Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Daily Crescent, 30 December 1848

Date: December 30, 1848

Whitman Archive ID: med.00991

Source: The location of the original manuscript is unknown. Whitman's letters to Alexander Hamilton Hayes (1806–1866) and John Eliot McClure (ca. 1809–1869)—the editors of The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, Louisiana)—were published in that newspaper. The transcription presented here is derived from The Daily Crescent (10 January 1849): [2]. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Zachary Turpin, Stephanie Blalock, Jeff Hill, and Amanda J. Axley

Dec. 30.

After a storm of three days, and more snow than has fallen at once here for several winters, it has cleared off—whether warm or cold, one cannot yet say, for the weather is as coquettish as a lively girl.

Political "Festivals" are considerably numerous about now. They are given by the Whigs1 in honor of Taylor's2 success—just as if that had not come to be an old story. I look upon them as flummery, whose only benefit is felt in the pockets of the landlord—that is, if he gets his pay.

The California fever3 has somewhat decreased; you may see quite a good many advertisements in the papers, offering tickets for passages, procured and paid for in the first heat, which has passed over.

A benefit comes off this evening at the Tabernacle, for the Musicians of the Park Theatre orchestra. The programme is a most attractive one, and no doubt the house will be crowded.

Balls and soirées are under way, at a great rate. The most notable of the forthcoming ones are the Firemen's ball at the Opera-house, on the evening of January 29th—the soirée of the Northern Lighters, at the Chinese Assembly Rooms, on the night of January 4th, and the Erina ball,4 on the 3d of January.



1. The Whigs were a political party in the antebellum United States; the Whig and the Democratic Parties were the two major political parties in the United States as part of the two-party system. The Whigs were critical of the nation's expansion into Texas and of the Mexican-American War and favored a national bank. They preferred that Congress take the lead in lawmaking and opposed strong presidential power. Their supporters were primarily professionals and social reformers; they received much less support from farmers and laborers. The Democratic Party in this period opposed a national bank, and they advocated for strong presidential power, and the interests of slave states. [back]

2. Zachary Taylor (1784–1850), a Southern slaveholder and a well-known American miltary leader in the Mexican-American War, was the Whig Candidate for president in the 1848 United States Presidential Election. Taylor won the election and went on to serve as the twelfth president of the United States, from 1849 until his death in 1850. [back]

3. In 1848, James W. Marshall was employed by John A. Sutter to build a sawmill in what is today Coloma, California. Marshall found several pieces of gold, and the news of Marshall's discovery was the beginning of the California Gold Rush (1848–1855). The Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of people to California in search of gold. As a result of the rapid growth, California was able to enter the Union as a free state as part of the Compromise of 1850, while Native Californians and indigenous societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by those seeking their fortunes in gold. [back]

4. Erina balls were events sponsored by the Erina Benevolent Societies; the proceeds from admission prices were often donated to homes for orphans or similar institutions. [back]


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