News of the US: Week four, November 1811

November 22:  From Washington.— “Mr. Randolph, in this day’s debate, remarked, that a numerous assembly did not necessarily imply a confused one.  It was one without regulation.  The present House, he said, was not numerous, yet he could compare it to nothing but a place for a morning lounge—a Stationer’s Shopa Coffee-House; and before the public business can be transacted as it ought, the members must be deprived of newspapers, books, novels, and pen, ink and paper for letter writing.”—Columbian Centinel, November 30, 1811

November 23:   It does not appear that Mr. Monroe’s nomination has yet passed the Senate.  Mr. Giles and others procured it to be referred to a committee.–Various objections were taken in order to induce  this investigation.  Some of such a nature, as we do not at present choose to repeat.  It is said, that Mr. Giles went upon a more enlarged and popular ground.  He contended that continuing to place Virginians exclusively in all the highest and most honourable offices, would give just dissatisfaction to the other States, and particularly to the great States of Massachusetts, New-York and Pennsylvania.–This he maintained, would necessarily put to hazard the cohesion of the democratic party; and that there fore it was the duty of those who had at heart the welfare of the party, to act with more liberality and attention to the equal claims of others.–Providence Gazette, November 30, 1811

November 23:  Extract of a letter from Lieut. Vasques of the 2d regiment of U. States infantry, dated Prophet’s Town, Nov. 9th  — “My dear brother.  It is with pleasure that I give you news of the prophet’s defeat, after an engagement of two hours and a half.  Our loss is, including dead and wounded, from 80 to 90.”–Louisiana Gazette, November 23, 1811

November 24:   Splendid Celebration.  The 28th anniversary of the evacuation of this city by the British, in 1783, was celebrated yesterday with a degree of eclat we have seldom witnessed on the occasion.  The dawn of day was hailed by the discharge of cannon, and the rising of the sun greeted with the display of hundreds of flags, from the forts and vessels in the harbor, the new and old city, Tammany, Washington, Mechanics’, St. John’s, and other public halls, the different coffee-houses and hotels, &c. &c.  The U. S. sloop of war Hornet was superbly decorated with the colors of different nations.”–New-York Columbian, November 26, 1811

November 25:    In House of Representatives, — The bill for apportioning the representation of the people of the United States was read, and Mr. Bibb moved its recommitment.  A debate ensued.  . . .Mr. Key advocated the smallest ratio the constitution allows (30,000).–This would, he said, give the house about 240 members.  There was no necessity for anticipating evils.–Whenever the house became too large for the dispatch of business, it would be time enough to increase the ratio.–Certainly, he said, that is not now the case, nor would it be were the house composed of 240 members.  The more members there were it would be found there would be the fewer speakers.  Questions would be decided by vote, after the debate of a few of the ablest members on each side.  The house he considered as the basis of the people’s power; and to diminish their number would be to lessen the real power of the people.  The ayes and noes were taken on the recommitment, as follows:  Ayes 56, Noes 2.  The bill then passed.–Weekly Boston Messenger, December 6, 1811

November 25:    One hundred and ninety-two Scotch emigrants from the Isle of Skye, have lately arrived in one ship at Wilmington, (N. C.)  They comprise many families, and are said to intend to settle on Cape Fear river in that state.–New-York Columbian, November 25 1811

November 26:  From Nashville —   We are informed that on the 31st a duel was fought at Baton Rouge, between two gentlemen of the bar, who after firing six rounds in the unprofitable context, without being able to determine which could do the other the most harm, were obliged to retire from the bloodless arena, for want of power and ball.  How long the firing might have continued, had they have taken an ammunition waggon to the field of battle, it is impossible to form any probable conjecture, as they both behaved in the most noble and determined manner.–Nashville Clarion, November 26, 1811

November 26:  From New York — It gives us pleasure to observe, that the State of New-York is first in population, first in wealth, and first in numbers of representatives to Congress; and the pleasure is considerably heightened by the fact, that the city of New-York (the great depot of the Union) is a FEDERAL CITY.–Providence Gazette, November 30, 1811

November 27:  From Boston  The profits of the theatre on Wednesday evening will be appropriated to benefit the Widow and Children of the late Mr. Paine, [Robert Treat Paine] the American Pindar.  For the honor of the native town of the deceased, we hope the occasion will indeed produce a substantial benefit to them.  It will be the offering of gratitude on the altar of genius and talent.—Columbian Centinel, November 30, 1811

November 28:   Extract of a letter from the honorable Felix Grundy, to the Editor, dated Washington City, Nov. 28.  On to-morrow morning the committee of our foreign relations will make their report in part, recommending the increase of the regular military establishment for a limited period to 10,000, raising also 50,000 volunteers; detachments of Militia &c. arming the merchantmen, and putting the whole naval establishment in commission.–Nashville Clarion, December 24, 1811

November 29:  From Boston —  The war between our vigilant Custom-house officers and British Goods is prosecuted with spirit and warmth.  A few days since a strong squadron of Rumriflemen capitulated.—And yesterday they obtained a victory over a corps commanded by Gen. Broadcloth, although he was covered by some flanking parties of Salt-Fish. . . The enemy were well concealed by hogsheads; but after a struggle surrendered.—Columbian Centinel, November 30, 1811

November 29:  Letters have been received from the Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek Agencies, all as late as Nov. 29, which state that those Indians remain quiet and friendly, and that the Prophet’s attempts to instigate them against the United States had proved unsuccessful, except with some few Creeks, who, it is said, have gone to join his party.–Providence Gazette, December 28, 1811

November 30:  From Kentucky —  An article in the Lexington paper of Nov. 30, states a circumstance which renders it probable that the Southern as well as Northern tribes have determined on some plan of opposition against the whites.  The affair is thus stated in this paper:–“We have heard from a gentleman just arrived from Tennessee, that the U. S. troops employed in cutting a road from Muscle Shoals to Fort Stoddart, have been attacked by a party of the Cherokee Indians.  Our informant states, that he understood 17 of the whites were killed, and the remainder instantly dispersed.  We should not be surprised to find, that this act of the Cherokees, has proceeded not only from the opposition to the opening of the road through their territory; but also from a determination to co-operate with the northern Indians in their warlike expeditions against the whites.”–Boston Weekly Messenger,  December 27, 1811

Washington, Nov. 30, 1811.  “The official dispatch of Gov. Harrison is at last received; but is not satisfactory to the western members, who appear to be alarmed.  They say there is something to blame somewhere.  The dispatch disagrees with many of the private letters of the officers, and nearly admits—what indeed is but too apparent—that the commander was gulled by an old Indian trick, and his troops surprised; and this too when within a mile of their enemy’s head quarters.”—Columbian Centinel, December 7, 1811

November 30:  From St. Louis — “We have had no eastern mail this week, & of course remain uninformed as to the particulars of the attack on Gov. Harrisons little army.  From travellers we learn, that Col Owens of Kentucky, was cut to pieces by the savages, having been pierced with seven bullets before he fell, his horse received twenty.  It appears the indians mistook him for Gov. Harrison.”--Louisiana Gazette, November 30, 1811

These excerpts are taken verbatim from various American newspapers in the University of Texas’ Bound Newspapers Archive, now in the process of being digitized and returned to safe storage in the Library Storage Facility on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University of Texas in Austin.  To see the current inventory of digitized files of this important historical resource, visit UT’s online Digital Repository (Library Owned Content).

For insights into the collection and the preservation process, visit researcher Mary Bowden’s blog in Viewpoint.


About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden