As my friend The American Civil War posted today, Douglas supporters had an epic barbecue at Jones’ Wood in New York city (read about Jones’ Wood here.)
An ox, a sheep, a calf, and a hog, were the sacrifices by which the people were sought to be propitiated. The ox, it is said, weighed 2,200 pounds before it was slaughtered, and was from Kentucky. All were presented by New-York butchers, and were killed on Monday. At 6 P.M. on that day the cooking commenced. In a trench sixteen feet long, eight feet wide, and five feet deep, lined with stone, a fire was built, and when the heat became intense the ox spitted on a young hickory tree, forty-eight feet long, was laid across the hole. Every now and then the spit was turned, that the meat might be equably roasted on all sides. The fire occupied only a portion of the bottom of the trench. On the other part tin pans were laid, in which the juice of the meat was caught. Into these the necessary condiments were thrown, and the cooks, with long dippers, poured the gravy thus seasoned upon the beef. With long-handled pitchforks they supported the huge roasting piece when it needed support, and from time to time tested the tenderness of the side turned towards the fire. The veteran PALMO was chief cook, and four assistants divided his labors. Councilman CAMPBELL had the general superintendence of the barbecue. The cooking of the ox occupied twelve hours, and was completed early yesterday morning.
On the other hand, the Times didn’t think this was such a bright idea.
Another illustration of the crazy state of the public mind was furnished on Wednesday by the “barbecue” at Jones’ Wood. The barbecue is an “institution” peculiar to the South, and only adapted to sparsely settled regions, in which a few hundred people are all that the most intense excitement can possibly collect in one spot. When an ox is roasted whole by Southern politicians, in the shades of a primeval forest, it takes all the white men within fifty miles to pick its bones. But nothing short of temporary insanity is sufficient to account for the getting up of an entertainment of this sort by adult lawyers and bankers within the precincts of a City of 900,000 inhabitants. It is about as sensible a proceeding as it would be to send round in Fifth-avenue, or Centre-street, to ask one’s neighbors to take part in “a bee,” and assist one in building a new house, or laying in the Winter’s coal. The cooking of an ox for general consumption, eminently conducive to the interests of Mr. DOUGLAS as it might prove in Alabama and Mississippi, at Jones’ Wood was simply an invitation to all the male blackguards of the Metropolis to take part in a frolic. The spectacle of these personages, all scrambling for half-cooked flesh, would last year have been considered utterly disgusting; but, under the influence of the prevailing epidemic, large numbers of politicians actually look upon it as a display of enthusiasm in behalf of the doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty.