Otsego Herald for July 27, 1818, compiled with comments.
Army Ordersin Florida
Headquarters, Division of the South, Adjutant General’s Office.
36 miles west of Pensacola (Florida), May 31, 1818
Capt. M’Girt, of the territory of Alabama, is authorized and instructed to raise one company of volunteer mounted men, for the period of six months. ... As soon as (he) raises 60 men he will proceed directly to the Perdido (River, between Florida and Alabama), and scour the country between it and Mobile and Pensacola, putting to death every hostile warrior that may be found, preserving the women and children, and delivering them to the commanding officer at Pensacola
Capt. Boyle of said Territory is in like manner instructed and authorized to raise a company...who will be instructed to join at Pensacola. These companies on reaching Pensacola ... will then proceed to scour the country between the Esacambia and Apalachicolo rivers, destroying any hostiles as above directed. ... By order, ROBERT BUTLER, Adjutant General.
COMMENT: Robert Butler (1786-1860), after the death of his father in 1805, became a ward of Andrew Jackson. In 1808, he married Rachel Hays, a niece of Andrew Jackson, and they had 10 children, a number of whom died in childhood. He served in the Army from 1812 to 1821, attaining the rank of colonel, and was adjutant general to Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. On July 10, 1821, he received the surrender from Spain of East Florida. He became the first surveyor of the territory of Florida, and retired to a plantation north of Tallahassee.
Beauties of Pensacola
From a letter from Fort Claiborne (Alabama), June 7, 1818.
“The town of Pensacola (taken by general Jackson) is most delightfully situated having the advantage of good water and an elevated site. Its contiguity with the ocean give is superior advantages over any other in the southern sector. The sea breezes render it agreeable in the summer season.
“Live oak grows on the bay of Pensacola in great abundance; the harbor is good, and on entering it a vessel may carry 24 feet at low water. Would not this be a most valuable place for a naval depot?
“Would we retain possession of it, I have no hesitation in saying it will be found to combine more advantages than we possess.”
COMMENT: And we did — forcing Spain to surrender Florida to the United States in 1821.
Died — at Middlefield, on the 26th (July), after a short but painful illness, Mrs. CYNTHIA WILBUR, consort of Mr. James Wilbur, in the 44th year of her age. The amiable qualities and dignified conduct of the deceased, rendered he beloved by all her acquaintance. A fond husband and two children are left to deplore her loss. Alas, might they exclaim, “If ye have tears, prepare to shed them now.”
Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb
It will doubtless gratify the friends of the Asylum established in this city for the benefit of the Deaf and Dumb, to learn that the principal, Mr. Gallaudet, has lately received letters from Mr. ZACHARY MACAULY,, Esq. the reputed (i.e. of high reputation) editor of the Christian Observer, and Mrs. HANNAH MORE, expressive of the warm interest which they feel in the prosperity of the establishing, and presenting, each of them, a donation to the funds of the Asylum.
COMMENT: The American Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons (today the American School for the Deaf) was opened in 1817 in West Hartford, Connecticut, with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787-1851) as its first principal; by 1818 it had 31 pupils. In 1859, his son, Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837-1917) helped found the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind in Washington, D.C., today Gallaudet University, of which he was president from 1864-1910.
Robert Gourlay, rebel in Canada
From a letter dated Ogdensburgh (NY), June 28, 1818.
“You have, no doubt, seen ... some statements respecting a man of the name of Gourlay, who is now making a political tour through the Canadas. The day before yesterday, a township meeting was called ... which terminated in a riot, in which Mr. Gourlay was severely beaten. I have not been able to learn ... what object this man has in view ... but more is meant than meets the eye.
“He is not long from England. ... The inhabitants of Canada appear to be very happy and contented with their situation, and with their government generally. What they could gain by a revolution in the present order of things, I must confess I cannot comprehend. ... The magistrates of Upper Canada (today Ontario) are much at a loss to know how they ought to proceed.”
COMMENT: Robert Fleming Gourlay (1778-1863) was a Scotsman who came to the Niagara District of Upper Canada in 1817, after his wife inherited some land there. He sent out a questionnaire to each township in the Province, asking, among other things, what would most improve that township, or the Province as a whole.
The so-called “Family Compact,” a group of men who controlled Upper Canada’s government at the time, tried to block the answers to his questionnaire from reaching him, and, when he held public meetings had him assaulted. In July 1818 it passed an anti-sedition law, had Gourlay jailed, and banished him from Canada. Not until 1836 was his banishment revoked — he returned to Canada in 1856, and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the provincial legislature.
Today, however, a bronze bust of Gourlay stands in Toronto’s St. James Park, with a legend reading: “Robert Gourlay championed reform ahead of his time. In Scotland, a vote for every man who could read and write; In England, a living wage for workers; In Canada, fair land distribution.”