News of the US: Week Four of March 1812

March 26: Earthquake at Laguira and Caracas. “Robert K. Lowry, Esq. writes from Laguira, under date of 3d instant, and mentions the confusion and dismay as indescribable; following the destruction by earthquake is a terrible scene of robbery.”–American Daily Advertiser, April 23, 1812

March 26: St. Francisville, La., “I am informed that Col. Pike passed this place yesterday on his return from Natchitoches, where he had been ordered with a party of the United States’ troops for the purpose of securing a desperate banditti that have for some time infested the road leading from that place to the Sabine.–I congratulate the public that he has succeeded in the enterprize.”–Scioto Gazette, May 2, 1812

March 27: “On Friday last, Governor Tompkins [of New York] prorogued the Senate and Assembly to the 21st day of May next. A more Aristocratical and arbitrary measure, we hesitate not to say, was never, under similar circumstances, adopted in any government short of an Absolute Military Despotism. The Constitution, it is true, provides the power; but no Governor, until now has ever presumed to exercise it . . . .”–New York Spectator, April 1, 1812

March 27: From Jefferson, Tennessee –“There has been a considerable stir here since yesterday morning, by a report which gained so much credit as to cause General Jackson to issue orders to the different officers of militia in this neighborhood and surrounding counties, to have men ready to march instantly to a certain Creek of Elk River, called Bradshaw’s Creek, where 25 families of whites were said to have been killed by a body of the Creek Indians, which report has since proved to be altogether groundless, and the orders countermanded, by sending express after the men. There marched from the neighborhood of Jefferson, at a few hours notice, upwards of one hundred men, equipped with rifles, tomahawks, and butcher knives.”–National Intelligencer, April 25, 1812

March 27: “We have it from good authority that a gentleman, directly from WASHINGTON, high in the confidence of the administration, and holding a distinguished judicial station in our country, [Judge Story ?] has given positive opinion that WAR is inevitable, unless the eastern elections should exhibit a change in favor of Federal Republicanism.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, March 27, 1812

March 28: “The bill to enable the people of the Mississippi territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of the same into the Union on an equal footing with the original states was read a third time and passed–Yeas 69–Nays 28.” Scioto Gazette, March 28, 1812

March 28: “By the Voltaire, from Canton, we learn, that the brig Brutus, Dor, from Boston, at the Fegees, had his first officer and four men massacred by the natives. The bodies of the officer and one man were obtained, and buried, but the other three were eaten by the savages. Two Boston and one Salem vessel had arrived at the Fegees in August.” —New York Spectator, March 28, 1812

March 30: “The bill for the admission of Louisiana into the Union, has passed the house.” Charleston City Gazette, March 30, 1812

March 31: Letter from Fort Madison, on the Mississippi — “You will confer a favour on your friend by inquiring after a family of the name of Leonard, who, I understand, reside near Chillicothe. My particular object is to relate to them the catastrophe of their brother James, as well as to send the value of what little property he left. This unfortunate young man went from the garrison on the morning of the 3d inst. and had not gone but little more than out of the reach of our cannon; before he was discovered and pursued by five Winebago Indians, who overtook and shot him with 3 balls–stabbed and tomahawked him in a most shocking manner–mutilating him by cutting off his head and arms and taking out his heart.”–New York Spectator, May 23 1812

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