NICHOLAS ROOSEVELT'S 1811 STEAMBOAT NEW ORLEANS
The Louisiana Gazette and Daily Advertiser [sometimes The Louisiana Gazette and New Orleans Advertiser]
Monday 3 June 1811
The Mississippi is alarmingly high -- the levee is broke in various places above and below the city. The nearest break in the levee (or what is called a Crevice) is about half a league above the city; it broke on Saturday, which we understand was stopped today -- We are fearful much damage will be done.
Monday evening, 23 Sept 1811
A comet has been seen in our horizon for several weeks past; at dusk it appears nearly northwest with an altitude of about 30 degrees, moving to the westward and descending; and at half after eight it sinks below our horizon, having progressed toward the West, from its first appearance in the evening, perhaps 15 degrees.
Comets are supposed to be solid bodies revolving in very eccentric ellipses, and subject to the same laws that plants are. Many of the ancient astronomers considered them as only meteors existing in our atmosphere, and carried along by the currents of air; -- Sir Isaac Newton, the great father of astronomy, who established the doctrine of gravity, found that comets are governed by the same laws that govern the plants. Dr. Halley improved on Sir Isaac's calculations, and foretold the appearance of a comet in 1758 and 1759.
9 Oct 1811
A Steam Boat was advertised to sail from Pittsburgh to this place on the 20th ult. She is intended, we are informed, to be a regular packet between New Orleans and Natchez. We are also informed that the company that built the Steam Boat at Pittsburgh intends building one or two for our lake trade.
[20th ult would have been 20 Sept, a month prior to the actual sailing. KWD]
Wednesday morning, 6 Nov 1811
Comets and Constitutions are all the rage at the present moment; the former attracts the notice of the calculating mathematicians and the latter that of the politician and statesman.
Wednesday morning, 4 December 1811
Fires, storms, tornadoes, freshets, duels, murders, and assassinations, have been more active agents of desolation and distress in the current year, than in any within the recollection of the oldest member of our society.
Some of the augurers think those events are only the forerunners of greater calamities; that the wandering meteor called the Comet has been universally acknowledged by all nations of the harbingers of evil.
Much as the deist and free-thinker may laugh at the signs and omens looked at and respected by the ancients, yet the evidence is strong in favor of the doctrine. Unfortunately for us, there is a science lost to the world, which, if it could again be discovered would set all to rights -- Astrology was held in as much (and perhaps more) respect among the ancients than philosophy has among the moderns. Could astrology again be revived, might it have a happy effect: the visionary philosopher would have to bend to the sound planetary calculations of the astrologer. The people of the United States might rejoice at the change. They have been pursuing 'Will with a wisp', or as some will have it, 'Jack in a lantern', for ten years; if astrology was renewed, it would at least divert their attention for a time.
Saturday, December 21, 1811
No mail north of Natchez yesterday. Letters from that city state that a small shock of an earthquake had been felt there some days ago. From the principles of earthquakes we are surprized it was not felt here. Earthquakes have generally been felt in southern mountainous countries; sometimes located to a small portion of country, sometimes more extended. Different nations, near the Adriatic and Mediterranean, have felt the shock of an earthquake at the same moment.
The Comet has been passing to the westward since it passed its perihelion -- perhaps it has touched the mountain of California, that has given a small shake to this side of the globe -- or the shake which the Natchezians have felt may be a mysterious visitation from the Author of all nature, on them for their sin -- wickedness and the want of good faith have long prevailed in that territory.
Sodom and Gomorrha would have been saved had three righteous persons been found in it -- we therefore hope that Natchez has been saved on the same principle.
16 January 1812
For the English Turn
The Steam-Boat New-Orleans
Will run from this place to the English Turn and back on Friday next, to start at precisely 10 A.M. -- Tickets of admission may be purchased at the two Coffee-Houses, at Three Dollars each. The Boat, it is expected, will return at 3 o'clock P.M. All Passengers therefore, who may expect to dine before that hour, it is expected will carry with them their own provisions.
[followed by same announcement in French dated 15 January]
[Oddly enough, this was accompanied by a cut of a three-masted sailing ship, the same that was used in general for shipping announcements.]
Saturday morning, 18 January 1812
Yesterday the citizens were gratified with the powers of steam in this vessel. She left this [sic] at 11 o'clock, went five leagues down, and returned at 4 o'clock. A number of gentlemen were on board; the day was fine; and general satisfaction was given.
Had Mr. Fulton's torpedoes succeeded equal to his Steam Boats, we might now laugh at the thunder of the British Navy.
The Steam-Boat New-Orleans
Will start this day at 10 o'clock, A.M. & return at 2 o'clock P.M. Price of admittance in future two dollars. She will also start and return tomorrow (Sunday) at same hours.
Monday, January 20, 1812 [indirect copy from another source]
[original seen but not copied]
We have the following description of the Earthquake from gentlemen who were on board a large barge, and lay an anchor in the Mississippi a few leagues below New Madrid, on the night of the 15th of December. About 2 o'clock all hands were awakened by the first shock; the impression was, that the barge had dragged her anchor and was grounding on gravel; such, were the feelings for 60 or 80 seconds, when the shock subsided. The crew were so fully persuaded of the fact of their being aground, that they put out their sounding poles, but found water enough.
At seven next morning a second and very severe shock took place. The barge was under way -- the river rose several feet; the trees on the shore shook; the banks in large columns tumbled in; hundreds of old trees that had lain perhaps half a century at the bottom of the river, appeared on the surface of the water; the feathered race took to the wing; the canopy was covered with geese and ducks and various other kinds of wild fowl; very little wind; the air was tainted with a nitrous and sulphureous smell; and every thing was truly alarming for several minutes. The shocks continued to the 21st Dec. during that time perhaps one hundred were distinctly felt. From the river St. Francis to the Chickasaw bluffs visible marks of the earthquake were discovered; from that place down, the banks did not appear to have been disturbed.
There is one part of this description which we cannot reconcile with philosophic principles, (although we believe the narrative to be true,) that is, the trees which were settled at the bottom of the river appearing on the surface. It must be obvious to every person that those trees must have become specifically heavier than the water before they sunk, and of course after being immersed in the mud must have increased in weight. -- We therefore submit the question to the Philosophical Society.
issues for 21, 22, and 23 January [Tues through Thurs]
The Steam-Boat New-Orleans
Will leave this on Thursday next the 23 inst. For freight or passengers apply on board or to Talcott & Bowers.
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