News of the US: Week Two of February 1812

February 8: From the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mr. Ogle: “I have observed, Sir, a part of the creation to be very thinly clad, and to appear in public with their naked arms, and elbows, and breasts. . . . Is it not right, Sir, to prevent the female part of creation, .. . . from coming to an untimely end? It really does appear to me, Sir, that we ought to do it. When any fashion comes to be indecent and go to the lives of people, the legislature, Sir, ought to interfere. I wish, Sir, for to see every part dressed in an orderly and decent manner.”–Connecticut Mirror, February 24, 1812

February 8: From Baltimore — “A shock of an earthquake was almost universally felt here and at Alexandria this morning, a little after four o’clock. The noise made by the rattling of things in chambers and shaking of beds awaked vast numbers.”–National Intelligencer, February 11, 1812

February 8: From San Antonio — “But gradually Ferdinand VII is lost out of sight, as a phantom that has no political existence, and the oppression of the government obliges the people of this province to shake off their former yoke entirely. General Ryon has collected a formidable army, chiefly cavalry, consisting of Creoles, born in the interior provinces. . . . Through the means of traders from Natchitoches, copies of the resolutions of Congress respecting the revolution of the Spanish provinces, have likewise found their way here—great pains are taken by the creoles to circulate them. For want of printing presses they are copied by the itinerant monks, and posted up by the creoles to animate their countrymen.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 11, 1812

February 9: “The navigation of the Delaware was opened about the 8th inst. On the 9th and 10th, several vessels left the wharves of Philadelphia where they had been long embargoed by the ice, and proceeded to sea. Among the first was the ship Archimedes, Neal, for Falmouth.”–Salem Gazette, February 21, 1812

February 9: From St. Louis — “On Thursday morning last, between 2 & 3 o’clock, we experienced the most severe shock of earthquake that we have yet felt, many houses are injured, and several chimneys thrown down; few hours pass without feeling slight vibrations of the earth. Should we ever obtain another mail, we shall be attentive in recording its progress in every quarter.”–Louisiana Gazette, February 9, 1812

February 10: Critique of the Answer of the Massachusetts’ House to Governor Gerry’s Speech: “The following is the first paragraph: ‘At no period, since the great national era of our country, has the voice of the people called more loudly on Government to respect itself, than the present.–The House of Representatives have received the Address of your Excellency to their body with uncommon warmth of approbation.’ . . . can any body imagine two sentences that have less to do with each other, than those which make this paragraph?”–Connecticut Mirror, February 10, 1812

February 10: From Norfolk — “On Monday last arrived in Hampton Roads, from Lisbon (last from Madeira) his Britannic Majesty’s frigate Macedonia, of 38 guns, with despatches for Mr. Foster, the British Minister.”–National Intelligencer, February 20, 1812

February 11: A letter from Detroit, Michigan Territory — “Since the battle of Tippecanoe, large numbers of savages who have visited the British fort at Amherstburg, eighteen miles below this place, have been there liberally supplied with arms and munitions of war . . . .”–National Intelligencer, February 29, 1812

February 11: Advertisement — “To Printers. For Sale, 1 Fount of Great Primer Type, 1 ditto Pica, 1 ditto Long Primer, 1 ditto Non Pareil, 1 Printing Press, with all the apparatus necessary to a printing office. Apply to James Kimball, Essex street, corner of Beckford street; who has also for sale, 1000 Goat Skins, in prime order, cheap for cash or on approved credit.”–Salem Gazette, February 11, 1812

February 11: In the House of Representatives — “Many local and private bills were discussed; and much merriment excited at the expence of Messrs. Dawson and Lewis, two bachelors of the House, on the subject of taxing marriage licenses in the district of Columbia.”–Salem Gazette, February 21, 1812

February 12: In the Senate — “The bill making appropriations for the expences incident to the six companies of mounted rangers for 1812, passed its third reading; as did also the bill authorising the Secretary of the Treasury to locate the lands reserved for the use of Jefferson College, in the Mississippi territory.”–National Intelligencer, February 15, 1812

February 13: In the House of Representatives — “The House, on motion of Mr. Poindexter, proceeded to consider a resolution, some time since offered by him, instructing the committee of ways and means to enquire into the expediency of preventing the corporation of the city of New Orleans, from assessing a tax on boats descending the Mississippi, laden with the produce, growth or manufacture of the United States. After a short debate the resolution was adopted.”–Salem Gazette, February 21, 1812

February 14: “Chief Justice Marshall on Friday last took his seat on the bench of the Supreme Court.”–National Intelligencer, February 18, 1812

February 14: From Washington — “I have examined and considered the fore-going proceedings of the general court martial held at Frederickstown, for the trial of Brigadier general James Wilkinson–and although I have observed in those proceedings, with regret, that there are instances inn the conduct of the court, as well as of the officer on trial, which are evidently and justly objectionable, his acquittal of the several charges, exhibited against him, is approved, and his sword is accordingly ordered to be restored. (Signed) JAMES MADISON.”–New York Spectator, March 4, 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