When publisher and editor Anne Royall skewered a politician in her newspaper The Huntress, they felt it. She had a vicious wit and a harsh tongue and was never afraid to use them when she was displeased.
Royall, who had a special affection for New England, was of no concern to most politicians of the region. But that was not the case with Massachusetts Governor Levi Lincoln in 1840 when he was serving in Congress.
When President Martin Van Buren ran into controversy over the $20,000 he spent on White House furnishings, Lincoln tried to step in and defend the president saying he had not personally ordered any of the improvements, and that they were much needed.
That was the red flag waved in front of the bull, and the populist Royall charged.
“He has made himself … a laughing stock, a figure of scorn to point at. In short, Governor L. carries more sail than ballast and is a rank aristocrat besides, quite too pompous for a republican Congress, and if Massachusetts consults her interests she will leave him at home.”
Lincoln, who preferred his native Massachusetts to Washington, retired from congress after the end of the term to return home and serve as the collector of the port of Boston.
He would later go on to serve again in the state legislature, and when Worcester, Mass. became a city, he was chosen its first mayor.