MacDougall

The Otsego Herald for April 10, 1820, compiled, with comments:

Recent volcano activity

Extracted from a German paper, Naples, Dec. 7.

“Although Vesuvius, for the last thirteen months has never ceased to pour forth streams of lava, its activity is rather increased. The eruptions of the 25th of November was much greater than the last two years. It commenced during a terrible storm, amid showers of rain, snow and hail, accompanied by a hurricane blowing from the south, and violent peals of thunder.

“On the previous day, strong explosions, which excited dismay in the neighborhood, were heard in the crater. About 4 o’clock in the morning they were strongest, and a smart shock of an earthquake which was felt as far as Naples, accompanied them.

“At the same time there came from the mouth of the crater an immense pillar of fire, and a powerful stream of boiling lava rolled down the dark sides of the mountain with such velocity that it traversed a space of more than a mile in less than an hour; and being divided into two streams, arrived before noon at the foot of the mountain.

“(There) are ... situated the manufactory of gunpowder and the only foundry which the kingdom possesses. Fortunately, they current of lava grew cold as they descended; they lost themselves in ravines and did not touch the vineyards of the two neighboring communes.

“(The) Counsellor of the Legation of Bavaria has attended to these different eruptions, which he saw commence on the 20th of October,1818. He has observed that the torrent of lava issued from a new fissure, which extended from the edge of the crater to a depth of more than a hundred feet on a vertical line. ...

“Since this eruption, the velocity and quantity of the lava have diminished, but, up to the 7th of December, it continued to run through the issue of the crater; the agitation in the interior seems to continued the same, if any one may judge by an unceasing noise there like thunder. ...

“A few days before the last eruption, (the Bavarian counselor) carried a barometer to the top of Vesuvius, when he discovered that its height was lessened by more than 60 feet since January, 1819, in consequence of the frequent fallings of the crater. It appeared to have become still lower since that period, as the brow of the mountain upon which the barometer was then placed, sunk two days after into the interior. ...”

COMMENT: Mount Vesuvius is notable because of its explosive habits, and because of the nearby city of Naples. It is perhaps best known for having destroyed the city of Pompeii in 79 AD, killing some 16,000 people.

Gov. Lewis Cass’ exploration

We are informed that the Secretary of War has instructed Governor Cass, to proceed upon an exploring tour to the north-western extremity of Lake Superior, and thence to the heads of the Mississippi, and by way of Prairie du Chien and Green Bay to Lake Michigan.

No part of the United States is less known than the country upon this route. We depend, for our information respecting it, almost wholly upon the reports of Indian traders. It is certainly time that the important geographical and political questions connected with it were satisfactorily solved.

It has long been known that large masses of virgin Copper are to be found on one of the streams that empty into Lake Superior on its southern shore. These require to be fully examined, and the country should be purchased from the Indians for the benefit of the United States. Its mineralogical treasures could then be used for important national objects. — Gazette

COMMENT: We tend to forget how significant was the discovery of the United States. Lewis Cass (1782-1866) served in many political, military and other positions during his long American career.

Torturing a slave

Raleigh, (N.C.) March 24.

It seems that a negro man, belonging to some one in Moore county, had been confined in our jail for two or three weeks. He was arrested as a runaway. About 3 o’clock yesterday, the owner (we suppose) took him from his prison; and without the least regard to humanity or even decency, paraded through the principal streets — one end of a large chain being attached to the victim’s neck, and the other to the neck of his horse!

His victim thus secured, this “Devil in human shape,” moved on at a considerable speed; occasionally jerking the rope with a degree of force nearly sufficient to prostrate his fettered charge.

The Sheriff of the county ... is at this moment in pursuit of this gross and dastardly offender. ...

COMMENT: This could only have been printed in the North.

Honors to Decatur

General Order ... The officers of the United States’ navy are directed to wear crape upon the left arm for the period of thirty days, as a testimony of respect for the late commodore Stephen Decatur, deceased.

Phony money

Caution to the public — There is now circulating a number of base half dollars, quarter dollars, twelve and a half cent pieces, and six cent pieces. They are a good imitation, and about dusk, or in candle light, they may very easily pass unnoticed.

The family receipt book

For sale at H. & E. Phinney’s Book Store; containing eight hundred valuable receipts, in various branches of Domestic economy. ... February 28, 1820.

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