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Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History: Electronic Edition.

Johnson, Guion Griffis, 1900- 1989

CHAPTER XXV THE NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL PRESS

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Previous: CHAPTER XXIV SANITATION AND HEALTH

Next: CHAPTER XXVI THE INTELLECTUAL AWAKENING



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CHAPTER XXV
THE NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL PRESS

           IF A TRAVELER along the great thoroughfares of the nation in the forties had inquired at a reading room or in a hotel lobby for a North Carolina newspaper or magazine, he would have been answered by a vacant stare as if the proprietor thought "there were no papers worth reading which could hail from 'Old Rip.'" "We have ourselves been disappointed and mortified, in past time either to find no N. C. newspaper at all, in distant reading rooms," wrote a correspondent of the Star of October 9, 1850, "or if (after a search which attracted all eyes to the enquirer) a poor, little, miserable, sickly sheet was discovered, crammed away amongst the waste paper . . . we were almost ashamed of having instituted a search."

           It was the complaint of almost every author and editor in North Carolina from the opening of the century to the close of the ante-bellum period that the people of the State were not interested in a native literature. Nevertheless, after a long, tedious gestation of more than fifty years, a State literature had actually come into existence in the fifties. The story of this struggle for birth is a pitiful one of discouragement, hardship, starvation. The State was a vast burial ground of dead newspapers whose light had glimmered for a few months, perhaps for a year or two, and then gone out. Almost every village in the State had known many such deaths during the ante-bellum period. Only one paper, the Raleigh Register, which was in existence at the opening of the century, saw the close of the period.

THE NEWSPAPER PRESS

           The nineteenth century opened with several newspapers being published in North Carolina, among them, the Raleigh Register, and the North Carolina Minerva of Raleigh, the Edenton Gazette and the Post-Angel or Universal Entertainment of Edenton; the North Carolina Journal of Halifax, the Newbern Gazette, the North Carolina Mercury and Salisbury Advertiser, and the Wilmington Gazette.



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           The forerunner of the North Carolina Minerva was the North Carolina Minerva and Fayetteville Gazette which Abraham Hodge and his nephew, William Boylan, had established in Fayetteville in 1796. In May, 1799, the paper appeared in Raleigh under the name of the North Carolina Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser. 1

Boylan soon took complete charge of the paper, shortened the name to the Minerva, and made it the leading organ of the Federalist Party. He discontinued the paper in the early twenties, probably in 1821.

           To combat the Minerva, which in the few months of its publication in Raleigh was rapidly gaining followers, leaders of the revolt, notably Nathaniel Macon, persuaded Joseph Gales, 2

who was publishing the Independent Gazatteer in Philadelphia, to begin a Republican paper at the seat of government in North Carolina. On October 22, 1799, Gales brought out the first issue of the Raleigh Register, a paper which was destined to serve first the Republican and later the Whig parties and to survive for more than three-quarters of a century. Gales was a native of Eckington, England. Schooled as a typographer's apprentice, he set up a printery of his own in Sheffield and began the Sheffield Register in 1787. He was forced to flee to Hamburg in 1793 because of an order for his arrest issued after the appearance of a letter, sympathetic to the French Revolution, bearing the name of his office, which one of his printers had written and published during his absence. Gales was himself somewhat in sympathy with the liberal ideas of the Revolution and had "sold hundreds and printed thousands of Thomas Paine's works." This fact stood him in good stead when he arrived in Philadelphia with his family in the late summer of 1795.

           In Raleigh, Gales set a new style in newspaper publishing. He had learned shorthand during his exile in Altona, in the Duchy of Holstein, and now for the first time the North Carolina reader was able to have a word for word report of the important debates which occurred in the State Legislature. At heart, Gales was a radical. A deist and a reformer of anti-slavery views, he was tactful, nevertheless, and quickly won the confidence of his adopted State. He not only edited the Register and managed the printing establishment, but he conducted a book store, operated a



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paper mill, and did all of his own bookkeeping. Despite his busy life, he found time to take an active part in community life and to lead the way in social reform.

           On January 4, 1822, Gales admitted his son Weston R. Gales into a share of his printing business. This partnership continued until 1839 when Weston R. Gales became sole owner of the Register. 3

The veteran editor had already retired to Washington to be with his son, Joseph Gales, Jr., co-editor and owner with his brother-in-law, William Winston Seaton, of that powerful journal, the National Intelligencer. He died in Raleigh in 1841. Seven years later Weston R. Gales followed his father to the grave.

           The Register now passed into the youthful hands of Weston Gales' son, Seaton, who conducted it until November, 1856. A month later John W. Syme, formerly editor and owner of "that good Whig paper," the Petersburg Intelligencer, was in charge of the Register and so continued until he moved the establishment to Petersburg in 1863. 4

The name of the Raleigh Register was revived in 1867 and the paper continued until the close of 1885. 5

           By 1810 the newspapers in North Carolina had increased to ten. On November 3, 1808, Thomas Henderson, Jr., and Dr. Calvin Jones had begun the publication of the Star. In New Bern Thomas Watson was publishing the True Republican, and Hall and Bryan, the Carolina Federal Republican. In Edenton James Wills was publishing the Edenton Gazette; in Halifax Wright W. Bachelor, the North Carolina Journal; Jacob Beasely, the Elizabeth City Gazette; Ray and Black, the Fayetteville Intelligencer; and Hasell and Magrath, the Wilmington Gazette. 6

           Jones and Henderson had begun the Star as a venture in journalism new in North Carolina, "a paper devoted to the Agricultural Interests." 7

The paper was neutral in politics, carried very little advertising, and contained numerous departments besides that on agriculture. It was a forerunner of the family newspapers so popular in the United States during the last half of the antebellum

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period. With the issue of April 20, 1809, Dr. Jones withdrew from active editorial work but continued to contribute articles on medical intelligence, military tactics, and agriculture. In the autumn of 1814 he withdrew entirely from the company and Thomas Henderson became sole editor and owner. When he sold the paper to Bell and Lawrence in 1823 the citizens of Raleigh gave him a public dinner of thanks for his services to the community before he left with his family for the Chickasaw Purchase. 8

           Henderson had been a Federalist but, for the most part, had kept his paper to a neutral course. Bell and Lawrence were Republicans. From now on the paper became mildly political but it still largely retained its character as a paper for the whole family. Lawrence sold his interest in the Star to Thomas J. Lemay who became sole owner and editor in 1835, a connection which endured, with the occasional assistance of an associate editor, David Outlaw in 1836 and Thomas Lemay, Jr., in 1850, until he sold the paper in 1853 to William C. Doub. In 1856 Doub discontinued the Star, a paper which had served the State well for forty-seven years.

           In 1823 North Carolina was publishing only twelve papers, 9

though there had been numerous adventures with the press in the meantime. Only three papers in print in 1810 had survived, the Raleigh Register, the Star, and the Edenton Gazette. A. H. Dismukes was publishing the Carolina Observer in Fayetteville; David Smith, Jr., the Cape Fear Recorder in Wilmington; Pasteur and Watson, the Carolina Centinel in New Bern; William Albertson, the Star in Elizabeth City; John McWilliams, the American Recorder in Washington; John Wright, the Compiler in Halifax; Benjamin Cory, III, the Gazette in Milton; Dennis Heartt, the Recorder in Hillsboro; and Bingham and White, the Western Carolinian in Salisbury.

           The period had gained two journals which were to figure largely in State affairs throughout the remainder of the antebellum period. In February, 1820, Dennis Heartt, a native of Connecticut, had begun publication of the Hillsborough Recorder and in April had returned to the North to bring down his family. 10



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In 1851 Edwin A. Heartt became associated with his father in the publication of the Recorder.

           In 1817 F. W. Waldo had begun the Carolina Observer and had transferred it early the next year to Alexander H. Dismukes, formerly of Raleigh. 11

In the spring of 1823 the paper, now known as the Carolina Observer and Fayetteville Gazette, again changed hands, the village postmaster, John McRae, being the purchaser. 12 The following year Lemuel Bingham was editing and publishing the Observer and in 1825 Edward J. Hale, 13 who had learned the trade as an apprentice in the shop of Joseph Gales' Raleigh Register, began an association with the paper which was to continue until Sherman's men wrecked the shop in 1865. At first Hale was only editor and part owner of the paper, but in 1826 he bought the shop 14 and several years later changed the name of the paper to the Fayetteville Observer. Under Hale's management the Observer, an advocate of Whig principles, quickly became a leader in State thought. In the issue of January 17, 1837, the Register declared, "It is exceeded by none in the State in point of usefulness and respectability." In 1850 the veteran journalist took his son Peter M. Hale into the business, and in 1860 a second son, Edward J. Hale, Jr.

           By the spring of 1830 North Carolina could boast of twenty-one newspapers. The Carolina Observer of March 4, 1830, in publishing the list, gives the names of only sixteen: the Raleigh Register and the Star of Raleigh; the Carolina Observer and the North-Carolina Journal of Fayetteville; the Hillsborough Recorder; the Western Carolinian and the Yadkin and Catawba Journal of Salisbury; the Edenton Gazette; the Tarborough Free Press; the Halifax Minerva, soon to be changed to the Roanoke Advocate; the Warrenton Reporter; the Freemen's Echo of Washington, changed in March to the Washington Times; the Oxford Examiner; the Milton Gazette; the Greensborough Patriot; and the North Carolina Spectator and Western Advocate of Rutherfordton. 15

The papers which the Observer failed to list were the Newbern Spectator, the Newbern Sentinel, the Elizabeth

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City Star, the Miners' and Farmers' Journal of Charlotte and the Cape Fear Recorder of Wilmington. 16

           This decade saw the birth of two papers which were to survive the Civil War, the Tarborough Press and the Greenborough Patriot. In 1824 George Howard of Baltimore established the Free Press at Halifax but moved the shop to Tarboro two years later and changed the name of the paper to the Tarborough Press. In 1852 he and his son, George Howard, Jr., enlarged the paper and called it the Tarborough Southerner. Watson and Potter began the Patriot in Greensboro and sold it soon afterward, in April, 1826, to T. Early Strange who in turn disposed of it in 1829 to William Swaim, a member of the North Carolina Manumission Society. Swaim edited the paper until his death in 1835 when the paper fell into the hands of A. E. Hanner and C. N. B. Evans. Hanner soon disposed of his interest to John D. Clancy. The paper struggled for an existence, appearing at irregular intervals, until a group of leading citizens in 1839 persuaded M. S. Sherwood and Lyndon Swaim, who had learned the trade in the Patriot office under William Swaim, his distant cousin, to take charge of the paper. 17

For fifteen years, Swaim edited the Patriot as an able Whig journal. He sold his interest in 1854 to his partner, who continued the Patriot's good name. The Leisure Hour of Oxford said of it in 1858: "It is really one of the largest and most admirably 'gotten up' Journals in this or any State. It is conducted with spirit and ability, and is an ornament to the typographical skill of North Carolina." 18 In 1859 the paper was being edited as a family newspaper by M. S. Sherwood and James A. Long.

           Another influential paper begun in this period was the Western Carolinian which Bingham and Krider had started in 1820. Western North Carolina had long needed a paper to serve its interests and to solidify the movement in that section for equal representation in the State Legislature. From the first, the paper was a militant advocate of "the rights of Western North Carolina," and, although it changed hands many times, the Carolinian was consistent in this policy until it was discontinued in 1844.



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Under the management of Philo White, the paper was an able Jackson organ; under Burton Craig, an exponent of nullification; under Dr. Benjamin J. Austin and Charles F. Fisher, a Democratic paper. 19

           During the next decade, 1830 to 1840, the number of newspapers in North Carolina had increased to only twenty-seven. 20

Among the names now long familiar to the reading public were the Register and Star of Raleigh, the Hillsborough Recorder, the Western Carolinian of Salisbury, the Fayetteville Observer, the Tarborough Press, and the Greensborough Patriot. Among the new papers which were to play a leading role during the remainder of the period were the North Carolina Standard of Raleigh and the Carolina Watchman of Salisbury.

           The Standard 21

had been established in 1834 by Philo White, a native of New York who had come to North Carolina in 1820 and had become associated with Bingham and Krider's Western Carolinian, first as editor and later as editor and part owner. He was appointed naval agent for the Pacific Station in 1830; and, when he returned to the State four years later, his friends still remembered what a "good Jackson paper" he had made of the Western Carolinian. Feeling the need of a strong Democratic paper in Raleigh to combat the Whig Register and the Star, White's political friends urged him to start the newspaper which was later, under another editor, to whip the Democratic Party into one political victory after another. In 1836 White sold the Standard to Thomas Loring, a native of Massachusetts who had already had at least two unsuccessful newspaper adventures in Wilmington as publisher of the Herald and of the People's Press. 22 Loring brought to his new paper a devotion to journalistic ethics but he

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lacked White's militant spirit and his facile pen. The Democratic Party became gradually more dissatisfied with the Standard until finally a member of the Legislature read Loring out of the party in 1843. Shortly afterward, Loring sold the paper to William W. Holden, a native of Hillsboro who had learned the trade as an apprentice in the shop of Dennis Heartt's Recorder, and Loring started a new paper in Raleigh, the Independent. Holden had attempted to launch the Oxford Kaleidoscope and Southern Republican in the autumn of 1837, 23 but the paper had proved unsuccessful and he moved to Raleigh where he found employment with the Star.

           Holden's success as editor of the Standard was almost immediate. In ten years he and his paper had become so powerful that he openly boasted that he could make or break a man's political career. On September 10, 1845, he wrote a simple statement in the Standard which reveals the method by which he climbed to power: "More than two years have now elapsed since we took charge of the Standard. During that period its list has nearly doubled itself, and it is at present as firmly established and as prosperous, perhaps, as any paper at the seat of government. . . . In the outset we were young, as we are still, and inexperienced, and lacked very much of that peculiar tact, knowledge, and discretion, which are so important to an Editor, but we trust we have not been found wanting in zeal, integrity, and perseverance." Although Holden's "zeal, integrity, and perseverance" were largely for the Democratic Party, he was also a champion of reform. Even so bitter an enemy as the Fayetteville Observer could respect him for his public spirit. 24

           As a paper, the Standard set an example of journalistic excellence. The Leisure Hour, a literary paper published in Oxford, said of it on November 18, 1858, "Aside from politics, we regard it as one of the most interesting papers published in the State. . . . We remember to have heard a gentleman connected with one of the Petersburg Dailies say, that the Standard was decidedly the handsomest sheet that came to that office." If in politics the Standard used violent language and took mean advantage of its opponents, it may be said in extenuation that this was the fashion of the day.

           In 1832, Hamilton C. Jones, familiarly known as "Ham"



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Jones, an able lawyer and Whig leader of Salisbury, established the Carolina Watchman to combat the nullification movement headed by Burton Craig in the Western Carolinian. 25 Jones rendered his party a real service in starting a paper which served Western North Carolina throughout the remainder of the period, but he is best known to posterity as the author of that sparkling bit of ante-bellum wit, "Cousin Sally Dillard." In 1839 Pendleton and Bruner bought the Watchman, and in 1850 J. J. Bruner 26 became sole owner of the paper.

           The census of 1850 lists the number of newspapers being published in North Carolina as forty-five. 27

Two years earlier, however, the Standard could find only thirty-five when it set them down by name. 28 The chief addition to the press during this decade was the Wilmington Journal, a Democratic paper. In 1844 Dr. William J. Price suspended the publication of his Democratic Messenger in Wilmington, and the lower coastal region was in need of a Democratic paper. David Fulton, a native of Ireland, who had come to the United States as a boy and later had settled in North Carolina, answered the call of the party and brought out the first issue of the Wilmington Journal on September 21, 1844, with A. L. Price as business manager. 29 Fulton was true to his promise to make the Journal a paper which would "always advocate Democratic men and Democratic measures" but which would be agreeable, nevertheless, to the general reader. Upon Fulton's death in 1848, Price edited the paper himself until James Fulton, brother of the former editor, took command. On May 27, 1858, the Leisure Hour wrote of the Journal, "There is no paper in North Carolina that is so uniformly independent in its criticisms."

           The next decade saw a tremendous increase in the newspaper press in North Carolina, a veritable intellectual awakening toward which the press had been striving throughout the period. In 1810 ten newspapers, with a total annual circulation of 416,000, were being published in the State. By 1850 this number had increased



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to 51 newspapers and periodicals with a total annual circulation of 2,020,564 and by 1860 to 74 with a total annual circulation of 4,862,572. 30

           The newspapers published in North Carolina during the first twenty years of the nineteenth century were all small weekly journals usually appearing a day or two after the arrival of the customary northern mail in order to give the editors time to include a brief digest of the "latest intelligence." In Raleigh, where there were three papers being published in 1810, the Register and Star appeared on Thursday and the Minerva on Friday. In 1804 Joseph Gales had issued his paper twice a week during the sitting of the Legislature, but it was not until November 18, 1823, that the Raleigh Register appeared as a regular semi-weekly, the first in the State. After seven years, however, Gales and Son discontinued the paper, writing in the issue of September 30, 1830, "We find that the population of North-Carolina is not sufficiently dense to support a semi-weekly Newspaper." Thereafter the Register appeared every Thursday morning as before, but it again became a semi-weekly the first week in January, 1840, and so continued until Syme moved the paper to Petersburg in 1863.

           In February, 1846, a tri-weekly paper, the Commercial, appeared in Wilmington under the management of William Stringer and Junius B. Whitaker. 31

In the summer of 1849 the Raleigh Star sought patronage for a tri-weekly issue of that paper, 32 but the Tri-Weekly Star did not actually appear until 1855. In 1850 both the Standard and the Times of Raleigh announced the publication of semi-weekly editions. 33

           The decade which followed was to see the beginning of the daily newspaper in North Carolina. During the sitting of the Legislature in the winter of 1850-1851, Seaton Gales had published a daily issue of the Register. 34

In Wilmington, Fulton and Price caught at the idea and on September 8, 1851, issued the first number of the Wilmington Daily Journal with the statement: "It will be issued every day (Sunday excepted) after the arrival of the

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mails, so as to give the very latest intelligence from all quarters. . . . North Carolina is almost, if not quite, the only State in the Union in which no daily paper is published." 35 A few months later the North Carolina Whig of Charlotte appeared as a daily, and in 1853 the Wilmington Herald also came out as a daily. The antecedent of the Herald was the Wilmington Chronicle, a Whig paper which Asa A. Brown brought out in May, 1839, and edited until 1851 when he sold the establishment to Talcott Burr, Jr., who changed the name to the Herald. 36 By 1860 there were eight dailies being published in the State: the Journal and Herald of Wilmington, the Courier and North-Carolinian of Fayetteville, the Progress of New Bern, the Press of Raleigh, the North Carolina Whig and the Bulletin of Charlotte. 37 The Rough Notes of Goldsboro also appeared as a daily during the campaign. Five papers, the Register, Standard, and National Democrat of Raleigh, the Observer of Fayetteville, and the Greensborough Patriot were appearing twice a week, and there was a tri-weekly edition of the Bulletin of Charlotte but by far the greatest number of the political newspapers were still weekly journals. 38

MAKE-UP AND CONTENTS

           Publishing an ante-bellum newspaper was a laborious undertaking during most of the period. A village paper was seldom prosperous enough to justify the employment of a journeyman printer. The editor not only "found" the contents of the paper, but set it into type with the assistance of his "devil." The editor's apprentice was often a lad in his early teens who required so much instruction in type setting that he was usually of no great help until near the close of his apprenticeship. 39

All of the leading newspapers, however, employed experienced printers to take charge of the mechanics of the office. For example, in November, 1835, Philo White of the Standard announced that he had employed

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Nathaniel O. Blake as printer and that now he would "have more time to devote to the Editorial Department." Sometimes the printer was the owner of the paper and employed the editor at a fixed rate of the net receipts.

           Occasionally a prosperous paper was able to have an assistant, or reporter, in the editorial department. Joseph Gales and his son Weston worked side by side in both the editorial and business departments of the Register, and they also employed experienced printers, for they did a great deal of job printing. For a number of years William Holden of the Standard employed John Spellman, "an accomplished writer and superior practical printer," as reporter for his paper, 40

and Frank I. Wilson as associate editor for five years beginning in 1854. 41 But in most establishments, the absence or illness of the editor meant that the paper either did not appear at all or that it came out as only a half sheet. The Hills-borough Recorder of April 19, 1820, for instance, published the following apology: "In consequence of the indisposition of the journeyman printer, during the absence of the editor for a fortnight, . . . but half a sheet appears for this week." In 1841 Charles F. Fisher suspended publication of the Western Carolinian for six months during a trip "to the remote South-West, on business requiring our immediate personal attention." 42 As late as December 29, 1852, the Star came out with only half a sheet saying, "In consequence of the Christmas holidays and the press of business on the adjournment of the Legislature, we are compelled to limit our issue this week. . . ."

           All ante-bellum papers were set by hand and until the fifties were run off by hand presses. In 1852 the printing office of the North Carolina Institute for the Deaf and Blind was boasting of having recently obtained the first steam press in the State. 43

The following year the New York Tribune predicted a revolution in journalism because of Mellier's recent experiment in France showing that paper could be made of straw and because of the invention of a press in the United States "which will deliver 30,000 sheets printed on both sides in a single hour." 44 These inventions, however, had little effect in North Carolina in the ante-bellum period,

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and none of the newspapers in the United States used straw-fiber paper until 1868. 45

           In North Carolina there had been a few mills which manufactured paper from rags before 1800. In 1860 there were five: two in Wake County, two in Forsyth, and one in Cleveland. 46

Although the manufacture of paper from rags was a more expensive process than from straw fiber, ground wood, or chemical wood, it made a more durable product with the result that the extant ante-bellum papers are still in an excellent state of preservation, while the modern paper quickly becomes yellowed and brittle.

           There were, of course, several qualities of news print manufactured from rags, and North Carolina editors frequently complained that they were forced to use the cheapest grade obtainable. A certain indication of increasing prosperity was the appearance of a journal in a better quality of paper. "After a much longer delay than we desired," wrote Edward J. Hale in 1845, "the Observer this week appears in a better dress and of a larger dimension than heretofore." 47

In 1851 the Standard thought that the newspapers of North Carolina had improved materially in their appearance since 1845. 48

           The dress of a newspaper was as dependent for neatness upon the type used as upon the quality of the paper. Many a proprietor in North Carolina set up his printery with a broken-down press and type already worn smooth. The result was, indeed, "a poor, miserable, sickly sheet," so blurred that it was a tax upon the reader's eyes. In 1849 when R. N. Verrell advertised the Warrenton Reporter for sale, he said, "The Press and a part of the Type are considerably worn but will do pretty fair work for two or three years to come." 49

Editors were as sensitive as their readers over the poor appearance of their papers and often held out a promise of new type as a means of obtaining additional subscribers. "We hope by the ensuing spring, to procure a new set of type, and to present our sheet in a better dress than it now wears," wrote Holden in the Standard of September 10, 1845. He was as good

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as his word, and frequently after 1846 retired a font of type which had seen long service. 50

           In North Carolina as elsewhere in the United States there was no uniformity in the make-up of an ante-bellum paper. The front page had not attained the significance that it did during the Civil War or that it has today. The editorial leader had been developed by the forties, but the editors moved the editorial flag about from column to column and from second to third page with a recklessness unknown to the late nineteenth century.

           The masthead was usually set as a streamer in a large point of plain or Old English type, but occasionally, as in the case of the Carolina Watchman for 1850, it was set in a box, the last two columns of the paper extending to the top of the page. The Star of Raleigh ran the picture of a star in its masthead for a great many years and the Live Giraffe had an elaborate drawing of a jungle scene across the full length of the page. Frequently a paper printed a motto in small type directly under its name. For a great many years the Register ran the following quotation: "Ours are the plans of fair delightful peace, unwarp'd by party rage to live like brothers." After Holden took charge of the Standard, he published as part of his banner, "The Constitution and the Union of the States--They Must be Preserved," and the Wilmington Journal ran the words, "Our Country, Liberty, and God."

           The name of an ante-bellum newspaper was not as inviolable as it is today. Frequently, a slight change in the name meant a change in ownership. For instance, Greensboro's newspaper appeared first as the Patriot. Under T. Early Strange it became the Patriot and Greensborough Palladium. After another change in management it was called the Greensborough Patriot and then the Carolina Patriot. A change of name, however, did not necessarily mean a change of ownership. Within a month's time in the winter of 1850 the Star had changed its name three times. When the paper dropped the title of the Raleigh Star and N. Carolina Gazette on January 16 for the shorter one of the Raleigh Star, Lemay wrote, "Our devil informs us that in lieu of any thing else new this week he has a new head in soak! See first page. Any thing for a change say we; but hope he'll not swap the devil for a witch." At least one change in the name of a North Carolina paper was



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not due to the devil's caprice. In 1820 some wag entered the office of the Halifax Compiler and changed the head to read Helfiar Compilax. 51

           In North Carolina the pages of even the neatest ante-bellum paper were dreary seas of type, for the modern headline 52

did not evolve until the Civil War period. It is true that editors at the opening of the century were using captions set in boldface capitals to head their news and that a second deck sometimes appeared, set in italics or in solid agate, as an explanatory paragraph; but the editor made no pretense of displaying his news to catch the eye of the reader. The presidential campaign of 1840 and the War with Mexico which gave rise to the second-deck and news headlines in the northern papers affected the make-up of North Carolina but little. Occasionally when an editor copied a story from a northern paper, he copied also the head. Usually, however, the newspaper employed such noncommittal headlines as "Read!! Read!!" "Important," "A Fact Worth Knowing," "An Improbable Story," and as a rule, no headlines at all on the local stories. 53

           In the type used for the advertisements, the printers allowed themselves more freedom. The advertisements were usually set in boldface capitals, several different sizes of type being used in the same display. Occasionally, the advertisements contained small illustrations, a chair in a cabinetmaker's advertisement, a house in a notice of land for sale, a running Negro with a bundle on his back in an advertisement for a runaway. When the Wilmington Journal appeared as a daily, it began the practice of publishing the classified "cards."

           Seldom, indeed, did a North Carolina newspaper relieve the monotony of its pages by the publication of "illustrations." Artists capable of drawing cartoons were scare and engravings were expensive. Papers did occasionally have illustrated headings for their departments. The Star of 1808 was one of the first papers in the State to set the example. An open book marked the "Literary Department"; a snake twined about a pole, the "Medical Intelligence"; two hearts pierced by an arrow, the "Marriages."



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When the Live Giraffe, a family paper of Raleigh, issued its prospectus in 1851 it promised "to present every week an original engraving or caricature, fresh from the pencil of the Artist, to illustrate some tale or expose the doings about our town, or that of our sister towns." In its issue of May 28, 1853, the Southern Weekly Post appeared with a three-column engraving, saying "The Patrons of the Post may expect frequent embellishments of this kind." The paper, however, was not able to make good its promise. The Greensboro Times became an illustrated weekly when it began its eight-page issue in 1859.

           The customary North Carolina newspaper was a four-page sheet. Occasionally, upon receipt of an inaugural or special message of a President, a paper might issue an additional half or quarter sheet. On December 5, 1844, the Wilmington Journal fortunately received a copy of the President's special message to Congress at six o'clock in the evening before the paper went to press. The staff sat up all night to get the message in type and to run the paper off the press. The Journal appeared the next morning boasting, "We venture to say that ours is the first edition of the 'Message' issued in the State. Hurrah for the Journal office!!!" The first regular eight-page newspaper to appear in North Carolina was the Greensboro Times which came out in January, 1859, with forty columns, "the first we believe ever published in the South," wrote the Leisure Hour of Oxford. 54

           The make-up of the North Carolina papers underwent little change throughout the ante-bellum period. Advertisements appeared on practically every page, dispersed indiscriminately throughout the columns. There was a growing tendency, however, toward the close of the period to confine the advertisements to the first, third, and fourth pages. Some of the largest papers were beginning to bank the advertising on the right hand side of the pages. A few papers, notably the Star of 1810 and the Carolina Watchman until after 1835, followed the English custom of filling the first page with advertisements. It was a fairly general practice to fill the first page with a column or two of advertisements, stale European news, clipped articles on abstract subjects, or lengthy speeches such as "Remarks of Mr. McQueen," "Speech of F. Norcom, Esq." These speeches frequently were continued



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to the next page, sometimes filling a large part of it. The second page usually contained a brief day by day account of the doings of the Legislature or of Congress when in session, the latest "foreign intelligence," and clipped political news stories.

           The second page sometimes carried the editorial flag and the leader if there was one, but more often the third page was reserved for the editor. During a political campaign prior to the entrance of Holden into the journalistic field, the editorials were usually confined to a few paragraphs of pointed remarks, but Holden at once filled his paper with as many as five or six long political editorials and his opponents, who composed most of the newspaper editors in the State, were forced to follow suit. The editorial page also contained whatever local and state news the editor chose to print. The fourth page of the paper was usually sacred to clipped stories, a few jokes, a poem, and a preponderance of advertising.

           While the make-up of the North Carolina newspapers varied little, the size of the papers increased considerably. In 1800 the North Carolina Minerva was a paper slightly smaller than the folded half-sheet of a newspaper today. The form measured approximately 17 by 16 inches, running four columns, four inches in width, to the page. By 1810 the newspapers had become slightly longer and considerably narrower. North Carolina newspapers were slow to respond to the influence of the blanket sheets of New York, which were begun as early as 1827; and, while they never at any time approached the size of those enormous papers, the leading state journals by 1845 had increased in size until they were larger by several inches than the modern newspaper. When the dailies appeared in the fifties, there was not enough news and advertisements to fill such large sheets. The Wilmington Daily Journal of 1851 was published on a form only 17 by 11 inches, smaller by several inches than the Minerva of 1800 had been.

           In 1840 a friend of the Register chided Gales on not increasing the size of his paper to equal the monstrous northern ones, saying, "While you were improving your paper, why did you not get the figure like this?" holding up the Boston Notion, a paper large enough for a horse blanket. "We rely upon the fact," replied Gales, "that though we do not print upon a sheet of mammoth size, yet we can give as much new matter, as most papers; . . .



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We shall not load our columns with ponderous articles, but endeavor to give that which may prove

THE NEWS POLICY

           Most editors in the State thought it their duty to print, especially with reference to local news, only that which was "friendly to thought, to virtue and to peace." Present-day readers of ante-bellum newspapers are astonished at the small amount of local news which they contained and the preponderance of foreign and national news. First of all, the ante-bellum newspapers, except for the small class known as the family, literary, and religious papers, were published as political organs. Their chief object was to serve the interest of the party and to devote whatever space was left to matters of general interest. Then again, the staff, as has already been pointed out, was too small to make news gathering possible. Thus the local and state news which the papers contained was only such as drifted to the ears of the editors or was clipped by their scissors.

           In North Carolina, as elsewhere in the United States and especially in the South, the opinion prevailed that the chief significance of local news was the opinion of the well-born concerning it. An editor deliberately withheld local news if he thought that he might offend the delicate sensibilities of the gentry by publishing it. "From motives of respect to some of his connexion," wrote James Wills in his Edenton Gazette, "we refrained mention of the forgery committed by a young man now in our prison, on Saturday the 20th" 56

The result of such a policy was that a great deal of local news never appeared in print and that when an editor did record an event the story he wrote often left much to be desired. Disregarding the who, what, when, where, and why of present-day journalism, the editor usually wrote in magazine style, tantalizing the reader by not revealing the climax until near the close.

           The Star was the first paper of a permanent character in North Carolina which emphasized state news in preference to foreign or national news. As the newspapers became more numerous and their size increased, all came to play up local news more and more.



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Perhaps they were led partly to this policy by Edward J. Hale of the Fayetteville Observer who boasted that his political opponents took a paper of their own party for political news but that they subscribed to the Observer to get a paper which they could "rely on for correct information." 57 The North Carolina Standard under the management of W. W. Holden and the Wilmington Journal under James Fulton also contained much state news.

           One of the editor's chief sources of community news was letters from correspondents. When starting a paper, editors always invited subscribers to write for publication. For instance, Dennis Heartt, on beginning the Hillsborough Recorder, requested "Gentlemen of leisure, who possess a taste for literary pursuits, . . . to favour us with communications." Editors reserved the right to refuse these offerings, and they always disclaimed responsibility for the ideas expressed in them. They invariably declined to publish a communication which was not signed by the author's name, although they always allowed him to appear in print under a nom de plume. These correspondents usually preferred a classical name such as Tacitus, Cassius, Brutus, but others chose less learned titles, such as Traveler, Short Tom, the Hermit of Wake, Mose.

           These communicated articles so frequently started a controversy that one suspects the editor of writing a letter occasionally as a means of building up the circulation of his paper. The letters from "The Club," criticizing local conditions in Salisbury, which appeared in the Western Carolinian in 1820, aroused so much feeling that the editors were forced to ask "for a conference with some one of the members of 'The Club' " in their issue of August 8 and to write in the issue of August 15, "As the numbers of the CLUB are now discontinued, we hope we shall no more be troubled with what are termed replies to them."

           When the great questions of social legislation became prominent in the late thirties, nearly all of the leading newspapers in the State asked for expressions of opinions from their readers. In the issue of September 8, 1831, a correspondent of the Star had urged such a policy upon the newspapers, saying:

           Some of the noteworthy series of articles on social and economic legislation which appeared in the ante-bellum newspapers are: "The Policy of Erecting a Penitentiary in this State" by "Fronchet C." which appeared in the Star beginning July 21, 1815; letters on North Carolina history in the Hillsborough Recorder of 1821 written by Archibald D. Murphey under the name of "Philo-Florian"; John Wheeler's, "Sketches of North Carolina" which appeared in the North Carolina Standard in 1845; and "The Administration of Justice in North Carolina" by an anonymous author, in the North Carolina Standard beginning with the issue of September 10, 1845.

           The meat of an ante-bellum newspaper, in the opinion of the editor and his readers, was not the local news or the contributed articles, but the foreign and national news. Throughout the period, editors were dependent for this type of news upon the northern newspapers which they received by mail. Any failure of the mails, therefore, threw the editor into a frenzy, for he did not care to put his paper to the press without some "solid reading matter." One reason for this attitude is, of course, the fact that the local news was already fairly well known in the community, having made the rounds by word of mouth, but the foreign "intelligence" was new, though it might be two months old. In its issue of December 23, 1800, the North Carolina Minerva filled the first three columns of its four-column front page with "Foreign Intelligence continued" from its issue of December 16. The news, dating from September 6 to October 15, came from London, Malta, Paris, Bordeaux, Frankfurt, Hague, and Algiers.

           The Raleigh Register's connection with the National Intelligencer, which was published by Joseph Gales' son and son-in-law, gave the Register a great advantage over the other papers in the State. Gales of the Intelligencer could rush a copy of his own paper just off press to his father in Raleigh or entrust a special dispatch to the stage driver so that the Register would be able to scoop the other state papers, appearing sometimes with "the latest



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intelligence" a week in advance. The Register would have had such a scoop on June 14, 1811, in the news of the engagement between the American frigate President and the British sloop of war Little Belt had not the apprentices in the Star office heard that there was news in town and determined "not to strike off the papers for general circulation until they had learned the nature of it." 58

           Occasionally, Hale of the Fayetteville Observer was able to get the foreign news by way of Charleston in advance of the other state papers. On January 13, 1825, the Observer said, "By the ship Sarah and Carolina, Capt. Candler, arrived at Charleston, in 38 days from Liverpool, we have the papers of that place to the 26th of November, inclusive; and the London papers and Shipping Lists to the 24th of the same month."

           The coming of the railroads greatly shortened the time between the occurrence of an event and its appearance in the North Carolina newspapers so that news from Washington might now be only a few days old. "In the days of stage mails," wrote the Fayetteville Observer, "it was said to have occurred very often, when there was a crowd of travel, that room was found for the passengers by depositing some of the mail bags in the stable loft, to be brought on by the first trip when passengers were scarce. But such things should not occur under railroad contracts." 59

But such delays did occur. "Since Monday last, up to the time of the present writing (Friday)," wrote the Observer on December 23, 1845, "we have not been blessed with the sight of a solitary paper or letter from any point North of Raleigh! The mails have failed four days in succession, and for all that we know to the contrary, the Cars have not once arrived in Raleigh during all that time. As may be supposed, this subjects an Editor to great inconvenience. He cannot tell whether war has been declared, the Tariff repealed or Texas admitted. He must either resort to his old papers for 'something to go upon' or 'draw upon his imagination for his facts'." As late as January 23, 1860, the Observer was complaining, "Few of our readers can imagine the inconvenience to which Editors are exposed by a failure of a single mail. But when such failures occur for three days in succession it is too bad for patient endurance."



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           The Raleigh Register claims to have been the first paper in the State to have obtained news by telegraph. In the issue of September 4, 1850, Seaton Gales, the youthful editor, wrote: "A Telegraph Extra was issued from this office, on Saturday morning last, three days in advance of the mail, giving an account of the execution of Prof. Webster, at Boston. This is but one out of many instances of late, in which we have given the public, to the west and south of us, especially, the news so far in advance of the mail, as to make it positively stale." But telegraphic news was expensive and few papers in the State even in 1860 could afford to buy such a service. When the Wilmington Daily Journal began publication in 1851 it depended entirely upon the northern dailies for its news and even in 1860 contained only a few brief items "By Telegraph." In 1860 the Charlotte Bulletin supplied the lower piedmont with telegraphic news twenty-four hours ahead of any other paper in the State. 60

           Besides the local and foreign news and the communicated articles, the ante-bellum newspapers also contained miscellaneous matter. The Star, as it has already been pointed out, always printed a large amount of miscellaneous matter. It had regular departments, such as "Agriculture," "Medical Intelligence," "Biography," "Literary Intelligence," and in 1850 a "Youth's Department" and a "Ladies' Department." Almost every paper in the State reserved space on the last page for a poem. In the early years of the century the Register called this department "The Repository of Genius."

           This was the period when the "tall story" came into favor. In 1826 Hale of the Observer lamented the "eagerness with which editors seized upon every story, however, improbable, . . . and blazoned it forth to their readers, to excite their wonder or impose upon their credulity. How such articles of 'news' originate, it is not always easy to tell, but they are much more numerous in the dull hot summer months, than in winter, when there is usually a sufficiency of the 'circulating medium,' to obviate the necessity of such drafts on fancy." 61

Perhaps the favorite of the tall stories was that of the sea monster. Sometimes it was a monstrous snake with great tusks, sometimes breathing fire, sometimes spitting

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poison; occasionally it had the head and shoulders of a man and the tail of a fish. The sea monster which the Hillsborough Recorder of July 17, 1845, described was an ordinary creature in comparison to most. It was "fifteen feet long and covered with a spotted coat of hair. . . . The head and neck appeared like a lion's or bull's without horns. . . . His tail appeared like that of a large fish, but here all likeness to the finny tribe ended."

THE EDITORIAL POLICY

           One of the significant developments in ante-bellum journalism was the gradual differentiation between news as such and the editor's opinion concerning the news. Nevertheless, the period closed with the policy of mixing facts with comment still a predominant characteristic of North Carolina newspapers. The Raleigh Register's leader was frequently a brief news editorial on some local subject. As long as Joseph Gales and his son Weston were in charge of the paper, their editorials were so tactful that the reader was scarcely conscious of the editors' having expressed an opinion. Such admirable self-control in time led even the friends of the Register to charge it with a lack of spirit. 62

           Even the Register could abandon its habitual calm when it handled a subject on party politics. On December 10, 1804, after having been involved in a controversy with his political opponent, William Boylan of the Minerva, the editor of the Register laid aside his customary restraint and wrote with passion: "The coldblooded assassinator of private character, the secret plotter against his neighbour's fame, is at length dragged before the public, and stands forth that literary wonder, that scientific desperado, that butcher of good names--WILLIAM BOYLAN. Why, Sir, your very name is antidote to the calumnies you so industriously, so honestly, and with such consumnate art have circulated, . . . bespattered as I am with mud and filth which has issued from that Augean stable, your press, I congratulate myself upon it, as a strong and irrefutable proof of my political virtue and private integrity."

           It would have been difficult for a newspaper to have remained neutral in politics had it so desired. Even the Star, launched as it was with the altruistic motive of serving the State as an agricultural



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and literary paper, soon found itself taking sides. The nineteenth century opened with "the violent spirit of party" threatening "to destroy domestic happiness and shake the foundation of public tranquility," and so it continued except for brief periods of calm throughout the years. Scarcely an editor in the United States wrote without blackening the character and misrepresenting the views of all who differed from him. In 1800 after the "Hermit of Wake" had read a few newspapers which came to hand, he wrote a letter to the editors which he requested the Register to publish. This letter might have been indicted with equal truth to editors almost any year in the ante-bellum period:

           In 1810, four of the newspapers published in the State were Federalist in politics, two were supposedly neutral, and two were Republican. With the gradual dissolution of the Federalist Party, the papers came to attach their loyalties to presidential candidates. Papers became Clay, Crawford, or Jackson organs. In June, 1832, fifteen of the twenty-five newspapers published in the State had declared against Van Buren, five for him, and five had not yet taken sides. 64

By 1836 all but six of the twenty-three papers then being published had attached themselves to the Whig Party. 65 A preponderance of Whig papers continued through the remainder of the period.

           From the opening of the century until the close of the antebellum period, national politics played a leading role in the political press. But with the establishment of the Western Carolinian in 1820, giving the West an editorial voice in state politics, local newspapers were forced to grapple more frequently with state issues. In almost every issue, the Carolinian raised a cry for equal



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representation in the State Legislature. As the period wore on, the fighting spirit of Western Carolina forced more and more newspapers to take sides on State issues, a college in the West, internal improvements, the calling of a constitutional convention, a public school system, a State penitentiary, the care of defectives, free suffrage, and valorem taxation; but the newspapers still placed chief emphasis upon national issues. Newspapers judged candidates even for state offices not so much upon their stand on local issues as upon their views of national politics. 66

           With State and national politics both in turmoil, newspaper editors had cause for battle in almost every issue that went to press. Editorial controversies, instead of growing milder as the State advanced in cultural achievement, became more passionate with the growing tenseness in national issues. During the presidential campaign of 1827 Hale wrote in his Carolina Observer:

           During the campaign of 1835, however, the Observer was not so conscientious. It was one of the first papers in the State to declare that Colonel Johnson "has set the disgusting example of having two black wives, from among his own slaves,--of living with one such for many years, and on her death taking another of



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the same race; of attempting to introduce his mulatto daughters into a public Ballroom in Kentucky, among a large party of white people; declaring that these mulattoes were as good as any of the white ladies present; of marrying these mulatto daughters to white men, in defiance of an express law of the State, as well as of public opinion." And when the Van Buren committee labeled these statements as political calumnies, the Observer insisted that they were "stubborn truths, which have not been, and cannot be denied" and called upon "the virtuous citizens of North Carolina" to defeat the ticket so that "the barriers between virtue and vice" might not be broken down. 68

           Hale never hesitated to "bandy words" when the occasion arose. If a quarrel continued and showed signs of becoming a personal feud, he usually stopped the controversy by declaring that his editorial opponent had ceased to act the part of a gentleman and that he would be forced to strike the paper from the Observer's exchange list. But, if his opponent refused to be whipped by such tactics, Hale might be forced, as he was in dealing with the Commercial of Wilmington, to file a suit for libel. 69

           The epithets which editors applied to one another during a controversy must have made many a man long to use his fists unless he had learned to regard the abuse as the Raleigh Register did that of the North Carolina Standard: "We never feel so certain that we are in the discharge of our duty, as when we are assailed with the filth and venom of the 'Standard'-- . . . Well, go on, neighbor, it passes by us as the idle wind; not the least disturbing our equanimity, or causing so generous a feeling as even contempt, for the source from whence it emanates." 70

Editors accused one another of low birth; of having forfeited the rights of a gentleman; of being "a liar, a scoundrel, and a coward"; of being ready to sell their country if they could "for as much gold as would make them aristocrats and grandees under the sway of some European monarch." The newspapers themselves were "filthy garbage," something "fit only for the scavenger," "cracked-brained concerns."

           Holden of the North Carolina Standard, whose ability in editorial controversies was unsurpassed in North Carolina, knew how



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to confound his opponents with their own words. His sarcasm was sometimes bitter but often he employed it with more devastating effect. He interspersed many "ha, ha, ha's!" saying, "This one hurts, doesn't it, brother Register?" Holden always insisted that he was careful to speak of the paper and not of the editor and to discriminate between his opponent's labors as an editor and his opinions as a man. When Weston R. Gales, editor of the Register, died in 1848, Holden wrote in the Standard of July 26: "Let the past be forgotten; let it sleep evermore beneath the clod that rests upon the bosom of our lamented fellow-citizen."

           Holden and Weston R. Gales had never come to blows as Joseph Gales and William Boylan had done in 1804, when Boylan gave Gales a public caning, but many an ante-bellum editor resorted to fisticuffs or the more gentlemanly procedure of a duel. In 1835 when Charles P. Green, editor of the Boydton Expositor, was in a store in Warrenton buying a suit of clothes, John Bragg, accompanied by his brother and several friends, attacked him with a bludgeon, bringing the editor to the floor. Rising, Green fired a shot which struck a bystander; and, in the confusion which followed, Bragg again felled the editor. This time, Green drew his dirk cutting one of his assailants through the throat and stabbing the other. Green himself came out of the fight with severe cuts about the head and a fractured arm. 71

           In 1845 Henry S. Clark, Democratic candidate for Congress in the Edgecombe District, challenged Dimock, editor of the North State Whig, to a duel because of the Whig's charges of corruption and malpractice in office. The combatants went to Maryland for the duel; and, after exchanging shots, they "then became reconciled by the mutual interference of friends, neither having sustained any personal injury." 72

After an encounter between the editor of the Lincoln Republican and the village postmaster in which the editor came out the victor because his pistol was loaded and the postmaster's was not, the Mountain Banner of Rutherfordton said, "We wish it distinctly understood that we are not a fighting editor." 73 In 1853, a story was going the rounds of the northern papers to the effect that there was an editor in North Carolina

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with seven bullets in his body received in duels and street encounters. The Sunday Times suggested that his paper be called the "Bulletin" and "as the editor contains 'leaded' matter, it should be set 'solid'." 74

           Occasionally, an editor's assailant did not give him the opportunity of fighting in the open, but struck at him under the cover of night. The Raleigh Register reported on November 18, 1804, that "the vile hand of an incendiary" set fire to the office of the North Carolina Messenger of Warrenton. In 1850 someone crept into the office of the Goldsborough Patriot, threw the forms into pie, and carried off the direction books. 75

           The intense fervor of ante-bellum politics gave rise to a new type of editorial, the squib, or newspaper paragraph, a brief pointed remark, frequently a pun, of immediate popularity. Henry Watterson claims for George D. Prentice of the Louisville Journal the paternity of the squib, 76

but, as a matter of fact, squibs were being used as "fillers" in newspapers before the nineteenth century. The North Carolina Mercury and Salisbury Advertiser of June 27, 1799, says, for instance, "An Hibernian correspondent assures us, that the Russians and Turks will agree very well together while they are fighting, but the moment they are at peace, they will go to war." The editorial paragraph, however, did not come into general use in North Carolina until the forties. By the fifties some editors had become expert paragraphers. Of this type of editorial, the Southern Weekly Post wrote on November 12, 1853:

           Some of the corps editorial, unable to handle more formidable weapons, are in the habit of employing against their neighbors a flying battery of little squibs, charged, for want of wit and argument, with impudence and slang. Well, every man to his taste, and every child to his capacity. We have seen the little urchin in the street, put his smutty thumb to his nose, and give a significant vibratory motion to his fingers, expressing thereby a world of scorn and contempt for the person who had offended him, and we have thought it was quite a becoming and picturesque display of vulgar emotions. These little squibby papers are similarly interesting. We like to see them doing their best, and exulting with school-boy glee at the explosion of their little fire-works. They must be cautious, however, not to endanger themselves with too heavy a load.



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           A Whig paper, for example, declared in 1846, "Whiggery is the opposite of Locofocoism--which is all things to all men." To this a Democratic paper retorted, "Of course, then, Whiggery, being the opposite, is nothing to nobody." 77

The Wilmington Journal, upon reading a statement made by the junior editor of the Washington Constitution to the effect that he had been "born a gentleman," remarked, "Then he must have been born again." 78

           Such darts were not aimed always at a political opponent. Sometimes the ladies came in for their share of the jibing. "An old English author calls woman 'an embodied falsehood'," wrote the Wilmington Journal in the issue of February 11, 1860. "It must be confessed that she is getting nearer and nearer to the naked truth."

           Among editors so accustomed to giving political opponents the lie, it might be expected also that private citizens should be roughly handled. The North Carolina press, however, with one accord stoutly denied any relationship with the licentious press of the North. Yet until the late thirties, many state newspapers lent their pages to private citizens for purposes of vilification. Column after column of personal abuse inserted as paid advertisements might be found in the pages of the Minerva, the Register, and occasionally of the Star prior to 1810. Joseph Gales stated his policy with regard to such advertisements in July 16, 1804: "The Advertisement from Franklin county, reflecting on a certain character, though money was inclosed with it, is not admissable, being anonymous. Indeed, the insertion of such pieces is at all times disagreeable to the Editor, and he would rather decline them; but, when signed and paid for as advertisements, he cannot, consistently with his duty, refuse to give them place."

           Dennis Heartt of the Hillsborough Recorder at once set his disapproval upon abusive advertisements. On October 3, 1821, he wrote: "From the commencement of this establishment, we have uniformly acted upon the principle to exclude from our columns, even though in the shape of an advertisement, every thing which had the appearance of an attack upon personal character. . . . It is not meet that the columns of a newspaper should become the medium through which could be vented the venom of malice or



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the bitterness of revenge." Occasionally abusive advertisements found their way into newspapers after 1840 but all the leading editors of the State had come to consider them unethical. When Fulton of the Wilmington Journal received a letter containing a dollar bill and an abusive "card," he replied editorially that he always made it a habit to burn such an advertisement and to pocket the money.

           It was partly to put an end to abusive advertising, partly to cultivate a better feeling among newspaper editors and to agree upon a uniform financial policy that the newspaper proprietors of Raleigh, Thomas Loring of the Standard, Joseph Gales and Son of the Register, and Thomas J. Lemay of the Star, called an editorial convention which met in Raleigh November 1, 1837. Thirteen out of the twenty-five papers published in the State were represented. While regretting that the press of the country had become "a vehicle of ribaldry and personal defamation," the editors were "gratified by the reflection that the Press of North-Carolina is as little obnoxious to these strictures as that of any other State in the Union." They were ready to admit, however, that "we have all occasionally gone astray." A committee drew up a code of ethics to which it hoped every paper in the State would subscribe. The code bound editors "carefully to abstain in their discussions, from all personalities and indecorous language"; to "advance the interest of the Editorial fraternity throughout the State . . . and to cultivate the good will and kind feelings of our brethren"; to publish no communication in relation to private controversy "otherwise than as an Advertisement, and that double the ordinary rates"; and in no instance to "insert an Advertisement of a husband against a wife." The code also bound the press to a uniform rate for advertisements and job printing. 79

           The code met with opposition from the first, not only from the editors themselves, but from their readers. The Charlotte Journal declared that one of its oldest subscribers had withdrawn his patronage because the editor had attended the convention. 80

When the Fayetteville Observer and the Hillsborough Recorder called for a second meeting in 1838, they could get no response. 81 In 1838 the Newbern Spectator called upon "the members of the Editorial

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Convention, of North Carolina," at once to "enforce the rules which they have established, and pledged themselves to abide by in honor and good faith" or publicly to "proclaim that those rules are no longer their guide." The charges which the Spectator preferred were "an unmanly deviation from the prices established" and "the billingsgate and ungentlemanly terms in which they conduct editorial disputation." 82 With this outburst, agitation for a code of ethics was heard no more in the state press.

THE PERIODICAL PRESS

           Although many foreign travelers, and especially Mrs. Trollope, thought that all American newspapers were more like magazines than news organs, the periodical press was a special phase of journalistic development in the United States. 83

The first paper in North Carolina to be designated a magazine was the North Carolina Magazine; or, Universal Intelligencer which James Davis of Virginia brought out in New Bern in 1764. It was "a demi sheet, in quarto pages, convenient to be bound"; 84 but, aside from this fact and that of the name, it does not rightfully belong in the magazine class. Davis intended the Intelligencer as a newspaper to take the place of the one which he had started earlier in New Bern under the name of the North Carolina Gazette. Probably the scarcity of news and the cost of paper influenced him in bringing out a smaller paper.

           The year 1813 saw the beginning of two periodicals in North Carolina. Cowper and Krider brought out their North Carolina Magazine, Political, Historical, and Miscellaneous in Salisbury in August and continued it monthly at least through December. It was a thirty-two page pamphlet containing "almost no original matter, and was made up almost exclusively of such articles as constituted the staple of ordinary newspapers." 85

The Carolina Law Repository appeared in Raleigh in March, 1813, and seems to have been continued until sometime in 1816. 86

           Except for three religious newspapers, of brief publication,



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which appeared in Fayetteville in 1826 and in 1828, there seem to have been no further contributions to the periodical press until 1833. On July 5, 1833, Isaac C. Patridge published "under the supervision of the Professors of the University," the first number of the Harbinger at Chapel Hill, floating under its masthead the motto: "Erumpere E Tenebris et in Lucem Obluctari." The Harbinger was a weekly newspaper devoted to "literature, science, and general intelligence." The Star said of it on August 30, 1833, ". . . the editorials are ably written and breathe the pure and elevated moral, social and patriotic spirit which might have been expected from such a source and which we should rejoice to see shedding its influence over the press in every section of the country." The Harbinger was discontinued in 1835, and early the following year "Hugh McQueen, Esq., member of the Legislature from Chatham," issued a prospectus for the Columbian Repository, a literary paper which he proposed to establish in Chapel Hill. 87

           In July, 1833, Benjamin Swaim brought out at New Salem the first number of his thirty-six-page monthly law magazine, the Man of Business. Carrying as his motto the words, "What do we live for but to improve ourselves and be useful to one another," Swaim declared that the object of the magazine was "to render every man his own counsellor in matters of ordinary business." He seems to have published the magazine until October, 1835. 88

Early in 1835 William Swaim of the Patriot had circulated a prospectus for the publication of the Southern Citizen which was to be a "newspaper magazine" 89 but his death later in the year prevented the appearance of the periodical.

           The next development in the periodical press in North Carolina was the appearance of a series of agricultural newspapers and journals. It has already been pointed out that the Raleigh Star gave some space to agricultural news from its establishment in 1808. The movement for internal improvements which began in this State after the close of the War of 1812 also ushered in a



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movement for improvements in agriculture. George W. Jeffreys' Farmer's Own Book of 1819 and the Papers on Agriculture published by the North Carolina Board of Agriculture between 1824 and 1829 increased the interest in new methods of farming. The Southern Agriculturist, begun in Charleston in 1828, and Edmund Ruffin's Farmers' Register established in Shellbanks, Virginia, in 1833, had circulated to some extent in North Carolina. In 1831 the Miners' and Farmers' Journal appeared in Charlotte, but it was chiefly a political newspaper. In 1835 a similar paper, the Farmers' Reporter and Rural Repository, was begun in Salem. In June, 1838, John Sherwood of Jamestown, North Carolina, issued a prospectus for the Farmer's Advocate and Miscellaneous Reporter, a semi-monthly paper to be devoted to "agriculture, literature, science, and the mechanical arts, the country's stay and the nation's wealth." 90 Also in 1838 Leonidas B. Lemay, a nine-year-old boy, son of the editor of the Star, brought out the first number of the Raleigh Microcosm, which was printed on a half-sheet of fine white paper. The little paper was devoted to "the flowers of Literature, Science, Commerce, and Agriculture."

           By 1845 the Microcosm had ceased publication and the father, Thomas J. Lemay, had resolved to bring out a monthly agricultural journal, the North Carolina Farmer, the first number of which appeared in August. The journal, which contained "a variety of useful information to the farmer and horticulturist" at a dollar a year, was not able to attract many subscribers and ceased to exist with the issue of July, 1850. In 1846 Obediah Woodson began a weekly newspaper, the Farmers' Advocate, in Salisbury; but, aside from a department on agriculture and a "Mechanics' Department," it had no claim as an agricultural journal. The next to appear in the State was the Farmers' Journal, a monthly, which Dr. John F. Tompkins brought out in Bath in April, 1852. With the issue of August, 1853, Dr. Tompkins moved his journal to Raleigh, declaring, "We do not, however, wish to be understood to say, that now we are paying even the expenses of publishing it, for such is not the case." With the appearance of the third volume, William D. Cooke and Company, proprietor of the Southern



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Weekly Post, had become proprietor of the Farmers' Journal. With the issue of December, 1854, Tompkins seems to have turned over the editorship to Cooke who continued the magazine in March, 1855, under the name of the Carolina Cultivator, obtaining Professor Hedrick of the University of North Carolina to assist him with the editorial work. "The heavy loss we have sustained from our connection with the 'Farmer's Journal,' will, we hope," wrote Cooke, "present an inducement to a liberal public to patronize the undertaking." 91

           In 1855 Thomas J. Lemay, who had sold the Star in 1853, began his second attempt at an agricultural journal. This time he called his magazine the Arator and continued it until August, 1857. In 1858 A. M. Gorman, editor of the Spirit of the Age, a temperance paper published in Raleigh, began the North Carolina Planter, which continued until 1861, and in 1860 another agricultural magazine, the Edgecombe Farm-Journal, appeared. The Farm-Journal was published in Tarboro, the town often referred to as the home of "the improving farmers."

           After the failure of McQueen's Repository in Chapel Hill, the State was without a literary publication until McQueen again brought out a periodical in 1840, this time a semi-monthly, the Emerald, published in Raleigh. The object of the magazine, which might be obtained at the unusually high price of $4 a year, was "to rescue from oblivion the numerous facts which would be so peculiarly qualified to give solidity and extension to the web of our history as a State." McQueen's second venture was no more successful than his first, and it was not until 1844 that the State saw the beginning of what was to be its first permanent literary magazine. In March, 1844, the senior class began publication of the University of North Carolina Magazine, but it was scarcely able to complete its first volume. When the magazine was resumed in February, 1852, the editors said of the first attempt at publication: "We regret to say, it was starved out by a selfish public. But this is no cause for wonder to any one, who will consider for a moment, what has ever been the literary character of North Carolina. It is a reproachful fact in her history, that she has never supported, for any considerable time, an exclusive literary periodical: and when some one of her sons, more active than



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the rest, and more alive to the State's true interest, would essay to remove this reproach, her 'honest and loyal public' would crush the undertaking in its incipiency." Under President Swain's influence, the magazine placed emphasis upon biography and essays on North Carolina history. In 1853 it was "rising rapidly and certainly to the dignity of a first class Southern Literary Magazine." 92 It continued publication until war closed its pages in 1861 but it was resumed in 1878 and still exists today.

           In 1850 President Braxton Craven of Normal College was publishing the Southern Index, a literary magazine which he hoped would serve both the college and the State. In the autumn of 1850 he changed the name of the magazine to the Evergreen and R. H. Brown of Ashboro printed it, but with the issue of November, 1851, the magazine died, having "struggled through one year's existence" and "shared the fate of all similar efforts." 93

In January, 1853, however, Brown brought out another magazine, the Literary Archive which was to be devoted to "literature and statistics touching manufactures, mines, agriculture, religious denominations, schools, public improvements, and information on every subject of interest to families or public men." 94 But the Archive had no better fate than the two previous magazines. In July, 1853, Mrs. E. Delancey Fory, associate principal of Chowan Female Collegiate Institute, brought out the first number of a bimonthly magazine the Casket, "a small but neat and interesting periodical abounding in appropriate literature." 95

           Stedman's Salem Magazine seems to have been the last effort of the ante-bellum period to establish in North Carolina a journal devoted exclusively to literature. Claiming to be an "Emporium of Southern Literature," the magazine first appeared in Salem January, 1858. In May Stedman published another issue in Raleigh, and Fulton of the Wilmington Journal found fault with it because the magazine "claims to represent and embody the culture and literary taste of North Carolina," but Fulton admitted that "the typographical execution of the work is very good," and that "some of the contributions exhibit more than average ability." 96



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           In September, 1856, Calvin H. Wiley, state superintendent of common schools, began the North Carolina Common School Journal, a quarterly magazine, the first of the professional journals of the late ante-bellum period. 97

The following year Wiley changed the name of the periodical to the North Carolina Journal of Education, made it a monthly, and had it printed in Greensboro instead of sending it to New York as formerly. 98 J. D. Campbell was resident editor of the Journal. In August, 1858, the first number of the North Carolina Medical Journal, appeared. It was a monthly magazine, the organ of the North Carolina Medical Society, edited by Dr. Edward Warren of Edenton. 99 In 1858 Quentin Busbee of Raleigh attempted to found a semi-annual journal, the North Carolina Statist, "to be devoted exclusively to statistical information," and D. K. Bennett issued his Chronology of North Carolina, which he hoped to make an annual. The Chronology, which had only one edition, gave a list of events connected with the history of the State from 1584 to the date of publication. 100

           Besides the literary and professional journals, the fifties also saw the development of the so-called literary or family newspapers. The Star of Raleigh, as it has already been pointed out, was the first family newspaper in the State, antedating the New York family papers by some nineteen years. But the Star became involved in party wrangles and the public came to think of it chiefly as a political organ. The Harbinger and the Repository of Chapel Hill had been literary papers but they were short lived. In 1834 Benjamin Albertson began the Herald of the Times in Elizabeth City as a "family newspaper devoted to news, literature, science, morality, agriculture, and amusements." The issue of August 22, 1835, contains such departments as "Rural Economy," "The Moralist," and "Miscellany," and a short story, "Murel, the Land Pirate," clipped from an exchange. In 1851 Calvin H. Wiley, that indefatigable North Carolinian, began to lay plans for the publication of a literary newspaper and made an arrangement with W. D. Cooke, superintendent of the Deaf and Dumb Institute,



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whereby the foreman of the Institute printery published the paper and Wiley and Cooke shared the editorial labors. The first number of the Weekly Post, changed with the second volume to the Southern Weekly Post, appeared in Raleigh December 6, 1851, as a southern family newspaper neutral in politics.

           Wiley's work with the public school system was so overburdening that he had little time from the first to devote to the Post. Early in 1853, therefore, Cooke obtained the services of Lyttelton Waddell, Jr., as associate editor and in February, 1854, when Cooke became sole editor and proprietor of the paper, he employed Dr. James A. Waddell to "contribute to the editorial columns." When Cooke finally gave the paper up with the issue of November 24, 1855, to devote all of his time to the Carolina Cultivator, even the Wilmington Journal, which had accused the paper of being "a partizan sheet published under a literary guise by the labor of the deaf and dumb children of the State," wrote, "We confess to some regret in parting with the only paper in the State purporting to be literary in its character." 101

           In January, 1852, Wesley Whitaker brought out the Live Giraffe in Raleigh, calling it a weekly family newspaper, "independent in all things," reserving "the right to discuss all." The letters from "Our Mose," written by John C. Bunting who became editor of the paper in 1857, soon led the Giraffe to call itself "the Funniest paper in the South." The letters were sprightly observations on every-day life in North Carolina, ungrammatical and colloquial, but admirable examples of ante-bellum wit. In October, 1853, R. H. Whitaker, a relative of the founder, became associated with the paper and by 1857 had become sole proprietor. 102

Near the close of the sixth year of the Giraffe, the owners suspended publication for a few weeks and announced that they could not resume publication unless the number of subscribers increased. 103 In January, 1859, however, the Giraffe again made its appearance.

           On February 4, 1858, the Leisure Hour, published in Oxford by F. K. Strother and edited by T. B. Kingsbury, made its appearance,



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claiming that it was the only literary newspaper in the State. It was patterned more after the style of the Harbinger than the Post or the Giraffe had been. As long as Kingsbury was connected with the Leisure Hour, he filled its columns with scholarly essays on literature, history, and biography. He began a series on southern authors but was never able to bring his list up to the nineteenth century. With the issue of January 27, 1859, Kingsbury bade farewell to his readers. Strother continued the paper promising to make it "a news weekly of the family and literary type," hoping to overcome the reputation it had obtained under Kingsbury that it took two persons to read it, one to hold the paper and the other to use the dictionary.

           In 1855 C. C. Cole began a temperance paper in Greensboro known as the Guardian but changed it the following year to a family newspaper which he called the Greensboro Times. In 1859 the Times, published by Cole and Albright, appeared as the first eight-page newspaper in the State. Most of its material was contributed by local writers and it ran regular departments known as "Our Poetical Gallery," "The Book Department," "Useful Information," "Our Homes," "Children's Department," and "Salad for the Solitary." On October 1, 1859, the Times announced a short story contest in which it proposed to give a total of $200 in prizes for the three best stories submitted before December 15. The stories were to be "laid in America" and must be "of a moral character." In 1860 the Times published the winning stories. Sarah J. C. Whittlesey had won two prizes with "Reginald's Revenge" and "The Hidden Heart," and Mrs. Mary A. Denison a third prize with "The Pride of Vivian Gray."

           As early as 1821 Dennis Heartt of the Hillsborough Recorder proposed the publication of a religious newspaper, the North Carolina Evangelical Intelligencer, a paper of general interest devoted to the spread of the Gospel. 104

In January, 1826, the Reverend Robert H. Morrison, a Presbyterian minister, began a religious weekly newspaper, the North Carolina Telegraph, in Fayetteville, one of the objects of which was to advocate "the improvement, dignity, and usefulness of the Female sex." The Raleigh Register said of it on February 3, 1826, "The typographical appearance of the paper is neat--the original matter interesting, and the selected

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articles are judiciously made." At the end of the year, however, Morrison merged his paper with the Richmond Family Visitor. 105 Two years later, the Reverend Colin McIver, another Presbyterian, began his Evangelical Museum and his Virginia and North Carolina Presbyterian Preacher, both monthly "pamphlets." 106

           The first religious newspaper of a permanent character to appear in the State was the North Carolina Baptist Interpreter, which the Reverend Thomas Meredith established in Edenton in 1832 as an organ of the Baptist State Convention. In 1835 Meredith moved the paper to New Bern and changed the name to the Biblical Recorder. In 1838 he transferred it to Raleigh where its publication has continued to the present time. In 1836 Mark Bennett began the Primitive Baptist, a semi-monthly periodical, at Tarboro and continued it until about 1847. After that the Tarboro Free Press gave liberally of its space to the proceedings of the Kehukee Association. In 1858 the Reverend Mr. Temple was publishing the Primitive Baptist in Wake County. 107

In 1844 the Reverend D. W. Kerr began editing at Mount Zion in Orange County the Christian Sun which he had printed in Hillsboro. 108 The paper served the interests of the Christian Church.

           The first Methodist newspaper in the State was the Weekly Message which the Reverend Sidney D. Bumpass began in Greensboro about 1851. After his death a few months later, his wife, Frances Webb Bumpass, took charge and continued the Message until sometime in 1872. She published the paper in her home, the typesetting and printing being done by young women whom she had trained. 109

In 1855 the North Carolina Christian Advocate, another Methodist newspaper, also appeared in Greensboro. In 1858 it was being published in Raleigh by the Reverend R. T. Heflin. The Reverend Charles F. Deems edited the first volume of his Annals of Southern Methodism in Wilmington in 1855, a work which he continued for three years.

           In 1853 Dr. John T. Walsh began the Christian Friend at Wilson, the first of a long series of religious newspapers devoted



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to the interests of the Disciples of Christ, which he was to publish until 1885. Although the paper was really the same periodical, Dr. Walsh, who did most of his editing in Kinston, had changed its name seven times by 1860, calling the paper at that time the Carolina Christian Monthly. 110 The Reverend George McNeill, Jr., and Bartholomew Fuller began the North Carolina Presbyterian in Fayetteville in January, 1858. Later in the year the Reverend W. L. Miller took Fuller's place. In 1858 W. A. G. Brown was publishing the Carolina Baptist in Hendersonville. 111 The last religious publication to appear before the opening of the war was the Church Intelligencer which the Reverend T. S. Mott published in Raleigh as the organ of the Episcopal Church.

           The ante-bellum period also saw the beginning of several temperance periodicals, only one of which, the Spirit of the Age, continued for any length of time. In September, 1848, Alexander M. Gorman and J. B. Whitaker brought out in Raleigh the Family Visiter, a "miscellaneous and Temperance newspaper." 112

Before the end of the first volume, however, Gorman reorganized the paper and on June 12, 1849, brought out the first number of the Spirit of the Age. 113 The paper was at first small in size and was frequently the butt of newspaper jokes, but Gorman influenced the Sons of Temperance to adopt it as their official organ and under his capable hand it steadily grew in popularity until it was one of the largest papers in the State both in size and in circulation. In 1858 Gorman was calling the Spirit of the Age "a Weekly Family Journal; Devoted to Temperance, Literature, Education, Agriculture and the News of the Day." Dr. William M. Johnson was assisting him with the editorial work at this time.

           As early as 1828 a temperance periodical, the North Carolina Temperance Almanac, had appeared in the State, but it was an annual and probably appeared only once. In 1837 Wesley D. Wilson and Joel Ingole brought out a monthly journal, the Temperance Advocate and Youth's Instructor at New Salem, 114

and about 1841 D. R. M'Anally, the Western Carolina Temperance Advocate in Asheville. 115 These periodicals were of short duration, but they probably showed the State Temperance Society

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what publicity could do for the cause. In 1842 S. Biglow was editing the North Carolina Temperance Union in Raleigh for the Temperance Society. 116 Soon afterward the Sons of Temperance had supplanted the Temperance Society in popularity and the whole State was becoming more alive to the cause. A number of temperance papers quickly followed, all destined to a short life. In December, 1847, William J. Yapp brought out the Carolina Gazette. In May, 1847, William Potter began the Pittsborough Communicator, later known as the Fayetteville Communicator, which was adopted in 1848 as the organ of the Sons of Temperance. 117 In 1853 the Democratic Free Press was being edited in Wilmington, the Star in the East in Elizabeth City, and the Dew Drop in Wadesboro; in 1854 the Ballot Box, which the Reverend Charles F. Deems brought out monthly during the campaign of that year; in 1855 the Guardian which C. C. Cole published in Greensboro. 118

           Another paper which served a special cause was the Deaf Mute which William D. Cooke edited and had printed by his pupils of the Deaf and Dumb Institute. The paper first appeared in 1849 as a semi-monthly but as the pupils grew more skilled it appeared weekly. 119

NEWSPAPER FINANCES

           Of the many newspapers and periodicals established in North Carolina from the opening of the century to the beginning of war, few lived longer than fifteen or twenty years. Among those that did survive for a while were the Register, Minerva, Star, North Carolina Standard, and the Biblical Recorder of Raleigh; the Hillsborough Recorder; the Greensborough Patriot; the Western Carolinian and the Carolina Watchman of Salisbury; the Warrenton Reporter; the Fayetteville Observer; the Wilmington Journal; the Edenton Gazette; and the Tarborough Press. It is not strange that journalistic efforts in North Carolina, as elsewhere in the South, had so much difficulty in being sustained. North



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Carolinians in general were not a reading people. Ante-bellum editors frequently complained of this fact. In the issue of January 24, 1852, the Southern Weekly Post lamented, "The spirit of reading is too low among our neighbors. . . . Few, except professional men among us, have libraries that would furnish separately, a month's reading to a true 'helluo librorum.' " On July 20, 1859, the Spirit of the Age put its finger directly on the reason for such complaints: "According to the census of 1850, there was more ignorance in North Carolina, in proportion to population, than in any other State in the Union." There were, of course, notable exceptions to this prevailing illiteracy. The Leisure Hour of July 22, 1858, exulted: "There is one county in North Carolina, in which every white male, save one, twenty years of age, can read. It is Henderson, . . . What other county will be able to say as much even five years hence? We doubt if the same thing can be said of any other one in the entire South--perhaps not even in the New England States."

           With so small a reading public on which to draw, it is no wonder that a newspaper had difficulty in obtaining subscriptions. Before launching a news organ or periodical, it was customary for the proprietors to issue a prospectus which they and their friends circulated about the country to see if they could obtain enough subscribers to justify the effort. If as many as a hundred or even as few as fifty signified their willingness to subscribe, the adventurers usually began the paper hoping to attract more readers later on. Postmasters and political friends aided most in obtaining subscriptions. 120

           A great many persons felt that their signature on a prospectus in no way obligated them to pay for the subscription. "Really, the conduct of some who call themselves honorable men, is shameful, in regard to debts of this description," wrote the Raleigh Register of November 2, 1827. "We have known instances, not of very rare occurrence either, where a man after regularly receiving a paper for years, pleaded that he only intended to take it for one year and would not pay for a longer period." Again, on January 31, 1840, the Register said, "Of all trades, professions or callings, none are so poorly paid as publishers of Newspapers. . . . Many Patrons . . . in other respects, worthy, punctual men, think it no sin to let the publisher of a Newspaper wait year after year



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for his dues; and, at last, if he is compelled to pay, he does it with a very bad grace."

           The law of newspaper finance, throughout most of the ante-bellum period, permitted the subscriber to pay at the end of the year. If he neglected to do so, the printer might continue sending the paper and he was allowed to collect, if he could, for the entire time. A statement frequently to be found in the "terms" which the ante-bellum newspaper published on the first page of every issue was as follows: "No paper will be discontinued until all arrearages are paid, unless the Editor may think proper." 121

It was not until late in the period that a few papers, notably the Fayetteville Observer, the North Carolina Standard, and the Spirit of the Age, led the way in demanding payment in advance. 122

           The ruinous system of trusting the subscriber had killed many a North Carolina newspaper. After tactfully asking his subscribers to pay up so that he could meet the fourth installment on his equipment, Heartt of the Hillsborough Recorder wrote on October 10, 1821, "We must have money, peacefully if we can--but forcibly if we must!" Even Edward J. Hale, often referred to as the only printer in North Carolina who made money from his shop, wrote, especially during the early years of his connection with the Observer, that he would be forced "to abandon a post of so much pecuniary danger" unless his patrons at once paid their debts. 123

In 1842 Thomas Loring declared that he had lost at least $10,000 in the five and a half years that he had been associated with the North Carolina Standard. "If our Patrons had fulfilled their contracts with us," he wrote in the Standard of January 12, 1842, "we should have . . . at least Twelve Thousand Dollars this day in hand, instead of being obliged to borrow money to carry on our business." Printers frequently took produce in payment of subscriptions. In 1845 a country editor declared that he wished it distinctly understood that he would receive "wheat, buckwheat, pancakes, corn, oats, sugar, bacon, lard, almanacs, hoes, tallow, Sherman's Lozenges, boots, little shoes and stockings, turnips, rakes, wood, and indeed all other kinds of produce, except promises, in payment for his paper." 124



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           In comparison to northern journals, the subscription prices of North Carolina newspapers were high and the advertising rates low. At the opening of the century the subscription rate in North Carolina was usually $2 a year. In 1810 it was $3 a year and so it remained until a few papers began to lower their prices for cash subscriptions. In 1835, for instance, the Fayetteville Observer might be had for $2.50 a year if paid in advance, $3 if paid during the year, or $3.50 if paid at the end of the year. By 1845 the Observer had lowered its cash price to $2 a year. This was the uniform rate for weekly papers during the remainder of the period. The price for the semi-weekly editions was $4 a year. The daily papers were usually $6 a year in advance.

           Advertising rates were based upon the square, a space which measured fourteen lines of ordinary news print. At the opening of the century the price was 50 cents for twenty lines for the first insertion and 25 cents for every insertion thereafter. 125

By 1830 the fee had become $1 for the first insertion and 25 cents for each succeeding insertion and so it remained throughout the period. When the Wilmington Journal became a daily, the proprietors began the practice of selling as small a space as half a square at the low rate of 25 cents for the first insertion and 12½ cents thereafter.

           Many editors in North Carolina were apologetic if their advertising took up more than a fourth of the space in their newspapers. "Our readers will please bear with us, for the large space given up, in our past few issues, to the favors of our advertisers," wrote the Raleigh Register October 5, 1850. "The advertising season is well-nigh spent, however, and we shall have more room, hereafter, to devote to a variety of miscellaneous notes." Hale of the Fayetteville Observer made no such apologies. "No paper in North Carolina can be sustained without advertising," he said. "The subscription and job printing will scarcely ever do more than pay the expenses of a printing office." In 1835 when the Legislature instructed every paper in the State to publish in every issue from January to June the act calling for a constitutional convention in return for a fee of $10, the Observer of January 20, retorted, "We have taken the trouble to ascertain how much the publication for that length of time would amount to, and find it to be



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$100.50. . . . We are favored with an abundance of advertisements for which we are better paid." After a trip to New York in 1845, Hale declared that North Carolina merchants were "not sufficiently alive" to the importance of advertising. "They understand these things well in New York. There we learned the astounding fact, that a single house pays $700 a year for the privilege of inserting a single advertisement, not more than two or three squares long, every day in the most conspicuous place in one of the New York papers!" The same advertisement inserted in the Observer would have cost about $16.50.

           By 1845 the northern "catch-penny" newspapers and periodicals had begun to cut in on the subscription lists of the local newspapers to such an extent that there was scarcely an editor in the State who did not raise his voice against them. 126

To these "larger, cheaper, and more popular" papers, they pointed an accusing finger declaring them to be the real cause of the low state of journalism in the South. When the Ashborough Herald announced its impending death in 1850, the Carolina Watchman of March 21 took the occasion to rebuke the reading public of the State:

           . . . So perished a valuable journal in our midst, whilst the whole country is flooded with the "Weekly Dispatch," "Saturday Evening Post," and hundreds of other Northern papers, not worth half as much to the farmers and citizens of North Carolina, as was the Herald. And so, too, are other papers now published in the State, destined to go, or else drag out a sort of miserable existence between life and death--crippled, maimed, and starving--whilst our people strangely neglect them and contribute to the support of Northern journals.

When faced with such an accusation the southern reader replied, "Your papers are not as large and yet cost more than those we can get at the North." To this the Watchman retorted, "The publisher at the South is not at fault. He freely expends every dime he can spare to increase the beauty and interest of his paper. But his labors are not appreciated. . . . There is not a man in North Carolina who has made a fortune by publishing a paper; and until the public mind in the South comes to a proper sense on this subject, we do not believe that any one will ever more than realize a bare subsistence."
127



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           The Southern Weekly Post, as it was about to close its pages forever in 1855, gave entirely different reasons for the journalistic struggles in the South, especially of the literary periodicals: (1) "The attempt has never been made to build up a first class paper in the South upon a basis of sufficient money capital." (2) "The southern people have little taste for the wishy-washy imitation of fashionable literature which is too apt to fill the columns of such a paper." (3) "The agitation of the subject of slavery keeps us always on the alert to meet and repel invasion of our rights, and the thinking minds of the South are engrossed far too much by an impending crisis, and by alarms, well or ill founded, for the safety of the state, to feel any profound interest in periodical or any other sort of literature." 128

           However true this argument was, it must be pointed out that in North Carolina and in the South as a whole the interest in literature vastly increased between 1840 and 1860. In North Carolina alone the number of newspapers and periodicals increased from fifty-one in 1850 to seventy-four in 1860. Today there are 269 newspapers and periodicals being published in the State, at least seven of which trace their origin to the period before 1860: the Fayetteville Observer, the Tarboro Southerner, the Greensboro Patriot, the Carolina Watchman of Salisbury, the Biblical Recorder of Raleigh, the North Carolina Christian Advocate of Greensboro, and Southern Medicine and Surgery of Charlotte. The ante-bellum period also saw a corresponding increase in literary productions.

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