I’m New Here: Week Seventeen…

June 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the obvious gender bias inherent in the title, I like “The Gentleman’s Magazine“, as I suspect many non-gentlemen of the time did as well. This week I pulled an issue from April of 1775 – mainly because I enjoy the tone of superiority that saturates those months before what we now know of as the Revolutionary War (or whichever various title you prefer). “Colonial upstarts” were causing commotion and consternation to the rest of the world, but mainly to the ruling class in London. The heading of the very front page of the one perched on my desk amidst the new catalog excitement is entitled, “Continuation in the House of Lords on the Address to his Majesty respecting the Situation of Affairs in America”. What follows is a labyrinthine balance between appeasing the vanity of the monarch, and an attempt to elucidate the different aspects of potential vulnerability to defeat. In particular, the French and Spanish ships continuing to trade with the colonists brought great consternation. “Does the noble Earl pretend to interpret this explanation [England would be “…at liberty to seize any of their ships trading with American subjects”] generally, so as to authorize our taking their vessels at sea? If he does not, what can such a vague deluding promise avail? If he does, then I will venture to assure his Lordship, that he is miserably deceived; and that the first attempt to prevent French or Spanish ships from navigating the American seas will furnish them with an opportunity of asserting their maritime freedom, of making reprisals, and of justifying their conduct to the other great states of Europe, who are known to be long jealous of what they are pleased to call our despotic claim to the sovereignty of the ocean.”
When I read this, I start to understand a little bit this American spirit, this classification under which our country has been perceived by the world, from the very earliest days. This mindset changed the world. And that is an immense, and not embarrassing, thought.
But, lest you think the GM’s are all politics, I would like to recommend any meteorology enthusiasts plug in the data compiled monthly and displayed on the inside cover page. The average prices of corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats and beans are delineated by county. Genealogists will enjoy the Births, Marriages, and Deaths alongside the list of Promotions and Bankrupts. There are book reviews and parish reports and a comprehensive section entitled “Historical Chronicle“, which gives an overview of multiple aspects of the state of the world.
Anyway, to delve into these accounts of the earliest days of this country is to see the tenacity that fueled an eventual nation – and perhaps nurture an admiration for what was once made, an inspiration for all that could be made again.

You can read more about Gentleman’s Magazines via previous posts at: Gentleman’s Magazines

I’m New Here: Week Sixteen…

May 31, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Here in “our neck of the woods” Spring frequently brings tornado warnings. Yesterday, radios, smartphones, and computer displays all sounded the alarm. One of the part-time people working on the labels for Catalog 283 asked what I would choose for my last meal before the tornado hit. I parried with “what would you take into your safe space from the annals?” And my contribution, quickly and easily, was “The American Museum” issues — as many as I could grab from the shelf.
I have one collector who looks for these and he contacts me by email with a list of five or six dates. Every time I search, thinking “there is no way we have any from that month.” Each time I locate one or two, and he happily buys them. During that brief interaction studying dates and verifying the appropriate appendices I have come to find this publication ridiculously beautiful. If I were trapped in a tornado shelter, 18th Century American Magazines would suffice for amusement and instruction. In a single issue there are lexicons for four different Native American languages, methods for preparing dye, a treatise on the Biblical perspective of capital punishment, and political news from around the world. Stock prices are listed alongside poetry. In fact, the complete title enthralls me: “The American Museum: or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Prose and Poetical”.
Subscriber names, by state, are listed alphabetically over the first ten pages. The issue I randomly pulled has a touching inscription: “Henry Wayman Woods presented by his dear mother August 6, 1832. Wisdom is the principle thing, Henry.” The content feature is Lexington and Concord, but buried within one of the random sections is an article about the first reported African-American doctor and details of the “Virginia Calculator”, a slave from New Orleans who was described as a savant by Dr. Benjamin Rush (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence).
There is so much to learn, packed within these octavo-sized (8” x 5”) papers.  Knowledge was culled from every imaginable subject, in order to educate and enlighten.  A well-informed public, it seems, was deemed critical for the development of the young country.  In my opinion, that’s a lofty goal that would translate well to any civilization at any point in history.

Wisdom is, quite possibly, the principle thing.

Snapshot 1798… Isaac Newton’s temperament…

May 10, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 25, 1798 issue of The Weekly Register, London, England…

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Daniel Mendoza edition…

November 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2nd installment of Wh0’s Who in Newspapers:

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals among many are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names. Such is the case with Daniel Mendoza. Who is he? What was he known for? When did he live? These questions and more can be garnered through the newspapers of his day. Please enjoy the second installment of:

Who’s Who in Newspapers?

Daniel Mendoza Edition

Note: As you explore this chronological set of newspapers, if duplicate issues appear for the same date, the item with the highest item # will have the most up-to-date information.

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Mordecai Manuel Noah…

November 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals among many are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names. Such is the case with Mordecai Manuel Noah. Who is he? What was he known for? When did he live? These questions and more can be garnered through the newspapers of his day. Please enjoy the first installment of:

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Mordecai Manuel Noah Edition

Note: As you explore this chronological set of newspapers, if duplicate issues appear for the same date, the item with the highest item # will have the most up-to-date information.

The Traveler… inhumanity at its worst…

August 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s travels took me to Gloucester, England by the way of The Glocester Journal dated August 17, 1767. I found a very horrific report on the barbaric treatments that Elizabeth blog-8-21-2017-barbaricBrownrigg did to the girl apprentices. She had beaten the one girl so viciously that, even though she had been found, the doctors were not able to save her life.  “On Sunday morning one of the unfortunate girls who were cruelly beaten, and otherwise most barbarously treated by the their mistress… of the wounds she received from there said inhuman mistress… when it appeared by the evidence of the of the surviving girl, that, about a year and a half ago, the deceased was put apprentice, and was upon trial about a month, during which she eat and drank as the family did; that soon after her mistress, Elizabeth Brownrigg, began to beat and ill-treat the deceased, sometimes with a walking-cane, at other times with a horsewhip or a postillion’s whip… and beat her with a whalebone riding-whip on several parts of her body, and with the butt-end, divers times about the head, the blood gushing from her head and other parts of her body;…” A neighbor hearing noises from the lower area of the house had her journeyman investigate it and that is how she was found.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… must have been a slow news day…

August 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I journeyed today to London, England via The Post Boy dated August 8, 1717.  I found in the news from Paris that “On Wednesday last, about blog-8-7-2017-king-fallsNine o’Clock at Night, a small Accident befell the King, who being gone to be, tumbled off of it, upon the Floor… And tho’ he receiv’d no other Hurt, than rubbing the Skin off one of his little Fingers, the whole Court was put into a Fright… The Physicians were sent for, who could find no Hurt, but order’d him however, to be chased with Spirit of Wine…”

It must have been a slow news day if falling out a bed and receiving a skinned finger makes the big news! Hmmm, maybe the King had some of the “Spirit of Wine” prior to his going to bed as well? Food for thought!

~The Traveler

The Traveler… tired of pirating… checking out early?…

November 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-21-2016-piratesI traveled to London by The London Chronicle of November 22, 1766 where if found that not all Pirates are bad. An article with the dateline “Newport, Rhode Island, October 6” which is from “a letter from Castle Brew, at Annamaboa, on the Coast of Africa…”. It talks about the pirate infested areas along the coastline, but in particular the one ship “commanded by one Hide”. “…These fellows neither murder, or force any into their service; but, on the contrary, one of their  crew complaining that he was weary of that life, they put him on shore, and allowed him a sufficiency to bear his expences to the first English factory.”

There is also an interesting article from Paris… “Within a month or six weeks past, several persons in this city, tired of life, have sought the means to deprive themselves of it. Some of them have done it by pistols; but a Baker who in cool blood leaped from the top of Pont-Royal… and was only slightly wounded:… however it was imitated a few days ago by a young man,… threw himself out of a window of the third story into the garden of the royal palace; whereby all his limbs were either broken, or dislocated; and when they raised him up, he only said that it was very unhappy for him that the houses of Paris were so low…”.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… being “turn’d off”…

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Today my journey took me to London, England, by the means of The Post Boy dated September 20, 1716. There I found the Ottoman-Venetian War was going strong with little relief for the Turks. Even their truce request of a couple hours in order to bury dead had been denied. Then only to be faced with coming into Blog-9-19-2016-Humorbattle with nails and iron and iron spikes being hidden in the sand and planks at the Communication Bridge which lamed their horses and then to be fired upon by cannon and small shot, killing more men.

I found an interesting article on the back page. “…Last Wednesday night, a Man being at the Gallows, about to be hang’d, was pardon’d; and the Friday following, another being just ready to be turn’d off, the Duchess of Berry pass’d by that Place to the Opera, and ask’d what was the Matter. Being told, she order’d the Lieutenant-Criminal to deferr Execution, while she went back, and interceded for him to the Duke-Regent. Having obtain’d his Pardon, she sent one of her Pages with it; whereupon, the Cord was cut from about his Neck, and he with much ado brought down the ladder…”

~The Traveler

The Articles of Confederation formally united the 13 colonies (revisited)…

August 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

An oldie, but a goodie…

The following post was originally published in 2008:

For a collector of historic American documents as printed in period newspapers a printing of the “Articles of Confederation” would be a very significant issue. With much credit to Wikipedia, the creation & importance of this document provides some fascinating reading:

The Articles of Confederation was the governing constitution of the alliance of thirteen independent and sovereign states known as the “United States of America.” The Articles’ ratification, proposed in 1777, was completed in 1781, legally uniting the states by agreement into the “United States of America” as a union with a confederation government. Under the Articles (and the succeeding Constitution) the states retained sovereignty over all governmental functions not specifically deputed to the central government.

The last draft of the Articles was written in the summer of 1777 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 in York, Pennsylvania after a year of debate. The Articles set the rules for operations of the “United States” confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could not mint coins (each state had its own currency) nor could it borrow money, whether inside or outside the United States. An important element of the Articles was that Article XIII stipulated that “their provisions shall be inviolably observed by every state” and “the Union shall be perpetual”.

The Articles were created by the chosen representatives of the states in the Second Continental Congress out of a perceived need to have “a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States.” Although serving a crucial role in the victory in the American Revolutionary War, a group of “federalists” felt that the Articles lacked provisions for a sufficiently effective government. The key criticism by those who favored a more powerful central state (the federalists) was that the government lacked taxing authority; it had to request funds from the states. Another criticism of the Articles was that they did not strike the right balance between large and small states in the legislative decision making process. Due to its one-state, one-vote structure, the larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote. The Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution when created in 1787.

Our issue of the Pennsylvania Ledger dated March 11, 1778 contains the complete printing of the Articles of Confederation. The many photos will allow you to enjoy the significance of the newspaper and to appreciate how those who held this actual edition some 230 years ago might have felt knowing the independent colonies were joining together for a common cause–to not only provide a foundation for a united country which might some day–hopefully–become a world player, but for more immediate purposes, to survive the incursions of the British during the ongoing Revolutionary War. In 1778 no one knew how either effort might turn out.

Enjoy the issue!

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