Published Works

Periodicals

About this Item

Title: The Park Meeting

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: April 2, 1842

Whitman Archive ID: per.00454

Source: New York Aurora 2 April 1842: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Aurora when this editorial was written, and Herbert Bergman identified him as its author in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Gabrielle K. Engstrom, and Kevin McMullen




image 1

image 2

image 3

image 4

cropped image 1

The Park Meeting.

At the appointed hour, 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, a collection of people began to congregate in the Park,1 for the purpose of taking measures to prevent the desecration of the graves in the church yard corner of Chrystie and Delancy streets. Alderman Purdy was appointed to preside over the Meeting.2

Mr. Job Haskell rose to address the assemblage.3 He said that not a long time had passed away since his own wife was buried in the contested ground. She was there now. And he appealed to any man, if, under the circumstances, he was not justified in using warm language to mark his sense of his wickedness of the conduct of those who would infringe the repose of those tombs. Mr. Haskell said that day before yesterday afternoon he came down to the Park for the purpose of attending the meeting appointed to take place there—that while thus away from his home, the fire broke out which devasted a large portion of that neighborhood, his house among others being burnt to the ground. Mr. H. hoped that the meeting would take strong steps for the furtherance of the objects which they so anxiously desired to see attained.

Mr. Taylor, editor of the Commercial Transcript, next made a few remarks.4 He stated that he had no personal interest in the controversy; but he felt in his breast that the last resting spot of man should not be disturbed. He related a thrilling account, which we alluded to in our paper of yeste.day, of the woman who, on Wednesday, was seen guarding the grave of her near relatives with a loaded pistol.5 Mr. Taylor said that the same pistol was used by the woman's husband in the last war—used to defend the land from foreign invasion. Mr. T. spoke very warmly and ardently.

A great portion of the audience were women. We noticed tears in the eyes of many—no doubt called up by the associations of thought that they could not help.

We did not stay to see the conclusion of the meeting. It was evident that there was a strong and enthusiastic determination to defend the graves from violation, at all hazards. It was proposed to appoint a committee for the purpose of proceeding to Albany and asking the passage of a law that would meet the requirements of the case.


Notes:

1. Most likely City Hall Park, near the intersection of Broadway and Park Row in lower Manhattan, just south of New York City Hall. [back]

2. Elijah F. Purdy (birth and death dates unknown) served on the New York City council as President of the Board of Aldermen from 1840–1842, then again in 1843–1844 (David T. Valentine, Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York for 1853 [New York City: McSpedon & Baker, Printers, 1853]). [back]

3. Job Haskell (1794–1882) served in the New York state assembly in 1835. In 1842, he was listed in the New York City directory as being a coal inspector or coal measurer, but later served as Police Justice in New York City (see Horace Greeley's letter of 30 November 1847 to Henry Clay in Henry Clay, The Papers of Henry Clay: Candidate, Compromiser, Elder Statesmen, ed. Melba Porter Hay [Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1991], 10: 383; and Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, ed. Lyman Copeland Draper [Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1909], 10: 441). [back]

4. The Commercial Transcript was a daily newspaper published in New York beginning in 1842. [back]

5. The Aurora of April 1 contained an untitled article that began with a quotation from "a report of the proceedings at Chrystie street grave yard day before yesterday." The quote reads: "On stepping into the ground at the corner of Chrystie and Delancey streets, we found a woman armed with a pistol, guarding the grave of her husband and children." [back]


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.