of infancy. I believe if all who see and know that man has capacities, tendencies, powers to be true and good irrespective of any hopes or fears of the consequences, here or hereafter — that man is so constituted that he need not rely on any thing or being extraneous to himself — if they who see this dared say it openly, it would be better for the race.

But not to talk of these abstractions: I am greatly moved, dear Mann, I am deeply touched, I am exceedingly rejoiced to find that you have got into such a field as you are now breaking up and planting, for a glorious harvest of good to humanity. It cheers me in my little, narrow beat to know that one whom it is my cherished privilege to call friend is filling such an orbit of beneficence. I feel this from my heart, and am humbly proud of the consciousness that I would rather be doing what you are doing than be master of the White House.

Downer tells me you are well, and this cheers me, for I feared you were rapidly using up the oil of life.

I have nothing to tell you of affairs here that you do not know. The Coalition millstone that was about our necks is gone, and we shall not, I trust, be drowned with it. The great commercial prosperity is against us, for alas! as yet men will not quit Mammon when he pays very high, illegal interest.

Good-bye; Love to all!
S. G. H.

1 For Antioch College.

SOURCE: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 395-6