The Traveler… a sweet business…

September 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-9-21-2015-SugarToday I traveled to back London, England by The London Chronicle of September 21, 1765. I found the reporting of some sweet business happening in New England, the making of maple syrup! “Having chosen out a large maple-tree, suitable for the purpose, they with an axe box it…a kind of trough is prepared… in order to retain the sap as it runs down. By this means upwards of 30 gallons from one tree has been drawn in a day;…  produces a sugar, the grain of which is equal in fineness to the the Jamaica…  upwards of 600 lb. was made by one man the last season…”

~The Traveler

They put it in print… the Stamp Act…

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-17-2015-Stamp-ActSome of the most noteworthy events in history have humble beginnings. Such is the case with the announcing of the passage of The Stamp Act in The Gentleman’s Magazine, March, 1765. Under the Historical Chronicle section is the rather inconspicuous note, “Lord Mansfield, as speaker, and the Earls Gower and Marchmont, by virtue of a commission from his majesty, gave the royal assent to the following bills: …for laying a stamp duty in the British colonies in America.”  While this official notification of the Stamp Act most likely flew under the radar of most readers of the day, there is no doubt regarding its significance. I wonder which one-liners which go unnoticed today will prove similar ten years from now?

Post-Boys from London… A collector asks…

June 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is a guest post from a collecting friend. Feel free to weigh-in on any of his questions or comments:

“While I have been buying newspapers for 10 years [from Rare Newspapers],  I have yet to see numbers of estimates printed for the popular London Post-Boy (most of my collection is the Post-Boy). Over the years, I have not found any numbers on the web until just this week! I was again urged on my watching Art and Coin TV, in which the 1899 Morgan Silver Dollar for sale, was mentioned to be very rare, with only 300,000 minted! Ha!

In the publication ‘Publishing Business in Eighteenth-Century England’, by James Raven, he states surviving records list the thrice-weekly printing in 1704 was 9000 a week, so 3000 per date!  Quite a bit less then Morgan dollar for sure. But what of the total numbers that survive today?

My best guess would be at most, 1-2 percent of any one date, under 100 copies held in intuitions and private hands? Any one here found any estimates published on surviving copies?  As an off-set pressman by trade, I enjoy showing off the Post-Boy at work, to the delight of all.”

Lawrence Garrett

Follow-up from Lawrence:

“I know a phrase from a London Gazette I have  been trying to fully understand, without success. {It is found within] a September 24, 1666 issue you have. It states a ship ‘struck on the sands of the riff-raffes’. This sounds like a Sandbar, but I have seen sandbars called just that in these old newspapers. Despite much research, I cannot find any slang term for sandbars from any time period, let alone 1666. It would be nice to find published information confirming these Riff-Raffes are indeed sandbars. Is it possible these sea/lake/river bottom features were called Riff-Raffes  BEFORE land use for rough trouble making people? Any other readers found this in other newspapers?”

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored IN 1775…

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Todd-AndrlikTodd Andrlik, founder and editor of Journal of the American Revolution, and curator, author and editor of Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (Sourcebooks, 2012), has assembled and written a great piece of scholarship in regards to Paul Revere – specifically, how he was viewed by his contemporaries, using the lens of original newspapers of his day. An excerpt is as follows:

Because of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” most people think that Revere was critical to the start of the Revolutionary War. In trying to dispel Longfellow’s myth of a lone hero, modern scholars have portrayed Revere as just one rider among dozens on 18-19 April 1775, and argued that his previous rides for the Patriot cause might have been more important. A survey of newspapers from 1774 and 1775 shows that in fact those earlier rides had made Revere prominent enough that he did stand out in reports of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, even as Massachusetts authorities kept the extent of his activities quiet.

Paul Revere was a man who wore many hats. He was well known throughout New England for his engravings, his silver work, his Masonic fellowship and his political activity. Plus, in 1774 and early 1775, Revere worked as an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. He frequently carried letters, newspapers and other important communication between cities, including Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Revere’s early dispatches related to some of the biggest American events of the eighteenth century, including the destruction of the tea, the Boston Port Bill and the Suffolk Resolves. In December 1774, at the age of 39, he rode to Portsmouth to alert local Patriot leaders that the Royal Navy was on its way to seize gunpowder and arms from Fort William and Mary. Newspaper printers would eagerly print Revere’s tidings, frequently attributing…

This is a must-read article! View Todd’s scholarship in its entirety at:

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored In 1775

 

The Traveler… Col. Bradstreet’s peace offering… the devil’s what?…

December 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to London, England, by the way of The Gentleman’s Magazine of December, 1764. There I found a letter from Quebec reporting “Col. Bradstreet, on his arrival at Blog-12-1-2014-Peak's-HoleDetroit, sent a belt of peace to General Pontiac, but he, like a true hero, depended on his power, and greatly dared his worst, by cutting the belt in pieces at the head of his army, (the Indians) and two days ago an Indian canoe came on board us, who assured us M. Pontiak had assembled all his forces together at St. Dusky, and received  Col. Bradstreet with undaunted courage… “.

Also in the issue is a “sketch of Peak’s Hole commonly called the Devil’s A—–se-A-Peak in Derbyshire”. This also is Pool’s Hole and includes a plate with two illustrations. To enter this, “the entrance is by a small arch, so very low, that such a venture into it are forced to creep upon their hands and knees, but it gradually opens into a vault more than a quarter of a mile long, and, as some have pretended, a quarter of a mile high…”. This also has a running stream and both a cold and hot spring — the springs within a hand touch from the other.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… the death of Queen Anne…

August 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to London, England, by the means of The Post Boy dated August 21, 1714. There I found “We have an Account from Glasgow, That upon the News of Her Majesty’s Death, the Mobb rose up in a tumultuary Manner, and broke open the Episcopal Meeting-House breaking down all the Pews, and carry’d the Pulpit and Common-Prayer-Book in Triumph thro’ the Town, and at length burnt them;… This is the only Riot that has been committed in North Britain since the Queen’s Death; His Majesty being proclaimed in all Places without any Tumult…”.

Queen Anne and her family were associated with the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobites. She had 17 pregnancies, which included many miscarriages and stillbirths. Only only one child lived any length of time, that was Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who died at the age 11. From all the pregnancies, she had suffered with serious health issue, had a stroke on the anniversary of Prince William’s death and died the following day.

~The TravelerBlog-8-18-2014-Queen-Anne-Death

The Traveler… will she deliver?… matrimony unmasked…

June 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

1714 Post Boy Today I traveled to London, England, by the way of The Post Boy dated June 1, 1714. There I found an article with the dateline Hague in which “…the Hereditary Prince’s Consort would rejoice the Czar, by bringing a young Prince into the World.”  However there were different opinions as to her delivery as her “reckoning” had elapsed. Was she really with child? Was the child dead? Would she deliver soon? It was determined “…that Times alone can determine which of these different Sentiments of the Physicians is the best grounded.”

The back page contained an advertisement for a new publication which caught my eye… “Matrimony unmask’d; or, The Comforts and Discomforts of Marriage Display’d”. Sounds like it could have been an interesting read!

~The Traveler

The peaceful transfer of power…

March 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As we approach President’s Day, there is a part of me which is somewhat sentimental about my childhood memories surrounding Washington’s Birthday. I sure do miss it as a stand alone national celebration. I fondly remember my father bringing home a cardboard version of an ax (with a chocolate-covered cherry hidden within) to present to each of us to commemorate the holiday, and without fail, reminding us to be just like George Washington – that is, to never tell a lie. Was there a bit of lore surrounding this sacred event? Sure. Did it teach us a valuable lesson? Absolutely. Somehow we’ve lost the innocence and value of oral tradition, and I wonder if we are the better for it.

Perhaps Washington never chopped down a cherry tree… and my guess is he probably told a lie at some point, but I challenge anyone to name another political leader who, in the face of such power, tradition, and popularity, was willing to hand over the reigns of power with such humility and grace.  The Massachusetts Spy, Or Worcester Gazette for March 15, 1797 records much of the proceedings of this momentous event. The link provides access to considerable details. Of particular note is his response to the Massachusetts’ Representatives of Congress who basically asked him, “What now?”  His response is precious (see below). Please enjoy!

The Traveler… to catch a bear… He’s what?… No whites allowed?

February 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled back to London, England, by the way of The London Chronicle: or, Universal Evening Post dated February 18, 1764. There I found an interesting article on “The manner of catching Bears at Kamtschatka” (see photo below) which is a peninsula in Russia Far East. Although that article itself is quite interesting in the manner of how to catch these animals, the introduction is even more fascinating. “Bears and wolves are so numerous, that they fill the woods and fields like cattle; the bears in summer, and the wolves in winter. The bears of Kamtschatka are neither large nor fierce, and never fall upon people, unless they find them asleep; and then they seldom kill any outright, but most commonly tear the scalp from the back part of the head; and, when fiercer than ordinary, tear off some of the fleshy parts, but never eat them… It is remarked here that the bears never hurt women; but, in the summer, go about with them like tame animals, especially when they gather berries. Sometimes, indeed, the bears eat up the berries which the women have gathered, and this is the only injury they do them…”

Another article is of a death of a “…woman that went by the name of John Chivy. She dressed always in man’s apparel, and passed for a man; and notwithstanding she had been married upwards of 20 years, her sex never discovered till her death…”.

The following article caught my attention. “Among the sundry fashionable routs or clubs, that are held in town, that of the Blacks or Negro servants is not the least. On Wednesday night last, no less than fifty-seven of them, men and women, supped, drank, and entertained themselves… till four in the morning. No Whites were allowed to be present, for all the performers were Blacks.” The closing sentence made me ponder as to its meaning. I welcome your thoughts and explanations as well.

~ The Traveler

Trenton as the nation’s capital in 1799…

September 13, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

A small news bit inconspicuously located on page 2 of the “Columbian Centinel” newspaper from Boston, dated  October 19, 1799, struck me as being in error: “The President of the United States arrived at the seat of government, (Trenton) in good health.” Or so I thought. While history tells us that the seat of government had moved from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. during this period, it appears in fact that the federal government did remove itself from Philadelphia (to Trenton) for a brief time in 1799 to escape the Yellow Fever epidemic in that city. But to my surprise there is very little on the internet about it. There are several sites which provide some detail about Trenton being the nation’s capital for 54 days in 1784, but just two sites have a passing reference to the 1799 event. There is no mention as to exactly when or for how long. Can anyone provide more detail? Surprisingly even the sites of the city of Trenton offer no help.

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