This Morning in History, 1827: Pirates and presidential mudslinging

This Morning in History highlights notable headlines from our library’s newspaper collection, which was recently cataloged. A randomly selected historical newspaper with today’s date was pulled, and here is what we found:

Delaware journal (Wilmington, Del.), v. 1, no. 28, Friday, July 27, 1827.

It was a slower news day on Friday back in 1827, but here are a couple of interesting articles to lead you in to the weekend.

A plot at sea:

A trial in Richmond brought out all the bloody details of the foiled plot of three Spanish pirates and their fallen accomplice.


In June, four pirates boarded the brig Crawford at a Cuban port, posing as a doctor and businessmen bound for New York. They attempted to poison the ship’s crew and eventually resorted to murder until all but three of the original crew were left. Upon arriving in Virginia, the ship’s first mate Edmund Dobson managed to escape and sound the alarm. Three of the four pirates were apprehended in the marshes of Virginia. The fourth, ringleader Alexander Tardy, committed suicide below deck, refusing to be captured alive.

Politics get personal:

Election fever gripped the nation early in the battle between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams for president. Heated comments from both sides indicated that the election of 1828 would be brutally personal, and Delaware was not immune to the fervor. In a letter addressed to Col. Armwell Long of Sussex County, this Adams supporter resorts to an attack that would later be popularized in the famous Coffin handbills of the campaign, focusing on Jackson’s execution of military deserters during his controversial military career.

It makes today’s harping over tax records and birth certificates seem quaint, doesn’t it?

– Joelen

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