The Traveler… it’s a boy… poetry in cards…

November 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s journey took me to London, England, by the means of The London Chronicle dated November 5, 1767 where great news was announced. “This day about noon the Queen was happily delivered of a Prince…This great event was soon after made known by the firing of the Tower guns. Her majesty is, God be praised, as well as can be expected; and the young Prince is in perfect health.” This was Prince Edward Augustus who would become the Duke of Kent.

Also in this issue is an interesting nearly column-length poem entitled “Card-Playing Philosophized – Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”.

~The Traveler

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… digging up skeletons…

March 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

blog-3-20-2017-black-assizeI journeyed today to Gloucester, England, through The Glocester Journal dated March 23, 1767. I found an interesting article “Last week the skeleton of a man in setters, with one jaw and some of the large bones perfect, was dug up in removing some ground in our Castle Green, eastward of the ruins of the old County Hall, memorable as the place wherein was held the fatal black assize, in the year 1577… upwards of 500 other persons were infected by a gaol disease, and died between the sixth of July and the tenth of August. This skeleton is by some conjectured to be the remains of one Rowland Jenkes, the person condemned at the assize for for sedition, and who was at the bar when the dreadful catastrophe befel the court…”. This was pertaining to the “Black Assize”.

As per wikipedia: The Black Assize is a name given to multiple deaths in the city of Oxford in England between July 6 and August 12, 1577. At least 300 people, including the chief baron and sheriff, are thought to have died as a result of this event. It received its name because it was believed to have been associated with a trial at the Assize Court at Oxford Castle.  A 19th-century account is more sure of the cause: ‘The assize held at Oxford in the year 1577, called the “Black Assize,” was a dreadful instance of the deadly effects of the jail fever. The judges, jury, witnesses, nay, in fact every person, except the prisoners, women and children, in court were killed by a foul air, which at first was thought to have arisen out of the bowels of the earth; but that great philosopher, Lord Bacon, proved it to have come from the prisoners taken out of a noisome jail and brought into court to take their trials; and they alone, inhaling foul air, were not injured by it.’

~The Traveler

Lava flowing on the moon?

March 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-3-14-2016-Astronomy-2It can be easy to understand the limits of astronomy prior to our modern age when you read a report like the one found in The Bath Chronicle” from England, June 14, 1787, which reports an observation by one of the more noted astronomers of the era. It begins: “Our great astronomer Mr. Herschel has lately discovered three volcanoes in the moon. The principal one, which is now burning, ejects great quantities of smoke and lava…” (see image).

Sometimes reality defies reason…

November 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-30-2015-GermaineJust because the odds are stacked against us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move forward. There are times when sticking to our guns is the right choice – regardless of our chances of success. This point was driven home in 1777 when Lord George Germaine presented his reasons why the American colonists had no chance of succeeding with their revolutionary effort before Parliament. If the American rebels had weighed the odds against them as itemized by Lord Germaine, they may have raised the white flag of defeat – and world history would have been forever altered. The full list of his reasons why the Americans would fail were printed in The London Chronicle of May 17, 1777. Thanks to our forefathers, they were driven by principle and not by the odds-makers of the day. Perhaps we should take a page from history and be driven likewise.

They put it in print… in two different editions…

November 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

“Newsbooks” from Europe, those small pamphlet-looking periodicals which were the predecessors of today’s newspapers, have always been difficult to find. But rarely have we had a more intriguing issue than one recently added to our inventory, and its the back story which makes it interesting.

Rather than one, we have secured  two issues of the “Mecurius Aulicus“newsbook, both of the same date, “The five and thirtieth Weeke” of 1643, one the “regular” Oxford edition, the other the secretly-printed and exceedingly rare London edition.

Blog-11-23-2015-MERCURIUS-AULICUSThis newsbook was created because of the English Civil War during the early 1640’s, as a means for the Royalist faction supporting King Charles I to promote their views in Parliament-held London.  It was published in Oxford, the stronghold of Charles I at the time. Any person or any publication promoting the cause of Charles I would not have been welcomed in London.  It was a short-lived publication which began to lose support from 1644 onward as the Royalist losses on the battlefield continued. This Oxford newsbook found it more & more difficult to obtain current news and issues became badly delayed. It finally ceased publication in 1645.

But an intriguing article in Wikipedia adds an interesting tidbit to the history of this publication: “…The Mercurius Aulicus was printed in Oxford, which was at this time the Royalist capital…then smuggled into London where it was sold by local women, often at heavily inflated prices. It was also reprinted on occasion–albeit not necessarily accurately–by local sympathizers in London…”.

So as we see, there was also a  secretly-printed edition done in London, with print runs which had to be  exceedingly low. On the rare occasion we have had the opportunity to offer an issue of the Mercurius Aulicus it has always been the Oxford edition. Never have we seen a London edition. Until now.

The photos show the complete text of not only the “regular” Oxford edition but the very rare London edition as well. Comparing the two gives evidence to some subtle differences between them (embellishment at top of front page is different; heading type sizes are different; embellished first letter of ftpg. is different; dated headings on inside pages are different, etc.) Although I am struck but the considerable similarity between the two issues given they were printed on different presses in different cities, put side-by-side several differences are very evident.

Not only is this London edition very rare, but we were fortunate enough to secure the Oxford edition of the same date as well. If ever a pair of same-date newsbooks deserve to be kept together, here it is. A fascinating pair from an intriguing period in British history—and in newspaper history as well.

 

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?

A rousing call for freedom…

July 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

We occasionally find nice editorials or letters in newspapers of the colonial era which express a concern for the relationship between England and the colonies. Most appear during the midst of the Revolutionary War, but they can be found, at times, in newspapers dated between the Stamp Act of 1765  and the outbreak of war ten years later.

The “Essex Gazette” of March 14, 1775 contains on page two a very rousing “call to arms” in support of freedom from the “tyranny” of England (one is shown below -both are viewable through the link). Hint is made for the need for freedom from British control some 15 months prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Take a moment to read this great letter, headed: “May Truth’s bright Beams and Freedom’s Rage, Confound the Villains of the Age.” A very appropriate piece as we now celebrate the 239th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.Blog-7-3-2015-Cause-of-Freedom

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?”

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