|The Boston News-Letter; From Monday August 13, to Monday August 20, 1711|
With a little luck, Americans will turn down the hysterical news broadcasts, and take some time to learn a little history before jumping into conflicts that our sixth President strongly advised against. While researching early salve laws and colonial appropriation of indigenous peoples' lands here in Maryland and the other colonies, I ran across a newspaper article from Boston in the summer of 1711 - yes 1711 - before there even was a United States.
The article is the first of two describing the remnants of the Swedish King (yes Sweden was once a super-power capable of causing chaos) Charles XII's ill-fated invasion of Russia which ended badly for him near the present day Ukrainian border. His incursion brought trouble for the peoples of the region, and gave rise to several Western Ukrainian heroes, Mazepa, who famously deserted the Russian Army, and Orlick, who wrote the first Ukrainian Constitution. Some other players in today's news include the Tartars and the Turks, along with the usual western European powers: Poland, Austria and Prussia.
We Americans should pay heed, then, to the words of John Qunicy Adams:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [the American] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she [the United States] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."
With that said here is a transcription of a newsletter published in Boston in 1711 reporting on military events in and near the Ukraine.
"Dantzick, April 29,  Advices from Caminieck confirm, that General Zacharouski's Detachment which consisted of 45 Companies of the Sieur Kaletynsky, thirty two of Monsieur Krosnowsky, and thirty of Monsieur Nerbowsky, were defeated by the Palatine of Kiow, who afterwards made himself Master of Kozowe, Buchalaw, Korsum, Lisowica, Lepusno, and Dolna, towns in the Ukraine. Forty thousand Janisaries [sic]are already past the Danube and are marching towards Kiow. There are thirty thousand Sphies at Bender, where the Turkish Army under the Command of the Grand Vizier is expected. The Han [Khan] of Tartary continues in the Muscovite [Russian] Ukraine, and frequent skirmishes happen betwixt his Troops and the Cossacks."
|A new map of present Poland, Hungary, Walachia, Moldavia, Little Tartary, shewing their principal divisions, chief citie... [Hungary, Transylvania, Poland, &c.] (1700) |
- The New York Public Library
 Adams, John Quincy. 1821. "An address, delivered at the request of the committee of arrangements for celebrating the anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821 upon the occasion of reading The Declaration of Independence." [accessed on the web, March 2, 2014 http://economicthinking.blogspot.com/2007/07/john-quincy-adams-july-4-speech.html]
 The Boston News-Letter; From Monday August 13, to Monday August 20, 1711; Boston, Massachusetts