His Majesty's Voice Reaches the South
On 19 October 1859, an imperial reverberation was felt in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
On that day, the Weekly Vicksburg Whig ran, on page one, column one, Joshua Norton's proclamation declaring himself Emperor — which originally had appeared a month earlier, on September 17th, in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin.
The Whig called it a "startling proclamation" but said: "We have not heard of any great excitement being created thereat."
Of note: Joshua Norton had hand-delivered his proclamation to the Bulletin on what was a day of mourning in San Francisco. The pistol duel between California Senator David C. Broderick and former Chief Justice of the California State Supreme Court David S. Terry had taken place a few days earlier, on September 13th, at the edge of Lake Merced. And Broderick, who had taken the hit, had died on the 16th — the day before Joshua Norton's momentous visit to Bulletin editor George Fitch the following morning.
As it turns out, David Terry, having been born in western Kentucky, spent his early childhood living near Jackson, Mississippi, where his father had bought a plantation. This was just a little more than 40 miles east of Vicksburg.
So, the Broderick-Terry duel was of local interest to the readers of the Vicksburg Whig. And, on the same day that the paper published Joshua Norton's proclamation, it also published, in the next column, a write-up of the duel that had appeared in the September 20th issue of the New Orleans Crescent — written by that paper's San Francisco correspondent.
One wonders how many of the Whig's readers paid close enough attention to the date of Joshua's proclamation to make the connection between the events reported in column one and column two.
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