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Damn the Yankees! The Farren Riots of New York

George Farren is the stage manager for a Bowery theater and a British subject. Exactly how he caused a race riot in New York seems improbable, but a series of vaguely related events has led to a firestorm. A local newspaper owned by the Tappan brothers has been agitating for the abolition of slavery. More than that, Arthur Tappan recently sat with a negro friend during church services. Rumors spread that Tappan had divorced his wife to marry a black woman and that black men are prancing around town, all gussied up and looking for white wives. There are more serious rumors that gangs of black men are preparing to set fire to the city. This is coupled with a recent wave of Irish immigrants with their own fears and prejudices. The July 4th celebration of the New York emancipation of the slaves is rescheduled to July 7th after a misunderstanding leads to a fight between whites and blacks. Then George Farren fires an actor favored by the pro-slavery movement. After getting grief, he remarks, "Damn the Yankees; they are a damn set of jackasses and fit to be gulled." It all comes apart after that. George manages to save his own skin by bringing out an actor who entertains the crowd with a demeaning song about black people sung to the tune of "The turkey in the straw". (Don't make me repeat the title.) The riots go on for 4 days. The police are overwhelmed. The church of an abolitionist preacher is burned to the ground. It is an ugly business and we have not seen the last of it. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
NOTE: Being anti-abolitionist did not make a person automatically pro-slavery. Many were looking for a legal transition away from slavery that didn't involve a war. Others simply didn't want to be forced to sit with black people in church. This attitude squares with what was happening in Europe in regard to the Jews. Europeans agreed, in theory, that the Jews should be freed from the ghettos, but it was a rare European who wanted their daughter to marry a Jew, and it wasn't only due to religious differences. At the same time, immigration from Germany and Ireland to North America really kicked into gear, disrupting the political equation in the United States. (One need not be a citizen to riot, and politicians worried about Irish riots in 1834.) [8]

FYI, In 2016 stating one's race grants authority to one's opinion. Why exactly one's skin color grants special insight is beyond my comprehension, but if so, I qualify as having infallible insight since I am a Mexican-American (born in East LA), I am an Orthodox Jew, and my granddaughter is as black as President Obama... and as Jewish as the Chief Rabbi of Israel. She told me that if some white woman can call herself black then she can call herself white. To her mind, skin color conveys no special authority... nor should it.

Welcome to the German Union!

The German Customs Union is a free trade zone between several German city-states. It is like the European Union without that self-absorbed, officious, piece of ... uh... I mean it has the EU benefits without the EU central government. The negotiations began after the fall of Napoleon who had created the German Confederation. They had returned to the protective trade barriers which increased the costs of goods. With the rise of England as an economic power, the European states had to band together to compete. The German Customs Union is one solution. Austria is not part of the Customs Union since the Prince of Austria prefers more strict control. (Actually, he hates the whole Free Trade idea.) Over the next few decades the Union will expand to include more German provinces and several non-German states such as Sweden-Norway. Then many of the German states will consolidate politically into the Northern German Confederation and after that, the German Empire. The economic relationships will take twists and turns, break apart for a year and reform again stronger than ever. The Union will eventually be replaced by the Wiemar Republic in 1919 and we all know how well that is going to go. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The break down of economic barriers eventually led to a breakdown of political barriers where there was a common language. Language can act as a political bonding agent at times. That is why England remains so close to the United States even though the British cannot pronounce the word, "aluminum" (al-LOO-min-um). Nevertheless, we muddle through. The analysis on free trade I've read suggests that the German Customs Union is now used as the model for such unions since it was documented over a long enough time for step-by-step analysis of the process. No doubt it was studied carefully before establishing the European Union. Apparently, it was not studied carefully enough. The EU offered the benefits of free trade zones and easy travel. Unfortunately, free trade with some countries would mean the elimination of jobs in others, so the EU Constitution granted exceptions. The number of exceptions grew and grew until the EU citizens were voting on regulations regarding reindeer meat. Frankly, what does the average Spaniard know about reindeer meat, much less care? Soon it became less about free trade and more about forming the EU at any cost including giving over an individual's freedom to an unaccountable federal government. [12]

Faraday Discovers the Law of Electrolysis

What is electrolysis? Certain chemical reactions will occur with a slight electrical charge flowing through a solution. The electrical charge allows certain materials to move from one place to another at the molecular level. Thus one can use electrolysis to place a fine coating of metal onto another. This is called electroplating. I am oversimplifying. Just know that your average lead-acid battery works using electrolysis as it discharges and recharges. Lead-acid batteries can produce a little hydrogen if not properly charged, but not a lot. I can imagine OTHER electrolysis applications that could produce large amounts of hydrogen. A word to the wise is sufficient. I hope everyone out there is wise enough to use caution. [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Why should anyone care? Because electrolysis can occur at home within your plumbing pipes. If you have both galvanized pipe and copper pipe as part of your installation, any electrical flow such as grounding your electrical grid to the nearest metal pipe, could start that process. Small holes in the pipe will develop over time. Remember... I am not an expert in SOLVING such problems. I simply know that electrolysis CAN BE a problem. I am told that an "insulating dielectric union" can be used. It is a connector with a rubber insulator that acts as a barrier to electrical flow. Of course, that kills your ground connection, so grab a piece of reinforcement bar and pound it into the ground. Connect your electrical ground to that. Done. On a boat, any metal exposed to water and a weak electric charge, could damage your boat over time... like say... your propellers. It doesn't take a lot of electrolysis to damage them and it doesn't have to be coming from YOUR boat. It could be any boat in the marina. I am told that boat owners use a zinc anode as a preventative measure. In theory, any electrolysis going on will chew up the zinc first. It is part of normal boat maintenance to check one's zinc anodes. Again, I'm not an expert. I simply know that it can be a problem. Good luck. [16] [17]

In Other News

  • Parliament is burning! The furnace normally used for coal is filled with wood. The flames start a fire in the flue and most of Westminster Palace goes up in flames. The few building left will be incorporated into the modern Westminster Palace that exists today. [9]
  • The American electric motor is built. Thomas Davenport takes apart an electromagnet, improves the wiring using silk FROM HIS WIFE'S WEDDING DRESS! What a gal! Emily Davenport's name will be included on the patent for the DC electric motor. (It is a real motor, folks.) [18]
  • Whistler's mother gives birth to Whistler. Whistler will return the compliment, painting the famous portrait of Anna Whistler... Whistler's Mother in 1871. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1834, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Anti-abolitionist riots (1834) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The mob targeted homes, businesses, churches, and other buildings associated with the abolitionists and African Americans. More than seven churches and a dozen houses were damaged, many of them belonging to African Americans. The home of Reverend Peter Williams, Jr., an African-American Episcopal priest, was damaged, and the St. Philip's African Episcopal Church was utterly demolished.[11] One group of rioters reportedly carried a hogshead of black ink with which to dunk white abolitionists. In addition to other targeted churches, the Charlton Street home of Reverend Samuel Hanson Cox was invaded and vandalized.”
  2. Hone, Philip. Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851, The. Dodd, Mead and Co.. “July 10. — Our city last evenihg was the scene of disgraceful riots. The first was at the Bowery Theatre. An actor by the name of Farren, whose benefit it was, had made himself obnoxious by some ill-natured reflections upon the country, which called down the vengeance of the mob, who seemed determined to deserve the bad name which he had given them. An hour after the performance commenced the mob broke open the doors, took possession of every part of the house, committed every species of outrage, hissed and pelted poor Hamblin, not regarding the talisman which he relied upon, the American flag, which he waved over his head. This they disregarded, because the hand which held it was that of an Englishman, and they would listen to nobody but "American Forrest." He assured them that the object of their rage, Mr. Farren, had made a hasty exit, and the mob retired to enact a more disgraceful scene in another quarter.
    There has been of late great excitement in consequence of the proceedings of a set of fanatics who are determined to emancipate all the slaves by a coup de main, and have held meetings in which black men and women have been introduced. These meetings have been attended with tumult and violence, especially one which was held on Friday evening at the Chatham -street Chapel. Arthur Tappan and his brother Lewis have been conspicuous in these proceedings, and the mob last night, after exhausting their rage at the Bowery Theatre, went down in a body to the house of the latter gentleman in Rose street, broke into the house, destroyed the windows, and made a bonfire of the furniture in the street. The police at length interfered, rather tardily, I should think; but the diabolical spirit which prompted this outrage is not quenched, and I apprehend we shall see more of it.”
  3. Lyons-Fontenot, Florence. Beyond Boundaries: Political Dictates Found in Minstrelsy (PDF). Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. “Nineteenth-century white minstrels portrayed white abolitionists, suffragists, and temperance advocates in blackface, in order discriminate against them in the same way that blacks were discriminated against in minstrel performances. When minstrels blackened their faces to portray these white political advocates,the advocates were transformed into black caricatures, which demeaned the advocates as well as the political causes they supported.”
  4. Minstrelsy - definition of minstrelsy (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The art or profession of a minstrel.”
  5. Coup de main - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The term coup de main originally meant 'by direct assault rather than by artillery'.”
  6. The Journal of Commerce - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “Publications in the 19th century took positions on political issues and were rarely concerned with being impartial. The JoC weighed in on the biggest issue of the day — slavery. Gerard Hallock and David Hale, partners in the JoC, were opponents of slavery but also critics of the abolitionists, and they decried the tactics of the war wing of the Republican Party. After the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the postmaster general suspended the paper's mail privileges, effectively interrupting its publication, on grounds of 'disloyalty.' Three years later, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the JoC closed after it was among New York papers victimized by a bogus story quoting the president as calling for 400,000 more volunteers.”
  7. Turkey in the Straw - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “Another song, 'Zip Coon', sung to the same tune as 'Turkey in the Straw',[4] was popularized by Dixon and flourished during the Andrew Jackson administration. This version was first published between 1829 and 1834 in either New York or Baltimore.”
  8. (1873) "Abolition Riots of 1834-1835", The great riots of New York, 1712 to 1873: including a full and complete account of the Four Days' Draft Riot of 1863. New York: E. B. Treat. Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The inconsistency of having a system of slavery incorporated into a republican government was always felt by good men North and South, as well as its damaging effect on the social and political well being of the whole community; and steps had been taken both in Virginia and Kentucky to do away with it by legislative action. Whether these incipient steps would ever have ended in relieving us of the evil, can only be conjectured. We only know that a peaceable solution of the question was rendered impossible, by the action of the Abolitionists, as they were called, who, governed by the short logic, that slavery being wrong, it could not exist a moment without sin, and therefore must be abandoned at once without regard to consequences.” 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 398-399. 
  10. Zollverein - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 July 2016. “Organised by the 1833 Zollverein treaties, the Zollverein formally came into existence on 1 January 1834. However, its foundations had been in development from 1818 with the creation of a variety of custom unions among the German states. By 1866, the Zollverein included most of the German states. The foundation of the Zollverein was the first instance in history in which independent states had consummated a full economic union without the simultaneous creation of a political federation or union.”
  11. Weimar Republic - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The republic was a semi-presidential representative democracy, which emerged in the aftermath of the German Revolution of 1918–19. A national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, and adopted on 11 August 1919. In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism (with paramilitaries – both left and right wing); and contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War.”
  12. Shiue, Carol H. (August 2005). [http://www.jstor.org/stable/41378419 "From Political Fragmentation Towards A Customs Union: Border Effects Of The German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855"]. European Review of Economic History (Oxford University Press) 9 (2): 129-162. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41378419. Retrieved 25 July 2016. "According to Jacob Viner, 'the German Zollverein was the pioneer and by far the most important customs union, and generalizations about the origin, nature, and consequences of unification of tariffs tend to be based mainly or wholly on the German experience'.1 The Zollverein provides a convenient natural experiment that helps shed light on the impact of borders in the nineteenth century, since the policy effectively dismantled economic borders among member states. By stages, the political borders between member states dissolved as well.". 
  13. BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Purification of copper (2015). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “In this process, the positive electrode (the anode: The positive electrode during electrolysis.) is made of the impure copper which is to be purified. The negative electrode (the cathode: A cathode is the electrode (electrical conductor) attached to the negative terminal of a battery.) is a bar of pure copper. The two electrodes are placed in a solution of copper(II) sulfate.”
  14. What hazardous gases are associated with lead acid battery charging stations? - GfG Instrumentation. goodforgas.com (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The most important reaction byproducts associated with sulfuric acid (H2SO4) are hydrogen and sulfur dioxide. Overcharging, or lead acid battery malfunctions can produce hydrogen. In fact, if you look, there is almost always at least a little H2 around in areas where lead batteries are being charged.”
  15. Lead–acid battery - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “The French scientist Gautherot observed in 1801 that wires that had been used for electrolysis experiments would themselves provide a small amount of 'secondary' current after the main battery had been disconnected.[9] In 1859, Gaston Planté's lead–acid battery was the first battery that could be recharged by passing a reverse current through it.”
  16. Protect your boat from the invisible damage from electrolysis. Houseboat Magazine (April 13, 2012). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “There are two basic ways to reduce electrolysis. According to www.yachtpals.com, the better one is to completely disconnect the electrical circuit. If this can't be done, whether because you don't have access to it or you cannot afford to make the repairs right now, the second method is to provide sacrificial anode, made of zinc, which deteriorates rather than your expensive houseboat. We'll come back to the anode solution in a bit.”
  17. Solving an electrolysis problem in home plumbing. finishing.com (2006). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “How is electrolysis caused by bonding to the plumbing system? For a home supplied by well water, electrical wires are grounded to the well casing. Electricity travels through the plumbing on its way to being grounded. Electrolysis occurs when two dissimilar metals that make up a home's plumbing system conduct this electricity.”
  18. Thomas Davenport (inventor) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “With his wife Emily, and a colleague Orange Smalley, Davenport received the first American patent on an electric machine in 1837, U. S. Patent No. 132.[4] He used his electric motor in 1840 to print The Electro-Magnetic and Mechanics Intelligencer - the first newspaper printed using electricity.”
  19. James Abbott McNeill Whistler - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 25 July 2016. “By 1871, Whistler returned to portraits and soon produced his most famous painting, the nearly monochromatic full-length figure entitled Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, but usually (and incorrectly) referred to as Whistler's Mother. A model failed to appear one day, according to a letter from his mother, so Whistler turned to his mother and suggested that he do her portrait. In his typically slow and experimental way, at first he had her stand, but that proved too tiring so the famous seated pose was adopted. It took dozens of sittings to complete.”

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