Otsego Herald for August 2, 1819, compiled with comments.

Family sold separately

Letter from a visitor to Louisiana to a friend in Springfield

My Dear Sir. A few days after my arrival in New-Orleans ... I saw a number of people collected in front of (a principal Coffee House) — Crossing the street I soon perceived it was an auction for the sale of human flesh.

On a little platform ... erected for the purpose, stood (the slaves being sold ... )

The one which the auctioneer was now about to sell was an old man, about fifty years of age, with something very human and interesting in his appearance. On getting up upon the stage he pulled off his hat and laid it down by the side of him, then looked round upon the people with an eye of anxiety and solicitude. ... But his silent though impressive appeal to their sensibility had no effect upon them. ... He was struck off for seven hundred dollars.

The next was his wife, apparently about 45 years of age, who ascended the platform and was very soon disposed of in the same way, though she was not purchased by the same man, and of course, probably, separated forever from her husband.

The woman was followed by her two children ... the one a boy, about nine years old, and the other a girl, about seven years old, who like their parents, were separated from each other, and every ligament of their social and domestic happiness sundered and destroyed forever by this remnant of barbarism and cruelty, which still lingers in the christian world ... and which still continue to disgrace so many of our middle and southern states.

COMMENT: One criticizism of the slave system during that era concentrated on the way it deliberately separated families.

Tremendous storm

On Monday afternoon and evening, this village (Catskill, New York) was visited by the most destructive storm within the memory of the oldest inhabitants. The rain fell in torremts, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and Main street was literally one sheet of water, rushing with great fury, and carrying on its surface out houses, timber, boxes. &c.

The injury done to buildings about the centre of the street is considerable. — The basement wall of the brick building occupied by E. Lyon, & Co. and S. Van Orden, Esq., was prostrated, and the interior much damaged — the millenary store of Miss Bellamy, adjoining, was nearly overflowed, and the flagging in all directions torn up.

On the opposite side of the street ... shops ... were seriously injured, and the first stories of the buildings in the rear of these shops were under water, and it was with difficulty that some of the occupants escaped. ...

COMMENT: According to a national weather report, “On July 26, twin cloudbursts of fifteen inches struck almost simultaneously at Catskill, N.Y. and Westfield, Mass. Flash flooding resulted in enormous erosion.”

A female doctor

Doctor Charlotte Von Siebold, the celebrated Female Accoucher employed in delivering Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, is the daughter of Dr. Von Siebold, whose abilities in the obstetric art have spread her fame over every part of Germany.

Miss Von Siebold, after improving herself in the same career under the tuition of both her parents, determined to add to her knowledge and experience the advatages of an academic education.

How singular it may appear in this or any other country, this Lady actually attended the various Courses of Medical Lectures at Gottingen, took the degree of Doctor in Medicine, with all the usual formalities.

COMMENT: Charlotte Von Siebold (1788-1859), daughter of Doctors Damian and Regina von Siebold, an early assistant of her parents, is regarded as the first gynecologist in Germany. She assisted at the birth of Queen Victoria on May 24, 1819, and also that of Prince Albert on August 26,1819 who would become her husband.

Economic woes in America

The Albany Argus reprints the following from the Washington City Gazette, being from a letter from “an intelligent gentleman in Philadelphia to his friend” in Washington.

“Matters are going on worse and worse here, while we are foolishly looking for a remedy in the rise of Cotton in Europe, bad crops in the Moon, war with Sweden, &c.

“Some little is said about retrenchment — those who keep three servants must keep but one. But what are the poor servants to do now no one wants them. — When these servants, and other classes of the suffering poor, can be transferred from unproductive to productive labors; when and not till then will the nation grow rich ...

“There has been in this city of Philadelphia for some years past, at least 5000 persons unproductively employed, or in other words, out of employ; these, set to manufacturing, would earn each $2 per week, or $500,000 per annum.

“Of late the hatters, harness makers, printers, joiners, smiths, shoe-makers, type-founders, &c, have been greatly reduced. ... Thus a million of dollars is lost to Philadelphia alone.

“Certainly, the state of the laboring classes in other parts of the United States will justify us in calculating a loss to the nation, for their want of productive employment, of at least $10,000,000.

“Add to this what is lost on our agricultural produce, the farmer not losing by time, but in price ... compared with last past years, to stand thus ... $43,000,000. ...

COMMENT: A major economic depression in America lasted from 1815-1821, to be followed by four more recessions between 1822 and 1834, resulting from the end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe in 1815.