Today’s Corrupt Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
The Bank Riot of 1835 was probably the most destructive event in the United States prior to the Civil War.
On March 29, 1834, the Bank of Maryland failed. This was almost entirely due to fraud, speculation, and corruption on the part of the bank directors. The Maryland public lost millions of dollars, not adjusted for inflation. Millions of 1854 dollars.
The people of Baltimore and Maryland proper waited 17 months for a financial settlement, which never came. Meanwhile the bank directors were still living large in their mansions, their own wealth very well protected. On August 6th, 1835, a small group of angry Baltimoreans threw bricks through the windows of Reverdy Johnson, who was intentionally obstructing the process of providing a financial settlement in order to protect his personal fortune. The Mayor ordered thirty armed horse troopers to guard Johnson’s house the next night. They successfully blocked a mob from reaching Johnson’s home.
So the mob went to the home of Bank-Director-and-Judge John Glenn, who was helping Johnson obstruct a settlement. Glenn feared for his own wealth, as well, and had an interest in preventing any settlement from going through. The mob partially demolished his home before the horsemen arrived to intervene. There was a tense standoff which lasted the rest of the night. On Sunday, the 9th, the mob returned again, and it had grown to a group of hundreds, if not thousands. They quickly overpowered the guards, and tore down Johnson’s home, piling his property in the street, and setting it alight.
With the tacit support of the majority of the population who refused to interfere, or aided the mob, they took complete control of the city of Baltimore, destroying the property of other bank directors, until Revolutionary war hero Sam Smith, then 83, was able to assemble a force of 3,000 militiamen and restore order. Federal troops arrived a few days later, but Smith had things under control.
The leaders of the mob were jailed, the bank directors were compensated to the tune of $100,000 because of the state’s failure to protect their property. Reverdy Johnson went on to become a pro-slavery Senator and US Attorney General under both Zachary Taylor and Millard Filmore. It seems a corrupt banker is exactly who you want becoming chief law enforcement officer in the US. The rigorous enforcement of the “Fugitive Slave Act” by the federal government, as well as the blind eye turned to free blacks being kidnapped into slavery, was in part the doing of Reverdy Johnson, one of the great unknown villains of American History.
Culled from: DailyKOS
Morbid Sightseeing: Venereal Disease Edition
Musée de la Médecine (Brussels, Belgium)
This museum was created in 1995 to house a variety of medical specimens, most notable of which are a collection of vintage wax models illustrating all sort of horrible venereal diseases and malformations of the genitals. In other words, when in Brussels, you absolutely need to stop here!
(More Morbid Sightseeing Suggestions can be viewed at The Morbid Sightseer.)