Sunday, March 31, 2013

News Of War Arrives in Bladensburg, March 31, 1814

               Arrival of Admiral Cochrane with a strong force (mentioned below) at Bermuda. 
Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane, HMN.
Wikipedia image

               It is reported but upon what authority we are no able to say that our government has signified its determination to listen to no further terms of accommodation whatever of AMERICA, but is bent upon prosecuting the war with the most rigid severity.

               Sunday ar. H. M. ship Asia, 74,[1] Vice Admiral Sir Alex. Cochrane, K. B. hon. Captain Paget, and Superb, 74,[2] Captain Wainwright, from England, Majestic,[3] Captain Hayes, and Sophia,[4] Captain Lockyer, from a cruise[].[5]
               A large British force coming to America
                                             London, Jan. 31.

               Preparations have been made on a  a [sic} large scale to enable Sir A. Cochrane, to take with him a very large force, both naval and military.

               Sir Alexander takes with him about 4000 Marines, under the immediate command of Major Nickols.  Sir Alexander will also take with him a strong body of riflemen and battering artillery, Congreve Rockets, shrapnell [sic] shells, with all the ammunition &c: necessary to give effect to these engines of destruction.[6]  

Congreve rocket -
See Note below
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture 
               Capture of another French Frigate.

               The Majestic has brought in the fine new French frigate Terpsichore, of 44 guns and 300 men, captures the 2d February off the Western Islands, after a slight resistance, having 2 killed and 2 wounded, sails and rigging much shattered.  The Terpsichore was in company with the Atalanta frigate, which sailed in co. from L'Orient (then 23 days out) & and Indiaman.  The Majestic gave chase to them, and in about 5 hours came ip with the Terpsichore, and captured her, and the Atalanta made all sail and escaped with the Indiaman.  They had captured the day previous a Spanish vessel from Lima with specie and a valuable cargo.[7]
               Of the Constitution Frigate.
                                                            Barbadoes [sic], Feb. 17.

               This morning arrived schr. Lovely-Ann, from Bermuda, bound to Surinam.

               She was captured Sunday evening last by the American Frigate Constitution,[8] Capt. Stewart, about 300 miles to the windward od this Island, and sent here, with an American Midshipman on board, as a cartel, having previously received the officers and crew of his majesty's schr. Pictou,[9] also from Bermuda, that had been captured on the Monday following by the said frigate and burnt.  Last evening the cartel fell in with the Venerable 74,[10] and two other British cruisers, about 120 miles to the windward, to whom they gave the intelligence.  The Venerable immediately went in chase, and the probability is that she will fall in with her.  The Constitution left Boston the last of Dec. but had made no other captures.

USS Constitution
National Park Service

               The letter of marque brig. Argus- Howe,[11] of Boston, 4 days out from Savannah was captured by the San Domingo, 74,[12] and arrived at Bermuda about the 7th Feb.

               About 6000 troops were daily looked for at Bermuda, (from, England,) 13th inst.[13]
Mr. Topliff has conversed with a gentleman from Bermuda, who favored him with the papers.  He informed him that [ ] ships of the line, 3 frigates . and 2 sloops of war, were at Bermuda 13th inst. that 500 Americans were there in a distressed situation, and it was expected they would be sent to England.  It was stated in Bermuda that Ad. Cockburn had asserted that in the ensuing summer the Yankees would be made to feel what it was to be at war with England.  Some ports in the U, States were to be bombarded in the spring.

               It was said that from 10 to 15 sail of the line were coming out to join Admiral Cochrane.  The Sandomingo [sic] was expected about the 20th inst. at bermuda, when Admiral Warren would return her to England.  Admiral Cochrane would then take commend of the Bermuda and Halifax stations.

               Flour at Bermuda was 20 dollars plenty[14] - Beef 20 - 22 dollars - Pork scarce - Corn 2 dollars bush.  Fresh provisions not to be had at any price. [15]

[1] HMS Asia was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks (thus the related term two-decker). Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability (speed, handling), firepower, and cost. So, while first rates and second rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration. HMS Asia was off Chesapeake Bay in July 1814. The Royal Marine Artillery company of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Marines were ferried from Bermuda to the Chesapeake aboard HMS Asia, via HMS Tonnant. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Asia was moored off Baltimore, along with HMS Seahorse, Severn and Surprise.  HMS Asia was among Admiral Alexander Cochrane's fleet moored off New Orleans at the start of 1815.  In support of the attack on New Orleans, 107 Royal Marines from Asia were disembarked. From Wikipedia.
[2] HMS Superb was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, and took part in an attack upon Wareham, Massachusetts during the War of 1812. From Wikipedia.
[3] HMS Majestic was built as a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, but was reconfigured into a 58-gun fourth-rate frigate in 1813. From Wikipedia.
[4] HMS Sophie was an 18-gun Cruiser class brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. During the War of 1812 Sophie participated in the economic war against American trade, capturing or destroying numerous small merchant vessels, and in an unsuccessful attack on Fort Bowyer, Alabama. From Wikipedia.
[5]  Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[6] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[7] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
Note Congreve rocket image: Replica, shown with a soldier and two 32 lb carcass rockets in Hyde Park, London. The Bombarding Frame consisted of a ladder; two rocket troughs; two supporting legs for the ladder; a tie bar for supporting the legs and a gun bucket. The Frame would be tied to the mast of a rocket ship and the rockets fired, the trajectory being varied by altering by the slope of the ladder. Sir William Congreve (1772-1828) successfully demonstrated a solid fuel rocket in 1805, and the following year his rockets were used in action for the first time, fired from special boats against the French fleet off Boulogne. Congreve's rockets had a range of up to about 2.5 km. They were effective, despite being somewhat inaccurate and prone to explode prematurely. Image number: 10278260 Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture 
[8] USS Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, though she would often carry over 50 guns at a time.
[9] HMS Pictou was a 16-gun schooner built as the American privateer Syren which was captured by the Royal Navy on 20 April 1813. Pictou was one of five British warships captured or destroyed during the War of 1812 by the American frigate USS Constitution. From Wikipedia.
[10] HMS Venerable was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. From Wikipedia.
[11] USS Argus was a brig in the United States Navy. From Wikipedia.
[12] HMS San Domingo was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. From Wikipedia.
[13] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[14] One dollar in 2010 approximately equal to $10.334 in 1814:
[15] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].

Articles transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 31, 2013.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Influenza Outbreak in Montgomery County, Maryalnd, March 1814

From the Spirit of Seventy Six[1]


               The disease known of late years by the name of Influenza has appeared in Montgomery county, Maryland, with unusual malignancy [  ] Its first a[[earance was about the beginning of the year in the vicinity of the Potomac and from thence has extended itself through different parts.  The disease has commonly commenced with, and in its progress assumed most or all of the symtoms [sic], viz. a [a i ude], sneezing, a thin and acrid discharge from the nose, a sorethroat, chills, a fever, pains in the limbs, breast and sides; also in the back and head; a cough an expectoration of muscus mixed with blood, profuse sweats difficult respiration, great debility, gidiness [sic] and delirium: and finally, it has ended in death or a tedious recovery.  The pulse in a few instances, was depressed, sometimes it was full and tense: but often weak and frequent.  The blood drawn, in several instances was dissolved, or would not separate into o[]assement[ ]en and serum - when taken indiciously [sic] it generally exhibited an inflammatory oroct.

               The disease under the anme of "a bad cold" passed trhough whole families in perfect safety with medical aid.  The disease however in its progress occassionally assumed the form of the typhua gravior of Dr. Cullen:[2] in several instances it terminated in the typhus state of fever of Doctor Rush:[3] it was accompanied with the symtoms [sic] of a billious-fever; It was most rapid in its progress and its termination, fatal, under appearance of a parissneu monia[4] no[t]tha or hastard pleurisy.  The appearance of Influenza under all these forms has been particularly observed by medical writers.  In fact it is a law of Influenza in common with other epidemics to banish or mix with all the other existing diseases.  The circumstance especially claims the diligent attention and ingenuity of the physician[].

               The treatment of the disease should be different according to the carying and opposite states of the system.  It has been owing to a neglect of this golden rule that every remedy in turn has proved injurious.  The lancet too, from an indiscriminate use has been brought into disrepute; this is to be lamented; for in very many cases, It is the anchor of hope.  It is confidently asserted, there has not been any appearance of a new or unknown disease, but that in every csae [sic] an early and judicious application of proper remedies will prove beneficial.[5]
               March 19, 1814

[1] The spirit of 'seventy-six. : (Richmond [Va.]) 1808-1814 Richmond [Va.] Publisher: Edward Carter Stanard  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 13, 1808)- ; -Mar. 4, 1814.

[2] William Cullen  (15 April 1710 – 5 February 1790) was a Scottish physician, chemist and agriculturalist, and one of the most important professors at the Edinburgh Medical School, during its heyday as the leading center of medical education in the English-speaking world. Cullen was also a successful author. He published a number of medical textbooks, mostly for the use of his students, though they were popular throughout Europe and the American colonies as well. His best known work was First Lines of the Practice of Physic, which was published in a series of editions between 1777 and 1784. From Wikipedia

[3] Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rush signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. He served as Surgeon General in the Continental army, and was blamed for criticizing George Washington.  Later in life, Rush became a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania.  Rush was a leader of the American Enlightenment, and an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution. He signed the Declaration of Independence, and was a leader in Pennsylvania's ratification the Constitution in 1788. He was prominent in many reforms, especially in the areas of medicine and education. He opposed slavery, advocated free public schools, and sought improved education for women and a more enlightened penal system. As a leading physician, Rush had a major impact on the emerging medical profession. As an Enlightenment intellectual, he was committed to organizing all medical knowledge around explanatory theories, rather than rely on empirical methods. Rush argued that illness was the result of imbalances in the body's physical system and was caused by malfunctions in the brain. His approach prepared the way for later medical research, but Rush himself undertook none of it. He promoted public health by advocating clean environment and stressing the importance of personal and military hygiene. His study of mental disorder made him one of the founders of American psychiatry. From Wikipedia

[4] very hard to read; perhaps: peripneumonia 
A brief history of pneumonia . May 1, 2012  Rick Frea 2007-2011 [accessed March 30, 2013]

" Pleurisy was defined by the Ancient Greeks as inflammation of the pleural cavity, and they recognized symptoms of pleurisy and pneumonia as a sharp pain in the side.  Hippocratic writers simply grouped these two conditions together under the phrase peripneumonia. (8, page 192).  The condition may also have been confused with other maladies such as asthma or heart failure, which were generally grouped under the umbrella term asthma."

[5] Transcribed by John Peter Thompson from: American Watchman, Date: 03-30-1814; Volume: VI; Issue: 485; Page: [1]; Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Friday, March 29, 2013

New Cure for Dysentery Described in Bladensburg, Maryland 1825

 To the Editors of the National Intelligencer.
Rose Mount[1], 12th July, 1825

               Dear. Sirs.  If convenient your would oblige me and serve the cause of humanity, by inserting in the Intelligencer the inclosed [sic] letter from Dr. W. Baker of Bladensburg, detailing an entire new treatment of that horrible and fatal disease , the Dysentery.

               The Doctor so far has been completely successful.  The cases in Mrs. G's family were of the most violent character, and, in order that this original mode of treatment may be generally known and tested by others, I have taken the liberty of asking of you the publication of his letter.

Maryland Governor Joseph Kent of Rosemount,
Prince George's County/
Image from 
Maryland State Archives via Wikipedia 
               Very respectfully, your friend and servant,
                                                            JOS. KENT.

Messrs. Gales and Seaton, Washington.

Bladensburg, July 10, 1825

               To the Honorable Joseph Kent, M. D.[2]

               Dear Sir: The heat of the weather in the latter part of last month, has already brought about a number of cases of Dysentery, which is unusually early for the appearance of this disease.  It is more apt, as you know, to appear in autumn, or the last summer month, and more particularly after dry and sultry weather.  If I do not mistake you are well acquainted with this horrid disorder, having been remarkable for your successful treatment of it, as I recollect often to have heard some years ago when you were actively engaged in the practice of Medicine.  Few disease have led to a greater contrariety  of practice than this, in every instance I presume founded upon opposite theories as to the remote and proximate causes.  It must be viewed, however, as a remarkable fact, that, in those particular instances and seasons of the year that dispose the system to bilious  disorders, dysenteries are apt to to [sic] ensue; and it is quite likely that the remote causes of both complaints are the same.  It is certain, however, that in most cases of dysentery, which have fallen under my observation, a considerable degree of hepatic derangement has been very evident, and the functions of that important viscus the liver morbidly affected.  But whatever idea may be entertained of the remote or proximate causes of the dysentery, one thing is very certain, that the villous coat of the large intestines, is in a state of considerable inflammation, attended with fever, and all the well known distressing train of symptoms that take place from obstinate constriction.   

               Most practitioners discern two stages of the disease: in the early stage I have generally used the lancet with the best effect, together with free and copious purging, for which purpose I have found nothing to compete with calomel, together with antimonial [sic]diaphoretics.  Viewing dysentery as presenting an inflamed state of the lower intestines, I have been led to adopt a practice predicated upon that view, which, although novel in a great degree, has been attended in every instance with the most certain success. I use very COLD WATER, (rendered so even by ice) thrown up the bowels in form of an enema, every half hour.  This course, in some instances, I have directed to be continued for twenty hours or more without intermission.  The effect has more than equalled [sic] my expectations.  Every distressing symptom is speedily alleviated, the tenesmus subsides, the fever abates, and the dejections assume a better aspect.  I would not be understood as depending upon this remedy alone, but as part of the plan of cure it has proved of infinite advantage in every instance where I have employed it.  The practice appears to me to be sanctioned by the soundest reason; for, if the gut be topically affected with heat and inflammation, what, let me ask, can be more likely to allay that inflammation than bathing the inflamed coats of the intestine with cold water?  We use it to inflamed eyes and other parts, then, why not the bowels?  Nor has cold water, thus applied to the lower intestines, at any time forbid me the use of all the other remedies commonly employed.  I bleed, I give calomel with other purges, I use diaphoretics, the warm bath, or whatever the particular symptoms may at the moment call for, without any interruption to the injections of cold water.  And here I must just stop to remark, how often have I witnessed in the course of my professional career, the sufferings from thirst in ardent fevers; when the unhappy patient, parched with heat and drought, would give a kingdom if he owned it, for a draught of cold water.  This, by many too fastidious physicians, is cruelly denied him, for what good reason I know not, and warm insipid teas, at which his stomach revolts, urged in its stead.

               In a course of twenty years practice, I can assure you, sir, I have never, in any instance, seen injury from an indulgence in cold water under such circumstances; on the contrary, the good effects of it have often been strikingly apparent, and I always allow it, unless, indeed, some medicine may have been taken which might forbid drinking it for the time.  It is to be hoped, that the day is not distant, when old dogmas, medical as well as political, will yield to the good sense of mankind, when reason shall stand forth disenthralled from the fetters of old prejudices and habits.  But to return.  I am very much inclined to think that too much dependence in dysentery is often placed upon opium, and that it is generally retorted to too early in the disease.  The temporary ease it procures is delusive, while the inflammatory diathesis is heightened by its stimulating as well as its costive influence.  Sydenham seems to have regarded it merely as a tranquilizer; for he expressly says, "Ut scilicet symptomatum ferociam debellaret, atque inducias impetraret, dum cum humore peccanie exterminando ipsi res esset."[3]  He would hold, by means of opium, a sort of truce with the disorder until he could resume more potent remedies.

               The idea of using cold water in dysentery first occurred to me in the summer of 1823.  I directed its use, with ice, in the case of an interesting little boy, the grandson of Mr. Davis, formerly inn keeper in Washington.  The child was extremely ill, and I almost despaired of him, but he recovered.  I have prescribed it since with undeviating success in many cases, in conjunction with other remedies.  Very recently, I have given it a perfect trial in the family of Mrs. Gantt, of your neighborhood, whose little sons were dangerously ill with this disease, but which has happily yielded to the remedies employed.  It has seldom, however, fallen to the lot of a physician to have his prescriptions and directions attended to with so much promptitude and punctuality, directed by so much intelligence and understanding as the lady just mentioned displayed in her parental attentions to those little boys, who, I am happy to tell you, are now getting well.  It would afford me much pleasure to receive your sentiments upon the subject towards which I have drawn your attention.  Whatever may tend to lessen the measure of human misery, will not fail to interest you.

               I am with great respect and esteem, your obedient servant,   W. BAKER.[4]           

[1] The historic Rosemount estate is now mostly under the Wegmsn's parking lot in Largo (Landover_ Maryland (PG:73-9).

[2] Joseph Kent (January 14, 1779 – November 24, 1837), a Whig, was a United States Senator from Maryland, serving from 1833 until his death in 1837. He also served in the House of Representatives, serving the second district of Maryland from 1811–1815 and again from 1819–1826, and as the 19th Governor of Maryland from 1826-1829. From Wikipedia.

[3] Thomas Sydenham (10 September 1624 – 29 December 1689) was an English physician. He was born at Wynford Eagle in Dorset, where his father was a gentleman of property. His brother was Colonel William Sydenham. Thomas fought for the Parliament throughout the English Civil War, and, at its end, resumed his medical studies at Oxford. He became the undisputed master of the English medical world and was known as 'The English Hippocrates’. Among his many achievements was the discovery of a disease, Sydenham's Chorea,
also known as St Vitus Dance. From Wikipedia.
               Assuming the word peccanis is read correctly (I am unsure of the last two letters, I would translate as follows: To subdue the severe (ferocious, turbulent) symptoms, and at the same time induce a truce (with the symptoms), he would exterminate the very evil (sinful) thing with moisture.  

[4] transcribed by John Peter Thompson from: Eastern Argus.; Date: 08-05-1825; Volume: I; Issue: 89; Page: [2]; Location: Portland, Maine transcribed by John Peter Thompson

Thursday, March 28, 2013

For Sale, 2000 acres by Benjamin Stodderd Bladensburg 1803

Note well the sales pitch for real estate in Prince George's County has changed little ... 

For Sale

               About 2000 acres of land on the East side of the Eastern Branch, and adjoining it, three miles from the City of Washington,  Vessels, drawing twelve feet water, may load at the landing, where there is tolerably good fishery.

               Near 400 acres of the land is a rich bottom, through which there are several streams of water, that turn a mill erected on the land, and which might be used to advantage in watering meadow [ ] a part of the bottom is now in Timothy grass and the whole is capable of producing grass in abundance and Tobacco.  There may be between 500 and 600 acres in wood, the rest is cleared land.  A part of the land adjoins a commodious brick dwelling house, with all convenient out houses and a large and handsome garden, but not in good repair, on the borders of the town of Bladensburg.

               This property so convenient to the City of Washington, which affords a market for grass and all other products of land, equal to any in the United States; so certain from its situation to rise in a few years, to a price several times as high as will now be taken for it, well deserves the attention of men of fortune.  The whole land including the dwelling house and improvements, and mill will be sold for [illegible hand written character; could be a 6; more likely the symbol for a pound sterling: £ ]10 per acre.  It is questionable whether the meadow ground alone is not worth all the money; it is certain that it might easily be made to pay more than the annual interest of the whole purchase. [1]     

BEN. STODDERT.         

               George Town, Nov. 15th 1803.

[1] Washington Federalist.; Date: 11-30-1803; Issue: 555; Page: [1]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

News from nearby Virginia - March 27, 1813


On MONDAY. the fifth of April next, if fair; if not, the next da fair day; will be offered for sale, at the Tavern of Captain George Williams,[1] in this place, for ready money - FIFTY SLAVES - belonging to the estate of John Gibson,deceased; consisting of men, women and children.'

                              JOHN SPENCE,
                              JAMES REID,

               Executors of John Gibson.

Dumfires, March 4.[2]

Williams Ordinary, Colonial Dumfries, VA

[1] Williams Ordinary, Colonial Dumfries, VA [Accessed March 27, 2013]
 "Williams Ordinary is believed to have been built in the 1760s, although the exact construction date is unknown. The building's symmetrical facade features header bond, a brick pattern rarely found in Virginia. This building was one of the most prominent structures in colonial Dumfries and reflected the port town’s importance and wealth. While the building is known as Williams Ordinary, records are unclear as to whether local tavern keeper George Williams occupied the structure during the 1700s. The building’s name has changed to indicate various owners or uses. It has been called Love’s Hotel, Old Love’s Tavern, the Brick Tavern and the Stagecoach Inn. Research is ongoing.”
Colonial Dumfries
“Founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants, Dumfries’ port rivaled those of Boston and New York. Dumfries became the Prince William county seat in 1759. Sailors, slaves, merchants and members of the influential Lee, Fairfax, Mason and Washington families frequented the town. By 1763, falling tobacco exports and silt clogging the port began Dumfries slow economic decline.”
What’s an Ordinary?
“The term "ordinary" was common in Europe and early America. These establishments provided travelers with an ordinary meal and sleeping space. Such places were also called taverns and Inns. Ordinaries were the social centers of a community where patrons met and exchanged news. Many taverns operated in Dumfries, but those operating in this building were likely among the finest.”
Text taken from sign.
[2] Alexandria Daily Gazette, Commercial & Political; Date: 03-27-1813; Volume: XIII; Issue: 3912; Page: [1]; Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Contrast " 1813 Politics of the Moment

The article from 1813 is entitled simply:


                While the good people of Boston are not only reposing in perfect security from the dangers and alarms of war, but actually celebrating the victories of the allies of Britain in Europe, the citizens of Norfolk, closely blockaded by the British, are momently [sic] expecting an attack with Congreve rockets, and preparing to defend their property and firesides against the enemy, and the inhabitants of Kentucky and Ohio are lamenting their friends and relatives, scalped, tomahawked and burnt, by the British allies at the river Raisin.

               Was this so in 1775?  Did the people of Virginia, in cold blooded malignant indifferent, quietly witness the sufferings of the citizens of Boston, Concord and Lexington?  Or are we now bound together by no ties of sympathy, interest or social compact as a people?  In 1775, Virginia was the first to make the cause of Massachusetts her own calamity, and cherish the idea of an African insurrection!  What changelings has mercantile cupidity made of men who called themselves patriots!  New-York too has been bleeding at every pore, and losing hundreds of her most useful citizens; while Connecticut, with less honor and good faith than a member of the confederation of the Rhine, or a chief of a tribe of Cossacs [sic] or Cherokees, has refused to furnish a single man to aid the common cause!

               What is the force of our constitution, our Congress and their laws?  Is the federal compact a rope of sand, more feeble than the old confederation!  And shall the people be compelled so to alter and strengthen the constitution as to enforce the execution of legal requisitions upon refractory states?  What is to be the result or remedy of this unnatural and detestable state of things?[1]   Colum.

[1]  Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 03-27-1813; Volume: I; Issue: 74; Page: [2].

Monday, March 25, 2013

1802 Dismissal of Benjamin Lowndes as Postmaster of Bladensburg Maryland

National Intelligencer reports on the dismissal of Benjamin Lowndes as Postmaster of Bladensburg Maryland
            The editor of the National Intelligencer labors hard, to lessen the odium which naturally falls on the Post-Master General, in the removal of Mr. Lowndes, from the post office at Bladensburg, but not withstanding all his ingenuity, the observation he makes in his paper of the 12th inst. are not sufficient for the purpose; []t []is[]true, Mr. Lowndes did confide the business of the post-office to his assistant, a young man deserving of the trust, and who received the emoluments of the office, it is also true, that during the eighteen months residence of Mr. Lowndes assistant, two instances have happened, that the mail went by without being examines, but it is equally true, the office was open at the hour, usual for the arrival of the mail.  It is well known, that accidents on the road, frequently delay the stages, beyond the time specified in their contracts with the post-master general, and does it follow, or is it reasonable to expect a Post-Master is to remain hours in his office without taking the necessary nourishment? and does it follow, that should the mail arrive during this time, he must be censured for the neglect of duty?  For the exchange of mails, one quarter of an hour is allowed, but it can be proven, that of the instances alluded to, the mail carriers did not stay five minutes. 

            It is not true that Mr. Lownde's [sic] dwelling house, even with all the meanders is half a mile from his store, the most direct way does not exceed 630* yards, and it unluckily happens for the editor of the National Intelligencer that Mr. Lownde's house, stands on the same street with the new post[]office, within 175 yards of the tavern, 30 feet of the centre of the present post road, and by which, the stages daily pass to and from the City of Washington, how is it then, that there is not the same objection to the new, as to the old post-office?

            With respect to Mr. Lownde's reason for keeping the office after the 22nd of February, his letter to the Post-Master General will fully explain, for it is well known that there would be not only an impropriety but irregulariay[sic], in giving up an office pending the quarter of removal, and Mr. Lowndes after his letter to the Post-Master General never received any notification to the contrary.
            The public have now an opportunity of judging, how far Mr. Lownde's conduct has been reprehensible and how well founded are the observations for the cause of his dismission [sic].

            From the abo[]e []tatement of facts, which can be amply substantiated, whenever called on, it is evident, that Mr. Lownde's removal, has not been owing to any neglect of duty, but unfortunately for the public, for giving his approbation to the measures of administrations, which derive their existence from the good sense, and not the weakness and vices of the community []s this was the crime, and the crime was not to be forgiven.[1]           
            *Actual measurement.

[1] WASHINGTON FEDERALIST.; Date: 04-19-1802; Volume: II; Issue: 298; Page: [2]

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Voter eligibility requirements In Bladensburg, Maryland in 1800; How soon we forget

Eligibility requirements to vote In Bladensburg, 1800; 
How soon we forget ..from a Kentucky newspaper

            At the election in Bladensburgh [sic] district, prince George's county [sic], the judges has previously published there determination to admit no foreigner to vote who had some into this country subsequent to the declaration of independence, who could not produce a certificate of his naturalization.  It has been customary in Maryland to admit EVERY PERSON to vote in state elections, who has gained a residence in the state and county, who was wroth 30l[1].  After deceiving the democrats till two o'clock on the day of election, the judges proclaimed that the usual qualifications only were necessary, and that foreigners might vote as usual.  Behold! some prophetic spirit has informed all the anglo federal foreigners, some days precious that this would be the result; and they were of course, on the ground! but not one of the democratic foreigners were informed of the rescinding of the resolution, till it was too late for them to attend; perhaps to this trick the anglo-feds, owe more than the majority of 50, which they obtained at the place.[2]

[1] The transcriber is unable to assess the meaning of this amount...the amount 30 is clear but set below the line; the character following looks like an l but could be a 1.

[2] Stewart's Kentucky Herald; 11-04-1800; Vol: VI; Issue: 299; Page: [2]; Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Friday, March 22, 2013

Congress, Politics, Bladensburg, 1809, the words still inflame

               On the bloody arena near Bladensburg, Maryland, on Monday the 4th inst. a Duel took place between the Honorable Joseph Pierson [sic][1], of North-Carolina, and the Honorable John G. Jackson[2], a Virginia man of war, both Members of Congress.[3] --- The latter is thought to be mortally wounded.[4] --- Ever since the last session of Congress, these Southern Cossacks, like Tom O'Shanter's wife, have been "nursing" their "wrath, to keep it warm."[5] -- [Such lingo is frequently used by the Congress Enragees as, in the language of the combustible Mr. Secretary Smith [6], might, with some propriety, be styled "inadmissible, irrelevant and indecorous.[7]

Dueling Grounds - Bladensburg, Maryland
"In the ravine just north of the Fort Lincoln Cemetery amidst a cluster of trees was the famous Bladensburg Dueling Ground where more than fifty duels were fought during the first half of the 19th century. On what became known as “The Dark and Bloody Grounds,” gentlemen of Washington, D.C., settled their political and personal differences."
image fromthe Town of Bladensburg @2010 All rights reserved 

[1] Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 2013. [accessed March 21, 2013]

PEARSON, Joseph, a Representative from North Carolina; born in Rowan County, N.C., in 1776; completed preparatory studies; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Salisbury, N.C.; member of the State house of commons; elected as a Federalist to the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Congresses (March 4, 1809-March 3, 1815); while in Congress fought a duel with John George Jackson, of Virginia, and on the second fire wounded his opponent in the hip; died in Salisbury, N.C., October 27, 1834.

[2] Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 2013. [accessed March 21, 2013]

JACKSON, John George, (son of George Jackson, brother of Edward Brake Jackson, and grandfather of William Thomas Bland), a Representative from Virginia; born in Buckhannon, Va. (now West Virginia), September 22, 1777; moved with his parents to Clarksburg in 1784; received an English training and became a civil engineer; appointed surveyor of public lands of what is now the State of Ohio in 1793; member of the Virginia house of delegates 1798-1801; elected as a Republican to the Eighth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1803, to September 28, 1810, when he resigned; while in Congress fought a duel with Joseph Pearson, of North Carolina, and on the second fire was wounded in the hip; member of the State house of delegates in 1811 and 1812; brigadier general of Virginia Militia in 1812; elected as a Republican to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (March 4, 1813-March 3, 1817); declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1816 to the Fifteenth Congress; appointed United States district judge for the western district of Virginia in 1819 and served until his death in Clarksburg, Va. (now West Virginia), March 28, 1825; interment in the Old Jackson Cemetery.

[3] Stephen W. Brown. 1985. Voice of the New West: John G. Jackson, His Life and Times. Mercer University Press.  pp. 85-92.

The Miranda Affair 1806 Invasion of Venezuela lay at the heart of the political attacks that resulted in the duel.

[4] The Courier; Date: 12-13-1809; Volume: XIV; Issue: 5; Page: [3]; Location: Norwich, Connecticut

WASHINGTON DECEMBER 5TH, 1809.  "THE DUEL. - Yesterday morning a duel took place at Bladensburg between Joseph Pierson, Esq. of North Caorlina,and John G. Jackson, of Virginia.  On the second fire Mr. Jackson received Mr. Pierson's shot in the thigh, and we are informed the wound id thought dangerous.  Mr. Pierson was not hurt." 

[5] Alexandria Burns Club. 2013. [accessed March 21, 2013]

"Tam o' Shanter is a wonderful, epic poem in which Burns paints a vivid picture of the drinking classes in the old Scotch town of Ayr in the late 18th century. It is populated by several unforgettable characters including of course Tam himself, his bosom pal, Souter (Cobbler) Johnnie and his own long suffering wife Kate, "Gathering her brows like gathering storm, nursing her wrath to keep it warm". We are also introduced to Kirkton Jean, the ghostly, "winsome wench", Cutty Sark and let's not forget his gallant horse, Maggie. "

[6] Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State. 2013. accessed March 21, 2013]

Robert Smith served as Secretary of State under President James Madison from March 6, 1809 to April 1, 1811. Smith’s controversial appointment and clashes with Madison influenced his service as Secretary of State.

Wikipedia. 2013. [accessed March 21, 2013]

Robert Smith (November 3, 1757 – November 26, 1842) was the second United States Secretary of the Navy from 1801 to 1809 and the sixth United States Secretary of State from 1809 to 1811. He was the brother of Senator Samuel Smith.

[7] The Providence Gazette.; Date: 12-16-1809; Volume: XLV; Issue: 2398; Page: [3]; Location: Providence, Rhode Island