Image from Benton County Historical Society
The American Union
“A union of lakes, a union of Lands,
A union that none may sever;
A union of hearts, a union of hands
American Union, forever!”
Lima Argus (Lima, Ohio) Jul 9, 1853
Image from Benton County Historical Society
The American Union
“A union of lakes, a union of Lands,
A union that none may sever;
A union of hearts, a union of hands
American Union, forever!”
Lima Argus (Lima, Ohio) Jul 9, 1853
Image from the White River Valley Museum – Morse Code History
THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH.
BY MRS. E.L. SCHERMERHORN.
The following beautiful verses were received by us from Washington by the Magnetic Telegraph; and though the lightning speed with which they were transmitted, adds nothing to their beauty, it was a happy thought to select the wonderful invention, of which they are in praise, as the medium of transmitting them: — [Baltimore Patriot.
Oh! carrier dove, spread not thy wing,
Thou beauteous messenger of air!
To waiting eyes and hearts to bring
The tidings thou were wont to bear.
Urge not the flying courser's speed,
Give not his neck the loosened rein,
Nor bid his panting sides to bleed,
As swift he thunders o'er the plain.
Touch but the magic wire, and lo!
Thy thought it borne on flaming track,
And swifter far than winds can blow,
Is sped the rapid answer back.
The sage who woo'd the lightning's blaze,
Till, stooping from the summer cloud,
It played around with harmless rays,
By Fame is trumpeted aloud.
And sure she has a lofty meed
For him whose thought, with seraph reach,
To language gives the lightning's speed,
And wings electric lends to speech.
Nerved by its power, our spreading land
A mighty giant proudly lies;
Touch but one nerve with skillful hand
Through all the thrill unbroken flies.
The dweller on the Atlantic shore
The word may breathe, and swift as light,
Where far Pacific waters roar,
That word speeds on with magic flight.
Thoughts freshly kindling in the mind,
And words the echoes of the soul,
Borne on its wiry pinious, bind
Hearts sundered far as pole from pole.
As flashes o'er the summer skies
The lightning's blaze from east to west,
O'er earth the burning fluid flies,
Winged by a mortal's proud behest.
Through flaming cherubs bar the gate,
Since man by tasting grew too wise,
He seems again to tempt the fate
That drove him first from Paradise!
Daily Sentinel and Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) May 18, 1846
The Electro-Magnetic Telegraph.
Some remarkable experiments have been made with Morse's Electro-magnetic Telegraph arrangements, and they have demonstrated surprising facts. Wires extending in length 158 miles were laid down, the Battery, &c., prepared, and matters communicated that distance in almost a second of time! In experiments to ascertain the resistance to the passage of the electric current it was proved that this "resistance increases rapidly with the first few miles, and less rapidly afterwards, until for very great lengths no sensible difference can be observed. This is a most fortunate circumstance in the employment of electro-magnetism for telegraphic purposes, since, contrary to all other modes of communicating intelligence, the difficulty to be overcome decreases in proportion to the distance."
This is truly one of the wonders of the age.
Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Oct 26, 1843
Image from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids - Samuel F.B. Morse; Telegraph
THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH -- ITS SUCCESS.
The miracle of the annihilation of space is at length performed. The Baltimore Patriot of Sunday afternoon contains the action of Congress up to the moment of its going to press -- received from Washington by Magnetic Telegraph Despatch.
The Patriot says:
Morse's Electro Magnetic Telegraph now connects between the Capitol at Washington and the Railroad Depot in Pratt, between Charles and Light streets, Baltimore. The wires were brought in yesterday from the outer depot and attached to the telegraphic apparatus in a third story room in the depot warehouse building.
The batteries were charged this morning, and the telegraph put in full operation, conveying intelligence to and from the Capitol. A large number of gentlemen were present to see the operations of this truly astonishing contrivance. Many admitted to the room had their names sent down, and in less than a second the apparatus in Baltimore was put in operation by the attendant in Washington, and before the lapse of a half minute the same names were returned plainly written. At half past 11 o'clock, A.M. the question being asked here, "what the news was at Washington?" - the answer was almost instantaneously returned -- "Van Buren Stock is rising" -- meaning of course that his chances were strengthening to receive the nomination on Monday next. The time of day was also enquired for, when the response was given from the Capitol -- "forty-nine minutes past eleven." At this period it was also asked how many persons were spectators to the telegraphic experiments in Washington? -- the answer was "sixteen." After which a variety of names were sent up from Washington, some with their compliments to their friends here, whose names had just been transmitted to them. Several items of private intelligence were also transmitted backward and forward, one of which was an order to the agent here not to pay a certain bill. Here however, the electric fluid proved too slow, for it had been paid a few minutes before.
At half past 12 o'clock, the following wan sent to Washington, "Ask a reporter in Congress to send a despatch to the Baltimore Patriot at 2, P.M." In about a minute the answer cam back thus: "It will be attended to."
2 o'clock, P.M. -- The despatch has arrived, and is as follows:
One o'clock. -- There has just been made a motion in the House to go into committee of the Whole on the Oregon question. Rejected -- ayes 79, nays 86.
Half past one. -- The House is now engaged on private bills.
Quarter to two. -- Mr Atherton is now speaking in the Senate.
Mr. S. will not be in Baltimore to-night.
So that we are thus enabled to give to our readers information from Washington up to 2 o'clock. This is indeed the annihilation of space.
The Clipper of Saturday contains the following information regarding the construction and working of the Telegraph:
The wire, (perfectly secured against the weather by a covering of rope-yarn and tar,) is conducted on the top of posts about 20 feet high, and about 100 years apart.
We understand that the nominations on Monday next will be forwarded to Washington by means of this Telegraph. The following is the Alphabet used:
We have no doubt that government will deem it expedient to continue this Telegraph to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, when its utility shall have been fully tested. When understood, the mode of operation is plain and simple.
American Freeman (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Jun 15, 1844
THE LATE CONVENTIONS.
A brief notice of the proceedings of the Tyler and Locofoco Conventions, held in the City of Baltimore on Monday the 27th of May and the following days --
The Convention met again at four o’clock; when, after listening to sundry speeches, they proceeded to ballot for a candidate for the Vice Presidency, which resulted in favor of Silas Wright, of New York, who received 258 votes, and Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, 8. Information of his nomination was immediately communicated through the magnetic telegraph, to Mr. Wright, then at Washington City, who immediately replied, that [he could not accept] — eleven minutes only being taken in forwarding the information, and receiving the answer.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Jun 15, 1844
THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH
On Thursday, the 23d ult, says the New York Commercial, the experiment of carrying the wires of the electro magnetic telegraph across, or rather under the East river, was made with perfect success. The lead pipe through which this communication is made, weighs over six thousand pounds, and was laid at the bottom of the river from a steamboat employed for the purpose, though not with out great risk and labor. It is one continuous line, more than half a mile in length, without joint. Through this extensive line of heavy pipe are four copper wires, completely insulated, so as to insure the transmissions of the electro magnetic fluid. We understand that the various routs north, east, and west, have been delayed at the intervening streams, for the purpose of learning the result of this experiment. The whole work had bee effected under the superintendence of Mr. Samuel Colt engineer and of the proprietors of the New York and Offing Electro Magnetic Telegraph Line — Repub
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 8, 1845
Image from The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse
The late experiment of carrying the wires of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph across, or rather under, the East river, New York, which was at first supposed to have been entirely successful, seems to have failed — the pipes through which the communication was made, having been brought up a few days afterwards, by the fluke of an anchor. Whether the attempt will be renewed, with such improvements as shall appear calculated to remove the cause of the failure, we are unable to say.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 15, 1845
It is said that the American Magnetic Telegraph proves more efficient than those used in England and France — the former giving sixty signs or characters per minute, and the English and French not over one-fourth of that number. The impressions made by the American invention are likewise better, and more permanent, than those produced by its European rivals.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Sep 11, 1846
To the Enigma that appeared in the “Telegraph” of last week.
Maine, one of the United States.
Arctic, the name of an Ocean.
Greece, a country in Europe.
Niagara, a river in North America.
Egina, a gulf in Greece.
Thai, a country in India.
Imerina, a country in Africa.
Chili, a country in South America.
Tigre, a State in Africa.
Erie, a lake in North America.
Lima, a city in South America.
Elmira, a town in New York.
Green, a river in Kentucky.
Runac, a river in South America.
Aar, a river in Switzerland.
Parma, a country in Europe.
Herat, a country in Asia.
My whole is a Magnetic Telegraph, a great modern invention.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Reivew (Alton, Illinois) Aug 13, 1847
Image from Telegraph History
From the West Jerseyman.
THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH.
Along the smoothed and slender wires
The sleepless heralds run,
Fast as the clear and living rays
Go streaming from the sun;
No peals or flashes heard or seen,
Their wondrous flight betray,
And yet their words are quickly felt
In cities far away.
Nor summer’s heat, nor winter’s hail,
Can check their rapid course;
They meet unmoved, the fierce wind’s rage –
The rough waves’ sweeping force; –
In the long night of rain and wrath,
As in the blaze of day,
They rush with news of weal and wo,
To thousands far away.
But faster still than tidings borne
On that electric cord,
Rise the pure thoughts of him who loves
The Christian’s life and Lord –
Of him who taught in smiles and tears
With fervent lips to pray,
Maintains his converse here on earth
With bright worlds far away.
Ay! though no outward wish is breath’d,
Nor outward answer given,
The sighing of that humble heart
Is known and felt in Heaven; –
Those long frail wires may bend and break,
Those viewless heralds stray,
But Faith’s least word shall reach the throne
Of God, though far away.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Mar 17, 1848
Philosophers have a good deal to say about the blessings of contentment, and all that sort of thing. Nothing, however, can be more uncalled for. Contentment is the parent of old fogyism, the very essence of mildew and inactivity. A contented man is one who is inclined to take things as they are, and let them remain so. It is not content that benefits the world, but dissatisfaction. It was the man who was dissatisfied with stage-coaches that introduced railroads and locomotives. It was a gentleman “ill at ease” with the operations of mail wagons who invented the magnetic telegraph. Discontent let Columbus to discover America; Washington to resist George III. It taught Jefferson Democracy; Fulton how to build steamboats; and Whitney to invent the cotton gin. Show us a contented man, and we will show you a man who would never have got above sheep skin breeches in a life-time. Show us a discontented mortal, on the contrary, and we will show six feet of goaheaditiveness that will not rest satisfied till he has invented a cast iron horse that will outrun the telegraph.
Alton Daily Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) Jul 13, 1853
The First Telegraph.
In 1844 when Professor Morse petitioned Congress to appropriate $30,000 to enable him to establish a telegraph between Washington and Baltimore, Ex-Governor David Wallace, of this State, was a member of the committee on ways and means, to which the petition was referred, and gave the casting vote in its favor. The Whig members of the committee all voted for the measure, and the Democratic members all opposed it. The members who voted with Gov. Wallace were Millard Fillmore, Joseph R. Ingersoll, of Pa., Tom Marshall, of Kentucky, and Sampson Mason, of Ohio. Those who voted against it were Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, Frank Pickens, of South Carolina, Charles G. Atherton, of New Hampshire, and John W. Jones, of Virginia.
The Indianapolis News says:
“Gov. Wallace’s vote for the appropriation defeated him the next fall when he ran again for Congress. His opponent was Wm. J. Brown. He was, I’ve been told, a shrewd Democratic politician — the father of Austin H. Brown. The Governor and Mr. Brown stumped the district together, and Mr. Brown, all through the campaign, used as his most effective weapon, against his Whig opponent, the fact that he had voted for this appropriation. Pointing his finger at the Governor, he would say, ‘and the man who now asks you for your votes has squandered $30,000 of the people’s money, giving it away to Professor Morse for his E-lec-tro mag-net-ic Tell-lie-graph,’ with a most ludicrous drawl on the word telegraph. With the rough backwoodsmen, and even the people of the towns, the telegraph in that day was considered some sort of a trick or humbug; and many of Mr. Wallace’s staunchest supporters feared there was something wrong in the old gentleman’s head when they heard from his own lips that he really had voted the subsidy. One honest old Shelby county farmer, Mr. Wallace said, took him by the hand and looked into his face with the tenderest pity. Finally his lip quivered, and the tears fell as he sobbed out, ‘Oh, Davy, Davy, how could you ever vote for that d—-d magnetic telegraph.’”
The bill did not pass the Senate until the last night of the session. The story of its passage by that body has been often told, but will bear repeating. We clip the following from a scrap book’ without knowing the name of the author:
There were only two days before the close of the session; and it was found, on examination of the calendar, that no less than one hundred and forty-three bills had precedence of it. Professor Morse had nearly reached the bottom of his purse; his hard-earned savings were almost spent; and, although he had struggled on with undying hope for many years, it is hardly to be wondered at that he felt disheartened now. On the last night of the session he remained until nine o’clock; and then left without the slightest hope that the bill would be passed. He returned to his hotel, counted his money, an found that after paying his expenses to New York, he would have seventy-five cents left. That night ne went to bed sad, but not without hope for future; for, through all his difficulties and trials, that never forsook him. The next morning, as he was going to breakfast, one of the waiters informed him that a young lady was in the parlor waiting to see him. He went in immediately, and found that the young lady was Miss Ellsworth, daughter of the Commissioner of Patents, who had been his most steadfast friend while in Washington.
“I come,” said she, “to congratulate you.”
“For what?” said Professor Morse.
“On the passage of your bill,” she replied.
“Oh, no; you must be mistaken,” said he. “I remained in the Senate till a late hour last night, and there was no prospect of its being reached.”
“Am I the first then,” she exclaimed joyfully, “to tell you?”
“Yes, if it is really so.”
“Well,” she continued, “father remained till the adjournment, and heard it passed; and I asked him if I might not run over and tell you.”
“Annie,” said the Professor, his emotion almost choking his utterance, “the first message that is sent from Washington to Baltimore, shall be sent from you.”
“Well,” she replied, “I will keep you to your word.”
While the line was in process of completion, Professor Morse was in New York, and upon receiving intelligence that it was in working order, he wrote to those in charge, telling them not to transmit any messages over it till his arrival. He then set out immediately for Washington, and on reaching that city sent a note to Miss Ellsworth, informing her that he was now ready to fulfill his promise, and asking her what message he should send.
To this he received the following reply:
WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT.
Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Jan 1, 1880
Image of Sam Houston from Son of the South
MORSE OFFERED HIS TELEGRAPH TO TEXAS STATE
AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 5. — Samuel F.B. Morse offered the Republic of Texas his invention of the electro magnetic telegraph in 1828, but the offer never was accepted, according to a letter by Mr. Morse found in the state library.
The letter, dated 1860, was addressed to General Sam Houston, then governor of Texas, and withdrew the offer, which had been more than twenty years before General Houston was president of the Texan republic. The communication was written from “Po’Keepsie”, taken by librarians to be Poughkeepsie, New York. It is dated August 9, 1860. Starting with “May it please your excellency” the letter read:
“In the year of 1838 I made an offer of gift of my invention of the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas, Texas being then an independent republic. Although the offer was made more than twenty years ago, Texas while an independent state, nor since it has become one of the United States, has ever directly or impliedly accepted the offer. I am induced, therefore, to believe in its condition as a gift it was of no value to the state, but on the contrary has been an embarrassment. In connection, however, with my other patent, it has become for the public interest as well as my own, that I should be able to make complete title to the whole invention in the United States.
“I, therefore, now respectfully withdraw my offer then made, in 1838, the better to be in a position to benefit Texas, as well as the other states of the Union.
“I am with respect and sincere personal esteem
“Your Obedient Servant,
“Samuel F.B. Morse.”
Librarians are looking for the letter of 1838 offering the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas. They are also seeking to find out what “other patent” Mr. Morse spoke of.
Ada Weekly News (Ada, Oklahoma) Aug 10, 1922
This Standard Gasoline advertisement ran in the Abilene Reporter News in 1937
Image from the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. website.
THE RAILROAD MANIA.
BY ONE OF THE “LOBBY.”
The following we clip from one of our Exchanges, and is excellent in its way. We hope “one of the Lobby,” will try his hand on some of the other “mania’s.”
“The age of chivalry is past,”
Says Burke; the railroad age
Has dawned upon the world at last –
Railroads are all the rage.
The iron horse is soon to pant
Along Superior’s shore –
The rattle of the rushing car
To mingle with its roar;
The far off swamps and lakes, which feed
The father of the Floods,
Where but a stripping rivulet
He winds through pathless woods;
The sandy bluffs about La Crosse;
St. Croix — still farther on;
Oconto’s piny solitudes;
The “plains of Marathon;”
And myriad places more which now Are all unknown to fame,
Waupacca and Packwaukee, and
Full many a lengthy name –
Sweet sounding or cacophonous,
To us is all the same –
Are soon to hear his angry snort,
And see his breath of flame –
That is, if one road’s built for ten
Of the charters which men frame.
But old and young, and rich and poor
This mania controls,
From him who strives our souls to mend,
To him who mends our souls.
The men who mix in politics,
With one accord avow,
They find no motives pay as well
As loco motives now.
All native modesty has fled
Its loss we well may wail,
When poets own, without a blush,
They’ve ridden on the rail. *
Whilome, when one indulged in drink
Until it crazed his brain,
Men said that he was drunk, but now –
He’s only on a train.
How long a state of things like this
Is likely to endure,
Is hard to say — but there’s one thing
That’s tolerably sure;
Which is, if passing Railroad bills,
Or talking aught avails,
We soon shall travel — as you know
Folks did here; some few years ago –
Entirely on T rails.
Madison, Feb. 16.
* See poems by J.G. SAXE, who openly declares that it’s “pleasant Riding on the rail.”
Democratic State Register (Watertown, Wisconsin) Mar 14, 1853
Image from Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry – WVnet.edu
From the SAXE biography on Wikipedia:
In 1875 he suffered head injuries in a rail accident near Wheeling, West Virginia, from which he never fully recovered….
From The Other Pages website:
Rhyme of the Rail
SINGING through the forests,
Rattling over ridges,
Shooting under arches,
Rumbling over bridges,
Whizzing through the mountains,
Buzzing o’er the vale,–
Bless me! this is pleasant,
Riding on the Rail!
Men of different “stations”
In the eye of Fame
Here are very quickly
Coming to the same.
High and lowly people,
Birds of every feather,
On a common level
Gentleman in shorts,
Looming very tall;
Gentleman at large,
Talking very small;
Gentleman in tights,
With a loose-ish mien;
Gentleman in gray,
Looking rather green.
Gentleman quite old,
Asking for the news;
Gentleman in black,
In a fit of blues;
Gentleman in claret,
Sober as a vicar;
Gentleman in Tweed,
Dreadfully in liquor!
Stranger on the right,
Looking very sunny,
Something rather funny.
Now the smiles are thicker,
Wonder what they mean?
Faith, he’s got the KNICKER-
Stranger on the left,
Closing up his peepers;
Now he snores amain,
Like the Seven Sleepers;
At his feet a volume
Gives the explanation,
How the man grew stupid
Ancient maiden lady
That there must be peril
‘Mong so many sparks!
Turning to the stranger,
Says it’s his opinion
She is out of danger!
Woman with her baby,
Baby keeps a squalling;
Woman looks at me;
Asks about the distance,
Says it’s tiresome talking,
Noises of the cars
Are so very shocking!
Of the precious casket,
Knowing eggs are eggs,
Tightly holds her basket;
Feeling that a smash,
If it came, would surely
Sent her eggs to pot
Singing through the forests,
Rattling over ridges,
Shooting under arches,
Rumbling over bridges,
Whizzing through the mountains,
Buzzing o’er the vale,–
Bless me! this is pleasant,
Riding on the Rail!
John Godfrey Saxe
A SAXE quote:
J.G. SAXE DISCUSSES EXECUTIVE BUDGET;
By JOHN GODFREY SAXE
New York Times October, 15, 1916
Taxes are made necessary by expenditures. No one can quarrel with legitimate expenses, nor with taxes to pay them. The demand for new methods of taxation, however, is not for taxation to pay for legitimate expenses, but to pay for waste, extravagance, and graft. Extravagance and graft will probably exist as long as Governments exist.
So let’s skip the cake and presents, and celebrate Noah Webster’s birthday (Oct .16th) with words from the past:
A Philadelphia paper has ascertained that Noah Webster used to play euchre and steal eggs.
Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 31, 1874
The ghost of Noah Webster came to a spiritual medium in Alabama not long since, and wrote on a slip of paper: “It is tite times.” Noah is right, but we are sorry to see he has gone back on his dictionary.
Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 17, 1875
THE HARM THAT WEBSTER HAS DONE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
In the estimation of many, the next book in the world to the Bible is Webster’s unabridged Dictionary! It is found everywhere, and has done much good and we think much evil. It is not generally known that Dr. Webster‘s great work was in its inception a conspiracy against the English language.
The first issue of his system, more than half a century since, was received with hoots and laughter. But the Doctor, having the capital of great learning, industry and obstinacy to back him, kept hammering on the public until his revised and less offensive later editions were received with favor. all this can be abundantly proved. Webster started out with the idea to spell by sound as nearly as possible, as h-a-z for has and w-o-o-d for would, and was only induced to withdraw such radical changes, because he perceived that they never would be received. He then compromised with the difficulty and made all the changes he dared in the orthography and orthoepy of the language.
His dictionaries, even as thus revised called forth immediate and persistent denunciation from the most able scholars in the Union and the jeers of the English people.
But the Doctor subsidized a power which is more powerful than learning orthodoxy and pride of race — he advertised largely in the newspapers, and canvassed the entire Union by well paid and able agents.
He succeeded. By degrees familiarity with the unauthorized liberties he had taken with the language grew into the usages of life and the education of the young, and now we find ourselves face to face with the strange anomaly of professing to speak and write the English language, and chiefly using as a standard a work which is utterly repudiated by the entire English people and the best portion of our own scholars, as subversive of etymology, as revolutionary, as partisan and unauthorized by the masters of the English tongue. Webster’s dictionary was a bold and clever commercial adventure, and a successful one; but that should not blind every lover of the integrity and history of his language to its arrogant mutilation of that which we should most carefully conserve.
Again, we have been depended so long upon the North for our books and our literature that it took all the terrible lessons of “the war” to open our eyes to the criminal supineness, and to inaugurate measures looking to a purer, truer and more local publication of educational works.
And just here we affirm that we are under shackles to Noah Webster and his successes, in so far as we receive the palpable alterations his later editions give in the meaning of important words bearing on politics and governmental relations.
The dictionary as left by Dr. Webster, was bad enough, but since his death it has been deliberately “doctored” by his literary executors until now it stands forth as radicalized, not only in literature, but in politics. This can easily be proved.
Why, then, do we submit to this imposition?
Is it because there is no peer of Webster to be found in our book stores?
By no means. In the official declaration of Harvard University; of the University of Virginia, of Washington and Lee College, and and many other first-class institutions, Dr. Worcester’s dictionary is preferred, and is stated to be equal in every respect, and superior in its adhesion to English purity, and in its entire freedom from sectarian bias.
With this opinion thousands of our most enlightened and influential scholars coinside, and we hope soon to see the day when we will find a Worcester in the place of the Webster now so common on the editor’s table, the merchant’s desk, by the teacher’s elbow and in the hands of our children.
Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Mar 30, 1873
Noah Webster made a voyage to England, before the days of steam in ocean navigation, to hear how the best educated men in that country pronounced their own language; but found neither greater uniformity nor perfection on the other side of the water than on this, and so gave up the idea of a pronouncing dictionary. He found it equally hard, though he made the attempt, to introduce uniformity in spelling. The Dictionary which he spent a long life in preparing, gives a list of more than a thousand words, in the pronunciation of which such high authorities as Perry, Walker, Knowles, Smart, Worcester, Cooley, and Cull differ, in some cases to such a degree as would scarcely enable the hearer to recognize the identity of the same word pronounced by the different standards. In a free country like this, every man is supposed to have the right to spell and pronounce according to his own notions. The principal trouble is to keep the peace between the ambitious young sophmore, when he begins to write for the press, the intelligent printer, the methodical proof reader, and that scapegoat of the whole, the printer’s devil.
Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Mar 16, 1877
Franklin as a Writer.
His pen was as ready as his purse in the service of all human kindness. And what a pen it was! It could discourse metaphysics so clearly and lucidly as to make them seem plain moralizing. It could tear a sophism to pieces by a mere query. It could make a simple tale read like a subtle argument. He could be grave and he could be gay in a breath. He could spend as much wit and humor on a “Craven Street Gazette” — which was meant only to amuse an old landlady, away from home, and probably out of joint before her return from Rochester — as on a State paper designed to fire America and sting England. In another tone, he translates into human language, for the amusement of a court lady, the reflections, in the garden of her house, of a gray-headed ephemera, full seven hours old, on the vanity of all things.
His “Petition of the Left Hand,” might have been composed by Addison. In it, the left hand bewails the partiality which educated the right hand exclusively. Some of Franklin’s fables and tales have been so absorbed into the thought of the world that their source is absolutely forgotten. Only in this way can we account for what was doubtless an unconscious plagiarism by an eminent sanitary authority, last year, of Franklin’s “Economical project for Diminishing the cost of Light.”
The economy consisted simply in rising at six o’clock instead of nine or ten. Ideas such as Franklin’s never become superanuated. Not every one who uses the expression, “to pay dear for one’s whistle,” knows that the dear whistle was a purchase made by Franklin, when seven years old, with a pocketful of pence. Franklin’s store was too abundant for him to mind, though some of his fame went astray. “You know,” he tells his daughter, “everything makes me recollect some story.”
But it was not recollection so much as fancy. His fancy clothed every idea in circumstances. When the illustration had served its turn, he was indifferent what became of it. Franklin did injustice to himself when he fancied he wanted any such mechanical aid. His English had been learned from the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and the “Spectator.” It had the force of Bunyon without his ruggedness. It had the serene light of Addison with tenfold his raciness and vigor. It sparkled with sarcasms as cutting as Voltaire’s, but all sweetened with humanity. Many of his inventions or adaptions — such as “colonize” — have been stamped, long since, as current English. But he did not covet the fame of an inventor, whether in language, in morals, or in politics. In language, he was even declared a foe to innovation.
Writing to Noah Webster, in 1789, he protests against the new verbs “notice,” “advocate,” and “progress.” He had as little ambition to be classic as to be an innovator in English. He wrote because he had something at the moment to say, with a view to procuring that something should at that moment be done. –Edinburgh Review.
The Daily News (Frederick, Maryland) Nov 20, 1883
The Thorp Springs Christian is a critic. It says:
In a primer, which is common in the schools of our country, is a picture of a sow and six pigs, and under it is this reading: “A big pig and six little pigs.” What language is this? It is not good English, and yet it is in a school book. As well say of a woman and children, a big child and six little children; of a goose and goslings, a big gosling and six little goslings; of a large fish and minnows, a big minnow and six little minnows.
The Christian knows more than Noah Webster. He says: “Pig, the young of swine, a hog.” The former is regarded as the more elegant term. The writer once heard a little boy say “give me some hog,” when he wanted to be helped to roast pig. It did not sound well.
Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Sep 14, 1887
RIDPATH ON FREE COINAGE.
John Clark Ridpath, the historian, in an interview on the financial question says:
“According to my way of thinking our Government has been steadily drifting away from the people and getting into the power of special interests. The circle of government has narrowed and narrowed until it appears to me the height of absurdity to call it any longer a Government of the people, for the people and by the people. I want to see this process completely reversed. I want to see the Government restored to the people. I believe precisely what Webster and Theodore Parker and Lincoln said, viz” ‘That our republic is, or ought to be, a government of the people, for the people and by them.’
RIGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES.
“How can there be any harm in such a doctrine? In the name of common sense has it come to pass that patriotic citizens of the United States of American cannot advocate the right of the people to govern themselves? Has it come to that when we have, sure enough, a lot of self-constituted masters who shall tell us what is good for us and how to obtain it? Are we Americans a lot of younglings who are unable to lead ourselves, but must be led rather with a string and fed on porridge as with a spoon?
“Among the methods as it seems to me by which the Government is to be recovered by the people is, first of all, as the matter now stands, the restoration of our currency. We want our currency system put back precisely where it was under the statutes and constitution for the first eighty-one years of our existence as a nation. Our statutory bimetallic system of currency was taken from us [in 1873] by a process which I do not care to characterize in fitting terms. Now we propose to have it back again. The restoration of our silver money to the place it held before is the people’s cause, and the people in this contest are going to triumph.
They are going to triumph in the open light of day in the clear gleam of light and truth.
“The silver dollar was of old the unit of money and account in the United States. That dollar to this hour has never been altered by the fraction of a grain in the quantity of pure metal composing it. Every other coin, whether of gold or silver, has been altered time and time again, but the silver unit never. The silver dollar was the dollar of the law and the contract. It is to this day the dollar of the law and the contract. To the silver unit all the rest, both gold and silver, have been conformed from our first statutes of 1792 to that ill-starred date when the conspiracy against our old constitution order first declared itself. The gold eagle of the original statute, and of all subsequent statutes, was not made to the $10, but to be of the value of $10. The half-eagle was not made to be $5, but of the value of $5. The quarter-eagle was of the value of $2.50, and the double-eagle was of the value of $20. Even the gold dollar of 1849, marvelous to relate, was not $1, but was made to be of the value of $1. The subsidiary coins were all fractions of the dollar and the dollar was of silver.
NEW MEANING FOR “DOLLAR.”
“Not a single dictionary or encyclopedia in the English language before 1878 ever defined dollar in any terms other than of silver. In that year the administrators of the estate of Noah Webster, deceased, cut the plates of our standard lexicon and inserted a new definition that had become necessary in order to throw a penumbra of rationality around the international gold conspiracy.
“The way to obviate the further disastrous effects of this international gold conspiracy is to stop it. We want the system of bimetallism restored in this country. Bimetallism means the option of the debtor to pay in either of two statutory coins, according to the contract. This option freely granted, the commercial parity of the two money metals will be speedily reached, nor can such parity ever be seriously disturbed again as long as the unimpeded option of the debtor to pay in one metal or the other shall be conceded by law and the terms of the contract. The present commercial disparity of the two metals has been produced by the pernicious legislation which began twenty-three years ago and which has not yet satisfied itself with the monstrous results that have flamed therefrom.
“What do we propose to accomplish by free coinage? We propose to do just this thing — viz: to break the corner on gold and reduce the exaggerated purchasing power of that metal to its normal standard. Be assured there will be no further talk of a 50-cent dollar when the commercial parity of the two money metals shall have been reached. Every well-informed person must know that the present disparity of the two money metals is bu the index of the extent to which gold has been bulled in the markets of the world. It is not an index to the extent to which raw silver has declined in its purchasing power as compared with the average of other commodities in any civilized market place of the whole globe. No man shall say the contrary and speak the truth. This question is hot upon us. It can be kept back no longer. It is a tremendous economic question that ought to be decided in court of right, reason and of fact. My judgement is that the American people, in spite of all opposition, are going to reclaim the right of transacting their business, and in particular of paying their debts according to a standard unit worth 100 cents to the dollar, neither more nor less, and that they will not accept the intolerable program which declares in fact if not in words that they shall henceforth transact their business and in particular discharge their debts with a cornered gold dollar worth almost two for one.”
Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Aug 8, 1896
Title: The American Spelling Book: containing the rudiments of the English language : for use of schools in the United States
Author: Noah Webster
Publisher: Johnson & Warner, 1816
A Great Book.
There is in Utica an old man of unusual intelligence who is known to have graduated from no college, and yet whose perfect English, including syntax, orthography and pronunciation, would stamp him as an educated man in any company. One night this old man was seated in the rooms of the Cogburn club, when he consented to be interviewed as follows:
“From whom did you get the foundation of your education?”
“No, but Noah Webster, through his spelling book. When I was 12, I could spell every word in that book correctly. I had learned all the reading lessons it contains, including that one about the old man who found some rude boys in his fruit trees one day, and who, after trying kind words and grass, finally pelted them with stones, until the young scapegraces were glad to come down and bet the old man’s pardon.”
“Webster‘s spelling book must have been wonderfully popular.”
“Yes.” And a genial smile lighted up the ancient face. “There were more copies of it sold than of any other work ever written in America. Twenty-four millions is the number up to 1847, and that had increased to 36,000,000 in 1860, since which time I have seen no account of its sale. Yes, I owe my education to the spelling book.” — Utica Observer.
Lima News (Lima, Ohio) May 27, 1898
From his website:
Pictorial Webster’s features over four hundred original woodcut and copper engravings from 19th century editions of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The fine press edition features a letterpress interior, leather binding and a hand-tooled cover. A trade edition of the book is now available from Chronicle Books.
This video offers a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the book. You get a good sense of what’s involved with production and the amount of effort that goes into it.
NOTE: I provided definition links to a few words in the articles above, and would have used the Merriam-Webster dictionary website as the link source, but their site seems to take forever to load.
AN OLD-TIME MURDER.
How a Ghost’s Appearance Led to Some Important Discoveries — The Jury Disagrees With the Ghost.
The death of Lem Mercer, a farmer who for many years had been a resident of Pleasants county, Va., has had the effect of reviving, in a most decided manner, local interest in a most horrid and unprovoked murder, which, some thirty-five years ago, produced a tremendous sensation all along the upper Ohio valley, from Wheeling to Parkersburg, a distance of nearly 100 miles.
The crime in question was committed in Wetzel county, and the victim was John Gamble, a prosperous citizen, who resided with his family a few miles from the town of New Martinsville, then, as now, the county seat. Gamble was of a speculative turn of mind, and frequently visited New Martinsville to dispose of live stock or whatever else he had to realize upon. At such times, after finding a customer, Gamble would have several hundred dollars in his possession, and there were frequent predictions, from the careless manner in which he displayed his money when under the influence of liquor, that some day there would be a tragedy and that he would be the victim.
NOTE: This map shows the general area where this murder/death might have taken place, approximate location of John Gamble’s residence (across from Sardis) and the town of New Martinsville, based on the information provided in this story.
One day late in the summer of 1853, Gamble, who lived on the river shore almost directly opposite the little town of Sardis, came up to New Martinsville with some portable property of some sort or other, which he disposed of, realizing therefrom about $200. Mercer was in town that day, and the two men, being well known to each other, soon got to drinking together. Toward dark Gamble concluded that he would start for home, and as Mercer’s route also lay along the river for a mile or so before he turned off to go through the hills, he told Gamble he would accompany him thus far on his journey. The two men took one more drink together, and then started off along the river road, Gamble being more under the influence of liquor than his companion. Gamble was never seen alive afterward. He not arriving at his home that night, his family and friends the next day caused an extended search to be made, but all to no purpose. No trace of the missing man could be found. Mercer was questioned, but he insisted that he left his companion at the point their paths diverged, and that he had no knowledge whatever of his fate.
FINDING GAMBLE’s BODY.
Thus matters rested for a week or two, when the body of the missing man was found lodged against some rocks, in the channel of the river, twenty miles or more below the point where Mercer claimed to have left him. No one could account for his death, and it was urged by some that, being intoxicated, he had simply fallen over the precipitous bank of the stream, and that death by drowning had resulted. Others, however, insisted that a crime had been committed, basing their claim mainly upon the fact that the remains were partially disrobed and had been stripped of everything of value.
Thus matters went on for two or three months, when events of a rather unusual and sensational nature transpired. After the custom of the country, there was a great corn husking bee given, about the first of November, at the barn of John Travis, a few miles from New Martinsville, and the boys and girls from all the surrounding farms were there, together with not a few of elder years. Among others a crowd of fifteen or twenty young men went out from New Martinsville, and after a night spent in mingled work, kissing and cider drinking the town boys started to return home. The party kept together until they came to the brow of the immense hill which bounds the town on the east, where a halt was called. The hillside was very steep, and as there were two paths leading down to the river bottom, one direct, but difficult and dangerous, and the other, while a little longer, comparatively easy, a dispute arose as to which should be taken. The dispute waxed warm, and finally the party separated into two rival factions, each agreeing to take one of the routes, and a wager being made conditioned that the party last arriving on the court house square should buy a gallon of whisky.
A CURIOUS ADVENTURE.
The party which took the longest but less precipitous route came out on the river bottom about a mile below the town, and just south of the location of a swampy piece of land. The owner of this land had cut a deep ditch through the high bank of the river to drain the hollow behind, and the depression thus formed had assumed the shape of a small ravine, full of brush and small trees. A path ran along the river bank, parallel with the stream, and thus crossed this ravine at right angles. This path was the one taken by Mercer and Gamble on the night when the latter met his death, and the spot about the little ravine was an extremely lonely one at the hour when the belated party of corn huskers arrived upon the scene. The young men had been traveling at their utmost speed to avoid having to buy the jug of whisky, and by the time they came to the ravine one of their number, John Hineman, who was the proprietor of a tavern and saloon in town, was so badly blown that he could no longer keep up. He told his companions not to risk losing the wager on his account, but to hurry on to the appointed rendezvous and thus win the bet, and he would follow after he had become rested a bit, and help to drain the jug the others would have to fill.
Hineman sat down upon the edge of the little ravine to rest, and the remainder of the party hurried on to town. They had barely got beyond hearing when Hineman was startled by a slight noise behind him, and on looking around he was horrified at seeing a tall figure, robed from the neck to heels in white, standing within a few feet of him. The frightened man managed to call out, “Who’s there?” to hwich a muffled voice made answer that it was the spirit of John Gamble who had been murdered close by.
Hineman managed to screw up courage enough to ask who committed the crime, when the “spirit” replied: “Lem Mercer.” The white-clad figure then stole slowly and softly away, and Hineman lost no time in getting upon his legs and hurrying to town. He made his appearance on the public square more dead than alive, but after a pull or two at the jug, managed to relate to his companions what had occurred. The next morning a party visited the ravine, and after a thorough search of the locality succeeded in discovering some articles which were recognized as belonging to the murdered man.
The day following this Mercer came up to New Martinsville, and it was agreed that Hineman should be given an opportunity to talk to him alone. Hineman accordingly called Mercer into the little back parlor of his house and was proceeding to question him, when Mrs. Hineman, who was cognizant of her husband’s aim, broke open the door of the apartment and brought the inquisition to an abrupt termination.
Mercer was arrested and brought to trial, he being defended by the present Judge Alpheus F. Haymond, while the venerable Judge G.W. Thompson, of Ohio county, now eighty-two years of age, sat upon the bench. The prosecuting attorney was the father of Sep Hall, of New Martinsville, now deceased. A long and closely contested legal battle was fought, but, despite the utmost endeavors of the state, it was impossible to obtain a direct proof of the guilt of the accused, and a verdict of “not guilty” was returned by the jury.
NOTE: “Sep” Septimius Hall served as a state legislator.
Mercer continued to live in the vicinity of New Martinsville for many years, but led a blasted life, with no friends. The little ravine wher John Hineman saw the “ghost” is known to this day as Gamble Hollow, from the belongings of murdered man so peculiarly revealed therein.
The Saint Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Nov 6, 1887
NOTE: This story was also published in a New Zealand newspaper. The story appears to be true, except probably the part about the ghost. Please leave a comment if you know more about this incident. I am particularly interested in knowing more about the John Hineman mentioned in the story, as I am researching the Hineman families who lived in Western PA, Eastern OH and Hancock Co. WV during this time period.
Massa in the Cold, Cold Ground
Round de meadows am a ringing,
De darkeys’ mournful song.
While de mocking bird is singing,
Happy as de day am long;
Whar de ivy am a creeping
O’er de grassy mound.
Dar old massa am a sleeping,
In de cold, cold ground.
CHORUS–Down in de corn-field,
Hear dat mournful sound,
All de darkeys am a weeping–
Massa’s in de cold, cold ground.
When de autumn leaves were falling,
When de days were cold.
“Twas hard to hear old massa calling,
Case he was so weak and old.
Now de orange tree am blowing,
On de sandy shore.
Now de summer days am coming.
massa neber calls no more.
CHORUS–Down in de corn-field, &c.
Mass made de darkeys love him.
Case he was so kind;
Now dey sadly weep above him,
Mourning as he leave behind
I canted work before tomorrow,
Cause the tear-drops flow,
I try to drive away my sorrow,
Pickin’ on de old banjo.
CHORUS–Down in de corn-field, &c.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Mar 21, 1853
The sheet music and lyrics to Massa’s in the Cold, Cold Ground, can be found at exfolk.com. This version was published in 1890 with a few variations on words and spellings.
**Removed bad link.
Short Dresses. –Mrs. Bloomer, editor of the Lily, had adopted the “short dress and trowsers,” and say in her paper of this month, that many of the women in that place, (Seneca Falls,) oppose the change; others laugh; others still are in favor; “and many hade adopted the dress.” She closes the article upon the subject as follows:“Those who think we look ‘queer,’ would do well to look back a few years, to the time when they wore ten or fifteen pounds of petticoat and bustle around the body, and balloons on their arms, and then imagine which cut the queerest figure, they or we. We care not for the frowns of over fastidious gentlemen; we have those of better taste and less questionable morals to sustain us. If men think they would be comfortable in long, heavy skirts, let them put them on–we have no objection. We are more comfortable without them, and so left them off. We do not say we shall wear this dress and no other, but we shall wear it for a common dress; and we hope it may become so fashionable that we may wear it at all time, and in all places, without being thought singular. We have already become so attached to it that we dislike changing to a long one.”
The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) 21 Apr 1851
Ladies’ Short Dresses.
The papers are full just now, discussing a new fashion of ladies’ dresses. Some correspondent from over the big water, wrote to the papers of this country that a dress of short skirts, reaching only to the knee, and trousers, large and full along the leg, but gathered close about the ankle, had been adopted by some of the unique fashionables. Mrs. Bloomer, editor of the Lily, thinking this style of dress would be convenient, induced a number of respectable ladies to join her in adopting it. They accordingly got their dresses made, and all came out at once. It created quite a sensation. A good deal was said about it, and a general notoriety given to the circumstance. This induced other ladies to try it. And now some are adopting it in almost every city and town. The last notice we have says that the ladies of Kenosha are adopting it. The press everywhere speaks of it highly. The beauty, comfort, and economy of the new dress is much talked of. It certainly must be an improvement on the long, street mops now in vogue. There seems to be a general feeling that the present style of ladies’ dresses is any thing but what it should be. And from what we see, we should not be surprised if the new style quickly superceded the other entirely. Success be with the innovation say we.
Oshkosh Democrat (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) 16 May 1851
The following clips were ALL printed in the same paper on the same day!
ADVANTAGE OF LONG DRESSES. –Mr. Paxton, the designer of the Crystal palace, remarked the other day, at dinner, that he had thought the palace would be a difficult place to keep clean, and that he therefore designed a machine to obviate that inconvenience, of a hundred horse power, and had put the commissioner to some expense in having these machines made; but they had not been called into requisition, for they were not needed, as the building had been kept clean by the rich silk dresses of the ladies! Here is a fact for Mrs. Bloomer.
A BRIDAL BLOOMER. — The Boston Commonwealth states that on Wednesday evening, one of the editorial fraternity of that city, took the hand of a fair lady in marriage, whose costume was an elegant white satin Bloomer. It was neatly made, fitting snug around the waist and close up in the neck, the spencer opening in front like a naval officer’s vest, and interlaced a la Swiss mountaineer, sleeves flowing, white kids, white satin slippers, hair done plain with a wreath of orange flowers over the brow, and a long bridal veil flowing from the crown of the head over the shoulders.
A BLOOMER DRESS appeared on our streets on Saturday afternoon. We had long ago made up our mind to like it, yet had we ever been so much prejudiced against it, the first glance would have completely converted us. We have never seen anything of the dress kind that looked half so neat, or half so sensible. There is not even an approximation towards immodesty about it. The fair lady who had the moral courage to make the first inroad upon the disgusting pave-sweeping fashion, deserves great credit, and to show that our citizens appreciated her, we will state that not the slightest insult was offered to her while she was on the street. In the evening she was serenaded by our excellent brass band. We hail with intense satisfaction the beginning of the most sensible reform which is now before the people, and earnestly hope that our ladies will conquer their prejudices in favor of an unhealthy and disgusting style, and generally adopt the Bloomer costume. –Independent Democrat.
THE FOURTH OF JULY IN LOWELL. — The whole town seems to have participated in the festival, with an evident determination to make it as vivacious as it is ordinarily noisy and dull. Besides the military and civic displays, there was a parade of a company, the “Antique and Horrible Artillery,” whose fun consisted in wearing all the quaint and old-fashioned garments that could be raked and scraped together in the country. Hats of enormous size and dickeys of enormous height and stiffness, alternated with knee breeches and hooped peticoats. The captain wore a coat which, on the 17th of June, 1775, covered Bancroft, of Pepperell, a Bunker Hill soldier. One of the soldiers wore a richly embroidered vest, which was once the property of General Sullivan. Ancient vehicles were put in use, as well as ancient costumes, and dilapidated chaises and carryalls were filled with the most venerable couples.
But in contrast with the older dresses came some five hundred young ladies from the factories, dressed in the new style which has taken the name of its projector, Mrs. Bloomer. Their appearance was generally admired, and in the course of the day they presented a beautiful banner to one of the fire companies.
Tioga Eagle (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) 17 Jul 1851
The New Costume.
MR. DENSMORE: — In looking over “Arthur’s Home Gazette” of a recent date, I noticed a few remarks devoted to the New Costume, which I though worthy of notice.
The article commences, “Notwithstanding the noise that has been made about the new costume, it does not seem to take, to any extent, amoung respectable women.” and adds — “In our larger cities the majority of those wearing it have been women of bad repute.”
Without discussing the merits of the Dress Reform, I wish to correct the wrong impressions made by his untruthful statements.
That the dress reform does not “take” (using his own elegant expression,) with respectable women, is not so. It is with the respectable women in general that it does find favor, not only respectable, but the intelligent, and I may say with all intelligent women. Strange that the many able and talented articles that have appeared from the women of our larger cities, should have escaped his notice, as also the statements of some of our most highly respected women not only of their wearing the style, but of its being worn by other of the same class. But we need not wonder when we read another clause in his article, “That for our own part we
have yet to meet the woman who approves the short skirts and pants, or who does not speak of them and their wearers, in a manner that strongly savors of disgust.” Passing over his evident desire to make it manifest that he meets with only “respectable women” or more fashionably “LADIES,” I would say that none can read his flat and insipid paper, or his stereotyped stories., and doubt that he associates only with “ladies” who look with disgust on any new or important reform. It may easily be seen how he happens to labor under the wrong impression that it does not “take” with respectable women. He probably was engaged twaddling with one of those “ladies” who would be shocked, and her modesty outraged, and who would look with “disgust” upon any one who should hint to her that her body was made of different material or was differently constituted from her milliner’s showblock, and while she was lisping her horror and “disgust” at the dress reform, she probably startles him with the new and original idea that it must be women of bad repute only that would wear the new costume, whereupon he tries to palm off such twaddling as facts upon his readers. That it will be read, we know, and fear by some believed, as it is a lamentable fact that such a milk and water paper as the Home Gazette finds a large circulation, for there are many who like to read his stories, as the world is filled with such sick sentimentalists as one I once heard say she “liked to read T.S. Arthur’s stories because the heroines always got married, or died of a broken heart, which was just as good.” The evil that is done by the circulation of his weak stories, which chiefly consist in going into raptures over the fortitude and noble conduct of some imaginative child of fortune in bearing its reverses, and applauding the moral heroism that caused them to refrain from cutting their own throats, in their despair, or in a sickly attempt to excite our sympathy for the suffering child of poverty which he always pictures in so beautiful and interesting situation, that the reader can hardly refrain from envying. But enough of such trash. The evil influence exerted by that sheet[?] is enough without his making false statements, to oppose that which is beyond his caliber to approve.
We find in the larger number of our city papers favorable accounty of the progress of the dress reform, and through them we learn that our most able and intelligent men and women are in favor of it. But when I speak of the “women of our land” I do not mean T.S. Arthur “ladies.” They belong to another species altogether.
Besides Mrs. Bloomer, editor of the “Lilly,” who first started this reform, we find Mrs. E.O. Stanton, wife of Senator Stanton of N.Y., Mrs. M.S. Gove Nichols, the celebrated Water Cure Obstetrician of New York, and Mrs. Gage, a popular and familiar writer, among the many known to fame, who have publicly spoken in favor of, and worn the new style. Peterson’s Magazine, a deservedly popular one, appears with November fashion plates of the Bloomer style, which it certainly would not do was it merely to delineate fashions for “women of bad repute!”
Oshkosh Democrat (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) 14 Nov 1851
MRS. BLOOMER RECANTING — Mrs. Bloomer, the author of the new style of dress, has an article in the last number of her paper, “The Lily,” in which she says that, could she have foreseen the notoriety and ridicule which she has incurred, she would never have commenced the movement.
Tioga Eagle (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) 18 Dec 1851
Mrs. Bloomer imagines that the reason women differ from men, is because they are schooled and educated differently. Nothing, however, could be more unfounded. Girls differ from boys, not incidently, but radically. The first thing a boy does after he is weaned, is to straddle the banister and ride down stairs. The first thing a girl sets her heart on is a doll and a set of half fledged cups and saucers. Girls are given to neatness and hate soiled garments of all kinds; boys, on the contrary, set a high value on dirt, and are never so happy as when sailing a shingle ship, with a brown paper sail, in a mud puddle. Mrs. Bloomer may reason as she may, but she will find in the end that Nature is stronger than either philosophy or suspenders.
Daily Commercial Register (Sandusky, Ohio) 19 Mar 1853
Mrs. Bloomer has gone to Council Bluffs to reside; she permitted her husband to accompany her.
Wisconsin Free Democrat (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) 18 Apr 1855
Mrs. Bloomer is Mayor (or Mayoress) of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
New York Herald (New York, New York) 03 May 1869
LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO.
San Francisco, June 2d, 1869. PUBLIC OPINION
“I don’t care what the world thinks or says,” is sometimes the bravado of a desperate knave — sometimes the weak boast of a fool. No one can, with impunity, set at naught the usages of society, much less its laws. The experiment has been frequently tried in this city, and has always resulted in the humiliation of the experimenters. Within the last ten years we have been preached and printed at by many social philosophers of both sexes, who desire to establish a new order of things, inconsistent with our preconceived ideas of religion, decency and propriety. They ????? against public opinion, and were unhorsed and brought to grief. They didn’t care for the world’s censure, not they; on the contrary, they pitied the ignorance and stupidity that failed to discern the superiority of their doctrines to those of the de??logue and the gospel, and determined to convince society against its will. But society is of “the same opinion still,” and its scorn has put the would-be innovators down. They have discovered that they have no levers long enough and strong enough to upset Christianized civilization; that they cannot change either its customs, its fashions, or its standards of equity. We hear but little now of the misguided ladies who aspired to be Amazons. Many of the spinsters among them have gone into the state of double blessedness, and (probably) changed their views. The followers of the eccentric Mrs. Bloomer, have, as a general thing, retired from the gaze of the critical public, and betaken themselves to crinoline; and the right of woman to do man’s work and wear his ungraceful apparel, seems to have been abandoned by our strong-minded sisters. And so time passes on, and bubbles which at first seem bright and pleasant, soar into the air of public opinion, are condemned by society, and gradually they disappear from the social horrizon and are lost forever with the things that were.
Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) 05 Jun 1869
DEAD FRUIT. — Mrs. Bloomer has abandoned her semi-masculine style of wardrobe. The bloom is off that rye, the blossom has ripened and the fruit found to be bitter and unwholesome.
New York Herald (New York, New York) 05 Jul 1869
Read more about Amelia Bloomer here.