ADVERTISEMENTS in early newspapers were the chief source of revenue, as it has always been from the beginning to the present day. Noah Webster, writing to Rev. John Eliotin 1798,1 said: "Merchants alone enable printers to sell their papers low, & they will have their advertisements displayed. A literary paper without advertisements would cost fifteen or twenty dollars a year, if daily, & in proportion, if published once or twice a week." The publisher of the New York Evening Post in its issue of December 1, 1803, concisely stated the case for his fellow craftsmen, to cover a period of two centuries: "Subscribers alone, allowing them to be quadruple to what was ever known in this city, would not support a Newspaper establishment; and, in fact, it is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber."
It is the advertisements, furthermore, that provide the local color, and enable the historian to reconstruct the picture of a community far more than all the reading matter in the so-called news. The column of local news was sparse indeed throughout the whole colonial period. It took an event of outstanding importance to earn a place there. A visit from a nation____________________