(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Know-nothingism in Rhode Island"

LIBRARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, 

RECEIVED BY EXCHANGE 

Class 



Papers from the Historical Seminary 

of Brown University 

i 

Edited by J. FRANKLIN JAMESON, Ph. D., Professor of History 



III 



KNOW-NOTHINGISM IN RHODE ISLAND 



BY 



CHARLES STICKNEY, A. B. 



REPRINTED FROM THE PUBLICATIONS OF THE 
RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



V 



PROVIDENCE, R. I. 
1894 




\ 




Papers from the Historical Seminary 
of Brown University 

Edited by J. FRANKLIN JAMESON, Ph. D., Professor of History 



III 

KNOW-NOTHINGISM IN RHODE ISLAND 



BY 

CHARLES STICKNEY, A. B. 



REPRINTED FROM THE PUBLICATIONS OF THE 
RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



OF THE 

(( UNIVERSITY 

OF 



PROVIDENCE, R. I. 
1894 



U V 




1 



KNOW-NOTHINGISM IN RHODE ISLAND. 



During the years 1854- 5 5- 56, when the Kansas-Nebraska 
strife was absorbing the attention of the whole country, 
obliterating party lines and alienating the fraternal feeling 
between the North and the South, a new political organization 
was swiftly and secretly formed ; its spread over the country 
was magical and its strength, as demonstrated at the polls, 
was wonderful. The party was quickly formed, swept the 
North, and dissolved, on account of the absence of cohesive 
principles ; in its various stages and in the different portions 
of the country it bore different names, but that by which it 
was most generally known is "Know-Nothing," from the fact 
that its members always asserted that they knew nothing 
not only of the principles but also of the existence of such a 
party. 

When it had reached such a prominence as to make a de 
nial of its existence absurd, its partizans called it the Ameri 
can Party, and in certain States we find promulgated orders 
and announcements of "The Sons of 76," and "The Order 
of the Star-Spangled Banner." In the adoption of such names 
two motives seemed to prevail : to impress upon all that they 
were radically and enthusiastically American, and to induce 
as many as possible to join their ranks by the use of patriotic 
or quasi-patriotic appellations. This same spirit, we shall 
see, manifests itself in other ways, and it is to be recollected 
that they very frequently in communications and orders 
signed themselves " Sam," on account, it has been said, of 
the name of "Uncle Sam" given to our government. Like 
wise in their campaigns they made frequent use of a sup 
posed command given by Washington on an important occa 
sion, " Let none but Americans be placed on guard to-night." 



192368 



But the great movement of the 5o s was only a renewal of 
earlier movements. From the foundation of the government 
a strong anti-foreign feeling was manifest ; this brought 
about the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Laws in 1798. 
But the radicalism and injustice of those measures overthrew 
the Federal Party and occasioned a kindlier feeling towards 
immigrants. In succeeding years we see the nativist feeling 
bursting forth from time to time ; opposition to Gallatin was 
based upon his foreign birth, while in 1844 the feeling became 
more evident in the existence of the United American and 
the Native American parties. 

During the great movements attending the Mexican war, 
the fixing of the northwest boundary, and the Compromise of 
1850, the nativist feeling somewhat subsided. But these very 
movements forced to a dissolution the Whig Party and weak 
ened the Democratic. The people began to think for them 
selves, and the old tenets of parties so ably advocated by Clay, 
Calhoun, Webster and Benton, were no longer regarded as 
vital. The policy of the South became more manifest, the 
growth of anti-slavery sentiment in the North was vigorous. 
Among the great mass of voters whom the new questions had 
forced from their former party, or greatly alienated from 
their attachment for it, there was a field especially adapted to 
the propagation of new ideas. And when the party with its 
strong feeling against the foreign element made its appear 
ance in the field of American politics, a large mass of voters, 
who, as far as having any fixed principles is concerned, were 
"floaters," immediately attached themselves to the new or 
ganization. 

But it was not alone the movements which I have men 
tioned that gave birth and vitality to the new party. The 
immigration from the continental countries and Ireland had 
been unprecedented during the previous ten years. The dis 
covery of gold in California and the bountiful crops through 
out the country were strong inducements for immigration, 
while the general disquietude throughout Europe in 1848, 
and the Irish famine, were driving many to seek other places 
in which to live. 

A large part of this immigration was Catholic and espe- 



5 

cially subservient to Catholic domination. The Catholic press 
of this country, as well as the clergy, was radically ultramon 
tane in its views, nor did it hesitate to express these views 
even in a time of great excitement. It is probable that the 
thoroughness with which public attention was absorbed in 
the Kansas-Nebraska struggle emboldened the Catholic ele 
ment to overstep the bounds of wisdom in their assertions of 
Catholic domination especially the assertion that the Pope 
could summon all possessors of temporal power, and execute 
judgment upon them. 

The State of New York was the section of the country in 
which they most urgently advocated their claims the divi 
sion of the public school fund and the enactment of certain 
laws favoring them in the possession of ecclesiastical prop 
erty. The feeling against foreigners in general and Catholics 
in particular, was not decreased by the struggle in New York ; 
but when the Pope sent a nuncio to this country to arrange 
a settlement of the difficulties, the feeling was greatly inten 
sified. Especially was this true when the nuncio was received 
everywhere and by the Government at Washington with what 
seemed more than due respect and attention. 

It was now that a movement in New York City was started 
by a committee of which one Barker was chairman ; on June 
1 7th, 1854, a formal constitution was adopted. The choice of 
the day the anniversary of Bunker Hill was made so as 
to arouse a patriotic feeling. 

The constitution governed the organization, which was 
strictly secret ; it provided for different degrees as in many 
secret orders, but the founding of the new party on these 
lines was in conflict with the spirit of the Constitution of the 
United States, and was withal dangerous to national liberty. 
For the Constitution forbids Congress making any laws pro 
hibiting the free exercise of religion ; and if the American 
Party could proscribe Catholics, there was no limit to their 
power Jews, Infidels and Protestants were all subject to 
their dictation. 

Notwithstanding these facts the organization grew rapidly 
and extended through many of the northern States where 
the reason for its existence could not be advocated with 



that appearance of necessity which gave rise to it in New 
York. But in every State in which a branch was organized 
under the Grand Council which corresponded to our present 
National Executive Committees they carried the elections 
with varying degrees of success. Their first attempts were 
in municipal elections, for it was in municipal affairs that the 
supposed evil influence of Catholics was especially manifest. 
The aspiration of being a national party did not seize them 
till they had been intoxicated with minor successes. The 
party was stronger in the North than in the South ; the little 
immigration to the South and the anti-slavery feeling which 
permeated the northern members of the party being the 
causes. And among the northern states it was strongest in 
New England, the home of the authors and supporters of 
those Alien and Sedition Laws. 

Gardner was elected Governor of Massachusetts by a two- 
thirds vote, while the two branches of the legislature were 
strongly Know-Nothing. In the autumn of 54, New Hamp 
shire, the home of the then President of the United States, 
went with the new party, and Connecticut dropped into line 
with a clean sweep of the State. Rhode Island proved not 
impervious to the new influence. 

The political conditions existing in Rhode Island at this 
period were in some respects different from those in other 
States. The conservatism of the State had prevented much 
advancement along the line of political freedom, and the tran 
sition from a form of government, thought suitable nearly 
200 years before, was accomplished only by revolution. The 
Dorr rebellion was not successful, in the fact that it did not 
overthrow the aristocratic government, but it caused such an 
agitation of the subject of constitutional amendment that the 
Charter of Charles II. was laid aside in 1842, and a mode of 
government adopted granting more nearly an equality of 
rights. In this contest, it may be said in general, were 
ranged the wealthy against the poor, the aristocratic against 
their more humble neighbors. The foreign element, on the 
whole, sided with the Dorr faction, partly because their right 
of suffrage was greatly limited either on account of their 
poverty or the laws of naturalization, and partly because 



their leader was a sympathizer with the dominant race for 
at this time by far the greater part of the foreign-born popu 
lation of Rhode Island were Irish. 

During the time from the adoption of the new constitution 
till the death of Dorr, in 1854, the Dorrite faction was sup 
ported by the Democratic Party of the State. The reasons 
are obvious. And in the future political contests it was this 
element which saved the existence of the party when others 
went under. 

A second question which at this time afflicted the people 
of Rhode Island was that of temperance, and of this the State 
seems to have had periodic visitations. The law, afterwards 
so famous as the "Maine Law," on account of its similarity 
to one on the same subject in Maine, had been passed and was 
in 1854 being tried. The campaign against the saloon was 
very vigorous and the question intruded itself into all matters ; 
no party could ignore it, and every candidate for any office of 
importance, was first required to state, if it were not already 
known, his position on the Maine Law. In the campaign of 
1854, the Democratic Party came out unequivocally against 
it ; but it had the tact to base its opposition not on the un 
constitutionally or injustice of the law, but upon the non- 
enforcement, and hence, practical failure of the same. No 
law can be enforced which has a mere majority, and that sup 
porting it half-heartedly. There can be little doubt that the 
law was poorly enforced. With redoubled zeal the temper 
ance advocates applied themselves to the task of saving the 
law from repeal. Papers were established whose first and 
most prominent object was the enforcement of the law. Open- 
air meetings were held in every town in the State ; the pulpit 
resounded with denunciations of the evil, and the press was 
energetic. The question in the years covering Pierce s ad 
ministration drew more attention and commanded more votes 
than did the question of franchise, which had in a measure 
subsided after the adoption of the Constitution in 1842. 

But a greater and more engrossing question was that of 
Catholic influence and domination. Notwithstanding the fact 
that Rhode Island had been the most advanced in religious 
toleration, the bitterness against the Catholics in this State 



8 

was deep. But all that was said and done cannot be regarded 
as the result of genuine apprehension. When the Know- 
Nothing Party adopted a constitution in 1854, they thought 
they had a mission to perform ; the desire to become a na 
tional party overshadowed all other desires. It is true that 
they were still animated by the one idea hostility to Catholic 
influence ; but in the organization of the councils in each 
State their one object, to carry the State, was to be accom 
plished by whatever means or arguments were most potent. 
In a strong anti-slavery section their position on the slavery 
question was the rallying principle for partyless voters. In 
Massachusetts they found their best argument to be in de 
fence of that principle for which they were supposed to have 
been founded to keep Catholics out of office and Catholi 
cism restricted in its influence. 

In Rhode Island they had a variety of principles ; they ad 
vocated all that was popular, whether they were Whig or Demo 
cratic principles. The foreign-born population of Rhode Island 
was about 30,000, or one-fifth of that of the whole State, and 
the occupation of this element threw them into congregations 
where their evil influence was easily imagined. " America 
for the Americans " was the rallying cry. The anti-slavery 
cause was not omitted from the declared principles for which 
the party contended. By advocating this and they were 
probably more sincere in it than in their denunciation of for 
eigners they attracted to themselves a large following from 
the Whig Party and not a few Democrats. In the history of 
Know-Nothingism in Rhode Island there is only one fact that 
can be absolutely asserted. In the Spring of 1855 it con 
quered. When it came no one can say, what it saw can only 
be imagined. Its proceedings were too secret and its records 
too few to betray much of its existence. There was a third 
party in the field of Rhode Island politics in 1854, but it went 
by the name of "Independents " a very non-committal title ; 
in the campaign which this party waged there is nothing to 
indicate that it had anything in common with the Know- 
Nothings of a year later. It corresponded most nearly to our 
Prohibition Party, composed of radical temperance men with 
a sprinkling of those who were radical on other subjects. 



Although the party accomplished nothing at the polls, its 
advent was the beginning of Whig dissolution in the State, 
and in that way was instrumental in contributing to Know- 
Nothing success. 

It is not improbable that the formation of a council for 
Rhode Island was begun soon after the adoption of the party 
Constitution in June, for allusions are made from time to time 
in the press of the day to secret gatherings, and an uncertain 
feeling penetrating all ranks of politicians. Whether the 
dreaded party was organized among them, the Democrats and 
the Whigs knew not. In July, 1854, the Providence Post, the 
Democratic organ, protested against the action of the gov 
ernor when he issued arms and uniforms to two companies of 
men, who called themselves the " Guards of Liberty." The 
companies were composed wholly of native-born Americans, 
and the Post considered it a manifestation of the presence of 
Know-Nothingism and an attempt on its part to have a mili 
tary footing in the State. 

It will thus be seen how suspicious the old parties had be 
come. When the November election approached, the fact 
that, so far, the Know-Nothings had never lost an election, 
was discouraging, and prospects were very depressing to the 
professional politicians, for the fall election in Massachusetts 
was a most decided victory for the new party, and the polit 
ical condition of that State was not very dissimilar to that of 
Rhode Island. A few days previous to the Massachusetts 
election, an election was held in this State, but it was not a 
general election ; rather for action on the proposed amend 
ments to the State Constitution, while there were a few by- 
elections to unimportant offices. It was in the election of an 
assemblyman from Cumberland, that the Know-Nothings were 
first successful in this State. In that contest the Democrats 
nominated their strongest man, a native American, and a 
man of tried ability Fenner Brown ; on the whole he depre 
cated foreign influence, but he had not pronounced himself 
decidedly against it at an opportunity he previously had. 
The Whigs made no nomination, while the Know-Nothings 
brought forward one Boyden, whom they elected by the 
small majority of 16. But small as it was, it signified much. 



10 

Whatever may have been done in perfecting their organiza 
tion, but little had been publicly done ; so little indeed, that 
no one knew of the certain presence of the party. Nearly a 
month later the Worcester Spy said : " From all that we can 
learn, there are pretty certain indications that Rhode Island 
will, at the next election, place herself by the side of Massa 
chusetts on the American question, for it seems that Sam 
has marched across the disputed boundary." 

From the November election till that held in April, the 
Know-Nothings conducted a vigorous campaign, though a se 
cret one. There were no public Know-Nothing meetings of 
a political character, but every thing was done under cover of 
secrecy. As the election of 1855 resulted in the annihilation 
of the Whigs and the success of the Know-Nothings, by a 
five-sevenths vote of all cast, there was some essential force 
which contributed to the result ; and as the party held their 
power for little more than a year, this force was something 
which could not long continue to dominate men. 

In the consideration of this, those three questions Slavery, 
Catholicism and Intemperance, which were being agitated in 
the State, must not be overlooked. But why did the oppo 
nents of each ally themselves with the Know-Nothing Party ? 

In moments of excitement men are often borne away be 
yond the domains of reason ; to accomplish their desires they 
will grasp at every object which may seem to be helpful to 
their cause ; and the movements of 1854 and 1855 were only 
aberrations of political reason. The Catholic organization in 
respect to its nunneries and some of its rites and customs 
was secret, and a secret order was founded to combat it. 
There was not a crime committed by an Irishman that was 
not flashed before the public as a proof of the evil influence 
of their religion ; there was not a statement of a prominent 
priest or bishop that was not picked to pieces and considered 
in the light of prejudice. In the State of Massachusetts a 
committee was appointed by the legislature to visit certain 
Catholic nunneries, so as to bring to light their supposed in 
iquitous practices. Ex-priests and nuns who advertised them 
selves as having escaped from convents, harangued in public 
or wrote for the press. In Providence, a great amount of 



II 

political excitement was made of the case of a young lady 
who entered a convent ; hand-bills, bearing the startling 
headline, " Americans to the Rescue ! " were freely circu 
lated ; on them it was asserted that she had been compelled 
to join against her own and her parents will. At the time 
appointed for the rescue a small crowd gathered in front of 
the convent, but no attempt was made, as there were too many 
police to make it successful. 

This was done after the young lady in question had asserted 
in the daily papers that her act was voluntary, although op 
posed by her parents. An affair which occurred in New York 
helped to incite the citizens here. A man named Poole had 
been very prominent in the movements of the new party. 
After a time of some excitement he was killed by one of the 
roughs of the Bowery. He was regarded as a martyr and 
honored with imposing funeral ceremonies. Leading Know- 
Nothings in this city declared that they had been threatened 
with like treatment, but asserted their intention to meet it, if 
necessary. 

This was the method which they had adopted in their work 
of winning voters. The influence of the press in this State 
in favor of the Know-Nothings was limited ; they had no 
avowed organ, but the Whig papers gave them limited sup 
port. This was true of the Joitrnal and especially of the 
Providence Tribune, which was, primarily, the organ of the 
temperance advocates. Early in the campaign they assumed 
a neutral attitude towards the secret order, and finally con 
sented to defend them and their principles. But the pages of 
all the papers seem to have been free for the use of " Sams" 
and " Anti-Sams," for we find long controversies running in 
the papers ; yet these articles bore not at all on the question 
of the day, but dwelt on what had or had not been done in 
other times, together with creeds and doctrines. 

The Protestant clergy on the whole seem not to have taken 
hold of the question with any great zeal ; yet we find clergy 
men elected to the legislature of Massachusetts as members 
of the new party. Only one instance is recorded of a minis 
ter preaching especially on the subject, and that was of a 
Boston divine, who misquoted for his text, saying, " My breth- 



12 

ren, Paul was a Know-Nothing, for he says, I determined 
to know nothing among you, etc. Let us be like him." But 
this fact was attested by an Anti-Know-Nothing paper. 

In this contest there was much feeling against the new 
party, among the Catholics in the Democratic Party, and 
among many Whigs who feared the results attending the 
machinations of a secret organization. 

The Democratic State Convention heartily denounced the 
Know-Nothings, and made their destruction one of the prin 
cipal objects to be accomplished in the election. The party 
organ, the Post, published in full the outrageous conduct of 
the nunnery-investigating committee appointed in Massachu 
setts. This committee exceeded its instructions and aroused 
great indignation throughout New England. But one of the 
most powerful methods of attack was the publication in full 
of the oaths of the order, together with certain signs, pass 
words, etc. The penalty for breaking the oath is not stated ; 
from an instance which came to notice it appears to have 
been a boycott of the betrayer, but it was seldom accom 
panied with personal violence. A right-angled triangular 
piece of white paper pasted up in certain places was a call for 
a mass meeting. A red paper with an equilateral triangle 
meant trouble, and each one must come prepared. Only one 
public call was made for a convention and the convention 
itself was secret. As more clearly indicative of the feeling 
and attitude of the parties toward the new organization a few 
quotations from the dailies are made. The Providence Post 
(Democratic) of November loth, 1854, said: American 
Party, and other like terms, are coming into common use. If 
one could only tell their meaning it would be agreeable. 
They doubtless have some peculiar significance as now used. 
Whatever they may be, and we confess our ignorance on this 
point, such a use of the words is certainly unfortunate." 

December 29th. " The fact that a new organization is 
about to make its first appearance at the ballot-box is one that 
should not be lost sight of. Its power no man can estimate, 
its objects are mysterious and whether bad or good the results 
only can show." 

February i6th. " The Whig Party may be said to have re- 



13 

solved itself into its original elements ; all that remains of it 
is to be found in the mysterious depths of Know-Nothingism 
or abolitionism." 

March 27th. " We have now an organization whose whole 
purpose is to give new strength and life to the Whig 
Party." 

But this last quotation must not be taken as true ; 
not only did the election returns prove its falsity, but like 
wise the nominations of the Whig and Know-Nothing Par 
ties, each of which had a ticket of its own. These were 
the tactics adopted by the Democratic organ to rally Dem 
ocrats to their party s support by intimating that their old 
opponent was their opponent still and not a new and differ 
ent organization. 

As the organ of the Whigs the Journal showed less opposi 
tion. April 2d, a few days previous to the election, it asks : 
"Are there any Whigs left? We believe there are. We 
hear on all sides, indeed, of strange defections, of men, from 
whom such a thing would have been least expected, who have 
gone into the secret organization ; but we hear, too, of men 
who are neither frightened nor disposed to submit." 

Again it said : " It is the duty and should be the pleasure 
of every Whig to stand by his party." 

On the next day it had evidently forgotten who those men 
were who were "neither frightened nor disposed to submit," 
for it says, " If there is one Whig left in each ward, we will 
thank him to call at this office and take the proxies [ballots], 
We don t know whom to give them to." The following day 
it expresses gratification at seeing several old Whigs and 
being assured of their support. 

As the April election drew near, the Democratic Party and 
the secret organization made ready for the contest. The 
advantage was obviously with the Know-Nothings. The 
Whigs had ceased to be an element in the campaign as an 
organization, while the Democratic platform was satisfactory 
to but few besides its authors. Their convention was held 
early in March, when a strong ticket, headed by A. V. 
Potter, was nominated. The Know-Nothings made a public 
call for a secret convention. The Providence Tribune, the 



14 

organ of the Maine Law Party, was partial to the new organ 
ization, and on the iQth of February contained the following 
call: 

"REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION. 

" A Republican State Convention will be holden at Unity 
Hall, in the city of Providence, on Thursday, March 8th, 1855, 
for the purpose of nominating candidates for State offices 
and representatives to Congress who are known to be op 
posed to the encroachment of the Slave power, especially as 
exhibited in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, opposed 
to the interference and influence of foreigners in state and 
national affairs, and in favor of the principles and faithful ex 
ecution of the law against drinking-houses, etc." 

This can hardly be considered an early call of the present 
Republican Party, for at that time the name "Republican," 
as applied to any party, had not been resuscitated, and this is 
the first time the word had been used in Rhode Island as a 
party name for a long period. 

These facts, the principles set forth in the call and the 
assertion afterwards of Know-Nothings, together with the 
work accomplished in that convention, make it partially cer 
tain that although issued under the name " Republican," it 
was thoroughly a Know-Nothing affair. 

Two days later the call was fathered by a writer who signed 
himself " Sam " to an article which said : 

a We take the same platform as enumerated in the call for 
a Republican Convention/ announced in your paper. We in 
Rhode Island embrace temperance, restoration of the Mis 
souri Compromise, the total abolition of all foreign influence, 
whether in the name of the Pope of Rome, or of Bishop 
Hughes of New York." The latter prelate, it may be well 
to add, was one of the most influential Catholics in the 
United States at that time, and by far the most pronounced 
in the defense of Catholic rights. 

Of the results of this convention no record has been found. 
The convention met, but its proceedings were secret. The 
Warren Star published as the ticket nominated by this con 
vention the following : " For Governor, Sam ; for Lieut. - 
Governor, * Sam ; " and in like manner the same gentleman 



15 

was a candidate for every office on the ticket. This will illus 
trate the secrecy with which they did their work. 

It was declared by the Democratic and Whig press that a 
convention of the Know-Nothings was held March 27th, 
for on that day was published their party ticket, headed by 
W. W. Hoppin, who was at that time the Whig governor of 
the State. It is not probable, though of course possible, that 
a convention was held on that date, for all the nominations 
were made by the grand council of the State ; and the date 
would have been too late for an active campaign. The next 
day a Whig convention, attended by few, was held. For a 
long time it was questioned among the leaders, whether it was 
advisable to nominate a ticket at all, so discouraged had they 
become. They re-nominated their State officers for the most 
part. 

In the three tickets offered to the people the Whigs and 
Know-Nothings nominated the same candidates for governor 
and representative from the eastern congressional district, N. 
B. Durfee. In the western district there was no Whig can 
didate, there being only six Whigs present at the nominating 
convention, so little was the interest manifested in that party. 
The Democrats and Know-Nothings combined on one man, 
or rather the Know-Nothings nominated one who had already 
been nominated by the Democrats ; this was B. B. Thurston, 
the candidate for congressional honors from the western dis 
trict ; the other Democratic nominee for Congress was Davis, 
a naturalized citizen. 

It is impossible to say whether these Democrats and Whigs 
who were placed on the Know-Nothing ticket were members 
of the organization or not. The presumption is that they 
were, for while all three were prominent men and would 
strengthen any ticket on which they might be placed, they 
were not necessary to Know-Nothing success. They were 
either actual members of the organization, or active support 
ers of its principles ; and the grand council of the State did 
not at that time look so much to obtaining office as to the 
execution of certain principles. It is probable that any re 
spectable man the Know-Nothings might have nominated 
would have been elected, for they were undeniably strong. 



i6 

Their very secrecy was a source of strength to themselves 
and of weakness to their enemies. 

Outside the two opposing parties the Know-Nothings had 
little to contend with. In some districts, as in Newport, a 
rival secret organization, styling itself the Anti-Know-Noth- 
ing Party, made nominations for municipal offices. 

When election day came, there was no doubt in the minds 
of any except of the blindest politicians that the Know- 
Nothings would elect their ticket. ThefournaS, commenting 
on the registering, which had been done systematically by the 
Know-Nothings alone, asserted that at the close of the day 
preceding the last on which voters might register, there were 
in the city of Providence two-thirds who had not listed their 
names. The Post assumed a forced cheerfulness and hope as 
to the result. 

The election was an overwhelming defeat for Democrats 
and Whigs alike. Gov. Hoppin, the candidate of two parties, 
received 10,500 to 2,300 for the Democratic candidate. The 
real strength of the parties is best shown in the vote for lieu 
tenant-governor and the other State officers. Here the 
Know-Nothing strength was 8,875 J Whig, 1,258 ; Demo 
cratic, 2,274 J this was a decrease of about 8,000 from the 
Whig vote of 1854, and of 4,000 from the Democratic vote of 
the same year. The Democrats saved only two towns, one of 
which Glocester, had long been a democratic stronghold ; 
the other was Foster. It is curious to note that the feeling 
against the temperance law was very strong here. It was 
said that no place in the State took so little interest in the 
temperance movement as Glocester. Both branches of the 
General Assembly were strongly Know-Nothing. 

In the year during which they had control of the State gov 
ernment we cannot see any marked changes in legislation or 
execution of the laws. They did not attempt to go to that 
radical extreme to which the legislature of Massachusetts had 
gone, nor did they retain control of the offices long enough to 
undertake and accomplish any great measures. The same 
governor continued in office and pursued the same course. In 
the following spring a new condition of affairs caused new 
combinations, and while the Know-Nothings were nominally 



in the field, their influence had greatly declined. The rising 
Republican Party supplanted them, and, like the Whigs, they 
disappeared altogether. Yet we can find some of their old 
prejudices still existing in the minds of men, who though now 
old, were once members of that powerful organization, adopted 
its principles and have refused to abandon them when true 
American patriotism asserts that those principles are hostile 
to the safety of a free government. 



OF TH~ 

UNIVERSITY 

OF 




THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 



AN INITIAL FINE OF 25 CENTS 

WILL BE ASSESSED FOR FAILURE TO RETURN 
THIS BOOK ON THE DATE DUE. THE PENALTY 
WILL INCREASE TO SO CENTS ON THE FOURTH 
DAY AND TO $1.OO ON THE SEVENTH DAY 
OVERDUE. 



FED 22 1935 



fBN9 W- 



RHTDIB JAN* 73 -9 A 


W9-g- 


N Vy 5^:1 






LOAN DEPT. 



LD 21-100 




U. C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




r