Panic of 1857


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Economy and Culture -- Readings, 1845-1865:
Speculation, Morality, and the
Panic of 1857

Complied and Edited by Roy Richard Thomas



Economy and Culture   page 5

 Samuel Rezneck, Business Depressions and Financial Panics:  Collected Essays in American Business and Economic History (1971)

National Character   page 6

William Jay, An Address Delivered Before the American Peace Society   (1845)

Edwin Hubbell Chapin, True Patriotism (1847)

Joel Giles, Practical Liberty (1848)

George R. Russell, The Merchant:  An Oration (1849)

Tayler Lewis, Nature, Progress, Ideas:  A Discourse on Naturalism (1850)

David Hunter Riddle, Our Country for the Sake of the World (1851)

Thomas H. Skinner, Love of Country (1851)

James Strong, Freedom of Thought:  the True Mean (1851)

Rollin H. Neale, Religious Liberty (1852)

John Henry Hopkins, Relations of Science and Religion (1856)

F. W. Kremer, Education:  Its Relation to Morality and Freedom (1856)

William Rounseville Alger, The Genius and Posture of America (1857)

James Walker, The Spirit Proper to the Times (1861)

William B. Sprague, Raising the National Flag Upon the . . . Church (1861)

William Rounseville Alger, Public Morals . . . True Glory of a State (1862)

Charles J. Stille, How a Free People Conduct a Long War (1862)

Amasa Walker, The Suicidal Folly of the War-System (1863)

Enterprise, Insolvency, and Social Justice   page 40

Hubbell Thatcher Greene, New York, to Crawford Allen & Co., Providence, R.I., re: credit terms (1846)

Report of the Select Committee [to the Pennsylvania Legislature] in Relation to the Sunbury and Erie Railroad (1851)

William M. Meredith, Philadelphia and the Lakes:  Address to the Citizens of Pennsylvania, in Favor of a Railroad to Connect Philadelphia with the Lakes (1852)

Bank of Owego NY, Circular, January 2, 1854

"Dupee, Perkins, & Sayles—Stock & Bill Brokers" (1856)

John Whipple, The Usury Laws (1836; 1857)


Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad Co., Report of the Committee Appointed by the Stockholders & Bondholders (1857)

John Knox, MD letters re:  debts, 1857 and 1859.

Correspondence between John Brodhead and Coleman Fisher, re:  Investment in the stock of The New Jersey Paint Company and John Broadhead’s Response (1858)

James Sloan Gibbons, The Banks of New York, Their Dealers, the Clearing House, and the Panic of 1857 (1859)

Henry Beadman Bryant, Henry Dwight Stratton, and Silas Sadler Packard, National Book-Keeping:  An Analytical and Progressive Treatise on the Science of Accounts and Its Collateral Branches (1860)

Thrift, Widows, and Philanthropy   page 79

John W. Colton, The First Century of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company (from 1846)

Benjamin F. Stevens, Reminiscences of the Past Half-Century (from 1847)

The Philadelphia Society for the Establishment and Support of Charity Schools, Annual Report for 1847

Hartford County CT Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Concerns (1848)

Girard College for Orphans, Second Annual Report . . . for the Year 1849

Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Mutual Benefit Association of Worcester, Mass, “Certificate of Membership” (1851)

Benevolent Fraternity of Churches (Boston MA), Seventeenth Annual Report of the Executive Committee (1851)

Episcopalian Clergy Daughters’ Fund, Report, &c. (1852)

A.W. Mitchell, Address of the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers, and the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers (1852)

"Hamilton Insurance Company, Salem, Mass.:  A Dividend Paying Company" (1852)

Retreat for the Insane at Hartford CT, The Twenty-eighth Annual Report (1852)

Carol Green Wilson, A History of The Heritage (from 1853)

New York City Children’s Aid Society To the Public (1853)

Philadelphia Society for the Employment and Instruction of the Poor, Annual Report . . . 1854

Philadelphia Society for the Employment and Instruction of the Poor, Annual Report . . . 1855

Merchants Fund (Philadelphia PA), Anniversary, with the Report of the Board of Managers, and the Address of Henry A. Boardman, D.D. (1855)

Preached at St. James’s Church, Westminster . . . 1855

100 Years of Being Ready When or, The Life and Times of Brewer & Lord, Insurance (from 1859)

A Consumers’ Republic   page 101

Mary Ide Torrey, City and Country Life (1854; fiction)

Daniel C. Eddy, The Young Man’s Friend (1855)

Thomas M. Clark, Early Discipline and Culture:  A Series of Lectures to Young Men and Women (1855)

G.S. Weaver, Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women (1856)

G.S. Weaver, Hopes and Helps for the Young of Both Sexes (1856)

William G. Eliott, Jr., Lectures to Young Women  (1853; 1860)

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Economy and Culture

Samuel Rezneck, in Business Depressions and Financial Panics:  Collected Essays in American Business and Economic History (Westport CT:  Greenwood, 1971, 201 pp.), presented six essays that had originally appeared in historical and economic journals between 1930 and 1960.   He wrote about the effects upon social cohesion in the United States of the hard times that occurred after financial crises in the nineteenth century:  1819-22, 1837-43, 1857-59, 1873-78, 1882-86, and 1893-97.  He also included two previously unpublished essays:  “The Sociology of American Depressions . . .” and “The Rise and Early Development of Industrial Consciousness . . . 1760-1830.”  In his Preface, Rezneck observed:

“As more and more people were drawn into the intricate interdependence of a modern industrial and market economy, its pulsations and swings became universal phenomena, affecting not only the level of business but equally social and political conditions, and particularly the state of mind and spirit of people, whether in a buoyant or depressed direction.”  [v.]

In the opinion of those whose views are expressed in these samples of the “state of mind and spirit of people,” the low point of the business cycle was an aberration that required more than an economic explanation and response.  None considered financial panics to be unpleasant but necessary purges of unsuccessful business models.  They slighted or ignored the virtue and benefits to society of risk taking and the accompanying possibility of failure.

Instead, they concentrated on what they perceived to be the moral and spiritual lapses that contributed to economic decline.  They believed they could ameliorate its consequences or even prevent its recurrence by educating individual citizens to their duties to God and country.

There is a geographical bias in this array, since most of these publications originated in New England, the Middle Atlantic States, or Washington DC.  Except for two held by the Library Company of Philadelphia, all were selected from recent acquisitions of the Special Collections Department, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.       

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National Character

William Jay, An Address Delivered Before the American Peace Society at Its Annual Meeting, May 26, 1845 (Boston:  American Peace Society, 1845), 31 pp.

“For the last thirty years, [since the defeat of Napoleon], the world has been blessed with a general peace, interrupted only by a few brief and partial struggles.  Never, probably, within an equal time, have the arts which minister human comfort advanced with such rapidity, or been so extensively diffused.  In vain shall we search the annals of our race to find a period in which the [4] necessities of life and the elements of learning were so generously enjoyed, and in which there was less violence, cruelty and oppression, than at the present day.  . . .

Various causes have contributed to the existing pacific state of the world.  The extension of commerce, and the consequent distribution of private property in foreign lands; the rapidity and facility of intercourse between distant countries through the agency of steam; the growing intelligence and influence of the popular masses; together with the power of the press in modeling and directing public opinion, have all united in checking a belligerent spirit.  But beyond all question, the labors of peace societies in Great Britain and the United States in spreading before the public facts and arguments illustrating the cost, folly, and sinfulness of war, have exerted a most salutary influence.  . . .

But although these societies have effected much, it must not be supposed that either their principles or their object are universally approved.  War still has its champions, and peace societies their opponents.  Not a few who profess to be learned in human nature, speak of us as amiable but silly enthusiasts, for thinking that the career of rapine and ambition may be checked by appeals to the conscience and the understanding.  . . .  [5]

From a far different quarter comes an unfriendly voice, warning us that voluntary associations like ours, are in contempt of the authority and in derogation of the moral influence of the Christian church.  This solemn annunciation is founded on the assumption that the church is the grand instrument, ordained by God, for the regeneration of the world, and of course she alone is authorized to devise and control agencies which might be employed for the promotion of morality and religion.” [3-5]


Edwin Hubbell Chapin, True Patriotism:  A Discourse Delivered on Fast Day, in the Second Universalist Church (Boston:  A Tompkins, 1847), 19 pp.

“Christ came to reform principles, and not mere facts.  Therefore, he did not pause to combat every false institution, or to catalogue every sin and denounce it by name.  If so, he would have entangled himself in endless controversy, perhaps without producing one radical result. [3]

. . .

The true Patriot I define to be the one who acts for his Country from the highest moral convictions, and in consistency with all his obligations.  . . .  Love of country is one of the most beautiful sentiments of our nature.  . . .   We may talk as we will of the cords that bind us to other men—the family-bond is dearest, the home most sacred.  We may urge with eloquent justice the brotherhood of the race, but especially precious and venerable to us is the land by whose name we are called.  . . .  He who attains to the highest patriotism, and considers ‘the world as his country,’ has first embraced his native land with a peculiar attachment.  . . .

But what are the obligations?  What must we render to our country?  . . . [8]  He will rejoice in and support every institution of intellectual culture, of moral and spiritual good.  . . .  He will patronize art, and encourage literature, and honor talent, as among the highest interests of his native land.  And whatever may be his religious views,  . . . he will venerate those institutions of Religion which surely bless the land that honors them, which consecrate the duties and the trials of life, and plant in the individual heart those moral sanctions which alone can preserve or advance a nation.

Moreover, the true patriot will maintain the rights of his country.  He knows that there can be no liberty, and consequently no prosperity, where these are encroached upon—that for national as for individual action, there must be a certain unrestricted orbit which no foreign body shall violate.  . . .  [9]

While he avoids an unjust or quarrelsome spirit, he will with frank and determined energy demand his country’s rights.  It may be, that, in self-defense, he will see cause to draw the sword, and to fall on his home-soil a martyr to patriotism.  It may be he will discover some wiser means of defending the right.  But, in either case, his country will find him at the post of duty.  [3-9]

. . .

‘Our country, right or wrong.’  the sentiment springs from that false idea which has almost tainted the name of patriotism, and converted it into a symbol of the local, the selfish, and the narrow.” [15]


Joel Giles, Practical Liberty:  An Oration Delivered Before the City authorities of Boston in the Tremont temple, July 4, 1848 (Boston:  Eastburn’s Press, 1848), 24 pp.

“Our fathers founded this beloved Republic.  It is ours—a labor no less god-like—to exercise and preserve it.  What, then, are the great problems before us as a nation?  That [Mexican] War has ended, which ought never to have begun.  By it, we have won more glory than we deserve, and acquired more territory than we want.  For monopoly is against divine intent, and cannot prosper in the long run.  It is not for one man, or one nation, to do every thing.  The same law, which makes individuals, families, tribes, tongues, and races, divides among them the regions of the earth, and the labor to be done therein.

We occupy a central position, fronting on two seas.  Of land and water we have our share, and enough.  Our boundaries at last, are fixed by treaties of peace; and cursed be he who again disturbs our landmarks.

Our military position cannot be improved.  With a neutral nation on either wing, our Atlantic and Pacific fleets on either front, and a nation of freemen in the center, we shall ever be invincible to all foreign foes; and in case of war upon this continent, the center commands the wings.

Let us therefore be content.  We have thirty States already, and territory enough for forty more as large; and beyond them, the boundless commerce of the Pacific, with China and Japan—a glorious and sufficient field for all the peaceful energies of our Liberty, mighty as they are.  And into this Union those States [23] will surely come.  Shall they be free?  Yes, they shall be free.  Let peace abroad and union at home be our policy, and our watchwords of Freedom; and Slavery shall vanish from our land, like night before the sun.  . . .

The charms of that Liberty which we enjoy, so grateful to the aspirations of all men; the unexampled success of our political and social organizations; the space which we fill in the affairs of the world, and the influence of rising power, have assigned us a conspicuous position among the nations of the earth.  We cannot, if we would, avoid the responsibility of [24] affecting the welfare of millions of our fellow men.  The commands of Heaven are upon us.  . . .

The duty is great, but the promise is greater; for the Redeemer of our race, whose gospel is the foundation and guaranty of all our liberties, has said, that if ye continue my word, then yee shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [22-24]


George R. Russell, The Merchant:  An Oration . . . Phi Beta Kappa Society at Providence, Rhode Island, September 4, 1849 (Boston:  Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1849), 60 pp.


I propose to speak to you of the Merchant, or the influence of Commerce.  If, in the selection of this subject, I may seem to have departed from ordinary usage, which requires a more immediate connection with what may be presumed to be the tastes and inclinations of the greater part of those [intellectuals] who assemble on an occasion like this, it is because I have not perceived its unfitness of place, or irrelevancy to intellectual and literary occupations.

The scholar may feel some interest for the pursuit, which has contributed so largely to the facilities for his own calling; and, by extending its thousand hands to every region of the earth, has collected whatever is curious in science, or desirable in art.  . . .  [4]  In the halls of colleges hang the portraits of benefactors, who trafficked in the busy world that they might endow professorships, fill the shelves of libraries, and place at the command of the student, whatever is recorded of the genius, intelligence, and industry of man.  . . .  The man of books may pause, before he disdains companionship with the man of business, or arrogates to himself exclusive property in the field of literature.

The young merchant, in these days, treads hard on the track of the professed scholar.  Even in his early novitiate, he is not now, content with the accomplishments which are deemed requisite in his initiation; and which, by no means ignoble, do not call for strong mental exertion, nor require, for perfectibility, the length of time often devoted to these mysteries.  He seeks more than can be found in his routine of duties.  He is not satisfied with proficiency [5] in sweeping store, making fires, and trimming lamps; in being an errand boy, or a copying machine; and his higher aspirations are aided by the opportunities for acquiring acknowledge, which have, within a few years, been most bountifully multiplied.

There are lectures, libraries, and reading-rooms for those who crave, for their leisure hours, something more than mere amusement.  . . .  Mercantile associations have been formed, whose object is to encourage improvement, promote a taste for science and art, stimulate an attention to intellectual culture, and induce a devotion to qualifications which may give a wider range for future usefulness.  Knowledge is sought for itself alone; no academic honors are expected; no diploma is to reward a periodical regard to prescribed tasks.  . . . [6]

A sketch of the history of commerce may not be inappropriate, as embodying much that illustrates its connection with civilization.  Doubtless it originated in the first wants of man, which he was unable to gratify without recourse to others.”  [3-6]

            . . .

“Sit not with folded hands, calling on Hercules.  Thine own arm is the demigod.  It was given to thee to help thyself.  Go forth into the world trustful, but fearless.  Exalt thine adopted profession, nor vainly hope that its name alone will exalt thee.  Look on labor as honorable, and dignify the task before thee, whether it be in the study, office, counting-room, workshop, or furrowed field.  There is equality in all, and the resolute will and pure heart may ennoble either.

But no duty requires thee to shut out beauty, or neglect the influences that may unite thee with Heaven.  The wonders of art will humanize thy calling.  The true poet may make thee a better man, and unknown feelings will well up within thee, when the painter’s soul glows on canvass, and the almost breathing marble stands a glorious monument of the statuary’s skill.  . . .”  [59]


Tayler Lewis, Nature, Progress, Ideas:  A Discourse on Naturalism, in Its Various Phases, as Opposed to the True Spiritual Doctrine of the Divine Imperium  . . . (Schenectady NY:  G.Y. Van Debogert, 1850), 56 pp.

“Providence, Nature, Ideas, Progress, Art.  These are preeminently the words of the age.  We propose to examine cursorily some of their main aspects, to ascertain their general significance, to present some of their principal abuses, and to point out a few of the more striking characteristics of the schools by which they are most frequently employed.  . . .

Three years ago a discourse was delivered from this place, and on a similar anniversary of this [New York Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa] society, which was listened to with profoundest interest. The aim . . . on that occasion, was to refute those insidious views which would exclude from the material universe, every distinct recognition of a personal energizing deity, or of any distinct creative, or [4] miraculous or supernatural power.

The great tendency of the naturalistic spirit, it was clearly and powerfully shown, is so to bring all physical movements under one unyielding chain of cause and effect in natural sequence . . . [7]

We contend, however, that call them whatever name he will, there is a large class of facts which our philosophic historian cannot directly link into his chain of visible causation, and yet they must be regarded as furnishing influences that enter largely into the sequence of events.  In other words, there must be acknowledged a class of agencies which must be viewed as occupying a mid-region between the simply natural, on the one hand, and the miraculous on the other, and to which we have given the name providential—using the term rather in its ordinary sense of intervention, than in its strict etymological import.” [3-7]


David Hunter Riddle, Our Country for the Sake of the World:  A Sermon . . . Home Missionary Society . . . May 1851 (New York:  Baker, Godwin, 1851), 31 pp.

“Rev. David H. Riddle, D.D., Pittsburgh PA.; Preached in New York and Brooklyn”  [cover and title page]

“We should seek the blessing of God on our country, and labor for its spiritual prosperity, and the universal establishment, in all our borders, of Christian institutions and their collateral and consequent influences.  And he is not a Christian, in deed and in truth, who does not do this to the full extent of his ability and opportunity, by his wealth, example, and influence.  But Oh! What an increment of motive and energy will be added to all, if we do this, as the willing instruments and conscious [7] trustees of the great God, for the speedy and universal evangelization of our race.

On this high ground, we desire to place the enterprise, and obligations, and glory of Home Missions.  We plead and labor for the establishment and extension of a sound ministry, and the evangelical influences which invariably cluster around it, beneficent to man and conservative of his interests in all his relations.  By the enlargement of Home Missions, correspondently with our unparalleled enlargement of territory, and increase in population, we desire to secure the prevalence of true piety and Christian principles at home; but in so doing, we are pleading and laboring for the world’s redemption, for the good of a race for which Christ died, and over which he is set to reign; and thus, indirectly, indeed, but effectually and practically, we are fulfilling the injunction of the Master, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.’  . . .

Let our whole land be leavened, our country thoroughly evangelized—let all our institutions be brought under the sanctifying influences of Christian principles; let all our population, high and low, rich and poor, learned and rude, from the President who occupies the people’s house, to the peasant who inhabits the lowliest hamlet or hovel of our Western wilds, be baptized with the spirit of Jesus Christ; let Christianity of a pure apostolic [8] type, reign without a rival in all our councils, modify all our legislation, be the inspiring genius of all our commercial, agricultural, and manufacturing interests;  let its precepts direct the application of our increasing and superfluous wealth, and the grace of its author guide us in projecting and prosecuting our schemes of philanthropy; let America, in a word, as the result of God’s blessing on her institutions of religion and organs of benevolent action, once fully realize her responsibility to God, and see aright her mission to mankind, and the way of God would soon be known on earth, and his saving health would soon be experienced among all nations.

Right institutions, civil and religious—the common heritage of man, and which appertain equally and inalienably to all nations, and which we hold in trust for the rest of the race, would soon be enjoyed by this dark and troubled world, tossed so long by tempests on the surges of unavailing change.  The prayer of the great American church of all denominations, caught from the ancient oracle, should be, ‘God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.’  And every one who has a heart to love God, his country, and his kind, should say, Amen!  For it is the prayer and response of enlightened patriotism, enlarged philanthropy, and true Christianity.

This position of Home Missions is based on the assumption of the immense influence of our country, for good or evil, on the other nations of the earth—a postulate which we presume will be questioned by no intelligent Christian or citizen who has allowed his mind at all, or intelligently at least, to dwell upon the subject.  The providence and past dealings of God seem to say to our country, ‘ Who knoweth whether thou art come [9] to the kingdom for such a time as this?’   . . .  We have come to a position of peculiar, at least, if we cannot say peerless eminence, amongst existing nations; to the possession of extensive, if not incomparable influence, giving us incalculable power over the rest of the world.  With a gladness of gratitude, not unmingled with solicitude for the fearful responsibilities, we gather evidences of this, alike from the acknowledgment of friends, and the unwilling but not less unequivocal admissions of our enemies; from the hopes of the struggling masses, and the fears of the dominant and oppressive minorities of the earth.

And was there ever ‘such a time as this,’ when so many elements derived from the intimations of prophecy and [concurrent] events, combines to constitute and justify the expectations of a crisis, and when the possession of power involved such mighty responsibilities?  . . .  [10]   If nations could have seen their dispensation, as we now see it—could our light have been thrown back on their path, or the issues thundered in trumpet tones, how different would have been their consciousness of their mission, and possibly, the course of their conduct.  . . .  [11]  There is a great temptation, also, to exaggeration among Americans.  But aside from all these self-exalting exaggerations, in the sober and solemn light of facts and statistics, and the deep responsibilities they involve, we can hardly adequately measure the present, and especially the prospective greatness and consequent influence of our country.  This impression is deepened by every view we can take of our country.  . . .”  [6-11]

“In addition to all we have said, you are aware that systematic overtures are making to bring our country, though the predominating power of the West, and thus our world, under Roman Catholic influence; to fight in that arena the battle of Popish or Protestant supremacy!  On this point we are not and have never been alarmists.  We do not blame the Roman Catholics for their zeal.  We honor them, on the contrary, for their consistency.  They believe there is no salvation out of the church—meaning the Romish church; that the best temporal and civil interests of man are identified with possession and prevalence of the true religion; and that every interest must be subordinated to the establishment and extension of God’s kingdom on earth.

With these principles, what else could we expect than the most vigorous and well-directed exertions to gain preponderance of power in our country, whose institutions are destined ultimately to spread over the world?  . . .  [24]  It will not do for us to be forever quarreling with the Catholics, calling them bad names, accusing them of ambition, conspiracies, and what not, while we are doing nothing to establish Protestant institutions.  It is pitiable to be groaning perpetually over Catholic progress and encroachments, while we lavish our wealth in schemes of self-glorification, without equaling, or at least emulating the zeal and benevolence of those whom we dread.  We must rear better schools, give better education to youth of both sexes, found libraries, sustain a learned and orthodox ministry so liberally, that they can cope successfully with the Jesuit.  . . .  Yea, we must personally labor in our respective posts, learn the luxury of making money to give away in large-hearted schemes of benevolence, if we would not see another generation, seduced by the gorgeous ceremonies and splendid pageants of Popery, forsaking the religion of their forefathers, and surrendering the institutions of America to the power of the Antichrist.    . . .”  [23-24]


Thomas H. Skinner, Love of Country:  A Discourse . . . December 12th, 1850 (New York:  E. French, 1851), 30 pp.

[The Fugitive Slave Act had been approved September 18, 1850.]

“Delivered on Thanksgiving Day in the Bleecker Street Church by Thomas H. Skinner, Professor in the Union Theological Seminary.”  [title page]

“Rev. Thomas H. Skinner, D.D.  Dear Sir—The undersigned . . . who had the pleasure of listening to your discourse,  . . . believing it well adapted to promote the best interests of the Country, respectfully request a copy for publication.  [Names of seven members of the congregation], New York, December 13, 1850.

Gentlemen.  Although the discourse to which you refer, was written some years ago, I trust that its teaching is sufficiently suitable to the times, to justify my consenting to it publication.  . . .  A few paragraphs have been added to it since its delivery, but I do not think they would have varied your opinion as to its character on the whole.  Thomas H. Skinner, January 9, 1851.”  [3]

“It has been said that Christianity is against Patriotism.  It removes the walls of partition between the different nations; makes the world one brotherhood; and thus leaves no place for the love of country, which is a sectarian and selfish sentiment, and is consistent with enmity to mankind.  . . .  This, I shall, in the first place, show to be an error, or prove that Patriotism is a Christian virtue.  Then, secondly, I shall specify the prominent duties of Christian patriotism; and finally, I shall consider how love to our country, guided by the Gospel, will show itself in reference to two or three subjects of national moment, now exciting special interest, and one of them no small solicitude, amongst us.  . . .  [7]

The Gospel indeed proclaims peace and goodwill to the [8] world.  It seeks to make all men in reference to earth, pilgrims and strangers, to unite them in one holy and happy fellowship, and to subject them to new and celestial relationships, strong and lasting as eternity, and embracing in their wide scope, the entire universe of the good, both on earth and in heaven.  But the reasoning which would hence infer any inconsistency in the spirit of the Gospel, with the highest degrees of devotion to the welfare of our country, would make Christianity subversive of the foundations of society, and opposed not to nationality only, but to the continuance of the human race.  For if love of country be excluded by the predominance of that heavenly mindedness which the Gospel inculcates, so are the love of neighborhood, and the love of domestic relations, and all endearments of friendship, and all local attachments, and the pursuits of business, and labors for a household provision, and whatever else is necessary to the continued existence of man in this world.  . . .  [9]

There is a species of patriotism, so called, which the Gospel does not approve.  It was the maxim . . . that whatever is advantageous to one’s country is just.  But as that self-love is criminal which pursues its purpose in violation of another’s rights, so is that love of country, if it must be so termed, which wantonly interferes with the peace and independence of other nations.  . . .  A plundering army is in the sight of God, but an association of robbers and murderers, whose individual liabilities will not be alleviated in the day of judgment, because they were banded together and headed by a brave and skillful chief.  . . .

The religion of Christ is also opposed to the vaunted patriotism of the spirit of party.  The Gospel obliges us to seek the Country’s good; not the success of one portion of the community in opposition to another.  It may be that the interests of the party and of the Country are identical; in which case, while Christianity requires us to pursue those interests, it forbids our doing so with the feelings of rivalry.  And if we disregard the prohibition, however successful we may be, it denies us the praise of love to the nation.  . . .  [10]

I proceed to specify the leading Duties embraced in the Love of Country.  It has been questioned whether Christians, and especially Ministers of the Gospel, should not stand aloof from all political contests, and either not vote at elections, or conceal their votes, so that their preference among rival candidates for office shall not be known.  But is it not a purely selfish and time-serving prudence which ordinarily suggests this course?  There may be rare occasions when reserve may be demanded; and our moderation and equanimity in political affairs should always be exemplary.  But the cause of our Country is in all respects too important, and especially too closely connected with the interests of religion, to permit anyone who is controlled by principle and the spirit of the Gospel, to be in common cases, either negative or unknown in the influence which he exerts.  Shall the interests of the nation be abandoned to the blind and headlong action of partisan zeal?  . . .

A Patriotism governed by the precepts of the Gospel cannot be revolutionary, so long as the government is [11] administered according to legitimate authority, or the commission granted by laws.  We may frankly express our opinions of cabinet measures and legislative enactments.  Under our responsibility to God, we should examine and judge whether the executive Head of the nation and all subordinate officers, act in their respective stations with or without authority; and if the limits of power are transgressed by them, we are not bound to silent submission.

Circumstances may make it certain that resistance would be unavailing, in which case it would be unjustifiable.  But to maintain that non-resistance is universally our duty, is to place God on the side of absolute tyranny, and to deny the permanent obligation of Patriotism, unless it be the invariable fact, that magistrates, do what they may, should be left unmolested.  But so long as the government which is administered, is that which has been established, and so long as the administration is constitutional on the whole, however imperfect in some particulars, the spirit and the proceedings of Christian patriotism will be anti-revolutionary.  . . .

Nevertheless, Patriotism, as I have intended to assert, may possibly not only consist with, but be active and prominent in promoting Resistance.  The noblest manifestations of the love of country have been made in revolutionary conflicts.  When magistrates, for their own aggrandizement, maltreat [12] and oppress the people in the exercise of usurped authority, they are the greatest of criminals, and if there be no appointed means for displacing them, other effectual means, if there be such, should be taken.  . . .  [13]

It is said that Christianity forbids the use of arms and every form of war, so that martial courage is no form of true Patriotism.  This, which is manifestly inconsistent with which we have just been propounding, is not the true teaching of Christianity.  Though the Gospel would beat swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks, and keep the world in perfect peace, and though it employs a tone and emphasis of teaching against wars and fighting, which makes the responsibility for them fearful, yet it gives no ground to the conclusion, that it is unlawful to serve one’s Country in the camp or the battlefield.  . . .  [14]  Great as are the horrors of war, the same principle which vindicates the Divine Government in permitting these and greater evils, namely—that the highest good of the whole must be maintained against all opposition, at whatever hazards or consequences, vindicates the use of weapons of war in support of the government legally administered, against all assailants from without or within.  . . .  [15]

Finally, though the Church in this land be separate from the State, there is no power which can be brought into action in favor of the nation’s happiness, equal to that of the Pulpit.  . . .  If it receive no support, it is under no specific obligations.  If it stands alone, it stands independent and free.  While there is no place near or remote, no person high or low, no subject [16] whether politics, legislation, morals, religion, science, or art, to which it may not boldly apply its appropriate influence, under the protection of the government, so long as it violates no one’s civil rights.  This privilege has the American Pulpit.  . . .  [17]

We now turn our attention to the more particular topics we promised to remark upon.  1.  Popular Education.  . . .  [18]  It is well . . . for our Republic, that the work of educating the common people is engaging so much thought.  It is an auspicious omen that all our political parties think and speak alike on this point.  No party seems to regard popular ignorance as necessary to its success.      . . .  [19] 

The question is under discussion, whether the Word of God should be read in our Common Schools?  It is strenuously urged against this, that our Government being nonsectarian, cannot constitutionally interfere with anyone’s preferences or opinions on this point.  The argument would restrain our legislatures from allowing any connection whatever, of religion, with their proceedings.  Were there heathens amongst us, they might complain.  Atheists themselves might complain of any legislative measure which was against their convictions and consciences, as to matters of religion.

Is it so, that our civil authorities must stand as much aloof from all recognition of God and Christ in the exercise of their functions, as this argument supposes?  If it be, with what fearful interest should we examine on what foundation our institutions are resting, and whether our destiny as a nation is not that which awaits all nations which refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of Christ.  . . .  [20]

2.  Romanism.  This is an element in our social State, which does not combine well with our peculiar institutions.  Its ascendancy would be our overthrow as an independent people.  It would subject us [21] to the sway of the Pope, whose kingdom is of this world—not spiritual only.  The priests of this superstition are under an oath of allegiance to the Roman pontiff, which binds them to him in such a manner, that they could not, without perjury, stand for our country’s independence.  . . .

This religion is becoming quite prominent and zealous in our political operations, and would make the impression that in some districts it already holds the balance of power.  . . .  What is to be done?  . . .  [22]  The favor of God would be forfeited by closing our door against any portion of suffering mankind.  Nor should we receive them otherwise than with kindness, nor deal with them otherwise than as brethren.  They come to us with a religion which we cannot look upon with favor, but they come to improve their condition.  . . .  [23]  The Protestant population is gaining on the Catholic at the rate of more than four hundred thousand a year.  . . .The converts from Romanism are many times more than the converts to it.  These facts show no cause for fear.  . . .

3.  Slavery.  This is becoming a subject of extreme interest in this country.  . . .  As Christian patriots, we cannot be justified in holding toward it the position of neutrality or indifference.  It is not probable that the excitement which has been created will subside without some result of importance to the nation.  What course does true patriotism require us to take in regard to it?  . . .  [24]  Slavery as a system, should find advocates everywhere throughout the whole earth sooner than in this land of freedom.  It should, and we hope soon will be, the universal desire that the institution utterly cease.  . . .

American slavery, whatever evils it includes or propagates, has law on its side, and that, if we are not to renounce Christianity, is a serious fact, neither to be overlooked nor simply condemned and denounced.  Christianity, as taught by Christ and his apostles, does not permit its disciples, either individually or in their synods, to resist directly the civil power, except where that power forbids the exercise of true religion; and that authorizing slavery simply does not amount to this, the sacred records must attest.  . . .  [25]

If the State interposed no obstacle; if it was convinced of the impolicy [sic] of Slavery, and desirous of bringing it to an end, and ready to enter upon prudent and feasible measures for it abolition at once, would there be no obstructions to be surmounted, no provisions against incidental evils to be devised, nothing to be done to prepare the slave population for a condition of independence? [26]  . . .

A tide of opinion and feeling is rising against it, which, if things proceed as they are now doing, will at length become too powerful to be resisted.  If, however, it be undone, with advantage to the slaves, and without hazard to the peace of the nation, the result must be effected, not by an impetuous driving home of abstract right and truth, but by the meekness of wisdom operating in the indirect, gentle and [persuasive] methods of primitive evangelicalism.  In this age, and especially in this free land, the discussion of the subject should, as it will, be prosecuted; but this should be done thoroughly.  The subject should be looked at on all sides; all the difficulties connected with it should be admitted and considered.  Allowances should be made for circumstances tending to mitigate the country’s responsibility, as having the evil entailed upon it; and the proceedings in regard to it should be marked by exemplary meekness, taking note of the glaring fact that the materials and causes for excitement in this affair are peculiarly abundant, both in the actors and those acted upon.  . . .

These, so far as we can see, are the general principles by which our love of country should direct its way in relation to this subject.  [27]

[These principles] are, I think, the proper directory of our patriotism in reference to the excitement now prevailing about the restoration of fugitives from slavery.  The immediate occasion of this excitement is a legislative measure for the maintenance of principles of order, which were settled, when the compact was formed, on which the American Union is based.  The States originally composing this Union bound themselves by a sacred compact to observe these principles, and the other States also are under the same obligation.  These foundations of the Union had been disturbed, and our national Council, after serious and long deliberation, enacted this law as a measure for securing them against further molestation.

That it would produce excitement could not but have been foreseen from the existing state of feeling in the country in regard to Slavery; but its justification is, that this, or some other not less efficacious measure, was necessary to prevent a worse evil—the violation of the national compact, tending to the disruption of the bonds of Union, and the overthrow of the great American Republic.

The law has given dissatisfaction on various grounds.  It has been thought by some to be unconstitutional, by others to be at least inexpedient, and not a few have denounced it as positively immoral, or against the law of God.  Without attempting to examine its character, or interfering with any one’s judgment of it in any point of view, the path of Patriotism is manifest.  Be the just estimate of the law in question what it may, if such a country as this is any longer an object to be loved or desired, if American Patriotism has not become an unlawful and vicious sentiment, violent resistance [28] to the authorities of the land is one of the highest crimes that man can commit.

It is universally felt that the restoration of fugitives from bondage is, in itself or apart from civil relations and affinities, a work of simple injustice and inhumanity; but where such fugitives themselves are violators of civil order, and where those who oppose their restoration are violators of the same order, and of their own sacred covenant, whereby they have bound themselves not to violate it, no true humanity, or justice, or virtue, in any form, will forcibly resist the execution of a law requiring their restoration.

The alternative now is, either let the law have its course, or to overthrow if possible the government of the country—and the office of casuistry here, is to judge which of these two will prove the greater evil.  If the destruction of the government would be for the advantage of the slaves, would this compensate the evil in which it would involve the interests of the nation and of mankind?

There is no difference as to the course to be taken, whether the law be immoral or not, so far as resisting the government is concerned.  Those who think it immoral should not violate conscience, by doing what to them would be wrong, but let them not violate social order and resist the ordinance of God, by refusing to suffer patiently what obedience to conscience may cost them.  They have in this country the right of remonstrance and petition, and of using whatever means they may think best, consistently with keeping the public peace, for obtaining the regular appeal of a law.  . . .  [29]  To resist the authorities in the regular administration of a law, simply because it is supposed to be unjust, is the part, not of loyalty to God, but of rebellion against both God and State.  . . .”  [6-29]  


James Strong, Freedom of Thought:  the True Mean, an Address Delivered before the Philomathean Society of Troy Conference Academy, West Poultney VT, . . July, 15, 1851 (New York:  John F. Trow, 1851), 31 pp.

“Here . . . is the true standard for an intelligent being:  we would simply bid him, BE FREE; let him think for himself, and so act.  The blind adherent of established usage, surrenders his opinion to the habits that others have fixed.  The admirer of whatever is new, is a captive to the capricious inventions of others.   The tame conservative merges his identity in the mass of his fellows.   He alone is known and appreciated in his proper individuality, who has the searching spirit to detect, and the manliness to pursue, what ought to be true for him.  But this liberty must not be mistaken for license; it is not free-thinking in this sense that we advocate.  That so-called freedom of thought which throws off restraints imposed by the laws of sound reason, is really a vassalage to some external bias upon the mind; yet even this can only be counteracted by a recurrence to one’s native judgment.  The truly wise man, therefore, is in all cases he whose mind acts freely.  He alone brings into harmonious avail all the powers and propensities of his nature, however contrary their direction; and like the low-pressure engine, whose exhausted cylinder makes each arm alternately assist the other, so his power of creating within his own breast a [14] vacuum from all prepossession, converts the opposing forces into positive helps, and he moves forward in might once secure and equable.” [13-14]

Rollin H. Neale, Religious Liberty:  A Sermon Delivered Before His Excellency George S. Boutwell, Governor, His Honor Henry W. Cushman, Lieutenant Governor, the Honorable Council, and the Legislature of Massachusetts at the Annual Election, January 8, 1852 (Boston:  Dutton & Wentworth, 1852), 48 pp.

            “Pastor of the First Baptist church, Boston” [title page]

“The bearing of religious liberty on our own National Prosperity, is the topic, which may occupy, not unprofitably, the present hour.  By religious liberty we mean the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of our own conscience.  Its principle is, that while we are under obligation to be good and peaceable citizens, to obey magistrates, and submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, no human authority may interfere with our relations to the Creator; that for our faith and practice, so long as we do not trench upon the legitimate sphere of civil government, we are responsible only to Him who has exclusive domain of the soul; that in those thoughts and feelings and actions which we regard as essential to the enjoyment of the divine favor and attainment of eternal life, no human eye may watch us, no human arm control us, no human tribunal summon us to account.

It must be so from the very nature of the case.  Religion is strictly an individual affair.  Every man must here think and feel, act and answer, for himself.  Neither guilt nor holiness is communicable by bargain, barter, or descent.  Neither magistrate nor priest, minister nor layman, can stand before the [7] Creator as the spiritual representative of another.  The sphere of our religious emotions is a sacred enclosure, where each individual is to be left alone with God.  . . .  [8]

Such is the religious liberty enjoyed in these United States.  It is derived directly from the King in Zion.  It is not regarded as a matter of toleration, but a heaven-descended and inalienable right.  . . .  [9]

Persecution may indeed exist without brandishing deadly weapons over the head of the supposed errorist [sic]. It may follow its victim with suspicion and scorn.  It may turn upon him the demoniac glare of anger, and breathe venom from its lips.  But this spirit, we have reason to hope, is fast disappearing from among us; or, if it lingers in some quarters and occasionally lifts up its horrid form, it is looked upon with general disgust as a base outrage upon humanity, and the grossest violation of the laws of God.  Such is our liberty.  . . . [10]

What then is the practical bearing of religious liberty upon our happiness and prosperity as a nation?  In the first place, it is the parent and guardian of mental liberty.  Independence of thought on one subject leads to independence of thought on others.  . . .  There have been times in the history of nations, nor have these times entirely passed away, when religious restrictions were laid upon the intellect as well as upon the conscience.  . . .  [11]  Preachers and authors wrote with the fear of censorship, or the index of prohibited books, before their eyes.”


. . .

“The influence of this freedom is not confined to the study of the scholar.  It is something practical.  We all share of its blessings.  It is felt in every department of society, and changes the entire character and destiny of nations.  [13]

 . . .

Dangers indeed are to be apprehended from these awakened energies.  The practical effect of liberty, depending as it does upon the manner in which it is employed, is diversified in its character, like the vegetation of the earth.  . . .  A strange progeny is sometimes born even of American freedom.  . . .  Under its excited influence a thousand uncouth notions and inventions are obtruded upon the public eye.  Strange and suspicious theories in science, government, and religion, are broached and propagated through the community.  . . .  [16]  Views adverse to the church and ministry, and to all organized governments, are freely expressed; yea, attacks are made on the Bible and Christianity itself.  But do we, on this account, wish any other restraints upon the soul than those which Heaven imposes?”  . . .  [17]

[Secondly], religious liberty has a direct and strong bearing upon our national stability.  Prophecies of failure respecting the republic have been uttered from its origin.  The cry of disunion is nothing new or strange.  There are doubtless some circumstances which may justly occasion alarm.  . . . [18]  That this nation, in its prosperity and pride, is exposed to danger, it were hypocrisy and falsehood to deny.”  [15-19]

            . . .

“What then, in these circumstances, are our means of safety?  Shall we rely solely on government?  Will you put this population, fired with the spirit of freedom, into a strait jacket of civil statutes, and compass them about with constabulary force?  . . .  [22]

Our Free-School System also, owes its prosperity, and indeed its existence, to the spirit of religious liberty.  . . .  Sectarianism is, as it ought to be, excluded from our schools.  Teachers are selected indiscriminately from the whole community, and the question asked is, whether they are qualified to instruct our children in the usual branches of a popular education, and not to what church they belong, nor [23] what are the peculiarities of their religious creed.  . . .

[Thirdly], religious liberty secures most fully and most effectively to our nation, the influence of the [24] pulpit.  . . .  The truth is, that free, republican institutions tend to strip off the pomp and glare of official dignity, and accord respect and honor to men for what they are in themselves.”  [21-24]

            . . .

“America is called upon, by the providence of God, to put forth the impulses of a generous humanity.  Hers is no ordinary mission.  The [40] Indian and the African have yet unfulfilled claims upon her justice.  The down-trodden of her own land  . . . are now crying for relief.  She cannot be heedless of these appeals.  She would be unfaithful to her character and past history, if indifferent to oppression and suffering in any part of the world.”  [39-40]

John Henry Hopkins, Relations of Science and Religion:  Discourse Delivered in Albany During the Session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Albany NY:  Van Bentyuysen, 1856), 30 pp.

Rt. Rev. Hopkins, “Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Vermont,” was speaking about three years before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

“. . .  The whole may be disposed of more satisfactorily by a simple recurrence to principles, which no candid reasoner [sic] can refuse to sanction.

1. First, then, let us remember that the term ‘Science’ can never be justly applied to matters of which it is impossible for men in our age to know any thing, save what the original record of inspiration has communicated.  For Science, as I have shown, signifies knowledge, and this knowledge, moreover, must be founded upon clear, certain, and self-evident principles, and be reduced to a regular system.  But the [27] mode in which the Creator thought fit to do His wondrous work is totally beyond human conception.  . . .

2.  In the second place, these philosophers [scientists] are wantonly traveling out of their proper track, and have no right to publish speculations which can do no possible good, but must, on the contrary, do more or less evil.  The Bible was given for the moral and spiritual instruction of mankind.  What can they gain by opposing its received interpretation?  Suppose they succeed in shaking the faith of Christians, what substitute have they to offer?  Religion is the only regulator of the conscience and the heart—the only foundation of law, justice, order, and government.  And no man who is a real philanthropist, and will pause to reflect upon the tendency of such assaults, can feel justified for a moment in encouraging them.

[Rev. Hopkins then pointed out that scientists disagree among themselves regarding their theories.]

F. W. Kremer, Education:  Its Relation to Morality and Freedom, An Address (Lancaster PA:  Theo. Penn, 1856), 16 pp.  “Delivered before the Goethean Literary Society of Franklin & Marshall College, at the Laying of the Corner Stone, of Their Second Hall, July 22, 1856.”

“Having now taken a brief view of the general subject of education, and noticed the relation of mental culture to a pure morality and true personal freedom, I shall proceed to notice the relation of mental discipline to morality and civil freedom.  From what has already been said of mere intellectual training aside from proper attention to the heart, it is easy to infer [11] that not mere education, not a general diffusion of knowledge can be regarded as the basis of free institutions, but the prevalence of a sound, evangelical morality.  Not indeed that such morality, or religion can, or should exist alone, divorced from education, but that it constitutes the only reliable and proper guaranty for civil freedom.”  [10-11]


William Rounseville Alger, The Genius and Posture of America:  An Oration . . . Boston, July 4, 1857 (Boston:  Daily Bee, 1857), 60 pp.

“. . .  The first duty, therefore, of every American, is to cleanse his country from wrong, and to establish impartial righteousness at home. He must lend his aid in every proper method to those reforms which aim to remove human bondage, intemperance, the gallows, and every other legal crime and shameful custom [26] fastened on us in the pagan night of the past; that no more manacled hands and streaming eyes may be upturned, pleading to us for pity and to heaven for justice; that no more corpses, swinging in the gibbets of our jail yards, may curdle the blood of Christianized humanity in its veins; that the matted and seething masses of licentiousness and pauperism, abated from their degrading dens, may no more infect and upbraid our civilization.  . . .

For, the second emphatic obligation resulting from the American posture is to preserve national fraternity in its relations abroad.  . . .  In the first place, we cannot help sympathizing profoundly with the victims of oppression in Italy, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Ireland, and elsewhere.  . . .  [27]  But this sympathizing reception of the spurned laborers and flying refugees of other lands does not bind our country to be made the common sewer and receptacle for the offscourings [sic] of the old world, the emptyings [sic] of its jails, hulks, almshouses, and hospitals.

This indecent outrage has been deliberately [28] inflicted upon us too long.  Have we not a right to protect ourselves against the ravenous dregs of anarchy and crime, the tainted swarms of pauperism and vice Europe shakes on our shores from her diseased robes?  When this naked mass of unkempt and priest-ridden degradation, bruised with abuse, festering with ignorance, inflamed with rancor, elated with blind expectations, has sprung on our continent, and turning round, shakes its offcast [sic] fetters and rags in one hand, brandishes sword and torch in the other, its eyeballs glaring vindictive rage upon the governments which have expatriated it—shall we, without the slightest regard to its preparedness, our own safety, or the peace of the world, give this monstrous multitude instantaneous possession of every political prerogative, letting it storm our ballot boxes with its drift of mad votes, and fill half our offices with its unnaturalized [sic] fanatics?    . . .  [29] 

Not only are we to give a friendly reception to those deprived of what we enjoy, considering them as good as ourselves, and entitled to all our privileges just in the degree that that they become a part of our nationality; we may, furthermore, utter the earnest expostulation of our public sentiment against the injustice under which they groan in their native countries.  But we ought, before doing this, to clear our skirts of the glaring inconsistencies which will provoke retort and rob our appeals of their divine point.  . . .

Set before the rulers and their people the example of our exuberant and diffused natural wealth, the rapidity of our unrivaled growth, the self-directing quietude of our prodigious power, our enthusiastic popular patriotism—set this in significant contrast with their starving poverty, overshadowing alarms, revolutionary outbreaks, compulsory standing armies, general disaffection, and retrogression or paralysis.  Let that contrast be seen and felt, and it must work far more mightily than any other agency we can devise.”  [26-29]

            . . .

“The next palpable danger of our country is from the prevalence of egotistic demagogues, who crave notoriety and spoils, but care not for principle, the honor of the nation, or the good of the world.  Such [34] a style of character is apt to appear in leaders and aspirants among a constituency whose ignorance and coarseness, taken with low qualities, make idols of the mere declaimer and braggadocio.  This evil is fearfully rife in many parts of the land, and thoughtful men must put forth strenuous efforts against it; for when the voters, through crudeness of mind and degradation of feeling, select for their offices the showy sophists and rough champions who cater to their prejudices and wheedle their simplicity, then peril is imminent.  . . .  [35]

For the healthy state and administration of affairs in a democratic country, it should be found that the common sentiment is formed and guided by the wisest [36] and best, from above the level—not by the most conceited and unprincipled, from below it.  Scholars, divines, civilians, statesmen, authors—the most competent students of subjects—those whose lives are devoted to moral and intellectual pursuits, in their several spheres, should try to correct and lead, not echo and flatter, public opinion.  . . .

Another danger to which we are exposed, is, from the craft and ambition, the stealthy plots and cruel oppressiveness, of the priestly spirit, claiming that its ritual holds the exclusive means of salvation, and that its head is vested with supreme authority.  We have among us, powerless at present, but diligent, unscrupulous, selfish and arrogant as ever behind its feigned meekness, sleeplessly biding the time when it may unsheathe its claws, and assume total supervision of school, pulpit and press, and make the State its supple instrument—that priesthood, which, wherever it may roam, still preserves its denationalized unity, paying fealty to one celibate old man; remaining always a separate body in the midst of the people; seeking its own corporate ends at the expense of everything else.  Romanism is as much a grasping political, as it is an irresponsible spiritual, power.  Flourishing best among a people characterized by superstitious puerility of thought and abject dependence of condition, it establishes eternal ignorance and beggardom that it may possess eternal dominion.  Its unearthly pretensions and persecuting mind necessarily make it an enemy to the genius of republican institutions; and it must at any cost be kept from seizing here those coveted privileges which it so tyrannically exercises in Catholic countries.”  [34-37]

            . . .

“The fierce clamor of the slaveholding interest for more room, fresh prey, new chains and whips, and a longer lease of power, drowns the voices of the Revolutionary Fathers, vilifies the Declaration of Independence, incenses the country, disgraces the age, and insults the world.  The madness of these retrograde fanatics, facing directly into barbaric night, seriously threatens the disruption of our Union, the extinguishment of the world’s latest, brightest expectations.  This is no exaggeration.  The infinite wrong the institution of slavery is in itself; the inexpressible wrongs it inflicts on its victims; the insulting arrogance it breeds, the deteriorating sloth it pampers, the loathsome lust it inflames and feeds, in the master; the generous sympathies and moral sentiments it outrages in the contemplator—all these facts are necessarily fraught with the combustible elements of strife.  . . .

The North and the West, by their comparative enlightenment, liberty, and progressive [41] thrift, are girding the South as with a ring of sacred fire.  She must either get new life and land Nebraska, Cuba, South America, or else die of inanition.  The ruffian clutch on this resource by the Slave States is not more tenacious than the opposition by the Free States to such a profane seizure, is resolved.  The contest between the obstinacy and aristocratic passions on one side, the firm convictions and clear lights on the other, is grave already, and more ominous ahead.”  [40-41]


James Walker, The Spirit Proper to the Times:  A Sermon . . . King’s Chapel, Boston, Sunday, May 12, 1861 (Boston:  George C. Rand & Avery, 1861), 12 pp.

            “Printed at the request of the Wardens of the Society.”  [cover and title page]

“I am to speak of public spirit, as manifested in a willingness to make sacrifices for the public good.  The necessity for making sacrifices would seem to be founded in this:  as we cannot have everything, we must be willing to sacrifice some things in order to obtain or secure others.  Wicked men recognize and act upon this principle.  Can you not recall more than one person in your own circle of acquaintances who is sacrificing his health, his good name, his domestic comfort, to vicious indulgences.

Worldly people recognize and act upon this principle.  Look at that miser.  He is hoarding up his thousands and his tens of thousands, but in order to do so, is he not sacrificing everything which makes life worth having?  It is a mistake to suppose that religion, or morality, or the public necessities, ever call upon us to make greater sacrifices than those which men are continually making to sin and the world, to fashion and fame, to ‘the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.’

In times of ease, abundance, and tranquility, the public takes care of itself.  There are few sacrifices on the part of individuals for the public good, because there are few occasions for such sacrifices.  They are not made because not called for, because not needed.  . . .  [4]

This state of things is seized upon by those who are eager to put the worst possible construction on human nature and human conduct, as evidence of extreme degeneracy.  How often are we told that our present troubles are sent upon us in order to lift the whole community out of the mire of money-getting propensities, where everything like public spirit was in danger of being swallowed up and lost?  I protest against this wholesale abuse of what has been—at best, a gross exaggeration.  The whole truth in this matter is told in a few words.

By constitution, by habit, by circumstances, our people are intensely active; and this activity, for want of other objects, has been turned into channels of material prosperity.  If, therefore, you merely affirm their excessive eagerness in acquisition, I grant it; but if, not content with this, you go on to charge them with being niggards in expending what they have acquired, I deny it, emphatically, utterly.  Read the history of what has been done in this commonwealth, in this city, during the last twenty-five years for humanity, for education, for science and the arts, for every form of public use or human need, and then say, if you can, that public spirit has been dying out.  Our people have never been otherwise than public spirited, and hence the promptness and unanimity of their response to this new call to public duty.  . . .  [5]

Not a little of what passes for loyalty or patriotism in other countries is blind impulse, growing out of mere attachment to the soil, or the power of custom, or a helpless feeling of dependence on things as they are.  . . .  Of such loyalty, of such patriotism, there never has been much in this country, and there never will be.  The loyal and patriotic States have risen up as one man to maintain the government, because the government represents the ideas of order and liberty.  . . .

I suppose some are full of concern as to the effect which trial and sacrifice will really have on this new outbreak of public spirit.  They fear that suffering for our principles will abate our confidence in them, or at least our interest in them, and so the ardor will die away.  So doubtless [6] it will I some cases, for every community has its representatives of ‘seed that was sown on stony ground’; but it will be the exception and not the rule.  . . .

The sacrifices which the country asks for in time of war are those of property, labor, and life; she does not ask in vain.  We are continually reminded that this rebellion has taken place at a moment of great prosperity, to blast it all.    . . .  [8]  I doubt whether it is common for rich men to think any better of themselves merely because they are rich; but if they can make their riches and their financial skill, available to save the State, they will think better of themselves, and they will have a right to do so.  There is a natural jealousy of wealth, especially when it takes the form of a passion for accumulation, which demagogues and fanatics know how to use for bad ends.  . . .

Others are manifesting their public spirit by sacrifices of time and labor.  And here I wish I could find fit terms in which to acknowledge the services and sufferings of women.  You have heard of the Spartan mother equipping her son for battle, and giving him, last of all, the shield, with the brief and stern farewell, ‘With it or on it.’  We expect no such stoicism now, but we expect what is better.  We expect that Christian mothers, with hearts bleeding for their country, and bleeding for their children, will say, ‘It is the will of God that they shall go,’ and, furthermore, that they will go, having always been taught at home that there are many things worse than death.  . . .  [9]

But will our men fight?  There is no denying that this word sounds disagreeably in a Christian discourse.  . . .  The Bible contains no express and unqualified prohibition of war.  . . .  Undoubtedly it is the legitimate and certain tendency of the spirit of the gospel, as it is more and more diffused in the world, to introduce universal peace; but the spirit of the gospel acts within outwardly, and not from without inwardly.  Thus the stop to be put to war is to be expected, not so much be chaining down those irrepressible instincts which lead men to resist wrong, as by eradicating the disposition to do wrong.  Wars will cease when all men are Christians; but this will not be today or tomorrow..”  [3-9]


William B. Sprague, An Address Delivered on Occasion of Raising the National Flag Upon the Second Presbyterian Church, Albany (Albany NY:  C. Van Benthuysen, 1861), 8 pp.


“The raising of our national flag is an every day matter—the displaying of it from a church, not quite so common.  But I should certainly think it a very dubious sort of patriotism, that should even suggest a doubt as to the propriety of what we are doing; though, if such a doubt were to be put forth, I should expect it would be on one of two grounds—either that such a banner, displayed in such a place, would seem to betoken some sympathy with that theory which brings the Church into a relation of dependence on the State; or else that it looks too much, at this time, like making peaceable, benevolent Christianity the patroness of war.  . . .

As to the union of Church and State, in the common acceptance of that phrase, the flag, now waving above us, does not even look towards its vindication.  It does indeed recognize the existence of a certain relation between the civil and the ecclesiastical; but it repudiates that relation that subordinates the Church to the world—robbing it of that liberty wherewith Christ makes his disciples free.  It acknowledges the right and duty of the civil magistracy to throw a protecting wing over the rights and interests of all denominations, but it forbids the singling out of any one as the object of special favor; while, on the other hand, it makes it incumbent on the Church to exert herself in every legitimate way in aid of the well being of civil society.  Those who make the flag, which we have just unfurled, deliver a higher Church and State doctrine than this, only pervert her utterances and cast a shad upon her honor.  . . . [4]

With the government under which we have been reared has been identified the largest measure of religious liberty that any people has ever enjoyed; and, under the influence of this matchless boon, has been developed an amount of Christian intelligence and activity, and I may add, heroic self-denial and endurance, that forms the subject of one of the brightest pages in our national history.  In prosecuting the contest, then, in which we are now engaged, for the maintenance of our Government, we are carrying forward a struggle for peace in a two-fold sense; not only to drive the demon of war into the Gulf, but to give a fresh impulse to that blessed religion whose very motto is ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to men.’  We confidently expect this storm, like other storms, will purify our atmosphere, and prepare us for a higher degree of national prosperity; while we feel no less assured that the heart and the arm of the Church, instead of being paralyzed in the tempest, will emerge from it, nerved with fresh strength for spreading the Gospel of Peace, wherever there are human beings to see its light or to feel its power.

If I am asked then what is the peculiar significance of causing this splendid ensign of our nation’s liberty to float here above this place where we come every Sunday to worship God, I answer, it is because we regard our country’s cause as the cause of God—and never more so than now in this hour of her tribulation.  . . .  [5]  We have the fullest confidence that our cause is a righteous cause; and that God whom we worship in this temple will make it his own, and that we shall have the evidence of this in its being finally triumphant.     . . .

But we must guard against the temptation to a malevolent and vindictive spirit.  We must make all due allowance for the influences adverse to the formation of correct judgment, under which our Southern brethren are now acting; and we must inquire whether, if our souls were in their souls’ stead, we might not be borne along by the same current that is sweeping them away.  Among them are many whom some of us have long felt it is a privilege to reckon among our most valued friends; and much as we lament the sad mistake into which they have fallen, let it not be our fault if they are not our friends still; and let us hope that, when a brighter day shall be ushered in, there shall be nothing to prevent the return of the kindly intercourse of other days.”  [3-5]


William Rounseville Alger, Public Morals, or the True Glory of a State . . . January 1, 1862 (Boston:  William White, 1862), 55 pp.

“A Discourse delivered before the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government of Massachusetts, at the Annual Election, Wednesday, January 1, 1862.”  [cover]

“. . . I herewith, in accordance with your request, submit a copy of my discourse for the press.  I have only to add that several passages of the discourse, which when it was pronounced, were omitted, on account of its length and the lateness of the hour, are retained in it now.”  [3]

“. . .  When the will of God baffles our direct perusal we may try to trace it by the intermediate clue of universal interest, since the fruition of this interest is the immediate obedience to that will.  When the most abstruse factor in the problem of duty is unknown, a skilful treatment of the simpler, known factors may elicit the secret element and establish the correct solution.  Taking utility as an index to the right rule for our conduct, it will be obvious, is a very different thing from using it as a direct test or measure of conduct.

But this, at best, is a very delicate and dangerous apparatus to manipulate.  The difficulties attendant on our ignorance, and the disturbances originating in our selfishness, tend to pervert the process and vitiate the result.  Nevertheless there are instances in which it is our only resource, and if we are but honest and careful, we stand justified, under our moral limitations, even should we make mistakes.

The next lower level on the scale of obligations . . . is the good of the nation.  The authority of his country must in the estimation of a good citizen, as a general rule, take precedence of any claims of sect, party, or community, because it is the sacred impersonation of all these and [23] more.  The nation gathers in one lovely and venerable form, the treasures, hopes, fears, destinies, of a people; and by their glorified unity, gives them new significance and a heightened sanction.  In those dread crises when she needs such a sacrifice, it is the acknowledged duty of the patriot to die for his country.  The honorable man, therefore, holds his life, with all its temporal privileges, in fealty to his country; always willingly devoting any selfish interest to her service, never knowingly doing anything to her injury.

Sinking still another degree on that standard by which his duties are measured, the individual comes under obligations to the special community to which he belongs.  He is protected by that community in the enjoyment of many of his rights, indebted to it for the countless comforts and privileges of social life.  In return, he is bound to refrain from trespassing on its common prerogatives by any private indulgence, to hold his honor sacred, revere its rightful will, contribute his portion to the supply of its wants, regarding its collective authority and welfare as much above his own cravings as its corporate existence is greater and more lasting than his personal existence.

Lastly, we come to the bottom of the scale, to the mere good of the individual.  Every man has a right to gratify his faculties so far as he does not contravene or limit the same gratification on the part of others.  Nay, more, since God made him for the fruition of his constitutional functions, he is properly obligated to [24] seek that end for himself, so be he seek its methods and degrees accordant with universal order, under conditions conformable to the fruition of all.  . . .

This is pure morality, according to the theory of pure science.  Of course in carrying it into practice, in this world of imperfections, frictions, and conflicts, there must occur a thousand limitations and exceptions.  But science deals with ideal truth in its unobstructed perfection; it is art that takes cognizance of hindering conditions and compromising adaptations.

The true succession of authority, then, on the scale of moral obligations, is first, the law of absolute right; second, the interest of mankind; third, the interest of the nation; fourth, the interest of the community; last, the interest of the individual.  Unhappily, in practice, this order of grades is too often precisely reversed, the individual caring most of all for his own pleasure, not so much for the prosperity of the community about him, still less for the honor of his country, and even less for the happiness of the world, and least of all for the creative and overruling will of God.

Now the lower we drop on the scale, to [25] take the standard for our conduct, the larger is the probability of a corrupt adjudication, leading to fatal troubles; because, as we descend, the selfish propensities grow thicker and fiercer; and because the interest of a person are so much more capable of serving themselves at the expense of universal right than those of society are, those of a society than those of a nation, and those of a single nation than those of the whole world.  In aiming to subserve [sic] the welfare of all men, we are most likely to hit on the conduct coincident with truth and justice.”  [22-25]

            . . .

“No one can compute the details of anguish, of widespread poverty and woe, to result from this present war of ours.  It will all be due virtually to the unhallowed willfulness of a party of slave-masters who forced the issue on us and would not suffer it to be prevented.  In its origin, then, there was no glory, but boundless disgrace.  It was an eruption of evil actions from a pit of evil passions.  And in the war itself, so far, I can see only incidental cause for exultation, much greater cause for sorrow.  Were it a war prosecuted by the aroused spirit of freedom and justice to vindicate the rights of all, rescue the down-trodden victims of wrong, cleanse our national banner, adjust our constitution to the principles of [40] true democracy and religion, there would be a redeeming glory in its cause and motive which might call on our pulses to dance for joy.

But it does not seem to be such a conflict.  It appears much more like the pride of the country leaping up to avenge an insult, the interest of the country rallying to support its authority and immunities.  . . .  The Christian patriot who sees this war aiming simply to place things as they were before, returning fugitive slaves to their masters, decreeing no act for the enlargement of the freedom of the people, must feel oppressed with grief rather electrified with gratitude.  He can only cling to the hope that as the panorama rolls on, to the lurid accompaniments of battle, by and by, the dismal scenes will burst asunder and suddenly reveal an act of compensating good, an act of sublime splendor—millions of men going free, with broken fetters, tears of joy, and hymns to God.  . . .”  [39-40]

“What is needed to enhance the glory of our country is a new vigor and elevation imparted to the virtues of its citizens.  Four hundred percent added to our population, our army and navy, our wealth and ostentation, would be as nothing in comparison with ten degrees of advancement given to our wisdom, justice, love, and common cooperation, with a corresponding diminution of error, wrong, and jealousy.  Prosperity cannot insure virtue; virtue can insure [47] prosperity.  I believe the personal and public morals of our people are at least as good now as ever before.  It is the standard fallacy of all ages to fancy the past a halcyon era of goodness and harmony, the present a degenerate time of littleness and discord.

The sophistry of the senses overpowers those who are not on their guard to detect and neutralize it with the antidote of fresh and vigorous perceptions and comparisons.  The evil of the past, unfelt by us, hoisted into relief, fastens an exaggerating attention.      . . .  Nevertheless the need of a higher and firmer tone of morality, the need of more competent and consecrated leaders, is sore enough.  Party spirit runs too fast and too far among us, as it has in other countries before.  Whig and Tory at one time, Democrat and Republican at another, inflict dire injuries on their country by hating each other more than they love her.  They should ever recollect that they owe a common homage and service, differing only in their opinions as to methods.  . . .  [48]

Another fault very prevalent among us, fertile in its pernicious effects, is, undue deference to external standards of judgment, obsequious submission to the ruling sentiment and opinion of the general public.  Tyrant majority is so intolerant of dissent that genuine originality and independence are much rarer than they should be.  The raciness and boldness of honest individuality are melted down, broken and polished down, into insipid and monotonous conformity.  . . .  [49]

Furthermore, there is the greatest necessity in our country for a more profound sense on the part of its citizens of their duty at the ballot box.  There seems to be among those persons who have no obvious and immediate interest at stake, a growing disinclination to submit to the trouble of aiding in the selection of proper candidates for elective offices, and then depositing a vote for them.  Consequently the control of all this, the final control of the country, falls into the hands of those not the most worthy of trust and honor—the ambitious and their tools.”  [47-49] 

Charles J. Stille, How a Free People Conduct a Long War:  A Chapter from English History (Philadelphia:  Collins, 1862), 39 pp.

“We have known hitherto in this country so little of the actual realities of war on a grand scale, that many are beginning to look upon the violent opposition to the government, and the slowness of the progress of our arms, as signs of hopelessness discouragement.  History, however, shows us that these are the inevitable incidents of all wars waged by a free people.  This might be abundantly illustrated by many remarkable events in English history, from the days of the Great Rebellion down through the campaigns of the Prince of Orange, and of Marlborough, to the wars which grew out of the events of the French Revolution.

War is always entered upon amidst a vast deal of popular enthusiasm, which is utterly unreasoning.  It is the universal voice of history, that such enthusiasm is wholly unreliable in supporting the prolonged and manifold burdens which are inseparable from every war waged on an extensive scale, and for a long period.  The popular idea of war is a speedy and decisive victory, and an immediate occupation of [4] the enemy’s capital, followed by a treaty of peace by which the objects of the war are permanently secured.  Nothing is revealed to the excited passions of the multitude, but dazzling visions of national glory, purchased by small privations, and the early and complete subjugation of their enemies.  It is, therefore, not unnatural that at the first reverse they should yield at once to an unmanly depression and, giving up all for lost, they should vent upon the government for its conduct of the war, and upon the army and its generals for their failure to make their dreams of victory realities, an abuse of unreasoning as was their original enthusiasm.

Experience has taught the English people that the progress of a war never fulfils the popular expectations; that although victory may be assured at last to patient and untiring vigor and energy in its prosecution, yet during the continuance of a long war there can be no well-founded hope of a uniform and constant series of brilliant triumphs in the field, illustrating the profound wisdom of the policy of the Cabinet; that, on the contrary, all war, even that which is most successful in the end, consists rather in checkered fortunes, of alternations of victory and disaster, and that its conduct is generally marked by what were evidently, when viewed in the light of experience, blunders so glaring in the policy adopted by the government, or in the strategy of its generals, that the wonder is success was achieved at all.

The [5] English have thus been taught that the true characteristic of public opinion in its judgment of a war should be, not hopefulness or impatience of immediate results, but rather a stern endurance—that King-quality of heroic constancy which, rooted deep in a profound conviction of the justice of the cause, supports a lofty public spirit equally well in the midst of temporary disaster and in the hour of assured triumph.

We have had no such experience here.  Our people are perhaps more easily excited by success, and more readily depressed by reverses, than the English, and it is, therefore, worthwhile to consider how they carried on the war on a grand scale and for a protracted period.  It will be found, if we mistake not, that the denunciations of the government, so common among us of late, and the complaints of the inactivity of the army, have their exact counterpart in the history of the progress of all the wars in which England has been engaged since the days of the Great Rebellion.

He who draws consolation from the lessons of the past, will not, we think, seek comfort in vain when he discovers that in all those wars in which the government and the army have been so bitterly assailed (except that of the American Revolution), England has at last been triumphant.  It is worthwhile then to look into English history to understand how war is successfully carried on notwithstanding the obstacles which, owing to a perverted public opinion, exist within the nation itself.  These difficulties, although [6] they inhere in the very nature of a free government, often prove, as we shall see, more fruitful of embarrassment to the favorable prosecution of a war thus the active operations of the enemy.

We propose to illustrate the propositions which we have advanced by a study of the series of campaigns known in English history as the Peninsular War.  We select this particular war because we think that in many of its events and in the policy which sustained it, there are to be observed many important, almost startling, parallelisms with out present struggle.  We have, of course, no reference to any similarity existing in the principle which produced the two wars, but rather to the striking resemblance in the modes adopted by the two people for prosecuting war on a grand scale, and for the vindication of a principle regarded as of vital importance by them.”  [3-6]

            . . .

“Let us bend, then, our united energies to secure, as much as in us lies, success in the field, and that success gained, we may be sure that all things will follow.  Let us recognize with confidence as co-workers in this great object all, never mind what opinions they may entertain about the causes of the war, and the new issues which its progress has developed, who [39] desire in all sincerity, no matter from what motive, the success of our arms.  Upon such a basis, the wider and more catholic our faith becomes the better.  ‘In essentials Unity; in non-essentials Liberty; in all things Charity;’ this should be our motto.  . . .

Let us remember that with success all things are possible; without it, all our hopes and theories vanish into thin air.  With success in the field, we should not only disarm the rebellion, and rid ourselves forever of the pestilent tribe of domestic traitors by burying them steep in that political oblivion which covers the Tories of the Revolution, and those who sneered at the gallant exploits of our navy in the War of 1812, but also force public opinion abroad, whose faithlessness to the great principles which underlie all modern civilization has been one of the saddest developments of this sad war, to exclaim at last, ‘Invidiam Gloria superasti.’”  [38-39]  

Amasa Walker, The Suicidal Folly of the War-System:  An Address Before the American Peace Society . . .May 25, 1863 (Boston:  American Peace Society, 1863), 20 pp.


“At a moment when more than a million of our countrymen are engaged in the dreadful work of mutual slaughter, . . . I find myself called upon to address the American Peace Society at its thirty-fourth anniversary.  . . . [4]  There is no reason why any friend of our cause should be disheartened, much less despair.  To one who observes the connection of cause and effect, the terrific storm of human passions, and the crimson tide of human blood, are but instrumentalities by which a righteous Providence is shaping the destinies of a great people.  In the terrible phenomena around us, we see only the natural and necessary results of human depravity and folly.  Man must be punished, that he may be made better and wiser; and the rough ploughshare is not more indispensable to agriculture, than the disruption, violence and distress of war to the final triumph of peace.  It is a part of that fearful process by which humanity is educated to a higher and better life.  The great baptism of blood with which all Europe was baptized, from 1790 to 1815  . . . showed them the utter folly of war.

Humanity gained nothing from it.  The peace which followed, restored all the despotism and oppression which preceded it.  . . .  But it did something else besides this.  . . .  The first Peace societies in this country and Europe were formed in 1816.  . . .  They grew out of it; were a consequence of it.  . . . [5]

It is of this movement that it seems proper to speak at this time.  And in doing so, I first remark, that Christianity is the vitalizing power that warms into life and action the highest instincts of the human soul.  All genuine reforms of a moral character receive their first impulse from the gospel, and at their commencement are religious movements.  Both the Temperance and Anti-Slavery movements originated with religious men, in this country and Europe.  This is equally true of the cause of peace.  . . .

Another thing that may be notices in regard to all these [peace] associations is, that they have a single object, viz:  ‘to show the baleful influence of war on all the great interests of man, and devise means for insuring permanent and universal peace.’  The American Peace Society has never entertained any other question; has never undertaken to interfere in any manner or degree with the legitimate functions of Government; has never assumed to decide what means shall be used for the preservation of the public peace, and the execution of the laws.  It has never regarded this as coming within the sphere of its operations; and hence, in respect to the present contest [6] between the Government and certain seceded States, it cannot intermeddle, unless the constitution be amended, and its object changed.”  [3-6]

. . .

“No matter what a citizen may think of an existing contest in which his own country is engaged, he must say nothing in disparagement of it, under the penalty of being regarded as wanting in loyalty.  The peace sentiment is crushed out by the madness of the hour.  . . .  [9]

The especial efforts of Peace Societies, then, must be directed to the formation of such public sentiment in favor of a common tribunal, or high court of nations, as shall induce governments to concentrate their efforts for that purpose.  To effect this object, it is indispensable that the principle on which the war system rests, be overturned.  That principle is embodied in the well-known maxim, ‘ In the time of peace, prepare for war.’”  [8-9]

Enterprise, Insolvency, and Social Justice

Hubbell Thatcher Greene, New York, to Crawford Allen & Co., Providence, R.I., re: credit terms, Oct. 27th, 1846.  One double sheet, folded as an envelope, with red ink post office stamp, 5 cents; holograph, also folded and docketed as below.    [Special Collections:  Financial Services Manuscripts, Chronological File]

“Hubbell Thacher Greene, N. Y. Oct 27, 1846, rd. Oct 28, 1846.”

While the envelope and letter are addressed to Crawford Allen & Co., the letter was probably meant for Crawford Allen, brother of engineer/inventor Phillip Allen and the founder of Phillip Allen & Sons.  Phillip Allen’s advanced machinery for printing fabric speeded the production of calico cloth and the company prospered until the Panic of 1857 when, bankrupt, it was reorganized under Crawford Allen’s leadership.  In this letter, Greene advised Crawford Allen that Greene’s firm in New York, but otherwise not identified, required eight months to pay for merchandise because retailers with large volume of sales themselves demand five months to pay.  It was the extension of such credit terms that led to the manufacturer’s bankruptcy in 1857 when retailers and wholesalers defaulted in turn.

“New York, Oct. 27th 1846.  Mssrs. Crawford Allen & Co., Providence, RI.  Dear Sir:  We have your favor of 26th [illegible] & note your remarks.  The sale of Oct 5th the purchaser complains of imperfection in the Print, and wanted to return the case, but rather than have him do so, we allowed a discount of 2½ %.  The 3 mo. sale of Oct 7th was made to the Print Houses who always buy in this way.  A large proportion of Prints sold in this city, are to this class of Houses, and they claim the advantages of 5 mo credit on account of the great quantity they buy, and all the Prints, are accustomed to this way of rending sales.  We will not hereafter sell any Prints you may send us except upon 8 mo. Credit.  Respectfully yours, Hubbell Thatcher Greene”


Report of the Select Committee [to the Pennsylvania Legislature] in Relation to the Sunbury and Erie Railroad (Reading PA, 1851), 15 p.

“Mr. Walker, from the select Committee to which was referred so much of the Governor’s Message as relates to the Sunbury and Erie Railroad, made a report which was read as follows:  . . .

They find that a company was incorporated in the year 1837, to construct a railroad between Sunbury and Erie.  That the provisions of the incorporating act are liberal and that the company organized under it in the year 1837.  That during the years 1838 and 1839, a corps of engineers, under Edward Miller, explored the country between the points mentioned in the charter.  That at the close of each year a report was made.  . . .  That these reports demonstrate the practicability of constructing a continuous road without an inclined plane, and with no grade exceeding 52.8 feet to the mile, [and much less over most of the route].  . . . By these  [facts] it appears that the engineers made as full, accurate, and thorough an exploration of the country as the time would permit, and demonstrated that, by the Sunbury and Erie line, the seaboard can be connected with the [Great] Lakes at Erie, not only by the shortest [some 286  miles], but by a route (except at Albany) in which the least elevation is to be overcome.  . . .

That financial and commercial revulsion that arrested many of the improvements of the country then in apparent prosperity, that compelled the company then constructing the New York and Erie Railroad, the natural rival of the Sunbury and Erie, to stop, arrested also the progress of this company.  Unfortunately, upon the return of better times, the work was not resumed.  The important question presented for consideration by the [Governor’s] Message referred to your committee is, should this work be resumed, and if so, when?  . . .”  [3]

In pages 3-15, the Committee presented information about the area’s history, commencing with the treaty between the United States and the Indians that deeded in 1792 some “forty-five miles of the south shore of Lake Erie” and the steady growth of commerce around the Lakes.  The Committee included engineering reports and comparisons with routes of competing railroads, and  provided an optimistic assessment of the line’s prospects for expanding shipments from Pennsylvania’s major coal fields, as well as for connecting with canals and existing railroad lines to Philadelphia.


“READING, PENNSYLVANIA, February 13, 1851.  Your committee, then, recommends the renewal of the charter of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad, a reorganization of the company, and a more thorough investigation of the subject.

We do not recommend that the State take stock, but suggest the propriety of a legislative appeal being made to the [federal] government, for the donation to this State of 3,000,000 acres of land, the proceeds of which to be invested in this road, and the dividends arising therefrom [sic] to be pledged for the support of our Common Schools.

This, if Pennsylvania insists upon it, can be had.  It is due to her position, and the objects to be accomplished—the education of her children, and the improvement of her territory, are worthy of the exertion.”  [15]


William M. Meredith, Philadelphia and the Lakes:  Address to the Citizens of Pennsylvania, in Favor of a Railroad to Connect Philadelphia with the Lakes (Philadelphia, 1852), 8 pp.

“. . .  The object is to connect the city of Philadelphia with the Harbor of Erie [PA], by the shortest possible route, and the least possible expense. The link from Willliamsport top Philadelphia, by the Catawissa and Williamsport, Little Schuylkill and Reading Roads, requires but little to render it complete.  We have only therefore to provide for the construction of a road to connect Williamsport with Erie, a distance of 240 miles, and the object is accomplished.  This it is the desire of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad Company to effect at once.

To enlist our citizens in this enterprise, we consider it only [4] necessary to show that there is a trade to be obtained fully commensurate with the expense to be incurred.  . . .  These [data and conclusions] are not fanciful calculations, mere ingenious aggregations of figures, but facts—on the faith of which many millions have been spent, and many more received; but not by citizens of Pennsylvania.  Let us look in what estimation this trade is held by our sister State of New York, and what she has done to secure it.  . . .   [3]

Philadelphia has little of this trade.  She feels its existence only by the increase of rival markets.  Our citizens who bring tidings of it to her, are obliged to travel through the whole of New York and the half of New Jersey to reach her.

That it is a trade worth having, we think we have demonstrated.  New York having profitably expended forty-five millions of dollars to obtain it, now expends nine millions to meet its increase.  We ask of Pennsylvania the expenditure of six.  . . .

We have a better harbor—a shorter route—a cheaper road [to build]—and coal and iron along the line of it.  One million two hundred thousand dollars are already pledged in the interior to its completion.  Will our citizens see it fail, for a difference so small?  Will they, who have proved themselves in former years so farsighted in their [4] policy, and so liberal in their expenditures, now refuse a trade almost begging an avenue to our market?”  [3-4]

Signed, “William M. Meredith, Chairman,” and followed by names of thirty-four other members of the Committee of the “Mass Convention of the friends of the Sudbury and Erie Railroad, assembled in Philadelphia on the 25th of September last.”

“D.L. Miller, Jr., Esq., President Sunbury and Erie Railroad Company.  Philadelphia, November 5, 1851.

My Dear Sir.  It is desirable that the Address, on the subject of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad, should be accompanied by such statement of details  [which your staff can provide] as may serve to establish the importance of the work.  . . .  William M. Meredith. Chairman.  [3-4]

[Pages 5-8 contain statistics and analysis, including:]  “The estimate of cost [which] is based on the report of Edward L. Miller, the Engineer, by whom the route was surveyed.” [5] 

[The possibility of a conflict of interest between President D.L. Miller, Jr. and Edward Miller, Engineer Corps, if they were related, was not mentioned in the pamphlet.]


Bank of Owego NY, Circular, January 2, 1854, Including Quarterly Report, December 25, 1852 (Owego NY, 1854), one oversized sheet, folded into four pages, pages one and two printed.

“(At a meeting of the board of Directors of the Bank of Owego, held at the Banking House, December 31, 1853, the following Report in the form of a Circular, prepared by a committee of the Directors, in pursuance of a previous resolution, was read, approved, and adopted, and the Cashier was directed to record same on the Bank minutes, and cause a copy to be sent to each of the stockholders.)  G. Hewitt, President; R.W. Warner, Secretary.”

“Bank of Owego, January 2, 1854.  It is with sincere regret, that the Directors of the Bank of Owego, instead of announcing a dividend at this date, find themselves compelled to announce the probable loss, not only of its large surplus, but of a considerable portion of the Capital Stock of the Bank.  Under these circumstances, to declare a dividend would certainly infringe the spirit, if not the letter, of the Statute which prohibits any distribution, under the name of surplus profits, when a loss which reaches the Capital Stock has been sustained, so long as that loss shall not have been repaired; and, to bank upon the indebtedness of a suspended Wall Street Broker, not otherwise secured than by the stock of an unfinished Railroad, which has, so far as yet known, no marketable value, could hardly be otherwise regarded than as a gross breach of trust.

Upon the failure of Mr. HENRY DWIGHT, Jr., the Directors assembled at the Bank and found his account as the redeeming agent of the Bank in the City of New York, amounted to about $47,000, which caused no alarm, as good securities to the amount of $80,000, had originally been deposited in the Bank to protect this account; but, upon being interrogated, Mr. Wright, then, for the first time, disclosed to them, that he, of his own assumed authority, had released these securities and accepted a deposit of $90,000 of certificates of stock in the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad Company, as a substitute.

Upon the investigation of the notes and accounts of the Bank, on the occasion referred to, the Directors first discovered, to their unutterable astonishment, a further indebtedness of Mr. Dwight, consisting of two notes made by Benjamin Godfrey & Company, who are understood to be the contractors upon the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad, and bearing no other endorsement than that of Henry Dwight, Jr.; one for the sum of $50,000 dated September 2, 1853, and payable six months after date, which was found to be the third renewal of a note of that amount originally given January 13, 1852, and the other note made, indorsed [sic] in like manner for $30,000 dated October 1, 1853.

It was then suggested that perhaps all was not yet known, and Mr. Wright, upon being further interrogated, acknowledged that he had, about two weeks previously, given Mr. Dwight a check on the Metropolitan Bank for $15,000.  This was transferred to Mr. Dwight, as a matter of personal accommodation, on his own responsibility, and without the knowledge and consent of the Directors, and Mr. Wright had not, at the period of his resignation, in any manner entered it on the books of the Bank.  As the surplus of the Bank amounted to about $70,000, the stockholders will perceive, at one, how large a portion of the capital rests upon the basis above indicated, by whom it has been subtracted, and in whose hands it has been placed.

Upon these disclosures, the surprise of the Directors, will be fully appreciated by those Stockholders, who know, that Mr. Dwight, having secured a controlling influence in the affairs of the Bank, through the medium of the $50,000 of the stock which he held, and the proxies which Mr. Wright, his confidential agent, was active in procuring had caused himself to be elected a Director, at successive elections, from the year 1846, down to the 14th of June last.  The Directors had the right to suppose, therefore, that the Quarterly Reports of the Bank, made under oath by the late Cashier, who must be acquainted with the facts, would have disclosed, under its proper head, any indebtedness, ABSOLUTE or CONTINGENT, of Mr. Dwight; and it was to the Cashier’s dealings with Mr. Dwight alone, that they could have had any cause of suspicious or mistrust.

Nor could they have believed, that any so grave risk would have been incurred by Mr. Wright, as to loan, either directly or indirectly to Mr. Dwight, he being a director, more than one-third of the capital stock of the Bank.  How entirely betrayed in these particulars, will be seen, by comparing the contingent liabilities of the Director, Mr. Dwight, as herein given, with the sworn reports, a copy of which, under the date of December 25, 1852, from the files of the Comptroller’s office is set forth below.

To what a reckless extent these transactions with Mr. Dwight have been carried, by Mr. Wright alone, and without even the knowledge, far less than the sanction of the Directors, will appear from the Abstracts appended to this circular, of the account against Benjamin Godfrey Co., (on whose notes Mr. Wright was the only endorser, and who received the proceeds,) where it will be seen, in May 1852, they reached no less a sum than $105,000.  Yet, in successive sworn reports of the Cashier, under dates of December 25, 1852, February 26, 1853, and June 11, 1853, the contingent liabilities of all the Directors, including Mr. Dwight, are treated in the report which is here given.

Under these circumstances and with these disclosures, Mr. Wright himself seemed to be aware of the impropriety of himself filling the place of Cashier, and promptly tendered his resignation.  A threat of prosecution addressed to Mr. Wright, was followed by the arrival of Mr. Dwight at Owego. and a tender of a proposition by him to the board of Directors.  He admitted the misconduct of Mr. Wright, but stated as the motive of his proposition, that this misconduct had occurred at his insistence and at his persuasion.  This proposition was to restore Mr. Wright to the position of Cashier, upon which condition Mr. Dwight, Mr. Dwight offered to give security for his indebtedness, upon real property lying in or near the City of Brooklyn.

The Directors so far listened to the suggestion, as to appoint a committee of investigation to proceed to Brooklyn, examine the property, and confer with Mr. Dwight and his counsel.  This committee found the property consisted of lots intended for dwellings and docks, the title to which was in a relative of Mr. Wight’s wife, subject to sundry mortgages for all but five percent of the original purchase money which was about $300,000.  Mr. Dwight had entered into a contract with this person, wherein he had covenanted to make all advances called for, for the purpose of filling in and grading the property and convert it into dry and marketable lots, and the proceeds of the sales of the lots, were to go, first to pay the balances of the purchase money to the original owners, then, to repay the advances of Mr. Dwight, and then to be shared equally among the parties.  Mr. Dwight had already advanced about $200,000 under the contract, and the further advance necessary to carry out the original objects of the purchase, Mr. Dwight estimated at $40,000.

This interest, which has thus cost Mr. Dwight but $200,000, he proposed to convey, first to some eastern creditors, upon condition that they should make the further advance necessary to render the property marketable, viz: $40,000; then as a security for the further advance of $220,000 which they were required to make to the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad Company; then, as a security for $300,000 of prior indebtedness to them; and, then, after these sums amounting in the aggregate to $560,000, had been paid to the eastern creditors, out of his share of the proceeds, and about $300,000 more had been realized from the property to meet the original purchase money, making in all about $860,000, (besides interest upon this amount, taxes, and further outlays, which by contract are left wholly discretionary with the person holding the title.) then, the remaining fruits of the speculation, were to inure to a second class of creditors, of whom the Bank of Owego was to be among the first, to indemnify them for Mr. Dwight’s indebtedness.  A proposition so manifestly illusory, could not be accepted, to say nothing of its objectionable feature as regarded Mr. Wright.

A short time afterwards, Mr. Dwight renewed his proposition, adding to it the offer of $50,000 in Chicago &Mississippi Railroad stock, upon the condition that his indebtedness should be extended two years, and Mr. Wright made President of the Bank.  For the purpose of ascertaining the value of this offer of additional stock of that Railroad, two Reports made by its Chief Engineer (one in October 1852 and the other in November 1853) were placed before the Directors and critically examined.  It was there found the 131 miles only of the Road had been completed; that it was already encumbered with a bonded mortgage debt of $4,000,000; that it was necessary to raise, at an early day (the 15th inst.) the further amount of $1,060,000 to save the road from an entire suspension of its further progress ; that the total cost, instead of being $3,547,000 as contemplated in the report of 1852, would amount to $6,060,000, being an increase in the estimate of November 1853, over the year previous of more than $2,500,000.

This unmarketable and doubtful security was offered to the Directors upon the condition of an extension of the time for payment of Mr. Dwight’s indebtedness to two years.  To this condition the Directors would have had no objection if the security had been substantially good and not of remote and contingent value.  But it was coupled with another condition, viz:  that Mr. Wright be made President of the Bank.

While the Directors indulge no feeling of personal hostility to the late Cashier, they could not but view this exaction by Mr. Dwight as strange and remarkable.  After his gross and systematic abuse of Mr. Wright’s confidence in him, continued down to a short period previous to his ultimate failure, by means of which a disastrous loss accrued to the Stockholders of the Bank, many of whom are helpless and dependent females; after a course of proceeding by Mr. Dwight which neither he nor his friends pretend for a moment to justify, but which have, at the least, mortified the latter and not impossibly himself, he still arrogated to himself, with [2] unblushing effrontery the right to dictate terms to Directors and Stockholders who had suffered so severely from his transactions, and had been imposed upon and abused.

In contemplation of these things, the Directors were reasonably apprehensive the reinstalment [sic] of Mr. Wright as the leading financial officer of the Bank would be attended with danger; that it would have been pronounced by the Stockholders a breach of trust from the consummation of which they might have enjoined the Directors by legal process; and further, that it would have been fairly construed into an adoption of his acts and a full endorsement of his unfortunate transactions with Mr. Dwight, which had, from their first knowledge of the facts, received the prompt censure and disapproval of the Directors.”     

"Dupee, Perkins, & Sayles—Stock & Bill Brokers," Boston, February 15, 1856; one sheet folded, with text printed on one side of the first and third pages.

An optimistic advertisement that was issued prior to the crash of 1857.  Provides prices of shares and some generally positive analysis of stocks or bonds issued by banks, textile manufacturers, railroads, and mining companies; also has descriptions of land offered for sale.

John Whipple, The Usury Laws (New York, 1836; 1857), 23 pp.

An attack upon Jeremy Bentham, A Defense of Usury, Showing the Impolicy of the Present Legal Restraints of the Terms of Pecuniary Bargains” (1787), in which Whipple asked two questions:  Are the borrower and lender of equal means?  And, Does a private contract between equals at an unusually high rate of interest harm society?  Whipple declared that borrowers and lenders are seldom equal, thus society must protect the weak by limiting the interest charged.

            Whipple emphasized the difference between the stock of money and that of material goods, by pointing out:

“Money is concentrative in its very nature.  Its home is the pockets of the few.  Under the free-trade system [of unlimited rate of interest], this concentrative quality would naturally increase.  Merchandise, on the other hand, is diffusive.  The object of its creation is distribution and consumption.  Without this consumption, trade would not exist, and its natural effect is, that merchandise of all kinds is found in great abundance all over the country.  When a sale of goods of any kind takes place, they part from their owner never to return again.  They abide but a short period with no one but the ultimate consumer.  Money, on the other hand, is loaned, not sold, and it returns to its owner invigorated with additional power by an increase in its amount.  This tendency in merchandise, of diffusion among the many, and in money, of concentration among the few, prevents an artificial scarcity in the one case and facilitates it in the other.” [22]

Introductory essay by an anonymous author, “Stringent Usury Laws:  The Best Defense Against ‘Hard Times’” (ca. 1857), 12 pp.

“If the people of the United States have a desire to secure for themselves and posterity a permanent prosperity, based upon even justice, industry and skillful enterprise, let them combine to establish a uniform rate of interest throughout the Union, not more than six per cent; and let them so protect their currency by stringent usury laws, that speculators can have no motive to use it, except in connection with objects of industry, and traders can find no advantage in seeking long credit, for purposes foreign to a legitimate business.  We insert for reference, a brief sketch of the “Usury Laws of the United States.” [1]

Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad Co., Report of the Committee Appointed by the Stockholders & Bondholders (New York, October 20, 1857), 8 pp.

“The undersigned, appointed . . . to devise a plan to relieve the Company from its present embarrassments, . . . [4] propose to have the several interests contribute in equal proportions.  Mathematical precision in a matter of this kind is not attainable, but it is believed the apportionment, [which amounts to a contribution or assessment,] is as near correct as the nature of the case will admit.  The undersigned regret that they cannot recommend, with any prospect of success, any other plan to put the road again in the way of earning the means to pay off its indebtedness.  . . .  It was confidently expected that the money [so far] laid out would develop the value of the property, [but] the unexampled and unprecedented [5] state of the money market has prevented the Company from negotiating a loan to pay off their whole indebtedness in money this Fall, as was expected.” [1-5]

“But if these measures cannot be carried out, . . .  the Company must go into liquidation [and] the Stockholders and general creditors will lose all . . .” [7]

John Knox, MD, letters, re:  debts, 1857 and 1859.

The Federal Census of 1860, Richmond, Henrico County (Eastern Division), Virginia, listed John Knox, M.D., age forty, born in Ireland, and married to Lucy C. Knox, age 35, who was born in Virginia.  Dr. Knox owned real estate that he valued at $1500 and personal property of $8000. They had three children, ages six, eight, and ten.

“Barboursville, [Orange, VA], Dec. 16, 1857.  My Dear Sir:  Mr. Bromham has just informed me a few moments ago that you think you hold a receipt from me for the amount of my account against you.  I am so entirely convinced that you are mistaken that I was very much surprised at the statement.  I think it probable your mistake may have arisen from the fact of your having paid off an account I had against Louisa in 1851 Dec. 9th.  Your account was subsequent to that and if you have paid it off, I am totally oblivious of the fact as I am any event that never had an existence.  If you have the receipt, please send it to Mr. Bromham or myelf as soon as possible after receiving this.  Whilst I acknowledge liability to error in such matters, I am not conscious of ever at any time committing one.  Assuring you of my continued regard, I remain, Yours Sincerely, John Knox, [M.D.].”

“Richmond [VA], April 9th, 1859.  Mr. Albert Dade, Dear Sir:  Allow me again to call your attention to my account which I had hoped it would have suited you to have settled before this.  Will you do me the kindness to let me hear from you as soon as possible.  Very Truly Yours, John Knox, [M.D.].”

Correspondence between John Brodhead and Coleman Fisher, re:  Investment in the stock of The New Jersey Paint Company (Philadelphia, 1858), 35 pp., and John Broadhead’s Response, Philadelphia, November 4th, 1858, 25 pp.  [Library Company of Philadelphia]

The first issues in dispute were the adequate disclosure of risk to innocent investors and the characterization of the enterprise as an investment rather than a speculation.  Later, Fisher voted against Brodhead’s application for membership in an exclusive club.  Brodhead responded to Fisher’s charges by reprinting verbatim most of Fisher’s pamphlet and by indicating his emphasis in italics and inserting several comments.  The latter are enclosed in brackets below.

In the interest of brevity and clarity, the two pamphlets are combined.  Brodhead’s responses are inserted into Fisher’s version of the dispute, just as Brodhead intended.  Because of his insertions and ellipsis, the pagination in Brodhead’s version is somewhat different from that in Fisher’s.

FISHER’s charges:  “A sense of duty to myself and friends, leads me to prepare the annexed statement, with corroborative papers, of the difficulty between Mr. John Brodhead and myself.

Early in the year 1853, I and others were induced by flattering representations, to take stock in a company called then ‘The New Jersey Paint Company,’ whose property was alleged to be a mine of mineral paint, with imperfect works upon the land for the grinding of the same, in Passaic County, New Jersey.  It was represented to us, that these works had been in operation, had produced a good marketable paint, which had been sold for five and six cents a pound; that its quality had been tested, and declared to be superior after trial and use by excellent judges, as an evidence of which, it was stated that Dr. Ludlow’s carriage had been painted with it, and a board painted with different shades of the article was exhibited; and that all that was necessary to make the stock a profitable investment—of which there could be no doubt—was a certain amount of money for repairing, and improving, the machinery and works.  There was no question of experiment, no doubt expressed, the only question was, ‘whether a market can be had for all the paint we can make.’  Upon the faith of these and kindred representations, made by Mr. Brodhead’s agents here, who were fully impressed by him with their entire accuracy, and by Mr. Brodhead himself, to some of the gentlemen who became stockholders, some two thousand shares of the stock of the Company were subscribed and paid for, Mr. Brodhead, previously stating that a charter for the Company, as yet only an association, should be procured from the State of New Jersey.

Hearing of no results produced, the stockholders in Philadelphia, who knew nothing at the time of subscribing, of associates elsewhere, besides Dr. Ludlow (as it now appears there were) became dissatisfied, and meetings of the stockholders were called and held at which Mr. Brodhead was urgently requested to be present and explain the affairs of the Company.  Upon excuse of press of business, Mr. Brodhead never was present at these meetings, and, as far as I was informed, had never given any account of the condition of [2] the Company, or of the expenditures made by him.  As to the charter of the Company, it appears that it was not until March 1855, that An Act of incorporation was obtained by Mr. Brodhead, and then under the title of the Passaic Paint Company.  After the charter was obtained, it was found, it appears, ‘that, although our paint was equal in fineness and beauty to our most sanguine expectations,’ it was good for nothing; that there never was a pound of the paint sold, or if there was, there is no evidence of the fact in the receipts of the Company, as no credit is given in Mr. Brodhead’s account for it, and that there was not, and never had been a market for it.

Subsequently, after an alleged advance of some money in 1856, by whom, or on what terms, or under what expectations, is not stated by Mr. Brodhead, it seems that he and his original associates determined to abandon the whole concern and leave it to its fate at sheriff’s sale, without any proper notice to the Philadelphia subscribers.  No fixed office of the Company in New York was ever sanctioned by them; and Mr. Brodhead has never furnished us, either in his present statement or heretofore, with the minutes of the Board of Directors abandoning the scheme, and thereby substituting the ‘ghost’ of $200 for the capital of $500,000.

Such I believe to be a true history of this bubble.  Mr. Brodhead’s own statements in writing, and verbally to gentlemen here and through his agents, Messrs. Poalk and Wm. Shippen, Jr. (the latter being my personal friend, for whom I then had and ever retained the warmest feelings of regard) induced us to subscribe for a stock, of the value of which the following account and corroborative papers will enable others to judge.

It must not be overlooked, in the origin of this difficulty, that Mr. Brodhead was proposed as a member of a private Club, instituted for social and literary objects.  Every person offering himself for membership in such an association, necessarily submits himself and his pretensions, to the fullest and widest criticism, and it would be abhorrent to the nature of such bodies, as well as to the independence of their members, [3] if the notion were at all entertained, that objections to the admission of anyone were made under the alternative of personal responsibility, to the disappointed applicant or his friends, or were made otherwise than in the confidence which the relation of the members to each other, would impose upon them.  There is a marked difference between such communications, when unfavorable to the character of the party proposed for admission, and those which are made out of doors, and beyond the limits of social confidence.

It cannot also fail to be noticed, that in his elaborate attempted justification forwarded to me, under date of the 15th October last, Mr. Brodhead furnishes no evidence, that he had been deceived by others, in his estimate of the value of the pretended paint mine; or that there were persons, back of him, on whose representations he had relied, and that these had failed him.  He gives no account of the specimen of painted board, which he once possessed, or of Dr. Ludlow’s carriage, another supposed specimen of the paint, or of the alleged sales of the paint, at the prices named by him, or at any prices, or of the individuals who, as he said, had used and tried it successfully, or of any of those matters, which, vouched by his authority, had induced the subscriptions in Philadelphia.  The absence of any attempted support on these points, among other things, compelled me to the conclusion which was stated in my reply of the 27th of the same month, viz: that he had carelessly asserted, to the detriment of myself and others, what eventually proved to be untrue.

No one of the Philadelphia subscribers appears to have vouched, in any way, the accuracy of Mr. Brodhead’s statement, except Mr. Thomas S. Smith, who purchased his shares from Mr. J.B. Beers.

As to the concluding abusive letter of Mr. Brodhead, the public will judge, after due consideration of the evidence, of the value of such epithets coming from such a quarter.  The propriety of my conduct in the affair, I am content to submit to the judgment of my friends, and others, who may investigate the circumstances.  COLEMAN FISHER.            [4]

[BRODHEAD’S Response, p. 2:  “Philadelphia, November 4th, 1858.  In order that my friends may fully understand the difficulty between Mr. Coleman Fisher and myself, I publish the following correspondence.

From the contents of his note of October 7th addressed to me, it might be inferred that he had been asked to vote for my admission to the Philadelphia Club, and had thereupon spoken disparagingly of me, or that he had spoken against me only upon hearing ’my claims to an election discussed;’ whereas the fact is, he made it his business for some time to seek out members of that association for the express purpose of injuring me in their estimation.  He sought them at the Club, in their offices, and in their counting rooms, and earnestly solicited them to vote against me, on the ground, as he intimated, that I had wronged him out of money, and appropriated to my own use the funds of a company of which I was treasurer and he a stockholder.  For thus defaming my character I called him to account.

From this correspondence the members of the Club can readily judge whether, under the pretext of maintaining its character, Mr. Fisher has not really used the Club as an instrument for the gratification of his personal spleen arising out of unsuccessful stock speculation.  JOHN BRODHEAD”]

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“TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  Philadelphia, September 30th, 1858.  Sir:  I am informed that you have recently charged me with having induced you to invest in a Company of which I was a Director, and with so misconducting [sic] the affairs of said Company as to deceive you and cause serious loss.

I wish to know if, in making these charges, you intended to cast any imputation upon my character as a man of integrity.  Yours respectfully, JOHN BRODHEAD, 1822 Pine Street.

TO JOHN BRODHEAD, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 7th, 1858.  Sir:  In answer to your note of the 30th ultimo, received by me only on the evening of the 5th instant, I reply:

That you were proposed as a member of the Philadelphia Club, of which I am a member, and voted against your admission for the following reasons, which I stated in substance to some others of the members, when discussing your claims to an election, viz:  That mainly upon the faith of representations made by you, to some of the subscribers directly, and to others through the late William Shippen, Esq., several gentlemen of this city had been induced to take stock in the New Jersey Paint Company; that the money had been under your control, and that no CLEAR account had ever been given, to my knowledge, of the operations of the company, or of the disbursement of the money, and that until a satisfactory account was rendered by you in the premises, I could not vote for you as a member of the club.

I will add, that whenever a satisfactory account of the affairs of the Company shall be furnished by you to the stockholders, I shall be pleased to make a statement of that fact to [5] those members of the Club, as removing the objection previously made.  Yours respectfully, COLEMAN FISHER.

TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 8th, 1858.  Sir:  Your communication of the 7th inst. was received at so late an hour as to prevent my replying to it last evening.

The accounts of the New Jersey Paint Company, to which you refer, have been on file at the office of the Company in the city of New York ever since the organization of the association, and have always been accessible to you, or any other stockholder, making proper application for them; and a summary of these accounts were forwarded more than a year ago to T.F. Bayard, Esq., as Secretary of a meeting of the stockholders of the Company residing in Philadelphia, held at the office of Edward L. Poalk, Esq.

But in order to prevent the possibility of any misapprehension, I have concluded to prepare, at any early moment, a statement of the affairs of the Company, endorsed by the stockholders most largely interested, and accompanied with copies of the accounts remaining on file in the office, to be submitted to yourself, and such other stockholders as may desire to see them.

Although I do not feel called upon to pursue this course, I do so in order to prevent any mistake.  And after submitting my statement and accounts, and affording you reasonable time for their examination, I shall demand of you a retraction of the unwarrantable assertions made by you in reference to these matters, or that satisfaction which, under the circumstances, you cannot deny me.  Yours respectfully, JOHN BRODHEAD.

TO COLEMAN FISHER, Philadelphia, October 15th, 1858.  Sir:  I have this day placed in the hands of my friend, Col. Lewis, a statement of the affairs of the New Jersey Paint Company, and have requested him to lay it before you at once.  It has been delayed several days in consequence of the absence of certain stockholders, whose endorsement of it I wished to obtain.

Referring you to my note of the 8th inst., I have to request that you proceed to an examination of this account forthwith.

Col. Lewis will receive any communication you may wish to send me.  Respectfully yours, JOHN BRODHEAD

TO JOHN BRODHEAD, Philadelphia, October 20th, 1858.  Sir:  I received last evening your statement and note of the 15th, from W.  D. Lewis, Esq. Yours respectfully, COEMAN FISHER

TO JOHN BRODHEAD, Philadelphia, October 20th, 1858.  As most of the information contained in your statement is to me entirely new, I am unable, without conference with the stockholders, some of whom hold original communications from you, reply to it advisedly.  One of these, T.F. Bayard, Esq., who has consented to assist me in the examination of your statement is residing in Wilmington.

I have just received a telegram from him in reply to one sent by me, requesting his early presence here, saying that his brother-in-law is lying at the point of death.  So soon as I can obtain an interview with this gentlemen and the other stockholders here, I will reply to your statement.  Yours respectfully, COLEMAN FISHER”

[Whereas Coleman Fisher inserted “John Brodhead’s Statement” following his letter of October 20th, 1858, Brodhead in his Response inserted the same “Statement” following Coleman Fisher’s letter of October 29th, 1858.]

[“The statement referred to in my note of October 15th, sent Mr. Fisher:”]

“JOHN BRODHEAD’S STATEMENT.  The stock of the New Jersey Paint Co. consisted of fifty thousand shares of ten dollars each.  Forty thousand shares were given for the property, and ten thousand were reserved as the working capital of the Company.  The property thus purchased, was situate in the county of Passaic, in the State of New Jersey, and consisted of a steam mill and an immense deposit, or mine of mineral paint.  Previous to the organization [7] of this Company, several thousand dollars had been expended in experiments, and in the erection of the mill (by private parties); and an imperfect paint was made by them, and sold at three cents per pound.

The objection urged against the paint thus made was, that it was not fine enough and contained grit.  To reduce the mineral to a fine state, required improved machinery; and it was determined by the owners to take in partners and then form a stock Company.  In April 1853, the New Jersey Paint Company, was organized as a temporary association, to continue until a Company could be organized under a charter from the State.  J.R. Ammerson, (President); Samuel Fowler, G.H. Rozet, (Secretary); Richard Ludlow and John Brodhead, (Treasurer), were chosen Directors, and the property was transferred to the New Jersey Paint Co., and the stock as above was issued therefor.  It was estimated by those who had been operating the mills that twelve hundred dollars would be ample to put in the necessary repairs and machinery to manufacture three tons per day of the finest paint, at a cost of one cent per pound, and it was believed that such a paint could readily be sold at three cents per pound.  This would have given a large daily income, and made the stock a valuable one.

But in order to provide against contingencies, it was determined by the Board, by resolution of the eleventh of May 1853, to sell two thousand shares of the Company’s Reserved Stock, at not less than one dollar per share.  At the same time it was understood among the stockholders that no individual stock should be offered for sale until the Company’s two thousand shares were disposed of.  This stock was placed in the hands of Messrs. Edward L. Poalk and William Shippen of Philadelphia, together with samples of the paint (made by the private Company), and an account of the extent of the mine and the capacity of the works.

These gentlemen, in company with Mr. S.B. Ashmead, Mr. Workman, and myself, visited the works and examined the property, and we all, without exception, expressed the opinion while on the ground, that the mine was a very valuable [8] one, and that the stock could be made to pay.  I believe all the gentlemen named invested in the stock after their return from the works.  At all events, they were satisfied that I had exaggerated nothing in regard to the property.

Messrs. Poalk and Shippen found no difficulty in disposing of the two thousand shares of Company stock, and sold besides about one thousand shares of individual stock.

The proceeds of the company’s stock having been placed in my hands as Treasurer, the Board proceeded at once to put the works in operation.  Great difficulty was experienced in securing the services of competent machinists, but after several disappointments, causing great delay, we succeeded in getting Messrs. Currier & Sandford of Newark, to undertake the job of putting up our machinery.

Being obliged to work at a distance of seven miles from their shops, they labored at a great disadvantage, and progressed very slowly.  But they finally succeeded in getting the mills in motion, and in perfect working order.  On the recommendation of the Philadelphia stockholders, Mr. William Pepper was appointed superintendent of the of the works, at a salary of $50 per month; but not finding a comfortable place at which to live, he refused to remain after the second month.  Mr. Philip A. Van Riper, a man of property and respectability, as well as an excellent machinist, was appointed in Pepper’s place; and proved himself a most competent and economical superintendent.

After getting the machinists at work, we advertised our application for a charter, and having prepared a bill, I visited Trenton at the next meeting of the Legislature, and had it introduced.  I then left it in the hands of friends to look after and report its progress to me.  Having passed the House, it came up in its final passage in the Senate, when I was informed that the names of the incorporators given by me, had been stricken out, and others substituted.  In other words our charter was stolen from us, and we were obliged to wait a year before another could be obtained.  In the month of March 1855, our charter passed, and I herewith enclose you [9] the official copy.  Our name having been stolen with our charter, we adopted that of the ‘Passaic Paint Company.’

By the time our charter was obtained, we had found that, although our paint was equal in fineness and beauty to our most sanguine expectations, there were fatal objections to its practical use, because of its ‘want of body,’ and its want of ‘a drier.’  Hence, when I suggested to our Board the propriety of transferring the property to The Passaic Paint Co., and issuing new certificates in place of those held under the name of the New Jersey Paint Co., they, as well as nearly all the heavy stockholders objected to expending any more time, trouble, or money on the concern.  They however expressed their readiness to resign the property, charter and management of the Company to such stockholders as were willing to undertake its management, and pay off its debts, which then amounted to nearly one thousand dollars.  I communicated these facts to Mr. Shippen by letter, and to Mr. Poalk and others verbally, but no action, I believe, was taken on the subject.

Thus matters stood until March 1856, when to avoid being sued by several claimants, the Company borrowed eleven hundred dollars on the note of the Treasurer, and saved the property from sale, until the summer of 1857, when not being able to stave off the matter any longer the property was sold by the sheriff, and bid off by the holder of the note, Mr. F. Wallace, for the sum of two hundred dollars.

And I am held as endorser, individually responsible for the balance due on the note—unless the purchaser of the property can make his amount out of it.  The mill being situated in a secluded place, and fit only for the purpose for which it was intended, no bidders appeared, as I am informed, except the purchaser.  He however has always expressed his willingness to give up the property on the return of the amount of his note.  So that if any of our stockholders are desirous of trying further experiments with the paint, they can have the works, in good order; a liberal charter, without personal liability, and all the stock, for the amount of said note.  [10]

In regard to the management of the affairs of the Company I would state that no effort was spared by the directors to conduct them economically and successfully.  All which they could do, was done.  The works were put in successful operation so far as the manufacture of the paint was concerned; and a charter was obtained; but it was not possible for the directors to make a market for an unsaleable [sic] article.

In regard to the sale of the stock and the manner in which persons were ‘induced to subscribe’ to it—the entire amount of stock, including that belonging to the Company, sold in Philadelphia as low as one dollar a share; did not, I believe exceed four thousand shares; nor am I aware of any stock having been sold, out of Philadelphia, at so low a price.  Of those four thousand shares, Messrs. Shippen and Poalk sold all but six hundred shares, and I cannot believe that they misrepresented the value, or prospects of the Company in any manner.

The most extended conversation I had with them in regard to the Company took place on our occasion of our visit to the works, and I certainly never conversed five minutes with Mr. Coleman Fisher on the subject of the stock, and do not know, except by report, that he is a stockholder in the Company.  He does not admit it in his communication of the 7th inst.; nor does his name appear on the books of the Company.  All the stock placed in the hand of Messrs. Poalk and Shippen was issued in my name in order that I alone should be responsible for the debts of the Company in case of its failure.  For everyone with whom I conversed went into this stock as an experiment, and viewed the whole affair as an experiment, knowing that in case of success it would be immensely valuable, and case of its failure, only a small and definite loss.

After getting the works in operation the directors used every effort to find a market for our product.  Samples of it were sent to Geo. McHenry & Co., for shipment to England, and to Geo. H. Ashton, Esq. And Messrs. Lewis, James & Co., and others of Philadelphia; and to Messrs. Dupont of [11] Wilmington.  Agents were appointed to leave samples with, and solicit orders from, all the principal painters in New York and Brooklyn, and throughout the New England States.  I called in person upon the most extensive paint dealers in New York and Philadelphia, in the hope of interesting them in its sale.

Mr. Gibson, the well-known painter in Eleventh Street, Philadelphia, visited the works in company with his brother, an eminent painter in New York, and examined them.  On his return he experimented for weeks, in the hope of discovering a ‘drier’ for the paint.  He had previously painted Auspasch’s iron building (Third and Cherry Street) with it.  I visited the wall paper manufacturers and got them to experiment with it as a paper stainer.  In fact, nothing was left untried to bring it into notice, and make a market for it, but all without avail.  Not one order was ever received for it, and although it was tried by hundreds, all objected to its want of body and the difficulty of drying it.

And now in respect to the stockholders.  Not one of them either by word of mouth or letter, ever complained to me of improperly managing the affairs of the Company, or ‘inducing them to take stock,’ until I received Mr. Fisher’s communication of the 7th inst., although I have frequently visited this city during the past five years, and resided here for the past fifteen months.  And when Mr. Fisher did complain to me, he did it only in answer to my note of September 30th.

About two years since a meeting of the Philadelphia stockholders was called at the office of Edward L. Poalk, Esq., when the Secretary of the meeting, T.F. Bayard, Esq., formerly associated with Mr. Shippen, was directed to address me a letter, asking certain questions about the affairs and prospects of the Company.  I received that letter and immediately answered every question propounded, and sent my answer to Mr. Bayard.  Mr. Fisher’s attention was called by Mr. Poalk to the fact of the reception of my answer.

In my answer, I gave the position of our affairs, the state of our indebtedness, and enclosed a copy of the charter which I had obtained, with a summary of the accounts of the treasurer, and stated that the vouchers could be seen at any time at eh office of the Company.  What action was taken on my answer I know not, for I never heard anything further from that quarter.

With a view to closing up the concern, I called a meeting of the stockholders to be held at the office of the Company in New York, on the seventh day of April 1857, and advertised that meeting in the Public Ledger.  I also requested Mr. Poalk to inform the stockholders of the meeting, and urge them to attend, as the Company’s property would surely be sold unless something was done to save it.  The meeting was held at the time fixed, but no one from Philadelphia attended.  At this meeting I submitted my accounts, which were accepted as correct.  I also stated the position in which our Company was placed;  but the stockholders refused to take any steps to save the property, and the law was left to take its course.

Annexed I send you my accounts as treasurer of the Company.  Instead of producing copies of the bills and receipts, I have, in order to save time, furnished the originals.  It will be perceived that a balance of about one hundred dollars remains in my hands, which I will hand over to the proper owners, as soon as I am released from my personal liability of the Company’s note.

The company’s stock consisted of 10,000 shares.  Of this, 2000 shares were sold, 350 voted as salary to the Treasurer, 50 to the President, 100 to the Secretary, and 200 to Gibson to experiment, for a total of 2700 shares, leaving of the Company’s stock unsold, 7300 and 42,700 shares in the hand of individuals.  [13]

John Brodhead, Treasurer, in account with New Jersey Paint Co. 

Received: 1853 Proceeds of 2000 shares of Company stock at $1 per share, $2000; March 12, 1856 Proceeds of note of $1100 dated March 12, thirty days, $1092.95, for a total of $3092.95.

Disbursed:  Superintendence, April 1853-April 1855 . . .  William Pepper and P.A. Van Riper $835; Paid P.A. Van Riper and disbursed by him . . . $890.97; Paid Currier & Sanford, Machinists . . . $899.07; Paid Miscellaneous expenses . . . $367.41, for a total of $2992.45; Balance in hands of Treasurer, $100.50.  . . .”  [1-13]

Miscellaneous Account:  1853  Paid for Transfer Books, etc. $44.25; Stock Ledger 3.50; Minute Book 1.25; Advertisement 1.75; Freight 1.25; expenses to works 14.00, to Philadelphia 20.00, Trenton 5.00; cans 8.00.

Thomas Stacey agent to sell paint April 25, 1854 5.00 & May 19, 1854 18.00; Advertisement of charter 2.25; & 2.25; taxes for 1855 15.48 & 1856 6.91; expended in getting charter 175.00; expenses to works 12.00; advertisements 3.00 & 1.25; expenses to works 2.87 & 1.40; incidental office expense 23.00; Total expenditures:  $367.41

We the undersigned stockholders in the New Jersey Paint Co., in the number of shares set opposite our names, have examined the annexed and foregoing statement and account of John Brodhead, the Treasurer of said Company, and find [15] the same correct, so far as our own knowledge goes, and believe all his statements to be correct.  New York, October 13, 1858.  R. Ludlow, 20,000 shares; Daniel H. Curtis, 2500; Samuel Fowler, 3333; A.J. Drexel, 700; Jacob A. Miskey, 416; J. Cooke, 416; J.S. Fletcher, 50.

We the undersigned, Directors of the New Jersey Paint Co., have examined the foregoing statement and account of John Brodhead, Treasurer, &c., and find the same correct, so far as our knowledge goes, and we believe all his statements to be correct.  New York, October 13, 1858.  J.R. AMERMAN, President; SAMUEL FOWLER, R. LUDLOW.  (G.H. Rozet resides in New Orleans.)

I have read the foregoing statement of John Brodhead, and so far as my knowledge of the whole affair goes, I find his statements correct.  EDWARD L. POALK, 217 Lodge St., Philadelphia.

I purchased two hundred shares of the stock of the New Jersey Paint Co. from J.B. Beers, Esq., now deceased, and understood from his that he had purchased it from Mr. Brodhead, and that the undertaking was an experiment, and might or might not be successful.  The reasons of failure [16] since derived from reliable sources, have long ago satisfied me that it could not succeed.  October 16, 1858.  THOMAS S. SMITH.

Mr. Brodhead’s statements above, so far as I am concerned, are correct.  JOHN GIBSON, 200 shares.

TO WILLIAM D. LEWIS, JR.  Philadelphia, October 15, 1858.  Dear Sir:  The foregoing is a correct statement of the affairs and accounts of the New Jersey Paint Co., so far as I know them.  From the endorsements made upon it, you will perceive that it has the sanction of all the Directors (except G.H. Rozet, who is absent at New Orleans), of Mr. Poalk, through whom and Mr. Shippen (deceased), the stock sold here was mainy disposed of, and of a large majority of the stockholders.  Had time permitted, and the occasion required it, I could have obtained the endorsement of thousands of shares besides.

Accompanying this you will find my account and vouchers.  You will please give Mr. Fisher reasonable time for its examination.  Yours truly, JOHN BRODHEAD.  . . . [17]

TO JOHN BRODHEAD, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 27, 1858.  Sir:  I now reply to the statement, and accompanying account which you forwarded for my examination.  So far as regards the disbursement of the money received from the sales of the company’s stock to the Philadelphia subscribers, the account appears to be correct.  I do not perceive, however, the propriety of charging all the expenses to the account of these particular stockholders.

I had no knowledge, until since the commencement of our correspondence, that there were any other stockholders than those in Philadelphia, with the exception of Dr. Ludlow, or that any account had been furnished by you.  You will perceive among other things, by the accompanying letters, that others of the stockholders here were equally ignorant of these facts.

I was induced to subscribe partly from a conversation held with you at your office, when you exhibited to me a piece of board, painted, as alleged, with the paint in question, but chiefly upon the faith of representations, made to me by Messrs. Poalk and Shippen (in the latter of whom, my personal friend, I had the fullest confidence) speaking, as they said, by authority from you, and without any personal knowledge of their own.

The substance of these inducements was, that the mine was a very valuable one—that the good qualities of the paint had been tested and were known—that the chances of profit [18] were very great, and that what was needed was money to put the works in operation.  If this were accomplished, it was asserted that they would probably yield the interest of the proposed capital $500,000.  It was never supposed by myself or the other subscribers here, from anything said to us prior to your communications in the summer of 1855, that the whole thing, including the quality of the article, was but an experiment, and that no market existed or could anywhere be found for the manufacture.

Had such a fact been communicated, no subscription, I think, could have been procured in Philadelphia.  In view of its existence, it is not surprising that the paper capital of $500,000 dwindled down by positive sale to the sum of $200.  The light in which the stockholders regarded the affair, who invested their money here, will be seen by the communications, of which I enclose copies and which are answers to a letter of mine to them, a copy of which I also transmit.

The substance of your statements to Messrs. Poalk and Shippen, and on which they grounded their representations to parties here, will be found in your letter to the latter of these gentlemen, under the date of October 29, 1853, of which I send a copy.  His letter of the 21st to which this is a reply you doubtless have.

Without saying that you INTENTIALLY misrepresented any fact, at any time, there SEEMS to have been a careless assertion of positions on the faith of which myself and others paid and lost their money and which subsequently were demonstrated to have altogether mistaken.  Respectfully yours, COLEMAN FISHER.”

[JOHN BRODHEAD—NOTE:  “Mr. Fisher states in his communication that ‘he cannot see the propriety of charging all the expenses to the account of these particular stockholders;’ that is to say, he cannot see the propriety of using the funds derived from the sale of the Company’s stock, for the purpose of putting the Company’s works in order.”]

[JOHN BRODHEAD:  “The following is a copy of a letter written by me to Mr. Shippen, in October 1853.  It contains, as Mr. Fisher states, ‘the substance of my statement to Messrs. Poalk & Shippen, and on which they grounded their representation to parties here.’  It contains also, as Mr. Bayard writes, ‘quite accurately the representations made to him, as to the surprising value of the raw material contained in the Company’s mines, and their flourishing conditions and prospects.’  And it was upon the strength of this letter, and my ‘kindred representations,’ that Mr. Bayard ‘bought his stock,’ and as he ‘believes others got theirs.’  It will be seen from this letter that I state nothing in regard to the quality of this paint, or capacity of the works, as of my own knowledge; but distinctly refer to Dr. Ludlow and Mr. Van Riper as my informants.—JOHN BRODHEAD”]

“TO WILLIAM SHIPPEN, JR., ESQ.  New York, October 29, 1853.  Dear Sir:  In answer to your inquiries in regard to the New Jersey Paint Company, I have to state that the Company have divided the stock into 50,000 shares, of which 10,000 shares are reserved for working capital, and the balance, 40,000 shares, distributed among the owners of the present property.  That distribution was as follows, viz:  Ludlow, 20,000 shares; 3333 1/3 each held by Fowler, Curtis, Brodhead, Wallace, F. & D. & C., and J.E. Smith.

Two thousand shares of the Company’s stock have been sold at $1.00 per share for $2000. A portion of this has been expended as follows:  William Pepper, on salary $90; Advertisement 1.75; Utensils, getting out paint, &c. 100; Freight &c. to Wilmington 1.25; other expense 25.00; Total expense, $218.  $2000 less $218, balance $1782; less $300 to be paid November 3 to Currier & Sanford.  This will leave in the hands of Treasurer, $1482.00.

Mr. Sanford, of the above firm, told me this morning that at the very farthest the works will be in operation on the 28th November.  He also informed me that he thought the cost of repairing the works, and putting the same in operation would not exceed $800, although their original estimate was $1280.  [20]  The difficulty of obtaining competent and trustworthy machinists to put our works in order has been the cause of delaying them to the present time.

Immediately after organization, application was made to Mr. Amer, of Race Street, Philadelphia, for a competent mechanic, by Dr. Ludlow; Mr. Amer promised to send one.  After waiting two or three weeks, we were informed that such was the press of business among all iron workers, that Mr. Amer could not send a man.

I then made application to several establishments in this city, and found it impossible to engage a person.  Mr. Pepper then went to Paterson, where he engaged a man, who promised to go to our works and put them in order at once.  This man three appointments to meet us at the works, and finally informed us that he could not leave his then present business.  At last Messrs. Currier & Sanford, of Newark, were engaged, and from that time they took hold of the matter, they have driven it along as fest as they could; although owing to the extraordinary activity ion the iron business everywhere, and especially with them, they have not progressed as rapidly as they at first expected to.

There has been no delay which was not unavoidable, but as the summer was unusually wet, the delay has been of no detriment to us, for it would not have been possible to have properly dried the raw material for grinding.  For the past month the weather has been of the most favorable character for drying, and Mr. Van Riper is actively engaged in getting out the ‘stuff,’ and by the time the engine is ready, he will have a sufficient quantity out to keep the mill running all winter.

Mr. Pepper left our works on the 20th of August, temporarily as he professed, but I was informed by persons living near the works, that he told them he did not intend returning.  I therefore engaged the services of Philip Van Riper, who lives immediately adjoining the works, and who was formerly engaged in the mill.  He is a responsible, active, ingenious man, and understands the manufacture of our paint perfectly.  He not only agrees to superintend the making of the paint, but will act as our engineer, having formerly driven the engine.  Mr. Van Riper informs me, that at the time he had charge of these works, he was making one ton of paint per day, and was discharged by the overseer to make place for a man who promised to turn out three tons per day with the same works.

This man proved to be an idle, drunken creature, who not only failed to fulfill his promise, but neglected the works, and let them take fire and burn down.  New works, the present ones, were then put up and put in charge of a man named Smith, who not infrequently absented himself from the works for three weeks at a time, and left them in charge of ignorant Irishmen.

Under their management the machinery was injured and the works neglected.  Mr. Smith was at last forced to give up his interest; it fell into the hands of the present parties.  [21]

Mr. Van Riper states that with the present machinery, one ton of paint per day can be manufactured; and that all the expenses of the same cannot exceed twenty dollars per day.  The paint, I am informed by Mr. Ludlow, has been sold at five and six cents per pound.

Say 2000 pounds of paint at five cents, $100 less $20 cost of manufacture, profit of $80 per day times 365 days equals $29,200.00 or 6% on $500,000.

I have entire faith in the statements made by Messrs. Ludlow & Van Riper, and the only question in mind is whether a market can be had for all the paint we can make.  Brown paint is daily becoming more and more used, and ours is so near a black that I think it can, in may cases, be substituted therefore.  With a very slight admixture of cheap yellow, a beautiful bronze green can be produced, and sold at a profit at very low rates.  By proper advertisements, agencies, &c., [22] I cannot see why we cannot dispose of all that our mills can turn out.

Besides the 2000 shares Company stock, there have been sold in Philadelphia 1800 shares of individual stock at $1 per share; 450 shares of Company stock have also been disposed of to committees [of the legislature?], editors, officers, &c.; but I have no knowledge that over 100 shares thereof have been sold.  No more Company stock will be sold at $1.00 per share, and the individual holders here declare that they will n ot sell at that price until after May next.  Thus far they have sold none of their stock here, nor do I believe it could be purchased under $2.00.  It is not likely that their stock will ever be offered in Philadelphia.

Recapitulation:  Company stock sold, 2000 shares; to editors, etc., 450; balance on hand of Company’s stock, 7550; Company’s stock disposed of, 2450; individuals, 1800; total amount in hand of those not original holders, 4250 shares.

I know nothing of paints by experience, and I am as ignorant of the real value of our stock as anyone.  With the above facts before you, you can make up your own opinion.  It looks well to me, and, for one, I am willing to await the result.  Yours truly, JOHN BRODHEAD.

DEAR GRIFFITHS:  New York, March 10, 1854.  Yours of the 9th, inquiring into the prospects of the New Jersey Paint Co., was received this morning.  In reply, I have to state, that after a series of vexations and discouraging delays, the works are at last [23] complete, and in good working order.  . . .

I know no more of paint than you do, but our [paint] has been declared by excellent judges, after trial and use, to be of superior quality.  It is of great durability, and is very beautiful.  I have faith in the success of the matter, and would not sell my stock at two dollars per share.  I will advise you further on the subject.  Yours ever, JOHN BRODHEAD, 51 Liberty St.

[“The following resolutions were adopted at a meeting of some of the stockholders, held at the office of Mr. Poalk in 1855.  Mr. Bayard was secretary of this meeting, and I transmitted to him the answers given below, with the accounts and charter referred to in my answers.  Mr. Bayard states, in his letter to Mr. Fisher, that, my answer, with the accounts, were received, and were shown, he believes, to some of the stockholders, but no meeting was afterwards called.  JOHN BRODHEAD”]

“TO JOHN BRODHEAD.  Resolutions of Philadelphia Stockholders, June 25, 1855.  Resolved, That in view of the ignorance of this meeting of the present condition and business prospects of the New Jersey paint Company, application be made to John Brodhead, Esq., for the following information:

First, What is the number of the shares of the capital stock of the said company?  [Answer:  50,000 shares, at $10 per share.]

Second, What are the names of the stockholders . . .  [Answer:  See accompanying list.]

Third, In whom is vested the legal title to the land and works of the Company, and subject to what trusts?  [Answer:  The property of the Company is conveyed by deed to James R. Ludlow and Dr. John L. Ludlow, of Philadelphia, and John Brodhead, to be held in trust for the New Jersey Paint Co., to be conveyed to said Company in their corporate name whenever the Directors so vote it.]  [24]

Fourth, What is the present market value of the paint, what demand exists therefore, and what are its prospects of sale?  Answer:  No sale at all for the paint.  [Answer.  No sale at all for the paint.]

Fifth,  A more particular account, with the items of Mr. Brodhead’s receipts and expenditures in the affairs of the Company?  [Answer:  See accompanying account.]

Sixth, Whether any of the paint has been sold, and it so, at what price, and what amount now remains on hand?  [Answer:  None sold; about twenty barrels on hand.]

Also resolved, That Mr. Brodhead be desired to procure and forward to the Secretary of this meeting a copy of the charter obtained for this Company from the New Jersey Legislature; also a copy of the deed of conveyance to trustees of said Company.  [Answer: See copy of charter sent herewith.]

Resolved, that the Secretary forward to Mr. Brodhead a copy of the resolutions of this meeting, with a request that an early answer may be had thereto.

TO MSSRS. HART, MAITLAND, GRIFFITHS, WORKMAN, HENRY.  Gentlemen:  Philadelphia, October 21, 1858.  Will you favor me by saying in reply to this, whether you had any knowledge of the fact of the summary of accounts and touching the New Jersey Paint Co., having ever been furnished by John Brodhead, Esq.?  Will you also be good enough to say what were your impressions at the time of the abandonment of the company’s prospects, (prior to any difficulty between Mr. Brodhead and myself,) of the whole affair, including Mr. Broadhead’s connection with it?  And if you supposed that the money subscribed by you was merely for the purpose of trying experiments?  Very respectfully, COLEMAN FISHER.

TO COLEMAN FISHER.  Wilmington DE, October 23, 1858. My Dear Sir:” 

[Brodhead omitted the following in his version:

“Some time in the year 1853 . . . I bought and paid for one hundred shares of the stock, issued in the name of John Brodhead, and assigned in blank.  I paid one hundred dollars for it; do not now believe it is worth ten cents.”]

“I was living here at that time and purchased the stock under the suggestion of a very dear friend (now in his grave) which he made to me upon the basis of the representations of Mr. John Brodhead, that it was a most excellent speculation.

I remember we were to have the advantage of taking as much more at the same price if we applied within one year, but before that time expired we were satisfied to forego the privilege.]

The letter you have exhibited to me, dated New York, October 29, 1853, from Mr. John Brodhead to Mr. William Shippen, Jr. contains quite accurately the representations made to me as to the surprising value of the raw material contained in the Company’s mines, and their flourishing condition and prospects, and which were plainly intended to induce subscriptions, and succeeded.

[Brodhead omitted the following in his version:

“It is hard to draw the line between justifiable and unjustifiable ‘puffery.’  As a legal proposition the writer of that letter was secure [26] on the ground of ‘caveat emptor,’ but I think that a man who acted upon his confidence in the written opinion of one who seemed to know all about the matter, and was then taking a leading part in its management, should not feel utterly dissatisfied with the result is not to be expected.  I felt so and said so, and every shareholder I know expressed the same views.”]

“It was because the stockholders felt dissatisfied that the meeting referred to by Mr. Brodhead was held at Mr. Poalk’s office, at which I acted as secretary, and at which the resolutions of inquiry were adopted.  I have placed in your hands all the minutes of the meeting, and Mr. Brodhead’s reply.

After that reply was received, there never was, to my knowledge, another meeting of the stockholders in Philadelphia, nor anywhere else, (although Mr. Brodhead refers to one called in New York.)  My impression is, the papers sent me were exhibited to some of them individually, but I cannot say now to which of them.  I do not think you were then a stockholder, my impression being you had then sold out; certainly I have not recollection of seeing you at the meeting, of giving you any information, or showing you the papers, until you called upon me ten days since.  

The returns of Mr. Brodhead were eminently unsatisfactory in this, that they showed our stock was utterly worthless and that his interest in the matter had died away.

I never analyzed the account nor questioned the accuracy of the statements, but I considered that we had been lead to believe the paint would sell at a large profit, and at the end of two years were told there had been no sales whatever and no prospect of any.  I have read Mr. Brodhead’s statement sent you, and it seems a full account of his disbursements, and I presume is correct.  Behind these accounts I cannot go or express any opinion of the management of the Company.

I do not however understand why the Philadelphia stockholders should pay all the expenses, as everything seems to be charged to them.  Surely there were others to assist.

If the bad result of this speculation should cause those who suffer by it to think hardly of the action of the managers, it cannot be thought surprising.  I should be very sorry to so any man injustice, and if made aware I had done so would strive to do all I could to repair it.  [27]

Mr. Brodhead would seem to have taken great pains to place himself right before you, and all others who can see his report, but I cannot consider that he was in error when he wrote the letter in question to Mr. Shippen, on the strength of which, and his kindred representations, I bought my stock and believe others got theirs.  Yours very truly, T.F. BAYARD.”

[BRODHEAD did not include in his version the following letters from investors to FISHER, but did provide his summary and interpretation of their contents.]

“TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  123 Walnut St., Philadelphia, October 23, 1858.  . . .  They both represented the matter as a splendid speculation, and one in which a large amount of money would probably be made by the first subscribers.  It was represented to me that the affair was to be strictly a Philadelphia company, and that 2000, or not exceeding 2500 shares would be sold in all, and the proceeds were to be appropriated to start the works, which were already built and had been in operation.  . . .  [28]

So far as I am at present aware, very little has ever been done to carry out he original promises.  . . .  [29]  I will also state, that after a considerable time, the stockholders with whom I was acquainted did express a great deal of dissatisfaction at there being nothing done . . . and Mr. Shippen expressed himself as very indignant at having been the innocent cause of inducing his friends to subscribe their money to a transaction, in which he acknowledged himself to have been misled and deceived, and which he denominated by no very flattering appellation.  I am very truly yours, WILLIAM WEIR WORKMAN.

TO COLMAN FISHER. ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 25, 1858.  Dear Sir:   . . .  [30]  I was under the impression that it was a fixed fact, that paint could and would be made to great advantage, having frequently seen a board colored with different shades of the paint made at the Works of the Company; at least so I was informed.  I was first shown the board by Mr. Brodhead . . .  Subsequent to a meeting of the shareholders, which I attended, I gave a small quantity of the paint in a crude state to Messrs. Huneker & Brant, painters, in Arch St., to ascertain their opinion respecting it; after trial, they pronounced it worthless.  Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, W.M. GRIFFITHS.  P.S.  . . .

TO COLEMAN FISHER.  Philadelphia, October 21, 1858.  Dear Sir:  . . .  I subscribed for one hundred shares of the New Jersey Paint Co.’s stock, at one dollar per share.  I understood at the time that the Company was incorporated, and that the stock was sold for the purpose of starting the concern.  I understood that paint had been made, and that there were some works in operation.  I recollect seeing a board with specimens of paint produced.  I did not understand the money was subscribed for the purpose of trying experiments.

I remember that a meeting of the stockholders was called for the purpose of obtaining from Mr. Brodhead a statement of the affairs of the Company.  But I did not attend the meeting nor inform myself as to the result of the inquiry and I did not know of any summary of accounts being furnished by Mr. Brodhead, but I know that dissatisfaction was expressed by the stockholders.  Yours very truly, MORTON P. HENRY.

TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 25, 1858.  Dear Sir:  . . .  I state that I never was aware of any account having been rendered to the stockholders, and have frequently talked with those interested, and found them equally ignorant with myself, as regards to what was done with the money subscribed by us.  At the time I subscribed, Mr. Poalk represented to me that the money was wanted to repair the engine and paint mill.  The paint was represented to have been fully tested as to its usefulness, and if it had been represented to any of us that the money was wanted for experimenting, I do not think a dollar of it could have been obtained.  A board was to be seen, I think at William Shippen, Jr’s office, painted with it, and a barrel was to have been sent on immediately, to be distributed among the painters of this city, the utility of it being represented as a fixed fact.

As regards Mr. Brodhead’s connection with it, I know nothing except that Mr. Poalk gave him as authority for the representations he made, he expecting to be solicitor for the Company for the services he performed, in getting subscriptions to the stock; he got paid in stock.  Upon inquiry of [32] him sometimes afterwards, how much he had, he said he was not a stockholder, that he had realized. [sic]  I have always been under the impression, the whole affair from commencement was a fiction, and felt that we were victims, and the least said about it, the better.  Yours truly, JOHN K. HART.

TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  230 South Third St., October 27, 1858.  Dear Sir:  . . .  In the Spring of 1853, the late W. Shippen, Jr., Esq., made up a party of his friends to subscribe to some of the stock of this company.  It was represented by him to myself and others, that the company owned a valuable property, containing a valuable deposit of clay Paint, which had been fully tested by competent judges, and pronounced as being of excellent quality suitable for use in the finest description of work.

A chequer-board and Dr. Ludlow’s carriage, painted with this material, was referred to as specimens.  The works in Passaic County were capable of producing several tons per day at a cost of about one cent per pound, and that the same had been sold at auction in New York at five or six cents.  That the works required certain expenditures to put them in complete order, and that the amount of stock to be sold would be merely sufficient to raise the necessary funds, say about $2000.

No doubt was expressed of the ability to find a market for the article when prepared, nor was there any suggestion of doubt as to the quality.  I was not informed that any stock was to be disposed of, except that taken by our Philadelphia party; I did not understand it to be an experimental [33] matter, but that all the statements as above, were well established.  At this time when these items were made known to me by Mr. Shippen, I believe he had not then visited the property.  He based his statements upon information derived from Mr. Brodhead, upon the faith of the representations made to me upon the authority of Mr. Brodhead, I subscribed for several hundred shares, which I still hold, and have since 1855 considered valueless.  I know that several meetings of the stockholders were held in this city, of which fact Mr. Brodhead, I believe, was notified, but did not attend.

General dissatisfaction was expressed by Mr. Shippen, and others with respect to Mr. Brodhead’s neglect or inattention to the interests of those whom he had induced to subscribe.  I was not aware, until recently, that any account or accounts had been ever furnished by Mr. Broadhead in regard to the disposition of the money received by him.  Mr. Shippen, after 1855, spoke of the scheme as a bubble gotten up by Mr. Brodhead, and felt exceedingly mortified that he had ever been induced to have any connection with the company.  I never, to my knowledge, had any conversation with Mr. Brodhead, in regard to this transaction, and my information was almost exclusively obtained from my friend, Mr. Shippen.  . . .  Very respectfully, &c., JOSEPH MAITLAND.

TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 26, 1858.  Dear Sir:  In answer to your inquiries regarding what I stated to you some time since, in regard to the New Jersey paint stock, I think the following to be the substance, you asked me if Mr. Brodhead had ever sold any of his individual stock, I said that Mr. Brodhead had stated to myself and Shippen, that he had [34] disposed of some of his individual stock.  In answer to a question of yours, I stated I thought about one thousand eight hundred shares.  I thought Mr. Bayard had received an account which I had never seen.  This was a hurried conversation in the street.  Very respectfully, your obedient servant, EDWARD L. POALK.”

[BRODHEAD’S summary and interpretation:

“Besides Mr. Bayard’s letter, Mr. Fisher furnishes me with copies of letters written him by Messrs. Workman, Hart, Maitland, Griffiths, and Henry.  The statements contained in these letters amount to this:  That the stock was purchased from Messrs. Poalk and Shippen, who, as was understood, spoke and acted for me.  That their representations as to the value of the mine, paint, and works, secured the sale of the stock, and that such representations were derived from me.  That they saw a board, alleged to have been painted with our paint, and understood that the paint made at the works had been sold at five or six cents a pound.  That they understood that the money secured was for the purpose of putting the works in operation, and not for mere experiments.  That great dissatisfaction had been [22] expressed by some of the stockholders at the bad management, delay, and results of the affair, &c., &c.

Mr. Workman further states that he was not aware of any charter having been procured for the New Jersey Paint Company, nor has he ever seen any statement of the accounts of the Company rendered officially by me.  Mr. Workman visited and examined the mine and works, expressed himself much pleased therewith, returned home and purchased two hundred additional shares.

Mr. Maitland states that he was not aware until lately that any account had ever been furnished by me in regard to the disposition of the money—that he subscribed for several hundred shares and still holds them.  Mr. Poalk’s recollection is that with the exception of 100 shares, the stock subscribed by Mr. Maitland was bought of Mr. Fisher.

Mr. Griffiths states that he had no knowledge until lately of an account having been furnished by me, or that I had sent any answers to queries of the Committee.

Mr. Henry states that he did not attend the meeting held at Mr. Poalk’s office, nor inform himself as to the result of the inquiries.

Mr. John K. Hart, partner of the late Samuel B. Ashmead, states that he never was aware of any accounts having been rendered to the stockholders, and found others equally ignorant with himself as regards the disposition of the money.  That he has always been under the impression the whole affair from the commencement was a fiction, &c., &c.

William C. Milligan, Esq. informs me that he is the brother-in-law and administrator of the estate of the late Samuel B. Ashmead.  That he frequently heard Mr. Ashmead speak of his visit with Messrs. Workman, Shippen, and Poalk, to the mine and works of the New Jersey paint Company, in the stock of which he had invested.  That Mr. Ashmead was highly delighted with his visit, the mine and the works, and felt satisfied that the stock would prove a splendid speculation, and that he wished he had the means to invest more heavily in it.”  JOHN BRODHEAD”] 

“TO COLEMAN FISHER, ESQ.  Philadelphia, October 28, 1858.  Sir:  Your communication of the 27th instant, with the papers accompanying it was received last evening. When I placed before you my statement and account of the affairs of the New Jersey Paint Company, I did not intend to elicit from you any other expression of opinion on the subject beyond a retraction of the unjustifiable charges which you have made against me in regard thereto.  I prepared that statement with a view of removing any misapprehension which you or any other person might entertain in regard to my management of the company.

Your answer is unsatisfactory, inasmuch as it does not contain a retraction of the unwarrantable assertions made by you in reference to these matters.

I now demand of you such a retraction, or that satisfaction which under the circumstances you cannot deny me.

I expect an immediate and unqualified answer.

Mr. Friend, Col. William D. Lewis, jr., is authorized by me to receive your reply, and to make such arrangements in my behalf, as your answer may render necessary.  Very respectfully, JOHN BRODHEAD.

TO COLONEL WILLIAM D. LEWIS, JR.  Philadelphia, October 29th, 1858.  Dear Sir:  My friend, Dr. Charles R. King, will hand you my answer to the note of Mr. John Brodhead, of the 28th inst.  Very respectfully, COLEMAN FISHER.

TO MR. JOHN BRODHEAD.  Philadelphia, October 29, 1858.  Sir:  Your note of the 28th inst., has been handed to me by Col. William D. Lewis, Jr.  I have nothing to add to, or retract from, my communication of the 27th, already addressed to you.  I decline accepting the hostile meeting to which you invite me.  It is my purpose to publish the correspondence for the information of my friends and others.  Respectfully yours, COLEMAN FISHER.”


“Upon handing this to Colonel Lewis, Dr. Charles R. King, who acted as the friend of Mr. Fisher, demanded of me, through Colonel Lewis, a promise that I would not use any personal violence towards Mr. Fisher, and threatened that, unless such promise were given, he would hand over the correspondence to the legal authorities.  To avoid vexatious legal proceedings, I gave the required pledge.

In my reply to Mr. Fisher’s note, I characterized in proper terms, his refusal to make me any reparation, and applied to him such epithets as I believe he is justly entitled to, by his course towards me.  I withhold, for the present, the publication of this reply.

“TO THIS MR.BRODHEAD REPLIED on the 29th of October, in an abusive note, applying to me several opprobrious epithets, and intimating his intention of considering the propriety of resorting to a suit at law against me.  This latter threat is, in my judgment, a sufficient reason for not publishing the letter in this pamphlet.  COLEMAN FISHER.”

[BRODHEAD appended the following letter and his analysis of the dispute:

“TO JOHN BRODHEAD, ESQ.  Philadelphia, November 1st, 1858.  Dear Sir:  In answer to your note of this morning, I have to state that I was deeply interested in the operations of the New Jersey Paint Works, to which you refer, as well before as after they became the property of the New Jersey Paint Company. [23]  I believe that I first called your attention to them in 1852.  I showed you samples of the paint made at these works while under the direction of Smith, Van Riper, and others, and told you that the paint had been sold at private sale at five and six cents per pound, and that it had brought at forced sale, at auction, three cents per pound.

In order to show the various colors which could be produced by an admixture of this paint with other pigments, I caused a large board, marked off into squares, to be painted by Mr. Storey, grainer and fresco painter of this city.  This board was sent to you as a specimen of this paint.  I also informed you that by mixing this paint with chrome yellow, a very cheap and beautiful bronze green could be produced.  I also referred to you the following well known painters, and competent judges of paint, as having it pronounced it a beautiful and durable article:  Mr. J.W. Williams of the Artists’ Emporium, 33 N. 6th St.; Mr. George Gardom, 19 South 7th St.; Mr. J.W. Wooldridge (Metcalf & Wooldridge), 14 North 10th St.; and Mr. Isaac C. Sooy (Phillips & Sooy), 816 Filbert St.

Further to show its beauty and test its durability, Mr. Sooy painted a carriage for me with it; and all these painters gave written certificates of its excellence.

The only objection to it I ever heard suggested by anyone prior to its manufacture by the Paint Company, was that occasionally gritty particles appeared in it.  This imperfection did not exist in all that was manufactured, and was owing to the stones by which it was ground, not being heavy enough to crush the hard particles which sometimes appeared in it.  These particles were examined through a microscope, and proved to be not a foreign substance, but particles of the raw material hardened by exposure to the sun and air.

This objection was overcome by the superior machinery of the works of your Company.  Since the completion of your works, the objections to the paint have been, that it did not cover well, and that it dried too slowly.  These are not defects in the paint, nor do they detract from its merits as an excellent, beautiful, and most durable pigment.  The capacity of the works when first managed by Van Riper, was one ton per day, but, as I informed you, this capacity could be trebled at a trifling expense, by increasing the ‘run of the stones.’

When a stock company was proposed, I calculated that the works, if properly managed, could be made to pay six per cent on $500,000, by making one ton of paint per day.  But you thought it safer to increase the capacity of the mill to three tons [24] per day, and then, in case it were necessary to force sales at three cents, a larger dividend could be earned.

Of the 20,000 shares in which I was interested, not one share was ever offered for sale, nor would $5 per share have tempted us to part with it, so confident were we of the success of the works.

I believe you did all in your power to carry on the works successfully, and am of opinion that, had it not been for the fact that within a few years our markets have been overstocked with cheap brown paints, ours would have found a ready sale.  J.L. LUDLOW, No. 10, West Penn Square.

It will have been remarked that Mr. Fisher and his friends declare that they supposed the money derived from the sale of the Company’s stocks, was to have been expended in repairing and improving the mill, and not merely in trying experiments.  Their supposition was correct, for so the money was expended, as they were told it would be.

It is nevertheless true, that the whole undertaking was regarded as an experiment by all concerned; and this is evident by the fact that the stock was sold at one dollar per share, although the nominal par value was ten dollars per share.  And when Mr. Fisher talks of his ‘subscribing’ to the stock, it will be remembered that he gets it at one dollar per share rather than ten.  Had there been no question about the affair, or had it been represented and believed that there could be no doubt of its success, will anyone say that so keen an operator as Mr. Fisher is said to be, would have contented himself with an investment of a few hundred dollars in so brilliant a concern.

Every stockholder, here or elsewhere, who obtained his stock directly from me, appears, if he appears at all, as vouching the accuracy of my statement.  Of the committee of four from this city who visited the works, two Messrs. Shippen and Ashmead, are deceased;  Mr. Poalk certifies to the correctness of my statement, and Mr. Workman avoids all mention of the visit, and his subsequent purchase of stock.  And here I might state, that Messrs. Poalk & Shippen were intimate personal friends, and were joint agents for the sale of this stock, and that for the sales which they made, they received a commission, and were paid in stock. [25]

Mr. Fisher and Mr. Bayard both refer to my letter of 1853, as containing the substance of all the representations made by me personally, or through other, in regard to the value of the property and stock.  I therefore call attention of my friends particularly to this letter.  It does contain the substance of my representations, as is stated, but does not contain one word which was not true when it was written.

I also call attention to the resolutions, Queries, and Answers, and to the fact that although they had reference exclusively to the operations of this Company, yet scarcely any of the stockholders saw proper to inform themselves as to the purport of those answers and accounts.  They contented themselves with complaining that they were kept in the dark in regard to the affairs of the Company.

‘The substance of the inducements’ held out to Mr. Fisher, having been pointed out in the foregoing letters, and the accounts of the Company ‘appearing to be correct,’ and having been shown that these accounts were always accessible to Mr. Fisher, it is clear that his conduct towards me was wholly unjustifiable and without excuse.   And yet, he not only refuses any apology or reparation for the injury done me, but in his pamphlet grows bold and insolent, in view of the safe position which he has secured for himself, and affects to despise anything ‘coming from this quarter.’  JOHN BRODHEAD”] 

James Sloan Gibbons, The Banks of New York, Their Dealers, the Clearing House, and the Panic of 1857 (New York:  D. Appleton, 1859), 399 pp.

Gibbons described the inner workings of banks and their relationship to commerce in the hope that merchants would thereafter deal with bankers as equals.  The Panic of 1857 occurred while the author was preparing the manuscript, so he appended his observations about the troubles.


Henry Beadman Bryant, Henry Dwight Stratton, and Silas Sadler Packard, National Book-Keeping:  An Analytical and Progressive Treatise on the Science of Accounts and Its Collateral Branches, A Book of Reference for the Counting-House and Also as a Text-book in High Schools and Academies (New York:  Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor, 1860), 216 pp.

Henry Beadman Bryant, Henry Dwight Stratton, and Silas Sadler Packard, Bryant & Stratton's Counting House Book-keeping (New York:  Ivison, Blakeman, & Taylor, 1863), 375 pp.

Henry Dwight Stratton and Silas Sadler Packard, The New Bryant and Stratton Common School Book-Keeping, Embracing Single and Double Entry, Adapted to Individual and Class Instruction in Schools and Academies (New York:  American Book, 1878), 208 pp.

Bryant and Stratton established their business school in 1853; Packard joined the firm in 1858, when he opened a branch in New York City.  In 1867, he purchased that operation and thereafter called it Packard College. 

The authors presented the rationale, theory, and practice of accounting for businesses before the Civil War.  The inscription in this copy of the 1860 edition, however, indicates this particular volume was used as a textbook in 1874.  The authors noted that while the 1878 edition was a revision of their textbook first published in 1860, there had been few changes in theory and practice.  The format of the 1878 was considerably smaller than that of the 1860 edition and some material had been omitted, but the general outline appears to be about the same in the two editions.

Bryant and Stratton’s Bookkeeping seemed to be the commonly used short title for these editions, as exemplified in young Charles Waddell Chestnut’s entry in his diary: 

 “Friday, August 13, 1875:

I feel considerably better than I have been feeling for some days.  I shall be well in a few days, but I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that school teaching, directly or indirectly, has ruined my health.  I don’t feel at all like a boy of seventeen should.  . . .

This week passed very well. I have made tremendous progress in algebra, almost finished Natural Philosophy, read Universal Education.  . . .  When I finish that Elementary Algebra, I think I shall get a University Algebra and try for a Peck’s Mechanics.  I would like to get a Bryant and Stratton’s Bookkeeping, but books cost a great deal of money.  I think when I finish my algebra, I shall take up Latin grammar again, for I have the remotest idea of studying medicine, a knowledge of Latin is very essential.”  [quoted in Helen M. Chestnut, Charles Waddell Chestnut:  Pioneer of the Color Line (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1952, p. 14).] 

L. Fairbanks, Circular of the Quaker City Business College (Philadelphia, ca. 1860), 20 pp. plus envelope that replicates the cover.

“L. Fairbanks, A.M., Late Principal of Bryant, Stratton & Co.’s Commercial College, Principal.” [cover]

“Quaker City Business College.  The co-partnership heretofore existing Messrs. Bryant, Stratton, Frederick & Fairbanks, of the Commercial College of B.S. & Co., has been dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. Fairbanks retiring from the firm.  Mr. Fairbanks, who has been for the past four years connected with the above institution, in the capacity of principal and chief business manager, will on or before the 2d day of November next, organize and open a new Commercial School, under the style of THE QUAKER CITY BUSINESS COLLEGE, at the northeast corner of Tenth and Chestnut streets. [1] . . . 

TESTIMONIALS FROM FORMER PUPILS.  . . . During our connection with that institution, he was the Principal Manager and Instructor in Bookkeeping and other branches, Messrs. Brayant & Stratton being non-residents, and never giving any personal attention to the school.  . . .  He, in fact, made and sustained the reputation of the institution.” [17]

C.S. Stebbens, who taught at QCBC from 1864 to 1870, later became the General Ticket Agent in Omaha NE for the Union Pacific Railroad.  Notable graduates from Pennsylvania included Henry G. Moyer, a justice of the peace and newspaper publisher; Robert P. Cann, a director of railroads and mining companies; and Thomas J. Stewart, Adjutant General and Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.

 [Return to Top]

Thrift, Widows, and Philanthropy


John W. Colton, The First Century of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, 1846-1946 (Hartford:  The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co., 1946), 96 pp.


“The Incorporators.  The three leaders in the organization of the Company have been described as ‘a lawyer in delicate health, a carriage manufacturer, and an apothecary.’  . . .  Associated with them were seven solid, substantial citizens—another lawyer, a second doctor, and the others included an innkeeper, the proprietor of a shoe store, and a grocer.  Their number was subsequently increased to [twelve and] constituted the first Board of Directors.  They were comparatively young men, some of whom were to become leaders in the new enterprise they were founding.”  They met [11] “to discuss their project in the Eagle Tavern, of which . . . one of them was the proprietor.  . . .

The founders were in a period (1843-1846) which saw the birth of the first life insurance companies in the United States.  The Mutual Life of New York began writing business in 1843, the New England Mutual in 1844, the Mutual Benefit, New York Life, and State Mutual in 1845, followed in 1846 by the Connecticut Mutual, the first life insurance company chartered in Connecticut.  All of these companies were pioneers. No one of them could receive the benefit of any experience gained by another.  Each was based on the purely mutual idea.” [10-11]

. . .

“The Guarantee Fund.  While the plan of organization determined upon was purely mutual, for obvious reasons there had to be immediate resources available to meet possible early death losses.  Before the first policy was issued, a guarantee fund of $50,000 was constituted ‘to insure the stability and permanence of this institution and to provide security for the payment of all losses to which this Company may be liable.’

Such was the confidence of the Directors and the public in the soundness of the plan of mutual insurance that within six days the entire amount was available [from] nineteen subscribers in amounts from $1,000 to $4,000.  The makers of these notes and the endorsers made themselves liable as though they had put up cash.” [15]

Paying Premiums With Notes.  An important feature of the charter, particularly in the early years, was that the Company was empowered to take notes from the insured in full or in part for premiums.  The premium note or credit device by which premiums were paid partly in cash and partly by note was a most powerful factor in the Company’s early new business growth.  While the Connecticut Mutual was one of the first to use it, it came to be used by the great majority of companies during the next twenty years.  It had strong appeal to the applicant, who in no other way could secure so much insurance protection for his family for so small a down payment.  As against those competitors who employed the so-called ‘all cash’ system, it was a powerful means to an end in the hands of the Company’s agents.  Policyholders paid 6% interest on the notes, and it was the hope—even expectation—that the notes would be cancelled by dividends.  The eminent Elizur Wright, Actuary and Insurance Commissioner of Massachusetts, strongly supported the system, contending that ‘it is the opinion of the best actuaries in the country that no possible security is sacrificed either by the policyholder or by the Company in accepting the obvious advantages and conveniences of the half-note system.’

The note device, however justifiable it was for a period, came to have its disadvantages and possibility of abuse.  These lay in estimates too alluring as to the amount of dividends that would be available in note reduction, and in the disappointment to beneficiaries in those cases of claim settlement where there was a deduction on account of the note.  The system was discontinued in 1869.” [19]

            . . .

“Early Policies.  . . . Notable and interesting were the restrictions then placed upon travel.  Death upon the sea, without previous consent for sea travel, automatically voided the policy.  . . . These early policies placed a definite restriction upon even visiting without the consent of the Company certain comparatively [25] unsettled places within the limits of the United States.  The Directors seemed particularly fearful of the possibility of death in the assumedly hazardous regions of the Far West or, in the summertime particularly, in those regions below the southern boundary of Virginia and Kentucky.  Thus we read that there was charged one-half per cent extra for the privilege of residing the year around North Carolina; or again ‘in reference to insuring for residence in New Orleans, the extra premium is one per cent annually, but just at present our Board decline risks in New Orleans on account of the cholera epidemic.  When it becomes usually healthy, they will take risks there again.’” [24-25]

            . . .

“Life Insurance ‘Irreligious.’  . . .  A curious form of opposition was that voiced by some good people, that life insurance was irreligious in substituting reliance on human instrumentalities for faith in God.  A revivalist, one Elder Swan, is described as having ‘resolved to crush the pernicious novelty at a blow.’  . . .  [32]  But there were clergymen who found in the Scriptures endorsement of the principles of life insurance.  They answered the critics, and ‘prejudice yielded before enlightened discussion.’  It was noted by observers that in parts of the country where life [33] insurance still met some opposition on religious grounds, many of the opponents bought fire insurance to protect them from loss should ‘an act of God,’ such as a bolt of lightening, set fire to their buildings and destroy them.  Another [moral] argument against life insurance in general that agents had to meet was that it was hardly anything more than a lottery.  . . . . So aroused [was] Elizur Wright that he published a reply, demonstrating that life insurance was based on mathematical certainties, that the law of averages was constant.”  He did not point out, however, that a sound lottery was based upon the same laws and certainties.

Insuring Slaves.  It is interesting to observe in the early years of the Company its consideration and action upon the question of insuring slaves, as presented by various agents and inquiring policyholders.  Slave insurance was more or less freely transacted in those days.  The amounts were rarely over $1,000 and the premiums high.  The business later proved to be disastrous.  A potent cause of loss was the impossibility of identification when the death of the individual slave occurred, and also the fact that the slave owner was not always too careful to assure that his property would remain in good health and not be unduly exposed to ordinary life hazards.  The arguments for The Connecticut Mutual of offer such insurance, more or less vigorously advanced in those pre-Civil War days, was answered without comment on any moral or political aspects by the Secretary’s statement, ‘We have never taken any such risks and it does not meet with favor in our Board.’” [31-33]

            . . .

“The Church Market.  In recognition perhaps of the religious argument, clergymen were especially sought after to represent the Company, and a special fee [bonus] was granted ‘if among your congregation you can procure a specified number of policies.’  At the same time the congregation was circularized to ‘effect an insurance upon the life of the pastor, it being no more than ordinary Christian duty that every congregation should provide in some way for the wants of the family of the pastor, and in no way is the attainment of the end so easy as through the medium of life insurance.’” [35]

            . . .

“Women and Insurance.  During [the 1870s] an interesting change began to take place with reference to the attitude of the industry toward women as insurance risks, as employees, and, later, as agents.  Prior to 1870 the Company was issuing policies to women.  What underwriters of the time thought would be a heavy risk was supposed to be covered by an additional charge of $5 a thousand up to [51] age 45.  The Company decided, as of January 1871, to discontinue insurance of women.

[In the President’s words], ‘Women are proper objects of protection by insurance upon the supporting life, but are not themselves financially supporting.  There is no motive, therefore, ordinarily for female lives to seek insurance.  This fact imports into their applications a very strong element of moral hazard, which it is often difficult to detect and measure in the individual case.  It is almost impossible to procure as thorough a physical exploration of a woman as a man and incipient troubles of the heart or lungs and abnormal conditions of other organs are less likely to be detected without extraordinary care on the part of the physician than on examination of male lives.’ Experience, however, demonstrated that the risks attendant on insuring women had not been as great as had been expected.  . . .So, in 1890 the Company resumed writing insurance on women, [while] recognizing the extra mortality up to age 46 by an extra premium (later discontinued) to be collected for the first ten years of the insurance.  There was the thought, however, that insurance would be granted only to self-supporting women . . . and to those who were in possession of an independent property ‘so restricted and titled that it could not on their decease pass to the husband, who therefore stood to lose all benefit of the income of that property upon that event.’” [50-51]


Benjamin F. Stevens, Reminiscences of the Past Half-Century, April 9, 1847 to April 9, 1897 (Boston:  Nathan Sawyer, 1897), 44 pp.  “Reminiscences, 1847-1897.”  [cover title]


“Address.  Gentlemen.  I need not say that it is a very great pleasure for me to meet with the General Agents, the Heads of the various Departments in the Company’s service, and the gentlemen of the Board of Directors, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of my entrance into the service of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, on the ninth day of April, 1847, when I had just passed my twenty-third birthday.  . . .  [4]

I have thought how best I could interest you for the short time I shall give to the subject in which we are all interested as co-workers.  The Company lives, owing to the great efforts of its founders, who showed their confidence in its ultimate success by subscribing an amount which at that time was considered large and subject to loss, and that they should be duly honored for that one act alone.  I propose to make you somewhat acquainted with the founders of the Company—tell you of their characters and the services they were then engaged in to the public.  I regret nothing more than that I did not, after becoming the Company’s servant [as Secretary then and later, President], take down from their own mouths some of the wise sayings to which I was constantly listening.”  [3-4]

Fifty years ago there was not such an occupation known, so far as our company was concerned, as an exclusive life insurance agency.  A fire insurance agent sometimes combined fire and life insurance, but very little was done of the latter branch; the bulk of our business came to the office direct, without the intervention of a third party, and it was a long time before there was an advertisement in New England of a strictly life insurance agent for our Company.  The Company’s advertisement appeared in the three or four Boston business papers, which was done simply to keep the name of the institution before the public.  There was not a paper in the country in 1847, and even much later, devoted wholly to Life Insurance.  . . .  [21]

The questions now known in the medical certificates of today were not known or even dreamed of a half-century ago.  This was the form in [22] general use:  ‘I have examined ____________ . . . and certify him to be in good health and a good insurable life.’”  [20-21] 

The Philadelphia Society for the Establishment and Support of Charity Schools, Annual Report for 1847 (Philadelphia, January 1848), 12 pp.

“It must be highly gratifying to the members of this Society to witness the improvement and extension of Public Instruction, and to know that the cause of education is now firmly fixed in the affections of the people.  But a few years since, comparatively speaking, the Schools under the care of the Society were almost the only ones, in which instruction was given without money, and without price.  While the Public Schools are thus flourishing around us, those under your patronage have maintained their high character.  It is a matter of regret that all applicants cannot be admitted into them.  . . .  [4]

It has ever been the object of the Managers, that the pupils should be taught ‘to take fast hold of instruction,’ that their training should fit them for the faithful discharge of the various duties of life, by engrafting on their youthful hearts the principles of religion and virtue, instilling into their minds useful learning, and by fixing habits of industry and punctuality.”  [3-4]


Hartford County CT Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Concerns (Hartford CT:  Case, Tiffany & Burnham, 1848), 16 pp.

“The Committee met accordingly on the day last mentioned, and continued in session the four following days, and also met by adjournment on four subsequent days.  Three gentlemen, all members of the company from a very early period, if not from its commencement, and one, a Director for the greater portion of that time, appeared before the Committee, and submitted certain charges against the President of the company, or perhaps more properly, objections to the general administration of the affairs and business of the Institution.  [4]  . . .”

They complained, “that the compensation of the President was too great.  Without at present considering the question of what ought to be the compensation of the President, or how it ought to be paid, the Committee would state that it has heretofore been derived from a certain allowance on applications for policies, or what may be more properly termed, surveys of premises to be insured, and a fee for each policy issued, and for the renewal of same.  This mode of compensation was at the organization of the company fixed by the Directors for the Secretary, who then performed all the duties of the office.  When the business became so extended as to require the time and labor of two executive officers constantly, the same compensation was continued to Mr. Shepard, as President, while the Secretary’s salary was paid from the company’s treasury.

In the opinion of you Committee, this mode of compensating the principal executive officer of the company, was very properly adopted, as by it his receipts were in proportion to the amount of business done, while at the same time, it presented an inducement to him, to make every effort in his power to enlarge the business done, while at the same time, it presented an inducement to him, to make every effort in his power to enlarge the business of the office, upon which depended not only the general prosperity of the Institution, but also the security of the individuals insured.

The President’s fees on applications, policies, and renewals, have at all times been under the control of the Board of Directors; [5] and at one time, when the business of the company had become greatly enlarged, these allowances were reduced by the Directors.  If then, the compensation, at all times well known to the Board, has been too large, the Directors should be held accountable for it.  The Committee are however of opinion, that neither the President, or the Board of Directors, are justly liable to censure on this account.

It is a question however, now that the business of the office has become so well established, and perhaps sufficiently extended, whether the President’s compensation should not be a specific allowance from the funds of the company, instead of being dependant upon the contingencies of the business done, as heretofore.  . . .”  [4-6]

Another specific concern related to policies “issued so as to expose too great an amount to be lost at one fire.  The Committee finds, that in the year 1833, there was a vote passed by the company, authorizing an alteration of the charter to be obtained, so as to permit the company to take risks in all parts of the state, exclusive of incorporated cities.  It appears that the charter was altered, without embracing the exclusive clause proposed.  And it further appears from the statement of the President, who at the time of the alteration of the charter, [9] was the Secretary of the company, and by whose exertions mainly the alteration referred to was obtained, that some difficulty was experienced in procuring the alteration as proposed, but that it was finally carried through the Legislature in its present form—that the then President of the company was a member of the State Senate, and aided in obtaining the alteration of the charter in the manner now complained of—that the charter so amended was accepted by the company, practically at least, as they proceeded immediately to act under the enlarged provisions, and have so continued ever since—that some risks have been taken within the chartered limits of incorporated cities, but as much detached as most risks in the country, and quite safe, if not more so—and that no serious loss has as yet been sustained by the office on risks of this description. . . . [10]  In view of the present extended business of the office, the Committee recommends, that hereafter no risk over $3,000, be taken under any circumstances.”  . . .

“Your Committee wish it therefore to be understood, that they do not speak unadvisedly, when they express the opinion which they fully entertain, that the concerns of the company have been managed with industry, fidelity, and sound judgment; that the cost of insurance thus far has been, and there is no reason to fear that it will not continue to be, as low as, or lower than could be reasonably expected—that with a pledged capital of nearly $800,000, subject to the payment of losses, there can be no safer insurance, and no possible ground of fear on the part of individual and honest sufferers, that they will  not obtain indemnity to the extent of their policies, or on the part of the members that they will be severely assessed for the payment of such indemnity.”  [8-10]


Girard College for Orphans, Second Annual Report . . . for the Year 1849 (Philadelphia:  Crissy & Markley, 1850), 54 pp.

            A list of students and the birth dates of each is on pp. 45-54.

Remarks of Joseph R. Chandler, Director:  “. . .  In no walk of life, in no path of patriotism or of philanthropy, could we find greater means for self-felicitation than are furnished in our labors and their objects, as Directors of this Institution.  As citizens, we see the unfortunate gathered away from those temptations to vice which neglected poverty has to encounter, and thus a portion of the moral evil is abstracted from the social body.  We see now the promise that a new mind will be infused into these children, and they will bring back to society disciplined manners, improved intellects, and habits of industry, propriety and virtue.

As patriots we see that the transfusion of this quantity of purified and purifying ingredients must assist to give vigor to political life—to insure the perpetuation of our institutions resting on virtue; and while the love of country is augmented, the strength and permanency of the Union, without which we have no country, is guaranteed to future time.  . . .  [19]

Following the will of Stephen Girard, whose far-seeing and far-reaching philanthropy endowed this Institution, we regard the range of acquisitions and duties as follows:  1st, scholastic education; 2d, sound morals; and 3d, pure benevolence.  With these, of course the general preservation and occasional acquisition of health must be combined.  . . .  [20]

But it appears to me due to justice and to truth to add, that the attained results upon which we most depend for honor to the College and benefit to the pupils, flow in great degree from the labors, the devotion, the watchfulness, and the employment of high talents and appropriate attainments on the part of the women.  In the school and in the domestic economy of this Institution, the problem is solved, if indeed its solution had not been admitted, that in all primary education, and all discipline, as well of boys and girls, woman is preferable to man.  . . .”  [18-20]


Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Mutual Benefit Association of Worcester, Mass, “Certificate of Membership” (Worcester MA:  March 25, 1851), one sheet, 2 pp., folded for filing.  [Special Collections:  Financial Services Manuscripts, Chronological File]

This insurance policy, issued to Robert Craige of Newbury, Merrimack, New Hampshire upon receipt of the annual premium of $2.50 in cash, would pay a benefit of “$2.00 per week for each and every week that the said Craige may be wholly incapable, by sickness or bodily injury, of pursuing, superintending, or overseeing any business (fractional parts of weeks excepted), and to his share of the Profits arising from the business of the Association.”  Members were assessed their pro-rata share of any deficit and expelled if such an assessment were not paid.

The boilerplate on the obverse, “Conditions to be Observed by Members,” included the statement:  “Females are insured only against such risks as are common to both sexes.”


Benevolent Fraternity of Churches (Boston MA), Seventeenth Annual Report of the Executive Committee (Boston:  John Wilson & Son, 1851), 33 pp.

            Each of three ministers presented a report.

“Mr. Winkley’s Report.  . . .   Monday.  A long procession of boys and girls, with, here and there, a lazy-looking man or a ragged woman, has called at the door this morning, as usual, with one and the same request, “Any cold victuals?’  They do not all look eager for labor, though they all protest  against the scarcity of work.  A shrewd domestic replies, ‘Certainly, you shall be fed; but first bring a basket of kindlings.’  Only one returned to receive not charity, but pay for his labor; he, of course, was cared for.  Here was a good hint given me by a worthy assistant; and I am determined to profit by it.” [10]

Episcopalian Clergy Daughters’ Fund, Report, &c. . . . April 12th, 1852 (Pittsburgh PA, 1852), 8 pp.

“The Trustees of the Clergy Daughters’ Fund request attention to the annexed Report of their Treasurer.  Besides a statement of the Receipts and Expenditures during the past year, it contains an estimate of the probable resources of the Fund in the future, and shows the necessity of enlarging those resources, in order to render them more commensurate with the wants of its objects.

It is now five years, since the liberality of Episcopalians was first turned to some special effort in behalf of the daughters of clergymen.  At first, a private appeal was made to a small number of individuals, and it is but justice to state that the contributions of those individuals have constituted the main dependence of this charity down to the present time.  At a later period, the enterprise acquired a corporate character, and is now recognized as one of the established instrumentalities of the Church in this Diocese.  Little effort, however, has been made to bring it to the notice of the Diocese at large.  It has, therefore, attracted to itself but very limited support.  The whole annual income of the Charity, from annual subscribers and donors, and from the permanent Fund, has at no time exceeded seven hundred dollars, while twice that sum would be necessary to meet claims which press upon the Trustees, each year, from Pennsylvania alone.  It should be considered, too, that the growth of the Church renders it certain that these claims must constantly increase.  The Trustees regret to add that at present the income from regular contributors instead of increasing, is on the decline.  . . .  [2]

Since the first contributions were made in 1847, seventeen young ladies have been aided in their efforts to procure instruction.  . . .  [3]  These seventeen young ladies have belonged to twelve different families, and in no instance, save one, has the annual salary received by the father amounted to five hundred dollars.  The period during which assistance has been rendered has varied, from six months to four and a half years.  . . .”  [1-3]

            . . .

The Treasurer’s Report, Easter 1851 to Easter, 1852, showed assets of $4500., invested in “Bond and Mortgage” on a house and lot of J. Davis, and $376 in Bank of Pennsylvania, which yielded $135 and $13.50 in interest respectively.  Income from annual subscriptions, from $3 to $100, totaled $378; two donors contributed $100 and $10, for $488 in gifts.  [8]

A.W. Mitchell, Address of the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers, and the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers (Philadelphia:  The Corporation, 1852), 23 pp.

The “Corporation” or Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund was the first life insurance company in America, organized in 1717 and incorporated by Pennsylvania in 1759.  Changes in eligibility for membership characterized the organization’s long search for a viable business model:  ministers only (1759), male church members (1828), and Presbyterian clergy but no lay males (1852), as described in this Address.

Mitchell, president of the Corporation, issued this solicitation for new policyholders in the form of an “Address” to the clergy and church members because there were “but fifty-five on the lists of subscribers for the benefits offered by the Corporation.  In many instances, it is to be feared, this neglect has arisen from a blameable [sic] imprudence on the part of those most interested; in others from an imperfect appreciation of the character of the institution; in some, it is believed, from dissatisfaction with the terms and conditions heretofore offered.  . . .

The result of this review has been the adoption of a new set of conditions, comprising it is believed, all improvements which it was desirable to introduce.  These are now published, [5] and it is the object of this Address to explain the nature of the contracts which they propose.”  [4-5]

Section headings included:  “Character of the Contracts Offered by the Corporation,” “What Contracts Are Offered, and Who May Contract For Them,” “How the Benefit of These Contracts May Be Secured,” “Illustrations of These Modes of Contracting,” “Arguments in Favor of Contracting with This Corporation,” “Conditions of Assurance,” and premium Tables A, B, & C, and “Declaration of Applicant.”

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The Library of Congress Catalog contains the following:

 Address of the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers and of the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers to the Ministers and Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in America; To which are Subjoined the Conditions of the Annuity for Widows and Children, the Conditions of the Annuity for Aged Ministers, and the Charter of the Corporation (Philadelphia, Printed by W. S. Martien, 1841), 23 pp.  [AC901.B7 vol. 6., no. 14]

"Hamilton Insurance Company, Salem, Mass.:  A Dividend Paying Company," July 8,

1852, one sheet, 2 pp.  Signed by an agent in New York State.

The financial strength of the company derived from its practice of collecting premiums in advance and in cash rather than by promissory notes.  A "new arrangement of the company" distributed risk fairly by issuing policies from four separate pools--farmers, citizens or residents, merchants, and manufacturers—each of which had differing hazards and premiums.


Retreat for the Insane at Hartford CT, The Twenty-eighth Annual Report of the Officers, Hartford CT, April, 1852 (Hartford:  Case, Tiffany & Co., 1852), 31 pp.

“The benefits conferred by the Institution will not be correctly appreciated, if estimated alone by the number of those discharged as recovered.  Among those who leave us as more or less improved, or whose mental state is reported as ‘stationary,’ are many who have received benefits little less in importance to themselves and their friends, than that of restoration to sanity.  These take with them, besides an improvement of their general health, greater ability to take proper care of themselves, to control their impulses, and to make a better use of their remaining powers of body and mind.  If patients cannot be restored to reason, it is something to [19] have acquired habits of cleanliness and decency, of peacefulness and industry.

Of the three pauper cases whose deplorable situations were described in the Twenty-fifth Report, two have been brought here.  Both were found to have lost the use of their lower extremities, from the unnatural position to which they had been chained for so many years.  They swing themselves about on their hands!  Both are confirmed maniacs.  One is acquiring a slightly increased use of his limbs.  Both are cleanly and as regular in all their habits as any of that class in the institution!” [18-19]


William T. Minor, Extracts from the Message, Governor of Connecticut to the Legislature of the State, Relating to the Retreat for the Insane, May, [1857] (Hartford:  Hawley & Faxon, 1857), 5 pp.

“It needs no argument to show that on the score of general economy, the appropriation to the retreat is to be justified, for of the 156 State beneficiaries, 28 have become producers instead of consumers [i.e. mendicants], entirely dependent upon the bounty of others for support; but when the appropriation is regarded on the score of humanity, the heart of everyone is rejoiced at its results; every humane person would consider the recovery of even one of this unfortunate class, and his restoration to family, friends, and society, as a rich return for the appropriation.  But when it is considered that in one year twenty-eight have been thus restored, most, if not all of whom, except for this timely appropriation would have been unable to have received the treatment of the Retreat and would have become incurably insane, it [5] is difficult to measure the beneficial results, either on the score of economy or humanity.” [4-5]


Carol Green Wilson, A History of The Heritage, 1853-1970 (San Francisco:  The Ladies Protection and Relief Society, 1970), 50 pp.


“A short history of The Heritage, San Francisco’s unique retirement home for citizens whose earlier years contributed constructively to their communities.  This is a supplement to ‘Inasmuch . . .’ published in 1953 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Ladies Protection and Relief Society.” [Preface, 1].


The "Heritage," founded in 1853 as a shelter for “ladies in need” and their children, admitted the first men in 1874 and thereafter became a retirement home “for elderly men and women.”

New York City Children’s Aid Society To the Public (New York, March 1853), one sheet, folded, 3 pp.

“This Society has taken its origin in the deeply-settled feeling of our citizens, that something must be done to meet the increasing crime and poverty among the destitute children of New York.  . . .  As Christian men, we cannot look upon this great multitude of unhappy, deserted, and degraded boys and girls, without feeling our responsibility to God for them.  . . .  the class increases.  Immigration is pouring in its multitudes of poor foreigners, who leave these young outcasts everywhere abandoned in our midst.  For the most part, the boys grow up utterly by themselves.  No one cares for them, and they care for no one.  Some live by begging, by petty pilfering, by bold robbery.  Some earn an honest support by peddling matches, or apples, or newspapers.  Others gather bones and rags in the streets to sell.  They sleep on steps, in cellars, in old barns, and in markets; or they hire a bed in filthy and low lodging houses.  . . .” [1]

Philadelphia Society for the Employment and Instruction of the Poor, Annual Report . . . April 10, 1854 (Philadelphia:  Merrihew and Thompson, 1854), 16 pp.

            “Presented to the Annual Meeting, April 10, 1854.”  [cover]

“. . .  Five hundred and sixty-five persons have been received and lodged in the House during the past year.  Of these were, white men 247; white women 228; colored men 6; colored women 22; white children 53; colored children 9.

After being warmed, washed, clothed, fed, and temporarily employed, many have been returned in an improved condition to their families or friends; for others, suitable situations have been obtained, which they have filled with credit to themselves, and satisfaction to their employers.  . . .

The workrooms for females have been under the care of a committee of the Ladies’ Board, who have devoted much time and labored faithfully in this department.  Bed quilts, coarse shirts, grain bags, &c., have made to order from materials furnished for the purpose.  . . .  [7]

The ‘Ragged School’ for colored children, is still maintained in ‘The House.’  It is well attended and in a flourishing condition, creditable alike to the teachers and to those benevolent Ladies, at whose expense it is supported.  . . .

Meetings for religious instruction on the First Day of the week have been maintained during a part of the year, and a Sabbath school has recently been commenced.

Application having been made to us for permission to establish in ‘The House,’ a Ragged School for white children—such as the Public Schools reject—a suitable room has been granted for this purpose, but the school has not yet been opened.

From the results of the past year the Managers are confirmed in the opinion that the House of Industry has been the means of doing much practical good to the suffering classes for whose benefit it is designed, and believing that its usefulness may be greatly extended, we earnestly recommend it to the confidence and support of the benevolent.”  [6-7]


Philadelphia Society for the Employment and Instruction of the Poor, Annual Report . . . April 9, 1855 (Philadelphia:  Merrihew and Thompson, 1855), 28 pp.

“. . .  During this period the field of our labors at the House of Industry has been a scene of greater activity than in any former year, the scarcity of employment, and the high price of provisions having produced an unusual amount of want and suffering, and brought many to our notice who never before received aid from public charity.

With those wretched beings who crowd the vicinity of Baker and Bedford Streets we believe the absolute suffering has not been as great as usual.  The condition of most of these people is at all times so low that it is almost impossible for any circumstances to degrade them.  The exhibition of their great destitution has very naturally enlisted much as well as private sympathy, and a considerable amount of alms has been bestowed.  So far as this has been confined to the distribution of food and clothing, we hope it has been the means of substantial benefit, but the indiscriminate distribution of large sums of money among those who were incapable of making a good use of it, has, we fear, had an injurious effect, administering to the gratification of the lowest passions, and filling the coffers of the proprietors of brothels and grogeries [sic].  In making these observations, the Board would not wish to discourage any judicious efforts to benefit or reclaim these forlorn and degraded people.  Rather, as co-laborers in the same field, we are ready to join shoulder to shoulder in bearing our portion of the work.

The relief furnished at The House of Industry has been of that kind least susceptible of misapplication.  Wholesome meals and decent lodgings have been freely furnished to the destitute, employment has been given them, and clothing and some articles of food have been distributed to the sick, and to others who have believed to be deserving.  But in no instance has money been given, excepting as a compensation for labor.  . . .”  [5]


Merchants Fund (Philadelphia PA), Anniversary, with the Report of the Board of Managers, and the Address of Henry A. Boardman, D.D. (Philadelphia:  C. Sherman & Son, 1855), 40 pp.

This “Association for furnishing relief to indigent merchants of the City of Philadelphia especially such as are aged and infirm, was incorporated January 28th, 1854.”  Life Memberships were fifty dollars and “annual memberships five dollars per annum.”  This first report contained lists of officers, committees, and members.

William Bacon Stevens, Address in Philadelphia Merchants Fund, Report . . . January 24, 1856 (Philadelphia:  C. Sherman, 1856), 64 pp.

                        “Second Anniversary of the Merchants Fund.”  [title page]

“With confidence do I appeal to the men of business before me, to sustain and cherish ‘The Merchants Fund.’  It is a wisely designed and judiciously administered charity.  It aims to keep from penury and distress those who once trod shoulder to shoulder with you on exchange or were your generous rivals in the market.  Flatter not yourself that you are exempt from such reverses.  They come when you look not for them, like the white squall which sometimes strikes a ship at sea.  . . .  You, who today may be sailing under a full press of canvass, with firm credit, a high name, and abundant capital, may next year be a lying dismantled and water-logged hulk, reduced by some unexpected convulsion, or unforeseen disaster, to bankruptcy and want; and this very ‘Fund’ may be to you the ‘snug harbor’ where, if you cannot repair your losses, you can feel the helping hand of mercantile benevolence, and hear the cheering words of comfort and hope.”  [52]

Preached at St. James’s Church, Westminster . . . 1855 (London:  William Skeffington, 1856), 31 pp.

“ . . .  And in our own enjoyment of Christmas blessings—family, friends, and home—the most cold-hearted are generally willing to give some help to those in need.

This year the contrast between the rich and poor is even greater than usual; it is felt by many as a cloud over their brightness, that the difference is so fearful; [13] there is an uneasy consciousness that it is greater than it ought to be, and than Christ meant it to be, after committing His poor to His people’s love.  And it is a duty lying upon each one of us to consider the causes of this, that we may not be the means of adding one feather’s weight to their burden.

It is not enough, brethren, to remember such a subject only when you hear a sermon upon it, and think your consciences freed from responsibility when you have given alms for the alleviation of bodily want; the obligation to consider the poor meets us at every turn.  . . .  But none who are thoughtful [14] and anxious about the condition of the London poor can avoid seeing that their situation becomes each year more critical—that it is less possible for working men, except under peculiar circumstances, to maintain their families respectably, and that their moral and religious habits are in danger of going down hand in hand with their bodily want.

That the facts bear out this statement there is little doubt; and I must express my belief that, although there may be numberless cases of profligacy and sin, (and who of us shall throw the first stone even here?) the fault is not within the poor as a class, but with a bad system, be the root of the system where it may; and it is so plainly the duty of every person to use his endeavor to get at this root, that I would ask you to bear with me while I state one or two of the prevalent evils affecting the poor, not as if they were the only [15] ones, but still, as far as they extend, very real and grievous.

It seems that much harm results from the habit of looking upon workmen only as machines for the production of goods, not as human beings.  And what a man is considered by his fellows, that he too often becomes.  If you treat him as an animal, he becomes one; if you treat him as having a body to be cared for, and a soul to be saved, he realizes this too.

And it is usually found that where the masters are good and kind, their workmen feel it, and take pleasure in serving them; receiving fair wages, and being treated with consideration, they bring up their families steadily, and are respectable and independent, if nothing more.  They have only to contend with the evils of a large city, which we have learnt to suppose necessary—with the crowded and ill-ventilated rooms, the physical depression, [16] and the ordinary daily temptations of the poor.

And the comparatively raised state of such shows the great responsibilities lying upon employers to show sympathy, and give them proper wages.  . . .  But the sad thing is, that, from the terrible competition in trade, from the growing habit of looking upon men as hands, not souls, and from the determination of the public to insist upon cheap things at all hazards, the number of masters who deal justly with their servants becomes fewer and fewer.

Now, political economists would tell us that, even in a mere worldly point of view, this system is madness, because it must cost more in the end to those who [17] think they are saving.  One well qualified to teach speaks thus:

 ‘It may be that competition has screwed down the rate of wages below what will purchase indispensable food and wholesome lodgment.  . . .  All labor below that mark is masked pauperism.  Whatever the employer saves is gained at public expense.  When, under such circumstances, the laborer, or his wife, or child, spends an occasional month or two in the hospital, that some fever infection may work itself out, . . . eventually for the expenses of interment, it is the public that, too late for the man’s health and independence, [18] pays the arrears of wages which should have hindered this suffering and sorrow.’ –Mr. Simon, Medical Officer of the Board of Health.  . . .  [19]

But no argument has had hitherto any weight when opposed to the craving, selfish, short-sighted desire of becoming rich at any sacrifice.  And the state of the working classes now . . . is this:  They have work, many of them, especially the tailors, perhaps actually more in quantity than usual at this season, but, for the most part, paid [20] so badly, that, according to their own saying: ‘If a man and his wife work hard all day, and sit up too, they can’t make a living out of it.  Many of you must know that if you except first-class shops, it is next to impossible for a man to bring up his family, and give them sufficient to eat and drink, upon the present rate of wages, even if he is in good health.”  [12-19]


100 Years of Being Ready When or, The Life and Times of Brewer & Lord, Insurance     . . . Boston, Massachusetts (Boston:  Rapid Service Press, May 1959). 36 pp.  “1859-100 Years-1959 of Being Ready When . . .”  [cover]

“The golden anniversary story of Brewer & Lord, Insurance begins in 1859 with one man, a bearded, twinkly-eyed, perceptive Bostonian, and concludes, for the time being, with a bustling, modern office, staffed by scores of highly professional people, and with a client roster of a scope and complexity to astound its pioneering founder.  . . .  [3]  ‘Cyrus S. Brewer, Insurance’—that simple entry in the Boston city directory of 1859 marked the opening of an insurance agency by Mr. Brewer and the beginnings of Brewer & Lord, today one of Boston’s best known general agencies.

It was entirely fitting that Cyrus Brewer, a forward-looking man with Yankee business acumen and a reputation for hard work and fair dealing, should become interested in the insurance business.  Already, State Street was teeming with fire and marine insurance offices and ships brokers’ offices, and the Merchants’ Exchange was in its glory.  . . .  The merchants gathered on State Street or dropped in at the various insurance offices after transacting their day’s business.  These offices became forums of lively public discussion as well as places for downright loafing—on a gentlemanly scale.  . . .  [4]

“Moreover, the conservative Yankee character favored the idea of insurance and all that implied:  conservation of resources, protection of property, the pooling of premiums of many to absorb the losses of a few.  . . .  A forthright man whose kindly eyes sparkled with keenness, Cyrus Brewer was an able insurance man as well as a highly respected gentleman of the old school, one who upheld the best traditions of New England life.  He lived in Milton and was an active church member, a man who was kind and generous in his home and in his dealings with others.  Because of his reliability and knowledge of insurance, he became agent for the entire insurance account of Harvard College.  . . .  [5]

Mr. Brewer also profited from his representation of the soundest insurance companies.  His agency first represented the Phoenix [6] Assurance Company, the Providence Washington Insurance Company, the Pacific Fire, and the Rutgers Fire.  It was his connection with companies like these that won him the gratitude of so many of his clients when the Boston Fire of 1872 took place—a catastrophe which wiped out many Massachusetts and out-of-state companies.  . . .  Sixty-seven acres of land and almost 800 buildings had been destroyed . . . [and] loss totaled $75,000,000.  . . .”  [3-6]

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A Consumers’ Republic

Mary Ide Torrey, City and Country Life or, Moderate Better Than Rapid Gains (Salem MA: D.B. Brooks and Brother, 1854; fiction), 818 pp.

Torrey’s protagonist fantasized about a theme whose popularity grew with the nation, the lure of the fast life.  A year or so after several theoretical discussions with her sister regarding the hazards and temptations of wealth, Delia unexpectedly inherited nearly $500,000.  A relatively poor stranger had once lived with the family and at the time had promised as much.  In his eyes, Delia took the place of his daughter, who had died young.  After hearing the requests of her sister, brother, and parents for what they fancied to be their shares of her new riches, Delia went upstairs and pondered her options.

“‘I may,’ Delia said to herself, ‘certainly purchase many things for my comfort and luxury, which I could not before [my inheritance]; it would look niggardly if I did not, and I shall, in that way, do good, by keeping my money in circulation.  Purchasing articles of those who are obliged to make or sell [such items], is as important a way of doing good as giving them money.  I may now stop earning my living, there is no necessity for it, and there are enough things I can do beside, without being idle; and then, too, I have a right to enjoy myself. There is [34] nothing gloomy in religion, and I ought not to conduct so as to lead others to think so.’

After all these duties were attended to, she was going to give what she could spare, for benevolent purposes.

The principles that Delia here laid down were true, so far as they went.  But in stopping there, she adopted a creed, which every worldling [sic] would approve, and even the arch apostate himself could sign, without being hampered!  Half the truth for the whole, becomes, in practical application, a falsehood.  This was Satan’s first step in corrupting Eve; and his first attack upon Delia was turning glorious truth into a lie.

Her last proposition, to give what she could spare after her other desires were gratified, though according to the course of many Christians, was wholly wrong.  She had no right to serve herself first, and God last.  . . .  Had she reflected that it is as much more difficult to deny [35] one’s self with the means of gratification in one’s power, as it is more trying to suffer amputation than bear the same amount of pain in the ordinary way, she would have seen that not merely a single prayer, but a double and constant watch was necessary.  She would have seen that increased wealth would call for increased self-denial—instead of opening before her a life of ease, great riches would require as much active effort as extreme poverty, though in an opposite direction.  This she entirely overlooked.  She believed that she now had a right to a life of ease; she would not have dared call it idleness, and she left her chamber satisfied with her good prayer and good wishes.”  [33-35]

In the end, Delia received only $100,000 or so after the outrageous expense of settling the estate.  That was enough, however, to encourage her to change her usual way of living for more fashionable alternatives.  In doing so, she managed to alienate family and friends and even came to believe that every tradesman overcharged her as a matter of policy.

Daniel C. Eddy, The Young Man’s Friend, Containing Admonitions for the Erring; Counsel for the Tempted; Encouragement for the Despondent; Hope for the Fallen (Boston:  Dayton and Wentworth, 1855), 264 pp., plus 12 pp. describing books available from Dayton and Wentworth.

“The true object of life has scarcely begun to be understood.  In past ages men have been attracted by the glitter and show of conquest, and worldly predominance.  They have pursued the phantom, while the real and the substantial have been sacrificed.  [17]  They have aimed at the accomplishment of objects, which have resulted in no good to the world.  They have built up systems of monstrous wrong.  They have strengthened the dominion of human cruelty and labored more to crush the race than to lift it up.  SELF has been the common center, and around it the universe has been made to revolve like systems around their suns.  What, then, are the elements of true manliness?

Wealth is not one.  In a multitude of cases the possessor of the large fortune, and the widest territory, has been found to have views and feelings not at all in proportion to the magnitude of his fortune.  There is a contingency about wealth which has nothing to do with moral or intellectual character.  It seems to be rained upon the human family by a capricious goddess, who distributes her favors according to rules known only to herself.

At one time a monarch is her favorite, and his throne she studs with jewels, and fills his crown with richest diamonds.  At his feet, she spreads out broad fields—well cultivated vineyards—beautiful temples and shining towers, and as his admiring eye gazes over the scene, she whispers in his ear, ‘These are thine!’  At another time she fixes her eye on a beggar boy, as he asks for food from house to house, repulsed everywhere.  His hand she takes, and leads him up, as if by magic through the various grades of society until she establishes him [18] in a palace, and fills his coffers with the shining gold.  . . .

The intelligent—the virtuous—the brave—the wise, have knelt at her alter, and breathed their supplications, but she has spurned them away and beckoned with friendly hand, to sordid ignorance and vice.  Hence we find that wealth gives us no clue to character—furnishes us with no criterion by which we may measure the soul, and judge of the dimensions of the man himself.”  [16-18]

            . . .

“The mission of the young man in this age, is to meet these evils which have crept in upon society, and with all his influence arrest, if possible, the tide of sin which is sweeping over the world.  Vice has its known, open, avowed supporters.  Those who are engaged in vicious enjoyments—whose craft consists [25] in making men miserable and preparing their souls for perdition, are using all their endeavors to spread corruption.  In some cases, the public press and the pulpit, have so far forgotten the dignity connected with them, as to become defenders of crime, and have given their sanction to the progress of the fearful scourge.  . . .

Should the young men of our cities in one firm united band set their faces against vice of every description, the effect would be instant and irresistible.  Half the dram shops would be closed, half the gambling saloons would be deserted, crape would hang upon the door of the theatre, and the grinding of the music in the hall of revelry would become low.  And [26] I ask if such a prospect has nothing attractive to this crowd of young men?  Is not the sight of reformed—regenerated drunkards—redeemed gamblers, libertines, and Sabbath-breakers, one worthy of our care and efforts?  . . .”  [25-26] 


Thomas M. Clark, Early Discipline and Culture:  A Series of Lectures to Young Men and Women (Providence RI:  George H. Whitney, 1855), 203 pp.

“Lecture II.  True Principles of Trade.  . . . In the first place, I would observe, that you should be engaged in an honest calling.  . . .  But all business is to be considered as dishonest and discreditable which has the necessary tendency to produce evil in the community; or, in which there is no counterbalancing good, as an offset to the individual mischief.  A man is not to regard [26] simply his own individual benefit,” but must consider the effect of his efforts upon society.  . . .  [27]  “In the second place, . . . it should be honestly conducted.”  [26-27]

            . . .

“Perhaps it is hardly necessary for me to add, that the repudiation of honest debts, whether it be done by states, corporations, or individuals, is nothing better than constructive theft.”  [31]

G.S. Weaver, Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women on the Various Duties of Life Including   . . . (New York:  Fowler and Wells, Publishers, 1856), 224 pp.

“Preface.  . . .  I see multitudes of young women about me, whose general training is so deficient in all that pertains to the best ideas of life, and whose aims and efforts are so unworthy of their powers of their mind and heart, that I cannot make peace with my own conscience without doing something to elevate their aims and quicken their aspirations for the good and pure thought of life.  Our female schools are but poor apologies for the purposes of mind-culture and soul-development.” [iii]

            . . .

“Our young women want a more vigorous, practical, and useful Education, one that shall develop strength, character, [85] and resolution; one that will give growth to the mind, power to the will, and efficiency to the life; one that shall enable any woman to be independent, true to herself, to entertain and maintain her own opinions, to get her own living, to mark out her own course in life, to count one in any position she may choose to occupy. to be all that may belong to a free, independent, accountable, intelligent creature.  . . .  Woman’s powers are eminently practical.  She has a strong judgment, a rich store of practical good sense, an ample fund of tact, skill, shrewdness, inventiveness, and management.  Women are the best managers in the world so far as they have had experience and a field of action.  Not one whit behind are they in every department of life to which they have had access.”  [84-85]

            . . .

“Great men are made in all trades and professions.  So may great women be.  . . .  Let them accomplish themselves in the art or business that to them seems most agreeable, and set up for themselves.  They will be a thousand times more happy and useful than in leading listless and thriftless lives.  The kind of Employment is not a matter of so much importance as the fact of being employed.  Our boys choose their occupations; so should our girls.” [129-30]

G.S. Weaver, Hopes and Helps for the Young of Both Sexes . . . (1852; New York:  Fowler and Wells, Publishers, 1856), 246 pp.


            On commercial “Pursuit Adapted to Capacity and Taste”:

“A man or woman with no business, nothing to do, is an absolute pest to society.  They are thieves, stealing that which is not theirs; beggars, eating that which they have not earned; drones, wasting the fruits of others’ industry; leeches, sucking the blood of others; evil-doers, setting an example of idleness and dishonest living; hypocrites, shining in stolen and false colors; vampires, eating out the life of the community.” [77]


William G. Eliott, Jr., Lectures to Young Women (1853; Boston MA:  Walker, Wise, & Co., 7th ed., 1860), 196 pp.

            “Pastor of the Church of the Messiah, St, Louis MO.”

“Lecture II.  Home.  . . .  It is not what we do, outwardly considered, but the spirit in which it is done, that constitutes greatness or littleness of our work.  The details of all of our lives are insignificant, and in this respect, few have a right to boast over the rest.  The merchant, the farmer, the mechanic, the lawyer, spend three-fourths of their time in labors which are respectable only because of the object in view.  Men sometimes speak contemptuously of woman’s work, forgetting how much their happiness depends upon its faithful discharge; and women are too apt to admit that their employments are unimportant, compared [51] with those of men.  . . .  [52]

But who can be contented in a house where style is substituted for neatness, and large expenditure brings little comfort, and the idleness of the inmates [occupants] gives abundant time for fretfulness?  We can educate our children to be useful and happy, however poor they may be; but not in a household which witnesses daily contention and complaining, where frivolous amusement is made to take the place of rational enjoyment, where the influence of the mother failed to commend virtue and religion to her sons and daughters.”  [50-52]

            . . .

“Lecture V.  Follies.  . . .  Dissipation is a hard word, and to say that a young man is dissipated is to draw a black line through his name, erasing it from the roll [138] of those who are accounted honorable and useful in the world; for in that application it implies self-indulgence, unsteadiness of character, intemperance, and other faults destructive of usefulness and true respectability.     . . .

Female dissipation is pleasure-seeking, the love of admiration, devotedness to fashion, or the like.  These lead to extravagance, waste of time, frivolity of character, neglect of duty, unwomanliness [sic.]; in a word, to a selfish, worldly, and irreligious life.  . . .   It is the making a business of pleasure; the surrendering one’s self, body, and mind, to the capricious rules of fashion and to the superficial demands of social life.  . . .

Besides the waste of time, [143] “a second objection to the mode of life now described is in the extravagance to which it leads.  This is a great and increasing evil among us.  There scarcely seems to be any limit to the cost of living required by fashionable life.  Each one tries to outdo the other, until a style of dress and entertainment is [144] established, enough to impoverish all but the very rich, and to exclude all prudent and sensible persons from competition.  But unfortunately few of us are either prudent or sensible in such things.  As our children grow up, we do not wish to seclude them from the world, and our own social ambition excites us to do as others do.  . . .  Even where there is great wealth, it is barely excusable, for the greatest wealth does not justify wastefulness.  But when, as the case commonly is, the expenditure is not measured by the income, the evil and sin are both increased.  I do not ask for sumptuary laws, to bring our mode of living under strict and arbitrary rules; nor do I wish that the elegances of dress and entertainment should be altogether abated.  But I do wish that a higher standard of taste could prevail, and that extravagance for extravagance’ sake were accounted vulgar.” [142-45]

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