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?”

The Traveler… the coronation… out of the mouths of babes…

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-17-2014-Coronation-King-George-IToday I traveled back to London, England by the way of The Post Boy dated November 18, 1714. There I found that in Swansea, Wales, they had celebrated the coronation of King George I very early in the morning. “…at Three in the Morning the Bells began to ring, the musick play’d round the Town, and at the Dawning the Drums followed, each saluting the Inhabitants with Good-morrow, and long live King George: At Eight the Marker was hung round with Scarlet; intermixt with Springs and Flowers of Gold; and at the North-End a large Crown with Garlands and Streamers:…”. Much more information on the parade is in the issue.

I also found an intriguing article about a very young abbot in Paris, being just 9 1/2 years old, preaches. “…he made a very fine Discourse, and was admired by all that heard him. He is a Prodigy of Wit, having now preach’d these 4 years, and even several times before the King…The King gives him a Salary of 200 Livres a Year, and Father le Tellier has promis’d to take Care of him…”.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… a proclamation… the plague… “neat” wines…

August 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to London through the The Post Boy dated August 20, 1713. The issue contains a Proclamation by the Queen, calling for a New Parliament as the last Parliament had been dissolved.

There I also found the terrible news coming from Vienna concerning the plague. “The Plague now rages very much in this City; 70, 80, or more people dying of it every day… Her Majesty’s Steward having bury’d one Daughter with it, and sent another to the Pest-House, while himself and the rest of his Children are gone to perform Quarentine;… Be that as it will, a Council having been held… it was therein resolv’d, to shut out Austria and other found Provinces, and to appoint Quarentine-Houses on all our Frontiers;…”

This also contained an interesting advertisement for “A Sale of Neat Wines…”.  Now, I have seen many vine advertisements but this is the first time that I have seen wines described as “neat”. One wine is further described as “excellent Canary Wine, Rich and Racy”… and that too is an interesting description as well. Cheers!

~The Traveler

Entry point to the Rare Newspapers Collectible… 18th Century…

February 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the past month the History’s Newsstand Blog has explored the lower-end entry points into the hobby of collecting rare and early newspapers. This next installment takes us back to the 18th century.  The further we move back in time the higher (price-wise) is the entry point.  One of the common ways to keep your early (into the hobby) 18th century collecting budget under control is to start by collecting newspapers/magazines from England.  Typically, reports on American affairs found within British publications cost as little as 1/10 (and sometimes even less percentage-wise) than the corresponding reports in American issues.  With this in mind…

The following selection provides a glimpse of the wide variety of 18th century issues available valued at $25* and under.  Many more exist on the Rare Newspapers’ website, but others can be found throughout the collectible community as well. The item numbers for each are linked to corresponding images.

The oldest newspaper in the world…

120436 THE LONDON GAZETTE, England, dates ranging from 1726 to 1730  – This is the oldest continually published newspaper in the world, having begun in 1665 and is still being published today. Reporting is almost entirely concerned with Parliamentary items and European news with some advertisements near the back of the issue.  $18.00*

From Pre-Revolutionary War England…

121059 THE ST. JAMES CHRONICLE; OR, THE BRITISH EVENING POST, London, England, 1767. Nice engraving in the masthead makes this a displayable issue. Various news of the day and a wealth of ads, from not long before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. $18.00*

From Post-Revolutionary War England…

208968 THE GENERAL EVENING POST, London, 1792  A nice “typical” folio-size newspaper of 4 pages from the 18th century. There is a wealth of news of the day on the front page and inside pages with some ads scattered throughout as well.  $18.00*

By the town critic…

121100 THE CONNOISSEUR, London, 1755. See the photo below for an example of this title from our archives. An uncommon and early title “By Mr. Town, Critic & Censor General” as noted in the masthead. Done in editorial format.  $20.00*

From 18th century Scotland…

208447 THE EDINBURGH EVENING COURANT, Scotland, 1785.  A nice 18th century Scottish newspaper with the entire front page taken up with ads, with various news of the day on the inside pages. Some of the ads have illustrations as well. Complete in 4 pages, partial red-inked tax stamp on the front page, folio size, some light browning or dirtiness, but in generally nice condition.  $20.00*

Additional issues priced at $25* and under may be viewed at: Entry Level Newspapers

* All prices shown were valid as of the release date of this post.

View the following to explore the History’s Newsstand Blog’s featured posts on the upper end of the collectible: “Prices Realized” and “Most Collectible Issues“.

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