Thursday, February 9, 2012

Educating America, one issue at a time

Aware of the World

The Wars of the French Revolution : Combat de Varoux, 27 novembre 1792 ; commandé par Louis-Philippe pour le musée historique de Versailles en 1836 ; Salon des artistes français, Paris, 1838. Painting by Victor Adam (1801-1886).

            The French Revolution that began in 1789 raged on for years, with the death of King Louis  XVI in 1793.  The Reign of Terror ended in 1794, but for the next several years, France was a tinderbox, ready to explode.  Then, in 1799 along came Napoleon.  The New Hampshire newspaper article (below) reports one episode in that turbulent period.
            In that same Concord, New Hampshire paper, readers read the annual speech given to Parliament  by King George III (reigned 1760-1820) in which he reported on a treaty concluded with “The United States of America.”  The King also reported on French military actions in Italy, in which the French were driven back—the kind of report any English king would be happy to make to his people. 
            American newspapers, in spite of the time it took a report to sail across the ocean, or to arrive by pony express from a distant town in the United States, were rich in information about the rest of the world.  In comparison to most newspapers today, these papers informed and educated their readers much more, and readers were eager to take on all this information. 

Courier of New Hampshire, Jan. 2, 1796 featured speech of King George III

King George III of the United Kingdom
Painting by Allan Ramsay, 1762

Courier of New Hampshire, Concord, Saturday, January 2, 1796; Devoted to News and National Politicks, No. 48--Vol. VI  Hough, George, Publisher 1796 Concord, NH: George Hough. This little 18th century paper is almost all dedicated to foreign news. British King's Speech: Text of King's speech in the House of Lords, Thursday, Oct. 29 (1795) expressed great satisfaction conditions have improved this (1795) year.  "In Italy the threatened invasion of the French has been driven back.... also reason to hope that the recent operations of the Austrian Army have checked the progress which they have made on the side of Germany....I have concluded engagements of Defensive Alliance with the two Imperial Courts; and the ratifications of the Treaty of Commerce with the United States of America..."   Report on Affairs of France, Oct. 6 [1795] from Convention: "CIVIL WAR!"  "The cry of 'To Arms!' was heard around the National Palace, and instantly all the military and citizens who surrounded it ranged themselves in order of battle....." "Great agitation prevailed in the Assembly." Two hours later, firing abated, help was given to the wounded, and the General in Chief announced that the rebels are everywhere repulsed, and the Republic is triumphant.  Federalism of Pennsylvania: Extracts from Governor Mifflin's Speech to the Pennsylvania Legislature, Seven Eighths Federal. Report of Mr. Randolph's Vindication and exchange of correspondence with General Washington.  Advertisements for Journeyman Cabinet Makers for Choate & Martin  at their shop in Concord; Moses Swett informs the public that he has opened a House of Entertainment on Bosawen Plain, nine miles from Concord, where utmost attention will be paid to travellers. 2 pp. 28 x 46 cm.  Newspaper, single sheet printed on both sides. Small tears in folds, poor. (8224) $58.00.  Newspapers/History     

President Polk
Artist Unknown

President James K. Polk was enormously popular with Americans, because he took charge of a massive campaign to grow our country, acquiring Texas , New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Arizona.

New York Weekly Sun, New York, Saturday, December 11, 1847; President Polk's Speech about War with Mexico 1847 New York, NY: New York Weekly Sun. Speech of President James Knox Polk to Congress, his third annual message, fills one whole page of this paper. Most of the message relates the aggressive behavior of the Mexicans, mistreatment of American citizens, and initiation of hostilities by the Mexicans.  Although our forces have been victorious in nearly every encounter, the war goes on.  Speech also discusses treaties with the Sublime Porte, Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Muscat, and plans for sending charges d'affaires to Bolivia, Guatemala and Ecuador, and notes many examples of the prosperity of the Union.  Knox discusses the salutary effects of the Act of the Sixth August, 1846, "to provide for the better organization of the treasury."  Report by Overland Pony Express and Telegraph for the New York Sun relates attack by American Dragoons on Guerillas; Guerillas' losses very severe.  Forces dispatched after Indians, but found they had fled, taking 2500 cattle, mules and horses, driven from different ranchos. News from New Orleans, Vera Cruz: Gen. Butler arrived at Vera Cruz on the 17th with 3000 troops; he was to march to the capital in a fortnight, with 6000 troops.  Much more news from Mexico. . 4 pp. 44 x 58 cm. Newspaper, lightly soiled, small tears in folds, edges worn, good. (7436) $36.00. History/Mexico

Daniel Webster
Photographer unknown

             Essex Register, Salem, (Mass.) Thursday Morning, September 15, 1836 Salem, MA: Palfray & Chapman. Notice of Whig Nominations in Massachusetts:  For President, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts; for Vice President, Francis Granger, of New York; For Governor, Edward Everett; for Lt. Governor, George Hull.  Commentary from the Amherst Cabinet about recent decision of Chief Justice Hornblower of New Jersey that a person should not be considered presumptive evidence of slavery simply by color. Anecdote about how Henry Clay took a bottle of Ohio wine to President Madison, which turned out to be blended with Kentucky whisky. Snide remarks about Candidate Van Buren from the Washington Sun. "Character of Kosciusko" Text of speech delivered in the Senate by Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, on hearing of the death of Kosciusko, the martyr of Liberty, in Soleure, France in October, 1817. George Bancroft, "the white kid glove and silk stocking democrat" has been nominated as a candidate for Congress by the Van Burenites of Hampden district, MA. When the railroad from New Brunswick harbor, in Georgia is completed, New Orleans and Boston will be brought within seven days of each other. Lines of steamboats will be established to Havana, Vera Cruz and the Isthmus of Darien, 15 days from Boston, and 27 from Europe will place the traveler on the shores of the Pacific! 4 pp. 41 x 58 cm. Newspaper, lightly soiled, some fraying at edges of pages,  good. (7486) $30.00. Newspapers

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