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So we photographed the disenfranchised, the people who wanted to go skating. They were the nice, polite young boys who went to a good school. So they organised a group called Aberdeen Street Skaters, and they realised that they had to have a manifesto. It is the citizens who create and develop culture in the community. This culture should be supported, not obstructed by the authorities — always remember — never forget! LB: Seeing decisions like that delivered through policy all over the UK, signalling that there is a right and proper use of something, are we starting to see those messages being delivered through cultural policy?
And they have two rules. There are only two rules, actually there are only three. Well, if you constantly disrespect authority and always ask why, then the world would be a better place. Two Committee Members from Transmission Gallery. Transmission Gallery is an organisation supported by a large membership of artists in Glasgow and the UK.
The opinions expressed in this interview are based on the experience of these individuals as serving committee members. Committee Member one: My engagement with, or understanding of the changes that are taking place in cultural policy generally began with the realisation that there are definite changes affecting the particular funding situation of this organisation: specifically, the end of Flexible Funding and the introduction of Strategic Commissioning. When you look at the Creative Scotland website, the language is so difficult to find your way around. And the removal of art-form specialisms creates confusion.
Lisa Bradley: Would you add to what [committee member one] has said, or do you have a different response? I guess I fear that in the changes, the autonomy of organisations might be affected. For me, what that screams is more administration and less autonomy. You see increasing amounts of opportunities to increase your marketing skills; advice about how to run a business; how to interact and collaborate with the tourism industry.
LB: Do you view this change in language as a benign shift or as something more purposeful? I think a lot of organisations are very adept at picking up on the language used by other people and adopting that language. These kind of words appeal to people and have meaning. CM1: Using friendly, comfortable sounding words to describe things.
That may mask certain realities. CM2: I would agree. Even more strongly. CM1: I think the main practical shift is that there is no longer a specialist visual arts officer with whom we have regular contact and a working relationship. You get a sense by observing how other organisations are acting that people are attempting to position themselves in line with what they think the new structures will demand.
The programmes of certain arts venues seem to be made up increasingly of work produced by theatre practitioners or dance companies and visual artists in collaboration. It seems like a step towards Commissioning. LB: In terms of the end of Flexible Funding and the beginnings of Strategic Commissioning, what are your understandings of that change and what do you think it will mean for Transmission and other organisations?
It only validates one logic, one career-trajectory. And I think that it will affect Glasgow. Maybe not a huge majority, but I would say that a majority of artists working in Glasgow are working in that way.
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CM1: Yes, it undermines the idea of self-organised or self-institutionalised space as something that is of value in and of itself — as opposed to being of deferred monetary value. It undermines the value of alternative ways of working and of ways of working that might actually be [pauses], overtly resistant to the kind of career trajectory Creative Scotland are prescribing. But actually, they quite rely on places like Transmission existing and are aware of that relationship.
LB: [W]hat are your thoughts on the long term impact of these policy shifts? This all depends indirectly on a small amount of state support for grassroots activity. There seems to be a shift away from this towards spectacular, highly visible events […] The whole project seems quite short-sighted. Putting the responsibility to support a diversity of cultural expression to one side, many of the changes that are taking place seem to undermine even the career path that Creative Scotland ostensibly wish to perpetuate and promote.
CM2: Also, why would anyone do that at Transmission for free? CM1: Yes, I absolutely agree with that point. And the art community in Glasgow relies on exactly that; a community of people who are here.
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Jan-Bert, Director of Artlink. A massive question. They have an influence in tone, potentially in intent. JB: The gut response is that tone is setting the agenda. And there is a concern that if only tone sets the agenda, and if that tone is not well informed or informed fully, then tone, as in most walks of life, can become more important than it actually should be.
So that will be one of tone in terms of being seen to be doing something about the creative industries which it has no clear influence over, and possibly nor should it have. I think the nature of what that means and what that develops into is something that I watch with interest and trepidation. And I suppose partly I watch it with trepidation because in terms of my day job, I work in a field that is closely connected to social care and closely connected to contracting and commissioning work.
Now you transport that into cultural activity and it changes the relationship between the commissioner and the commissioned, and partly also changes the nature of that relationship. LB: And in terms of the move from Flexible Funding to Commissioning, do you consider it to be just another example of a new name or is there another, deeper shift happening there? JB: Who knows? LB: Do you feel there is sufficient transparency with the current structure of Creative Scotland to allow practitioners, and also the general public, to pose those questions of responsibility?
JB: Possibly not. The problem is that if you want to be fair and considered, is there enough transparency? Well yes, because funding guidelines are published; ultimately those who are funded will be published; the decision-making process is clear. And within my own field I sometimes have concerns about that. If one or two people are charged to make decisions about a very broad field of activity and interests, then it is well nigh impossible for those one or two people to have that spectrum of information and understanding to clearly inform their decisions.
I think the intent and the relationship between the government and the agency, and then how the agency is charged to fulfil its objective, interest me more. And my understanding and view at the moment is that Creative Scotland has been working pretty hard to sustain enough investment in arts, culture and creative industries as it possibly can.
LB: Do you have any thoughts or experience of how the role of consultation differs in Creative Scotland from the Scottish Arts Council? JB: […] [T]here were a lot of organisations that were upset about the lack of involvement in the move towards Creative Scotland. And as that move came off the rails there was a real push towards greater consultation, greater involvement. That seems to have waned; perhaps naturally because people need to find their feet. And I think that is clear.
LB: Not focusing on the content of the language, but the shift in language […] do you feel the change has emerged from a need to communicate to the broader policy context or is it indicative of more conscious effort to change the nature of cultural provision? I think there are dangers in shifting language because you might lose as many opportunities as you might gain.
You might lose opportunities because it frightens people or it concerns them. That unsettling change period is difficult for those who are used to have having a particular type of relationship with an old funding body and who are now having to establish a new relationship. I also think you have to be very careful in how you use language and what its intention is. Because that basically means it could be anything. And in a way, why do that? When you look at that in local authorities it becomes procurement. LB: Have you sought clarification beyond your discussions within the Cultural Alliance?
Again, we have to set out these concerns as a way of, I suppose, testing, measuring what the truth is in terms of what the language actually sets up. Again, you have to give people the opportunity to articulate that first. And I also think that because the Cultural Alliance is a loose network, that would be more difficult to achieve anyway. Beyond that it has no real teeth or specific function.
LB: Than rather than me asking you to comment on this unknown trajectory, what do you feel are the important questions to be posed to Creative Scotland in order to reach those concerns over responsibility, clarity and transparency? What informs your policy and how far does that look, or not, towards the government? And national outcomes are now everywhere. And how far do you view what is important within the cultural spectrum?
And how far is that clearly defined and informed? LB: Perhaps this is an impossible question, but do you know within yourself at what point it will no longer be time to wait and see? JB: Well I really do think the strategic reviews will be the proof in some of the pudding.
I think that that is where Creative Scotland, for the first time, will seriously look at particular art-forms and will seriously articulate its view and response as to what it feels needs to happen. And I assume at that point it will have done two things: one, it will have informed that view fully; and two, it will then take it out to the constituency to get its response. Five Written Responses. Shona Macnaughton. Andrew Dixon is positioned as a figurehead for Creative Scotland, when there was none in such a way before.
So we must deal with what he represents as his opinions. He appears careful to say appropriately inclusive things but he displays the qualities of a politician and therein lies the spin. Once the image fades there are many issues and contradictions that become apparent, specifically the gap between the rhetoric and the examples he uses. There is little room here to analyse his proposed exemplary culture s but I can present the immediate issues as I see them and talk of what I would delve further into. The language used by Creative Scotland CS , which Dixon is the mouthpiece for, seems to have changed from that of the Scottish Arts Council SAC with a number of distinctions being made about the value of culture.
A personal example I could give is my experience in the last couple of years as a committee member of an artist run space. One which had survived on SAC funding for several years but, being outside of the flexi-funded loop, completely ignored strategically since CS took over. Why is that? Reduction of budget? Or is it more to do with surface visibility and an old fashioned ideals system that is not profit making or cannot be presented as such. The message is that you were lucky to receive it in the first place and if you want to do it you should be self-sustaining because it is self-indulgent, only of relevance to yourselves.
But this seemingly ignores the symbolic: you take away that level of activity and you are left with a gap, no space outwith the commercial or the instrumentalised for contemporary practice s. The language used is important not because he might mean what he says, but rather as an important signifier because it normalises a rhetoric that submits culture to singularly economic purposes.
I would like to look into it further to see what the facts are, who has been able to apply in the last year. It is easy to be cynical about it. I would like to be able to write a response which was thoroughly researched, in depth and was able to reach a wider audience, but unfortunately there are few spaces left for dissenting, questioning voices and little time. While commercial values are not always at odds with the production of quality artistic work — selling has a place in the visual arts in Scotland — success in Scotland has been dependent on which one has been the driver.
The ability to support the individual, nurture new talent, take risks and respect the time needed for meaningful creative development has been a strength of arts funding in Scotland. Artists and the arts by their nature will never thrive if treated as Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
Language is important in the arts. The language of commerce adopted by Creative Scotland sits oddly with how we engage with arts and culture in Scotland. An emphasis on prescriptive investment schemes risks screening out many good artists from applying. Language perhaps for a government rather than a people? It is not misplaced nostalgia to recall the structure of committees and panels at the Scottish Arts Council and the debates between members that underpinned a rigorous decision making process — it took time, we came in for criticism at times, but the process was rigorous.
Who makes the decisions at Creative Scotland? How are those decisions quality assured? What expertise underpins the decision makers, and are they internal staff or external? What is the profile and rotation of the decision makers? Where do we find this information? Where is the decision making process published on the Creative Scotland website? Arts Council England publishes all National Portfolio funding allocations. You get the drift? In fact we will put more money into that.
This is a regressive move to a more direct form of managing the cultural sector. This can only weaken the sector in both the short term and the long term. Could you make them even stronger? Actually, if you gave them a bit more resources, what else could they do? The larger organisations with the capacity to bid and win tenders will supplant or absorb the smaller, more diverse organisations in an unequal struggle for resources. See p. The interview with Andrew Dixon reinforces a concern that there has been a fundamental shift in the role of what was our national arts funding body.
If this is not a fundamental and dangerous change then we do not know what is. Creative Scotland is now doing the bidding of the Scottish government and, as such, uses the language of management, business and neo-liberalism to do so. At the very least Andrew Dixon concedes that the language used does pose problems for artists and apologises for this.
However, it is a forlorn hope that we can rid ourselves of this mangled language. Bearing this in mind we would want to make a very specific point and ask for a clarification. We refer particularly to the stopping of Flexible Funding in favour of Strategic Commissioning. Creative Scotland needs to offer a clear definition and path for the establishment of Strategic Commissioning. We are a funding body, or investment agency as we call it, but we are much more of a promotional body and much more of an advocate for the cultural sector [ The threat to public funding for contemporary art comes from the eradication of practice-based art form disciplines via an homogenised regional development discourse.
It marks a return to a utilitarian criterion of cultural worth, consigning modernist and avant guarde experiments to a slightly embarrassing adolescence that our recumbent, sensible and mature bodies must place safely behind us. Perhaps art will keep on making money for the few, but the critical functions of art and its avant guardeist potential for effecting new forms of life — of questioning, in particular, how we constitute the self, the other, society — are in danger of unravelling into the most banal exercises in superficial individuation.
At best, a minority of commercially successful artists and enlightened philanthropists manage to sustain a handful of difficult and thoughtful practices. Value is created by a network of anointed taste makers, curators and critics whose own livelihood is often contingent on a system of corporate sponsorship or on moonlighting for private collectors. The money made by a minority of cultural producers infiltrates artistic communities, sometimes divisively. Scotland is not New York — historically, geographically, socio-economically; they are not interchangeable.
But, as public funding is reassigned in Scotland, the important distinctions within modernism between what we could identify today as artist-run spaces and self-organised publications on the one hand, and the museum and the commercial gallery on the other, are slowly evaporating. Are artists finally wising up to the pervasive mystification of their role within late capitalist society? Can we reject these fictional bohemian identities ascribed to us by the media, curators and dealers?
Can we now refuse to be forced into still further competition with one another, to allow every aspect of our life to be placed under scrutiny and exploited in the form of cultural capital in the service of a chimerical creative economy? Can Creative Scotland act as a mediating force in this refusal, allowing us to retain autonomy and nurturing our diversity of opinion and expression?
If not, and we ignore our radical independent past and swallow the market model of culture wholesale, then I fear we are doomed to a collective impotence. If we allow it, in Creative Scotland I envisage a future where corporate populism has become the final arbiter of value. As practitioners we are left bewildered. Bewes and J. Gilbert, Cultural Capitalism, Lawrence and Wishart, pp. A friend recently sent me a poem that explained his dissatisfaction and boredom with urban decay and industrial ruins. He wrote much of the poem via one of the automatic text generators that often give the best lines:.
And so on I find it easy to share this bored, angry scepticism towards the fetishism of crumbling concrete, cracked windows and hidden wastelands. At the more rarefied end of this are the auteurs of ruin images, professional photographers whose work appears in the gallery and in well designed coffee table books to be displayed, gazed at and stroked as ruin pornography.
A recent example would be The Ruins of Detroit by the photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, a book that documents the decomposition of the motor city. The book is a fairly exhaustive — and often quite beautiful if ruins are your thing — documentation of the decline of Detroit from Fordist production with its monumental architecture of factories, department stores and apartment blocks hymning the myths of the modern to the decomposition of the city into monumental ruin.
Also, this contemporary imaginary of ruins feeds into a broader stream of more overtly apocalyptic representations of disaster and decay such as the TV series Life After People with its digitally enhanced images of empty metropolises simply disintegrating and returning to nature after the mysterious disappearance of humanity. The following is a series of provisional theses upon the decomposition of the contemporary ruin grasped through image and text. In line with this ephemerality and the over determination of everything in spectacular capitalism the following should be viewed as theoretical fictions, transitory attempts to formulate concepts of what is falling apart.
The critical task is to ruin the ruins and grasp the contemporary ruinscape as a contradictory object implicit to capitalism. The afore mentioned decaying Packard plant in Detroit dates from and was part of the vast movement of population that saw the population of the city leap from , in to , in but it would be a mistake to consign this to a long distant Fordism.
The movement of labouring bodies to meld with technology continues massively in China and elsewhere even as the flight of capital to where labour is cheap leads to the evacuation of the older Fordist zones of the west. For instance Detroit, home of Henry Ford and the development of mass production had a population density of 14, in that had declined to 6, by This too is part of our present and this evacuation of proletarian subjects is ably attested to by the formal qualities that define photographic representations of the contemporary ruin. The visual tropes are those of the empty space — there are rarely people photographed in such images — and any humanity is exhibited by the trace of their past presence.
To this can be added an emphasis upon the monumentality of the ruins of contemporary capitalism as being as overbearing in their decline as they ever were as sites of production and social reproduction. All of these tropes are heavily represented in The Ruins of Detroit but are also standard in the flickering repetition of such images on the web. As such The Ruins of Detroit provides a good basis for considering the representation of the industrial ruin.
So the second thesis: The empty space suggests in this absence the traces of the subject usually embodied in everyday detritus, graffiti, etc. The question is what kind of subject might appear in the decay of the factories, apartment blocks and shopping malls that characterise the capitalist metropolis. Or it might even be a case of the formation of a particular subject through a diffusion of images since how we act and respond is partly mediated through such images in spectacular capitalism.
The mechanical reproduction of the camera is a surgical instrument that can reveal landscape but with much documentation of this kind the urban body revealed is lump, inert and reified. The ruins of our present lend themselves in these very formal, panoramic and usually monumental images to an aura of the sublime that-like natural disasters — provide a compelling immersive spectacle. A certain distance is necessary to enjoy the accumulation of debris since who would want to live in a ruin? Images of the contemporary ruinscape present the aestheticisation of the destruction of the world in much the same way that 20 th century avant gardes such as the Futurists enjoyed the bluster of warfare.
Except what is lacking in these images of our dereliction is the passion and joy that animated the parodic virility of the Futurists. Aestheticised might be better read as anaesthetised affect since The Ruins of Detroit for all the wide screen flourish and detail of the images gives me the sense that all of this has simply been curated for the sake of distraction and gazing-or perhaps grazing — upon the ruins.
The lack of affect present in such acts of curation is even more accentuated in the repetition of the curating impulse on the web. As the tags of urban decay, abandoned, trashed, etc. This process of the subjectification of a passive, neutralised subject might seem too much to read from the diffusion of images of dereliction but the theme park or art space is also immanent to the contemporary ruin.
The debris of the post-industrial ruin can be an element of the apparatuses — diffuse assemblages of discourses, institutions, economic processes, etc. And what might be termed affective subjects are partially produced through such spaces. The point of this is not to moralise or rant about the supposed emptiness, commodification or lack of meaning inherent in spectacular capitalism since all of that can be taken for granted. What initially Michel Foucault and latterly Giorgio Agamben have termed apparatuses or dispotifs of bio-political governmentality. The mechanical mannequin can easily be seen as an image of the new industrialised bodies required by factories organised by the repetitive gestures of the production line and formed through this technology.
The worker as mechanical mannequin was always on the point of malfunctioning and upending the sites of her own re production. This is another trace contained in these images of decomposing buildings and ruin theme parks. Thesis three can be: the image of the contemporary ruin is part of the apparatuses that seek a governmentality that produces neutralised and passive subjects. This is one of the traces of the subject always to be found in the contemporary ruin. Contemplating the ruins of the past led to the cultural pessimism of the early 20 th century philosopher and apocalypse fanatic Oswald Spengler.
I see no progress, no goal, no avenue for humanity, except in the heads of the Western progress-Philistines A dramatisation of our creative and self-destructive vanities. An example of the naturalisation of the ruin is found in the work of the sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel. The slow revealing through the ruin of the hubris of humanity in the midst of natural decay undercut the pretensions of human agency and autonomy.
Tendrils of nature insinuated into stone as the reconciliation of nature and humanity in decomposition is part of an essentially romantic concept of the ruin. This trans-historical pessimism finds its own natural resting place in contemporary fantasies of a deep green restoration of Nature wherein hunter gatherers would play in the ruins of industrialism.
In the story The Red Tower , the eponymous tower is a factory gradually being ruined by the entropic influence of the surrounding wasteland. The factories production of increasingly horrific novelties conflicts with a tendency towards nothingness embodied in the surrounding natural landscape. The nameless narrator and other human subjects are reduced to recording devices:. Images of the industrial ruin are similarly caught between the infusion of nature and an equally inhuman economic order.
What is suggestive about The Red Tower and The Ruins of Detroit is that both are characterised by a naturalised entropic drift into dissolution that elides any human agency or reduces such to the status of an eye or voice that simply records the process of ruination. More than this, the trace of the human is both passive and ineluctably subject to an erasure by inhuman processes that suggest an end to capitalism that is based upon an industrial ecological catastrophe.
All of this suggests that the industrial ruin is a wish image of contemporary capitalism. The naturalisation of destruction is a naturalisation of capitalism. The decomposition of teleological narratives of human progress is not necessarily fodder for the endless cyclical creation and destruction of capital. This exists in an uneasy symbiosis with the mediation of post-industrial ruins through the abstraction of the photographic image. Psychogeography often functions as an index of dissatisfaction with contemporary urban space while simultaneously mapping its effects upon subjectivity and affect.
A recurrent trace of this dissatisfaction is found in the psychogeographical penchant for the ruin, the decayed left over space that suspends the remaking of the city in the self image of capitalism. But what might differentiate this from a simple aestheticisation of the ruin? This is both in the revealing of the ephemeral qualities of socio-economic structure and in the merest hint of the possibility of non-productive spaces that might be productive of non- capitalist relations.
Even if these utopian traces are only imaginary possibilities hatched out of the musings of a psychogeographer. Every decaying warehouse or graffiti adorned industrial shell has germinating within it a block of luxury flats. Class relations that UK plc would love to elide appear in concrete lower down in the new development with smaller balconies or sequestered off in a separate section altogether. The surrealism of empty shop fronts — dismembered mannequins, commodity fragments, trashed cash registers — all too easily turn into a state subsidised collective art space that provides the illusion of cultural regeneration.
Boredom arises through this repetition-dead capitalised time endlessly repeating — and the capitalist processes that produce everyday space manifest in an all too obvious way. For instance, one of the most iconic contemporary ruins in London is the vast crumbling network of one thousand plus ex-social housing flats — though one or two tenants continue to hold out — called the Heygate Estate.
When we see a post-industrial ruin we should also see the inhuman subject called capital winking and leering at us in its own cyclical reproduction. Even in Detroit — the alpha and omega of urban decay — the gentrification of the city centre continues at the expense of the expanse of a rapidly decomposing periphery.
Negatively, this suggests the regime of transparency that the contemporary capitalist metropolis aspires to architecturally in the reflective glass of offices and shopping malls, the dream of a space transparent to both control and the flows of capital. The contemporary ruin at least suggests the uneven qualities of such a transparent homogenisation of the city. In actuality, one relies upon the other: no increasingly transparent space without the supposed opacity of disused buildings and urban degeneration. Gentrification, theme parks and the ruin-image apparatus demonstrate the industrial ruin is produced within the same spatial and economic regimes.
However, the myth of opacity — the memory or potential existence of spaces that are more opaque to the productive apparatuses of the contemporary metropolis — can at least provide a critical tool against transparency. In light of this Thesis Five can be: Psychogeography or photography as critique can puncture the inter-related phantasmagorias of both an opaque urban decay and transparency if one is utilised against the other.
The utopian trace of the ruin is in the forms of decomposition revealed as immanent to capitalism and then utilised as critique. This rests upon the negative apprehension of the ruin rather than seeing in it the embodiment of a utopian aspect in the everyday.
But where might this leave the starting point of the images of urban decay and the ruin? The Ruins of Detroit contains images of a cop station left abandoned as though it had just been assaulted by insurrectionists, bureaucratic documents and id photographs left scattered. Aragon excavated and examined the 19 th century arcades of Paris for subversive potentiality as though they were a buried ancient civilisation.
The obsolescent remnants of an earlier form of commodity capitalism were an unbidden spatial unconscious. This is another image of the ruin — different from the capitalised cosmological cycles outlined above — that needs to be attended to, the hubris of the outmoded commodities and buildings of capital.
The standard trope of most such images — and this is very prevalent in The Ruins of Detroit — is the monumental, looming depiction of emptied out factories and apartment blocks as being totally devoid of people. What can be apprehended in these emptied out images is the actuality of the contemporary industrial ruin as the decomposing embodiment of capitalist abstraction in the shape of dead labour. That is, these derelict buildings depicted in The Ruins of Detroit have accumulated the sweat of living labour over the generations then been destroyed as the reproductive cycle between capital and proletariat is cut by the necessity of capital to valorise itself either in a more fictional, financial form or to begin its flight elsewhere.
The essential trace of the empty space are the proletarianised subjects who originally designed, built, worked in and inhabited these ruins realised in this absence. Industrial ruins are a signifier of the becoming surplus to capitalism of a significant part of this proletariat. The contemporary ruinscape as depicted in books such as The Ruins of Detroit and the repetition of such images on the web are in their emptiness redolent of such a surplus population in both the developed zones of the west and more strikingly in the global south.
Thesis six is: the ruin as an empty space that might herald the non-reproduction of capitalism is a seductive image and certainly constitutes part of any utopian trace it might have for the present. An excellent article by a Detroit resident, journalist and historian that traces the history of Detroit and has much to say about both ruin pornography and gentrification.
Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. This year has been, in large part as a response to the consequences of an increasingly brutal neoliberalism, a year of ongoing political unrest.
People across the globe have taken to the streets in confronting economic and other inequalities and assaults on basic human rights, demanding an end to oppression, exploitation and repression. In many countries these events, struggles and movements have recognised the centrality of mainstream medias in manufacturing and maintaining consent to neoliberal policies and relations of oppression. What Comes Next? Document provides a rare public platform in Scotland for debating possibilities and alternatives that speak to the necessity of living, thinking and acting differently.
Katarzyna Kosmala: Protest is not necessarily a purely political statement; a protest can be viewed as a cultural form of resistance. To start with, it is worth reflecting upon whether gesture or gestural forms of expression can make a real difference. You have been producing exhibitions and various projects in public spaces since , and made films that address forms of resistance for nearly 20 years now. You reflect upon socio-political and economic alternatives in your work. How do you see the role of the arts in protest, drawing on the examples from your own art practice? Oliver Ressler: I think art can have a crucial function for an analysis of the current political and economic situation, in expressing criticism, connecting to existing social movements and in thinking about alternative ways about how to organise our societies.
There are multiple roles art can play directly in protest. It is a central idea in my artistic practice to give a voice to protagonists of social movements around the world, and to create a certain space through my work where these voices can be heard and be listened to.
My work often takes the form of a film production. I am interested in creating a tangible tool that can be used by the movements themselves for reflection, education and mobilisation purposes, and to contribute — through the creation of a film — to render their aims and activities spread around the world and made visible internationally. I have also created banners and posters for the alter-globalisation movement, which helped in mobilising demonstrations and blockades at the G8-summit in Heiligendamm in Germany in , for example.
Artists should get involved in different aspects of organising and dispersing activism, and, as a long-term goal, somehow aim at overcoming these boundaries between art and activism in practice. And Comuna Under Construction , the protagonists share their personal experience of crisis and change; the viewer gets the insight into their own micro-struggles to survive.
You have said that making films is something that really interests you. It would be good to reflect on your approach to the film production, in particular with reference to the process of filming and editing. While Socialism Failed… is based on interviews with the impoverished traders in a bazaar in Yerevan, Armenia, about their difficult living and working conditions and their hopes for change, Comuna Under Construction is based on recordings of the community assemblies and the project tables of the Community Councils in Venezuela, that were developed by the people themselves in acts of self-empowerment.
There is of course a big difference between the process of filming in Venezuela incorporating participant observation method, and the interview-based approach in Armenia. On Comuna Under Construction , which was developed in collaboration with the political analyst Dario Azzellini, the co-director of the film it is already our third film on the political processes in Venezuela made since , I worked with a team of five people, and we tried to record as many of these assemblies as possible in a limited time-frame of a few weeks in order to develop a film from this material in the course of a lengthy editing process.
In the case of Socialism Failed… I had almost no budget to make the film and worked together solely with the local activist Arpineh Galfayan, who carried out the interviews for me and helped with the translation. KK: Participatory art is based on a process that reflects a paradigm shift; a shift from material objects to subjects.
Such a shift has been greatly influenced by philosophical and political theories e. How did participatory process feature in the production of these films and your works more generally? OR: The creation of a film is no ideal participatory practice, as not all participants have the same share of participation in the decision making-process at all levels, and for practical reasons this seems to be kind of a necessity.
At least, I could not imagine co-editing or co-directing a film with the 50 or whatever participants in a film… Therefore it is essential that you convince people of the idea of the film, that they trust you, and it is important to take care not to let down this trust. This has been extremely important in Venezuela, where the society is sharply divided into supporters and opponents of the so-called Bolivarian Process. For the whole production, it is extremely helpful that Dario Azzellini is based in Venezuela half of the year and developed a good network of people he knows in the communities who supported our filming.
These first-hand contacts open a lot of doors, which otherwise would probably stay closed. Having done three films already on the Bolivarian Process, and showcasing them when negotiating with people the filming permissions, has helped a lot to win their confidence and to seal our collaboration. What is the role of weaving document with fiction in constructing the narrative of your films?
OR: Film is never a direct visualisation or repetition of reality, but instead it creates its own reality. Under this precondition, the category of images, whether they are documents or fiction, is not a central thing — at least not from my position of a filmmaker.
While I had done already numerous interview-based films over the years, the concept applied in Comuna Under Construction of documenting the assemblies in three different locations and developing a narration based on the recorded material in the post-production, was a completely new experience for me. In this case only a few parameters could have been defined before the shooting began, including the decision for three locations that form three chapters, each focusing on different aspects.
The first chapter shows how the assemblies function on the local level, the second chapter points to attempts of setting up a structure among the self-organised communities at a regional level, and the third chapter elaborates primarily upon the tensions between the community councils and the governmental institutions, which are symptomatic in a process of empowerment.
I have the impression that through filming of the assemblies you do not influence the content that is being discussed in these assemblies as much as you influence the content of an interview through raising the questions of your interest again and again. For that reason, I have the impression that the film Comuna Under Construction has been shaped more through the post-production process — through the numerous decisions about inclusions and exclusions and through highlighting of certain elements — than my interview-based films are.
KK: It seems appropriate to reflect more on the current condition, since we are discussing protest in art and art in protest. There are certainly challenges associated with testing the limitation of the arts in the politics. For instance, the ways of seeing art as an agency aligned with the circumventing of dominant ideologies and obstacles — especially in relation to Euro-centric democracy, if we focus on Europe for example — can be seen as prescriptive. How do you see the process of engaging the public through politically informed art?
OR: Yes, a protest is one option. There is no dominance in my work for representing a specific form of protest. Over the years my work has focused on demonstrations, blockades, protest camps, property damage, militant struggles, forms of social disobedience, go-slows, and more — whatever thoughtful activists in certain contexts felt was a necessary strategy.
But a film can assemble arguments and viewpoints that might lead to informing the process of protest and revolutionary ideas; I know from several people that my films on the alter-globalisation movement were central for them in shaping their personal ideas about the forms and potentials of protest today, and inspired them to become more active politically themselves.
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This happens often because the films are related to specific movements, so people can connect with the local activists where they are based. My films are often presented at the events by the political organisations or at alternative film festivals, including Document. Besides this, my work is also frequently presented at art exhibitions, art festivals and biennales, where a variety of people from different backgrounds mix together. So it is also a central function of my work to communicate certain viewpoints or share theoretical considerations about politics and art in interface with the general public, including those that otherwise probably never come across these arguments.
What we now witness internationally is the form of political action such as Occupy Wall Street, a form of protest that is globally scaled. In Comuna Under Construction you present a social political experiment, testing the limits of democracy. How can the interface between the arts and politics contribute to building a sense of community, in particularly amongst those who feel marginalised and left behind?
OR: At the moment, in the framework of the Occupy Wall Street movement, activists in several-hundred cities around the world are struggling in order to change the system in a direction that takes care of their social and political needs. This is something the marginalised people in Venezuela have already achieved, at least in a significant proportion. What is happening in Venezuela today is already far beyond the system of democracy, I mean democracy as we have it in the European Community or in the USA. Our first film made in that context is entitled Venezuela from Below , and this title actually explains our approach and an attempt applied to all our films on the political processes in Venezuela, namely to make visible these unprecedented processes of self-organisation and democratic decision-making taking place from the bottom-up.
I think to learn from these Venezuelan experiences would be very valuable for the emerging Occupy Everywhere movements. And films like Comuna Under Construction can surely have a role in that. KK: The emergence of an international protest movement without a coherent programme or leadership in a sense reflects a deeper problem than the global economic crisis.
It is about the failure of democracy based on the rule of law. In your project Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies you explore the limits of democracy. Representative democracy functions within distinct borders and among people who are part of the same group or a nation. OR: What the current crisis makes so visible — and this is extremely important — is that representative democracy is less about representing people, but more about representing capital. What is apparent to most people today — that capitalism is in a deep systemic crisis — was already quite obvious to me in and even before, when I started a thorough research on alternatives to the capitalist system and representative democracy within the framework of my long-term project Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies.
Among many things that I have learned through this research was that a common way for how a society and economy should be shaped in a more democratic manner does not exist, which is good as it leaves space for people for more progressive struggles in re-shaping societies according to their needs and wishes.
Therefore, it is very important that the Occupy Movement does not come up with a coherent programme, as this is something that has to emerge through a process of participation. People active within this movement are spread across many hundred cities around the globe; they work together for example to make a global action day happen such as the one on October 15th, for instance , but have very different levels of organisation or other forms of decision-making processes.
And this is wonderful; while for some groups consensual decision-making might be the perfect way, for other groups the assemblies based on majority vote might make more sense. KK: I see the possibility of making a difference in participatory art practice and art as protest. There is however a problem of inclusion and of exclusion. Taking this into account, how do you address the tensions between social and political definitions in different contexts e.
OR: I think a participatory art practice or art as protest will differ depending on the context where it takes place. While a specific activity in a liberal democracy might be considered critical, but legal, it might be illegal somewhere else. Having had a solo-exhibition at ACAF in Alexandra, Egypt, a major problem of my work and potential danger for the art institution appeared to be the inclusion of interviewees from Israel in my video installation What Is Democracy? So what appears critical, problematic or illegal really depends a lot on the context of the presentation.
Therefore, ideally, critical art develops in a close reference to specific local contexts, art that really challenges the power in place. KK: To conclude, can you comment on what a role is for documentation in the process of intervening and in challenging the status quo of a global economy under the reign of capitalist markets, and, more specifically, now in the context of unfolding multiple forms of global protest? Ideally, this is a productive process that contributes towards the creation of further dissenting and resisting activities in other contexts and places, so that the isolated activities taking place locally become a movement — a global movement of ideas that becomes broader and gains more and more influence.
Probably, it is true that most documentation does not have such an effect — and if it does, it is hard to prove. But I like the inherent potentiality of critical films using documentary formats to help in pushing forward the new, the unexpected and unimaginable; that challenges and confronts the deadness and deadliness of capitalist reality Acknowledgements We would like to thank Document 9 and GoMA for their support in making this Glasgow event happen — with additional support from the the University of the West of Scotland and the Austrian Cultural Forum London — and to thank John Mullen for his help with the text.
There has often been a romanticised view of the nature of labour practices in the arts, culture and heritage — significant segments of the tourism industry. A common assumption is of places of work where committed, talented individuals are able to follow their artistic temperament in a vocational manner. Quigg informs that those undertaking careers in the arts consistently have to deal with issues around exploitation 1 as well as a variety of abuses of power. Quigg examines the very nature of harassment and bullying in the workplace, taking the reader through different forms of mistreatment and victimisation that can happen, and has happened, in a variety of arts organisations.
The ideas and concepts that Quigg brings to the fore are a timely intervention as, faced with institutional silence, they may help to elucidate a recent internal investigation into bullying and harassment within the curatorial processes of the recently completed Riverside Museum, Glasgow. The parent body of Glasgow Museums is Glasgow Life — the brand face of Culture and Sport Glasgow, an external company spun-out from council services which manages culture and sports for the city council. At one level bullying seems quite simple, reflecting what many may have experienced in some measure at school.
On another, she exposes a set of practices that are both startling and intrinsically built into many of the work and management practices endured by employees. To begin, Quigg sees intimidatory behaviour as:. The frequency of bullying precludes one off incidents of aggression or violence; the most common type of bully encountered in the arts is the serial bully who picks on one employee after another and attempts to destroy them. A serial bully identifies a target and proceeds to systematically bully that person until they are forced to move on, either to another role in an organisation or to another workplace altogether.
Quigg, having laid out this explicit starting point, then moves to show how such behaviour can develop out of a variety of different circumstances and go unchecked for a variety of different reasons. In doing this, Quigg shows how bullying behaviours are often not just singular actors acting alone, but are often implicit of a wider working culture and due to the very institutions in which people work. One of the most engaging but sometimes most difficult parts of this book is the consistent use of vignettes which give first-hand accounts of different incidences of bullying that have arisen in arts organisations.
They give insight into the different and varied practices of bullying, showing how different sets of circumstances can produce very different forms of bullying. These include low rates of pay, long-working hours, expectations of giving unpaid labour and overbearing expectations from managers. For Quigg, the importance is therefore about producing positive forms of leadership in the arts.
To a certain extent Quigg posits work in the cultural and creative industries as being different to other forms of labour but at the same time suggests that this is no excuse for poor or overly aggressive management. By exploring how these myths fail and destabilise arts practice, Quigg attempts to highlight how management practices that have developed in other industries or non-arts organisations should not be adopted for creative practice. Thus, she fully, and problematically, subscribes to yet another myth of creativity: that of it being exceptional to all other labour 7.
She attempts to set out a new blueprint towards good arts management that attempts to embrace the informal, time intensive and sporadic nature of such work and to fight the desire to control, contain, and dominate such practices:. Perhaps what we need now are: accomplished and motivated people, without a desire for dominance, with a flair for the arts they manage, and the ability to deal with stimulating and challenging experiences. In , Glasgow Life opened its latest remodelled museum, the Riverside Museum. It replaced the Museum of Transport, so as to redisplay the transport collection and house some new acquisitions.
The new site occupies a strip of post-industrial land at the confluence of the Rivers Kelvin and Clyde, cut off from the city on its third side by motorway. It is hoped that through the building of the Riverside Museum, Glasgow Museums can repeat the success — measured in terms of visitation rate — of the Kelvingrove Museum redevelopment. Thus, Glasgow Museums arrived at the situation in which it was to re-display its many transport objects. Thus, the wider purpose of this research project 12 has been to understand the implicit geographies in such entanglements, as practitioners attempt to produce museum spaces.
The urban development agenda is having an influence upon museum practice, as failure to produce the museum on time would affect the image of the city — as well as impacting other cost issues for a cash-strapped organisation — and can be understood to have led to certain behaviours that should be considered unacceptable. This reflected a wider structure of governmentality coming down to bear on practitioners in the production of the Riverside Museum. For some curatorial staff this has meant little control over the content to be contained within the museum, as the Project Management Team has sought to make almost all of the key decisions, essentially reducing curators to the function of researchers To a certain extent, when producing a museum on the size and scale of the Riverside, organisational structures are likely to operate in authoritarian ways in order to complete the project on schedule.
However, within the management of the Riverside Project this often went beyond what some curators found acceptable. Thus, when disagreements arose, dissenting voices were quickly silenced:. A huge number of people left in the course of the Riverside project which is fairly unusual actually — the rate that people were going.
However, due to the perceived sensitive nature of this report, it has not been published and no disciplinary action was taken. Only one copy of the report is believed to exist, held by the current Head of Service. Furthermore that disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially i the free and frank provision of advice and ii the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation or c would otherwise prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs.
For these reasons the following can only give a snapshot of some of the issues created in the production of the Riverside Museum, but it is hoped that if the report is made public at a later date, a more thorough depiction to what was a very difficult time for members of staff can be given.
What is astonishing about this is that fifteen witnesses in the enquiry alone confirmed that such malpractice had taken place. He as well as his father " kept tavern " on one of the main New England thoroughfares of those days, and both were widely known through that region. His name often appears in the records as clerk of the church, selectman, and town clerk. He was for over twenty years consecutively a justice of the peace, and in his hands was usually placed such business as the settlement of estates.
The first house built on the Chandler farm was on the east side of the river road, and not far from the present homestead. The second house was built before the Revolutionary War, by the grandfather of the Senator, and this is still standing, though it has been remod eled and modernized. It was used as a tavern and court-house during that war. In this the second Zachariah and his wife lived for many years, and in this they and their daughter Sarah died.
During their declining years they were cared for there by the mother of Rodney M. Rollins, the present occupant and owner of the place, and the house, with forty acres of land, was willed to Mrs. Rollins by " Aunt Sarah " previous to her death. This was the iirst alienation from the possession of the family of any part of the Chandler farm. Although the house has been remodeled, it retains many of its old features, and one apartment at the northwest corner has been preserved nearly as it was at the time of the Revolution. It is called the Revolutionary room, and has still in its furniture some of the chairs that were there a hundred years ago, and among its fixtures an ancient buffet, carved by hand and unchanged except by paint since 1YY6.
On the opposite side of the road, fronting the east, and in sight of the Merrimack, where it takes its broad sweep above GofPs Falls, is the present Chandler homestead, w T hich was built by Samuel Chandler in , before his marriage. It remains to-day almost precisely as first constructed, and seems good for half a century more. Its rooms are large, and the ceilings unusually high for a farm-house of the earlier times. The front portion contains four large apartments on the lower floor, and in the rear are the dining-room, the kitchen, the pantry, and store-rooms.
In the second story are five bed-rooms, with closets and additional store-room, and above these is a spacious attic. Among the furniture are chairs and chests of drawers of pre- revolutionary times, one of the ancient four -post bed steads common a hundred years ago, and brass andirons which would delight the eyes of a lover of antique relics.
In the ancient family bible, printed in and preserved by Mrs. Lee still speaks of her brother as Zacharias, and his name is also so printed in the Chandler geneaology in the centennial history of Bedford. The Senator in his signatures simply used the initial of his first name, but he ultimately adopted the ancestral Zachariah, and that was the name which he made famous, and by which he will be known in this biography. Zachariah Chandler s father and paternal grandfather, Samuel and Zachariah, are described as spare men of medium stature, but energetic and full of endurance.
His mother, Margaret Orr, was tall and powerful ; her distinguished son resembled her in face, and inherited from her many of his most vigorous traits. She was a woman of great strength of character and robust sense, and exercised a large influence over her children. Her family was a remarkable one ; her father was the conspicuous man of his day in his part of JsTew Hampshire ; her brother, Benjamin Orr, became the foremost lawyer of Maine early in the present century, and served one term from that State in Congress ; her half-brother, the Rev.
Isaac Orr, was a man of many accomplish ments and a diverse scholarship, a prolific writer on scientific and philosophical topics, and with a claim on the general gratitude as the inventor of the application of the air-tight principle to the common stove. The boy Zachariali was healthy, strong, quick-tempered, and self-reliant, and the contrast was marked between his sturdiness and the constitutional feebleness of his short-lived brothers. The traditions of his childhood, still fondly cherished by his surviving sister, all show that from his cradle he was ready to fight his own battles, and that his " pluckiness " was innate.
One juvenile anecdote related by Mrs. Lee will illustrate scores that might be repeated : His father s poultry-yard was ruled by a large and ill-tempered gander, the strokes of whose horny beak were the dread of the smaller children. The oldest brother was one day driven back by this fowl while attempting to cross the road, when the young " Zach. His rudimentary education was obtained in the little brick school-house at Bedford, which remains substantially unchanged and is still used.
Here he attended school regularly from the age of five or six until he was fourteen or fifteen. He had an excellent memory, and was a good scholar, standing well with others of his age. He was a leader in the boys sports, always active, and entering with zest into every frolic. Of these days, one of his early playmates now the Iv-ev. Abbott, of Stamford, Conn. Chandler " revives the memories of half a century ago. The old brick "school-house where we were taught together the rudiments of " our education ; the country store where his father sold such a "wonderful variety of merchandise for the wants of the inner " and outer man ; the broad acres of field and forest in the " ancestral domain where we used to rove and hunt ; his uncle s " tavern, the cheerful home of the traveler when there were no " railroads, situated on a great thoroughfare, constantly alive with "stages, teams, cattle, sheep, swine, turkeys, and pedestrian ZACHARIAH CHANDLER.
After more than forty years separation, when I called on "him in the capitol, and apologized for calling him Zach, in " his old, rollicking way he said Oh, you can call me old Zach, "that s what they all call me out West, " In his fifteenth and sixteenth years he attended the acade mies at Pembroke and Deny, with his older brother, who was fitting for college. In the winter following he taught school one term in the Piscataquog or " Squog " district. As is the rule in country schools, many of the pupils were about as large as the teacher, and the " Squog " boys had the reputation of being especially unruly.
The usual disorders commenced, but after some trouble the energetic young man from the Chandler farm established his supremacy, and the scholars recognized the fact that there was a head to the school. Chandler always spoke with interest of his brief experience in teaching, although he never claimed any particular success in that calling.
While he was thus employed the teacher of the brick school, in which he had been so long a pupil, was a Dartmouth sophomore who in his " boarding around " was especially welcome at the house of Samuel Chandler. This was James F. Joy, who then formed with the young Zachariah an intimacy, which ranked among the causes that determined Mr. Joy s own selection of Detroit as a home, and lasted through life. In the latter years of his school life young Chandler worked on the farm through the summer, and the last season that he was home he took entire charge, employing the help and super intending the labor.
Thomas Kendall, who was with him during three summers, and who is still living in Bedford, says, "Zach. Stories are still told of his achievements in mowing contests with the men. He had no liking, as had many of his fellows, for hunt ing or fishing, but he was fond of athletic sports, and was the best wrestler in town. Kendall, " had to go down. Chandler was enrolled in the local militia company and turned out at the "general muster.
He was kept under arrest through one afternoon, but the court-martial which had been ordered for his trial was recalled and he was released. He was afterwards for a short time on the staff of the command ing officer, General Riddle, but his removal from New Hampshire took place at about this time. After his Janesville, Wis. Chandler was called upon by the Captain Colley who had placed him under arrest nearly fifty years before.
Colley is now a resident of Rock county, Wis. For the old homestead and its occupants, and for the town of Bedford, Mr. Chandler always entertained a warm affection. He was a good correspondent, and his home letters, which until his entrance into public life were frequent and long, breathed a genuine feeling of lilial and brotherly affection.
After his elec tion to the Senate, with the voluminous correspondence which his official position involved, his letters to. During his father s life he visited Bedford twice or more each year, and after his father s death made at least one annual journey there.
In , when the centennial celebration of the incorporation of the town ship occurred, Mr. It would have afforded me great pleasure to meet my old friends upon that occasion, but circumstances beyond my own control will prevent. The ashes of the dead, as well as the loved faces of the living, attract me strongly to my native town, and that attachment I find increasing each day of my life.
Permit me, in conclusion, to offer: "The town of Bedford May her descendants widely scattered through the land never dishonor their paternity. His later visits were looked forward to with much interest, not only by his relatives, but by the neighbors, to whom a talk with him was one of the events of the year. His last visit to the homestead was after the close of his campaign in Maine, in August, He then met many of his boyhood friends, and enjoyed a ramble over the undulating fields which stretch from the central hills toward the banks of the Merri- mack.
And as he drove for the last time down the road from the house of his birth toward Manchester, he pointed to a pine grove which skirts the northern border of the Chandler farm, and said to his companion, " That, to me, is the most beautiful grove in the world. Bedford itself has been the birthplace of scores of the leading men of the thriving city of Manchester ; of Joseph E. Barnes, and Jacob Bell, of the Massachusetts bar ; of the Hon. David Atwood, of Wisconsin ; of Judge A. Thurston, of Elmira, K Y.
G-eorge Stark, of the Northern Pacific ; of the Bev. Silas Aiken, of the Boston pulpit ; and of others of large influence in their generations. But upon no one of its sons was the impress of its peculiar history so indelibly stamped as upon the young man who left it to aid in founding a powerful State amid the Great Lakes, and who became the foremost representa tive of that State s vigorous political conviction and purpose. Samuel Chandler also subsequently bought a store for his son s use, but it is understood that all such advances were speedily and fully repaid.
The building in which the future Senator first laid the founda tion of his ample fortune was located where the Biddle House now stands; it adjoined the mansion of Governor Hull, and was subsequently transformed into the American House. In the following spring they removed to a brick store on the site now occupied by S. Chandler did not yield to the prevalent panic, but remained at his business and was indefatigable in his efforts to relieve the universal distress.
His vigorous constitution and plain habits guarded his own health, and he cared for the sick and buried the dead without faltering amid the dreadful scenes of the pesti lence. For weeks he and a clerk Mr. Carpenter, of Detroit alternated in watching by sick beds, and, with others of like strength and courage, brightened with unassuming hero ism the gloomy picture of a season of dreadful mortality.
Those who knew him then describe a fair - haired, awkward, tall, gaunt and wiry youth, blunt in his ways, simple in habits, diffident with others, but shrewd, tireless in labor, and of unlimited energy. He kept a good stock, especially strong in the staples, bought prudently, and there was no better salesman in the West. His trade became especially large with the farmers who used Detroit as a market, and the unaffected manners and homely good sense of the rising merchant soon gave him a popularity with his rural customers that foreshadowed the strong hold of his later life on the affectionate confidence of the yeomanry of the State.
The training which this intense application added to native vigor of judgment early made him a thorough business man, exact in dealings, strong in an intuitive knowledge of men, sound in his judgment of values, prudent in ventures, and of an unflagging energy which pushed his trade wherever an opening 46 ZACHARIAH CHANDLER. As interior Michigan developed lie added job bing to liis retail department, and became known as a close and prudent buyer, a shrewd judge of credits, and a most successful collector.
A business established at the commencement of an era of marvelous growth, pushed with such industry, drawn upon only for the meagre expenses of a young man living with the closest economy, and unembarrassed by speculation, meant a fortune, and at twenty-seven years of age Mr. Chandler found himself with success assured and wealth only a matter of patience. His nearest approach to financial disaster was in the ruinous crash which swept " the wild-cat banks " ajnd so many mercan tile enterprises out of existence in Michigan in the year Like others he.
Chandler, accustomed to Xew England strictness in business and exceedingly sensitive on the point of meeting all engagements, was inclined to treat the protest as bankruptcy itself, and called upon his Bedford friend, James F. Joy, then a young lawyer in Detroit and for years afterwards Mr. Chandler s counsel, to have a formal assignment drawn up. What followed is given in Mr. Joy s language : " I looked care- " fully into his affairs, and found them in what I believed to be " a sound and healthy condition.
I then said : I won t draw " an assignment for you, Chandler ; there is no need of it. He took my advice and went through, and u never had any trouble with his finances after that. Chandler of that occurrence about two months before his " death, when he said he remembered it perfectly, and added " that if it had not been for that advice he might have been a " clerk on a salary to this day. He showed increasing commercial sagacity at every stage of his active business life.
He pushed his jobbing trade in all directions and made his interior customers his personal friends. He invested his surplus profits in productive real estate which grew rapidly in value. He was never tempted into speculation, and lie was very reluctant to incur debt. As a result, ten years after he landed at Detroit he had a reputation throughout the new Northwest as a merchant of ample means, personal honesty, large connections, and remarkable enterprise.
Between and Mr. Chandler reduced his business to a purely wholesale basis and made himself independently and permanently rich. He had opportunities and they were improved to the full. Prosperity did not affect the plainness of his manners and speech, nor the simplicity of his character, and maturity added method to, with out impairing, his powers of personal application. He was a man alive with energy and thoroughly in earnest. He was active and influential in all public matters in Detroit. He thus kept himself thoroughly informed as to the material develop ment of Michigan, and acquired that intimate knowledge of the State and its representative men which formed such an important part of his equipment for public life.
His companion in these numerous commercial journeys was the man who succeeded him in the Senate, the Hon. Henry P. Baldwin of Detroit, who came to Michigan largely through his solicitations, was engaged in business for years by his side, and remained his intimate associ ate through life. This part of Mr. Chandler s career abounded in the making of friendships which endured until death. While strict in all his dealings, he was considerate and his sympathy was quick with struggling industry and honesty.
He aided when they needed it many who afterwards rose to position and wealth, and these men became the most firmly attached of his supporters in his public career. Shortly after political affairs commenced to receive Mr. Chandler s attention, and he gradually entrusted more and more of the actual management of his large business to others, though he still for some years directed in a general way the operations of the house. He had been already absent one winter on a trip to the West Indies for his health, and had made a brief and not wholly satisfactory experiment about at establishing a job bing fancy -goods trade in New York.
With these exceptions he had made his Detroit dry- goods business his personal charge. The firm name had generally been Z. From his second location he had moved his stock to more com modious quarters on the site now occupied by the Chandler Block, and in he again moved to the stores built jointly by himself and Mr. In , as outside matters commenced to press constantly upon Mr.
Chandler s attention, there came into his employment as a clerk a young man of twenty-three from Kinderhook. Shelden s rise in his employer s confidence was rapid and permanent. On Feb. Three years later Mr.
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Chandler ceased to be a special partner, and thus finally sundered his formal connection with the business he had established. The mercantile pre-eminence in Michigan of his house in its line of trade has been maintained by his successors, and it now occupies the magnificent Chandler Block, built for its accommodation by its founder in on Jefferson avenue in Detroit. Shelden himself continued in confidential relations with his predecessor, and was entrusted in later years with the management of a large share of his private affairs.
During his active business life no Northwestern merchant surpassed Mr. Chandler in credit, in enterprise, or in success, and he left the counter and office of his store with wealth and with an unsullied mercantile character. His commercial integrity and sagacity always remained among his marked characteristics. He made profitable investments, became interested in remunera tive enterprises, and, while he lived generously after his income warranted it, saw his riches steadily increase under prudent and shrewd management. At the time of his death, his estate which Avas absolutely unincumbered was roughly estimated as exceeding, at the least, two millions, representing valuable business prop erty in Detroit, several farms, large tracts of timbered lands, the marsh farm at Lansing, residences in Washington and Detroit, bank stock, government and other securities, and investments in railroad and like enterprises.
His business habits remained in full vigor to the last. Without being ostentatious or profuse in his charities he was a large giver, rarely refusing a meritorious application for aid, but he in variably satisfied himself that the object was worthy, and put a heartiness into his " no " when a refusal seemed to him to be in order. His business instincts he never relaxed except for well-con sidered reasons. The ditching of the marsh farm he regarded as an experiment of far-reaching public importance, and lie paid its cost cheerfully for the sake of settling the question of the possibility of reclaiming such lands.
Some of his " imprudences " of this deliberate and well-weighed sort proved profitable. During the war and when the credit of the United States was at an alarmingly low ebb as shown in the ruling prices of its bonds, he visited the city of Kew York in company with Representa tive Rowland E. Trowbridge, of his State. On the w r ay there he spoke, in private, in a tone of unusual depression of the financial difficulties of the government, and lamented the absence of any available remedy.
The next day there was a decided improve ment in the rates for "governments" on Wall street, and the firmer feeling it created never wholly disappeared but was followed by a gradual appreciation in this class of securities. Trowbridge called his attention to the advance on the day following, and the Senator answered, "I know all about it. Chandler was reminded by Mr. He replied that while he had sold many of his bonds bought during the war, he still held those which came into his possession at that time, cherishing them for their associations with an investment which he made at some risk to help the treasury in its difficulties and which had proved very remunerative.
During his public life information legitimately acquired and the broadening of his judgment by contact with men undoubt edly helped his investments, and thus added to his wealth, but individual pecuniary advantage he resolutely ignored in shaping his public career. And his sturdy incorruptibility as a legislator was proverbial at the capital. An illustration of this fact was shown in his strenuous resistance to and emphatic denunciation of the bills to remonetize and coin without limit the old silver dollar. While these measures were pending he had considerable investments in silver mining stocks, which would have been greatly increased in value by the proposed policy, but, showing one day to a friend a large draft representing a silver -mine dividend, he said, " I ought for personal reasons to favor these "bills, but I can t consent to make money at the expense of the " people.
Cutcheon to Washington to secure an increased appropriation for the improvement of its harbor. Senator Chandler, as the chairman of the Committee on Commerce and with a reputation for vigilance in caring for Michigan interests, was naturally relied upon for valuable assist ance. He received General Cutcheon cordially, gave his personal attention to the matter of introducing the representative of Manistee to influential Congressmen and to department officials, and then made an appointment for the consideration of what his own share in the work should be.
Chandler as a public man knew nothing of this early chapter of business life. It wholly ante -dated his appearance at Washington, and the channels in which his strong energies made themselves felt there and in his younger days were widely distinct. But it is a fact that he was a remarkable man of business and as thorough a merchant as ever developed in the West a great trade from small beginnings.
His was a doubly successful career. Before he had reached middle age he had won success in business and a fortune. Then he entered public life and made himself a leader of men in a historic era. HE forty -six years of Zachariali Chandler s life in Michigan saw a vast material empire supplant an almost unbroken wilderness. His commercial enterprise and success and his labors as a legislator were among the influential agents in this marvelous development and give its story a title to a place in his biography.
As early as Jesuits Brebuef, Daniel and Davost, following a route explored by Samuel Champlain eighteen years before, passed up the River Ottawa, across Lake Nipissing, down French river and along the lonely shores of the great Georgian bay to the dark forests bordering Lake Huron. Brebuef reached there first ; Daniel came later, weary and worn ; Davost came last of all, half dead w r ith famine and fatigue. They erected a hut, and daily rang a bell to call the surrounding savages to prayers. Behind them was the tangled forest they had penetrated; at their feet were the broad waters of Lake Huron ; beyond toward the setting sun was an abyss so soundless that no echo had ever come from it.
Seven years later September, 16ttl, Charles Raymbault and Isaac Jaques embarked in a frail birch -bark canoe, paddling northwest from Georgian bay among the countless islands of the St. Marie river, amid scenery that filled them with delight. After seventeen days the Sault de St. Marie burst upon their enraptured vision.
There they were welcomed " as brothers " by the Chippewas and there began the first known white settlement in Michigan. On the 28th of August, , Rene Mesnard left Quebec, resolved to make greater progress in the exploration of the Northwest. He ascended the Sanlt in a canoe, coasted along the northern shore of the upper peninsula of Michigan, and on the 15th of October of that year reached the head of Keweenaw bay to which he gave the name of St. Eight years later a permanent mission was established at the Sault. In the autumn of occurred an event forever memorable in the annals of Michigan.
There was then laid on the Niagara river the keel of the first large vessel built on the shores of the great lakes. It was completed and launched early in the follow ing summer, and on the 7th of August, years ago , amid the discharges of arquebuses and the sound of swelling Te Deums it began the first voyage ever made by Europeans upon the upper inland seas of North America. This was the " Griffin," sixty tons burden, carrying five guns, with La Salle commander, Heimepin missionary and journalist, and a crew of Canadian fur traders.
Three days later August 10 , after many soundings, they reached the islands grouped at the entrance of Detroit river. They thus knew the lake was navigable by vessels of large size this was one step toward solving the destiny of the West. Some fix the date as early as , but others make it later, no names being given in either case. Louis Hennepin gives the earliest description of the river : " The strait De troit is finer than Niagara, being one "league broad, excepting that part which forms the lake that " we have called St.
Du Lliut, W T! Du Lhut proceeded to the entrance of the strait from Lake Huron, where he built a fort and established a trading post on the site of the present Eort Gratiot which he called Fort St. Thus was made the first settlement by Europeans in the lower peninsula of Michigan. The misfortunes of the war with England which terminated with the peace of Ryswick Sept.
Cadillac did not urge this as a missionary enterprise but for its commercial and mili tary advantages, and the force and vigor of his representations prevailed at the palace. He sailed from France with the royal order, "Take prompt possession of Detroit," with this supple ment from Ponchartrain : " Prosecute vigorously ; if the Jesuits obstruct, return and report. Three months later June 5 his preparations were made, and on that day he took his departure from La Chine. Nineteen days later he arrived upon the site of the present city of Detroit.
In his memoir Cadillac wrote: "I arrived at Detroit, July 24 , " and fortified myself there immediately. Thus French Michigan began, and so it remained until Wolfe s victory gave new rulers to Canada and to all the French possessions beyond. On Kov. On that day Maj. George, fired a salute, gave some round British cheers, and the Treaty of Paris con firming this occupation Michigan was English. It so remained until the Revolution and the treaty of made it American. But it was not until thirteen years after that it was evacuated by the British garrison ; in June of that year Captain Porter with a detachment of American troops entered the fort and hoisted the Union flag for the first time, and took formal possession in the name of the United States.
The Hull surren der again swept Detroit and that part of Michigan lying within its command under the Cross of St. George Aug. During the Revolution Detroit was the headquarters of British poAver in the Northwest, and from it were sent out the expeditions which ravaged the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The British captain, Rogers, who took possession in , afterwards reported the population as: Able-bodied men, ; women, ; children, total, This was exclusive of the garrison, who were sent away as prisoners of war, and included the 60 men, women and children who were slaves.
He also reported that of the French families remaining in the settle ment there w r ere men able to bear arms, 24 women, and 41 children. The others were probably English who had followed upon the track of the troops. Captain Rogers s report gives strength to th s supposition. It says : " There are in the fort many English merchants, several of whom have bought houses. The report quaintly adds : " The Indian corn would have been in " greater abundance, had proper care been taken of it ; the most " part has been devoured by birds.
The forests teemed with game, the marshes with wild fowl, and the rivers with fish. The long winters were seasons of enjoyment. In summer and autumn traders, voyageurs, coureurs des bois, and half-breeds gathered from the distant Northwest, and the settlement w T as boisterous with rude frolic and gaiety. This was Detroit and Michigan in In there were a few straggling settlements on the Detroit river, as also on Otter creek and on the rivers Rouge, Pointe aux Trem ble, and other small streams flowing into Lake Erie.
The French Canadians had extended their farms to a considerable distance along the banks of the St. Detroit was a small cluster of rude wooden houses, defended by a fort, and surrounded by pickets. Villages of the Ottawas and Pottawatamies stood on the present site of the city of Monroe, and near them were a few primitive cabins constructed of logs, erected by the French on either bank of the river Raisin ; this was called Frenchtown, and is now part of Monroe.
On the upper lakes there were the posts on the island of Mackinac, at St. Marie, and at St. Joseph on the St. Joseph river. And the shifting from England to the United States also meant only new faces and new colors in the fort ; otherwise it was for the time effectless. The interior of the country was but little known except to those engaged in the fur trade, and they were interested in depreciating its value.
Even as late as the Indian titles had only been partially extinguished, and no portion of the pub lic domain had been brought into the market. The opposite shore was occupied by a vigilant and jealous foreign power. The interior of the future State swarmed with the savages who yet made it their home, and an Indian war was threatening.
These things repelled the tide of immigration that was already surging over Ohio and tho country bordering on the Ohio river. Five years before the number of householders in the lower peninsula was officially given as There are antecedent estimates of population and assertions, but no facts that can be relied on. It can scarcely be pos sible that half of that aggregate was in Michigan alone, and that its settlers then equaled in numbers those scattered over the inviting and fertile region which now includes the powerful and populous States of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
In the census showed but 9, souls in Michigan Territory, which included the present State and the region beyond the lakes north of Illinois. The war was over. Indian depredations had ceased and the Indian titles had been quieted. The perils of settlement were removed. The seeming obstacles of the toil and privations of frontier existence were mere cobwebs in the way of the hardy and adventurous.
But there yet remained serious impediments to Michigan s growth. A more serious impediment was a blunder. On May 6, , Congress passed an act requiring that 2,, acres of land should be surveyed in Michigan Territory. The surveyors went into the forest with their chains and poles, and the result was a report to Congress which may be thus summarized : " Many lakes of great extent ; marshes on their " margins ; marshes between ; other places covered with coarse " high grass ; this grass covered with water from six inches to "three feet; lakes and swamps over half the country; the inter- " mediate space poor, barren and sandy ; the dry land composed " of sand - hills, with deep basins between and more water ; the "margins of many of the streams and lakes literally afloat, or "thinly covered with a sward of grass with water and mud " underneath ; the country altogether so bad that there w r ould "not be more than one acre out of a hundred, if there would "be one out of a thousand, that would in any case admit of "cultivation.
For two years this continued ; but the adventurous would plunge into the wilderness and would come back and talk of beautiful valleys, broad prairies and fertile soils. Then the government ordered a new survey and out of all this came part of the truth, namely : There was in this wilderness an immense variety of forest trees oak, maple, ash, elm, sycamore, locust, butternut, walnut, poplar, whitewood, beech, hemlock, spruce, tamarack, chestnut, white, yellow, and Norway pine.
There were plains and natural parks; there were level prairies and hills rising with gradual swell away to the center of the State. Of soils there were deep sandy loams mixed with limestone pebbles, deep vegetable moulds mingled with clay producing dense and lux uriant vegetation, brown loams mingled with clay, deep vegetable moulds with a surface covering of black sands. There was water in abundance, rivers and streams and creeks and beautiful lakes. All these reports and more, confirmed and re -confirmed by pioneers and surveyors, came back from the interior, until the exceeding richness and great agricultural value of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was established.
But another event was to exercise a most important influence upon the future State. In the first steamer upon the Northern lakes, the " Ontario," was launched, and, amid bonfires, illuminations and most lively demonstrations of joy, made her first trip upon Lake Ontario. This heralded the dawn of a material revolution. One year later, on the 27th day of August, , the " Walk-in-the- water," the first steamer launched above Niagara Falls, came up to the wharves of Detroit after a passage of forty- four hours from Buffalo.
This vessel, of only tons, and lost three years later, was a puny affair, but wise men saw in her advent the promise of a future which time has more than realized. Then in the wake of the steamer, Congress ordered the public lands of Michigan placed in the market for sale. At this time Detroit contained houses, 1, inhabi tants, and the entire territory a population of 8, It completed the link of direct water communication with Michigan, and the stream of Western emi gration was quickly swollen to a torrent.
Chandler first came to Michigan in Three years before the census of the entire territory, as it was constituted when Illinois was admitted to the Union, was 32, The growth during the preceding decade had been steady, not immense; that was to come after. It was in the year of that the first settlement was made in the present State of Iowa. And in that fall September the people of Detroit were rejoicing that " arrangements were in train for the establishment of a new "stage -line route to Chicago, by which travelers can go from "one place to the other in five days.
Detroit was still a frontier post numbering less than 4, inhabitants. On all the Western, lakes at the beginning of that year there were but eighteen steamers, ranging from fifty to tons in burden, and aggregating but 3, tons, and with the best of these a voyage of thirty -nine hours from Buffalo to Detroit w r as a remarkable passage.
All this was improvement ; yet the Detroit merchant in that year could not expect to receive his purchases made in New York within less than from three to six months after the time of setting out to procure them. During the winter steamboats and river craft were ice -bound, and the settlements at Detroit, the Eiver Raisin and elsewhere throughout the broad peninsula, were shut out from the Eastern world, except as travelers braved the tedious and painful staging through Canada to Buffalo, with its week of continuous day and night journeying.
A year later Congress defined the boundaries of Mich igan Territory. Let the linger trace on the atlas the northern borders of Ohio and Indiana, follow around the south shore of Lake Michigan to the boundary between Wisconsin and Illi nois, pursue that line to the Mississippi river, then down its stream to the north line of the State of Missouri, along that westward to the Missouri, and up that river until between the 25th and 26th degrees of west longitude the finger reaches the faint line, coming down into the Missouri from the north, of the White Earth river all the land and lakes between the Detroit straits and this little White Earth river and between the line so traced and the British possessions, was Michigan Territory in and until Michigan was admitted as a State into the Union.
It was an imperial domain, larger than Sweden and Norway united ; nearly three times greater than England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Channel islands ; surpassing the united territories of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark and The Netherlands; even exceeding the combined acreage of Italy and the German Empire. Yet in all this region, when Mr. Chandler displayed his first stock of goods in Detroit, there was not one mile of railroad or telegraph, not one steam mill or manufactory, but one city approaching 4, inhabitants and not one exceed ing it, and not a single mile of paved street or sewerage.
There was not one daily newspaper, and but few of any kind. The valuable iron deposits of the Upper Peninsula were undiscovered. The wealth of pine timber was unknown. Chandler came in with the first swell of the great tide of emigration which broke over Michigan Territory. Up to within a brief period preceding, that extensive and fertile region was scarcely known except as it appeared on maps. Its rich prairies, its fertile plains, its deep forests with all their wealth, were a terra incognita to all white men except the fur traders.
But it was being rapidly known and understood. Its fame had rolled back over the East, and the fruits were seen in the new faces and sturdy forms swarming to Detroit as a point of depart ure to the new and beautiful land. In that year it was a matter of boasting that as many as " one hundred and seventy- five emigrants had landed in Detroit in one day.
And the same journal said : " The " character of these emigrants is in every respect a subject of " felicitation. They will give Michigan a capital stock of wealth "and moral worth unequaled by any of the newly -formed States, " and scarcely approximated by Ohio. Old wind - mills lined the shores ; the little unsightly French carts clattered through the streets; ducks, geese and pigs were the only city scavengers. This sounds like another age another continent but it was the Detroit and Michigan of but forty -six years ago.
Change came with population slowly at first, then with increased speed, then with immense strides. Chandler lived to see it all and to be a part of it. On the fifth day of November, , tens of thousands of people looked upon the dead face of the stalwart Senator and followed his body to its last resting place in the city to which he had come in Forty -six years and a few weeks had passed ; no more. But in that time the city which he made his home had spread its wings until it covered an area of thirteen and a half square miles, with miles of streets seventy -six miles paved , and some of them among the broadest and most beautiful in the world, shaded by rows of graceful trees of lux uriant foliage, and adorned by stores and private residences rich in finish and architecture.
It had miles of water-mains and miles of sewers, making it one of the most perfectly-drained cities on the continent. Great manufacturing enterprises lined its wharves and suburbs ; scores of railroad trains arrived at and departed from its depots daily; and the commerce of the lakes was passing along its river front at the rate of thousands of tons hourly. But the change in Michigan had been no less marvelous. In a single county of the Upper Peninsula, in supposed to be only a mass of barren, uninviting and unin habitable rocks, there are three cities either one of which has a greater population than the Detroit of that day, and in Michi gan out of its forty -three cities and villages April, there are over thirty more populous than Detroit in some of them with populations from five to eight times greater.
The people of the State are a million and a half in number, spread over the greater part of the Lower Peninsula, about the Sault, and from Marquette to Oritonagon and south to Menominee in the Upper Peninsula. Its newspapers have grown to twenty- three dailies and over with less frequent issues. Strong institutions for the care of the deaf and dumb and the blind and for the insane, a thriving college for agricultural education, and that noblest monument of the wisdom and forethought of the latter-day founders of Michigan, the State University, were all planted in these years.
In the mountains of the Upper Penin sula, so long reputed a barren wilderness, have been discovered exhaustless mines of the richest iron ores and the most extensive and valuable copper deposits known on the globe. And while nature was yielding its hidden stores to enrich the State its skilled citizens were not idle. Over 10, manufacturing establishments in Michigan now employ upward of 70, people, pay more than 25,, annually in wages, make an infinite variety of wares, and turn out products each year amounting in value to more than ,, The statistics of agricultural development are equally remarkable.
The log cabin and the clearings have yielded to ample farms. The marsh, the pine barren, even the hyperborean soil of the Upper Peninsula, have been transformed into productive wheat -fields. The cereals of Michigan exceed in their annual product 70,, bushels, and 15,, in their value. Highly cultivated and valuable farms over , in number and with a total acreage of 10,, cover the greater part of the Lower Peninsula. Comfortable, even stately, farm houses dot the landscape. School - houses, churches, villages, towns and cities stand where the forest was.
The wilderness has fled away. Everywhere there are evidences of peace, prosperity, happiness and a high civilization. It is magic ; courage, intelli gence and industry have been the magicians. The changes in the other parts of the Michigan Territory of have been no less marvelous. Four States have been carved out of that region whose boundaries in were traced on the atlas Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota and the great wheat farms of Dakota will soon develop into a fifth.
It produces a larger amount of breadstuff s than the whole Union yielded when Mr. Chandler first came to the territory, and contains more wealth than did all the States fifty years ago. This is a marvelous story of growth. Nothing in the Old World has equaled it. Nothing the New has exceeded it. It has confounded prophecy. It has outrun imagination. It is the achievement of a stalwart race.
It is the triumph of faith, of zeal, of courage. It dazzles the men of to-day. And it will stand for centuries to excite the admiration of the historian and the wonder of the future. HE conspicuous figure in Michigan politics, when Zacliariali Chandler landed at Detroit and for twenty-five years afterward, was Lewis Cass. He was a man of abil ity and many accomplishments, irreproachable in private life, and with a claim upon the enduring gratitude of the people of the Northwest for his large share in the founding of mighty States about the shores of the great lakes.
He came to Michi gan with military distinction, and had added to his laurels civic honors as a territorial ruler, as a skilful negotiator with the Indians, and as an intrepid explorer. General Cass was a warm political and personal friend of Andrew Jackson, and his influ ence made Michigan a strongly Democratic territory and State. The courage, vigor and skill of his attack upon the u Quintuple Treaty," which embodied Great Britain s theories on the then delicate topic of the right of search on the high seas, and which was defeated by the refusal of France to ratify the preliminary negotiations, made his ambassadorship an event in European diplomacy, and gave him a national reputation on this continent.
His return to Detroit in was attended by unusual popular demonstra tions at every important point in his Westward journey. In Michigan sent him to the Senate, and in the Democracy nominated him as its candidate for the presidency. His party held control for years of the main avenues of political preferment, and not a few young men of parts and ambition who came to Michigan as Whigs were led into the ranks of the Democracy by the fact that it was the only organization which had honors and offices to bestow. General Cass was a courtly gentleman, dignified in manners, who, with a natural boldness of character which never lost wholly its power of self-assertion, gradually became ultra -con servative in his Democracy.
Originally lie had anti- slavery tendencies, but the Southern drift of his party, which became apparent about the time of his return from France, carried him with it, and he grew to be one of the most assiduous originators and supporters of the series of compromises which so long defeated justice and encouraged the aggressions of the slave power.
The result was that in time the hammer of his personal influence in Michigan was broken on the anvil of Xew England ideas, while his name became the symbol of "hunkerism" in the Northwest; but in December, , his octogenarian patriotism flamed up in the presence of armed treason and executive imbe cility, and he branded the administration of James Buchanan as it deserved by indignantly resigning the portfolio of the depart ment of state.
Zachariah Chandler s father was originally a Federalist, and then a Whig. For many years lie refused to divert his energies from his mercantile pursuits, and took no share in party contests, except such as would be natural in the case of any enterprising citizen with a lively interest in public questions. He was known as a staunch Whig, and he thoroughly identi fied himself with that party when in both Michigan and the Union its victories seemed accidental, and its defeats certain. Between and i8 his name frequently appears among the officers of Whig meetings, or as a member of the elec tion day vigilance committees of his party, and very rarely as a ward delegate to Whig conventions.
He was a regular contributor to the campaign fund, and he did his share of work at the polls. At that time the labors of election day were not those of persuasion merely. Partisan feeling was bitter, and in the population of the growing frontier city, there was a strong ruffianly element, which was as a rule Democratic in its sympathies.
In close contests mobs sometimes gathered about the voting places, and sought by jostling and occasional assaults to keep away from the ballot-boxes the more timid or fastidious of the Whigs. On these occasions Mr. Chandler was among the men of strong frames, sinewy arms, and pugnacity of spirit, who furnished the Whig muscle to defeat this variety of "Loco-foco trick. There is no lack of amusing anecdotes of this species of service ren dered by Mr.
Chandler to the Whig party; and it was at timer, attended by serious danger. In later years he credited Mr. Sheley with having saved his life in one of these election disturbances, and frequently recalled reminiscences of the mus cular exploits of those days. He cast a void vote for Harrison in , before Michigan had been formally admitted ; he attended the monster meetings and sang campaign songs in the log cabins of , and gave then a valid vote to Harrison ; he denounced Tyler s political treason, and in cheered for Clay and Frelinglmyseii ; he opposed General Cass in , and at that time delivered his maiden speech, in support of "Zach.
They charged General Case s denun ciation of the " Quintuple Treaty " to ,a disposition to seek Southern approval by indirectly shielding the slave trade ; they opposed the annexation of Texas, applauded the Wilniot Proviso, and were restive under Southern aggression and slave -holding arrogance at the capital. The few Congressmen whom they were able to elect voted uniformly for free institutions and against the extension of human bondage. Michigan s first Whig Senator, Augustus S. Porter, while still new in his seat, opposed alone Calhouirs resolutions in " the Enterprise case " a vessel employed in the coastwise slave trade had touched at Port Ham ilton in the British West Indies, and some negro chattels who formed part of her cargo had taken advantage of English law to assert their manhood and freedom , and cast a solitary vote to lay them upon the table.
Of this act Joshua R. Giddings wrote : " Seeing that eminent Senators around him interposed " no objection to the passage of the resolutions, Mr. Porter and William Woodbridge voted against the resolution for the annexation of Texas. Howard acted with the friends of freedom on questions involving that issue, and in the Thirtieth Congress William Sprague, the second Whig Representative, was openly classified as a Free Soiler.
Little John for Governor, and the Whigs of Michigan as a whole were a body of intelligent and conscientious anti -slavery men, and made their political weight felt on the side of free institutions. Chandler was from his boyhood radical in his opposition to human bondage, and for a time hoped that the Whig party of the North could be used to effectually resist the conspiracy of the slave power against the territories. His anti -slavery activity preceded his appearance in politics. Detroit was an important terminus of the "Underground Railroad," that mys terious organization which so skilfully and quickly transported colored fugitives from the Ohio to Canadian soil, and Mr.
Chandler, while still absorbed in business, was a frequent and liberal contributor to the fund for its operating expenses. He manifested an especial interest in the Crosswhite case, which played a conspicuous part in the fugitive slave law agitation preceding the compromises of 1S Adam Crosswhite was the mulatto son of a slave mother who was owned by his father, a white farmer in Bourbon county, Kentucky.
While a boy he was given as a servant to his half-sister, a Miss Crosswhite, who married a slave -dealer named Stone. The parental instinct drove this man to a step which he had not taken through any desire for personal freedom, and he determined upon flight. There was a vigorous pursuit, and at Newport the fugitives were nearly captured, but Quaker shrewdness concealed and protected them, and after weeks of stirring adventure, during which the father and mother were compelled to separate, they reached Michigan, and became the occupants of a little cabin in the eastern part of the present city of Marshall.
An Intrinsic Dereliction: The Ruin of Detroit (Unabridged)
They were quiet and industrious citizens, and by thrift and unremitting labor commenced making payments on their homestead. In time the history of the fugitives became known to their neighbors, and finally some one with the genuine spirit of the slave-driver sent to Kentucky information concern ing their hiding - place. In December, , Francis Troutman came to Marshall, ostensibly as a young lawyer in search of business, but in fact as Giltner s representative in identifying his fugitive slaves and planning their recapture.
He did his work well, through artifice and with the help of aid which he hired at Marshall, but did not succeed in perfectly concealing his plans. Crosswhite received warning of the impending dan ger, and both armed himself and arranged with sympathizing friends for prompt assistance.