This 1959 letter to Virginia Governor Wise from John Randolph Tucker, Virginia’s Attorney-General at the time.
Gov. Henry A. Wise
It outlines Virginia’s legal assertion that it had the right to censor the mail and prosecute those importing Abolitionist literature into the state of Virginia. It details the process of destroying material by fire in the presence of a judge.
Tucker skirts the First Amendment issues and focuses on the Postal Service’s role as a delivery system as opposed to a role akin to a publisher.
Tucker (1823–1897) was from a distinguished slaveholding family, he was elected Virginia’s attorney general in 1857 and after re-election served during the American Civil War. After a pardon and Congressional Reconstruction, Tucker was elected as U.S. Congressman (1875-1887), and later served as the first dean of the Washington and Lee University Law School.
The letter opens Willam Lloyd Garrison’s book, The new “reign of terror” in the slaveholding states, for 1859-60, published in New York in 1860.
Authorised Violation of the Mail
RICHMOND, Nov. 26th, 1859.
John Randolph Tucker
SIR, -The question is submitted to me for an Opinion as to the effect of the law of Virginia upon the distribution of mail matter when it is of an incendiary character. A newspaper, printed in the State of Ohio, propagating abolition doctrines, is sent to a person through a post ofiice in Virginia.
What is the duty of the Postmaster in the premises?
The law of Virginia (Code of Va., chap. 198, sec. 24) provides that:
“If a Postmaster or Deputy Postmaster know that any such book or writing (referring to such as advise or incite negroes to rebel or make insurrection, or inculcate resistance to the right of property of masters in their slaves) has been received at his office in the mail, he shall give notice thereof to some Justice, who shall inquire into the circumstances, and have such book or writing burned in his presence if it appear to him that the person to whom it was directed subscribed therefor, knowing its character, or agreed to receive it for circulation to aid the purposes of abolitionists, the Justice shall commit such person to jail. If any Postmaster or Deputy Postmaster violate this section, he shall be fined not exceeding two hundred dollars.”
This item appeared in the May 23, 1918 issue of the Lake County Times, in Hammond, Indiana.
Prowlers Must Fight, Says U.S.
Slickers and Slackers, Night Owls, Gamblers and Idlers Will get Shock After July lst.
It is estimated that in Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, and Whiting there are 1,000 idlers affected by the U. 8. war department’s new ruling. Many of these men sleep by day and prowl by night. Some of them are gunmen. They are draft dodgers. News that Uncle Sam is after them is glad news to the police departments of the Calumet region cities. (more…)
By Mrs. Marshall Darrach
“The discovery of the efficiency of the middle-aged woman has been one of the recent joys of the business world,” said Mrs. Robert Armstrong, formerly personnel director of the National City Company in Wall Street, and now personnel secretary of the Eastman Kodak Company at Rochester, New York.
Mrs. Armstrong, when questioned as to the nature of this belated recognition of the merits of the middle-aged woman in business, spoke with enthusiasm and with the voice of authority on this phase of the economic independence of women.
“When do you consider that a woman has reached middle age in the eyes of a businessman?” Mrs. Armstrong smiled. “I know that some men consider a woman elderly at twenty-eight, but the woman under discussion, and who is demonstrating her value in business life, is from forty to fifty. She made her appearance in sufficiently large numbers to permit of a collective scientific study as a war emergency; and what businessmen learned of the sterling qualities of the middle-aged woman when she was fitted into the particular place that had been awaiting her, caused her stock to rise in the employment market.”
Fun Fact: When Frank Leslie died in 1880, his debts amounted to $300,000. His wife, Miriam Leslie, took the business in hand and put it on a paying basis. She even went so far as to have her name legally changed to Frank Leslie in June, 1881. She also was a notable feminist and author in her own right. She dies September 18, 1914 in New York City.
Two of the Oldest Churches in America
The celebration of a bi-centennial by a church has been an event that has only been observed by a few congregations in America since its discovery. The Falckner Swamp Lutheran Congregation, at New Hanover, Penn., celebrated on November 28th and 29th last, the two hundredth anniversary of its existence as a congregation, being the oldest Lutheran congregation in the Western World, worshiping in the oldest Lutheran church in America. Lutheranism in America dates back to June 24th, 1694, when the first Lutheran services were conducted in Germantown, Penn., by Henrich Bernhard Koster. Other Lutherans soon crossed the Atlantic, and in 1700 the Rev. Daniel Falckner brought a little band of Germans from Langon-Reinsdorf, Saxony, who settled in the Falckner Swamp region, the region being named after the leader of the little army of Germans. The congregation was organized in 1703, and it formed the nucleus of the church in North America, which now has 9,000,000 members. In 1742 Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who is known to all Lutherans in America, became the pastor of the congregation, and later Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg served as pastor of this church, afterward being elected to Congress, where he soon became a potent factor in the affairs of the nation.
There is no other church in America to-day whose history is more interesting. The first two structures in which the Rev. Mr. Falckner preached were built of logs, the first being built about 1707 or 1709, the second in 1721. The third, the present edifice, though remodeled, was built in 1767, of brown sandstone with a brick floor, the brick floor serving until 1825, when a wooden floor was inserted. No stoves were used prior to 1825, and the congregation often worshiped in the building when the thermometer was at zero. In 1867, a century after the first stone church was built, the church was remodeled, and again in 1886, but it still retains the original stones of the church of 1767 and much of the lumber. Eminent pulpit orators of the Lutheran faith from all over America took part at the bi-centennial celebration. Within a stone’s throw of this Lutheran church stands the oldest Reformed Church in America, erected in 1720. Both churches were used as hospitals for American soldiers during the war of the Revolution. Near the Reformed Church is situated the parsonage, the oldest house in eastern Pennsylvania, where the late Governor Hartranft, who was a general in the Federal army during the Civil War, was born. This historic spot is called the cradle of Lutheran and Reformed religion in America.
Source: Frank Leslie’s Weekly – January 7, 1904