The Traveler… sail away… and away again…

September 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

This week’s journey took me to London, England, by the means of The London Gazette dated September 5, 1667. This carried the report from Plymouth the that “The Virginia Fleet sailed from hence, and from Foy, on Friday, last are by contrary Winds put back again into this Port, and expect only a fair Gale to encourage them to pursue their Voyage.” What a great reminder as to the difficulties of early trans-Atlantic travel – that which we now take for granted.

~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

A political cartoon from 1776 themed on the Revolutionary War…

February 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Political cartoons are ever-present in our world today. It would be difficult to find a daily or weekly publication today without at least one. And they have been around for a long time–perhaps longer than you might think.

There was the occasional political cartoon in 18th century magazines, only a few of which are American-themed, and fewer still can be found as most have been removed years ago. Although we have had a few in years past, we recently purchased not only a very nice one, but one from a title difficult to find in today’s world of collecting.

The November, 1776 issue of “The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer”, not to be confused with the more common “Gentleman’s Magazine”. A full page plate in the issue has a very political cartoon themed on the Revolutionary War, captioned: “News From America, or the Patriots in the Dumps.” and shows Lord North standing on a platform holding a letter announcing successful campaigns by the British troops in America. A distraught woman, ‘America’, holding a liberty cap, sits at the base of the platform. Others present react to the news. There are several websites concerning this political cartoon, one of which can be seen here.

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 Traveler… ah, this bloody weather…

April 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-4-18-2016-London-StormToday I traveled to England by The Post Boy dated April 17, 1716. I found a most intriguing report from Genoa, “On the 22d, about Eight in the Evening, we had a great Shower of Rain colour’d like Blood, which lasted above two Hours, and was follow’d with dreadful Thunder and Lightning, which struck People with a general Fright; and the more, because nine Persons were kill’d, and twelve wounded by it, in the Suburbs of San Pietrod’ Arena. It was very calm over Night; but the next Morning there arose such a furious Storm, that many Houses along the Sea-Coast were blown down…”.

I know for certain that I would not have wanted to experience those storms!

~The Traveler

They put it in print… “Liar, Liar”…

April 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

From a time before internet dating, the Dec. 30, 1791 issue of “The Morning Post from London contains an interesting–and hopefully tongue-in-check–report headed: “Advertisements Matrimonial” which provides amusing reading if nothing else. “Liar, Liar” in print – what if people desiring a mate through ads in newspapers had to write what they were really wanting??? Enjoy.Blog-4-11-2016-matrimony

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?

The put it in print… America will become the greatest nation ever!

June 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-6-15-2015-America-Greatest-Nation-EverOne of the joys of reading old newspapers is the opportunity to discover what were, in fact, very prophetic statements made long before anyone could have known they would become true. As they say, hindsight does provide 20-20 vision.

One of the best is found in The London Chronicle” issue of Nov. 2, 1765. Some 150 years before the per-eminence of America as a world power both military and economically, a writer begins an article: “Little doubt can be entertained that America will in time become the greatest and most prosperous empire that perhaps the world has ever seen…”.

How true that statement would become, but to predict that future nearly a dozen years before America would even declare independence from the mother country was truly a stretch. It’s a neat find in an otherwise inconspicuous newspaper.

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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