Macdougall

The Otsego Herald for Sept. 20, 1819, compiled, with comments:

Attitude of foreign nations

There is scarcely a subject that awakens the pride of an American, more than the respect which is paid by foreign nations, to the star spangled flag of his country. We have lived to see the day when foreign princes, potentates and emperors have paid homage to a banner, which but a few years ago was a stranger to the ocean.

If such flattering testimonials of respect from foreign nations do but rouse us to a proper sense, to a just estimation of our own dignity, we may calculate perhaps for centuries to come, on the preservation of our laws, liberties, habits and free republican institutions. Americans are a nation of emperors governed by no other will than their own, when expressed through its constitutional organ.

The constitution itself the highest legal authority, which Congress, no less than courts of justice are bound to obey, is but an instrument in the hands of the people, capable of being amended, remodelled, enlarged, or abolished altogether, by our fellow citizens in their collective majesty. ... — Baltimore Morning Chronicle.

COMMENT: America, after the War of 1812, was beginning to feel its oats as a nation.

Wedding

MARRIED — at Springfield, on the 12th September, by the Rev. Andrew Oliver, Mr. ROBERT W. LANSING, Esq. of Albany, to Miss ELIZABETH HARDY of Springfield.

COMMENT: Robert W. Lansing (1800-1885) and his bride Elizabeth (d. 1873) had three children. Their first son, William H. Lansing (1834-1905) was born in Phelps, Ontario County, where Robert W. Lansing was a member of the bar.

Gibraltar

The rock is 7 miles in circumference, and 1400 feet above the level of the sea. ... It changed masters several times, till the English, in 1704, took it from Spain, and have kept it since that time. The rock is perpendicular on the north and east sides. The north looks towards Spain, to which it is joined by a low sandy isthmus, apparently thrown up by the sea, and is called neutral ground.

The town is built on the N.W. side, facing the bay, and occupies all the land that can be spared from the use of the garrison, for batteries (of cannons) &c. The local situation of the town is much circumscribed, and were it permitted could not be enlarged without immense labor.

This circumstance makes the rent of buildings exorbitant: many of the houses, they are all small — are rented at 3 to 500 dollars per month. The present population of Gibraltar is 11,000 exclusive of the garrison, which consists in time of peace of 5000 regular troops.

COMMENT: The present population is about 32,000, of whom 80% are Gibraltarian and 13% British. But there are many other nationalities represented. The official language is English, but most locals also speak Spanish. Among themselves, Gibraltarians often speak a unique dialect called Llanito, based on Spanish but with many other languages mixed in. Spain has long protested the continued British occupation of Gibraltar.

Yellow fever

New York, Sept. 10.

The board of health has reported one case of malignant fever yesterday (and this) forenoon two more instances — all residing within the limits marked out by them on Monday, and not far distant from the place where the first cases occurred. These cases, of course, must renew the public apprehensions respecting the serious character of the disease.

The atmosphere yesterday afternoon became much more cool and comfortable than it had been for several preceding days a fine refreshing breeze from the north west continued through the afternoon and evening.

It is probable that if the state of things should continue, or grow more threatening this morning, that decisive measures will be adopted to evacuate that part of the city that is considered as more immediately in danger.

COMMENT: Yellow fever is a typically tropical disease passed from person to person by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Severe epidemics struck New York City from the 1790s into the 1820s. Most victims got bad headaches, exhaustion and a high fever, which worsened into delirium. The skin turned yellow (hence the name). About 10% of victims vomited black bile and died. It was spread by swampy ground where mosquitoes could breed. Today, happily, a vaccine has been available for more than 80 years, but the disease was a real scourge in early American history.

Quakers

“The time will come when a wise legislature will condescend to enquire by what means a whole society (in both the old and the new world) is made to act and think with uniformity, for upwards of a century; by what policy (without emolument from government) they have become the only people free from poverty; but what economy they have thus prevented beggary and want among their members, while the nation groans under the weight of taxes for the poor.

“They are an industrious, modest, intelligent, and virtuous people animated by the most beneficent principles. They have a comprehensive charity to all mankind, deny the mercies of God to none; they publicly aver that an universal liberty is due to all, are against imposition of every kind tho’ they patiently submit to many themselves, and are perhaps the only people of all mankind, whose practice as a body, correspond with their principles.”

COMMENT: There is a Quaker Burying Ground in Morris, in Otsego County, where a number of Quakers have lived over the years. The Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. In 1671. William Penn founded the Quaker colony in Pennsylvania, to which several thousand Quakers moved. This group later abandoned its principle of pacifism. Other Quaker groups have lived around New York state, including the Schenectady area.

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