The Gazetteer, 1735-1797: A Study in the Eighteenth-Century English Newspaper

The Gazetteer, 1735-1797: A Study in the Eighteenth-Century English Newspaper

The Gazetteer, 1735-1797: A Study in the Eighteenth-Century English Newspaper

The Gazetteer, 1735-1797: A Study in the Eighteenth-Century English Newspaper

Excerpt

This study constitutes, I believe, the first attempt ever made to record in detail the history of a single eighteenth-century daily newspaper. That fact alone may partially justify the undertaking, but the contemporary significance of the Gazetteer provides further justification. In the early years of its existence it was the most famous daily newspaper published in England--or the most infamous, depending upon the political sympathies of its individual reader. Parson Adams, who had never heard of it, was informed by his host that it was "a dirty newspaper which hath been given away all over the nation for these many years." Thirty years later, long detached from the service of government, it was probably the most widely circulated daily paper in London. Historians of the press have naturally emphasized the circumstances of its early career; they have been almost unaware of its later importance. The success of a newspaper in the eighteenth century is to be estimated pretty accurately from the length of its life. The life span of the Gazetteer as a separate publication extended over a period of sixty-two years and three months. Its length was exceeded by the career of only one other daily newspaper.

The immediate purpose of my work has been to present as complete an account as possible of the Gazetteer in its progress through six decades, and of the persons most directly concerned in its production. More generally, I hope that the history of the Gazetteer may be considered in two respects as an acceptable contribution to the history of British journalism which Mr. Stanley Morison . . .

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