January 13, 1816 – THE DALLAS TARIFF


by Jedidiah Winchesterton

Greetings, young squire, and my most sincere of apologies for the strange font.  I knowest thou is used to writing where the letter ‘S’ looks like a cursive ‘F’.  God willing, you’ll get used to the odd style forthright.  My name is Jedidiah Winchesterton, and I am but a humble homesteader hailing from Pennsylvania colony.  I have been tasked with documenting the “trending” topic of the day, which of course is the Dallas Tariff.  One would think it has been discussed enough- nary a word about anything else has been heard at Old Man Milligan’s General Store in many a fortnight!

For the sake of introductions, I will first tell thee a bit about myself, and let us hope that familiarity not then breed contempt!  I am a third-generation wheat farmer descended from the Owslebury Winchestertons.  Like my father and his father before him, I humbly toil and till this Pennsylvania land in the hopes of keeping Ma Winchesterton and our young ‘uns fed.  Our family has but a small amount of little ones- as of this correspondence we have only twelve children.  Curses!  Make that eleven, for dear Elisabeth hath expired from the cholera.  Such a shame, at 12 years of age she was nearing the ideal child-bearing age.

1816 has brought much change to this fine Christian nation.  The War of 1812 hath but ended a few months ago and we have not yet settled into peace time.  It seems we may never tire of killing the damn British.  And lo, it doth seem to me that these battles have been for naught.  As you well know, our esteemed electorate hath passed the Dallas Tariff.  It seems to me that in order to free ourselves from the colonial oppression of taxation, we have merely transferred our coin to another pocket.  Now that we find ourselves with an abundance of English goods, our own farmers have been unable to fetch a fair price for their wares.  As such, the leadership has instituted a heavy tax upon foreign imports.  We shall rue the day another country’s cheaper services are allowed to steal American jobs!

As if that were not excitement enough, we have seen fit to grant Indiana Territory entry to our great Union.  This now makes 19 states!  Surely we can ill afford to add a great number more.  I don’t dare surmise what primitive wilderness can be found so far West of the Colonies.  May the Lord bestow great fortune to our friends in Indiana and may the land be rich and fertile.  Of course, this year 1816 has been called The Year Without a Summer because it hath brought terrible cold and little sunshine.  Let us pray that the next year will reap a bountiful harvest or we surely will perish.

Now I must beg your leave as the evening labour must commence.  I have decided to allow myself a small reprieve from the usual amount of daily work.  I expect to retire after only ten hours of exertion- one would be right in asking if I have taken a holiday with such a brief workday!  But I must give myself rest from time to time so that I may retain enough vigor to create more children for Lady Winchesterton.   May our next meeting find us in good health and high spirits.  Good morrow to thee!


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