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
- Otsego Herald
- 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.
- 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 ...
- '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.
- 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:
- River Raisin Massacre Those whose feelings have been harrowed by the narration of the murder of the wounded, by the allied forces the day after the defeat of gen. [Jamed] Winchester at Frenchtown, will duly esteem the callous wretch (calling himself an American, and, perhaps, unfortunately, born in the United States) that could insert such an article as the annexed, in his paper.
- Please pay up Bristol Gazette, March 20, 1813. On the 19th inst. arrived at Holmes' Hole, the United States sloop of war HORNET, of 16 guns, Captain [James] Lawrence, from a cruise. Off Surinam fell in with His Britannic Majesty's brig PEACOCK, Captain [William] Peake, of 19 guns, which he sunk after 15 minutes close action. The following from the log-book, was handed us, which diffused a general joy amongst the friends of "FREE TRADE & SAILORS RIGHTS."
- Trust Nobody! Died in this village on Thursday last, Mrs. SUSAN GRAVES, consort of Mr. RECOMPENCE GRAVES, aged 49 years.
- Ship Sunk in China Died, in Cherry-Valley on the 13th inst. [March] Mr. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN, aged 27, of the prevailing epidemic.
- A cave tomb in Tennessee Died, in this town on the 2d inst. [March] of the prevailing epidemic, Mr. JACOB PRICE, aged 47 years.
- 'Shocking Barbarity' Died, yesterday in this village, between the hours of three and four P.M., Mrs. ELIZABETH R. GOODSELL, consort of Mr. Peter Goodsell, of this place, aged 41. It is but justice to say, that the deceased was possessed of all those amiable qualities of the heart, which truly adorn the female character, and which had peculiarly endeared her to her family and acquaintances.
- More Otsego Herald Headlines