Macdougall

The Otsego Herald for Dec. 13, 1819, compiled, with comments:

 Account of Humphrey Smith

At a camp meeting held near Franklin, in the Missouri territory, in May or June last, in conversation with a Mr. Saxton, I asked him how he could be a member of the Methodist church, and at the same time hold negroes in slavery, as it was contrary to the discipline of the church, at which he was offended.

Several slaveholders came near to defend their cause, who said that God had made negroes for slaves, and white men for masters or he would not suffer it to be so. By this time the preachers and hearers were all collected round, to hear what was said. No one said anything on the part of freedom but myself. Several spoke in favor of slavery.

A great fellow came up to us, and swore he would kill me — that he killed two, and would kill me also. ... The preachers came to me and told me to be silent. I gave them assurance that I would. Some swore that they would not suffer a man to stay in the country that said so much against slavery; the principal part of which was, that I wished the restriction of congress might take place.

On the 17th of July, about 12 o’clock at night, a man called at my door. ... He asked me my name, which I told him. I then discovered that he had his face partially masked. ... At this instant, three or four men rushed from behind the corner with clubs, and beat me on the head, and I fell to the ground. It was some time before I recovered my recollection. ... All this time some were beating me. ...

My wife came to my assistance, and threw a swingling board at the man who had me by the hand, and broke his hold. My wife was struck across the eye with a club. We broke through the rioters, got into the house and bolted the door. ...

A few days after this riot, a camp meeting was held about four miles from my residence. ... I was informed by a friend, that one of the slaveholders declared to him, that there were twenty at the meeting who would have beaten me had I attended.

HUMPHREY SMITH — Sworn before a magistrate, Sept. 19, 1819.

COMMENT: Humphrey “Yankee” Smith (1774-1857) , an outspoken abolitionist, came from New York to Missouri in 1816, often provoked the enmity of his slaveholding neighbors, and was treated as described in this article. Eventually his passive resistance won him some respect, and he was not further molested. His tombstone, when he died at the age of 83, read: “Here lies Humphrey Smith, who was in favor of human rights, universal liberty, equal and exact justice, no union with slave holders, free States, free people, union of States and one universal republic.”

Mermaid

London, Sept. 28. Naturalists ... have it now in their power to set at rest the doubts of sceptics upon this duplex order of animals, one having been lately discovered basking upon the rocks of Derrygimle, in Erresberg (Connemara) after the ebbing of the tide. It was discovered ... by a kind of scream, which was followed by the plunging of an animal half female and half fish, her lower extremities having the formation of a dolphin. ...

Thomas Evans, Esq. of Cleggan ... arrived upon the coast ... had now a favorable opportunity of examining this so long doubted genius — it was about the size of a well grown child of ten years of age; a bosom prominent as a girl sixteen; a profusion of long dark hair; full dark eyes, hands and arms formed like the human species; with a slight web connecting the upper part of the fingers, which were frequently employed in throwing back her flowing locks, and running them through her hair; her movements in the water seemed principally directed by the finny extremity. ...

She did not appear ... to possess the power of speech, for her looks appeared vacant. and there was an evident want of intelligence. — Galway Advertiser

COMMENT: This article was frequently copied. The area in Western Ireland where this mermaid was allegedly sighted, in Galway, is famous for its myths, A Thomas Evans (1750-1840) did live in Cleggan, Galway. It is often suggested that mermaid sightings are caused by the Manatee, a large, oceanic mammal.

Western Theological Seminary

Auburn, Dec. 1. The interesting ceremony of breaking ground, preparatory to the erection of the building for the theological seminary in this village, took place yesterday.... The Rev. Mr. Lansing delivered a short but very impressive address....

COMMENT: The Auburn Theological Seminary, in Auburn, New York, was founded in 1818, by Dirck Cornelius Lansing (1785-1857), who founded it and taught there from 1821-26. Although a Presbyterian Seminary, its charter provided that “no student of any Christian denomination shall be excluded.” It matriculated its first students in 1821, and had a complex but always very liberal history. It joined with Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1944, where it is now located.

Smoky atmosphere

Letter from Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 5, 1819

It is now six months since we have had a fall of water of any consequence, and its opposite element has recently obtained a complete ascendancy. The woods and prairies for forty miles in almost every direction ... are in a blaze. The smoke has almost suffocated us in this place for the last five days, and its effect on the eyes is distressing to every one.

rainfall in Cuba

Advices from Havanna state, that it has rained there, without intermission, from the 12th to the 28th of Oct. During the entire time business was almost entirely suspended. So severe a storm in the month of October, has not been known there within twenty yeas. The harbor, it is said, continues very sickly.

COMMENT: This account was repeated in several newspapers.

A Nation’s Happiness

The great source of a nation’s happiness is the morality of the people, as well as the political integrity of its rulers.

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