BY HUGH C. MACDOUGALL
Remarkable Geographical Fact. -- The island of Boffen, or Penguin, sometimes called Seal Island, at the Western extremity of Table Bay has entirely disappeared beneath the waters. A convulsion was felt at Cape Town, in December, only two leagues distant, by which some damage was occasioned to the houses, but we do not understand that any lives were lost at that place, and it is supposed the earthquake extended to Boffen.
The island was about two miles in length, and one in breadth. The Dutch, when in possession of the Cape, kept a guard of 24 men on Boffen, and it was employed as a place of banishment for criminals. No women were then permitted to reside there, not even the wife of the Post-Master. At the southern extremity of the Island, a flag was hoisted on the approach of any vessel. -- London paper.
COMMENT: The widely reported disappearance of this island, following an earthquake on December 7, 1809, proved to be false. Today it is called Robben Island, and it remains at the entrance of Table Bay at Cape Town, South Africa. It served for many years as a political prison -- Nelson Mandela, the leader of the South African freedom movement, was incarcerated there from 1964 to 1982. Great Britain had conquered the Cape Colony from the Dutch in 1795, leading its Dutch settlers (Afrikaaners) to retreat to new nations (Orange Free State and Transvaal) in the interior where they remained until the South African War at the end of the 19th century.
THE FREEMAN’S JOURNAL
James Elliot, the crackbrained writer for the Freeman’s Journal, has commenced a series of letters on the very new, plausible and most edifying subject of French Influence! He is going to bring forward a volume of evidence to prove this foul blot on our country’s honor as plain as `pike-staff,’ and shew it in its `form and pressure -- very like a whale.’
Now if this poor hypochondriac, this ``motley fool’’ were not absolutely in a state of mind bordering on the wildest mania, and pitiable in the extreme, we should conceive it our duty to spend a serious moment in exposing his melancholy ravings or gloomy moans of his prosaic muse.
But as the case is, they must be suffered to pass as unregarded trash, and their author considered fortunate if he escapes the mad-house.
His attempt to elucidate French influence in our government and country will prove as impotent as his threat to impeach the president, which he so seriously and ludicrously made at Washington a short time since. -- Columbian (a New York City newspaper published 1809-1820).
COMMENT: No, this is not the Cooperstown ``Freeman’s Journal,’’ which, though founded in 1808, did not adopt its present name until 1818. ``Freeman’s Journal’’ was, in fact, quite a popular name for newspapers.
James Elliott (1775-1839) published the Philadelphia ``Freeman’s Journal’’ in 1808- 09. He was also a Federalist Congressman from Vermont from 1803-1809, which no doubt explains the Otsego Herald’s reprinting of these nasty remarks about him.
It was a standard Federalist argument to link the Jeffersonian Republican Party with France (and hence with violent revolution). Elliot’s columns written from Washington D.C., and printed in several newspapers over the signature of ``Ariel,’’ have led him to be considered one of America’s first Washington newspaper correspondents.
Lately died at Arnheim, in Holland, Mathys Bademaker, at the great age of 110 years. He worked at his trade, as a shoemaker, until the age of 90. He was only once married,and had no more than two children, both females.
Both of these, however, having married, the old man died grandfather to 10 persons, and great grandfather to 20, the eldest of whom was 21 years of age at the time of his decease.
He retained his faculties and health until within three weeks of his death. When King Louis visited Arnheim last year, he settled a pension of 400 guilders on him.
From that time he drank three bumpers of wine a day, in which he did not forget the health of his benefactor.
COMMENT: Perhaps the ``three bumpers of wine a day’’ were not so good for his own health. This story was copied, almost verbatim, from a long article entitled ``Obituary, with Anecdotes, of Remarkable Persons,’’ which appeared in the March 1810 issue of “The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle,’’ published in London.
BY HUGH C. MACDOUGALL
Passing along advice of seeing the humor
The best advice given to me many years ago when I started teaching had nothing to do with my discipline, English. Rather, a former mentor insisted on the necessity of having a sense of humorContinued ...
The week that was ...
For a number of years now, we have not been in Cooperstown for the spring season. And we must admit that we had quite forgotten what it is like. But since we decided that travel was not on the docket for this year, we have become reacquainted with the Cooperstown spring. And we must say we rather enjoyed it with the possible exception of occasional uncalled for snow and seemingly frigid temperatures.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Mother's visit was a benchmark for this year
Last week, my mother made the 25-hour plane trip out to Thailand to visit her son, me, after nine months of having only choppy Skype sessions and scattered emails to give her an idea of what I look and act like since having left home last August.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: World traveler calls Euro-Tour experience of a lifetime
While I've had a great time throughout my entire exchange, I can say hands down that the month of April brought me the best memories of my exchange if not some of the best of my entire life. What kind of wonder would bring me to say this? Simple. Euro-Tour.Continued ...
Maryland port attacked
Havre de Grace, May 3. "This morning, a little after the break of day, a British armed force, under cover of armed vessels which anchored in front of this town ... landed below a small breast work which had been roughly thrown up, and in which were one 9 and two 4 pounders, manned by 50 militia.Continued ...
Memoir reflects on 'roller-coaster life and career'
Apparently, the third time wasn't the charm. The way Reynolds described him, the third husband was worse than the first two combined and that's saying a lot. Eddie Fisher literally walked away from Reynolds and their two infant children to chase a sex goddess. At least he got his just desserts when Elizabeth Taylor tossed him aside for Richard Burton.Continued ...
Imagine what might have been ...
A while back we got a telephone call from a reader of this column wanting to know why we had not written a column in support of Otsego Manor continuing to be owned and operated by Otsego County. And even though we have followed the debate over this issue in the newspaper, we readily admitted we did not feel we knew enough about the situation to take a stand.Continued ...
Herpes virus brings harness racing to a halt
I've been going to harness horse race tracks my entire life. My family has been in the business for years.Continued ...
Time, if not traffic, moves on ...
It is with sadness we note the passing of two people who we have known since moving to Cooperstown in 1982.Continued ...
Canadian capital captured
Dear Sir, I have just returned from Fort Niagara, where I saw a Captain of the United States' navy. He is just from little York, the capital of Upper Canada, and gives the following account, which is confirmed in official dispatches from Gen. Dearborn to Gen. Lewis ...Continued ...
Local Voices From Around The Globe: Exchange is like a life in a year
All exchange students realize the credibility of this statement. Like all lives no exchange is the same, all are incredible unique exchanges. The metaphor of life, from baby to old age, extends to every part of the exchange.Continued ...
Movie depicting legendary Jackie Robinson does not disappoint
Going to the movies is not something I do often. I can count the number of times I have gone on my fingers, unless you include trips to the drive-in. And even so, it took me years before I made it to one of those -- going for the first time two summers ago.Continued ...
'Dubious' about weather, Hawkeyes 'suitable' nickname
Unfortunately, it seems to us that this spring has, thus far, been anything but spring like. In fact, we are still more than happy to stay bundled up in our polar fleece.Continued ...
'Who's on Worst?' reveals the ugly in baseball
The Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates the greatest players, managers and owners from our national pastime. Any of us who have watched Major League baseball have inevitably seen some of these immortals practicing their craft. But we have also likely witnessed a sample of their opposite brethren, players who shouldn't have been in the Major Leagues. Has there ever been a definitive source that "celebrates" the non-accomplishments of the worst that Major League baseball has to offer?Continued ...
Swallow talk and bluebird vigilance
I assume the swallows have returned to Capistrano. They have returned to Hawthorn Hill as well.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Life in Hungry has taken a turn for the better
I can truthfully say spring has finally arrived in Hungary. It's almost time to wear shorts and sandals, for summer will be just around the corner. This brings me great happiness and great sadness, my adventure is coming to a close. Really what a time it was, I don't think I can compare it to anything else.Continued ...
The importance of speaking up ...
Over the years we have come to understand that, in writing a weekly column, it is not possible to always please everyone. And such was the case with our column that ran at the end of March in which we wrote about our experience as in inpatient following a total hip replacement.Continued ...
Public schools created
The Common School Act of 1812 marked the start of New York's public school system. Much of the credit for this was due to the radical Otsego County politician Jedediah Peck (1747-1821). To quote the NY Education Department:Continued ...
Book takes readers on path for equal rights
One of the most troubling aspects of our history is race relations. It takes a long time to achieve true equality in a society when the heritage of one ethnic group is slavery and Jim Crow laws. Even today African Americans are more likely to be stereotyped as athletes than doctors, lawyers or entrepreneurs. The path to a "color-blind" nation is still a work in progress.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Experiencing India at every new turn
Come, sit down. Hold this and, wait ... ah, there you go. Obeying these commands, I found myself seated on the pavement, wearing a turban and attempting to make sounds out of a recorder-like instrument for the black cobras in the baskets not two feet away from me.Continued ...
- Passing along advice of seeing the humor