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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

January and February of 1860

Newspapers of this period frequently published contributions from readers, often with descriptions of their travels. While many of these covered trips to distant parts of the country or the world, this account describes a trip on the railroad from St. Louis to Pilot Knob. The correspondent makes a remarkable suggestion: Why not make the grounds of Jefferson Barracks into a vast public park! And at the end, note the endorsement of the establishment operated by the ancestor of one of our distinguished Engineers.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, January 11, 1860.

DOWN THE IRON MOUNTAIN RAILROAD.

Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Aboard the cars January 7th, 1860, for the Iron Mountain. Three cars filled with passengers; twelve miles-Jefferson barracks. Uncle Sam is said to own 1,700 acres of lands, connected with these buildings. The grounds are handsomely laid out, and ornamented with buildings. Why not the citizens of St. Louis purchase, or procure by donation, this ground, for a great public "River Park" to be improved similar to the great central park of New York, now being made?

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Horace Greeley's New York Tribune had emerged as a strong partisan of the new Republican Party by 1860. As 1860 was a Presidential election year, the Tribune early speculated on which candidate should lead the ticket that fall. While Senators William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase were the leading contenders among Party regulars, the Tribune this article that the Democrat reprinted from the Tribune suggested that Missouri's Edward Bates should be strongly considered.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, February 24, 1860.

Who the New York Tribune thinks should be Nominated by the Chicago Convention.

[From the New York Tribune, Feb. 20.]

We judge that there is no longer a shadow of hope that the National Committee will change the time originally designated for the meeting of the Chicago Convention. We have not, within the last six weeks met a Republican outside of that committee who did consider the postponement of that Convention to the middle of June a deplorable mistake-as in effect giving away the two best months of the campaign. Until the nominations shall have been made, very little will or can be done to secure success in the ensuing election. We shall be wrangling with each other about our prospective candidates, rather than rallying and organizing our forces for effective service against the common adversary.

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As Presidential politics heated up in 1860, many politicians traveled to New York to address crowds of the party faithful. At the end of January, Missouri Congressman Francis P. Blair, Jr., spoke to Republicans at the Cooper Institute in that city. The Democrat lauded Mr. Blair's speech in the following editorial and printed the entire address on its front page.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, January 31, 1860.

Speech by Francis P. Blair, Jr.

We publish this morning the very able discourse of Mr. Blair, before the Young Men's Republican Union of New York. Whoever has paid any attention to the matter will acknowledge that that gentleman develops higher qualities of intellect in each successive effort. The speech referred to gives promise of still higher performances, and shows clearly enough that his mind is destined to attain a still loftier stature.

 

Shortly after the Tribune's endorsement of Edward Bates for the Republican nomination for President, a former Illinois Congressman named Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Cooper Institute in New York, the same venue where Frank Blair had appeared the previous month. This turned out to be a watershed event in Lincoln's career, establishing him as an eloquent voice of Republican Party principles and paving the way towards his eventual nomination. The Democrat reported that the Tribune lavished high praise on Lincoln's address. For an account of how Lincoln came to make the Cooper Union speech and its effects on the campaign for the nomination, read the book Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President, by Harold Holzer.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, March 2, 1860.

LINCOLN IN NEW YORK.-The New York Tribune says that the speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, at the Cooper Institute in New York city, on the evening of the 27th ult., was one of the happiest and most convincing political arguments ever made in that city, and was addressed to a crowded and most appreciative audience.

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Henry Boernstein emigrated to America in 1848, one among the many radical Germans to leave Europe after the failed revolutions of that year. He settled in St. Louis and became a leading voice in the large German-language community of the 1850's by becoming editor and publisher of the Anzeiger des Westens, which he developed into the largest German-language newspaper in the Midwest. A vocal opponent of slavery, Boernstein was an early supporter of the new Republican Party. He was also an equal opportunity anti-clerical, opposing Catholics, old-line German Lutherans and Jews. In January, 1860, he stepped down from the editor's chair of the Anzeiger to devote more time to his other business interests in St. Louis. For more on the life of Henry Boernstein, see his book Memoirs of a Nobody: The Missouri Years of an Austrian Radical 1849-1866, in a translation by Steven Rowan published by the Missouri Historical Society.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, January 24, 1860.

Retirement of Dr. Boernstein.

The subjoined card announces the retirement of Dr. Henry Boernstein from the editorial chair of the Anzeiger des Westens. That journal, the most influential German journal in the West, and the one having the largest circulation is a sufficient monument of the great energy and ability of Dr. Boernstein, both as an editor and publisher. It had neither circulation, nor influence, we are assured, when he became its conductor and proprietor; its present condition is therefore solid proof of the tact, judgment and talent which have presided over its management and infused vigor and brilliancy into its editorial columns since it passed into his charge. Yet the name of Dr. Bernays, who has been associate editor for some years, is sufficient assurance that it will in no manner degenerate under the new management.

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