From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, Dec. 26, 1812
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
Weather: Utica 1812
Almanack: Clear and cold.
Brilliant Naval Exploits
The following message was received by the House of Representatives on Friday the 11th inst. [Dec.] from the President of the United States, by Mr. Coles his secretary.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the U. States.
I transmit to congress copies of a letter to the secretary of the navy, from captain Decatur, of the frigate “United States,” reporting his combat and capture of the British frigate Macedonian. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on that officer and his companions on board, for the consummate skill and conspicuous valor by which this trophy has been added to the naval arms of the United States.
I transmit, also, a letter from captain Jones, who commanded the sloop of war Wasp, reporting his capture of the British sloop of war Frolic, after a close action, in which other brilliant titles will be seen to the public admiration and praise.
A nation, feeling what it owes to itself and its citizens, could never abandon to arbitrary violence on the ocean a class of men which gives such examples of capacity and courage, in defending their rights on that element; examples which aught to impress on the enemy, however brave and powerful, a preference of justice and peace to hostility against a country whose prosperous career may be accelerated, but cannot be prevented, by the assaults made on it.
Washington, Dec. 11, 1812.
COMMENT: On October 25, 1812 the U.S. Frigate United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), defeated and captured the British Frigate Macedonian. after a long and bloody battle. The British suffered 43 killed and 71 wounded, while American losses were limited to 7 killed and 5 wounded. The Macedonian, with its 38 guns, was taken into the American navy, where it remained until 1828. Stephen Decatur was one of America’s first great naval heroes, but he died in 1820 in a duel with Commodore James Baron (1768-1851). The Town of Decatur, in Otsego County, is named for him.
On October 18, 1812, the U.S. Sloop-of-war Wasp, captained by Jacob Jones (1768-1850), defeated and captured the British Brig-sloop Frolic. The Americans suffered 10 casualties; the British suffered 90. Shortly thereafter the Wasp was in turn captured by the much larger British ship, H.M.S. Poictiers, and its crew taken as prisoners to Bermuda. However, the whole crew was soon released in an exchange of prisoners, Jacob Jones was then named as commander of the captured British Frigate Macedonia.
The state of our national treasury is much more flourishing, than under the pressure and burthens of the war, we had any reason to expect. A revenue of ten millions was actually received into it during the year which ended on the 30th of September, in addition to about six millions of the loan authorized last session.
It appears that the whole of the loan has now been subscribed, in despite of the unmanly exertions of opposition to prevent it. The President thinks that the monies now in the treasury, with the current revenue, will enable government “to defray all the expenses of the year, beginning on the 1st Nov. ult.”
The pecuniary pressure of war will therefore be much less felt than the most sanguine politicians ever anticipated. The people will scarcely feel it, even if the contest should be protracted to a distant period. -- Baltimore American.
A letter from Halifax, received at Washington, asserts that PETION, one of the black Chiefs of St. Domingo, has petitioned the British government to land him in the Carolinas or some other part of the American southern Frontier, where he can form a junction with the negroes. We doubt the truth of this article, as Petion’s character, so far as we have understood it, gives the lie to it. -- Albany Register
COMMENT: Alexandre Pétion (1770-1818) was President of the Republic of Haiti from 1806 until his death from yellow fever, and is considered one of Haiti’s founding heroes. During much of that time, however, the northern part of Haiti was ruled over as King by Henri Christophe (1767-1820). Pétion’s proposal, if it was ever made, was never acted on.
From the Western army -- Col. Russell with 400 men has defeated a body of 150 Indian Warriors, who defended one of their towns. [He]took the town with a great number of women and children, 80 horses, and much plunder. 4 of the warriors were taken prisoner, and 25 found dead.
COMMENT: Colonel William Russell (1758-1825) of Kentucky, where he commanded the 7th Infantry Regiment. In October 1812 he, and Illinois Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards (1775-1833), led a series of attacks which destroyed Potawatami and Kickapoo villages, and drove them from the area. This was in part as reprisal for the Potawatami massacre of soldiers and civilians in August, after they evacuated Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago.
MAPS of the Seat of War. H. & E. PHINNEY, Jun., have just received, a few Maps of Canada, and the seat of War, colored and plain.
A quantity of Octavo, Quarto, and Common Bibles, of all prices, from 1 to 14 dollars. December 5,1812.
COMMENT: It would be nice to have copies of these maps!