News of the US: Week Three of January 1812

January 16: “A letter from Utica states, that, on the 16th inst. at sunrise, the Thermometer, in that village, stood at 26 degrees below cipher–58 degrees below the freezing point. In this city, it stood, at the same time, at cipher.”–New York Spectator, January 29, 1812

January 16: In the House of Representatives — “The communication from the President, touching the late correspondence between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Foster, assumes the aspect of war; still it is expected that nothing will result from the vapouring of the administration.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, January 24, 1812

January 17: There are now thirteen steamboats on American rivers; the one on the Mississippi made its first voyage on October 29, between Pittsburgh and New Orleans.—Raleigh Register, January 17, 1812

January 17: In the House of Representatives –“The Bill, authorising the President of the United States to accept the services of volunteers not exceeding 50,000 was read the third time and passed. The ayes and noes being taken, there were ayes 85, noes 23.”–Connecticut Mirror, January 27, 1812

January 17: From Maine — “On Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 o’clock, a.m. the mercury in a Fahrenheit’s thermometer, placed under a portico in a western aspect, in the town of Augusta, fell to thirty-two degrees below cypher! This is perhaps as low as it was ever known in this country. A gentleman of Salem who passed the last winter in Archangel (Russia) was witness to its falling to 57 1/2.”–Salem Gazette, January 28, 1812

January 18: From Boston — “For several days past, the weather has been extremely cold. The Thermometer on Saturday was 9 deg. below 0, and has been nearly as low for several mornings in succession. A snow storm commenced on Saturday and has continued since; but with little mitigation of the cold.”–National Intelligencer, January 28, 1812

January 18: From St. Louis — “On the 5th inst. some Spaniards on the road between Natchitoches and Sabine were robbed of money and merchandise to the amount of about 6000 dollars.”–Louisiana Gazette, January 18, 1812

January 19: In the House of Representatives — “A committee was appointed on the subject of the correspondence between British and American Ministers on the impressment of American seamen. Mr. Cheves concluded his speech in favour of a navy for our Atlantic defence. Seybert of Pennsylvania, and McKee of Kentucky, opposed it. A communication was received from the President, in consequence of a call from some time since for that purpose, on our trade with France, which he could not but acknowledge was carried on under ‘very severe restrictions;’ but he hoped that dispatches from Ambassador Barlow would soon ‘furnish more particular information.'”–Salem Gazette, January 28, 1812

January 20: In the House of Representatives — “Mr. Jennings presented the petition of certain inhabitants of the Indiana territory, praying for a revision of that law which places a veto in the governor of that territory on the passage of all laws by the Legislature, complaining particularly of the exercise of that power in a late act for the removal of the seat of government.–National Intelligencer, January 21, 1812

January 21: Extract of a letter from Cape Henry, (Hayti) dated January 21–“”P.S. The king has this day declared himself by proclamation, King of Hayti, first crowned monarch of the New World, defender of the faith, &c. $c.” –Richmond Enquirer, February 18, 1812

January 22: At 9 o’clock this morning, the temperature was 5 below zero.–New York Columbian, January 22, 1812

January 22: From Washington — “Congress were put in possession of documents to-day, which prove that there are known to be six thousand two hundred and fifty-seven impressed American seamen in the naval service of G. Britain, 200 of whom have made applications to our government for the procurement of their release sine the 5th of March, 1810, the date of the last report to congress on the subject.”–New York Columbian, January 22, 1812

January 23: From Savannah — “A severe shock of an earthquake was felt here this morning, a few minutes after nine o’clock. It was much more forcible than those noticed by us lately, & continued more than a minute.” —Richmond Enquirer, February 3, 1812

From Washington — “We have had two shocks of an earthquake here; one at three in the morning, and the other at 9; the first was the most severe. It is thought to have increased the width of the fissure in the dome of the capital, which occasioned some alarm, to the new members particularly, who were somewhat apprehensive before.”–New York Columbian, January 27, 1812

From Chillicothe, Ohio — On Thursday morning last, about nine o’clock, another considerable shock of an Earthquake was felt at this place. Its continuance was near two minutes, and appeared to come from the south-west.”–Scioto Gazette, January 25, 1812


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