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Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Daily Crescent, 2 October 1848

Eds. Crescent:

Drizzle, darkness and a warm humidity form the character of the weather here to-day; yesterday ditto. A gummy dampness penetrates everywhere; and meat and vegetables "spoil" with wondrous quickness. The trees on the Battery and in the Park have cast a good share of their leaves, and the rest begin to turn yellow. In the streets mud and hogs reign triumphant—their domain only disputed, here and there, by the little crossing sweepers, with their petticoats draggled in front and tucked up behind. A bad day for walking, shopping, or going out of doors any way!

Leonard, the seaman wounded by the Captain on board the ship Thomas H. Perkins,1 proves not to be dangerously hurt;2 on the contrary, he is recovering.

The Coroner's jury in the case of Austin,3 Captain of the Empire Club, charged with the murder of Shea, in Leonard street, found a verdict on Saturday that Shea was shot by the said Austin. Notwithstanding this, the latter was admitted to bail—Elijah Purdy,4 Daniel Sweeney5 and Alderman Foote6 becoming sureties.

Cornelius S. Bogardus7 has been appointed by the President Naval Officer for the port of New York, in the place of the late Mr. Hoffman.8 Orders were received last week in the Customhouse here, from Washington, for turning out the barnburners who hold clerkships, inspectorships, and so forth. Mr. Lawrence9 returned, for answer, that he was responsible himself for the performance of his duties—wherefor he had given heavy security; that the officials sought to be expunged were men that he had tried—many of them old officers—and found to be competent and trustworthy; and that, if that Government was not satisfied with his conduct, and the discharge of his duties, it was at liberty to appoint another Collector in his place. Thus the matter stands at present.

The VanBurenites10 hold a mass meeting in the Park on Wednesday evening next, 4th inst. John Van Buren11 and Mr. Wilmot,12 of "Proviso" fame, are to speak. I shall endeavor to be there, and render you an account of the personal appearance and manners of these gents.

The Tribune of this morning calls upon the members of the old "liberty party," or abolitionists proper, to vote for General Taylor13—What are you laughing at?

The sum of $11,000, which sailed away from Rotterdam in the packet, accompanied by a Mr. F. H. Gernus,14 who "defalcated" it—and the sum of $2000, in the same way from Bremen by Mr. Martin Valerius15—were nabbed by the police officers here on Saturday last.—What with magnetic telegraph and steam communication, it is hard for rogues to escape. If they flee to the uttermost parts of the earth, their character is apt to be there before them—and a police officer besides.

Macready16 appears at the Astor Place Theatre on Wednesday night. Many will no doubt go to see this old man, whose remains of genius even are no doubt respectable; but it is idle to claim for him, in his decay, the name of a great actor. Collins17 continues at the Broadway; Esmeralda at the Park; Hamblin18 is playing a round of tragedy characters at the Bowery; Chanfrau19 and Esmeralda at the National; light comic and musical pieces at the Olympic; ditto at the Chambers street....The grandest concert ever given in this city comes off at the Tabernacle to-night.....The Crescent City is to start at 4 o'clock this afternoon.



  • 1. William Leonard was a sailor on board the ship Thomas H. Perkins. During a voyage, Captain Baker put Leonard in irons. Later, when Leonard went to receive his pay, he and Baker argued, and Baker fired a pistol at him (and missed), then assaulted Leonard with a cutlass. For an account of the incident, see "Affray on Board Ship in New York," New Orleans Delta (October 9, 1848), 8. [back]
  • 2. See also Whitman's letter of September 29, 1848. [back]
  • 3. John S. Austin was President of the political organization known as the Empire Club, which engaged in voter intimidation on behalf of Tammany Hall and was credited with helping to secure the election of James K. Polk (1795–1849) as President by delivering New York votes for Polk. Austin got into a fight with Timothy Shea, owner of a groggery Austin visited. After Austin sustained a head injury, he fired shots from the street into Shea's establishment, killing Shea ("Correspondence of the Examiner and Herald," Lancaster Examiner, October 4, 1848, 2. [back]
  • 4. Elijah F. Purdy was a Surveyor of Customs for the Port of New York and an Alderman. [back]
  • 5. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 6. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 7. Cornelius S. Bogardus was a businessman who had previously served in the Revenue Department and as Assistant Collector for the Port of New York ("Appointment," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 2, 1848, 2). [back]
  • 8. Michael Hoffman (1787–1848) was a New York born lawyer and politician. He served as a naval officer, a judge, a canal commissioner for New York, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York. Hoffman's political ideology centered upon imposing strict constitutional limits on the powers of State governments. For more information on Hoffman, see James A. Henretta, "Michael Hoffman and the New York Constitution of 1846," New York History 77.2 (April 1996), 151–176). [back]
  • 9. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 10. The term "VanBurenites" refers to supporters of Free Soil Presidential Candidate Martin Van Buren (1782–1862). Van Buren had been elected as the eighth president of the United States, serving from 1837 to 1841. Whig candidate William Henry Harrison defeated the incumbant Van Buren in the 1840 election to become the ninth president of the United States. Van Buren later became an anti-slavery leader and was the Free Soil candidate for president in the 1848 election; the Whig Candidate Zachary Taylor (1784–1850) defeated Van Buren and went on to serve as the twelfth president of the United States. [back]
  • 11. John Van Buren (1810–1866) was a lawyer, politician, and advisor to his father, Martin Van Buren (1782–1862), the eighth president of the United States. [back]
  • 12. David Wilmot (1814–1868) was a judge and a United States Representative and Senator from Pennsylvania. He sponosored the Wilmot Proviso, which was a failed 1846 proposal to stop the expansion of slavery into the territory that the United States acquired from Mexico in the Mexican-American War. [back]
  • 13. 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]
  • 14. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 15. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 16. William Macready (1793–1873) was a British stage actor, who played Shakespearean roles, including Richard III. He performed in London, New York, and Paris. [back]
  • 17. John Collins (1811–1874) was an Irish comedian and singer ("American," Theatrical Times, October 28, 1848, 6.). [back]
  • 18. Thomas Souness Hamblin (1800–1853) was a Shakespearean actor, businessman, and theatre manager. Under his management, New York City's Bowery Theatre became a successful venue for American working-class theatre. Hamblin occasionally booked opera and ballet events, but primarily produced melodramas, romances, farces, and circus acts that appealed to the working class Bowery B'hoy audiences of the Bowery district. In 1848, Hamblin bought the lease to the Park Theatre, which he renovated and reopened; however, the theatre was destroyed by fire a few months later. [back]
  • 19. Frank S. Chanfrau (1824–1884) was an actor and theatre manager who, in 1848, played the part of the Bowery b'hoy Mose in Benjamin Baker's (1818–1890) hit play A Glance at New York in 1848. Chanfrau would continue in this role for much of his career. [back]
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