The Otsego Herald for Aug. 9, 1819, compiled, with comments:
The bald eagle
“While in the Missouri Territory and not far from the bank of the river, a bald Eagle, perched upon a tall and blasted oak, attracted my attention. It was in the forenoon, and he viewed the sun with an unblinking eye.
“Whilst I was admiring the strength of his form, and the majesty of his aspect, a wild Turkey flew down from a neighboring tree, and alighted on the ground. The eagle immediately pounced upon his prey. ...
“I might have killed the Eagle, but admiration and awe prevented me. I felt he was the emblem and the inspiration of my country; and at that moment I would not for ten thousand worlds ... have cut a feather of his wing.
“There is something wonderfully impressive in the nature of this bird; and it is not surprising that the Romans were devoted to it.
“When quite a lad, I mortally wounded an Eagle, supposing it to be a Hawk.... This noble bird fixed his eye upon me, and without a single blink supported the pangs of death with all the grandeur of fortitude. ...
“I shrunk into my own insignificance, and have ever since been sensible of my inferiority.”
COMMENT: From Estwick Evans (1781-1866), “A Pedestrian Tour of Four Thousand Miles” (1818).
Richmond, Virginia, July 25th.
An extraordinary drought reigns over the country. A gentleman from Cumberland county writes ... that they had not had a rain for 37 days. Vegetation suffers to a great degree. ... The crop of oats and corn is seriously injured.
The streams of water partake of the general visitation — many of the mill streams are exhausted, and the mills stopped. Meal is scarce and dear.
The James river is extremely low. The basin in this city is 2 1-2 feet lower than its ordinary level. The canal can scarcely, even in the morning, float a batteau with 4 hhds (hogsheads) of tobacco.
If the drought continues a few days longer, it will not float an egg shell. More than 50 boats, scarcely half loaded, are now lying at the locks, unable to descend. The manufacturing mills are impeded by the lack of wheat to be ground. Several vessels are waiting below, for the tobacco, which is delayed on the river.
COMMENT: President James Monroe said in his State of the Union message, “I regret to have to state that several of our principal cities have suffered by sickness, that an unusual drought has prevailed in the Middle and Western States, and that a derangement has been felt in some of our moneyed institutions which has proportionally affected their credit.”
A newspaper account said in 2017: “The spatial extent of the 1820 drought was similar to not only those extreme 1930s droughts, but also the historic 1850s to 1860 droughts, the 1881, 1887 droughts, 1854 & recently, 1988 & 2012.”
Unemployment in New York City
New York, July 27.
Why are not the guardians of our city providing, in time, some kind of relief for the thousands of journeymen mechanics and laboring poor, who are now wandering through the streets of our city, unable to procure employment, and their families almost reduced to starvation. It is said that not less than 10,000 able bodied men are now entirely destitute of employment, and almost frantic with the gloomy prospects before them....
These persons must get work soon, or be driven to street-begging or robbing — for live they must, and their families also. The winter is approaching, and we must not depend on the benevolent societies, whose funds are nearly or quite exhausted, and cannot be replenished in the present state of trade and embarrassment. — “A MECHANIC.”
St. Louis, June 23
Every body knows, who knows the Missouri at all, that she differs in all her qualities and attributes, and characteristics, from all other rivers in the world. Her water, cold, rapid, light, muddy, sweet and salubrious, the atmosphere through which she flows, dry and elastic, and so favorable to health, that the voyagers and traders consider themselves as leaving disease and sickness behind, the moment they enter the stream of the river.
Cut public salaries
The pressure of the times is such that a retrenchment of the expenses of individuals is universally recommended. This is as it should be. It is this course alone which can relieve the nation from embarrassment.
If this be necessary, it is no less imperiously called for in the management of our public concerns.
The high salaries and enormous perquisites of some of our public officers has long been subjects of complaint in this state. The people appear to be taking measures to remedy this evil.
In Otsego county a general meeting of all those “friendly to low salaries,” has been called for tomorrow, to be holden to-morrow at Burlington. The men who have signed the notice requesting the meeting ... are of efficiency in concerns of this nature.
Preparatory to this ... the citizens of the town of Cherry Valley have had a meeting and adopted resolutions expressive of their sentiments.
On this subject, the people must be heard. — Albany Argus
Spend your bacon
Should bacon be substituted for specie (cash) ... it is thought that Irish potatoes might be ... used for small change. — Freeman’s Journal.