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May 20, 2010

Otsego Herald: Longevity



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.


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.’

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