New York City's Newspapers Pre: 1909

 
 
One hundred and eighty-four years ago the first newspaper was published in New York City by William Bradford. To what an extent has the graveyard of newspaper hopes grown since then! Bradford's paper was printed on a small foolscap sheet, with the heading "New York Gazette. From Monday, Oct. 16th, to Oct. 23d, 1725." It was a weekly publication. During Governor Cosby's administration, when Bradford's paper espoused the cause of the government, John Peter Zenger established "

The New York Weekly Journal," which became the vehicle of those opposed to the administration of the testy and despotic Cosby. It was because of the suit against Zenger for publishing what the Governor claimed to be seditious libels that the freedom of the press was established on August 4, 1735, and "the seeds were planted which germinated among the people and sprung up, like the sown dragon's teeth, a host of armed warriors." Bradford's paper ceased publication in 1742, and the next year James Parker, his apprentice, issued a weekly called "The New York Gazette and Weekly Postboy." "The Weekly Journal" of Zenger was discontinued
in 1752, and on its foundation Hugh Gaine built "The New York Mercury."

In 1765 three papers were issued in this city—Parker's "New York Gazette and Weekly Postboy," but at that time published by John
Holt; Gaine's "New York Mercury," first issued in 1752, and William Weyman's "New York Gazette," published in 1759.

In November, 1766, Parker resumed the publication of "The Gazette and Postboy," and continued it until his death in 1770, while Holt issued a new paper, "The New York Journal or General Advertiser," which remained the organ of the Liberty party until the capture of the city in 1776, when he was forced to set up his press in Esopus. When that village was burned, in 1777, he went to Poughkeepsie, where he continued to publish his paper until the close of the war. In the autumn of 1783 it was again printed in the city of New York, under the title of " The Independent Gazette or the New York Journal Revived." Holt died in 1784, and the paper was continued by his widow until 1787, when Thomas Greenleaf acquired it and merged it into two papers, a weekly, " Greenleaf's New York Journal and Patriotic Register," and a daily, "The New York Journal and Daily Patriotic Register," afterward "The Argus, or
Greenleaf's New Daily Advertiser."

During the possession of the city by the British two papers were published. Gaine issued his "Gazette and Mercury" from Hanover Square, and Rivington's "Royal Gazette" was published at the corner of Wall and Pearl streets. The latter paper had "parlous" times in the autumn of 1775, however, for King Sears, of Liberty Boys fame, and a party of horsemen destroyed its press and carried off the types to New Haven. Rivington the next year received balm for his wounds by being appointed printer to the King. When the patriot cause seemed likely to succeed he changed base by sending in an ingenious way to Washington secret information regarding the doings of the British, and thus remained unmolested when other loyalists had to flee at the evacuation. In 1786 "The New York Gazette" was established in Hanover Square by John McLean, and was published twice a week until January 1, 1790, when it became a daily. "It is printed on a large super-royal sheet, and has a very extensive, regular and respectable patronage among the various classes of citizens, especially the old established and wealthy merchants.

The political character of the editors is of the old anti-democratic school." The celebrated papers of Alexander Hamilton, entitled "The Federalist," over the signature of Camillus, were originally published in "The Gazette" in 1788. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century there were twelve daily papers (eight morning and four afternoon), eight semi-weekly and two weekly papers printed in New York. The combined circulation of the daily papers was 15,000 copies, of the semi-weekly, 8,000, and of the weekly, 30,000. Fifteen thousand reams of paper were consumed yearly by these publications, at an average cost of $4.50 a ream. "The Mercantile Advertiser," "exclusively devoted to advertisements and to the announcement of the news of the day, without note or comment," was published at No. 150 Pearl street by A. Butler and George W. Heyer. "The New York Daily Advertiser," established in 1817, "and printed by a Napier printing press, which the proprietors Imported from England at great expense," was published in the Exchange.

"The National Advocate," established in 1812,and edited by Henry Wheaton, who was succeeded by Mr. Noah in 1818,was the supporter of the Democratic party. "The New York Enquirer," edited by M. M. Noah, was the organ of the Republican party, "and of
great political power." "The Journal of Commerce," established in 1827, and edited "by a gentleman from Virginia, William H. Maxwell," was published from the basement of the Exchange, in Wall street. Then there were "The Morning Courier," edited by Messrs. Brooke, Skillman, Lawson and Webb, and "The Merchants' Telegraph," edited by John J. Mumford. The evening papers were "The New York Evening Post," established in 1801, and published from No. 49 William street. It was edited by William C. Bryant and "has long been considered one of the fashionable daily afternoon papers." "The Commercial Advertiser" (daily for the city)
and "The New York Spectator" (semi-weekly, for the country), published at No. 48 Pine street and edited by William L. Stone and Francis Hall, " are amusing and well edited papers, and give the earliest literary announcements."

The New York American," founded in 1820, and edited by Charles King, "is extensively circulated in the fashionable circles of society, and is printed on the Napier printing machine, in New street." "The New York statesman," edited by X.H. Carter and George Prentiss, had "a ship letter office attached to the publication office, where all the regular packets for foreign ports have their bags deposited to receive letters before sailing. 'The Statesman' is the organ of that extensive class of our countrymen in this State that feel strongly disposed to cherish the American system of encouraging our own valuable manufacturers." Before the second quarter of the nineteenth century had passed through the door of ages there were about fifty daily, weekly, semi-weekly and monthly journals in New York.

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Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: New York City's Newspapers Pre: 1909
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

Source:

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cradle Days of New York by Hugh Macatamney;Drew & Lewis, Publishers 1909
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