Just a really quick one today–I’m reblogging this from Futility Closet’s site here.
In 1863, the register of the U.S. Treasury, L.E. Chittenden, had to sign 12,500 bonds in a single weekend to stop the delivery of two British-built warships to the Confederacy. He started at noon on Friday and managed 3,700 signatures in the first seven hours, but by Saturday morning he was desperate:
[E]very muscle on the right side connected with the movement of the hand and arm became inflamed, and the pain was almost beyond endurance. … In the slight pauses which were made, rubbing, the application of hot water, and other remedies were resorted to, in order to alleviate the pain and reduce the inflammation. They were comparatively ineffectual, and the hours dragged on without bringing much relief.
He finished, exhausted, at noon on Sunday, completing a mountain of bonds more than 6 feet high. These were rushed to a waiting steamer — and only then did word come that the English warships had been sold to a different buyer. The bonds, in the end, were not needed.