from the Virginia Argus

The Comet

A comet appearing in our hemisphere having attracted the attention of the Literati & the unlettered world has induced your subscriber to send you the following remarks.  It is progressing somewhat towards the northpole.  At its first appearance it was about 50 degrees distant there from, but now it is only 40.  A little more of approximation towards that point will cause it to appear as one of the stars of perpetual apparition. And this will be a mean to undeceive the ignorant, who foolishly apprehend that there are two harbingers of divine judgment, viz. one seen in the morning, another in the evening.  Those who are satisfied that these globes called Comets, are parts of our solar system, moving in their orbits by the same general laws which govern the planets, need apprehend no more danger there from than from a conjunction of the planets.  We would reckon him an imperfect mechanic who so ordered his clock work that in its progression one part therefore should dash against another, and so ruin the compound fabric.  The great Architect has defined the path of the comets the same as that of the planets.  The Comet can no more deviate from its described path to hurt our earth, than our earth, unbalanced, can fly from its orbit and injure the Comet.

There is as much ground to fear that the Sun may quit his central position and dash against this earth or any of its planets in the solar system, as there is room to dread injuries coming from this, or any comet moving in its elliptical path defined and circumscribed by omnipotence and omniscience.

There is as much room to dread that our hearts should dash against our feet, or head, as to apprehend that a comet which is an essential part of an orderly system, should damage any other part of the composition.

These comets have been passing and repassing these many thousand years, and have neither injured our earth or any planet pertaining to our system.  Experientia Docet.  If the great Architect were willing to destroy the earth or it inhabitants, he could effect this end by universal famine, or by universal and invincible malady, or by casting this our orb into the body of the sun, which is a liquid globe of fire more than a million of times larger than the earth.  And which in a second would destroy this globe and all its appendages.

-- Cosmopolites

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How to cite this article:  "The Comet," Louisiana Gazette (St. Louis, Louisiana Territory), 23 Nov. 1811, available at