November 6, 1861
Almost seven months after the attack on Fort Sumter, Eli Dewhurst, of Pembroke, did not realize that his nation was at war.
Dewhurst, a Baptist minister, took note of the upcoming World’s Fair in London, England, and in November, writes to Governor Israel Washburn. Dewhurst offers "… if there was a Commissioner to be sent to the Worlds-Fair, to be held in London next year, that I might receive such appointment".
The first World's Fair took place in London in 1851. It was an international exhibition of industry and technology and featured many entries from the United States. The second World’s Fair exposition was held in Paris, in 1855.
Regardless of the events that now might be occupying Gov. Washburn’s attention, Dewhurst presents his credentials.
"As regards the qualifications for such appointment I will say that before I entered the ministry I worked on almost all kinds of machinery for twenty years – being a mechanic - and I have spent several years of my ministry in agricultural districts so that I consider myself competent to judge upon the merits of manufacturing__ or agricultural machinery & impliments and such things as would be sent from our State," he writes.
After the southern states seceded from the Union, the international community, became concerned about the success of the 1862 World’s Fair. The worries were justified. The Civil War resulted in an international shortage of cotton, and the displays of British textiles suffered. Many countries that relied on Southern cotton for their textile industries were also unable to attend due to financial difficulties.
Nonetheless, the World’s Fair was held as scheduled, but it was held with few exhibits from America.
And it was held without Eli Dewhurst.
Despite his willingness to represent the state, Maine did not pay for Dewhurst’s traveling expenses to the World’s Fair.
- The World’s Fair used to be an important venue for finding out about new technology. How do you find out about new technology today?
- The international textile industry relied on cotton produced in the southern United States. Can you think of any commodities produced in specific locations that are essential to the current international economy?