Posts by Homer_J_Simpson

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  • September 1856

    09/27/2016 4:45:34 AM PDT · 42 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 25 (reply #38).

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    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/25/2016 6:11:04 AM PDT · 40 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to Tax-chick
    I would be surprised if he didn't, at some point. The Booth family probably played in New York at least as often as Washington. The original editors said they cut out most of the theater critiques but hopefully any diary entries describing a Booth performance will not be edited out by either them or Thomas J. Pressly, who abridged the original.

    I've been reading more of Team of Rivals lately and I just came across a section describing Lincoln's and William H. Seward's avid fandom. Edwin Booth dined at the Seward home and visited the White House, which Lincoln enjoyed immensely.

  • September 1856

    09/25/2016 5:48:39 AM PDT · 38 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 22 (reply #25).

    [Hamilton Fish is a former Governor of New York and U.S. Senator for New York. He is currently between government jobs. Fish and Strong are both on the Board of Trustees of Columbia College. Fish will later be a Lincoln supporter and will serve as Secretary of State in the administration of U.S. Grant, who is currently attempting to eke out a living selling firewood on the streets of St. Louis. – HJS]

    September 25. Politics engross everybody’s thoughts and talk, more and more daily. Hamilton Fish has pronounced at last for Fremont, and favors mankind with an analysis of his motives and reasons that fills two columns of the Courier, and is hard reading. Unimportant, except as shewing what an ambitious commonplace man, with some experience and opportunity of observation, thinks is for his own interest. It’s significant like the diligence of spiders before rain, or the movements of various animals in anticipation of an earthquake or a hurricane. . . .

    As for our Southern friends, they’re madder every day. Vide the Muscogee (Ga.) Herald on “Northern Society” as “made up of greasy mechanics and so on” not fit for a Southern gentleman’s body-servant. Also, somebody makes a grand allocution to the young men and braves assembled at a South Carolina militia muster, tells them that if somebody should “smite down the miscreant (John C. Fremont) beside the pillars of the Capitol, in case of his election, not a Southern regiment but would spring to the rescue” of the hypothetical Ravaillac.

    Last night to Wallack’s again with Ellie; Old Heads and Young Hearts one of the best comedies I’ve seen. Blake as Jessie Rural excellent.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • Trump names 33 conservative Catholics as new advisers

    09/24/2016 2:22:24 PM PDT · 12 of 34
    Homer_J_Simpson to NYer

    Tweeted to all the high profile Catholics I could fit in a tweet.

  • September 1856

    09/22/2016 1:59:48 PM PDT · 36 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to colorado tanker; henkster; BroJoeK

    The salesman at Platte River Network assured me my files would be secure with them. I may have to sue.

  • September 1856

    09/22/2016 12:15:32 PM PDT · 33 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to BroJoeK; henkster; colorado tanker
    Then Bleeding Kansas, Sumner's caning, John Brown & the rise of Republicans roused Fire Eaters to work again.

    How did you get hold of the syllabus? I didn't release it yet.

  • September 1856

    09/22/2016 7:27:51 AM PDT · 28 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to henkster

    I got the impression George doesn’t think his mind needs further expansion after his experiment with the gateway drug.

  • September 1856

    09/22/2016 6:37:26 AM PDT · 26 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...

    The above should say continued from reply 18, not 28.

  • September 1856

    09/22/2016 6:36:06 AM PDT · 25 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 21 (reply #28).

    September 22. With Ellie to see The Rivals at Wallack’s tonight. Rather a satisfactory performance on the whole, in spite of a most un-Hibernian Sir Lucius O’Trigger and a very dreary Falkland and Julia. But for that dismal pain the author is mainly responsible. A “good comedy” well played is entertaining while it lasts, but after all, these productions, from Congreve & Co. down to Mr. Boucicault seem to me as shallow, silly, frivolous, and unreal as any compositions I know of. One can imagine comedy that should be to The Rivals or London Assurance what Pendennis and The Newcomes are to the old novels of fashionable life.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/21/2016 4:53:45 AM PDT · 18 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 16 (reply #16).

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    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/16/2016 5:08:53 AM PDT · 16 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 11 (reply #12).

    September 16. Early train to Boston, breakfast, and then sat on a barrel for two hours reading Mrs. Stowe’s Dred, for that the Nahant boat had privily changed its hour. . . . Dred is a strong and telling book. Ellie is now deep in the first volume, and much exercised thereby. Found all well at Nahant; hotel all but deserted; weather lovely. Small party that evening at Mrs. Paiges: Professor Felton, Agassiz and wife, and Longfellow (to whom I missed an introduction, not knowing he was there). Next day dined at Agassiz’s with Felton – very pleasant; Agassiz and his wife most charming people. After dinner on the rocks at low tide (the “sunken ledge”) with him for a couple of hours, and was presented to marine notabilia, chiefly of the zoophyte family, many of which I’ve long sought to see.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

    Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856), by Harriet Beecher Stowe: in two volumes.

  • September 1856

    09/14/2016 4:59:47 AM PDT · 15 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 9 (reply #8).

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    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • September 1856

    09/12/2016 1:13:14 PM PDT · 14 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to colorado tanker

    Strong expressed his contempt for the south in general, Texas and South Carolina in particular, at the time of the 1850 compromise. He would remain a secession doubter right through 1860.

  • September 1856

    09/11/2016 5:03:05 AM PDT · 12 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 10 (reply #11).

    September 11. Long discourse with Walter Cutting, who’s frightened at the Maine news; has a “betting opinion” still, but will give no odds on Fremont, and considers that the South will secede if Fremont’s elected. Which the South won’t, as long as Southern gentlemen can make a little money going to Congress.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/10/2016 6:28:55 AM PDT · 11 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 9 (reply #9).

    September 10. Three cheers for Maine! The election there is a great fact; it shews which way the cat is jumping and will make her jump farther. Doubtless it has already decided x+y cautious gentlemen, waiters on Providence, uncat-like people to whom the victoris causa is always pleasing, to get down from their fence and go for Fremont, influenced solely by a conscientious sense of duty. This x+y is a large figure; it may well be ten thousand in this state alone. Hamilton Fish is said to have seen a great light lately and to be trying the feel of the current with his toes before jumping in. I don’t believe his accession will affect the fortunes of any party very essentially. It’s said a Fremont electoral ticket will be run in several Southern states, including Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia. Dubious. It probably won’t be permitted by the oligarchy of little barbarous princes to which the white trash of the South is subject.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/09/2016 4:52:20 AM PDT · 9 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from September 1 (reply #3).

    September 9. We turned out to see the Grand Democratic Torchlight Procession. Large certainly, but rather straggling, and with a large infusion of youthful Democrats who’ll hardly grow enough to vote next November! Not very joyous or enthusiastic and greeted by little outside hurrahing. The news from Maine hasn’t helped to make them jolly. That rather doubtful state seems to have gone Republican with a rush. Fremont forever! *

    * In the state election in Maine, with Hannibal Hamlin running for governor, the Republicans triumphed by a vote of roughly 67,000 to 42,500. They won by a still greater margin in Vermont, the vote being nearly three to one.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/09/2016 4:47:02 AM PDT · 8 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
     photo bleeding kansas_zpsghjtvtkg.jpg

    Continued from August 18 (reply #80)

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    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • September 1856

    09/01/2016 5:04:07 AM PDT · 3 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
     photo george templeton strong_zpsnhzxvu8e.jpg

    Continued from August 30, (reply #99)

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    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • September 1856

    09/01/2016 4:57:41 AM PDT · 2 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    On the Application of Photography to Printing – 1-9
    Daniel Webster’s Social Hours – 10-15
    Soldiering in Oregon – 16-20
    Monthly Record of Current Events – 21-24
    Advertisements – Illustrated – 25-26
    Fashions for September – 27-28

    The lead article for this month primarily deals with the problems of transferring photographs to mass produced books, and the desirability of overcoming those problems. However, the article then digresses into the areas of anatomy and brain function.

    The second section is devoted to the life, times, wit and wisdom of Daniel Webster (1782-1852) esteemed Massachusetts Whig statesman.

    “Soldiering in Oregon” caught my eye because of the biographies I have been reading about future Army commanders who spent time on frontier duty on the west coast and Mississippi River valley. It was tough duty.

    There is plenty to cover in current events. Admitting Kansas as a state under the Topeka constitution, proposed Congressional appropriation, a resolution to expel Rep. Brooks from the House for beating Sen. Sumner, a homicide by a California representative in Washington, the New York Democratic convention, railroad and steam boat accidents, vigilantes in California, Indian wars in various states – all in the United States. There are additional items of news from Nicaragua, Mexico and Europe.

    I take the cartoon section to be an artist’s imagined depictions of actual classified advertisements.

    Fashions for September needs no explanation, but I wouldn’t try to get my wife in that getup to go for a walk.

  • September 1856

    09/01/2016 4:54:37 AM PDT · 1 of 43
    Homer_J_Simpson
     photo kansas-nebraska-act-1854_zpshdg5kp4s.jpg

    Free Republic University, Department of History presents U.S. History, 1855-1860: Seminar and Discussion Forum
    First session: November 21, 2015. Last date to add: Sometime in the future.
    Reading: Self-assigned. Recommendations made and welcomed. To add this class to or drop it from your schedule notify Admissions and Records (Attn: Homer_J_Simpson) by reply or freepmail.

  • August 1856

    08/30/2016 4:51:38 AM PDT · 99 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 14 (reply #66).

    August 30. Saw George [William] Curtis, wholly wrapt up in the Fremont campaign, wherein he does good and active service, speaking almost every night with great approval and with much more ability than I gave him credit for. Partly for money, I suppose (from some “Central Committee” or other), but somewhat for love of the cause, which commends itself to his Eastern proclivities, and of his pretty Miss Shaw, whose papa is a vehement Free-Soiler. Fillmore seems rather to lose ground. Fremont rather gains. His enemies help him by the bitter malignity of their personal attacks, which will surely decide some thousands to vote in his favor. Were I a moderate Know-Nothing or a mild Buchananier, any two numbers of the New York Express would drive me into Fremontism. . . . House and Senate still in session, at a deadlock over the Army appropriations. The House will be beat sooner or later.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/27/2016 6:13:04 AM PDT · 95 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Book report!

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    I still recommend the Grant biography by Jean Edward Smith that I reported on back in March (reply #93) , but you should read “Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant” in conjunction with it. Of all the 19th century personalities I have read about this year Grant is the one I have come to like the most on the personal level. I got that from Smith’s book and “Memoirs” confirmed it. It also provides a look into his approach to life and sense of humor. He dwells on the positive and leaves out some of the negative things the later biographer wrote about. Of his resignation from the army – probably over an alcohol problem – and up until the Civil War grew near, he wrote very little. Given his sense of responsibility toward his family and his desire to succeed in life that was undoubtedly a very unhappy time for him. I don’t hold it against him at all that he danced lightly over that period in his memoirs, but I think his perseverance in a time of personal adversity shows his strength of character possibly more than he realized in his self-appraisal.

    A question the Smith biography didn’t answer to my satisfaction is why Grant didn’t correct the error of changing his name from Hiram Ulysses Grant to Ulysses Simpson Grant on his entry to West Point. That was cleared up for the most part by Grant in the memoirs. He describes a conversation with his father about the appointment and quotes his father calling him “Ulysses.” So that is apparently how he was known in his family. That would make the change from Hiram U. to Ulysses S. less of an issue, so the unassuming young man would have been less likely to raise a fuss about it. He might also have figured the matter would have worked out to his benefit. The nickname obsessed cadets made hay of the “U.S.”, which no doubt played better than “H.U.G.” might have done.

    Here is a quote from early in the book I found interesting:

    The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.

    Volume One of Memoirs covers the period through October 16, 1863. Volume Two ends with the conclusion of hostilities and doesn’t cover Grant’s time as president.

  • August 1856

    08/23/2016 4:41:49 AM PDT · 92 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Book report!

     photo nathan bedford forrest bio_zpshw7lgpzq.jpg

    This biography has a different character than the others I have begun due to the fact that the historical record of Forrest’s life is skimpier than the rest. The biographer had to rely on the public record, mostly composed of legal notices, to trace the future general’s early life. That record is augmented by personal recollections of people who knew Forrest and had their memories recorded much later. Of course, there is also plenty of unverifiable legend surrounding this famous man. Jack Hurst has done a good job of sifting the available information and piecing together a picture of the origins of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    Forrest’s early life resembles Abraham Lincoln’s in the respect that both were born into harsh and primitive circumstances with families reliant upon subsistence farming for survival. Forrest, like Lincoln, received about 6 months of formal education. Unlike Lincoln, Forrest was fully satisfied with that and never yearned for more schooling. One result of that lack is that Forrest had no written correspondence with friends, relatives or business associates. That type of correspondence is a great source of material for biographers of more literary personalities.

    Forrest was born July 13, 1821 and named for his paternal grandfather (Nathan) and the Tennessee county in which he was born (Bedford). A twin sister was also born, but she died young of typhoid fever, as did two other sisters and two of his eight younger brothers.

    When he was a teen the family moved to Hernando, Mississippi. Like other people I have read about Forrest travelled south to take part in the Mexican War. In his case the effort came to naught because he did it in 1841, years before the war started. In order to earn return passage home he split rails. Around this time he began independent life by going into business selling agricultural products, such as seed and farm implements. This entailed becoming a slave trader in a small way. In 1852, seeing where the real money was to be made, he moved north to Memphis and went into the slave trading business full time.

    The book then provides a good description of the sordid business of trafficking in human beings as it existed in the south in the first half of the nineteenth century. According to Forrest mythology he was especially humane to the slaves who passed through his hands, but Hurst shows that he probably was no better or worse than others in the trade. Forrest was a careful and thrifty businessman where his inventory was concerned. In connection with the slave business Forrest began to acquire farm lands as well as commercial property in Memphis. During slow times in the slave trading business he kept his stock productively occupied by raising cotton on his own property.

    One way my knowledge is being enhanced during my reading – and this applies to all the books I have started – is that I am forced to refer to maps to understand the geography from the eastern mountains to the Mississippi Valley. The Mississippi River and other waterways play a vital role in the history we are covering and I find I don’t know as much about their courses as I thought. This deficiency is slowly being corrected.

    Other vital events in Forrest’s pre-Civil War life were his marriage to Mary Ann Montgomery in 1845 and the death of a 6-year-old daughter, Fanny, in 1854. As Forrest becomes an increasingly prominent citizen of Memphis he will enter city politics, but that comes post-1856 and we will cover it later.

    One part of the character of Nathan Bedford Forrest that became apparent even as a child is that he is not a person to be trifled with. Whether it is the panther that attacked and injured his mother when he was a boy or someone impugning his courage as a city councilman, he does not take injury sitting down.

    I am only to page 67 of “Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography,” but based on the quality of what I have read so far I would recommend it to other readers.

  • August 1856

    08/19/2016 2:58:08 PM PDT · 89 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to colorado tanker
    For Sumner to take three years to recover he must have been beaten to a bloody pulp.

    From "Bleeding Kansas," (Etcheson):

    Brooks approached the Massachusetts senator and struck him over the head and shoulders with a cane. As Sumner struggled under the rain of blows, he wrenched his desk from its bolts. Several minutes elapsed before astonished congressmen restrained Brooks. Having sustained severe head injuries, Sumner did not return to the Senate for two and a half years. . . . In fact, as he had broken his cane over Sumner's head Southerners sent him replacements, including one engraved, "Hit Him Again."

  • August 1856

    08/19/2016 4:38:55 AM PDT · 84 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 3 (reply #5)

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    James Lee McDonough, William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country, A Life

  • August 1856

    08/18/2016 3:32:03 PM PDT · 83 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to colorado tanker

    Soon to be two of the worst presidents of the 19th century. The competition is getting stiff.

  • August 1856

    08/18/2016 4:41:46 AM PDT · 80 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 16 (reply #78) .

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    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • August 1856

    08/16/2016 6:00:34 AM PDT · 78 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 7 (reply #33)

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    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • August 1856

    08/15/2016 8:18:15 AM PDT · 77 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to rdl6989

    I have a post from “Bleeding Kansas” for tomorrow, which includes a paragraph on the attack on Titus’s “fort.” It includes a drawing of men fighting in front of a cabin, but doesn’t mention that the cabin is the fort.

  • August 1856

    08/14/2016 6:05:07 PM PDT · 74 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to henkster

    I understand we were close to have exterminated the mosquitoes responsible for malaria before the DDT ban allowed them to return. Millions of lives have been lost as a result.

  • August 1856

    08/14/2016 4:03:03 PM PDT · 72 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to Tax-chick; PeterPrinciple
    It sounds as if the author did not need to worry about yellow fever transmission in his particular situation, then.

    Was it known in 1856 how yellow fever was transmitted? I recall something about that being discovered when the Panama Canal was dug much later. (Found this at wikipedia)

    "Carlos Finlay, a Cuban doctor and scientist, first proposed in 1881 that yellow fever might be transmitted by mosquitoes rather than direct human contact.[74][75] Since the losses from yellow fever in the Spanish–American War in the 1890s were extremely high, Army doctors began research experiments with a team led by Walter Reed, composed of doctors James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, and Jesse William Lazear. They successfully proved Finlay's ″mosquito hypothesis″. Yellow fever was the first virus shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes. The physician William Gorgas applied these insights and eradicated yellow fever from Havana. He also campaigned against yellow fever during the construction of the Panama Canal, after a previous effort on the part of the French failed (in part due to mortality from the high incidence of yellow fever and malaria, which killed many workers)."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_fever#History

  • August 1856

    08/14/2016 7:13:15 AM PDT · 66 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 13 (reply #35) .

    August 14. Nothing new today but my own virtuous simplicity of manners. Yellow fever stock is falling like Nicaragua or Lucifer, son of the morning. None of it in town, and fewer cases at Quarantine. Per contra, the most astounding and terrific legends of its prevalence at Bath, New Utrecht, and Fort Hamilton; how everybody is running away, and no one lives there any more but people in the black vomit stage who are too much prostrated to run; how you can nose the poisoned air of those villages a mile before you reach them; how all the dogs and cats are saffron colored, and so forth. But men are very susceptible of panic when the word epidemic is whispered to them. On the Battery tonight, the sudden recollection that the cool sea-breeze I was enjoying came from somewhere near the Quarantine over nine miles of moonlit saltwater, quickened my walk for a moment.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/13/2016 5:21:04 PM PDT · 52 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to Tax-chick
    Mr. Strong has a very fine turn of phrase in his descriptions.

    I have really enjoyed preparing his entries for posting. I have gotten through September. He has more than once had me cracking up in the midst of a transcription or scan prep. I have decided to acquire the complete 4 volume set of his diaries as soon as there is room on my Visa card. I don't have much going on in 1857-58 and my abridged version of the Strong diaries doesn't include those years. Okay, the Lincoln-Douglas debates are in '58, but not until August.

  • August 1856

    08/13/2016 5:07:23 AM PDT · 35 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    I’ve decided that George T. Strong was something of a New York hipster lawyer. The current issue of Harper’s magazine mentions the water cure hotels of Brattleboro in the lead article (see page 9 of the post above), and now here is our man, making the scene. We will see further evidence supporting my assessment.

    The introduction to this diary entry mentions Ellie, who is Ellen Ruggles Strong, wife of the diarist. Mr. Ruggles is Samuel B. Ruggles, Strong’s father-in-law and a prominent New Yorker. I don’t know who Miss Rosalie is yet. G.T. Strong was born in 1820, so he is now 36. The couple had a child that died in 1849, when Ellie Strong nearly died herself from some illness. A son was born in 1851 and another boy came along just last May, so the Strongs had a 5-year-old and a 4-month-old baby on their vacation in Vermont - HJS.

    Continued from August 5 (reply #27).

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    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/07/2016 7:15:07 AM PDT · 33 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
     photo bleeding kansas_zpsghjtvtkg.jpg

    Continued from July 28 (reply #62)

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    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • August 1856

    08/05/2016 7:35:46 PM PDT · 31 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to Tax-chick

    I’m going to enjoy following Mr. Strong’s diary.

  • August 1856

    08/05/2016 5:03:28 AM PDT · 27 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 4 (reply #20).

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    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/04/2016 4:33:53 AM PDT · 20 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from August 1 (reply #4)

    August 4, MONDAY. Our brethren of the South are surely mad. Think of the Virginian Wise telling Mrs. Ritchie (Mowatt)* who told Mr. Ruggles, who told me, that “if Fremont were elected, he would never be permitted to reach Washington.” Their brag and bluster can’t well be paralleled, unless by a Chinese edict meant to intimidate the foreign barbarians. One thing is very clear and very important, that in Kentucky and Missouri and possibly in Virginia itself, there are germs of insurrection among the “poor trash,” the plebeians who don’t own niggers. Such a movement once formed and recognized must triumph sooner or later, and nigger emancipation and the downfall of the nigger-breeding (and mulatto-breeding) aristocracy of those states must follow.

    Poor Edward Curtis is dead, after two years and a half of seclusion in the Flushing Asylum, during which there has never been any hope of his restoration or material improvement.

    *Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia 1856-1860, and a man of fire-eating propensities; Anna Cora [Ogden] Mowatt, the noted actress, who in 1854 married William F. Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/03/2016 8:23:42 AM PDT · 14 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to henkster
    I’d like to continue with the excerpts of Sherman’s biography.

    That is the plan, but they will be few and far between for a few years.

  • August 1856

    08/03/2016 8:13:34 AM PDT · 11 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to henkster

    I don’t think that is an ad. They seem to end each issue with the fashion feature. In fact, they must have subsisted on subscription and news stand sales because I haven’t seen any advertising at all.

  • August 1856

    08/03/2016 8:08:47 AM PDT · 9 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to FreedomPoster; major-pelham

    Do’h. Vermont, not NH. One of those little tall skinny states.

  • August 1856

    08/03/2016 8:06:58 AM PDT · 8 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to FreedomPoster; major-pelham

    If they are photos of places along the Connecticut River as described in the Harper’s article they are in Massachusetts or, more likely, New Hampshire.

  • August 1856

    08/03/2016 5:26:18 AM PDT · 5 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Book report!

     photo william tecumseh sherman_zpsgorodat9.jpg

    Of the few biographies I have now begun, I rank James L. McDonough’s of William Tecumseh Sherman below David Herbert Donald’s ‘Lincoln,’ Jean Edward Smith’s ‘Grant,’ and William J. Cooper Jr.’s ‘Jefferson Davis, American.’ I won’t compare it to the Douglas Southall Freeman bio of Lee because that one is an abridgement. I don’t give ‘William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country’ low marks because of the scholarship. That seems to me perfectly adequate. It is because the author presents his information in a way that doesn’t flow as well as it does in the other. I suppose I could sum up my opinion by saying that McDonough is not as talented a writer as the other authors. I might not have arrived at that conclusion except that McDonough occasionally injects his opinions on matters not related to the subject as a way of explaining some point or other. I was relieved to learn that this tendency is mostly restricted to the early chapters.

    That does not include the prologue. McDonough first introduces us to Sherman at the conclusion of the first day of the battle at Shiloh in April 1862. He describes briefly how Sherman made a serious mistake in allowing himself to be surprised by the confederate attack, but then rallied and took the steps necessary to prevent a union defeat that day. McDonough repeats the celebrated exchange between Sherman and Grant that night:

    “Well Grant,” said Sherman, “we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” “Yes,” replied Grant; “lick ‘em tomorrow, though.”

    The author explains that Grant was not just exhibiting bravado or attempting to shore up his subordinate’s morale, but was giving a cool estimate of the situation based on the facts.

    This may have been the first time I have read a detailed historical account of a civil war battle, and the way McDonough does it had me hooked from the beginning. I may yet find myself tramping around an old battlefield or two looking for familiar landmarks and retracing the action. That gives me some confidence that McDonough will stick to business when we get to the war years and he can focus on his true area of expertise.

    Sherman was born February 8, 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio to Charles Robert and Mary Sherman. His father named him Tecumseh – without the William – because he was an admirer of the Shawnee warrior. The William was added at either one of his two baptisms; the first Presbyterian and then as a Roman Catholic. (As far as RC doctrine goes, the second one was redundant.) Sherman’s young siblings pronounced Tecumseh as “Cump,” and that became his enduring family nickname. Sherman’s father died when he was 9 and the boy was raised by Charles Sherman’s close friend Thomas Ewing. Ewing was influential in national Whig politics and would become Treasury Secretary in the administration of William Henry Harrison. 20-year-old William T. Sherman found the election of 1840 so unsavory that he was permanently turned against politics as a career and politicians in general. He harbored similar opinions about lawyers and bankers. Ironically, he would eventually work as a banker and in a law firm.

    Ewing helped Sherman get an appointment to West Point, where he graduated high in the class of 1840. His pre-Civil War military career did not proceed like those of the other West Point Grads I have read about. He spent no time on the north or northwestern frontier centered around the Mississippi River Valley. Instead he stayed in the southeast for an extended period. His first assignments were to Florida bases, where he took part in a sluggish guerrilla war against aimed at displacing the Seminole Indians from their homeland in the Florida peninsula and moving them to the west. He then served in coastal defenses at Mobile Bay and in June 1842 at Ft. Moultrie in Charleston Harbor. In the latter he was attached to Co. G, 3rd Artillery, commanded by Capt. Robert Anderson. Sherman considered that type of duty tedious and was relieved when hostilities with Mexico commenced and he was ordered to California.

    Sherman sailed from New York in July 1846 and after a grueling 6-month journey arrived at Monterey, California in January 1847. He was devastated to learn that there was no fighting going on in California. At this point the biography developed into local news for me. Sherman spent over a year in Monterey and did a lot of exploring in the region. He kept horses for hunting expeditions in the hills around the Carmel Valley and once rode with an army friend to San Juan Bautista to view the mission there. (Mrs. Homer will be dining with friends in San Juan Bautista this [July 31] evening.) When gold was discovered in 1848 Sherman was sent to Sutter’s Fort near Sacramento to appraise the situation in the gold fields. In January 1850 left on a mission to report to General Winfield Scott in New York. The return trip only took a month because he crossed the isthmus of Panama rather than going around Cape Horn.

    All during Sherman’s time at West Point and throughout his army career he kept up an intense correspondence with his foster sister, Ellen Ewing. Even though he greatly enjoyed the company of ladies and was a keen observer of feminine charm he never (that we know of) became involved in romantic affairs. He and Ellen developed an understanding that they would wed at some point. That finally happened on May 1, 1850. It was quite a notable Washington affair. Guests included Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and President Zachary Taylor. Nevertheless, if Sherman had asked me I would have advised against it. He and Ellen had little by way of common interests. She was devoted to her family in Ohio. She was obedient to her highly influential and wealthy father. She shared her mother’s intense Roman Catholic faith. She disliked Sherman’s choice of a military career and loathed California, preferring to remain at the Lancaster, Ohio homestead. Sherman, on the other hand was determined to stay out of his father-in-law’s shadow and make his own way. He was irreligious. He loved the army and came to feel much at home in California. Another consideration was the fact that the couple, while not actually brother and sister, had something of that same kind of family relationship. So her parents never lost a proprietary feeling towards their daughter or their grandchildren, when those began to arrive. Finally, Ellen was never persuaded that she shouldn’t have her own way on any point of disagreement. So William T. Sherman suffered a great deal of anxiety over his marriage.

    In September 1850 Sherman received a long-awaited promotion to Captain and was sent to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, where he reported to Captain Braxton Bragg. Shortly thereafter he went to New Orleans in order to clean up corruption in the commissary department there. It was there he was offered a job with a banking concern that wanted him to open a branch in San Francisco. He accepted the offer and on September 3, 1853 he resigned from the army. He moved with his family (except for a daughter who remained with the Ewings in Ohio) to San Francisco and became a banker. According to this account he was good at it and his operation prospered. He became a well-known and respected citizen of San Francisco, even becoming Vice President of the company that built the first railroad in the state of California, east from Sacramento to the Sierras, eventually to become part of the Central Pacific Railroad. His major problem during these years was severe asthma, which got so bad he thought it would cause his death. The author speculates that it was at least partly due to stress related to his tense marriage.

    That is where the first excerpt from the biography takes up. Things are going fairly well for the future general but trouble is looming.

    1

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    2

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    James Lee McDonough, William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country, A Life

  • August 1856

    08/01/2016 5:27:03 AM PDT · 4 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    New feature!

     photo george templeton strong_zpsnhzxvu8e.jpg

    I first heard of George Templeton Strong on the Ken Burns Civil War series. His diary entries are featured throughout. It turns out he added to his diary “most days from 1835 to 1875.” I got a copy of the abridged diary from amazon and found that it is so abridged that it leaves out entire years, two of which are 1857 and 1858. That leaves me hankering to get the unabridged 4 volume set. That is kind of pricey ($200+) so it will have to wait a while as I ponder the situation. Meanwhile, I will present the surviving entries for 1856.

    From the back cover:

    Strong was an attorney by profession, and his diary reveals much about the practice of law in New York City, but he was also a trustee of Columbia University, a vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church, a close follower of local, state, and national politics, and a lover of music who seems to have attended virtually every concert held in New York. His diary reflects all those interests and more. He comments on the accession of the young Queen Victoria to the British throne in 1837, just as he records the sufferings caused by the economic recessions, or his reaction upon reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1860, and his impressions when he meets Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Strong’s diary is of particular interest and value for his comments on the relations between North and South, and blacks and whites, since his changing opinions reflect closely the changing opinions of the majority of white Northern voters as registered in the elections of the era of Civil War and Reconstruction.

    From the preface to the original edition (1952):

    Fidelity to the text has, of course, involved the retention of many outspoken passages. Strong had a way of indulging, sometimes semi-humorously, sometimes quite seriously, in heated attacks on individuals, groups, and societies; he used the diary now and then to blow off steam. His violent assaults upon Yankees, Negroes, Southern rebels, Britons, Irishmen, Frenchmen; his scathing remarks about conservative Columbia trustees, Roman Catholics, Low-Church Episcopalians, Jews, Unitarians, Presbyterians, and other sects; his contemptuous excoriation of many of the cruder manifestations of social and political democracy – all this gives salt to the great document he left. Sometimes the salt may seem a little stinging. But if hasty and unfair judgments are included, it is not because the editors approve them, but because they have historical value. . .

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    After all that our first entry may seem tame and anticlimactic. Strong describes how he provided negative assurance a (as I used to call it in the CPA business) after a bank examination.

    August 1. Spent most of a day in the Trust Company with Ludlow and Moses Taylor, as a Committee of Examination. All correct and prosperous as far as we could discover, but such an investigation is little more than a formality. Six months’ hard work over ledgers and vouchers might enable us to report positively that Kearny and David Thompson had not cheated the company out of $100,000 or so but no less amount of labor is of any real use.

    The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Abridged by Thomas J. Pressly

  • August 1856

    08/01/2016 5:23:43 AM PDT · 2 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    We have three Burning Kansas excerpts set up and a larger allotment of Harper’s Magazine posts. I have book report this month as we catch up with William Tecumseh Sherman out in California. We also have an exciting new feature that will keep readers coming back for years to come. Let’s start it off with the August Harper’s Magazine.

    During this period Harper’s issues were fairly long. This month’s is over 140 pages. I have prepared less than a quarter of that for posting. Keeping with the policy I used during the WWII series I will post the lead article in its entirety. I will also print the current events section, which seems to run about 3-5 pages. It seems like the next to last piece in each issue is a humorous pictorial sequence. God knows we need more humor, so that is in. I might as well finish with the concluding fashion pages, although the dresses I have seen so far all resemble giant elaborate lamp shades.

    Beyond these standard items I will scour the rest of the magazine looking for items that might interest a few twenty-first century readers. The magazine contains a big selection of travel articles, literary reviews, fiction, poetry, science, and so on. In the middle of the magazine is a series sections named Editor’s table, Editor’s easy chair, and Editor’s drawer. Don’t ask me. Anyway, in the August Editor’s table I found a section about mechanical inventions of recent years that seemed interesting.

    The cover of our August edition is a picture of Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, which leads into a 14-page account of a pleasure trip beside the Connecticut River, beginning at Springfield, MA and proceeding straight north along the present day path of Interstate 91 to Windsor, VT. Along the way, as well as marveling at the wondrous scenery, we vicariously visit a musket factory and armory, a button factory, a school for ladies, and the Vermont Lunatic Asylum. I found it of interest that, during the visit to the armory, the tourists discovered that security for the 150,000 new muskets was practically nonexistent. The armory is in the middle of Massachusetts – hotbed of abolitionist activism – when arms are being smuggled into Bleeding Kansas by the crate load. I think I know where some of them come from.

    The writing style took a little getting used as the language seems impossibly flowery, if that’s the word. I tried mentally translating it from 1856 English to 2016 English to better understand the literal meaning. That worked, but made me realize we may have lost something by going putting such a high value on economy of words and foregoing more creative use of the language. I guess we don’t have time for that now, what with the internet and being the most important generation ever to walk the earth and all. All the same, I suggest it is important to gain familiarity with the journalistic style of the period to better understand our American ancestors.

    Current Events begins with a report on the results of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia on June 17. The platform is summarized and the vote that resulted in the nomination of John C. Fremont of California and William L. Dayton of New Jersey as the presidential ticket is described. The American and Democratic Party nominees, Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan, respectively, think the Republican position on the extension of slavery in the territories is a bad idea.

    Then follows a report from the House Kansas Investigation Committee and an update on events in that territory. It’s a mess. A Vigilance Committee is working to get rid of the riff-raff in San Francisco. (More on that in a couple days.) Mexico is working on a new constitution and may have a war with Spain. Costa Rica suffered greater than reported losses in its invasion of Nicaragua.

    England has a new government and something going on with Central America. A peace treaty was concluded on Queen Victoria’s birthday. Palmer the poisoner was convicted and executed. France is suffering from severe flooding and their new Imperial Infant was baptized.

    The Editor’s Table discusses American inventions in the context of a nation’s obligation to do its fair share of contributing to the global good. ET leads off with the lightning rod and the steamboat as two of the earliest. It goes on in detail, but let me just quote the penultimate paragraph:

    To sum up, therefore, the United States, during the last eighty years, have endowed the world with the lighting-rod, the steamboat, the photograph, the electric telegraph, the discovery of the use of inhaled ether, the sewing machine; the best and cheapest farm implements, the best carpenters’ tools, the best locks fire-engines, nails, spikes, screws, and axes; the best fire-arms, the cheapest clocks, the fastest steamers and sailing vessels, the cheapest railroads, the lightest wagons, and many of the most useful labor-saving machines in almost every department of industry. If any nation, during the same eighty years, has done more, or as much the fact is not generally known.

    The Harper’s post ends with the humor feature, Experiments in Photography, and the fashion pages.

  • August 1856

    08/01/2016 5:21:21 AM PDT · 1 of 101
    Homer_J_Simpson
     photo kansas-nebraska-act-1854_zpshdg5kp4s.jpg

    Free Republic University, Department of History presents U.S. History, 1855-1860: Seminar and Discussion Forum
    First session: November 21, 2015. Last date to add: Sometime in the future.
    Reading: Self-assigned. Recommendations made and welcomed. To add this class to or drop it from your schedule notify Admissions and Records (Attn: Homer_J_Simpson) by reply or freepmail.

  • July 1856

    07/28/2016 6:30:38 AM PDT · 63 of 63
    Homer_J_Simpson to Homer_J_Simpson

    The John Sherman mentioned in the second sentence above is the younger brother of William Tecumseh Sherman.

  • July 1856

    07/28/2016 6:19:26 AM PDT · 62 of 63
    Homer_J_Simpson to chajin; henkster; CougarGA7; BroJoeK; central_va; Larry Lucido; wagglebee; Colonel_Flagg; Amagi; ...
    Continued from July 4 (reply #40)

     photo BK 0728_zpsx7ziinol.jpg

     photo BK 07282_zpskqavnqvk.jpg

    Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

  • July 1856

    07/23/2016 12:23:46 PM PDT · 61 of 63
    Homer_J_Simpson to rdl6989

    So - Jackson is touring Europe. While Lincoln is campaigning for John C. Fremont’s presidential bid, U.S. Grant is trying to eke out a living in St. Louis, Robert E. Lee is scouting Comanche territory in Texas and Jefferson Davis is running the War Department in Washington. I think William T. Sherman is in the banking business in San Francisco, but that is just from skimming some pages. I should have details and a book report to share next month.

  • July 1856

    07/23/2016 11:00:14 AM PDT · 58 of 63
    Homer_J_Simpson to rdl6989

    Not going to click. Wouldn’t be prudent. I am now working on a William T. Sherman bio and I want to get one for Nathan B. Forrest before I move on to general Civil War histories (thinking of Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote). I hope if you come across any news of General Jackson from whatever month we happen to be working on you can share it.