Otsego Herald for Jan. 4, 1819, compiled with comments.

Boys liberated

On Thursday the 26th (November) a young man put up at the Swan Tavern in this city (Richmond, Virginia) dressed in domestic cloth of a brownish color. His name ... was Robert Hatfield.

The next morning ... he returned with a middle aged gentleman ... accompanied by three colored people, one of them apparently 16 or 17 years of age, the other boys from 10 to 12. The name of the new comer was Joseph M’Cormick. ... (That) day they met with two gentlemen at the Washington (Hotel), to whom they offered the negroes at the reduced rate of $1750.

The tender was accepted; and the next morning the negroes were conveyed to the Washington, where they were put into a locked room. ... The lowness of the price ... excited some suspicion, that the negroes were diseased. ... One of the purchaser was surprised to find them in tears.

(It) was soon disclosed that they were free, had been decoyed from New-York under various pretenses, and were apprehensive ... that they were about to be sold as slaves. ...

M’Cormick ... was ... arrested and sent to jail. His companion...too was taken up and committed to jail. M’Cormick is sent on to further trial. Hatfield has been discharged. ...

It is said that a few days ago Hatfield attempted to sell a small negro boy at Alexandria [VA]; but ... the boy represented he was free. (Congressman) Cruger (of Steuben County) immediately repaired to Georgedown (D.C.), and discovered him to be the son of a woman of color whom he had known to be free, and who had been so before the birth of her son.

The lad says that McCormick and the two Hatfields are in company, and that the three boys they have with them were decoyed away from New-York.

It appears by the laws of New-York, all children born there after the year 1798, were to be free, the boys at 26, the girls at 25 — and any attempt to export them entitles them to their freedom. Of course, if these lads were slaves, and purchased in New-York, they are by the laws of their state free.

McCormick in September last, purchased a small black boy, 7 or 8 years old, in Steuben county, N.Y. — brought him out of the state, and is supposed to have sold him ... in the state of Maryland. Measures have been taken to trace the boy, but as yet to little purpose.

Joseph McCormick resides in the town of Painted Post, Steuben county, New-York — and Hatfield in the town of Elmira, Tioga county. – Richmond Enquirer, Dec. 9, (1818).

COMMENT: The high monetary value of slaves in the cotton-growing regions of the South made kidnapping African-American children from the North a frequent activity.

Rebel black band in Virginia

A band of runaway negroes have formed a rendezvous in the swamps near Norfolk Va. and excited great terror by their depredations. A body of 140 militia were lately called out to hunt them down; and after some days succeeded in taking one of the chiefs by stratagem.

Thanks to the British

The citizens of New York have held a meeting and resolved to present a piece of (silver) plate to Mr. WILLSHIRE, British Consul at Mogadore, in Morocco, as a testimony of respect for his humane treatment to American captives, particularly to Capt. Riley and his crew. — National Register

COMMENT: American Captain James Riley (1777-1840) and his crew were captured by Arabs on the western Sahara in 1815. After months of extreme mistreatment they were ransomed, thanks to the intervention of British Consul William Willshire. James Riley wrote of this in his best-selling “Suffering in Africa” (1817). Riley later founded the Township of Willshire in Ohio, in commemoration of his savior. Later in the century there was a prominent writer named “Consul Willshire Butterfield” (1824-1899), who wrote over a dozen books on American history..

Abraham Lincoln is said to have considered Riley’s book, along with “Pilgrim’s Progress” and the Bible, as the most important in shaping his political views, especially on slavery. James Fenimore Cooper incorporated some of Riley’s account in the plot of his novel “Homeward Bound” (1838).

Drought ends on the Ohio

After a long drought, the waters of the Ohio were raised 10 feet by a sudden rain about the 10th (December), and business upon that river resumed its wonted activity. It is computed that three millions of dollars worth of property was immediately put afloat upon its bosom.

Nearly 2060 emigrants, who had been detained upon its margin, were enabled to pursue their journeys. A steam boat went down from Pittsburgh, in company with a fleet of boats. Two other steam boats have been launched at Pittsburgh, and two others are on the stocks. — Albany Argus

Treaty with Britain

The ship Triton, arrived at Boston, has brought out the treaty lately signed between the United States and Great Britain.

COMMENT: Signed in London on Oct. 20, 1818, the treaty: (1) Secured US fishing rights around Newfoundland and Labrador; (2) Established the US-Canadian boundary as the 49th parallel from the Great Lakes to the Rockies; (3) Provided for joint control of the Oregon Country for 10 years; (4) Extended the 1815 agreement on commerce for an additional 10 years; (5) Provided for arbitration of whether Britain should return or pay compensation for American slaves on British territory or ships after War of 1812; and (6) provided for ratification within 6 months.

Most important was No. 2, later extended to the Pacific Ocean.