The Constitution was a weekly newspaper in Middletown, Connecticut, published by Abner Newton.  The paper was solidly Republican, although the city was largely Democratic.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, we have created this blog with excerpts fromThe Constitution to give a taste of the concerns and preoccupations of Middletown residents during this critical period in history.  Square brackets indicate additions that we have made.  ‘This city’ refers to Middletown.

150 years ago in 1861, the United States was literally being torn apart by the issues of slavery and states’ rights.  In November, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States, defeating Democratic candidates Stephen A. Douglas and John C. Breckinridge.   By the beginning of March 1861, seven states had seceded from the Union—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—and in February, Jefferson Davis was elected President of the Confederate States.

The people of Middletown, Connecticut were deeply concerned about the possibility of civil war.  But they were also thinking about upcoming state elections, taxes, the local economy, and of course the weather.  In 1861 Middletown was a city of 8,620 inhabitants.  In addition to the river trade and agriculture that had existed since Middletown’s founding in 1650, manufacturing was becoming increasingly important in the city’s economy.  The Savage Firearms Company was one of several firearms and ammunition factories in Middletown.  Benjamin Douglas, who had been mayor of Middletown in the 1850s, headed the W & B Douglas Company with his brother William, manufacturing pumps and other tools.

Excerpts from The Constitution (Middletown, Conn.), February 20, 1861 (volume 24, number 1208)

The Votes Counted

On Wednesday last the electoral votes were counted in the presence of both Houses of Congress and Vice President Breckenridge declared Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin duly elected President and Vice President of the United States for four years from 4th of March next.  Thus is safely passed an occasion which has been looked forward to with some solicitude by very many.  Southern traitors had threatened that Lincoln should never be declared President.  And such intimations were given that the public authorities thought it best to fortify the city and entrust the safety of the capital to the vigilance of Lieut. Gen. Scott.  On account of the precautions which were taken no outbreak could have been successful, and none was attempted.

Secretary Holt on Coercion

The style in which South Carolina is coerced [to remain in the Union] is aptly and forcibly shown by the following significant sentence in the letter of Secretary Holt [United States Secretary of War] to the seceders:

“At the present moment it is not deemed necessary to reinforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request, and feels quite sure in his position.  Should his safety, however, require reinforcements, every effort will be made to supply them.”

Such language is very explicit, and shows precisely what the Secretary means.  It is the best definition of coercion we have seen.  If South Carolina lets Uncle Sam alone she won’t get hurt.  But if she attacks Fort Sumter, she will receive a sufficient degree of coercion to prevent her from accomplishing her design.  The country is indebted to Secretary Holt for the best practical view of coercion which has been given.  It is presumed that South Carolina understands exactly what he means.

The River

The ice in the [Connecticut] river broke up last week in a very quiet manner.  The warm weather and the rain carried off the snow and ice, and produced a rise in the river of about seven feet.  The ice broke up opposite this city on Thursday.  For two or three days it came down, as it broke away at different points above.  It is now clear above Hartford.

Washington’s Birthday

The birthday of George Washington occurs next Friday, February 22d.  Congress has voted to make this a national holiday.  It is already established as a holiday in Massachusetts.  At this time there would be a propriety in observing the day as it has never been observed before.  It is a day in which Union men may appropriately speak their sentiments, and a spirit of conciliation and harmony may be cherished and promoted.

The New Steamer Mary Benton

This fine new steamer, built by the Goodspeeds of East Haddam, is now receiving her machinery at Morgan Ironworks, New York.  She will be finished and ready for use about the middle of March.  This will be a staunch, safe and handsome boat, and will take the place of the L. Boardman, between Hartford, Greenport, and Sag Harbor.  Her engine is a powerful one with a 38 inch cylinder and ten feet stroke.

From The Constitution, February 27, 1861 (volume 24, number 1209)

For The Constitution

The anniversary of the father of our country was never more generally commemorated in the city of Middletown than the one just passed.  When disunion threatens and has already put forth her hand to destroy the past and future glory of our beloved country, for which Washington and our forefathers fought and pledged their “lives and sacred honor” to defend, it is a gratification to know that the citizens of Middletown, without distinction of party, met in several places to do honor to the memory of the immortal Washington.  …

The 22d in Middletown

Salutes were fired morning, noon and evening near the college through the enterprise of the Freshman class, they having determined to be patriotic on the occasion.  The freshmen deserve the consideration of the community.  They have begun well, and we hope their enterprise and patriotism will never be any less.

In the evening there was a gathering at the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Hotel.  …  The Hon. Benjamin Douglas was called out; and made a short and patriotic speech.  He eulogized the memory of Washington, and spoke eloquently of the proud position which our country had gained in the family of nations.  Col. Mansfield, U.S.A., was present and in response to a sentiment which was offered made a few pertinent remarks.  Short speeches were also made by several other gentlemen present.  The occasion was an exceedingly pleasant one, and one to be remembered.

Democratic Convention

The democratic Congressional Convention which met in this city [Middletown] last Wednesday, nominated James E. English of New Haven.  Mr. English was nominated because they thought he was the most available candidate.  Colin M. Ingersoll would have received the nomination if he had not been too well known in the district.  But Mr. English has succeeded in keeping dark for some time past on political subjects.  He even managed to be absent from the country last fall–a very fortunate thing–and his friends believe that on the strength of his non-committalism he can be elected.  But it won’t do.  Mr. English is known sufficiently well in this district to ensure his defeat.  If a man is known by nothing else, he is known by the company he keeps.

A Query

Will those who say that the Government should relinquish the southern forts to the seceding states, please tell us how it can be done?  These forts do not belong to the President, they do not belong to Congress.   They belong to the people of the United States.  The President cannot give up Sumter to South Carolina any more than Benedict Arnold could give up West Point to the British.  He doesn’t own Sumter.  Neither does Congress own it.  There is no authority in Washington for making a transfer of this or any other fortress.  Will those who have talked pretty loud in condemning the Administration because the forts have not been surrendered enlighten the public on this subject?

“President” Davis

It is the policy of the democratic press to recognize the southern so-called confederacy as a separate and independent nation.  They tell us that secession is complete, the new government is settled, and that there is a southern as well as a northern United States.  One paper spoke of the two “rival Presidents!”  If the seceded states have settled a government of their own, and if they are independent of the United States, what business have they with the United States mails?  Why don’t they get up a postal system of their own.  The United State treasury supports their post offices at an enormous cost.  …

Abstract of Report of Registrar, Town of Middletown, for the year 1860

Total number of Marriages, 123
Both parties American, 75
Both parties foreign, 40
American male and foreign female, 8
Foreign male and American female, 5 = 123
Total number of Births, 236
Males, 124
Females, 111
Sex not stated, 1 = 236
Total number of Deaths, 168
Males, 85
Females, 82
Sex not returned, 1 = 168

Diseases or cause of Death — Accident, 8 ; Apoplexy, 4 ; Asthma, 2 ; Brain affection, 0 ; Bowel inflammation, 2 ; Consumption, 27 ; Cancer, 8 ; Croup, 4 ; Convulsions, 8 ; Cholera Infantum, 6 ; Dropsy, 4 ; Dysentery, 3 ; Fever Typhoid, 6 ; Scarlet, 2 ; Billious, 1 ; Puerperal, 2 ; Hydrocephdius, 2 ; Heart disease, 7 ; Intemperance, 6 ; Liver disease, 2 ; Marasmus, 8 ; Measles, 3 ; old age, 9 ; Pneumonia, 6 ; Paralysis, 8 ; Premature birth, 4 ; Suicide, 2 ; Stillborn, 8 ; and sundry other causes from one to two cases.

Whole number of burials, 229; of this number 84 were of persons who died out of town.

Attest, E. W. N. Starr, Registrar  Middletown, Feb. 21, 1861.

From The Constitution, March 6, 1861 (volume 24, number 1210)

President Lincoln

Delivered his inaugural address and took the oath about noon on Monday.  Owing to the admirable arrangements of the police and military everything was orderly and quiet.

The first part of the inaugural was received in this city [Middletown] last night at 9 o’clock.  The remainder reached here between nine and ten this morning.  It is clear and decided in its tone.  There is no mistaking the intention of President Lincoln to maintain the laws and defend the property of the United States.  [Complete text of inaugural address printed.  Click here for more information.]

Congress, Feb. 26.

Senate.–Bills organizing the territories of Dacotah and Nevada, passed.

A com. of conference on the disagreeing with the amendment to the tariff was appointed.

The post route bill was taken up.

Amendment for arsenal at Texas stricken out.

House.–The volunteer bill was taken up.  Mr. Howard of Mich. advocated its passage.

Mr. Burnett asked if in enforcing this bill it was intended to re-enforce the Southern forts and re-capture the property.

Mr. Curtis would not reply in open session what it would be the duty of the country to do.

Mr. Simms, in his seat, said ‘murder.’

Mr. Curtis said murder came from the other side–acts of assassins were not from republicans.  Murderous acts against the government were by persons skulking in the executive chamber and in the Senate.

Army bill taken up.

Mr. Corwin moved to postpone bill to Thursday.  Motion prevailed, 100 against 74.


South Carolina has proposed to buy Fort Sumter before taking possession of it.  Why didn’t she buy Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney, and the revenue cutter, and the custom house, and the armory, and the post office, before taking possession of them?


Our State Ticket

The Republican State Ticket is this spring again headed by their veteran leader Wm. A. Buckingham, who is esteemed and honored by men of all political parties, a gentleman above reproach, and a worthy standard bearer of the Republicans of Connecticut.  He has been triumphantly elected three successive years, and there is no reason why his majority this spring should not be as high as it has ever been.

For Lieut. Governor the name of Hon. Benjamin Douglas of this city is presented for the suffrages of the people of this State.  A stronger man could not have been elected from this section.  Mr. Douglas is well known through Middlesex County and in all this region, and his nomination will add great strength to the ticket here.  Like Gov. Buckingham, Mr. Douglas is a man of the people–one whose interests have been identical with those of the workingmen of the State.  With them he must be popular, and from them he will undoubtedly receive an enthusiastic support. …

The River and the Boats

The warm weather we have had must have cleared away the ice above Hartford, and made navigation safe.  It is not probable that the New York boats will come up before the 15th.  The Granite State has been laid up for repairs for two months.  The City of Hartford has been running all winter between New York and New Haven.  There is now a rise in the river of about ten feet.


Last Sunday, thermometer about here ranged from 75 to 80 degrees in the shade.  Pretty warm for the third of March.


Kit Carson, the famous hunter, guide and mountaineer, is living at Taos, New Mexico, as Indian agent to the Ute tribe of Indians ; his salary is $1500 per annum.  Kit is not a wealthy man ; his property is estimated at about $6000.  He keeps fifty or sixty cows, five hundred head of sheep, and several horses and ponies.  He married a Mexican lady, with whom he lives happily.



Savage’s Ursina

Louis Pomatum,

Wood’s Hair Restorative, Bandoline,
Mrs. Allen’s Restorative, Barry’s Tricopherous,
Mrs. Wilson’s      do Maslobralia,
Lyon’s Katharion,      do Gaertre’s Hair Tonic,
Circassian Hair      do

Burnett’s Cocoaine,

And all the popular Preparations of the day, for sale by

C. Dyer, 308 Main street.

From The Constitution, March 13, 1861 (volume 24, number 1211)

Mr. Lincoln’s First Day in Washington

Washington, Feb. 23.—Mr. Lincoln arrived here at six o’clock this morning direct from Harrisburg, and was received at the depot by Senator Seward and Mr. Washburne of Illinois, and proceeded very quietly to Willard’s Hotel.  A private letter received here from Mr. Lincoln last night announced this change in his programme.

At seven o’clock Mr. Lincoln left his hotel, and proceeded in a carriage to the residence of Mr. Seward, with whom he dined.  At ten minutes before nine o’clock Mr. Lincoln returned to his hotel, and was received by an enthusiastic crowd who greeted him as though he was their father and life.

At nine o’clock, according to previous arrangement, Mr. Lincoln received the Peace Congress.  The members formed in procession in the hall where they meet, and proceeded to the reception parlor; ex-President Tyler, and Governor Chase, of Ohio, led the van.  The latter introduced Mr. Tyler.  Mr. Lincoln received him with all the respect due his position.  The several delegates were then presented to Mr. Lincoln by Governor Chase, in the usual manner.

The greatest curiosity was manifested to witness Mr. Lincoln’s first reception in Washington.  The most marvelous thing that occurred was the manifestation by Mr. Lincoln of a most wonderful memory.  It will be remembered that the Convention is composed of many men who, although distinguished in their time, have until very lately not been very much known.  Each member was introduced by his last name, but in nine cases out of ten Mr. Lincoln would promptly recall their entire name, no matter how many initials it contained.  In several instances he recited the historical reminiscences of families.  In short, he understands the material of the Peace Congress. …

It may be truly said that Mr. Lincoln’s first day in Washington as President elect has been a decided success.  Democrats as well as Republicans are with him, and the ladies, who thought he was awkward at first sight, changed their opinion, and now declare him ‘a very pleasant, sociable gentleman, and not bad looking by any means.

Washington Dispatches

Washington, March 10.

The question of reinforcing Fort Sumter has been under consideration in the Cabinet, and it is understood that the question whether or not it is not desirable to withdraw all the troops, except two or three men, rather than incur the bloodshed which will probably occur before troops and supplies are put into it, is now to be decided.

The immediate necessity of settling this question grows out of the fact that there is only a limited supply of bread at Fort Sumter, but plenty of salt meat, and that it must either be re-supplied, or abandoned very soon.  The question has been under discussion in high military circles for several days.

Gen. Scott advises that reinforcements cannot now be put in without an enormous sacrifice of life.  Of course his views on the subject cannot be known officially to the public, but he is understood to say that we have neither military nor naval force at hand to supply the fort against the threatened opposition, which it would require twenty thousand men to overcome.  Besides, if it should initiate civil war, in addition to uniting the South and overwhelming the Union sentiment there in the waves of passion, it would require two hundred and fifty thousand Government soldiers to carry on the struggle, and a hundred millions of money to begin with.  In such an event, twenty thousand men would be needed to preserve Washington and the Government archives.

The general impression here on the streets is that the Administration has determined on withdrawing the troops from Fort Sumter, leaving only one Corporal, two men and the Stars and Stripes, compelling the chivalry to capture the Fort after all.  They have been threatening to do it for three months, and failed when there were only about seventy men in it.  They may have an opportunity to accomplish it against only three.

The New Territories

Three new territories have just been created—Nevada, Dacotah, and Colerado.  The territory of Colerado embraces what was commonly known as Pike’s Peak.  It contains 100,000 square miles, and has a population of 25,000.  It is made from parts of Nebraska, Kansas, and Utah.  Its capital is Denver City.

The territory of Nevada extends south as far as New Mexico and north as far as Oregon, taking in Carson’s Valley and Warhoe silver mines.  In addition to its mines it is a fine agricultural country.  Virginia City is its capital.

Dacotah borders on British America, Iowa , Minnesota, and Nebraska.  It is between the parallels of 42 1/2 and 49, has 70,000 square miles, and very few inhabitants.

Republicans Rally!  Reception of Hon. John Woodruff

Let every Republican be present at the McDonough Hall on THURSDAY EVENING the 14th inst., and give the man who has so nobly represented us in Congress, a grand reception.

E. S. Cleavland Esq., of Hartford, will address the meeting, and speeches may be expected from other gentlemen.

Come one, come all, there are times when every man is called upon to define his position, either for or against the Union founded by our Fathers.

Republican Head Quarters

Room open every evening (except Sunday,) until after election.

Per order Club.

The New York Boats

The river is now free from all obstructions from ice, and navigation is fairly resumed.—The steamer, City of Hartford, Capt. E. M. Simpson, reached here on her first trip from New York on Sunday morning at half-past four, and returned on Monday afternoon.  The Granite State, Capt. King, came up Tuesday morning.  …

Fast Day

The Governor has issued his proclamation appointing Friday the 29th inst., the annual fast.


L. W. Joslyn will give a Cotillion Party on Wednesday evening at the Mansion House Hall.  Good music and plenty of dancing can be had for 50 cents.

From The Constitution, March 20, 1861 (volume 24, number 1212)

Then and Now

Four years ago when James Buchanan became President of the United States there were twenty millions of dollars in the United States treasury.  When James Buchanan left office, there was not only not a dollar in the treasury, but the Government had not credit sufficient to borrow money even at twelve per cent!  During these four years there has been no war, no special demand for public expenditures, and the revenues have been greater than ever before.  Notwithstanding this, the public treasury has been exhausted and the credit of the Government destroyed.  Will the democracy tell us what has become of these twenty millions?  And will they tell us too whether democratic virtue can be trusted any more on the 1st of April 1861 than it could on the 4th of March 1857?

Fort Sumter

It was reported and confidently believed last week that government was about to issue an order for the withdrawal of the troops from Fort Sumter.  No such order has yet been issued, and on Monday it was thought quite as probable that the fort would be reinforced as that it would be evacuated.

Freedom in Russia

On the third of March twenty millions of serfs in Russia were expected to be liberated from slavery and cease to be “property.”  It is the settled policy of the Emperor [Alexander II] to overthrow serfdom in his dominions.  He has encountered violent opposition, but has steadily maintained his policy.  Russia is to be a free country.  If Alexander were to visit this country he would probably be set down as an abolitionist.  He is assuredly an abolitionist of the most magnificent kind at home.


For the last two years has been represented in Congress by four republican Representatives and by two republican Senators.  Her Congressional delegation has been a unit—Shall it continue to be so, or shall it be divided?  We believe it depends upon the voters of this Congressional district and upon the voters of this county to furnish an answer to this question.  What shall that answer be?  Will a single Republican fail to exert himself to the upmost to preserve a united delegation in Congress from Connecticut?

By His Excellency, William A. Buckingham, Governor of the State of Connecticut.  A Proclamation

Events which have recently transpired furnish evidence, that as a people we have not fulfilled our obligations to God, nor to our country; that allegiance to the authority of the general government is greatly weakened; and fears are entertained for the peace and prosperity of the nation, and for the stability of our institutions.

We are in danger of relying too much on the wisdom of man; of taking counsel of our fears; and of being robbed of that security which is to be found under a government with laws based upon divine statutes, properly administered.

That such damages may be averted, I recommend the citizens of this commonwealth to look unto the God of Israel for help; and especially that on FRIDAY, the 29th instant, they seek him in public and in private, by Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer; and commend the interests of our beloved State and country to His protecting care.

Also: that they supplicate Him to bestow upon us temporal good and spiritual blessings, limited only by our necessities and His glory; that the President of the United States may have wisdom from above to direct him in the discharge of his responsible duties, and be sustained by a people loyal to the government; that He will save us from further strife and contention; from revolution and civil war; that a fraternal spirit may pervade all parts of our land, binding us together in a common brotherhood; that our national union may be preserved, and the blessings of a free government be perpetuated.

Given under my hand and the seal of the State, at the City of Norwich, this, the sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

William A. Buckingham.

Death of Joseph Tobey

On Wednesday afternoon last, Joseph Tobey, Esq., died suddenly from apoplexy while sitting in his chair at his home in Broad street.  He had been unwell for some time past, and had already had two attacks of apoplexy before this.  He was well enough however to be about, and had been down street the afternoon that he died.  Mr. Tobey was an old merchant in Middletown, and was probably as well known in the region about here as any other man.  He gave up his business here about three years ago—His age was 59.

Snow Storm

The most severe snow storm of the season visited us on Friday night, accompanied by high winds.  On Thursday about two inches of snow fell.  But on Friday night the weather settled down into a regular north-easter.  About a foot of snow fell, and the sleighing was good the next day.—Sunday night was very cold.  Temperature by the thermometer 9 degrees.

This Tuesday morning it snows again, with the wind northeast, and very cold.

The Boats

On account of the storm last week the City of Hartford had to put into Cow Bay on Thursday night, and did not get here till Friday afternoon.  She went to New York on Saturday afternoon.  The Granite came down yesterday.  There was no boat up.

Miscellaneous – Mrs. Douglas in a Fix!

A newspaper contemporary says that the beautiful and accomplished wife of Judge Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas, just defeated by Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency] made a wager of $100, prior to the late election, that she would sleep with the next President of the United States!  She has either got to fork over, or have a most homely and uncouth bed-fellow.  We think the Judge will prefer to advance the money and pay the wager.

From The Constitution, March 27, 1861 (volume 24, number 1213)

Twenty Millions Squandered

The last democratic Administration squandered twenty millions of the public money.  The revelations made before the Covode Committee show that this amount was shamefully wasted by fraudulent contracts, and that it was used for party purposes.  At least one cabinet officer made himself rich by his connection with the government funds.  If the democrats could again obtain possession of the public treasury the Government could not endure a year longer.  Will the republicans of Middlesex County vote for any man who will sanction the frauds of the last Administration?  Will they not rather vote for John Woodruff, as their representative in Congress, a man whom they can trust, and in whose integrity they can confide.  Those who would condemn the frauds and peculations of the last Administration and its shameful squandering of the public funds WILL VOTE FOR John Woodruff.

Read : Read!

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket next Monday is a vote in favor of maintaining the government of the United States.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a vote in aid of the Administration in its arduous duties at the present crisis.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a rebuke to secession and treason.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a vote in favor of an economical administration of the Government.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a vote to establish and confirm the Republican principle of freedom in the territories.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a vote in support of the interests of the WORKING MEN OF CONNECTICUT.

EVERY VOTE for the Republican Ticket is a vote for honest men who will never abuse the trust which is confided to them.

Work, Work!  Boys Work!

Remember next Monday is the last day.  See that every thing is made ready for a day’s work not to be ashamed of.  Every man, remember the importance of one vote.  Remember New Hampshire!  The eyes of the nation are on Connecticut.  She is expected to do her duty.  Remember that our town is for the first time honored with the nomination for Lieut. Governor, and let our worthy fellow citizen, Benjamin Douglas have such a vote as we shall be proud of.


Mr. [Benjamin] Douglas authorizes a positive denial of the statement that he caused the bell of his Factory to be tolled on the day of John Brown’s execution.


Charleston, March 23.

Capt. Ferguson, of the steamer Planter, who returned this morning from Fort Sumter, reports no preparations for evacuation.  Major Anderson was rather increasing the defences [sic] by pouring molten lead in the crevices of the sally ports, strengthening the weak stone work, &c.  Capt. F. carried the furniture of Capt. Foster from Sullivan’s Island to Fort Sumter—indicating no present prospect of breaking up housekeeping.

The policy about Major Anderson being allowed to leave with the honors of war is under consideration.

The Columbia sailed to-day without taking his men.

The works on Morris Island have advanced with such rapidity that no vessel with reinforcements can pass the batteries.  There is the utmost vigilance night and day, and all suspicious vessels are obliged to come to.

It is reported that the twenty million government loan has been subscribed from one of the Southern cities alone.  People of large and small means are subscribing here.

Major Anderson declines receiving verbal orders to evacuate Fort Sumter.


Sleighing 23d of March

The streets were lively from the excellent sleighing we had on Saturday, during the entire day, although there was a warm sun.  A foot and a half of snow, average, covered the ground ! The roads were so impassable, that men with teams were out to break through !


The annual Fast and Humiliation is on Friday next.  The churches in this city will be opened for services in the morning.  In the afternoon there will be a Union Prayer Meeting at the Baptist Church.


The store of O. Utley was sold on Saturday for the sum of $8,000.  W. S. Camp, purchaser.


A correspondent offers his services as a letter-writer; and warrants his epistles to start a parent’s tear, stir the expiring embers of waning affection, and awaken the full ecstasy of a lover’s heart.


Read the biographies of our great and good men and women—not one of them had a fashionable mother.  They nearly all sprung from plain, strong minded women, who had about as little to do with the fashions as with the changing clouds.


The Annual Exhibition of The Middletown City High School

Will be given at McDonough Hall, MONDAY EVENING, April 1, 1861.  Exercises will commence at 7 o’clock.  Tickets of admission 25 cents.  Children (accompanied by parents) 15 cents.

From The Constitution, April 3, 1861 (volume 24, number 1214)


Connecticut sustains the Government

Glorious Republican Victory ! !

Buckingham Re-Elected !


The election throughout the State has resulted most gloriously for the republicans.  Lincoln’s administration is triumphantly sustained.  Gov. Buckingham is re-elected by over one thousand majority against 531 last year.  All the republican state ticket is elected, and there will be a strong republican majority in both branches of the Legislature.

In the First Congressional district Loomis is elected by a majority of 127, against 65 two years ago.

Burnham, in the Third district, is elected by about 1800 majority against about 600 last.

Very few returns have come in from the Fourth, Ferry’s, district.  The Courant says “we feel confident of his election.”

The Senate will stand probably 14 republicans to 7 democrats, the same as last year.

The Election in Middletown

The election in this town yesterday passed off quietly.  Owing to the admirable provisions of the new registry law there was no delay of contention at the polls, and the voting proceeded expeditiously and without disturbance.  As was expected the town went democratic, but by a greatly reduced majority.  The republicans worked well.  They did their duty manfully, and they have the satisfaction of knowing that they have not worked in vain.  A year ago the democratic majority in Middletown on the vote for Governor was 293.  This year it is only 251, a republican gain of 44! Well done, republicans of Middletown!  The day is not far distant when you will fully redeem the town from democratic rule.  The vote stood on representatives

Rep Dem.
Horace D. Hall 685 E. A. Russell 969
Henry Cornwell 686 Chas. Hubbard 964 


On the state ticket the following is the vote :–

Buckingham 716 Loomis 967
Douglas 713 Hazard 961
Dean 715 Stevens 968
Trumbull 715 Kingsbury 969
Cutler 715 Taylor 968


Hon. Benj. Douglas

We congratulate our fellow townsman, Mr. Douglas, in his election to the important office of Lieut. Governor of the State.  The most strenuous efforts were made here by his political opponents to defeat him; but the result has shown that Mr. Douglas has the entire confidence of the republicans of his own town as well as of this state.

Fort Sumter

Notwithstanding the urgency of the newspapers to obtain information with regard to Fort Sumter, nothing has yet been revealed of the President’s intentions.  No order has yet been issued for its evacuation, though it is generally believed that the order will be issued before long.

Hard Times

The times are becoming unquestionably “hard,” and there are not a few who predict that they will be a good deal harder before they are any easier.  That depends upon circumstances.  The causes which are producing the present stagnation in business are purely political.  A revolution is in progress, the powers of our own government appear to be paralized [sic], and nobody can predict what will be the state of the nation six months hence.  For aught that anybody knows we may then be in the midst of a bloody civil war.  It is this uncertainty which now obstructs business and represses enterprise.  There is no want of provisions in the country: they never were more plenty.  As to money there is a superfluity of it.  Never has there been so much coin in the New York banks as there is now.  A few days ago, they reported about forty millions of specie in their vaults. Thus the materials for prosperity and for enterprise are rich about us, and all that seems to be wanting is the restoration of public confidence in the stability and strength of the national government.  Restore tranquility to the country and business will at once revive.

Foreign News

The most interesting foreign news of the week is the seizure by Spain of San Domingo of which she has taken armed possession.  This is a bold and unscrupulous step, and evidently shows that Spain has further designs in that quarter.  She has now a fine navy afloat, and has a full treasury, and may yet astonish the world with an unexpected display of power.  This seizure of San Domingo would hardly have been done if our government had been in a condition to look out for anybody but itself.

The Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother, is dead.  The London Times is quite furious over the Morrill tariff.

The citadel of Messina had surrendered to the Sardinians.

Sleighing in April

This morning there is about a foot of snow on the ground, and still snowing hard.  It is fair sleighing.

Freshet in the River

There is quite a rise in the river, the water being about seven feet above low water mark.

The Proceeds

From the festival held at McDonough Hall last Wednesday evening by the colored people amounted to sixty dollars.

Chapin in Middletown

Rev. Dr. Chapin of New York lectured in this city a year ago on “Woman and her Work.”  The lecture was regarded as one of the best of the course, but his lecture delivered in New York, Boston, and elsewhere the present season on “Man and his Work” is universally regarded as superior.  It is pointed, pithy, humorous and practical, and portions of it very eloquent.

At the request of some of his admirers in this city he will give it in McDonough Hall on Friday evening of this week, commencing at 7 ½ o’clock.

Ticket 25 cents each, may be had at the bookstores.

From The Constitution, April 10, 1861 (volume 24, number 1215)

The Verdict of Wall Street

There can be no better test of the confidence of the people in any Government than their willingness to lend it their money.  Business men are eminently practical men.  They do not loan money usually for benevolent purposes or from patriotic motives.  When called upon for these objects they give what they have to give, and expect to see neither interest nor principal again.  But when called upon to loan money, they are very apt to look at securities and ask whether the investment is profitable and safe.  And money lenders are proverbially good judges in this matter.  They are not likely to be taken in by high flown recommendations, or by bombast of any kind.  They know accurately the ring of the true metal, and cannot be persuaded to take plated copper for silver.

When therefore the United States Government comes into the market with a loan of eight millions of dollars, it is interesting to know what the business men of Wall street think about it.  If they believe that the Government is broken up, weakened or demoralized, they will not accept the loan.  If they believe that the Government is likely to be destroyed by traitors or is in danger of going down from any cause whatever, they will not make a bid for the loan. But what is the fact?  On Monday of last week, the bid for the new United States loan of eight millions were opened, and in New York city alone they amounted to twenty millions !  A most significant fact !  And we want no better testimony than this of the actual and deep seated confidence of the business men of the commercial emporiums of the country in the stability and strength of the General Government.  A Government which can go into Wall street and in a few hours obtain a loan of twenty millions, has nothing weak, shaky, or dilapidated about it.

It will do very well for politicians to talk lugubriously about the future of the country and to prophecy general destruction because there have seceded seven of the poorest states in the Union—states which have been maintained hitherto by the generosity of the others.  It comes within the programme of political partizans [sic] to get up a panic and frighten nervous people out of their wits.  But when an appeal is made to the pockets of the men who knew the value of their money, it is a different affair altogether.  Partizanship and politics are thrown out of the account, and men then estimate a Government as is its true worth.  We have here the verdict of some of the most practical men in the world, of the business men in Wall street, that the Federal Government is as strong and worthy of credit as it ever was.  Their verdict is undoubtedly correct.

The State Out of Debt

Three years ago the State of Connecticut was in debt in the amount of $81,161.  Under the management of the republican administration, this debt has all been paid off, and the treasury has a surplus of $2000 !  It will be remembered that the democrats a year or two ago made quite a handle of the state debt, and called on the people to rescue our commonwealth from republicanism and ruin !  Look now at the result—the State is entirely out of debt and with a surplus on hand of $2000 !  What better financial condition could be desired than Connecticut is now in, with her school fund of two millions and her fund of near half a million in good bank stocks.

Trouble in Marlborough

On election day there was a fight around the polls in Marlborough.  The republicans came in escorting an old man who desired to vote their ticket.  The democrats tried to persuade him to vote theirs.  Hard words passed, when a democrat struck a republican, and a general melee followed.  The constables finally restored order.  Result of the whole—several bloody noses, black eyes, and sore heads.

Government Movements

Within the last few days those who have experience in such things think they discover unmistakeable [sic] signs of important naval and military movements, and the conclusion is at once reached that the Government is about entering upon some decided course of action towards the seceding states.  It is surmised that the revenue laws are to be enforced in southern ports as well as northern, and that New Orleans and every other port in the confederate states will be blockaded.

Capture of an Alleged Slaver

The schooner Wells, of Greenport, L. I., was seized at that place, on the morning of the 3d, by the custom-house authorities, on suspicion that she was bound upon a slave voyage to the coast of Africa.  The Wells is a new vessel, having been built in 1860, and belongs to C. Wells & Co., of Greenport.  She is 149 tons register.

Wesleyan University

An effort is being made by Prof. Johnston to raise means to purchase for the Wesleyan University the extensive collection of minerals, now in the keeping of the college, known as the Franckfort Cabinet.  It will cost about $1200, one quarter of which has already been subscribed.  An appeal is made to the friends of the college for subscriptions.


We, the undersigned, legal voters in Middletown, and in the employ of W. & B. Douglas, do hereby certify that we are the persons who tolled their factory bell on the day John Brown was hung, and were the only persons engaged in that affair.  And do further certify that Benjamin Douglas [newly-elected Lieutenant Governor] had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with causing the same to be tolled ; that he was absent from the factory at the time it was done and knew nothing about it.  We tolled the bell entirely on our own responsibility.

M.V.B. Stillman,

Dayton Johnson,

Horace North,

Enoch Prout.

Middlesex County, Middletown, April 4, 1861.

Personally appeared,  Martin V. B. Stillman, Dayton Johnson, Horace North and Enoch Prout, and made solemn oath that the matters stated in the above affidavit by them subscribed are correct and true.

Before me,

Jos. E. Lathrop, Justice of the Peace.


We the undersigned do hereby certify that we were the persons who tolled the several church bells in Middletown, on the day John Brown was hung, viz.: the South Church, Baptist and Methodist, and that we were the only persons engaged in the same.  And further certify that Benjamin Douglas did not request or employ us, directly or indirectly, to toll said bells, and he had nothing to do with causing the same to be tolled.  Nor did he pay or cause to be paid to either of us any money for tolling the same, either before or since.

Signed, Robert Gibbons,

E. W. Gibbons,

F. I. Hackman, (Democrat)

Middlesex County, Middletown, April 4, 1861.

Personally appeared Robert Gibbons, E. W. Gibbons, and F. I. Hackman, subscribers to the foregoing affidavit, and made solemn oath that the statements contained in the said affidavit are correct and true.

Before me,

Jos. E. Lathrop, Justice of the Peace.

From The Constitution, April 17, 1861 (volume 24, number 1216)


The war has now commenced in earnest.  The first gun has been fired by the secessionists, on whom the whole responsibility of the conflict must rest.  Notwithstanding the forbearance of the National Government under repeated insults and wrongs and its refusal to take any aggressive steps, the secession rebels have steadily advanced in their purposes until now, when they have commenced the tragedy of civil war.  They have suffered no injury from the Government, and they certainly can have suffered nothing from the Administration which has been in office but six weeks.  Without provocation, without the least show of reason, they have assaulted the National Government, and are now endeavoring to break up the American Union.

The issue now before the people of the United States is simply this : SHALL THE GOVERNMENT BE SUSTAINED, OR SHALL IT BE OVERTHROWN ?  There is no other issue in this war.  Party questions are for the present forgotten.  No one should be known as a republican or a democrat in this contest.  The question for every man is: —Are you for the Government, or are you against it?  Let every patriot rally under the stars and stripes—the flag of his country—a flag which has never been disgraced, and which, under the guardianship of the AMERICAN PEOPLE, never will.


We publish the accounts of the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter as they have come over the wires.  As the means of communication with Charleston are wholly in the hands of the rebels, it is probable that they are not in all respects correct, but the principal facts are generally regarded such as reported.  Fort Sumter has fallen after a brave defence by Major Anderson.  The fleet did not enter the harbor, or offer any relief or assistance.  This looks a little singular ; but it is supposed by those capable of judging in such matters that events have happened in Charleston harbor very much as was expected by the Government.  By a masterly policy, Major Anderson, with only seventy five men, has attracted and concentrated around himself almost the whole military force of the southern confederacy, and has thus given time to the Government to strengthen itself and make its preparations for future operations.  No sooner is the Sumter question settled for the present, then the Charlestonians find their harbor blockaded, Fort Pickens reinforced, and a powerful fleet in southern waters !  Public attention will now be directed to Pensacola Bay, and the operations around Fort Pickens.


Washington, March 14

Stirring news is expected every moment from Charleston, and after that from Pensacola and Texas.

Washington city was quiet all night, notwithstanding the military excitement of Wednesday.

Sherman’s U. S. artillery, from Fort Ridgeley, ordered to Newport but countermanded, and two companies of cavalry, are expected here to-day, without horses, which will be purchased here.

Lieut. Talbot and Mr. Chew, back from Charleston, report to headquarters that access to Fort Sumter was denied, and that the ultimatum of this government, regarding provisioning Major Anderson, was laid before Gov. Pickens.

According to rumor, Jefferson Davis is considering the propriety of going to Charleston, now that Fort Sumter will be the great strategic point where the issue was to be tried as to the power of the Confederate States.

The President gives up all expectations of peace now, though yesterday expressing a hope that the unarmed vessel would not be fired upon.

The Vincennes, at Boston, is ordered to be got ready for the coast of Africa, and the Jamestown, at Philadelphia, for the coast of Brazil.

It is proposed, on account of the scarcity of Junior Lieutenants in the naval service, available for sea duty, to graduate immediately the senior class at the Naval Academy, and order them to vessels now going into commission.

How the News Was Received Here

The utmost excitement attended the reception of the news here [i.e., Middletown].  The feeling was intense—crowds filled the streets on Saturday and Sunday, besieging the telegraph office and every place where news might be obtained.  Denunciations of the southern traitors were loud and earnest, and very few expressed any sympathy with secession.  The almost universal sentiment was that the Government must be sustained.

Measures have already been taken for the enrollment of volunteers.  The Mansfield Guard, which is one of the most efficient and best drilled companies in the State, raised the U. States flag on Monday morning over their armory, and gave it three cheers.  This company is now filling up its ranks with a view to public service, and the Armory is open for drill during the evening.

The Artillery company displayed the national flag, and is also enrolling new members and preparing for effective service whenever duty shall call.

The American flag was displayed from the republican flag-staff, where it waved proudly in the breeze.  Other flags are flying throughout the city, among the most prominent of which is one from the flag-staff on the College grounds, and another on the premises of the newly-elected Lieut. Governor [Benjamin Douglas].

Middletown will be found true to the Union and the Government.


One of our most prominent citizens, who has heretofore had no sympathy with the republican party, said yesterday, as he pointed to the stars and stripes floating from the tall flag-staff in Main street—“that is my flag, the national flag—no party about that—every patriot will rally under it.”

Trade Between This City and Charleston

There has just arrived here from Charleston, a schooner with lumber for one of our enterprising business firms.  We are not informed as to whether she carries the Palmetto flag.

Charleston, April 12

The ball has opened.  War is inaugurated.

The batteries of Sullivan’s Island, Morris Island, and other points, were opened on Fort Sumter at four o’clock this morning.  Fort Sumter has returned the fire, and a brisk cannonading has been kept up all day.

The firing has continued all day without intermission.

Two of Fort Sumter’s guns have been silenced, and it is reported that a breach has been made in the south-east wall.

The answer to Gen. Beauregard’s demand by Major Anderson, was that he would surrender when his supplies were exhausted, that is if he was not reinforced.

Not a casualty has yet happened to any of the forces.

The Floating Battery and Stephen’s Battery are operating freely, and Fort Sumter is returning the fire.

It is reported that three war vessels are outside the bar.

The firing has ceased for the night, but will be renewed at daylight in the morning, unless an attempt is made to reinforce, which ample arrangements have been made to repel.

The Pawnee, Harriet Lane, and a third steamer (Powhatan) are reported off the bar.

The bombardment is still going on every twenty minutes from mortars.  It is supposed that Major Anderson is resting his men for the night.

The vessels-of-war outside cannot get in.  The sea is rough.

As reported by The Constitution, April 17, 1861 (v. 24, no. 1216)


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Wordle: Middlesex County Historical Society - Civil War in Middletown, CT
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