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August 26, 2010

Otsego Herald: Censorship?


— BY HUGH C. MACDOUGALL

HERE! HERE!!

All those indebted to John Lawrence, Post-rider, and do not settle the same IMMEDIATELY may rely upon having to pay cost!! Otego, Aug. 24.

COMMENT: This was not the first time that John Lawrence had to advertise to collect from those to whom he distributed the mail and newspapers.

CENSORSHIP?

Baltimore, August 6. The Louisiana Gazette, a federal (i.e. Federalist party) print, contains the following paragraph with the annexed note, in writing on the margin of the paper:

``Letters have been received to day from Bayou Sarah and Baton Rouge, stating that the people of those districts in West-Florida, had in contemplation to form a government of themselves, that they had been for some time without law or the semblance of government, and that self preservation drove them to the measure which they were about to take. We are promised extracts of the letters, which, if handed to us, shall appear tomorrow.’’*

* (evidently hand written): ``The letters could not be published, being of too serious a nature to be inserted in a newspaper.’’

COMMENT: West Florida, an area along the coastline of today’s Mississippi and Alabama, as well as that portion of Louisiana (including Baton Rouge) east of the Mississippi River, was at this time still a Spanish colony, though inhabited largely by American settlers. Throughout the summer of 1810, settlers dissatisfied with Spanish rule had been meeting, and on September 23 they would capture the Spanish military garrison at Baton Rouge and declare the independent Republic of West Florida. A month later, the United States annexed most of the territory.

The thrust of printing this article, from the viewpoint of the Otsego Herald, was to demonstrate the refusal of the Federalist Party to publish the truth.

Volunteerism Augusta, (Maine) July 31.

We mentioned last week the conflagration of Mr. Moses Judkin’s house, &c. Fayette. For the honor of the inhabitants of that town, we cheerfully give publicity to the following: Mr. J’s house was consumed early in the morning of the 17th last (Tuesday) — The next day the citizens generally volunteered for the purpose of erecting a new one, and on Thursday afternoon a frame was raised on the former foundations, forty feet by thirty-two. By Saturday evening it was boarded and shingled, and the floors laid, and the house finished in such a manner as to be comfortable for the family, who took possession the Monday following.

COMMENT: Moses Judkins (ca. 1771-1824), described as a ``yeoman,’’ came from New Hampshire and was an early settler in Fayette, Maine. He married and raised seven children, and also served (for 16 days!) in the Militia during the War of 1812. A brief New York Times article, published in 1890, described Judkins’ funeral ``sixty years ago’’ at which four gallons of rum were dispensed to the thirsty pall-bearers.

Major Earthquake in Crete Extract from a letter dated Smyrna (Syria), February 16, 1810. ``About midnight I experienced a considerable shock of an earthquake... I have since learned that the same earthquake was felt, in all its terrific force, in the Island of Candia (the ancient Crete).

``—- That the greater part of the city of Candia, and all its fortifications, are entirely destroyed, and a destructive fire raging at the same time, added to the misery of the wretched inhabitants.

``—- That eight villages in the neighborhood of Candia are but heaps of rubbish, and many thousand people buried in the ruins of their own dwellings, drowned in the rush of water, or perished by the fire, for it seems as if all the elements had conspired in vengeance against this unhappy Island.

``The olive fields are destroyed, and the most luxuriant part of this beautiful island exhibits at present but one wide waste of ruin, devastation, and death.

``The earthquake has been (as letters which are received mention) felt in Cairo, Alexandria, Malta, Sicily, and in all the Islands of (the Greek) Archipelago, in many of which it has thrown down houses, and done other damage.’’

COMMENT: The Greekowned  island of Crete, in the eastern Mediterranean, has suffered from many earthquakes.

The 1810 earthquake (estimated at 7.2 on the Richter scale), was followed by two large aftershocks, and created a tsunami — the ``rush of water’’ referred to in this article. It caused over 2,000 deaths in Crete, and wreaked damage all over the eastern Mediterranean.

Storm in North Carolina Wilmington, (N.C.) July 24. On Sunday during a very violent thunder storm in this town, the lightning struck the tenement houses, occupied as stores, by Messrs. C. Nichols, and Harris and Saunders.

It descended the chimneys and set fire to two puncheons of rum, which soon put both stores, with their contents, in a general blaze. Efforts were made, but in vain, to extinguish the fire and save the property.

The conflagration continued with unabating fury, consuming five houses on Market street, until it reached the first range of brick buildings, belonging to Mr. J. F. Burgwin, to which it did considerable injury, but the lofty and solid wall of brick which its eastern end presented, put an effectual stop to the further progress of the fire.

The property destroyed is  estimated at 8000 dollars. Itis somewhat remarkable that the houses struck, are low and situated in the lowest part of the town.

COMMENT: Throughout the 19th century, fire remained an enormous danger in urban areas, where it could spread rapidly and where fire-engines were primitive.