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ing knowledge through every part of the civilized world; they convey, in an abridged and agreeable manner, the contents of many ponderous volumes, and frequently supercede the appearance of such volumes; and they record every species of information, from the most sublime investigations of science to the most trifling concerns of amusement. When the future historian shall desire to obtain a correct view of the state of literature and of manners, during this period, he will probably resort to the periodical publications of the day, as presenting the richest sources of information, and forming the most enlightened and infallible guides in his course.

CHAPTER XXII.

POLITICAL JOURNALS.

THE method of announcing political events, and the various articles of foreign and domestic intelligence, which usually engage the attention of the public, by means of Gazettes or Newspapers, seems to have been first employed in Italy, as early as the year 1536. It was in that country that these vehicles of information received the name Gazetta, which they have ever since retained."

f The first Gazette is said to have been printed at Venice, and to have been published monthly. It was under the direction of the government.

g The word Gazetta is said, by some, to be derived from Gazerra, a Magpie or Chatterer ; by others, from the name of a little coin called Gazetta, peculiar to the city of Venice, where newspapers were first printed, and which was the common price of these periodical publications; while a third class of critics suppose it to be derived from the Latin word Gaze, colloquially lengthened into the diminutive Gazetta, and, as applied to a newspaper, signifying a little treasury of news. Curiosities of Literature,

b Those who first wrote newspapers were called by the Italians Men

vol. i. p. 271:

The earliest newspaper printed in Great-Britain was The English Mercurie, by CHRISTOPHER BARKER, her highness's printer,” in 1588. But public prints of this kind, after the dispersion of the Spanish Armada, seldom appeared. The first regular weekly newspaper published in that country was by NATHANIEL BUTTER, in August, 1622, entitled « The certaine Newes of this present Weeke." Three years afterwards another of a similar kind was established. But, during the civil wars, which took place under the Protectorate of CROMWELL, these channels of public intelligence became more numerous than ever; and were diligently employed by both parties to disseminate their opinions among the people. About that time appeared the Mercurius Aulicús, the Mercurius Rusticus, and the Mercurius Civicus, &c. And, it is said, that “when

any
title

grew popular, it was frequently stolen by some antagonist, who, by this stratagem, obtained access to those who would not have received him, had he not worn the appearance of a friend. These papers soon became a public nuisance. Serving as receptacles of party malice, they set the minds of men more at variance, inflamed their resentments into greater fierceness, and gave a keener and more destructive edge to civil discord. But the convulsions of those unhappy days left few either the leisure, the tranquillity, or the inclination to treasure up occasional or curious compositions; and so much were they neglected that a complete collection is now no where to be found, and little is known respecting them.”

nanti; because, says Vossius, they intended commonly by these loose papers to spread about defamatory reflections, and were therefore prohibited by GREGORY XIII. by a particular bull, under the name of Menantes, from the Latin minantes. Curiosities of Literature, vol. i. p. 273.

i Johnson's Life of Addison.

The earliest British Gazette of which any distinct record remains, was that published in 1663, by Sir Roger L'ESTRANGE, under the title of the Public Intelligencer. This he continued until the year 1665, when a kind of court newspaper was established at Oxford, then the seat of government, and issued every Tuesday. The first number was printed in the month of November of that year, and appears to have superseded Sir Roger's. Soon after this the court was removed to London, on which the title of the paper was changed to the London Gazette, the name which it still bears.

From the middle of the seventeenth century the employment of newspapers as channels of intelligence became more frequent and popular, not only in Great-Britain, but also in several other countries of Europe. Newspapers and pamphlets were prohibited in England by royal proclamation in 1680. At the revolution, in 1688, this prohibition was taken off; but, in a few years afterwards newspapers were made the objects of taxation, and were first stamped for this purpose in 1713. Their number, however, has been constantly increasing from that period till the present time. But since the beginning of the eighteenth century, this increase, particularly in Great-Britain, France, Germany, and America, has been almost incredibly great.

Perhaps in no respect, and certainly in no other enterprizes of a literary kind, have the United States made such rapid progress as in the establishment of political journals. At the beginning

į There was no newspaper in Scotland till after the accession of King WILLIAM and Queen MARY. At the Union there were three established in that part of the United Kingdom. In the kingdom of Great-Britain the whole number of newspapers printed in the year 1775, was 12,680,000. In 1782 the number had increased to 15,272,519. At the close of the sentury they were still morc numerous. VOL. II.

2K

LAND.

of the eighteenth century there was no publication of this kind in the United Colonies. The first newspaper printed in America was the Boston News-Letter, begun April 24th, 1704, in the town whose name it bears, by B. GREEN. The second was the Boston Gazette, which commenced towards the latter end of the year 1720, by SAMUEL KNEE

The next year a third was published under the title of the New-England Courant, by JAMES FRANKLIN. Between the last mentioned year and 1730, three other newspapers were published in Boston, though some of them appear to have been soon laid aside. As the first printing work done in North-America was executed in Massachusetts, so in that colony the earliest, and, for a number of years, the most vigorous and successful exertions were made for the establishment and circulation of political journals.

The first newspaper printed in Pennsylvania was The American Weekly Mercury, by ANDREW BRADFORD, the publication of which commenced December 22, 1719. The first printed in NewYork, it is believed, was by William BRADFORD, October 16th, 1725, under the title of The Nezel'ork Gazette. The first paper published in RhodeIsland was the Rhode Island Gazette, by JAMES FRANKLIN, before mentioned, who began the publication in October, 1732. The first in Connecə ticut was by JAMES PARKER, in 1755; and the first in Nero-Hampshire, by Daniel Fowle, in 1756. The periods at which Gazettes were first introduced into the other States are not certainly known. In 1771 they had increased to the number of twenty-five; and in 1801, more than one hundred and eighty different newspapers were printed in different parts of the United States."

k James FRANKLIN was a brother of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, who afterwards became so conspicuous as a man of science and a politician. BenJAMIN was at that time employed as an apprentice in his brother's office, and contributed much to render the Courant popular.

I The family of the BRADFORDS deserves to be mentioned in honourable connection with that of the Greens, in the annals of American printing. The press of Samuel Green was the first introduced into NewEngland; and the presses of Andrew and William BRADFORD were, it is believed, the first established in Pennsylvania and New-York.

It is remarkable that there has been, for more than a century past, in botle these families, a constant and respectable succession of printers.

It is worthy of remark that newspapers have almost entirely changed their form and character within the period under review. For a long time after they were first adopted as a medium of communication to the public, they were confined, in general, to the mere statement of facts. But they have gradually assumed an office more extensive, and risen to a more important station in society. They have become the vehicles of discussion in which the principles of government, the interests of nations, the spirit and tendency of public measures, and the public and private characters of individuals are all arraigned, tried, and decided. Instead, therefore, of being considered now, as they once were, of small moment in society, they have become immense moral and political engines, closely connected with the welfare of the state, and deeply involving both its peace and prosperity.

m Of these about fifteen are daily papers; and supposing sooo copies of gach to be printed, the whole number of copies annually distributed, making due allowance for Sundays, &c, will be about 4,590,000. The number printed three times a weck is about nine. Of these, supposing 800 copies to be on an average stricken off, the amount annually distributed will be 1,080,000. About twenty-five are printed twice a week. Of these, allowing 800 copies each to be the common number sent abroad, the num. ber annually circulated will be 2,000,000. Finally, about one hundred and thirty newspapers are printed weekly; and, allowing the number of cach published to be 800, the amount of this class annually edited will be 5,408,000. So that the whole number of newspapers annually çirculated in the United States niay be estimated at thirteen millions and seventy-eight tbousand. For the sake of being rather below than above the mark, say twelve millions. It will be seen, by comparing this with a preceding note, that, while the population of the United States is not more than one-half of that of Great Britain, the number of newspapers circulated in the former country may be estimated at more than two-thirds of the number pubbished in the latter.

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