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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

At which a poem by Whittier had been read


Cholera reaches America]

[Sidenote: Death of Charles Carroll]

In many other ways public attention was engrossed in America. On June 21, the Asiatic cholera appeared in New York with appalling results. The epidemic spread to Philadelphia, Albany, Rochester, and westward. A number of new railroads were opened in New York and Pennsylvania. The first horse-drawn street cars began running in New York. On July 2, the Agricultural Society of New York was founded, and the first public trial was held of Obett Hussy's new reaping machine, which Cyrus MacCormick also claimed as his invention. The device was destined to give a tremendous impetus to agriculture in the development of the western prairies. About the same time the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Maryland, died at the age of ninety-six. In American letters, this year is noted for the appearance of Smith's national anthem, "My Country, 'tis of Thee." Among the books that attracted attention were Whittier's "Moll Pitcher," Sparks's "Gouverneur Morris," and Irving's "Alhambra." James Gordon Bennett began the publication of the "New York Globe."


[Sidenote: American abolition movement]

At the very outset of this year in America the slavery question burst into flame. The abolition

movement inaugurated by Garrison and Whittier in the North was in full sway. In the slave-holding States large rewards were offered for the apprehension of Garrison, Whittier and others connected with the publication of the Boston "Liberator," Philadelphia "Freeman" and New York "Emancipator." The legislatures of Northern States were called upon to suppress anti-slavery societies by penal enactments. Governor Edward Everett of Massachusetts and Governor Marcy of New York commended such legislation. Prominent Northern citizens travelling in the South were arrested, imprisoned and flogged for flimsy reasons. At New York, Montpelier, Utica, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Alton, meetings were broken up, houses sacked, newspapers destroyed and public halls burned. Berry's "Philanthropist" at Cincinnati and Lovejoy's "Observer" at Alton were destroyed and Pennsylvania Hall at Philadelphia, a costly building intended for anti-slavery discussion, was burned on the day after its dedication, at which a poem by Whittier had been read. The firemen refused to extinguish the flames. In Boston, Garrison was dragged through the streets with a rope around his neck. Whittier and Thompson tried to lecture against slavery in Boston, but their meeting could not be held in the face of the following placard posted in all parts of Boston:

[Sidenote: A typical manifesto]

"That infamous foreign scoundrel, Thompson, will hold forth this afternoon at 46 Washington Street. The present is a fair opportunity for the friends of the Union to snake Thompson out. It will be a contest between the Abolitionists and the friends of the Union. A purse of _one hundred dollars_ has been raised by a number of patriotic citizens to reward the individual who shall first lay violent hands on Thompson, so that he may be brought to the tar-kettle before dark. Friends of the Union, be vigilant!"

[Sidenote: Wendell Phillips]

These events inspired Wendell Phillips, who was present at a meeting in Faneuil Hall, Boston, called to approve these outrages, to take an open stand in favor of the rights of the people, which were threatened, and gave to the cause for thirty years his active brain and eloquent tongue.

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