News of the US: Week Four of May 1812

May 22:  From the House of Representatives — “Mr. Bartlett presented the petition of  Ebenezer Tucker, proprietor of the Diving Bell, praying Congress to grant him the privilege of searching for and converting to his own use such property as he may recover–referred to a select committee of three.”–New York Spectator, May 27, 1812

May 22:  In the House of Representatives — “An engrossed bill making appropriations for discharging all the outstanding claims for the construction and repairs of the capitol and president’s house &c. was read a third time and passed.”—United States ‘Gazette, May 25, 1812

May 23:  Advertisement — “COCKROACH TRAPS.  A few dozen Cockroach Traps just received at the Tobacco and Snuff Warehouse, nearly opposite the Union Tavern, Bridge-street, Georgetown.”–National intelligencer, May 23, 1812

May 23:  From Erie, Pennsylvania  — “This day his majesty’s ship Queen Charlotte of 22 guns, passed this place, laden with Indians.  What their intention is we know not, but have many conjectures.  We understand that there are about 1600 militia at Buffaloe & Lewistown, N. York, waiting until war is declared, and the Indians, designed for an attack upon them.”–National Intelligencer, June 11, 1812

May 24:  “The National Intelligencer of Saturday . . . contains an ingenious and artful essay in commendation of Mr. Gallatin’s project of issuing Treasury Notes.  The writer, who we presume is no less than the Secretary of the Treasury himself [Mr. Gallatin],  . . . proceeds to detail the advantages of this project . . . .”–New York Spectator, May 27, 1812

May 25:  Dayton, Ohio, May 28 — “The troops have encamped on the western bank of Mad River, three miles from town.  On Monday last, Governor Meigs surrendered the command to Brigadier General Hull.”–Scioto Supporter,  June 6, 1812

May 25:  From the Jamaica Courant — “It is asserted that the Naval Commander on this station, had some intimation through Mr. Foster, [English Minister to the US] that the American Government meditated taking possession of Amelia Island, in consequence of which, Sir James Lucas Yeo, Knt. in his Majesty’s frigate Southampton, was ordered (after seeing the fleet under his convoy to a certain latitude,) to proceed thither for its protection.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 25, 1812

May 26:  From the Kentucky Gazette — “General Scott had just received a letter from Gov. Harrison stating that Vincennes was in a most dangerous situation:  that several hundred Indians were embodied on the Wabash fully sufficient to take Vincennes by storm; and the Governor hourly expected an attack.–This information may be relied on.  Gov. Harrison is not authorised to call on the neighbouring states for relief; nor does he think himself authorised even to accept the services of volunteers, should they offer–So much for the generalship of our wise men at Washington.”—New York Spectator, June 17, 1812

May 26:  In the House of Representatives — “The Speaker laid before the House a letter addressed to him by J. S. Grimes of Virginia, accompanied with a quantity of tea plants for the use of the members of Congress.”–National Intelligencer, May 30, 1812

May 26:  From the United States’ Gazette — “It would seem that the products of the British Islands are not all excluded from an entry in our ports, as may be seen by the following paragraph:  ‘Emigration.–Six vessels from Ireland, arrived at New-York last week, and brought over 490 passengers.  Several other vessels are daily expected from Ireland with emigrants.’  It has been asked why none of those large cargoes of voters which have lately been imported from the British dominions, have been seized and condemned under the non-importation act.  We understand the reason to be, that the government presume them all to have been condemned previous to their exportation.”–Salem Gazette, May 26, 1812

May 27:  In the House of Representatives — “Mr. Nelson after an eloquent appeal to the feelings of the House, on the subject of the   distress under which the people of the Canary Islands labor by reason of famine, moved to refer the report of the committee of commerce and manufactures and the accompanying documents relative to the situation of the people of that country, to a select committee.”–Salem Gazette, June 2, 1812

May 28:  From the Massachusetts Legislature == “The Committee of the two Houses appointed to examine the votes for Governor and Lieutenant Governor reported–That the whole number of votes returned agreeably to the provisions of the Constitution, for Governor, was 104,156–of which 52,079 were necessary to a choice, and that Hon. Caleb Strong had 52,696, and was chosen.”–Salem Gazette, June 2, 1812

May 28:  From Dayton, Ohio — “The troops have encamped on the western bank of Mad River, three miles from town.  On Monday last, Governor Meigs surrendered the command to Brigadier General Hull.”–Scioto Supporter, June 6, 1812

May 29:  In the House of Representatives –“Mr. Randolph, after stating that he had a motion to make, commenced a speech involving generally the present state of our relations with France and Great Britain.  When he had been speaking about an hour and a half, a question of order arose, and it was decided by the Speaker that the gentleman ought, previously to debating so much at large, to submit his motion to the House.  . . .  Mr. Randolph submitted the following proposition:  “That under present circumstances it is inexpedient to resort to a war against Great Britain.”  And the question being taken that the House do now proceed to the consideration of said resolution, it was decided in the negative.”–National Intelligencer, May 30, 1812

May 29:  From Albany — “A meeting of the Democratic members of our State Legislature was held at Albany on Friday last.  Present 87 members of both Houses.  They proceeded to nominate a candidate for President of the United States, when the Hon. DE  WITT CLINTON had the votes of all present.” –Newport Mercury, June 6, 1812

May 29:  From the New York Evening Post — “From a source which may be relied on, we learn that every ship of war which has arrived in England for several months past, has had her crew examined, and all the American seamen found on board have been released.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, May 29, 1812

May 30:  From a private letter from Mr. Barlow [U. S. Minister to France] — “His excellency states in unqualified terms, that all hopes of an accommodation, or even of a patient hearing from the emperor, are entirely broken off.”–New York Spectator, May 30, 1812

May 30:  From a letter from New York — “It is probable that should the election of DeWitt Clinton take place, the seat of government will be removed to Philadelphia or its neighborhood, and that an understanding to that purpose has taken place between the friends of that gentleman and some of the democratic leaders in Pennsylvania.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, June 12 1812

May 30:  In the House of Representatives — “Mr. Randolph said, yesterday, to the house in most decided and express terms, that, if, after the late dispatches from Mr. Barlow, evidencing the shuffling policy of Bonaparte towards us; the abusive treatment and contumely we have to this time experienced from him; and the demonstrative proof of the non-revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees–if, after all these, we go to war against England, it will indeed shew, that our government is under FRENCH INFLUENCE; and History will record it to our disgrace, that we are the SYCOPHANTS and PARASITES of BONAPARTE.”–New York Spectator, June 3, 1812

May 31:  Letter from Washington — “It is confidently asserted that a secret message will to-morrow be sent to Congress by the President, which will be acted upon with closed doors and that this will be followed by the proposing and laying upon the table some sort of declaration which is to be called a declaration of war.”–New York Herald, June 6, 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