The cosmopolitan press, 1759–1815
The celebrated cosmopolitanism of Enlightenment Europe was bound together by a common elite culture, a common elite language (French) and a common news media. In consequence, it is surely not unreasonable to envisage a European public, and even a pan-European public sphere, albeit a narrow and largely aristocratic one, which transcended national publics. For from the Huguenot diaspora to the Napoleonic period, there existed beyond French borders a French-language press that aimed to provide a steady flow of news information and, increasingly, opinion, to an international elite. This press–comprising political newspapers produced beyond France's direct sphere of influence for a European audience–is the subject of this chapter. Although these papers were written in French, and at times circulated widely inside France, the chapter's focus will be on Europe generally, both because the role of international papers inside ancien regime France is discussed below in JackCenser's chapter, and because they had difficulty circulating there after 1792. Journals aimed primarily at local francophones in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and other countries are not considered here, nor are the specialised journals that proliferated in eighteenthcentury Europe. While most international papers were what Jerzy Lojek has termed 'international gazettes', 1 a few periodicals–such as the Journal encyclopédique or Jean-Gabriel Peltier's émigré publications–which contained substantial news sections are also worthy of mention. However, they could not compete with the gazettes for freshness, and risked accusations of providing 'news which is not news'. 2 This survey is also limited by the secondary literature, for despite extensive recent workon the international French press in the Enlightenment, 3 our knowledge and bibliographic sources are still patchy, 4 and the situation with regard to émigré papers is worse. 5
Despite the international focus of the cosmopolitan press, there is no escaping the fact that the French Revolution was the most decisive event in its history. Before 1789, French readers found their freshest, most independent news of France in gazettes produced outside the Bourbon realm.