I traveled to London by The London Chronicle of November 22, 1766 where if found that not all Pirates are bad. An article with the dateline “Newport, Rhode Island, October 6” which is from “a letter from Castle Brew, at Annamaboa, on the Coast of Africa…”. It talks about the pirate infested areas along the coastline, but in particular the one ship “commanded by one Hide”. “…These fellows neither murder, or force any into their service; but, on the contrary, one of their crew complaining that he was weary of that life, they put him on shore, and allowed him a sufficiency to bear his expences to the first English factory.”
There is also an interesting article from Paris… “Within a month or six weeks past, several persons in this city, tired of life, have sought the means to deprive themselves of it. Some of them have done it by pistols; but a Baker who in cool blood leaped from the top of Pont-Royal… and was only slightly wounded:… however it was imitated a few days ago by a young man,… threw himself out of a window of the third story into the garden of the royal palace; whereby all his limbs were either broken, or dislocated; and when they raised him up, he only said that it was very unhappy for him that the houses of Paris were so low…”.
In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our Rare & Early Newspapers’ collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).
The divisive political events of the 1850s had pitted North against South on numerous issues, including the expansion of slavery into the western territories, tariffs on goods such as cotton, and broader concepts of states’ rights vs. federal law. Political compromises made throughout the decade in an attempt to keep the nation together effectively collapsed with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860. South Carolina, heir to the legacy of states’ rights lion John C. Calhoun, was the first to address the possibility of leaving the Union. On November 10, 1860, four days after the presidential election, South Carolina brought the issue to a head by calling a secession convention for the following month.
Considered by virtue of timing to be the first Confederate imprint, this broadside announced to the public the convention’s declaration, on December 20, 1860, that South Carolina would secede from the United States. This sheet was removed from a wall in Charleston by the Boston-born author Caroline Howard Gilman (1794-1888), who had moved permanently to Charleston following her marriage to the Rev. Samuel Gilman. Gilman mailed the broadside to her daughter Eliza in Salem, Massachusetts. Eliza in turn presented the document to AAS member Nathaniel Paine who, heeding the Society’s call to preserve all printed material relating to the unsettling national events, passed the broadside along to AAS.
A high-resolution image of this issue is viewable at: American Antiquarian Society, #47
We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:
“The daily papers today give evidence of what everyone feared: war has begun. Events in Charleston harbor reached a breaking point as both the North and the South claimed the military installations there. But our “Harper’s Weekly” is about two weeks late with reports which I understand is due to the complexity of providing accurate illustrations of the events, certainly a small price to pay for the great benefit of “seeing” the war scenes. I look forward to the end of the month and seeing just what transpired at Charleston.
In the meantime today’s issue has a scene of Point Isabel, Texas, a town apparently on a cliff along the Gulf of Mexico. In the foreground troops are being transported on a paddle-wheeler. Near the back are two military scenes including a boat house at Fort Pickens, Florida, and another the inside of that fort. The cannons they use are huge and the fort’s thick walls seem impenetrable. I had not previously known what the inside of a fort looked like.
I recognize President Lincoln in one of the back page cartoons, his face and stature familiar from an earlier issue on his inauguration. In this cartoon he consults with “Columbia”, who says: “…be sure you’re right, then go ahead!” Yes, our future is in his hands.” With all of the tension in the air, I was surprised to see the double-page centerfold which included various vignettes of American Home Scenes, which seemed in stark contrast to the mood of the day.
To enjoy the images (and some of the text) from this issue, please go to: Harper’s Weekly, April 13, 1861