News of the US: Week three, November 1811

November 15:  From Washington — Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton, of the U. S. army, it is said, has resigned his commission in disgust at some conduct in the War Department.  As Wilkinson’s Court-Martial was to have given judgment last week, and the result being well understood, it is not improbable he will very speedily be cutting capers again at the head of the army.—Columbian Centinel, November 16, 1811

November 15:  From Washington A letter from a gentleman in one of the Public offices in Washington, says “Notwithstanding the rumors of war in circulation in all parts of the country, we here, do not think we shall have one.”—Columbian Centinel, November 20, 1811

November 16:  Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Louisville, to the hon. Mr. Ormsby, dated November 16. —   “An action took place on the 7th of November between the troops under gov. Harrison and the Indians under the prophet.   . . .  The battle was fought in sight of the prophet’s town.  Three Indians attacked colonel F. Geiger in his tent at one time–he killed one and vanquished the other two–he was shot through the arm.  Governor Harrison was shot through the hat and slightly wounded in the head.  Thomas Randolph was killed dead; Judge Taylor’s horse was killed under him.  It is said that major Floyd fought like Caesar in his shirt tail.  The Indians rushed up and came to the point of the bayonet with their tomahawks.  There has been dreadful slaughter.’–New-York Columbian, November 30, 1811.

November 16:  From Boston —     We have seen several letters from Washington of the last dates.  They all say, “The prospect is most gloomy to the real patriot and honest statesman.  The Restrictions on Commerce will be greatly multiplied; or WAR against England will be declared.  The open War partizans at present are but few; but they say, the President wishes WAR.  My opinion is, he only wants a loud noise about it.–Columbian Centienel, November 16, 1811

November 16:  From St. Louis –“We anxiously wait the arrival of the President’s speech and the accompanying documents which will enable us to give our readers an idea of our present standing with England and France.”–Louisiana Gazette, November 16, 1811

November 17:  Letter from a gentleman in Savannah, dated Nov. 17.  “We had a few days since a considerable bustle here.  The crews of the two French privateers that had been some time in port, having had a quarrel with some American sailors, the French, on the night following, turned out with arms (say dirks, sabres, &c), and went round to different houses to enquire for American sailors, and in their visits met three, two of whom they stabbed in so dreadful a manner, that they soon expired, and were yesterday buried; and were followed to their graves by the largest procession ever seen in this place.  The bells were tolled, and the scene was a truly solemn one.  . . .  About 120 of the crews are in gaol, where they appear willing to stay for protection.”–Providence Gazette, November 30, 1811

November 18:  House of Representatives.  Monday, Nov. 18.  A committee was appointed to report, whether all the monies drawn from the Treasury, since Marc 3, 1801, have been duly appropriated and accounted for.  A few resolutions were offered, and petitions referred, but none important.–Providence Gazette, November 30, 1811

November 19:  From the House of Representatives —  A bill for the temporary government of Louisiana, was reported; and a motion was made to strike out a clause which made a freehold property a necessary qualification for a voter.     This motion occasioned a debate until half after three, and was not then decided.  Mr. Randolph took a conspicuous part in it, and exhibited a great deal of genuine wit, sarcastic reproach, some argument, and much good sense.  He scouted the doctrine of equality and universal suffrage, formerly so much in vogue among demagogues, rogues and tyrants; and declared it impossible for even the ingenuity of Tom Paine and the Devilto make it apply to modern governments.–Boston Weekly Messenger, November 29, 1811

November 19:  In the House of Representatives —  Mr. Randolph justified his allusion to Paine, said he was sorry the gentleman had not recollected his Age of Reason, as well as his Rights of Man, and as to any service, which he rendered by his writings, he thought little of them; the heroes engaged in that great cause, did not need the assistance of an English stay-maker.–Richmond Enquirer, November 26,  1811

November 20:   By the arrival at Philadelphia of the ship Cordelia, from the Isle of France, we learn, that the city of Batavia has been burnt by the French, and that the inhabitants had fled to the mountains.  Batavia was formerly the capital of the Dutch possessions in India, and was taken from them by the French.  The British had now blockaded the port; and to prevent the city from falling into their hands, it was set on fire and destroyed.  It is supposed the city of Batavia, including its suburbs, contained 400,000 inhabitants.–Providence Gazette, November 23, 1811

November 20:  House of Representatives —  Mr. Little presented a petition from the yearly meeting of Friends, held in Baltimore, stating that the law of the United States, prohibiting the transportation of slaves from one State to another, except under particular circumstance, was openly violated by unprincipled persons; and praying Congress to make some further provision to remedy the evil.  Referred to the committee of commerce and manufactures.–Providence Gazette, November 30, 1811

November 21:  THANKSGIVING —I n Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, to-morrow, (21stinst.):-In Connecticut, 28th inst.:–In Vermont, 5th Dec. next.—Columbian Centinel, November 20, 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