The Otsego Herald for Oct. 19, 1818, compiled, with comments:
The Manchester Spinners
It appears that, pitiful and stinted as the reward for manual labour has long been in that country, a large manufacturing town recently made the attempt to reduce the wages still lower. A great proportion of the workers turned (walked) out and appeared determined to resent the oppressive encroachments of purse-proud avarice, with a spirit and bravery which entitles them to much praise.
That a man should be compelled to toil from the “rising of the sun to the going down thereof,” for a pittance which barely subsists animal existence, is repugnant to all the better feelings of human nature. Yet it is a fact, that the laboring class are thus humiliated in England.
While the nobility of that country are the most prodigal, riotous and improvident, the yeomanry are the most abject and degraded of any manufacturing and commercial nation in the world. A laboring community which do more for the support of a squandering (government) ministry and nobility than any other people in existence, is remunerated by shat is vulgarly but truly estimated with the value of a “sheep’s head and pluck (inner organs) a day.”
Thank heaven, in this happy country, the laborer, with few exceptions, is considered “worthy his hire,” here he has liberty to assert his right, and independence to maintain them. — Albany Register
COMMENT: Thus begins coverage of one of the most important strikes in English history. Cotton spinners in the city of Manchester, who had earned 15 shillings a month for a six-day week, saw their wages reduced to five shillings or less by 1818. They formed a trade union and went on strike for six months. Many were imprisoned when they tried to prevent non-union “scabs” (their term was knob-sticks) from accepting work in the mills.
The disorders in Manchester continued and shifted into a demand for fairer representation in Parliament, ending in the so-called “Peterloo Massacre” of Aug. 16, 1819, when cavalry charged a crowd of some 70,000, killing 15 and injuring some 500.
Population of Ithaca
ITHACA, Sept. 30. A friend has favored us with a census of this village, taken during the past week. By this it appears, that the village contains a population of 611 persons, of which 313 are males and 298 females — 186 are under the age of ten years; 143 between ten and twenty; 269 between 20 and 45; and thirteen only over forty-five.
The buildings are 226 in number, comprising a church and court-house; 77 dwelling houses; 4 inns; 19 stores (2 vacant;) 7 groceries; 28 mechanics shops; 8 offices — and outhouses (i.e. other buildings, not privies) to complete the estimate.
COMMENT: Ithaca has a population of 30,756 people today.
Chester (County, England) — We shall shortly have cucumbers sold in all the markets by the yard. There is one growing now at Babington, in this county, nearly eight feet tall; and we are told there are several much larger in the garden of Crewe. — London Paper.
COMMENT: What is the world coming to? The Guinness World Record for longest cucumber, also from England, is only 42 inches. The Guinness World Record for the heaviest cucumber is 23 lbs., 7 oz., but it doesn’t say how long it was.
NOTICE is hereby given, that by a Coroner’s Inquest held at Sharon, in the county of Schoharie, JOHN VAN ALSTINE, late of said town, was found guilty of the WILFUL MURDER of William Huddleston, Esq.. one of the Deputies of the county of Schoharie.
The said John Van Alstine is a man of middling size, slender built, lean in the face — has grey eyes, with a downcast look — had on when he this day ran away from said county, a black coat and pantaloons, a bottle green vest, a snuff-colored surtout coat and black hat — is 35 or 40 years of age.
Whoever will arrest the said Van Alstine and deliver him to the subscriber, or secure him in any prison, so that he may be brought to justice, shall be entitled to the above reward. ABM KEYSER, Jun., Sheriff of Schoharie County. Dated 17th October, 1818.
COMMENT: The Otsego Herald also carries a long description of the murder. Van Alstine was captured near Buffalo, tried for murder in February 1919, convicted, and was hanged on March 19, 1819. An illustrated pamphlet called “Life and Dying Confession of John Van Alstine” can be found online.
The trial of JAMES HAMILTON, for the murder of Major Birdsall, took place at Albany on the 9th (October). He was found guilty and sentenced to be hung on the 6th of November next. His trial will be published next week.
COMMENT: Maj. Benjamin Birdsall, of the U.S. Rifle Corps, was murdered on July 14 by Hamilton, a soldier described as “an Irishman.” He was tried in Albany in October and duly hanged on Nov. 6.
Connecticut Adopts New Constitution
From a letter in Hartford, October 8, 1818: “The people have approved the constitution made for them by the late convention — majority not precisely ascertained, but say 2000.” — Albany Gazette
COMMENT: Connecticut has had many constitutions. This one was important because it ended the Congregational Church as the official established state church, though continuing to favor Christianity. Voting was guaranteed for all males who paid taxes or had served in the militia. Many Americans today have forgotten that the federal Bill of Rights, including freedom of religion, did not apply to the states until after the Civil War.