News of the US: Week One of December 1811

December 2:   Extract of a letter fro his excellency Governor Harrison, to Col. John M. Scott of this place, dated Vincennes, Dec 2. 1811  “Within this hour two principal Kickapoo chiefs have arrived to sue for peace; they are certainly humbled–and if they speak truth, there is scarcely a vestige remaining of the late formidable combination was headed by the Prophet–He (the Prophet) remains at a small Huron Village about 12 miles from Tippacanoe, with about 40 warriors and 12 or 15 Wyandots.–Nashville Clarion, December 24, 1811

December 2:  House of Representatives —  Mr. Newton moved for the printing of a Letter of Mr. Gallatin to the Committee of Commerce, &c. on the subject of the evasions of the NonIntercourse laws. . . .  This letter explains the different modes in which smuggling is suspected to be carried on, from Canada, through Vermont and the Lakes;-in Coasting Craft from Passamaquoddy, and taking on board British goods at sea; in secreting articles in cargoes of salt from Spain and Portugal; by vessels. from St Barts, &c. &c.—Columbian Centinel, December 11, 1811

December 2:  Advertisement  — “To Celeste Champagne, wife of Francois Champagne, Greeting.  Whereas Francois Champagne of St. Clair County, [Illinois] stating that his wife Celeste in the month of September in the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, did without cause or provocation leave the company and dwelling of him the said Francois Champagne, and is now living in adultery.  Therefore you are commanded and required . . . to shew cause if any you can, why the said Francois Champagne, should not be divorced from you agreeably to the statue of the said territory.”  dated December 2, 1811.–Louisiana Gazette,January 23, 1812

December 3.   The sloop of war Hornet, with the Messengers for France and England, will probably sail this day at 11 o’clock, as the last set of despatches are expected by this Morning’s mail.  It was reported yesterday, on the authority of a letter from Washington, that the Hornet is to carry out a treaty, agreed upon by our government, and Mr. Foster, for the approval of the British cabinet.–Providence Gazette, December 7, 1811.

December 4:    The account last from the Spanish frontiers in the south well confirm the statements heretofore published.  All is confusion and contention in the  province of Texas, and the young men from Orleans territory are daily joining the republican standard in that province.–Louisiana Gazette, January 4, 1811

December 4:  From New Orleans — Spanish America.  We congratulate our country on the recommendation of the President to Congress to promote the Independence of the Spanish colonies of America.  It is a language that we have anxiously looked for from the head of our government for several years, and we hope that Congress will take such measures, consistent with the honor and interest of our country, as will accelerate so desirable an event as the complete emancipation of the whole of this vast continent, from the shackles of European despotism.–Nashville Clarion, December 24, 1811

December 4:  Mrs. Jerome Bonaparte [wife of youngest brother of Napoleon] has petitioned the legislature of Maryland for an annulment of her marriage contract, and her petition has been granted.–Boston Weekly Messenger, December 4, 1811

December 5:   “ Extract of a letter received from an officer in the 4th U. S. regt. after their return to Vincennes — That the English have been exciting the Indians to a war with the United States, there can be no doubt; for we took more than fifty Fusees and Rifles from them stamped Ketland & Co. London, with Indian devices, $c.  The powder-horns taken from them were likewise filled with the best fine English glazed powder.  A large silver medal was also taken in the Prophet’s own habitation, with the king of England’s portrait on one side, the British arms on the other, with suitable devices, expressing friendship and partiality for the Indians.”–New-York Columbian, December 23, 1811

December 6:  From Washington — Mr. Mitchell’s resolution on the subject of the American Spanish Confederations, states,  that the United States “behold with friendly interest, the establishment of independent sovereignties, by the Spanish provinces in America, consequent upon the actual state of the monarchy to which they belonged; that as neighbours, and inhabitants of the same hemisphere, the United States feel great solicitude for their welfare; and that when those provinces shall have attained the condition of nations by the just exercise of their rights, the Senate and House of Representatives will unite with the Executive, in establishing with them, as sovereign and independent States, such amicable relations and commercial intercourse, as may require their legislative authority.”—Columbian Centinel, December 21, 1811

December 6:  Serious disturbances are expected to break out in Louisiana, in consequence of some late decisions of the Commissioners of Land Claims.–It appears, that they have refused to confirm the claims of several land holders who have resided in the country for 25 years, and confirmed others who never effected any settlement there.–Boston Weekly Messenger, December 6, 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