Nature and Scope

 

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Module I

Module II 

Module III

Module IV

Module V

The Selection of Material for Eighteenth Century Journals

   

 

Module I


The journals collected together in Eighteenth Century Journals I are illustrative of the wide range of print options available to the periodical reader of the age, and the variety of subjects covered by such works. From the ephemeral to the long-running; from the political controversies of the day to the latest gossip from London society; from the works of Coleridge in his Watchman to the anonymous offering of a never-to-be known poet: these journals provide an invaluable insight into the eighteenth-century world. The views represented within these texts are often in opposition to those of the government or other established bodies; indeed, they are often in opposition with one another. They are not homogenous, and they are, therefore, a testament to the vibrancy and variety of their time.
 
Journals written for and by women are strongly represented in Eighteenth Century Journals I. The Female Tatler  appeared in 1709 in the wake of Richard Steele’s success with the Tatler (also included here). Its content is notably less ‘improving’ than many of the later ‘conduct’ periodicals aimed at women. A scandal sheet, it contains gossip and humorous anecdotes, often at the expense of well-known London figures. Purportedly written by ‘Mrs Crackenthorpe, a Lady that knows Everything’, its racy content has suggested authorship by well-known gossip Mary Delariviere Manley. Other important female periodicals include Eliza Haywood’s Female Spectator (1744-1746), included here in its entirety. One of the first journals both by and for women, it proved immensely popular and influential. Haywood wrote articles on education, marriage and children under four pseudonyms: Mira, Euphrosine, Widow of Quality and The Female Spectator. ‘Mira’ was also the nom-de-plume under which she composed the Wife, essentially an advice manual and guide for marriage. It contains articles on such universal topics as ‘Well bearing the passions and little petulancies of a Husband’, ‘Sleeping in different Beds’ and ‘the danger of living in the same house with any Relation of the Husband’s’. Haywood, a prolific writer and editor, is also credited with authorship of the Parrot (1746), a political paper which addressed some of the more contentious issues of the day, including the ‘Forty-five’ rebellion and the cause of the Young Pretender. Her views on this issue would eventually see Haywood arrested and held in custody for seditious libel.
The Wife, by Mira, © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
 
No less than 19 titles in Eighteenth Century Journals I deal with eighteenth-century drama. The Theatre (1720) represents Sir Richard Steele’s last venture in print journalism. It appeared two years after the revocation of his patent for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, after a political difference with the Duke of Newcastle. It was, as Steele admitted, intended to win him support in the dispute with Newcastle, which centered on Steele’s claims that the Duke had interfered with his management of Drury Lane in his role as Lord Chamberlain. The opposing side was not without advocates, however: in the Anti-Theatre, ‘Sir John Falstaffe’ presents strong arguments in favour of the Lord Chamberlain’s intervention in Drury Lane’s internal affairs. The Prompter, which had a short-lived daily run from October to December 1789, offers “the historical account, plot, and character of all the dramatic pieces that appear”, and in its Preface states the need for critical analysis of the theatre: “a spectator may assist at our theatrical amusements…by laying before him, with the strictest impartiality, the merits as well as the demerits of the author and the actor.” Other theatrical journals include the Rhapsodist, the Theatrical Monitor and the Actor.
 
Many of these journals provide fascinating insights into London life – both high and low – during the period. The Covent Garden Journal (1752), edited by Henry Fielding under the pseudonym Sir Alexander Drawcansir, contains much information about city news, under subtitles such as ‘Modern History’ (a record of fashionable gatherings and gossip); ‘Proceedings at the Court of Censorial Enquiry’ (reviews of books and theatrical matters); and ‘Covent Garden’, a summary of crime news from the magistrate’s court. This latter echoed Fielding’s efforts, and those of his brother John, in establishing London’s first professional police force, the Bow Street Runners, and the ‘Police Gazette’ which circulated details of criminal activity.
 
Many journals are a useful source for assessing attitudes towards contemporary events in a time of frequent political and religious turmoil. A number of these periodicals were written in direct response to an action of government. The Crisis and the American Crisis both refer to the American Revolution. The American Crisis is a series of  pamphlets written by Thomas Paine, decrying the actions of the British and Loyalists. No. 2 starts with the famous declaration:
 

These are the times that try men’s souls. The Summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the thanks of men and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

 

Other political controversies prompted opposing sides to iterate their arguments in print. The Plebeian and the Old Whig see Sir Richard Steele and Joseph Addison (respectively) pitted against each other in a political quarrel. In the Plebeian Steele attacked the Earl of Sunderland’s proposed Peerage Bill, which had divided the Whig party; the Old Whig offers Addison’s counter-attack on Steele, whom he termed ‘Little Dicky, whose trade it was to write pamphlets.’ The Director  is written in advocacy of the South Sea scheme while Cato’s Letters (1720-1723) was written initially as a call for public justice on the managers of the South Sea Bubble and printed in the London Journal. However, Cato’s Letters was continued over three years to cover a wide range of subjects, always advocating freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny and advancing the concepts developed by John Locke. These letters proved highly popular and influential, and were reprinted as a journal in their own right many times. A generation later they were an inspiration to the American Colonists (half of the private libraries in America were said to hold a copy). This is both a testament to the power of the period’s press, and to the ongoing value of these journals as a means for contemporary understanding of eighteenth-century political and cultural life.

List of Module I Journals by Subject Area (links to first volume)

 

Literary Journals
(See also Theatrical Journals)

The Adventurer 1753
The Attic Miscellany 1789
The Bee Reviv'd 1750 
Cato's Letters 1720-23 
The Centinel 1757 
The Critick 1718 
The Devil 1786-87        
The Eaton Chronicle 1788
The Entertainer 1718     
The Flapper 1796-97    
The Fool 1746-47 
The Free-Thinker 1718-21 
The Genius 1762  
Genius of Kent 1792-93 
The Gentleman 1775     
Hog's Wash 1793-95
The Humourist 1720     
The Kapelion 1750-51 
The London Mercury 1780 
The Microcosm 1786-87 
The Phoenix 1797
The Rhapsodist 1757     
The Speculator 1790    
Terrae Filius 1763 
The Tribune 1729 
Variety 1788 
The Watchman 1796     
The World 1753-56

 

Moral and Satirical Journals

The Attic Miscellany 1789         
The Busy Body 1787 
The Country Gentleman 1726 
The Covent-Garden Journal 1752 
The Devil 1755 
The Doctor 1718   
The Eaton Chronicle 1788
The Flapper 1796-97   
The Fool 1746-47 
The Humourist 1720     
The New Spectator 1784-86  
The Quiz 1796-97 
The Royal Female Magazine 1760 
The Spy at Oxford & Cambridge 1744
The Trifler 1795-96 
The World 1753-56

 

Political Journals

The American Crisis 1776-80
The Anti-Union 1798-9
The Budget 1764 
Cato's Letters 1720-23 
The Controller 1714   
The Country Gentleman 1726 
The Covent-Garden Journal 1752 
The Crisis 1775-76 
The Crisis 1792-93
The Daily Benefactor 1715        
The Director 1720-21   
The English Freeholder 1791 
The Entertainer 1754     
The Fall of Britain 1776-1777 
The Fish-Pool 1718 
The Fool 1746-47 
The Free Briton 1729-35 
The Free-Thinker 1718-21 
Genius of Kent 1792-93 
Hog's Wash 1793-95
A Letter from J-n W-s 1764      
The London Mercury 1780 
The Microcosm 1786-87 
The National Journal 1746
The New Spectator 1784-86  
The North Briton 1764  
The Old Whig 1719  
Pig's Meat 1794 
The Plebeian 1719
The Political Herald & Review 1785 
The Protestant Packet 1780-81 
The Scots Spy 1776      
The Spinster 1719  
Town Talk 1715 
The Tribune 1729
The Tribune 1795-96 
The Wallet 1764 
Wilkes & Liberty 1764   
The World 1753-56      

 

Religious Journals

The Comedian 1732
The Christian's Amusement 1740-41 
The Daily Benefactor 1715        
The Entertainer 1754       
The Free-Thinker 1718-21 
Genius of Kent 1792-93 
Hog's Wash 1793-95
The Protestant Packet 1780-81 
The Weekly History 1741-42

 

Theatrical Journals

The Adventurer 1753
The Anti-Theatre 1720 
The Attic Miscellany 1789   
The Centinel 1757 
The Comedian 1732
The Covent Garden Chronicle 1768
The Crisis 1792-93
The Devil 1786-87   
The Genius 1762  
The Gentleman 1775     
The Kapelion 1750-51 
The New Spectator 1784-86  
The Prompter 1789 
The Rhapsodist 1757 
The Speculator 1790   
The Theatre 1720 
The Theatrical Monitor 1767   
The World 1753-56

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Module II

The New London Magazine; being an universal and co..., © Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas © Adam Matthew Digital 2016	AMexplorer	Participating Libraries and Archives	Adam Matthew Digital Privacy Policy Contact us Copyright Terms of useEighteenth Century Journals II provides a wide-ranging view of topical issues that concerned readers of the period.  In the eighteenth century, as today, the content of newspapers was dictated by the editor’s sense of what was desired by the general readership. This desire can be summed up in a single word: variety. Themes covered by the periodicals featured in this digital collection are highly diverse, including literature, the theatre; fashion; politics, revolution; agriculture; social issues and society life. Moreover, such range of topics is often discussed within the pages of a single volume, leaping from discussions of the latest ladies’ fashions, to the study of natural philosophy, to gardening methods, within a matter of pages. The sheer breadth of subject matter is astonishing. This essay will attempt to provide the user with a flavour of such subjects and how they were approached by eighteenth-century publishers. It concludes with a list of some relevant journals which users may find a helpful starting-point in their research on specific subject disciplines.
 
A number of titles are devoted exclusively to politics. One of the most prominent of these is Joseph Addison’s Freeholder, a paper established in 1715 to further the interests of the Whigs, then enjoying a fresh dominance in government which was to last until 1760. Although the paper was criticised by many of Addison’s contemporaries, including his collaborator Richard Steele, it was fondly remembered by Samuel Johnson in his Life of Addison, in which he commented that “his humour was singular and matchless”, while Thomas Babington Macaulay declared that “none of Addison's works exhibit stronger marks of his genius than the Freeholder”. In contrast to the Freeholder’s support of established politics, the Political Register, founded by John Almon, was an influential dissenting periodical. Almon was a prominent Piccadilly bookseller and close ally of John Wilkes who had a reputation for frequently causing offence to the government: in 1770, three years after the first volume of the Political Register had appeared, he was arrested for reprinting a letter from the anonymous dissident writer ‘Junius’ to the King. Perhaps his greatest anti-establishment act was to force the government to allow publishers to reprint parliamentary debates. Also included is the Weekly Remarks and Political Reflections, published by Isaac Dalton: in its proceedings, the Old Bailey records that Dalton was brought to trial on 12th July 1716 for “seditious libel…in Printing and Publishing a Libel, call'd Weekly Remarks, &c. in which are contain'd several Expressions, highly reflecting on his present Majesty and Government”. Dalton was acquitted, but the episode illustrates well the dangers of political journalism in this age. Other journals in this collection devoted to politics include Mercurius Politicus, an official publication edited on behalf of the ministry by Daniel Defoe and the Political Magazine and Parliamentary, Naval, Military, and Literary Journal. Many of the weekly journals and newspapers report on parliamentary proceedings: see the New London Magazine and the Morning Post and Fashionable World among others.
 
While politics was of great concern to the relatively confined readership of ‘free-holders’, or eligible voters, other topics were of more general interest. Current affairs, both foreign and domestic, play a strong part in many of these journals, especially the newspapers and evening posts. The French Revolution, slavery, the freedom of the press, and American independence are all discussed; the multiples wars and skirmishes in which Britain was involved over the century are reported in detail.
 
A number of the journals in this collection aim to propagate the immense accumulation of knowledge that was taking place in every field of learning during the Enlightenment. The Bee, Or Literary Weekly Intelligencer observed that “numerous facts, and important observations, have been published many years, without ever having come to the knowledge of those classes of men who are engaged in the active pursuit of business” and attempted to rectify this situation by presenting news of the latest scientific discoveries, philosophical treatises, and “literary essays of ingenious men”. Furthermore, it also recognised the increasing interest in foreign cultures and the cosmopolitanism that characterised Enlightenment thinking: “Nor does the editor confine his views to Britain alone….By means of the universal intercourse which trade occasions, and the general utility of this language, he hopes to be able to establish a mutual interchange of knowledge, and to effect a friendly literary intercourse among all nations.” Other such “miscellanies” included in this collection also reflect a burgeoning interest in foreign lands, particularly regarding exotic flora and fauna (for example, the New London Magazine’s account of an expedition to Botany Bay, illustrated with a kangaroo). Anthropology was an intensely popular subject, as can be seen in the Botany Bay article, the Universal Museum (“Account of the Natives of Canada and Louisiana”) and many others of these magazines.
 
As the success of these miscellanies suggests, there was a widening demand for knowledge in this period: an increasing number of men and women of the middle-class and aristocracy had begun to read more widely by the eighteenth-century, owing to improved printing methods and the proliferation of circulating libraries. Integral to this was the huge appetite for literature – this was of course the age in which the novel was born. Coffee houses – those famous repositories of intellectual discussion and journal readership – often kept a substantial number of the latest books for their customers’ perusal. The links between journalism and literary authorship were close: many professional novel-writers began their career in Grub Street. This collection is particularly informative in illuminating the role of literature in eighteenth-century journals, and vice versa. Several of the titles included in this collection devote themselves to summarising, excerpting and reviewing all the latest published books. Such journals as the History of the Works of the Learned and the Present State of the Republick of Letters review some of the best-known literary works of the day as well as more obscure works; revealing contemporary perceptions of literature that has now entered the established canon, and illuminating works that were valued by their contemporaries but have now been all but forgotten.  As well as providing criticism, periodicals were a valuable platform for new writing. One example of a journal devoted to new writing is the Muses Mercury, which contains “Poems, Prologues, Songs, Sonnets, Translations, and other Curious Pieces, Never before Printed”, by various authors, including the Poets Laureate John Dryden and Nahum Tate, and Aphra Behn.
 
Other important elements of eighteenth-century cultural life can be analysed through study of the journals included in this collection, including the role of drama and music. The enormous interest in the theatre is evident, with many journals devoting articles to news of the latest plays and gossip from the ‘patent’ theatres that had been granted official licences by Charles II after the banning of public entertainments during Commonwealth rule. For example, the Muses Mercury includes a summary of news “of the Opera’s and Plays now Preparing for the two Theatres, in Drury-Lane and the Hay-market.” Such articles provide a fascinating insight into the day-to-day running of such theatres, particularly with regard to the financial problems and management scandals that frequently beset these institutions. The New London Magazine is a goldmine of information about the capital’s cultural pursuits, including as it does regular “Theatrical Intelligence” as well as reprinting the latest entertainments from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and reporting on the precarious opening night of the Royal Circus theatre, during which “some part of the galleries appeared to give way.” Songs and poetry set to music are also a popular inclusion in the magazines and miscellanies; one title, the Vocal Magazine, boasts of “Containing all the English, Scotch, and Irish songs, catches, cantatas, airs, glees, ballads, &c deemed any way worthy of being transmitted to posterity”.
 
The study of these titles offers a valuable insight into the role women played in the reading public. The Ladies Diary is clearly intended exclusively for female readership, while the Universal Museum declares itself a “Gentlemen’s and Ladies Polite Magazine”; the British Magazine is a “Monthly Repository for Gentlemen and Ladies”. However, other journals with apparently masculine interests reveal an awareness of a female audience. For example, despite the disenfranchisement of women, the Freeholder devotes eight numbers to the role of women in politics. In an article entitled “Artifices of the malecontents to draw the women into their party”, Addison warns that “it is now…become necessary to treat our women as members of the body politick…They will judge for themselves; look into the state of the nation with their own eyes; and be no longer led blindfold by a male legislature.” However, this increasing political independence is met by scepticism in the same article, as Addison complains that “when errors and prejudices are…spread among the Sex, it is the hardest thing in the world to root them out. Arguments, which are the only proper means for it, are of little use.” 

This collection also offers us a rare glimpse of the more ephemeral aspects of the period. Almanacs such as Culpepper Reviv’d, and Rose’s Almanack for the Year from the Nativity…1712  provide catalogues of the year’s fairs and notable dates, while Merlinus Redivivus specialises in an astrological interpretation of the calendar. The Oeconomist advises gentlemen on the smooth regulation of household affairs and agriculture management, offering information on leases, tithes and “making Ox-head soup”. From accounts of “Country Beauties Spoilt by London Fashions” (Universal Museum) to “Curious Remarks on the Customary Time of Eating” (New London Magazine), these journals vivify the daily minutiae of 18th century life.

List of Module II Journals by Subject Area (links to first volume)

 

Politics

Mercurius Politicus
Old Common Sense; Or, the Englishman’s Journal
The Champion
The Con-Test
The Free-Holder
The Grumbler
The Monitor
The Political Magazine and Parliamentary, Naval, Military and Literary Journal
The Political Register
Weekly Remarks and Political Reflections

 

Theatre and Arts

The Vocal Magazine
The New London Magazine
The British Magazine
The Universal Museum


 
Mercantile and Trading

B Berington’s Evening Post
The British Merchant; Or, Commerce Preserv’d

 

Newspapers/ Current Affairs

B Berington’s Evening Post
Old Common Sense; Or, the Englishman’s Journal
Parker’s Penny Post
Pax, Pax, Pax; Or, A Pacifick Post-Boy
St. James’ Evening Post
St. James’ Post
The Dublin Evening Post
The Edinburgh Gazette
The Flying Post
The London Journal
The London Packet; Or, New Lloyd’s Evening Post
The Morning Advertiser
The Morning Post and Fashionable World
The Northampton Mercury
The Original Weekly Journal
The Plain Dealer
The Post Angel
The Whitehall Evening Post
The York Chronicle
The York Courant

 

Magazines and Miscellanies

The Bee; Or Literary Weekly Intelligencer
The British Magazine
The New London Magazine
A Pacquet from Parnassus
The Lay-Monk
The Medley
The Museum; Or, the Literary and Historical Register
The Oeconomist
The Post Angel
The Royal Magazine; Or, Quarterly Bee
The Universal Museum

 

Literature

The British Magazine
Censura Temporum
A Pacquet from Parnassus
The Bee; Or Literary Weekly Intelligencer
The Muses Mercury
The Museum; Or, the Literary and Historical Register
The New London Magazine
The History of the Works of the Learned
The Political Magazine and Parliamentary, Naval, Military and Literary Journal
The Present State of the Republick of Letters
The Universal Museum

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Module III

Eighteenth Century Journals III, like previous sections, celebrates the variety and diversity of eighteenth century publishing with a range of newspapers and magazines covering all sorts of subjects. This section, however, focuses largely on material published outside of London, including newspapers from across the British Empire, Ireland, Scotland and provincial England. This essay outlines the context of some of the colonial newspapers to help users begin their research. A subject list and a brief guide to some of the other highlights of the collection are also included.

 
 
Colonial newspapers were aimed at the British population across the globe and focused on current affairs, offering both local news and the ‘latest’ news from Britain and Europe, acquired through the frequent arrivals of ships from home and frequently nine or ten months out of date. They are an invaluable source of information about the political dealings, practical struggles and military skirmishes which were undertaken by the British in their efforts to control their imperial holdings in the Caribbean, India and North America.

There are four titles from Kingston, Jamaica (the Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser, later the Royal Gazette; the Daily Advertiser; and the Kingston Journal), reflecting the importance of Caribbean settlements to the British Empire in the eighteenth century. Jamaica, siezed from Spain in 1655, benefited greatly from the sugar boom in the late 1700s which ensured that it generated one of the highest incomes of any British colony. As with all the colonial newspapers included in this collection, the advertisements featured in these Jamaican titles offer fascinating insights into daily life in Britain’s colonies. Central to Jamaica’s plantation system was slave labour, and the importance of slaves to the white planters is evidenced by the high number of advertisements for runaway slaves in local periodicals.

Newspapers from India include the weekly Hickey's Bengal Gazette; or, the Calcutta General Advertiser which was the first printed newspaper published in the Indian sub-continent, based in Calcutta, the East India Company's capital. The foundation of the newspaper by Irishman James Augustus Hicky is described in William Hickey’s Memoirs:
 
 
It occurred to Hicky that great benefit might arise from setting on foot a public newspaper, nothing of that kind ever having appeared…. As a novelty every person read it, and was delighted. Possessing a fund of low wit, his paper abounded with proof of that talent. He had also a happy knack at applying appropriate nicknames and relating satirical anecdotes.
 
 
Hicky’s personal attacks on Warren Hastings, the Governor-General, saw him indicted for libel and jailed. His incendiary views were not easily silenced, however, and the Bengal Gazette continued to be written from prison. Calcutta’s second English-language newspaper, the India Gazette, or Calcutta Public Advertiser, contains an account of Hicky’s trial (Volume 01 - 1780-1781 - Issue 33). Hicky’s attacks on Hastings, and the India Gazette’s counter-criticisms, are an interesting proof that freedom of the press was a controversial issue even within a small expatriot community governed by a monopoly:

 

I am shocked to observe the constant endeavours of malecontents to effect a total subversion of peace and harmony amongst us. We are now at war with five or six different Powers, each of which possesses a tract of Country many degrees larger than our own, and is infinitely more populous; under these circumstances, unanimity alone can enable us to resist the torrent of destruction that has long threatened to burst on our heads. That there are in Bengal, some who are ill-affected to the true interests of their country, is, I think, evident from the many inflammatory letters and Paragraphs that have appeared in the Bengal Gazette, which seem to breathe a strong spirit of discontent. (India Gazette, or, Calcutta Public Advertiser, Volume 1, Issue 12)

 

Printed newspapers in Canada started life in 1752 in the British colony of Nova Scotia with the publication of the single-sheet newsletter The Halifax Gazette – in 1766 this became the four-page Nova Scotia Gazette, printed here. The newspaper continues to be printed in Halifax today under the name The Royal Gazette. The emergence of a dominant Anglo-protestant culture in Nova Scotia between the 1750s and 1780s, beginning with the Great Explusion of Acadians and continuing with the arrival of United Empire Loyalists after American Independence, is charted in the rise of English-language newpapers in Nova Scotia during this period. For example, the Royal American Gazette was first published in New York in 1777 by the Robertson brothers, but was moved to Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1783, due to the brothers’ loyalist views, and continued publication there.
 
In addition to newspapers, Eighteenth Century Journals III also contains a number of journals or magazines from the UK which offered satire, poetry and opinion. This includes the long-running Spirit of the Public Journals. Described as ‘an impartial selection of the most exquisite essays and jeux d’espirits’ of the age, the Spirit of the Public Journals includes periodicals aimed at both male and female readers and published in a variety of places. It is especially strong on literature, with major Romantic authors such as James Macpherson, Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron well represented. In addition, Spirit of the Public Journals opens up a huge body of writing including plays and poetry by lesser-known and anonymous writers, helping place the well-known verse of leading writers in a broader context. The journal also offers invaluable insight into contemporary opinion towards such Romantic writers. A robust tradition of literary criticism is revealed through satire and parody: the principles of Gothic Novels are expertly satirised in such belles-lettres as ‘Modern Novels. Inscribed to the author of The Monk’, which complains that ‘a novel now…is nothing more than an old castle – and a creaking door…. Old armour – and a phantom all in white…’

List of Module III Journals by Subject Area (links to first available volume)

 

India

Hircarrah
Asiatic Mirror, and Commercial Advertiser
Bengal Lottery                  
Calcutta Chronicle; and General Advertiser
Calcutta Morning Post Extraordinary
Calcutta Friday Morning Post and General Advertiser
Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, or Calcutta General Advertiser
India Gazette, or Calcutta Public Advertiser
World
Madras Gazette
Bombay Courier
Bombay Gazette
Calcutta Gazette; or Oriental Advertiser
 
Ireland

Sligo Journal and Weekly Advertiser
Westmeath Journal
Limerick Journal
Munster Journal
Weekly Amusement; or, Universal Magazine
Drogheda Journal; or, Meath and Louth Advertiser
Clare Journal
Hibernian Journal: or, Chronicle of liberty
Strabane journal. Or the general advertiser
London-derry journal. And, Donegal and Tyrone advertiser
Dublin Evening Post
Freemason’s journal: or, Pasley’s universal intelligencer
Whigg-monitor
Drogheda Journal
Strabane Journal
Cork Journal
Ferrar’s Limerick Chronicle
Mirror
Cork herald: or, Munster advertiser
Weekly amusement; or, Universal magazine
Dublin Evening post
Patriot
Cork Courier
Press
Belfast news-letter
 
Caribbean

Daily Advertiser
Bermuda Gazette and Weekly Advertiser
Kingston Journal
Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser
Royal Gazette
 
Canada

Royal American Gazette
Nova-Scotia Gazette and Weekly Chronicle
Nova-Scotia Packet and General Advertiser 
Nova-Scotia Gazette
 
Scottish and Provincial English

University magazine (Cambridge)
Kentish chronicle (Canterbury)
Billinge’s Liverpool advertiser (Liverpool)
Lounger (Edinburgh)
Ipswich Journal; or, the Weekly Mercury
Farmer’s magazine (Edinburgh)
 
Magazines and Miscellanies

Spirit of the Public Journals
British Military Library; or, Journal
Oriental repertory…in four numbers
Rehearsal rehears’d, in a dialogue between Bayes and Johnson
Monthly London Journal: containing, the most material occurences...
Britannic magazine; or Entertaining repository of heroic adventures
Weekly Journal with fresh advices foreign and domestick
Heraclitus ridens (London)
Scourge in vindication of the Church of England
Herald, or patriot proclaimer
Weekly pacquet of advice from Rome restored: or, The history of Popery continued
Tribune (London)


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Module IV

In the eighteenth century, London’s economic and political influence receded with the rising importance of towns and cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow. In order to explore this subtle shifting of power away from London and to follow on from Eighteenth Century Journals III, which also focuses on material published outside of London, Eighteenth Century Journals IV contains key material published in Manchester during this time of rapid industrial change and political turmoil. This essay aims to provide a contextual background to some of the newspapers included in this section. Selected highlights from the collection and a subject list are also provided.

Early eighteenth century newspapers were predominantly published in and circulated around London and were only accessible to a minority who could afford them. But, as the century progressed, a number of developments led to a dramatic increase in newspaper circulation and readership: better transport networks led to a growth in the number of provincial papers, a rising middle class benefiting from industrial progress could increasingly afford to buy newspapers and the rise in popularity of coffee houses meant that more of the lower classes had access to free newspapers. By the end of the eighteenth century, Great Britain had over three hundred different newspapers. While many of these were still published in London or contained details of London affairs, such as Bell’s Weekly Messenger, The British Critic and Memoirs of Literature, which are just a few of the London titles included in Eighteenth Century Journals IV, many newspapers covered local news in the more provincial regions of Britain. In Manchester, the rapid expansion of the newspaper press paralleled Manchester’s rise to become the first industrialized city. The majority of the newspapers contained in Section IV were published in Manchester during the period c.1750-1820. Many scholars argue that this period precluded the real industrial age that began in earnest from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Others argue that this period was crucial in its own right because it laid the foundations and prepared the way for the height of the industrial revolution that was to come. Either way, Manchester underwent massive changes during this time, and the newspapers of the day provide a fascinating insight into how this change affected all aspects of society.

The market for cotton rapidly expanded during the eighteenth century and Manchester was well-placed to take full advantage of this. Indeed, many factors combined to make Manchester one of the world’s central marketplaces for the sale and manufacture of cotton products. Manchester was at the centre of a growing network of roads, canals, and navigable waterways which transported raw cotton and coal to and from other towns and ports like Liverpool. In conjunction with this, a long history of investment in warehouses led to burgeoning districts that provided commercial premises, such as Oswald Mosley’s Cotton Exchange built in 1729, from which to store, display and trade goods. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the production of cotton benefited from technological innovations in engineering and machine making and, as a result, it became increasingly mechanized and factory based. This all led to a dramatic increase in urban and economic growth: population figures grew as Manchester’s wealth creation potential attracted both workers and merchants and the commerce and finance sector became as important to Manchester’s economic status as the manufacturing industries. By the end of the eighteenth century Manchester had become a town of national significance.

Despite all of this growth and success, Manchester, like many other growing industrial towns, had no representation in Parliament during the eighteenth century. As a result of this, newspapers played an important role in representing and shaping public opinion and they increasingly had the power to influence political and public matters. Newspapers were the only reputable source of information about parliamentary proceedings, news and debates until parliamentary official records (Hansard) became available. With the rise in number of provincial newspapers, people were more informed about parliamentary matters than ever before, even though many were unable to vote. Thus the newspapers became a major force behind the political reform movement that took place in Manchester between 1715 and 1830, which saw increasing numbers of disenfranchised people trying to influence parliament via petitions.

In the late eighteenth century an anti-slavery movement led by the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade swept Britain. In 1788, a mass-petitioning campaign was initiated in Manchester in an attempt to end the slave trade. Hundreds of towns followed Manchester’s lead and it became the largest nationwide mobilisation of campaigners ever organized. That same year the first legislation was passed to regulate the slave trade. Another campaign was then undertaken in 1792 with a record number of petitions being presented to the House of Commons. An article in the Manchester Herald on the abolition of the slave trade from 1792 conveys, using strong rhetoric, the campaign’s hopes for victory:

 

Though the triumph of reason and humanity has been deferred, we have reason to think it will not longer be delayed. A cause which concerns all mankind, by resting on the principles of universal benevolence, and which daily requires strength and numbers, cannot fail of obtaining a speedy victory, over the unfeeling avarice which wishes to conceal, and the timid ignorance which dreads to unfold the true interests of humanity. (Manchester Herald, Issue 1)

 

The article also contains details of the efforts made to raise financial support for the campaign and to disseminate ‘knowledge’ about the cause. The claim in this article that petitions flowed ‘in from all parts of Great Britain’ is confirmed in a later issue of the Manchester Herald (Issue 2) which contains a long list of all of the places that submitted petitions to the House of Commons. This issue of the Manchester Herald also features a lengthy account of William Wilberforce's speech to the House of Commons in support of the abolition of the slave trade.

In many ways it is not surprising that the Manchester Herald was in support of parliamentary reform. The two men who edited the newspaper, Thomas Walker, a cotton merchant, and Thomas Cooper, a barrister, formed the Manchester Constitutional Society in 1790 which was aimed at the burgeoning non-conformist middle classes. Spurred on by the French Revolution and influenced by the ideals contained in the popular book Rights of Man by Thomas Paine, the Society succeeded in persuading local newspapers such as the Manchester Mercury and the Manchester Chronicle to publish their articles on parliamentary reform. But, by 1791, the local press became increasingly reluctant to give Walker and Cooper a voice and so they decided to edit their own newspaper. The first edition of the Manchester Herald was published on the 31st of March 1792. In the first issue, the Editors wrote an introductory piece 'To the Public' that explains what kind of news and content the Herald will, or, as the case may be, not, contain:

 

…we shall spare little room for articles of fashionable intelligence – for accounts of Court Dresses, or Court Intrigues – of Hunting Parties, Drinking Parties, or Visiting Parties, familiar or ceremonious – interesting only to the Butterflies of Society!...Still less shall we defile our page with prurient details of the vices and debaucheries of the fashionable world…(Manchester Herald, Issue 1)

 

The piece ends by declaring that ‘no fear nor favour shall prevent us from making our publication - decidedly the PAPER OF THE PEOPLE.’ Manchester’s Tory loyalists responded in December 1792 by instigating riots against the Herald’s offices and the radicals’ homes. Walker and others were tried for sedition and the Herald was prosecuted to such an extent that it soon after ceased publication. After this Tory retaliation, political radicalism remained subdued until the Peterloo riot and massacre in August 1819. For a report of this well-known uprising see an account in the Observer from the same year.

Although many middle class radicals moderated their politics after the demise of the Manchester Herald, another newspaper emerged to cater to the non-Tory market. William Cowdroy founded the Manchester Gazette in 1795. Cowdroy put forward his proposal for a new newspaper to the public in a broadside which was published in 1795 with the title Pr[oposed?] new Manc[hester weekly?] W. Co[wdroy] for eleven year[s publisher of] the Chester [chroni]cle…having been for some time engaged in preparing for publication, a weekly paper under the title of The Manchester Gazette or Weekly Advertiser…

While it was considered by many to be of poor quality, the Manchester Gazette survived because it of its political line: it was the only newspaper that was popular with radicals due to its anti-war and anti-tax stance. When William Cowdroy died in 1814 his son became the new editor. Worried by the paper’s low sales he tried to improve its quality by encouraging members of a moderate, middle class, political reform group (that Cowdroy was also a member of) to contribute to articles. Members of the group included John Edward Taylor, Archibald Prentice and John Shuttleworth. They regularly met at John Potter’s house who was a well-known Liberal in Manchester. They strongly objected to industrial cities, like Manchester, being denied representation in the House of Commons. They were also opposed to the Corn Laws that had been passed in 1815. The men held nonconformist religious views and thus advocated religious toleration and they also supported Free Trade. Many of their views and opinions are contained in articles they wrote for the Manchester Gazette. Cowdroy’s strategy seems to have worked because by 1819 the Manchester Gazette was selling over a 1,000 copies a week.

In many ways, then, newspapers thrived on the back of industrial progress and were very closely linked to the political reform movement that was gaining momentum in Britain. But the far-reaching effects of newspapers did not end there. Newspapers were also integral to the rise of advertising in the eighteenth century. As the circulation and readership of regional newspapers widened, businesses became more aware of the potential for advertising and selling their products via printed advertisements on a nation-wide scale. A cycle emerged that sustained the growth the growth of advertising: advertisements provided newspapers with a vital source of income and profit, enabling newspapers to charge less for the paper which, in turn, mesnt that more people would read it. This large readership attracted more advertisers and so the cycle continued. By the end of the eighteenth century, advertisements made up a large part of the content of newspapers. Fittingly enough, the word ‘advertiser’ began to appear in the title of many papers. The newspaper Harrop's Manchester Mercury, for example, changed its title to Harrop's Manchester Mercury, and General Advertiser after just eight issues. Before the nineteenth century, the majority of advertisements were for books and medical products. The burgeoning medical market was particularly reliant on successful marketing and branding. Indeed, the sellers of successful products like ‘the famous Cordial’ Daffy’s Elixir, which is advertised in Harrop’s Manchester Mercury (1752-53), used a range of techniques to attract customers and to differentiate themselves from similar ‘quack’ medicines or counterfeit copies. It was fairly rare for advertisements to contain images but this advertisement contains a small, eye-catching logo that serves to emphasise the product’s authentic brand.

The advertisement warns potential buyers not to ‘miss the Shop as Whitworth’s pretend they sell the same Sort of Daffy’s as that been Sold in the Family for above thirty Years, tho’ they have not had any from the same MAKER since October 1751’. Much of the advertisement is devoted to listing all of the ailments that the Elixir is claimed to have cured:

 

…this purgative Spirit-reviving Cordial, is peculiarly adapted to answer the Ends of an universal Family Medicine. Multitudes of incredible Cures done by it might be produc’d...Surfeits got by hard Drinking, Dropsy, Convulsions, Asthmas, Cholick and Griping of the Guts, Scurvey Root and Branch Consumptions and bad Digestions, and in many other Distempers it has give Relief, and did Numbers of Cures in Great Sickness in 1725 and 1726. (Harrop’s Manchester Mercury 1752-53, Issue 1)

 

As the eighteenth century gave way to the nineteenth century, newspaper advertising continued to thrive in spite of the various stamp taxes that were imposed and newspapers continued to play an integral role in the development of a consumer culture and society.

Post-1850 other cities and industries gradually caught up with Manchester and its comparative economic and industrial importance declined. Newspapers, on the other hand, were firmly established in Manchester and many other provincial areas and their numbers and influence continued to rise throughout the nineteenth century. 

 
List of Module IV Journals by Subject Area (links to first available volume)
 
Manchester

British Volunteer, and Manchester Weekly Express
Cowdroy's Manchester Gazette
Harrop's Manchester Mercury
Manchester Chronicle: or Anderton's Universal Advertiser
Manchester Herald
Manchester Journal
Manchester Telegraph
Patriot
Prescott's Manchester Journal
Pr[oposed?] new Manc[hester weekly?] W. Co[wdroy]
Supplement to The Lancaster Gazette
Wheeler's Manchester Chronicle

London

Bee [The Bee Reviv’d]
Bell's Weekly messenger
British Critic
Chester Chronicle
Lady's Magazine
Letter to Every Person in Great Britain
Memoirs of Literature
New Memoirs of Literature
New Review
Observer
Phoenix Britannicus
Present State of Europe
Reports of the Humane Society
Whitehall, July 16. 1695

European Journals

Histoire de la République des Lettres et Arts en France
Spectacles de Paris

News, Politics and Current affairs

Bee [The Bee Reviv’d]
Bell's Weekly Messenger
British Volunteer, and Manchester Weekly Express
Chester Chronicle
Cowdroy's Manchester Gazette
Harrop's Manchester Mercury
Letter to Every Person in Great Britain
Manchester Chronicle: or Anderton's Universal advertiser
Manchester Herald
Manchester Journal
Manchester Telegraph
Observer
Patriot
Prescott's Manchester Journal
Present State of Europe
Pr[oposed?] new Manc[hester Weekly?] W. Co[wdroy]
Supplement to The Lancaster Gazette
Whitehall, July 16. 1695

Literature, Theatre and Arts

British Critic
Memoirs of Literature
New Memoirs of Literature
New Review
Spectacles de Paris

Magazines and Miscellanies

Bee [The Bee Reviv’d]
Lady's Magazine
Phoenix Britannicus
Reports of the Humane Society
 
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Module V

In Eighteenth Century Journals V, we include the full run of The Lady’s Magazine: or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, a periodical which ran for sixty-two years from 1770 to 1832, before merging with its rival The Ladies Museum in 1832. The Ladies Museum was launched in 1798 as The Lady’s Monthly Museum, the first two volumes of which are also included in this section.

The Lady’s Magazine was issued monthly and is significant for its longevity in a market - the periodical press - where publications were largely short-lived. Its longevity and ability to survive and endure beyond a number of its rivals in a competitive market is not its only remarkable feature. In the intellectual climate of the coffee house and the largely male dominated literary society it produced, and in the face of a print culture, which, for the most part, delivered newspapers, periodicals and journals for a male readership, The Lady’s Magazine is a forerunner of the emergence of not only a targeted female readership but also provides a platform for women, as both contributors and consumers, to engage in the literary discourse of the eighteenth century.


The Lady’s Magazine
, as suggested by its title, marketed itself directly to a middle-class female readership. The magazine’s primary objective was to provide a regular periodical that contained material designed for the entertainment and improvement of women in a manner accessible to the "house-wife as well as the peeress" (The Lady’s Magazine, August 1770). It covered a wide range of topics and genres: fashions, poetry, remarks on society, biographies of prominent men and women, culture, travel writing, moralising essays, short stories, serials, translations, advice, recipes, medicinal receipts, theatrical and literary reviews, domestic and foreign news, births, deaths and marriages. The textual content was often complemented with elegant engravings, music sheets, embroidery patterns, and later, colour fashion plates.

Although the title of the magazine suggests a specific gendered readership, men also read and contributed to the magazine. Indeed, it was launched by John Coote and the bookseller John Wheble in 1770. Much to Wheble's displeasure, Coote sold his share in the magazine to George Robinson and Josh Robertson within months of the launch. This proved quite the controversy and in July 1771, the matter was brought to trial. You can read the fascinating account of the trial in the July 1771 issue. Whilst it is widely accepted that the editors of the magazine were men, it is certain that women regularly contributed and did comprise a proportion of the readership.
 
One of the unique aspects of the Lady’s Magazine is its heavy reliance on its readers for content. Men and women alike contributed essays, serials, poetry, short stories, moralising tales, travel writing and other forms of written content, free of charge. This gave women a platform for recognition and an outlet for their literary creativity. The opportunity to engage in this created reader-writer community also enabled women to enter the male dominated world of print and to engage in a wider community that was separate from their daily sphere of domesticity; a feminised space in an otherwise male-dominated genre, had been created.
 
Women thus became active consumers and producers, readers and writers of the magazine. Journalism had yet to establish itself as a profession which enabled amateur writers, of both sexes, to see their work in print. The heavy reliance on contributions perhaps also helped to create a magazine that offered a variety of authorial voices and diverse content; it was a miscellany in the truest sense of the word. Heavy reliance on contributions for the majority of content did, however, have some drawbacks. Editors were often frustrated by unfinished serials or low quality authorship. They vented their frustration in the “To our Correspondents” column which appeared in the opening pages of each issue. The following chastisement appears in the February 1780 issue:
 

The translator of Rousseau’s Emilia will excuse us for repeating the complaints of a numerous groupe of correspondents, on account of the intermission of her translation; and as we cannot much longer bear the clamours of our friends on that account, she will excuse us if we snatch the inactive pen out of her ink-stand, and employ it in completing what she is in honour bound to complete.

 

The words “honour” and “obligation” were often used against writers who ceased their contributions, leaving serials unfinished and editors and readers alike, frustrated.

Over the course of its sixty-two year run, readers of the magazine today can trace shifts in public opinion, taste, culture and political climate, making the Lady’s Magazine an insightful and enlightening source for the study of eighteenth and early nineteenth century social and cultural history. The magazine also provides research opportunities for students and scholars interested in eighteenth century print for women and the role that women played, as contributors and consumers, in the literary marketplace.

Whilst the Lady’s Magazine offered a diverse cross-section of subjects for its readers to eagerly consume, it cannot be said that its scope was all-inclusive or specialised; it was a miscellany after all. Thus, other magazines that were more specialist in their approach, and directed to either an exclusively female readership or to readers of both sexes, also had a place in the periodical market. Alongside The Lady’s Magazine, we have also included such titles as The Lady’s Philosopher and The Gentleman and Lady’s Palladium. These are more specifically mathematical and scientific in their approach and contain enigmas, tables showing planetary motions, challenging mathematical exercises and scientific news.
 
Representative of the periodicals available for specifically literary and artistic preferences are the Poetical Entertainer, the Poetical Magazine, The New Novelist’s Magazine and the Artist’s Repository and Drawing Magazine. The literary periodicals contain short stories, biographies, comedies, tragedies and poetry whilst the Artist’s Repository is a fascinating insight into the instruction available to amateur artists and the methods employed and materials used to develop artistic skill.
 
Taken together, Eighteenth Century Journals V offers the perfect guide to the sensibilities of both genders in the age of Jane Austen, and is an invaluable source for the study of eighteenth and early nineteenth century society and culture.

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The Selection of Material for Eighteenth Century Journals

The purpose of Eighteenth Century Journals is to make available digitally for the first time unique or extremely rare eighteenth century periodicals. The primary aim is to promote a truly broad representation of the culture of print journalism in the eighteenth century. Therefore, there was no selection of titles on the basis of subject matter or theme; or by how well-known a title was, either by contemporary readers or scholars of today. Instead, the periodicals included in this project have been carefully chosen to convey the eclectic nature and evolution of the publishing world between 1685 and 1835.

Module I provides digital versions of content originally in Adam Matthew Publication’s microfilm project Eighteenth Century Journals, from the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. We have enriched the original content with a further nineteen titles requested by scholars, also taken from the Hope Collection.

Module II continues the series and is based on the holdings of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin, which contains one of the finest collections of rare 17th and 18th century British periodicals in the world. The starting point for selection was British Newspapers and Periodicals 1632-1800, a descriptive catalogue of the early periodical holdings at the University of Texas, compiled by Powell Stewart in 1950. The selection process was then widened to include additional titles accessioned after Powell Stewart’s original inventory, and items from the Queen Anne list of serials at the Center.

In response to the encouragement of scholars and librarians, Module III focuses on journals published outside of London. A group of titles were selected from Canada, the Caribbean and India from British Library Newspapers at Colindale. Further journals were then added from Cambridge University Library which has a large number of rare titles published in many cities and towns around Ireland. A number of important journals produced in Edinburgh, Canterbury and Cambridge were also included from the Cambridge holdings.

This commitment to publishing unique and rare newspapers and periodicals from outside of London continues with Module IV. Key material was selected from Chetham’s Library in Manchester and focuses predominantly on Manchester as an emerging city during a time of momentous change and growth. To supplement this, selected periodicals, including some European journals, were sourced from the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds.

In Module V we have included the full run of The Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) in response to encouragement from scholars. As no single library holds a complete set, we have pieced together the entire run from three libraries, the British Library, Birmingham Central Library and Cambridge University Library, and one private collection. The Lady’s Magazine is an insightful and enlightening source for the study of eighteenth and early nineteenth century social and cultural history and a major source for scholars of gender, social and literary studies. To complement the Lady’s Magazine, we have also included a selection of periodicals that are social, cultural and literary in scope from Cambridge University Library and Liverpool John Moores University Library.

All of the titles in this portal have been carefully screened against other eighteenth century academic resources to ensure that there is minimal overlap. Resources checked include: Primary Source Media’s microfilm collection Early English Newspapers; Chadwyck-Healey’s Early English Books Online (EEBO); Gale’s 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and The Burney Collection; and Proquest’s British Periodicals.