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February 14, 2013

Rescue from Algerine pirates

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Feb. 13, 1813

Compiled, with comments


The Epidemic

It appears by the late reports of the Albany Board of Health, that the prevailing epidemic in that city has in some degree subsided. The joint committee of the senate and assembly, appointed to consider on the propriety of a short adjournment of the legislature on account of the prevailing sickness, reported on Thursday last against an adjournment, and their report was accepted. – Utica Gazette.

COMMENT: As reported last week, an epidemic of “spotted fever” swept through the northeast in 1813-14, spreading largely from troop concentrations. The death toll was high, even in Cooperstown.

Smuggler caught

Burlington, Vt., Jan. 21. On Tuesday last, was brought into camp a Mr. Sears of Williston; he was taken on Hog Island, on his way to the enemy, with a load of provisions. We understand that he was arrested by a lieutenant, a sergeant of the U.S. Army, and a citizen who volunteered his service, Sears is a giant in strength and fought until he was overpowered. Those who took him, are severely wounded, and are now confined to their rooms.

COMMENT: It is said that the British Army in Canada, especially those quartered across the borders with New York and Vermont, received most of their provisions from smugglers acting across the U.S./Canada border. Hog Island is on Lake Champlain.

Rescue from Algerine pirates

Extract of a letter from a young gentleman of Philadelphia to his father, dated Cadiz [Spain], October 21, 1812.

Dear Father, I … give you particulars of my escape from our new enemy the Algerines. I sailed from Lisbon, bound to this port; and being three days out…was captured by the Algerine squadron … After taking possession of the brig, they commenced plundering the passengers and treating us in a most brutal manner …

I was one of those who remained on board the brig in confinement. An English frigate’s [officer] came on board, and by force immediately proceeded to the cabin, which was about 16 feet square, with 14 of us confined in it. The ensuing scene was most affecting. The officer burst into tears. It even touched the hearts of the honest tars, his followers. Among us was a very elegant lady, Madam Salmon, sister to Mr. Onis, the Spanish ambassador at Philadelphia, who suffered much during our confinement.

I demanded my release as an Englishman. With some difficulty the pirates admitted it, when I was allowed to go into the boat with my servant and about two thirds of my baggage. The rest being Spanish passengers the English could not demand them. However, after a long consultation they were given up on condition that they would leave the brig and take nothing with them but the clothes they had on. The unfortunate young lady was obliged to go on board the frigate and leave all her jewels, dresses, &c. amounting to almost $10,000.

We were fed on rice and water by the pirates … The English frigate was the Cossac, the Hon. Capt. King, commander, who treated me in the most friendly manner. Also his officers, to whom I am greatly indebted for their hospitality.

COMMENT: Difficulties were heating up between America and the so-called Barbary States of North Africa. Countries like England had treaties with them agreeing not to engage in this sort of piracy, in return for massive official bribes. So did the United States, at least in theory.

Murderess pardoned

Mary Cool, convicted of murder at the last court of Oyer and Terminer [“hear and determine”] in Ulster county, has received a free pardon from the Legislature of this state.

COMMENT: The pardon noted that Mary had been “convicted of the murder of her infant bastard child, and was…sentenced to be executed,” but that “serious doubts are entertained with the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the said Mary Cool was so convicted.”

1813 federal budget


Civil Expenses including domestic and foreign. $1,532,631.13

For payment and securing the payment of the public debt. $8,000,000

Military establishment already authorized. $15,205,375

Military establishment to be raised including volunteers and 12 month’s men [soldiers enlisted for one year’s service only]. $6,000,000

(As the whole of the regular army will not be immediately raised, you may deduct. $2,000,000)

Add Indian department. $185,000

Navy department including the expenses for the increase of the navy provided by law, passed this session. $7,620,108.84

(In the above, is included three millions for the expence of 200 gun boats; as probably not more than 130 will be employed, deduct. $1,000,000)

Add Contingencies. $450,803

Making in the whole $36,000,000


Probable revenue. $12,000,000

To be received yet of the loan authorized in 1812. $2,000,000

Balance in the treasury 1st January, 1813. $4,000,000

(Deduct expences on account of militia. $1,000,000)

Now to be loaned. $16,000,000

Treasury Notes to be issued. $5,000,000

Total $38,000,000 --- Excess $2,000,000