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I really feel sorry for the local historian who "blew me off," as they say, recently--because I have some very interesting things to share. What follows is definitely one of the more interesting.

The first piece to be keyed in, today, from the Boston "Weekly Chronotype," bears the intriguing signature, "Diogenes, Jr." At the library, I had sensed immediately that this was one of Mathew's. Apparently it was a convention, in that day, to add "Jr." to a famous name, indicating that the signer admired and emulated that person, being a "chip off the old block." So right off, we have someone who sees himself as a modern Diogenes. Mathew was a seeker of truth, and of honest men. Abby had featured the Greek classics, and in particular, Greek philosophers, in her tutoring curriculum with Mathew. So this is already looking quite plausible for his pen.

The title is "A Journey to See a Man." So far, so good. But what we have, here, is very strange, indeed. It is the account of a family with nine children, traveling by train from Boston, to Whitesboro, New York. It is all about the logistics of traveling with such a large family, told first-person by the husband, Mr. Diogenes, Jr. But the opening tips me off that Mathew is the author:

I do not expect to sketch like Noggs, but in a plain way I will try my hand for the first time having, in the first excursion out of the city which I have taken for many years, been successful in finding a man.

"Noggs" was the pseudonym used by a water-cure physician, Dr. Edward Augustus Kittredge. Mathew, who had little use for quack cures, made fun of this method. He would also occasionally make passing references like this to his fellow-contributors, and especially, his literary rivals. I haven't studied "Noggs'" writing carefully, but it is plentiful in the "Chronotype," and he seems to be writing in very much the same sketch, essay and poetry genres that Mathew writes in. Clearly, he is a competitor. I have explained that Mathew would sometimes treat his competitors with a tongue-in-cheek compliment. Here, he is presenting himself as a beginner, who cannot hope to equal "Noggs'" expertise. (Perhaps, having published for over 20 years at this point, he is hinting that the reverse is actually the case.)

The bulk of the story, as said, is the folksy account of traveling on a train, overnight, from Boston to Whitesboro, NY. But when the family arrives in the middle of the night, they have a very difficult time obtaining directions to the house of the man who is expecting them.

That man's name is never given--and when Mathew starts getting cagey, you may well suspect something is afoot. In particular, one may suspect he is visiting with an Abolitionist. The deeper Mathew goes under cover, the more sensitive the situation is. Here, he has seemingly gone so far under cover, as to pretend that this is his first sketch and he hasn't left Boston in a long time, and then, to adopt the persona of a married man with nine children! So this must be very touchy.

After knocking on doors throughout Whitesboro, they finally find the house they are looking for. The gentleman of the house is not at home, but his wife welcomes them warmly. Still, we are not told who the great man is. The story concludes:

The man was not a-home, but he had been there. It was his home, and we had found it without a lantern, of course we were sure of the man. Who he was and is, I shall perhaps one of these days give the readers of the Chronotype to understand, if the Editor pleases.

Well, I have seen all this, before, in Mathew's work. He is similarly cagey when he travels by train from Detroit to Chicago, writing as "J.O.B.," with black Abolitionist and head of the Detroit Underground Railroad, William Lambert. So my work was cut out for me--I had to find an Abolitionist living in Whitesboro, New York, in 1848.

That didn't take very long. Beriah Green, Jr., a close friend of Gerrit Smith, was at this time an active supporter of the Liberty Party. Mathew has already mentioned attending a meeting of the Liberty Party, in his hometown of Haverhill, Mass., signing with his first initial "M.," in the Sept. 24, 1846 edition of the "Chronotype."

Here is what Wikipedia currently says about Mr. Green:

Expecting to be fired, Green resigned in 1833 and became the president of the Oneida Institute, a Presbyterian institution in Whitesboro, New York. Green accepted the presidency at Oneida on two conditions: he was allowed to preach immediatism and he was allowed to accept African-American students. The Oneida Institute was a manual labor college founded in 1829, but it also had some liberal classical classes.

As president, Green dramatically changed the college by accepting numerous African Americans, more than any other college during the 1830s and 1840s. Green did not believe that it was right to have separate labor schools for blacks and whites. This belief led him to attempt to get Gerrit Smith to merge his black manual labor college with the Oneida Institute. This made Oneida a hotspot for abolitionist activity. Many future well-known black leaders and abolitionists were students at Oneida while Green was president. These include William Forten, Alexander Crummell, Rev. Henry Highland Garnet and Rev. Amos Noe Freeman.

In 1832, Green began to correspond with Gerrit Smith on the issue of black education. The two men became very close friends and much of what is known about Green is known from their letters. The two men worked together toward the goal of abolition. They continued correspondence until 1872, when they stopped writing because of long held disagreements about civil government and political abolition.

Green presided over the 1833 meeting of the American Anti-Abolition Society in Philadelphia. He was famous for refuting the arguments of men who used the Bible to defend slavery. In the late 1830s, Green focused most of his time contesting these arguments.

Mathew, writing as "Ethan Spike," would often lampoon those same Biblical arguments, as for example in this passage:

Dear Sir:--Gentlemen--I shall spile! I know I shall. I feel it comin on! Hewman natur! what times we live in! Arter the battles of Montyzeumy had bin fort, it did seem as though the country had riz to its highest climb-axe, but the ways of providence, an the progress of dimocracy is in-screw-table. The passage of the Fewgative Slave Bill is the knee plus ultry of the significant endewrance of free principles. Father, Kernel Peabody an others here who used to rave so agin Danel Webster, callin him a blewite, federal aberlishunist, naow shaout hozaners to his name--magnifyin him above cherrybins, sarahphims, giberalters and neaw-jerewsalims.

The fact is--this here bill takes in Hornby--wal, it does. Nothin but deddycation, inderpendent day, cattle show and gineral trainin ever went ahead ont. A meetin has bin held, at which it was resolved to persent Mr. Webster with tew bushels best shenangers, one dittow bates, one berrill of syder, an the liberty of the town as a sort of half-penny token of the respectabellity we feels for him. Parson Spuggins--aour new minister, made abaout the most feelinist speech at the meetin, I ever seed. He said that n--rs was the abomernashun of desserlashun spoken of in Paul's Epistol to Pentyteuk, an had no more bisness a breathin the free onmyttigated air of liberty, than the divil has in pandymongia or any other good place. He said that now this bill was fully passed, vetowed and become a law of the land, it was the bounden dewty of every good cittyzen to catch as many n--rs as he could, more specially, as government offered a reward of forty-tew dollars a head. This here, said he, was somethin like! says he, whats the crow-bill an the bounty on bears or premiums at cattle shows--to this. Verily, continered the revered gentleman, this here is a bringin about of Scripter, which says the hethin shall be given to the lect for a inherrytance forever. Amen, seeler!

With full knowledge of fellow-Abolitionist Elizur Wright, Mathew has visited Beriah Green, Jr. He reports the meeting to Wright by adopting the persona of a man named "Diogenes, Jr." who is traveling with his wife and nine children! Perhaps such a family had been on the train with him, and the way they had managed the logistics of their situation amused and intrigued him.

This will give you an idea of how Mathew operated. "Diogenes, Jr." was probably a one-off pseudonym. It does bring up the possibility, that when Mathew routinely used the pseudonym "D." as a young man, writing and editing for the New York "Constellation," that might have stood, not for a printer's "devil," as I had speculated, but rather for "Diogenes." Or, it might have been both, if he had been called "devil" but identified with Diogenes.

And this is precisely Mathew. He was a devil to the ignorant; but he was a Diogenes in his soul.

See what the historian missed? But 90% of historians, upon having the sudden epiphany that I'm for real, would try to steal these discoveries, and make a name for themselves, thereby. Sometimes it is just as well not to be taken seriously.

I note, in passing, that there were nine children in Abby's family. Whether he chose that number as a way of including her, seven years after her death, I can't say.

Here is the story in its entirety. Proofreading will take place at a later stage--I just skim these, for now, so I apologize for any typos that I have missed.

The Boston "Weekly Chronotype"
July 2, 1848

For the Chronotype.

By Diogenes, Jr.
I do not expect to sketch like Noggs, but in a plain way I will try my hand for the first time having, in the first excursion out of the city which I have taken for many years, been successful in finding a man.

I had heard a deal of banter and joke about "modern sized families," and dark Malthusian theories and practices hinted at about the duty and means of regulating population, and the trite remark often repeated, "Why, how does Mrs. Diogenes get along with so many babies? I have only three and they are likely to be the death of me." Mrs. Diogenes, by the way, numbers nine--exactly the complement of Mrs. John Rogers, on the theory that that good lady's darling "at the breast" wa the ninth, and not the tenth,--only with Mrs. D she has nine small children and three at the "sucking bottle," the same as Queen Vic., only the latter probably has sucking bottles not of glass but of Irish. I say I had heard a deal of talk about the awfulness of having so many children, but I never realized that there was any difference between travelling with four or five and travelling with nine, only that it was about as much again of the same thing, till this journey.

But I now find that nine is a very perfect number, just the number for a parental pair to travel with by steam three hundred miles a day. It admits of the most perfect completeness, order, harmony and organization of labor. There is even music in it. So we found. It was to pack up dough-nuts, crackers and apples, sacs de nuit, bottles of milk, &c. &c., because the cars don't stop. Mrs. Diogenes grasps the youngest, myself the yearling, a boy that never yet did keep still, and then the oldest child pairs with the youngest but two, and so on, each pair having in charge some light article of baggage. This is the order of march, in taking possession of the car, or one end of the car, which is to be our home till we debark in Albany. Once launched on the rails, there we are. What happens to one, happens toi all. But nothing did happen except that the older children were delighted with the fine sights till they went to sleep, the yearling squirmed like an eel every moment he was awake for larger liberty, and the baby executed the most difficult solos on A minor, because it would n't suck cold milk. All this the fellow passengers, much wondering how in this degenerate age it was possible to get along with so many children, enjoyed gratis, and the loco-motive went ahead.

The babies when they are grown up will tell you how beautiful the country was outside--of the glorious Berkshire mountains, of the beautiful Houstanic valley, of the many little dogs, of the Kaatskill mountains, of the colts in the pastures in York state, and the queer old rickety ferry boat we got into. If there should be any deficiency in their account of these matters, attribute it to their kind mother who positively forbade their sticking their heads out of the cars, or any where near out, lest they should be knocked off. This was anti-Malthusian and anti-American--on the fashionable theory she should have rather encouraged them to jump out. The parents of course had other work to do besides taking external observations.

At Albany there was some caution and vigilance required to prevent the "runners" from kidnapping more or less of the troop. Though from the ferry boat (old Charon's) aforesaid, it is but the toss of a dough-nut to the Western Depot, passengers can there employ a coach to carry them around a whole square and back to the same spot for a dollar, or walk, just which they please.

We were packed into the great western train for less money, any how, and were soon more or less comfortably snoozing up the valley of the Mohawk, by moon-light. This breakfasting in Boston and going to sleep beyond Albany--what a wonder it is to us old folks. But the little rogues for whom the world is indebted to Mrs. Diogenes, thought no more of it than their parents did at their age of a ride to Hingham or Duxbury.

Trundling along up the Mohawk--the journey of a Dutchman's week--it was even midnight when they waked us up at Utica, where after the hideous thundering and banging incident to a change of cars in the reechoing and rebellowing old car house, in half an hour we started on again, to get off in nine minutes more, or be pitched off, if we could n't get off in less than half a ninute, at the village of Whitesboro'. It is marvellous how soon the whole Diogenes tribe, bag and baggage, all but the lantern which was left at home--more's the pity for the baby, for we might have warmed the milk with it--was standing on the level ground somewhere near the village of Whitesboro', safe and sound, three hundred miles west of where they breakfasted only eighteen hours before.

Now here was a problem. Neither Mrs. Diogenes, Jr., nor myself knew where or whereabouts in this great, level and extensive country village, The Man whom we were in quest of dwelt, and we had no lantern as our forefather had. Only we knew he was a man and dwelt somewhere. We knew wel enough that if we could find him or his, their house was large enough for all eleven of us, and their hearts for nine hundred and ninety eleven.

O how profoundly they do sleep in that rich and fertile town about one o'clock in the morning!--We,--that is Mrs. D, for maternity is perhaps more importunate than paternity on such occasions--knocked, and knocked almost the house down, before we could arouse the stupid folks of the depot, who gave us directions how to find our friend, about half a mile distant, as intelligible as could be expected in regard to aneedle in a hay mow. The people in a tavern bar room were still less intelligible. We were perfectly at fault on both directions. We knocked wherever we found knockers--bells there were none but some dogs, and the latter barked kindly--but it seemed impossible to arouse any mortal who knew the greatest man in that or any village of this or any land. At last we did find one man who, like a man, leaped from his bed, donned his trousers and coat and piloted us to our man's good, kind, homely home, where, after an hour's marching and countermarching, in the still, damp midnight, the whole troupe of us, little and great, arrived, and received such a welcome, on arousing our friends from their blessed slumbers, as only the best man's wife in the world could give, little as we deserved it.

The man was not a-home, but he had been there. It was his home, and we had found it without a lantern, of course we were sure of the man. Who he was and is, I shall perhaps one of these days give the readers of the Chronotype to understand, if the Editor pleases.

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

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