Archive for September 7th, 2011

Are Bustles Constitutional?

September 7, 2011

Image from the Great Basin Costume Society blog.

From the Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer.


The following letter was received by Mr. Clay, at the ‘Ladies’ Post Office,’ during the fair on Tuesday evening last. A friend of Mr. Clay’s asked permission, on reading it, to promote the amusement of the readers of the Enquirer, by its publication:

Dear sir — The undersigned, Committee, appointed by the Unites States anti-BUSTLE Convention, are authorized to solicit your opinion of the great matter now BEFORE the people, (and BEHIND the ladies,] and whether if elected to the office of Chief Magistrate, you would carry out the principles of the ‘Bachelor Anti-Bustle Party.’

Please inform us,

1st. Are bustles constitutional?

2d. Have your views in relation to bustles undergone any modification since 1828?
(We suppose, sir, that you have, since then, taken a more ENLARGED view of them.]

3d. Do you believe in bustles for PROTECTION? and to what extent? [Please give us a statistical answer.]

4th. Have husbands the right to abolish their wives’ bustles in the District of Columbia?

5th. Did you, or not, declare in the U.S. Senate, that

“Bustles are all an empty show,
For man’s illusion given?”

If so, please adduce the evidence.

6th. Did you vote for bustle in 1816?

7th. Do you not think, sir, that a constitutional limitation of the veto, has no reference to bustles?

8th. Would you not sanction a modification of the Tariff, by which the sovereign disapprobation of bustles should amount to a prohibition.

Lastly. Ought Bustles to form any part of the American System?

We are, dear sir, with profound respect,

Your obedient servants


Henry Clay daguerreotype from Wikipedia

Mr. Clay has not yet responded to inquiries, and indeed we hope he will not. The object of the committee is plain, and “sticks out about a feet” — it is intended to array the ladies in the ranks of the opposition, should Mr. Clay’s opinions not coincide with theirs in this fundamental matter. It is a wicked machination of the enemy, of which the Committee, who are, so far as we know, men of standing, are made the tools. It won’t succeed, however — Mr. Clay is too smart to be taken in, in this way — he too well knows the great influence the ladies exert over the lords of creation, to interfere with their rights in this PROMINENT particular. He has, we trust, BACKED OUT from making any reply whatever.

Should he deem these interrogatories of sufficient importance to demand a reply, we hope he may be induced to grant the ladies the LARGEST LIBERTY.

Should he have conscientious scruples, or constitutional objections to this course, we would advise him to adopt Mr. Van Buren’s old plan of non-committal.

South Port American (South Port, Wisconsin) Jun 29, 1844

If Things Keep On…

September 7, 2011

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Mar 4, 1933