It was such a tragedy to America when Alexander Hamilton, the founding father of the United States, chief of staff to Washington in the Revolutionary War, and America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, was killed in a duel, an event he opposed but honor forced him to participate. His words from shortly before the duel are telling: ““My religion and moral principles are strongly opposed to the practice of dueling…My wife & children are extremely dear to me…I am conscious of no ill will to Col. Burr distinct from political opposition…But it was, as I conceive, impossible for me to avoid it…”. The report is found in the “Middlesex Gazette” newspaper of July 20, 1804 (see below).
His wounds at the hand of Aaron Burr–who curiously was Vice President at the time–would prove fatal. His comments give evidence to the value of honor among the early patriots, even when they lead to a tragic end.
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 5, 1968: “DR. KING SLAIN BY SNIPER IN MEMPHIS“
Tabloid journalism was alive and well in 18th century America. If you thought “sleazy” reports were a concoction of the 20th century, you would be wrong, as newspaper editors had, for hundreds of years, few concerns about slandering those they found offensive or who were on the other side of the political fence.
The “Pennsylvania Ledger And Weekly Advertiser” of December 24, 1777” was a Tory newspaper (loyal to the King, not the American cause of independence) and on page 2 the editor printed portions of a letter from George Washington to his wife, intercepted on its route. Obviously no friend of Washington’s, he even publishes the letter as a separate piece and offers for sale in his shop: ” “The printer has received from New York a few copies of an intercepted letter from General Washington to his Lady, dated June 24, 1776, which he is now selling at his shop in Market Street. The following is an extract.”
We recently came across an interesting issue of “The Daily Rocky Mountain News” from Denver, dated Oct. 4, 1864. The uniqueness was not in the reporting; it was in the newspaper itself. Rather than printed on traditional newsprint stock, this issue is printed on pink-colored tissue paper. Fortunately, although very flimsy, it is not the least bit fragile.
It was not unusual for print shops to run out of newsprint and to become inventive in finding ways to get out the day’s edition, particularly for newspapers in remote parts of the country as most paper mills were located in the Northeast. Think of the famous wallpaper issues from the Civil War. Some investigating came across the reason. One website on the history of the “Rocky Mountain News” noted that: “…When the Indian outbreak caused an embargo on traffic over the Western plains in 1864-5, he frequently ran out of white paper, and in such emergencies he printed the news on wrapping paper gathered from Denver stores…”. So this pink paper was wrapping paper. I wonder how long the need for “necessity paper” lasted. We also have two more issues with a similar date which are printed on yellow and green paper. In any case, very interesting curiosities for this fascinating hobby.
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with The New York Times, October 16, 1928: “ ZEPPELIN SAFE AT LAKEHURST AFTER 111-HOUR FLIGHT; SOARS OVER THE WHITE HOUSE AND THEN OVER NEW YORK; MOORED TO MAST TILL WIND DROPS AT 2 A.M.; NOW IN HANGAR”…
“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
(God, as written by Mark in Mark 3:25)
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“For united we stand; Divided we fall. And if our backs should ever be against the wall. We’ll be together…”
(The Brotherhood of Man)
Bringing people together is no small task. Those who have the ability to rally factions behind a common cause are few and far between. Those who can do so for a noble cause are a true rarity.
While we all acknowledge Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to this end as exemplified in both his “House Divided” speech and yet again in his “Gettysburg Address”, it was another relatively unknown true American patriot who was instrumental in doing the same soon after the close of the American Revolutionary War: Dr. Benjamin Rush. Below please find (and enjoy) the full text of “Address to the People of the United States”, which begins:
“There is nothing more common that to confound the terms of the American revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over; but this is far from being the case with the American revolution.”,
“PATRIOTS of 1774, 1775, 1778—HEROES of 1778, 1779, 1780! come forward! your country demands your services!—Philosophers and friends to mankind, com forward! your country demands your studies and speculations! Lovers of peace and order, who declined taking part in the late war, come forward! your country forgives your timidity, and demands your influence and advice! Hear her proclaiming, in sighs and groans, in her governments, in her finances, in her trade, in her manufactures, in her morals, and in her manners, ‘THE REVOLUTION IS NOT OVER!’ “, Dr. Benjamin Rush, MD.
What a tremendous rally for all Americans to unite behind a noble cause: the establishment of a nation like none other!
To read the complete text of this amazing speech, go to: American Museum, January, 1787
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the Los Angeles Record – Second Extra, August 23, 1926: “VALENTINO DEAD“, with subhead, “Hollywood Mourns Film ‘Sheik’s’ Death“…
As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, one is compelled by the overwhelming blessings so many of us experience on a daily basis to consider things for which we are thankful, but often overlook. One such gratitude-producing individual for me is Abraham Lincoln. Was he a perfect man? No. Have many of his flaws been white-washed from history? Yes (I’m counting on the same treatment). However, this does not negate the truth that in my eyes, he was a man for “such a time” as his was. I’ve always appreciated his writing (whether it be from his own pen or another’s makes no difference to me). One of my favorites is:
“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten Angles swearing I was right would make no difference at all.” Abraham Lincoln
We should all have such strength of conviction in regards to our actions under fire.
A short time ago I came across a letter from him which was printed in a National Intelligencer dated January 27, 1865 that may rival the above. It is his response to a letter received from him from Eliza Gurney, the wife of a recently departed friend. The full text is viewable via the image shown below, with the transcribed text to follow.
Washington, September 4, 1864.
Eliza P. Gurney.
My esteemed friend.
I have not forgotten–probably never shall forget–the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.
Your people–the Friends–have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn, and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our Father in heaven.
Your sincere friend,
So, what are you thankful for?
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the HERALD EXPRESS–EXTRA, Los Angeles, May 13, 1961: “GARY COOPER DIES“…
Major General Granger’s General Order #3, which appeared in the July 25, 1865 issue of Flake’s Daily Bulletin, provides contrasting news for the newly freed slaves. Good News: You are now free! Bad News: Get to work and don’t come crying for help! I wonder how we would handle this same situation if it were to happen today???