Tag Archives: 19th century

Stop Teaching That Boy! [Georgia in 1832]

This appeared in the April 7, 1832 issue of The Liberator. In addition to its own original articles calling for the immediate abolition of slavery in the United States, William Lloyd Garrison, it’s editor and publisher, often included short stories about slavery from all around the country like the one shown here:

An Interesting Case

With cheeks burning with shame for our country, we copy the following paragraph form the Cherokee Phoenix of the 16th inst:

On last Tuesday, a company of the Georgia Guard visited a school in this place under the care of Miss (Sophia) Sawyer, a missionary under the American Board. It had been understood by then that she had been giving instruction to a little black boy, and teaching him to read the Bible.

Miss Sawyer was warned, by a Sergeant who commanded the Guard, to forthwith desist from teaching the black boy. It appears that at the last sitting of the Legislature of Georgia, an act was passed making it unlawful for any person to give instruction to any black person in the State, under the penalty of a fine of not less than $1000 nor exceeding $5000, and imprisonment until the fine is paid, for every such offence.

Whether Miss Sawyer had ever heard of the existence of such a law, before she took the boy into school, we are not able to say; but it is very likely she never had. She was promised to be arraigned at the next Superior Court in the newly formed county called ‘Cherokee,’ on the fourth Monday of this month, provided she persists in teaching the boy.

A young lady is teaching a poor little black boy to read the bible— the word of him who spoke as never man spoke— and she is forthwith visited by a ruffian Guard, with bayonets fixed, and ordered to desist. This, too, in a land of freedom!— in a country where the Guard has no legal right to remain an hour.

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.


Synopsis of News – March 29, 1856

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, later often known as Leslie’s Weekly, actually began life as Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Founded in 1855 and continued until 1922, it was an American illustrated literary and news publication, and one of several started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. John Y. Foster was the first editor of the Weekly, which came out on Tuesdays. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

Synopsis of News

A negro woman, in Camden, Arkansas, lately gave birth to four children, three girls and one boy, averaging in weight about seven pounds each. The owner of the mother has named them Mississippi, Ouachita, Red River and Railroad; the boy received the last appellation.

A man is walking for a wager in New Orleans. He is to walk 338 half miles in 338 half hours, on a bet of $1500.

The Virginia Senate has passed the bill accepting of Lewis W. Washington, the grant of the birth-place of George Washington.

HERCULEAN TASK.—A man lately accepted a challenge to make one million strokes with pen and ink within a month; not to be mere scratches or dots, but far down strokes, such as form the child’s first lesson in writing. The month was to be four weeks, and he was to abstain from the task on Sundays; so that he must average 36,000 strokes per day. On the first day he executed about 50,000 strokes; on the second day nearly as many. But at length, after many days, the hand became stiff and weary, the wrist swollen, and it required the constant attendance of a relation or friend to besprinkle it, without interrupting its progress over the paper with a lotion calculated to invigorate it. On the 23d day the million strokes, exceeded by some few thousands, “to make assurance doubly sure,” was accomplished.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.


Confederate Conscription Exemptions in April 1862

The first general American military draft was enacted by the Confederate government on April 16, 1862, more than a year before the federal government did the same. The Confederacy took this step because it had to; its territory was being assailed on every front by overwhelming numbers, and the defending armies needed men to fill the ranks.

The compulsory-service law was very unpopular in the South because it was viewed as a usurpation of the rights of individuals by the central government, one of the reasons the South went to war in the first place.

Under the Conscription Act, all healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for a three-year term of service. The act also extended the terms of enlistment for all one-year soldiers to three years.

These are the original exemptions included in that first conscription law.  Additional exemptions were added later.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Exemptions Under the Conscription Law of Congress

The following exemption bill was passed by Congress, and signed by the President just before the adjournment:

A bill to be entitled ‘An act to exempt certain persons from enrollment for service in the armies of the Confederate States:

SECTION 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That all persons who shall be held to be unfit for military service under the rules to be prescribed by the Secretary of War…

  • all in the service or employ of the Confederate States
  • all judicial and executive officers of Confederate or State Governments
  • the members of both Houses of Congress, and of the Legislatures of the several States and their respective officers
  • all clerks of the officers of the State and Confederate Governments allowed by law
  • all engaged in carrying the mails
  • all ferrymen on post routes
  • all pilots and persons engaged in the marine service, and in actual service on river and railroad routes of transportation
  • telegraphic operatives and ministers of religion in the regular discharge of ministerial duties
  • all engaged in working iron mines, furnaces and foundries
  • all journeymen printers actually employed in printing newspapers
  • all presidents and professors of colleges and academies, and all teachers having as many as twenty scholars
  • superintendents of the public hospitals, lunatic asylums, and the regular nurses and attendants therein, and the teachers employed in the institutions for the deaf and dumb and blind
  • in each apothecary store now established one apothecary in good standing, who is a practical druggist
  • superintendents and operatives in wool and other factories, who may be exempted by the Secretary of War, shall be, and are hereby, exempted from military service in the armies of the Confederate States.

Collection: The Civil War – Part I: A Newspaper Perspective
Publication: The Charleston Mercury
Date: April 26, 1862
Top Image: Southern “Volunteers” by Currier & Ives ca. 1862

Who Shall Teach

Who Should Teach our Children? (1856)

(From the Woman’s Department of Indiana Farmer) Much has been said and written upon the subject of schools, and the education of the young. At the present time it seems to occupy and interest deeply the public mind. To parents it is a subject of deep and abiding interest —for upon this rests the future happiness and well-being of their children as well as prosperity and success of our republican government.

It is in the common schools, these nurseries of leaning, the young and impressible mind receives its first impressions of book knowledge in many, indeed most cases. The inquisitive mind of childhood is continually seeking after knowledge—grasping after hidden stores—longing to fathom the mystery which, as yet, it cannot comprehend.

Then of what vast importance that kind, judicious teachers be selected, to unfold the hidden treasures of learning to eager impulsive childhood. Parents should acquaint themselves with the general character of those to whom they entrust the management and control of their children.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).



Nicotine: The Heart Poison (1867)

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements. It also included the normal complement of prose and poetry found in the newspapers of the day.

The Last Cigar

(Philadelphia, December 14, 1867) One of the most eminent physicians of this city, and deservedly so, attributes the premature death of three of the most eminent divines of this country to the inveterate use of tobacco. The recent death of one of the great financial and political leaders in Paris has directed public attention to the subject. In reading the facts, let every man who smokes take notice.

M. Fould wrote to several people, inviting them to his estate, and giving some account of his late hunting experiences. The fable was set at six o’clock, but the dinner had scarcely begun when M. Fould was seized with a fit of shivering and complained of sudden pains in the arms and hands. At the entreaty of Madame Fould, he left the room, and went to bed, asking to be left alone saying that it was but a slight indisposition and he wanted to sleep. At half-past seven, Madame Fould went up to the room to see how he was, and receiving no reply to her question, thought he was in a deep sleep and withdrew. At nine o’clock she went again, and, receiving no answer from him, hastened to his bed, took his hand, and found he was dead. It is believed that he died immediately after he got into bed. The remains of M. Fould were interred in the Protestant cemetery, at Pero La Chaise, where the deceased had a family vault constructed.


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