Merry Christmas from the Butte Record, 1857 (3)

Lady Liberty takes center stage in this clever item.

This lady was born in Philadelphia, on the 4th of July 1776. She was raised by a gentleman named Washington, and brought out into society by Mrs. John Adams, Mr. Thomas Jefferson and several other kind people, until she got to be big enough and old enough to go it alone, when she was married to the Constitution of the United States . . .

Mrs. John Adams was Abigail, a suitable lady to introduce a young woman to the world. The Constitution was written in 1789, making the young lady 13 years old when she was “old enough to go it alone.”

. . . the Constitution of the United States, with whom she has lived ever since, and had several children, among whom are Nebraska Bill and various valuable and useful members of society.

The “Nebraska Bill” (Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854) was much in the news in the 1850s. It repealed the Missouri Compromise and created two new territories. Its popular sovereignty provision led to a violent uprisings as pro-slavery and anti-slavery activists flooded into the territories to influence the vote.

In 1856 she was mighty badly scared by John C. Fremont and Horace Greely, but she was really in no danger, being duly backed up by James Buchanan, a very “clever gentleman.” Her price (she has a price) is eternal vigilance.

John C. Fremont was the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party and Greeley was his running mate. Buchanan is now ranked as one of the worse presidents, but he was a Democrat, so the editor of the Butte Record endorsed him.

Quiz time: Who said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance?” This familiar quotation is usually attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but it seems he never said or wrote it. According to researchers at Monticello.org, it can be traced back, ultimately, to John Philpot Curran’s statement, “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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