Schmidt's thesis is that the Register was not as purely nonpartisan as Niles himself and modern historians have claimed, but it was not stridently partisan like other contemporary publications. Niles was an ardent Jeffersonian when the Register first appeared, but a Whig by the 1830s. He prided himself in consistency on issues and political pragmatism. Unlike most contemporary papers, the Register would frequently present opposing viewpoints or documents.
The conviction of Hezekiah Niles that his Register would become a record for the future was well justified. He carefully indexed and stockpiled volumes for future use as reference tools, and indeed the Register is perhaps the most valuable source of Americana for the first half of the nineteenth century. This explains why he retained the "book-like" size and format throughout his twenty- five years as editor. Contemporaries held the Register in great esteem, and Niles went to great lengths to maintain the accuracy of his paper as well as the quality of printing. While the Congress refused requests to provide public funds to support the Register, public officials referred to the Register as the source of record for many documents. Hezekiah Niles gained the confidence of the nation. Norval Neil Luxon observes that only 2 of 149 magazines founded between 1741 and 1811 lasted as long as the Register. 5 The disastrous suspensions under the final two editors undermined the confidence of readers. Moreover, the growth of daily and weekly newspapers in the mid-nineteenth century spelled the end of the Register. Neither Hughes nor Beatty understood the special niche of the Register or captured the contemporary scene with the editorial flair of Hezekiah Niles, and thus the most important source documenting a critical period in the development of the new American nation came to an end.
Luxon, Norval Neil. Niles' Weekly Register: News Magazine of the Nineteenth Century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1947.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: American Mass-Market Magazines. Contributors: Alan Nourie - Editor, Barbara Nourie - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 332.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.