Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gotham Yankee cont....

Bryant never lacked for editiorial topics...the tariff, the Bank of the United States, paper currency, reckless speculation, & other business practices that brought on the financial practices that caused serious depressions in 1837 & 1857, improving local municipal conditions, dangerous & insanitary working conditions, excessive hours of labor & low wages, crowded & noisy buildings, exploitation of immigrants, sharp practices of shop keepers, smallness of public parks, lack of free library, a spirit of rowdyism. as early as the 1830s slavery was becoming an issue....thru the crisis he presented the Northern point of view at its best.

he was committed to the Democratic party, in the presidential election 1844 he supported pro-slavery James K. Polk. as early as 1837, in ofe of the most vigorous of leaders, Bryant had praised unstintingly those Abolitionists who had had the courage to suffer persuction or even death for their beliefs.
Bryant lent the support of his paper to ex-President Van Buren on the Free Soil ticket.
1852 they supported the Deomocratic party again.
1856 Bryant & the Post deserted the Democratic party for good & supported the new Republican party.

a glass of sherry was the strongest bracer that he would ever allow himself.

Feb 1860: Cullen was the chairman of the evening, and shook hands with Abraham Lincoln, at Peter Coopers Institute at the confluence of the Bowery & Third & Fourth Avenues. The Republican party had an admirable candidate for the next election.

during the next 2 yearws his enthusiasm for Lincoln waned considerably. after using his editorial pen to get Lincoln elected, he wondered if he had done the wise thing. causitc editorials appeared in the NY papers, esp. Evening Post & Tribune. indigation meetings were held. If Mr. Lincoln did not bother to read the editorials in NY papers, even papers that had supported him for nomination & election-perhaps he would at least be willing to grant some responsible editor a few minutes interview.
Bryant made the trip to Washington. he was 67. At the White House the President recieved the distinguished editor courteously, even cordially .

April 1865 Cullen was stroling through his Cedarmere orchards alone because Fanny had become to delicate to stroll with him, he had taken her out of town in the hope that the quiet & pure air would strengthen her. he was startled to hear footsteps behind him, his son in law had traveled from the city to tell him Lee had surrendered.

Cullen made a patriotic speech at the Union League Club in NY.

during the entire Civil War period, Cullen produced just one little book....Thirty Poems...1964. why did he not write more poems than he did? what silenced his muse?
{deb votes for a demanding job, a sick wife...} Bryant believed that a poet had to experience what he wrote about..he was too old to go to war, had no son or grandson to send, so he couldn't tell the soldiers or their kin what their wartime emotions were.

the advancing years were kind to him. the delicate slender child of the 1790s grew into the small but wiry & agile old man of the 1860s. he was rarely ill, never had to wear spectacles, preferred climbing the stairs to his 9th floor office instead of the elevator. at 70 he was as active & well as his 50 year old colleagues. he had a bald head, bushy gray beard, shaggy brows, long flowing back locks, his skin remained surprisingly young & fresh & unwrinkled & free from sallowness, his gray eyes luminous & expressive. he sought the open air at every opportunity. he could outwalk & outrun most of his middle aged associates. he exercised every morning & night religiously with dumbbells & Indian clubs. his eating & drinking habits were are regular as ascetic. he ate meals punctually & Leisurely, more fruits & vegetables than meats. graham bread instead of white bread. milk & cocoa instead of tea & coffee. no tabacco. a glass of wine now & then or a glass of lager beer.

his family stayed intact. the younger daughter Julia was unmarried & dwelt with them. the elder daughter Fanny Godwin was a near neighbor to her parents & visited frequently at both West Fifteenth Street & to Cedarmere. her children had more contact with Papa & Mamma By. Their family was never scattered and seperated as the family of Peter & Sarah had been.

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