Why Can’t News Be Reported Like It Was In 1860?

I was reading the Disunion series in the New York Times when I found this hilarious archived article from 1860.

“One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period — using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded. ”

Probably my favorite sentence in the whole article is in the report about the insane woman: She offered to present her views on secession and kindred topics then and there to the magistrate, but he did not have time to listen, and she was sent to the Lunatic Asylum.

I also enjoyed how there seemed to be only a couple justices in New York and everyone is jailed for everything. And people wonder why no one reads the news anymore?

Police Reports.; A MAN AND HIS







Published: November 19, 1860


About 3 o’clock on Saturday morning smoke was seen arising from the lager-bier saloon in the basement of No. 212 Division street, kept by Frederick Freund and his wife, both Germans, who slept in in the premises. An alarm was given, and upon breaking the door open it was found that a fire had been kindled in four different places. The matter was at once brought the notice of the Fire Mashal, who caused the arrest of Freund and his wife, and Justice BREENAN committed them to prison, pending an examination. When the accused were first seen after the discovery of the fire both were fully dressed, and each had about their persons jewelry, clothing and other articles, which it does not seem likely that they would have been able to save without having had ample time in which to pack them up. Freund had his property insured for $500 in the Wall-street Insurance Company, and at the time of his arrest he had the policy with him.

On Saturday morning, Officer Phillips, of the second Ward, found it necessary to arrest a young woman whose strange antics in Fulton-street showed plainly that she was insane. She was neatly dressed, the only remarkable thing about her being her bonnet, to which she had attached a red flag covered with geometrical figures worked in black. As she walked through the streets, followed by a crowd of hooting boys, she endeavored to give them the reasons why she favored a dissolution of the Union, besides expressing her views on other political topics. The officer conducted the poor creature to Justice WELSH, to whom she stated that her name was Jane Doe; that the had recently left her home in New-Hampshire to engage on an extended lecturing tour, and that the present political aspect of the country was to be her theme. She offered to present her views on secession and kindred topics then and there to the magistrate, but he did not have time to listen, and she was sent to the Lunatic Asylum.

On Saturday morning Charles Sanders, a young colored man, got into a Sixth-avenue railroad car, in West Broadway, which happened to be one dedicated exclusively by the Company to the use of white people. The conductor, Mr. T.S. Lewis, informed Sanders of the fact, and told him that he must either get off or ride on the front platform. He said that he would do neither, but he would stay where he was. Consequently, the conductor attempted to eject Sanders by force, but the latter resisted, and it became necessary to call an officer, who arrested him. The prisoner was taken before Justice WELSH, who held him to answer a charge of assault and battery. He stated, in extenuation of his conduct, that his employer had sent him on an errand of importance, and that he had no time to wait for the colored people’s car.

On Saturday evening Sergeant Banfield, of the Eleventh Precinct, took a force of men and arrested Julia Tracy, keeper of a disreputable, drinking-place in the basement at No. 209 Lewis-street, as well as eight others — male and female — who were found carousing within. It is charged by respectable persons residing in the neighborhood that the premises in question have been a long time the resort of law-breakers, whose practices were also subversive of public decency. Among the persons arrested were two men for whom the police have been searching on a charge of having committed a burglary a week ago in the Seventeenth Ward, while others were recognized as having just been released from the State Prison. Justice BRENNAN held all of them pending a hearing of the matter.

Julia Smith, an Irish girl, 23 years of age, was arrested on Saturday night and committed to prison yesterday by Justice WELSH, on a charge of having stolen a gold watch and chain, valued at $70, from Julius Siebert, of No. 544 Pearl-street. The prisoner, it is said, met the complainant in Elm-street and engaged him in conversation, when suddenly she snatched his watch and ran away with it. He pursued, and having overtaken her, he recovered his timepiece and save her in custody.

Mr. George W. Thompson, gas fitter, having a shop at No. 80 St. Mark’s place, yesterday lodged a complaint before Justice WELSH at the Tombs against Charles Webber, a middle-aged German, who for a long time had worked for him at brass spinning, charging that he had stolen 500 unfinished gas burners, and a quantity of tools, valued in the aggregate at $250. The accused was arrested and held for trial. None of the property has been found and it is thought that Webber sold it at some gas-fitting establishment.

Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/1860/11/19/news/police-reports-man-his-wife-arrested-for-arson-crazy-disunionist-white-folks-car.html



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2 responses to “Why Can’t News Be Reported Like It Was In 1860?

  1. Jeez, it’s too bad about Jane Doe. I would have liked to hear what she had to say. “She offered to present her views on secession and kindred topics then and there to the magistrate, but he did not have time to listen, and she was sent to the Lunatic Asylum.”

  2. Kim Pugliano


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