Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Daily Crescent, 6 October 1848

Eds. Crescent:

Among the choice sights of those diggings, few are prettier than that of a fine ship, on a fine day, dashily entering or departing from our noble harbor! I saw the Hendrik Hudson come up yesterday afternoon, in beautiful trim, and her decks swarming with passengers. How pleasantly they must have been impressed with their new home—those of them who were emigrating here. Almost every day you can see these vessels coming in, with their human cargoes; and sometimes, two or three ships at once......The weather still continues beautiful; and it is said, from the country, that the late rains have furnished additional grazing to the cattle, which comes very welcome, after a long drought.

Mr. Hecker,1 a German republican, who has suffered some for free principles in the Grand Duchy of Baden, was received complimentarily here yesterday. New York, you know, opens her arms, and gives a "treat" to every visiter of the least distinction; and I like the practice. Mr. Hecker receives his friends in the Governor's room to-day....The Taylor2 meeting of the New York Cartmen at Vauxhall, last night, was a rouser indeed! David Paul Brown,3 W. H. Seward4 and Ogden Hoffman5 held forth. The Whigs,6 at least the prominent ones, are generally falling into the Taylor ranks....I notice a capital suggestion in one of the city papers: that the new line of Collins & Co.'s ships be named, individually, after Irving,7 Prescott,8 Bancroft9 and Bryant.10 Why are not our great writers as deserving of such honors as third rate politicians?

During the last year there have been built in this city, about 50 large sewers, 30 new piers, 115 new streets, including some which have been re-graded and paved: of the new public and private edifices, ships, and numerous such like enterprises, there could hardly be a catalogue made. We shall soon wrap Harlem and Manhattanville in our mantle; besides stretching an arm to Brooklyn, Jersey City and Williamsburg .... Mrs. Bishop11 is singing at the Park Theatre; but it is an up hill job there. The audiences are slim. Mr. Lover12 sailed for home in the Europa the other day. A band of 25 musicians, a recent importation from Berlin, are giving concerts here....Among the boarders now at the Astor House is Gen. Harney.13 Military fame is, however, at a less grade, in the public estimation, here, than usual. This is noticeable at the theatres, where the appearance of the biggest military characters attract no attention......That story going the rounds of the papers, (from the Buffalo Commercial,) about a "man going over the falls," smacks too much of the penny-a-liner. It is a very pretty story as it stands; but one has no spare sympathy to expend these days....It is estimated by "E. M."14 the celebrated Brooklyn weather-man, who is up all night watching the clouds and thermometer, that the rain of the late storm here fell to the unusual depth of 5¾ inches....Korth,15 (Brooklyn,) whose case I have described in former letters, has been pronounced guilty, of assault with intent to murder, and will in all probability receive a pretty severe sentence....The mails for the Acadia, which left Boston on the 3d inst., did not get in from New York in time—including the great Southern mail. They will go out by the next steamer.



  • 1. Friedrich Franz Kark Hecker (1811–1881), a native of Baden, attempted to lead an armed uprising to overthrow the monarchy and establish Baden as a Republic. After the move failed, Hecker fled to Switzerland and then emigrated to the United States, where he would later serve as a Colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War. [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. David Paul Brown (1795–1872) of Philadelphia was an orator, a lawyer, and a playwright. [back]
  • 4. William Henry Seward (1801–1872) was the Governor of New York from 1839 to 1842, and he served as a United States Senator from New York from 1849 to 1861. He went on to serve as United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869 under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. [back]
  • 5. Ogden Hoffman (1794–1856) served in the Navy during the War of 1812. He went on to serve as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York and as the Attorney General of New York. [back]
  • 6. 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]
  • 7. Washington Irving (1783–1859) was a biographer, historian, and short story writer. His best known works include "Rip Van Winkle (1819) and "The Legend of Sleey Hollow." [back]
  • 8. William H. Prescott (1796–1859) was a historian specializing in Renaissance Spain and the early Spanish Empire. He is credited with being the first American scientific historian. [back]
  • 9. George Bancroft (1800–1891) was a historian and politician. He served as United States Secretary of the Navy, establishing the United States Naval Academy. He also wrote the series History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent (1855–1860). [back]
  • 10. William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878) was famous both as a poet and as the editor-in-chief of the New York Evening Post from 1828 to 1878. [back]
  • 11. Anna Bishop (1810–1884) was a London-born operatic soprano who traveled and perfomed extensively, touring in the United States, Europe, and Australia. [back]
  • 12. Samuel Lover was a poet, painter, actor, and a musician. He was known for his Irish character sketches and for illustrating Irish habits and customs in his entertainment [back]
  • 13. William S. Harney (1800–1889), a native of Tennessee, was an officer in the United States Army, serving in the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War, among other wars and battles. [back]
  • 14. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 15. Frederick Louis Korth, a native of Germany, came to the United States in the 1830s. He worked in several jobs, including in a chair factory and in private homes as a house-servant and porter. Korth was convicted of two counts of assault with the intent to kill John Behm (1815–1887) and his wife. Korth was sentenced to two consecutive prison terms, totalling eighteen years ("Sentence of Korth," Brooklyn Evening Star, October 27, 1848, 2; "Frederick Louis Korth," Brooklyn Evening Star, August 10, 1848, 2). [back]
Back to top