News of the US: week one of may 1812

May 1:  From the House of Representatives — “Mr. Newton, from the committee of commerce and manufactures, reported a bill for the relief of the sufferers, by the earthquakes in Venezuela.  Referred to a committee of the whole today.”–New York Spectator,  May 9, 1812

May 1:  From New York — Yesterday Clement C. Moore [author of “‘Twas the night before Christmas”] was among those elected Trustees of the New-York Society Library.–New York Spectator,May 2, 1812

May 2:  From Washington — “By a letter from Marietta, Ohio, we are informed that General Cass left that place on Sunday last with between 250 and 300 volunteers, the quota called for from his brigade, generally fine spirited young men.  They will go by water to Cincinnati, whence they are to commence their march by land to Detroit.”–New York Spectator, May 6, 1812

May 2:  From St. Louis — “Governor Howard has received information that two of his Rangers, Jesse Vanbibber, and Lewis Jones, being detached from Capt. Boons company as spies, met a few days ago, above Fort Mason, two Winebagoes; the Rangers attacked them without hesitation, the result was, that both Indians were killed, and neither of our men hurt . . .  It is believed that those Indians were crossing the Mississippi as spies, in advance of a larger party; we expect hourly to have further news from Fort Mason.”–Louisiana Gazette, May 2, 1812

May 3:  “The United States frigates PRESIDENT, Commodore Rodgers, & ESSEX, Captain Porter, sailed from Hampton Roads on Sunday on a cruise.”

May 3:  Letter from John Stephens, a black resident of New York, who returned to his native land, Africa, written from Sierra Leone — “I and my wife arrived here, in the ship Tartan, Capt. Willy, on the 2d of March, 1812.  The people received me kindly; particularly a society of colored people called the ‘Friendly Society.’ [established by Paul Cuffe of Westport, Connecticut] . . . And lastly, I and my wife humbly implore you individually to accept our sincere and hearty thanks . . . in placing us once more in our native land, from which I hope we shall never again depart, until we have to take our journey to the land where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.” –New York Spectator, December 9, 1812

May 4:  From the House of Representatives — “On motion of Mr. Newton, the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole, Mr. Nelson in the chair, on the bill for the relief of the inhabitants of Venezuela.  [The bill authorises the President to cause to be exported such quantity of provision as he may think proper, for the relief of the inhabitants of Venezuela, suffering by the effects of an earthquake.] Mr.  Calhoun moved to fill the blank with fifty thousand dollars, which he thought would be little enough to effect the object in view–decided in the affirmative, 45 to 29.”–New York Spectator, May 9, 1812

May 4:  From Salem — “Poulson’s Philadelphia Advertiser says, ‘The unfavorable weather of the present Spring has at length given way, and our forests and fields are now clothed in the most delightful verdure.’–Not so in this quarter.  Yesterday, May 4, the mercury stood at 36 at noon, and snow with a cold rain storm all day.–Not a tree, not a bush is in blossom; and as for grass, enough cannot be found to bleach a shirt upon.”–Salem Gazette, May 5, 1812

May 4:  From Fort Wayne, Ind. –Mr. Shaw has informed you that 24 of the Prophet’s band had passed this place in the last of February, for Fort Malden [Canada] to receive ammunition which was promised to be ready for them–they returned on the 4th inst. with as much gun powder, lead and new fusees as they could carry.”–Scioto Gazette, May 16, 1812

May 5:  From New York — “The ship Whampoa, arrived yesterday from Amsterdam, has not been restored by the French Government, as had been reported;–but, on the contrary, although she had violated no Decree, and her cargo consisted entirely of American produce, both ship and cargo were finally condemned and confiscated.  The ship was afterwards purchased of the captors by one of the owners, who happened to be in Europe at the time.”–New York Spectator, May 6, 1812

May 5:  Advertisement — “Military Books.  Just Received And now Selling at the Book Store and Lottery Office.”–National Intelligencer, May 5, 1812

May  6:  Norfolk — “The U. S. frigate United States has undergone a thorough repair at the Navy Yard at this place . . . and the ship is now in complete order for sea.”  –Richmond Enquirer, May 12, 1812

May 6:  From Natchez –Arrived at this place on Monday last on their way to St. Louis, Louisiana territory, after an absence of about two years and half from home, Messrs. M’Clenahan, Patterson and Smith, three gentlemen that left St. Louis on the 19th of Nov. 1809 for the Spanish Province in New Mexico, to endeavor to open a trade between that country and St. Louis Antoine.  On their arrival on the borders of the Provinces of Texes, they were arrested and carried to the City of Chihaughwa, the residence of Governor Salced . . . .”–Nashville Clarion, June 10, 1812

May 7:  From Baltimore — “Paul Cuffee, captain and owner of the brig Traveller, is now in town.  This is the coloured man of whom some account was lately published from an English paper.  . . .  This pious and humane citizen has already been of considerable service to many of the Africans, to whom he has carried several teachers–and for whose further benefit he appears willing to employ many of his days and much of his large pecuniary resources”–New York Evening Post, May 11, 1812

May 7:  To the Editor — “Permit me to recommend to your citizens through your paper the propriety of planting trees in their gardens & in the streets.  . . . Dr Priestly by experiment proved that trees absorb carbonic acid gas or mephitic air, and give out oxygene or vital air.”–National Intelligencer, May 7, 1812

May 7:  From New Orleans — “At the bay of St. Louis, on Thursday morning last, in a severe gale of wind, the United States’ schooner Alligator was sunk . . .  This little schooner was built by commodore Porter, when he commanded on this station, and was intended and used as an express boat.”  New York Spectator, June 17, 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