Tom Thumb Wedding

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 21, 1863

We have one of the most extensive private collections of Harper's Weekly newspapers in the country. We love these old newspapers, and have decided to make part of our collection available to the public by creating an online version of the Collection. We hope you enjoy reading these fascinating papers.

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General Tom Thumb

General Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb Wedding

Tom Thumb Wedding

Army of the Potomac

Reorganization of the Army of the Potomac

Escaping Slaves

Description of Escaping Slaves

Fort Hindman Attack

Attack on Fort Hindman

Montauk

The Montauk

Charleston Fight

Fight Off Charleston

P. T. Barnum

P. T. Barnum Ad

Freed Negroes

Freed Negroes

Beaufort

Beaufort, North Carolina

Fort Hindman

Fort Hindman

Valentine

Valentine

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[FEBRUARY 21, 1863.

114

TOM THUMB AND HIS WIFE.

WE publish on the preceding page portraits of the two dwarfs—CHARLES S. STRATTON, better known as Tom Thumb, and Miss LAVINIA WARREN—in their wedding dress.

Tom Thumb's name and pigmy form are well known to every body. Fifteen years ago he was quite the rage, and boasted—probably with truth —that he had kissed millions of fair faces. He has since made his fortune, and has lived in quasi retirement at his place in Connecticut.

Miss Lavinia Warren was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts, in 1842, and is consequently twenty years of age. She measures 32 inches in height and weighs 29 pounds. Some months since Mr. Barnum engaged her to exhibit herself at his Museum, in this city, and shortly afterward it was announced that she was to be married to Tom Thumb. Since then the rage to see her has been wild among the ladies, and Mr. Barnum has been enabled to fill his Museum and his pockets with unusual rapidity.

The wedding took place at Grace Church on Tuesday, 10th February. We extract the following very graphic description of the affair from the New York Herald:

We entered the sacred edifice. Grand, solemn, and silent dim aisles—"storied windows richly dight," etc.—and here, indeed, was the show. If we had thought it a delicious jam outside, what shall we say of it within? Here, indeed, was the true "vision of fair women." Here was the carnival of crinoline, the apotheosis of purple and fine linen. Never before was the scarlet lady seen to such advantage. Babylon was a rag fair to it.

Ah! the musical rustle of silk as they passed us by; the lace! the feathers! the gems—and "the shining eyes like antique jewels set in Parian statue stone."

There were silks of every possible hue, and thus a rich variety of colors in the picture. There was, too, every possible species of toilet—dainty head-dresses, delicate bonnets, and whatever can make the sex beautiful and lead every body else into temptation.

But beautiful as they were they were not dwarfs. How many wished they were! How many regretted their "superb abundance!"

Around the chancel, up and down the aisles, here, there, and every where throughout the church there were police-men, with their caps on, and order reigned in the matrimonial Warsaw.

So we quietly took our comfortable seat, and listened to the magnificent organ and Morgan, who, between them, gave the overtures to "William Tell," and "Oberon," a march from "Tannhauser," and from "Robert the Devil" the air "Robert Toi que Jaime."

As it became quiet in the church it became every minute more and more like a fairy festival. The music "groaning like a god in pain," the whole body of the church filled with beautifully-dressed women, and shed over all a luxury of golden light streaming in through the windows "diamonded with panes of quaint device." All these made it seem less like a matter of everyday nonsense than like the action of some old romantic story.

There were several false alarms before the bridal party arrived. Then in came the great Phineas and several of the relatives of the happy pair, and took seats; and in a few moments more the stir and the buzz of voices near to the door told of the real arrival.

Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren (the bride's sister) led the way, and the bride and bridegroom came after.

Every body was on the cushions at once, and eager to see, though none could do so save the few who sat along by the middle aisle. But the murmur of voices and little exclamations and laughs followed the party, and marked their very slow progress up the aisle, until they reached the open space and ascended the steps of the little dais prepared for them in front of the chancel rail.

Then the nonchalant Nutt handed his lady to the opposite side, Thumb and the bride stepped between, and there was the bridal party.

Now Nutt, for size, is such a man as might be made after supper of a cheese paring. He is a full head shorter than Tom Thumb, but is self-possessed and easy to the most perfect extent. Tom Thumb is also considerably stouter than Nutt. He, a veteran in the show business, was also, of course, quite at his ease.

Lavinia is a little lady of very fair proportions, decidedly of the plump style of beauty, with a well rounded arm and full bust, and all the appearance of amiable embonpoint. Her countenance is animated and agreeable; complexion decidedly brunette, black hair, very dark eyes, rounded forehead, and dimpled cheeks and chin.

Her little sister is, to our heretical taste, the prettier of the two.

Altogether they made, after all, a dainty little group.

It was the great moment of the great show; the ladies were in such extreme ecstasies that there was perfect silence, and the Rev. Mr. Willey came forward and read the marriage rite. Thumb and Lavinia responded clearly and affirmatively at the proper places, and in due time a very tall and very slim gentleman in very black clothes, the very essence of respectability, ascended the steps of the dais with the measured tread of the Commander in "Don Juan," though he did not make so much noise about it, and gave the bride away.

Then they knelt for prayer, and the rich sunlight fell through the painted windows upon them—

And threw warm gules upon the bride's fair breast, As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon; Rose bloom fell on her hands together prest, And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory like a saint.

Upon the conclusion of the ceremony Dan Taylor, the Rector of Grace Church, pronounced the benediction. Bishop Potter was not present. The Potter was afraid to mould into one these two little bits of the precious porcelain of human clay.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1863.

SLAVES IN LOUISIANA.

MAJOR-GENERAL BANKS is beginning to realize some of the practical difficulties which beset emancipation. In all those portions of the State of Louisiana which are held by the national forces slavery is practically abolished, and the slaves are actually as well as legally free. As might have been expected from suddenly freed slaves, they evince a remarkable disinclination to work. Hence, on the one hand, there is great danger that the bulk of the sugar crop will be lost for want of labor, while, on the other, the Government is put to an enormous expense to feed thousands of colored refugees. To remedy these evils General Banks has issued an order compelling the negroes to work for a fair remuneration. This order has drawn down upon the General the thunders of some of the extreme anti-slavery leaders of the North, who complain that our armies are being used as slave-drivers for the sugar lords of Louisiana.

Again, General Butler commenced, and General Banks is continuing, the work of enrolling negroes as soldiers, and forming them into companies, regiments, and brigades. This operation provokes the hostility of a large number of our Northern troops, in whom aversion to the negro is deeply ingrained. Something very like a mutiny broke out lately at Baton Rouge in consequence of the encampment of a negro battalion in proximity to some of our New York regiments. A colonel of one of the Louisiana colored regiments — himself a Northern white man—declared that he could hardly show himself at the St. Charles Hotel without being insulted. As at Port Royal, the white troops refuse to be brigaded with negroes, and many of their officers—who are too often the worst men in their regiments—lose no opportunity of showing their contempt for colored soldiers, and for the white men who are appointed to command them,

These are some of the practical difficulties with which General Banks has to contend. We are satisfied that he is the man to grapple with them. Reflection will by-and-by satisfy every one that emancipation must not be construed as securing to the negro a life of sloth at our expense; that the black, like the white man, if he would eat, must work. Emerging from hereditary slavery, he can not be expected to understand at once his responsibilities as a free man, and it is our duty, for the present time, by salutary and humane laws, to compel him to lead such a life as he would lead without coercion had he been born free and self-reliant. Those who regard the unwillingness of the negro to work as an evidence of his inferiority to the white, will do well to remember that every civilized nation in the world has vagrant laws on its statute book, and that time was when our ancestors needed the gentle stimulus of the law to compel them to earn their living. Time—the great physician—will cure this evil, and the other also. As soon as our troops see that the negro regiments can fight—as soon as a white general, or a white battalion, is rescued from peril by a gallant charge of colored men, they will begin to get rid of their prejudices. It took sonic time for the British soldiers in India to march cheerfully by the side of the sepoys. But when the latter showed that they were as ready to shed their blood for their flag as the whitest white man the pride of race gave way. Our new colored troops will fight well, and will command respect by-and-by. The greatest general who ever lived owed some of his most glorious victories to the valor of men of a race akin to that of the Southern slaves.

THE IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT
AGAIN.

MR. RUSSEL'S Diary sheds light upon one point in our controversy. He delineates with the hand of a master the essential differences between Northern and Southern society. With the true instincts of a Briton he ridicules us for departing in any particular from the genuine British pattern. But, at the same time, he does justice to the universal spirit of industry, thrift, and self-reliance which characterizes the Northern States, and he admits that we are orderly, law-abiding, and averse to violence. At the South he fell in with a race essentially different. There he found men who deemed honest industry degrading, and who could not conceal their scorn for those who earned their bread by their own labor; among whom the only honorable mode of obtaining a livelihood was to derive it from the unpaid labor of others; who submitted to no restraints of law or society, but shot each other down daily in the street for a cross word, and hurried obnoxious persons to Judge Lynch's gallows on charges of Abolitionism; a race nurtured upon false principles, and bred in an atmosphere of injustice, violence, extravagance, and lawlessness. Between two such radically opposite peoples as he found at the North and at the South, the wonder was, not that war had broken out, but that peace could ever have been maintained for three generations of men.

This essential difference is overlooked by the politicians who entertain each other and try to delude the public with visions of compromise. Those eminent Northern patriots who, while claiming supereminent loyalty to the Union, have no word of censure for armed rebels, but exhaust themselves in abusing the President, and every act of the Administration, sneer at negro soldiers, and deride every Northern General who will not become the instrument of the reconstructionists, do not realize that we are fighting the battle of Democracy against Aristocracy —labor against capital—manhood against privilege—which has been fought out in most of the countries of Europe, and the end of which must be either, on the one hand, the overthrow of the Aristocracy as a privileged class, or, on the other, the establishment of an oligarchy and the overthrow of Democratic institutions in the United States. History teaches plainly enough that between such antagonistic principles there is no middle term. A nation must be governed by the one or by the other. Both can not coexist.

That Northern men have been held cheap at the South ever since cotton became a leading

staple is notorious. In society the name "Yankee" has been a term of the bitterest reproach, and implied meanness, avarice, trickery, dishonesty, and cowardice. Their obvious mercantile capacity secured for Northern men toleration as merchants in Southern sea-ports. But they were always objects of contempt, more or less disguised. A Southern girl who married a Northerner was held to have disgraced herself: a Southern "gentleman" who brought a Northern wife to his plantation was pronounced to have been "taken in." The 350,000 slave-owners of the South—whose views control popular sentiment in that region—considered themselves an aristocracy to be classed with the lords of England, the boyars of Russia, and the barons of France, and looked down upon the best men of the North much as the Duke of Norfolk regards his tenants, or a Russian prince views a tradesman. Even in Northern society these prejudices could not be wholly suppressed. The heirs-at-law to great plantations in Georgia and the Gulf States did not always disguise, at Saratoga, or Newport, their ingrained belief that they were condescending in associating with the best families of New York or Boston, or in accepting their hospitalities. We were in their eyes a lower race. Mankind, in their view, was divided into three classes: 1st, the aristocracy, comprising the crowned monarchs and noblemen of Europe and the "gentlemen" of the South; 2d. the working people, which included the merchants and operatives of Europe, the whole people of the North, and the white trash at the South; and, 3d, the negroes. An equal gulf divided each of the three classes.

These notions were exemplified in their local institutions. Hostility to freedom of the press, of speech, and of assemblage, was a marked characteristic of Southern municipal law. Not only could no newspaper or book be published at the South which controverted the views of the people of that section, but it was a matter of life and death to own or to read a Northern publication which the populace deemed heretical. To speak against slavery was to insure tarring and feathering, or hanging by some Vigilance Committee. Half a dozen negroes could not meet to exchange views without being separated by the police and taken home to be flogged. Law and order—which are the first fruits of democratic institutions — were unknown in the Southern States. One murder a month was the average in Jackson, Mississippi, according to Governor Pettus. In New Orleans the average exceeded one a week, and every body carried pistols of large bore in his pocket ready for work. No one respected the law, or troubled himself about it. As among the Choctaws and the Camanches, every man was the judge of his own wrong, and the executioner of the penalty he chose to inflict.

If we add that this race—so besotted with insane notions of its own superiority, and so brutified by hostility to free institutions and early habits of lawlessness and violence—was still further degraded by the unrestrained licentiousness which has ever been the product of slavery, we shall have said enough to show that there had grown up, under the aegis of the national Government, a race of people as diametrically opposite, in every essential characteristic, to us of the North, as can be readily imagined, and between whom and us there could be no possible community of feeling or harmony of action.

This war, in fact, was a necessity, an inevitable necessity, and its prosecution, to the utter overthrow of one of the belligerents, is equally inevitable. Had the North accepted the Crittenden Compromise there would have been a brief period of peace, but Mr. Lincoln would hardly have lived out his term without war. Were the North now to offer terms which the South would condescend to accept, it would merely secure a brief truce. Two radically different and essentially hostile forms of society are arrayed against one another, in sight of each other and interlocked with each other at every turn. You can not separate them by a territorial division, nor can you devise any compromise between them. The struggle between them is a death-grapple, and only one of the two will rise from the contest.

THE LOUNGER.

DR. NELATON.

M. NELATON is a French surgeon. He was summoned from Paris to attend Garibaldi, and discovered the ball in his foot. Upon his return the blouses, enthusiastic for Garibaldi, and grateful to him whom they regarded as his preserver, expressed their gratitude in the only practicable way. They were not rich enough to give him a medal, a vase, a golden table service, nor even a complete set of surgical instruments mounted in silver and pearl. They could not pay, but they could vote. They therefore proposed to vote for him as a Deputy to the Assembly.

But it seems that Dr. Nelaton is purely professional. "A ball in the foot!" exclaims the Doctor; "well, it's my business to find it. It's nothing to me to whom the foot belongs. You say it belongs to what you call the friend of the people, Garibaldi: a la bonne heure, that is his affair. To me it is a ball and a foot, nothing more. My interest does not reach above the knee. The interest of the case is in the wound, not in the man." It is hinted also that the shrewd Dr. Nelaton had all eye to

the social consequences of being thought a personal friend or political ally of Garibaldi's.

Now what do the eminent men at Albany and in Washington suppose his reply was to the offer of the nomination? It was this: "I do not well see how my knowledge of surgery could aid me, or how I should suddenly have become a political economist, a financier, and a legislator, because I have discovered the presence of a ball in the foot of a wounded man. I am even convinced that the affairs of my country would not go on better, and that my patients, being neglected, would fare the worse." Dr. Nelaton is evidently a man from whom Louis Napoleon has nothing to fear. I mind my surgery," says the good Doctor, "and I leave those whose business it is to attend to the Government." "Excellent," replies the Emperor; "and you, my good bankers, please mind your own business; and you, good merchants, and lawyers, and men of letters, and clergy, and tailors, shoemakers, furriers, carpenters, masons—yes, all of you, of whatever profession or employment, listen to this wise Dr. Nelaton: mind your own business, don't neglect your customers, and leave governing to those whose business it is!"

The ouvriers, the great body of the workmen of Paris have, however, been of opinion for the last seventy years, that the Government is the business of nobody so much as the mass of the people. And it is as true of France as of every country in the world, that no Government in which the mass of the people are not represented can endure. For no man, no class, no oligarchy, nor aristocracy will, in the long run, govern justly. Government exists to protect the equal natural rights of men; and when those are permanently disregarded, they will heave society from its foundations, just as surely as the suppressed fires and fumes of a volcano will tear a passage to the light. A man may wear a smooth shirt-front over a cancer, and he may twist his features into a grin, and call himself excellently well. But the cancer is eating his heart out for all that, and some day the excellently well man will fall dying in agony. Had we in this country been convinced from the beginning that justice is the best policy, we should have had no civil war. If the war teaches us that national prosperity, founded upon a permanent disregard of natural rights, is as worthless as an enormous fortune in counterfeit shinplasters, the war will have been a cheap blessing to the nation.

STRAWS.

MR. THOMAS C. FIELDS, the leader of the "Conservatives" in the Legislature of this State, who during the confusion of the organization informed the clerk that "points of order were played out," and whose patriotic devotion no one who believes in Vallandigham's loyalty will doubt, has suggested in the Assembly the presentation of a sword to General Meagher, and of a silver medal to each soldier of the Irish Brigade. What the other Generals and brigades from the State have done, that they should not have swords and silver medals, the eminent "Conservative" does not say.

On the same day that Mr. Fields made his suggestion in the Legislature the Committee on Donations and Charities of the Common Council in New York reported in favor of "donating" the sun! of ninety-six dollars to Mary Kavanagh to pay the funeral expenses of her husband, who died from wounds received at Antietam. Councilman Gross said that the subject was "a very delicate one," and his motives might be impugned, but he felt obliged to oppose the passage of "any such a resolution." The President, also, warned the board against the passage of any such resolution. He said that if it were passed there would be plenty of people going down to Virginia and bringing bodies North, and then claiming funeral expenses from the city. He said also that there would be "repeaters" who would bring in half a dozen bills for burying one body. The proposition was lost by a vote of 13 to 9. It was then reconsidered and referred to the Committee on National Affairs.

Nobody has reason to doubt that Francis Kavanagh was a brave soldier. Every body knows that General Meagher is a dashing officer, and that the Irish Brigade fights well. But why do not the "Conservatives" of the Legislature and Council reach their object more directly? Why not persuade the Legislature and the Council to "donate" fifty dollars annually to every body who will vote the "riglar" "Conservative" ticket?

DR. WHATELY AND MRS. STOWE.

THE letter of the Archbishop of Dublin to Mrs. Stowe is interesting as his estimate of the current public sentiment around him in regard to our war. There are but two points of importance in that opinion, and they are the old ones.

First, he says, those who are opposed to the cause of the Government reject any appeal for their sympathy on the ground of justice or humanity; for, they say, the American Government insists that the war is not an anti-slavery war, and that the Proclamation itself does "not savor much of zeal for abolition," for it protects the slaves of masters who live in States that still adhere to the Government. In regard to this point Dr. Whately knows, if he knows any thing at all of the matter, that while the war took and takes the form of a rebellion against the lawful authority of the Government, and is therefore upon the part of the nation a simple struggle to maintain its authority; yet that the object of seeking the overthrow of the Government is the protection of slavery. In the course of the armed effort to restore its authority in a struggle which has the form and proportions of a great international war, the Government strikes at slavery, precisely as by the blockade it strikes at the trade, and by its armed ships, forts, and artillery, at the lives of the rebels, as a means of establishing its authority. It does not proclaim the freedom of slaves because slavery is unjust, but because it is a cardinal support of the rebellion. Thus, while the object of the rebellion is to overthrow the Government in order to perpetuate slavery, (Next Page)


 

 

 

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