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the Lords, desired the king but to walk out of Royston town's end, to see that flight, which was one of the most stateliest flights of the world, for the high mountee; the king went unwillingly forth, the flight was shewed, but the kite went to such a mountee, as all the field lost sight of kite and hawke and all, and neither kite nor hawke were either seen or heard of to this present, which made all the court conjecture it a very ill omen."

I shall be obliged to any of your ingenious correspondents for some account of the author and book I have just quoted. It abounds with curious anecdotes of the great men and transactions of those times, of which the author is said, in the title-page, to have been an eye and eare witnesse. What degree of faith is due to them, at present, I am rather at a loss to determine.

Yours, &c. 1793, March.

J. W.


April 23. Your correspondent J. W. may find, in the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. III. p. 28, a half-length portrait of Sir Antony Weldon, from a drawing in the collection of the present Earl of Bute, in which his face is represented as unpleasing and disagreeable, as his character is unworthy and despicable, in a short memoir which accompanies the portrait, extracted from Wood's Athenæ. In pp. 193, 194, of the same volume, Mr. Thorpe, of Bexley, has favoured the editor with some strictures on the foregoing extract, containing a good account of the family of Weldon, by which it appears that Mr. Wood was wrong in saying that Sir Antony si was born of mean extraction,” though Mr. Thorpe has nothing to say in vindication of his personal character, 1793, April.


June 2. J. W. has requested to know what degree of faith is due to Weldon's Court of King James. The following notices may assist his inquiry. Ant. Wood (Ath. Ox. I. 729) says, “it was accounted a most notorious libel.”—Rapin (Hist. of Engl. II. 189) denominates it properly “but a satire.”-and Dr. Campbell (Biog. Brit. III. 684) asserts, “that the notions and evidence it contains are of no value at all.” That Weldon, indeed, was author of the work, as the title-page intimates, by the initials of Sir A. W. or that the real author

was an eye and ear witness of the circumstances he records, are points separately combated and denied in an answer to the pamphlet itself, entituled “Aulicus Coquinariæ;” and printed in the same year, 1650. Which book, says the Oxford historian (ut supra) involves much of a MS. in the Bodleian Library, written by Bishop Goodman, and inscribed “ The Court of King James, by Sir A. W. reviewed.” This vindication of the King and his Court contains a mul. titude of complex or contradictory relations, in which “confusion is worse confounded” than before. And, as it was professedly published to exculpate those persons and transactions, which had been reflecied on in the work ascribed to Sir A. W. there can (in all probability) be little just reliance placed in the opposite assurances either of the one writer or the other. Secret histories are at best suspicious ; and that strange complication of mystery which hung over certain events in the reign of our first James, seems also to have involved the narration of them.

For the farther satisfaction of your correspondent J. W. I beg to add, that A. Wood persists in considering Weldon as the real author, notwithstanding the preface to “ Aulicus Coquinariæ" declares “ The brat was only fathered upon him," and, although the title-page describes it as “pretended to be penned by Sir A. W. and published since his death.”

In the transcript from Weldon's History, the charge for gos-faulcons should be printed 1000l. instead of 1001: according to the edition of 1650, p. 150. 1793, Jung.


XCII. On the Progressive Introduction of Newspapers.

Account of the first Newspapers established in England*. JULY 9, 1662, a very extraordinary question arose, about preventing the publication of the debates of the Irish Parliament in an English newspaper called The Intelligencer; and a letter was written from the Speaker to Sir Edward Nicholas, the English Secretary of State, to prevent these

See Lord Mountmorres's Hist, of the Irish Parliamenta

publications in those diurnals, as they call them. The London Gazette commenced Nov. 7, 1665. It was at first called the Oxford Gazette, ftom its being printed there during a session of parliament held there on account of the last plague. Antecedent to this period, Sir R. L'Estrange published the first daily newspaper in England.

From the following passage in Tacitus, it appears that somewhat like newspapers were circulated in the Roman state : “ Diurna populi Romani, per provincias, per exercitus, curatius leguntur ut noscatur, quid Thrasea non fecerit.”

In a note of Mr. Murphy's excellent translation of Ta. citus, he laments that none of these diurnals, or newspapers, as he calls them, had been preserved, as they would cast great light upon the private life and manners of the Romans.

With the Long Parliament originated appeals to the people, by accounts of their proceedings. These appeared periodically, from the first of them, called “ Diurnal Occurrences of Parliament," Nov. 3, 1641, to the Restoration.

These were somewhat like our Magazines, and they were generally called “Mercuries; as Mercurius Politicus, Mercurius Rústicus; and one of them, in 1644, appears under the odd title of Mercurius Fumigosus, or the Smoking Nocturnal.”

The number of these publications appears, from a list in an accurate, new, and valuable piece of biography, from 1641 to 1660, to have been 156.

These publications of parliamentary proceedings were interdicted after the Restoration, as appears from a debate in Grey's Collection, March 24, 1681 ; in consequence of which, the votes of the House of Commons were first printed by authority of parliament.

From the first regular paper, the above-mentioned Public Intelligencer, commencing Aug. 31, 1661, there were, to 1688, with the Gazette, which continued regularly, as at present, from Nov. 7, 1665, seventy papers, some of a short, and others of a longer duration.

The first daily paper, after the Revolution, was called “ The Orange Intelligencer; and thence tó 1692 there were twenty-six newspapers.

From an advertisement in a weekly paper, called “The Athenian Gazette, Feb. 8, 1696, it appears, that the coffee-houses in London had then, exclusive of votes of parliament, nine newspapers every week; but there seems not to have been in 1696 one daily paper.

In the reign of Queen Anne, there were, in 1709, eighteen newspapers published; of which, however, only one was a daily paper, The London Courant

In the reign of George I. in 1724, there were published three daily, six weekly, and ten evening papers three times a week.

In the late reign there were published of newspapers in London, and in all England, in 1753

7,411,757 1760

9,464,790 And in the present reign, in 1790

14,035,659 1791

14,794,153 1792


Though Venice produced the first Gazette in 1536, it was circulated in manuscript long after the invention of printing, to the close of the 16th century, as appears from a collection of these Gazettes in the Magliabechian library at Florence, according to Mr. Chalmers, in his curious and entertaining Life of Ruddiman, p. 114.

Mr. Chalmers observes, that it may gratify our national pride to be told that we owe to the wisdom of Elizabeth, and the prudence of Burleigh, the circulation of the first genuine newspaper, “ The English Mercurie,” printed during the time of the Spanish armada. The first numbers preserved still in the British Museum, is marked 50; it is dated the 23d of July, 1538, and contains the following curious article :

“ Yesterday the Scotch Ambassador had a private audi. ence of her Majesty, and delivered a letter from the King

[* In the year 1808 there were published : In London Daily Morning papers

Daily Evening papers
Three times a week
On Sundays
Once a week on other days

9 17 19

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his master, containing the most cordial assurances of adhering to her Majesty's interests, and to those of the Protestant Religion: and the young King said to her Majesty's Minister at bis court, that all the favour he expected from the Spaniards was, the courtesy of Polyphemus to Ulysses, that he should be devoured the last."

These Publications were however then, and long after, published in the shape of small pamphlets; and so they were called in a tract of one Burton, in 1614:

any one read now-a-days, it is a play-book or a phamphlet of newes,” for so the word was originally spelled.

From 1588 to 1622, and during the pacific reign of James the First, few of these publications appeared; but the thirty years' war, and the victories of the great King Gustavus Adolphus, having excited the curiosity of our countrymen, a weekly paper called “ The Newes of the present Week, was printed by Nathaniel Butter, in 1622, which was continued afterwards in.1626, under another title, by Mercurius Britannicus; and they were succeeded by the German Intelligencer in 1630, and the Swedish Intelligencer in 1631, which last was compiled by William Watts, of Caius cola lege, who was a learned man, and who thus gratified the public curiosity with the exploits of the Swedish hero, in a quarto pamphlet.

The great rebellion in 1641, was productive of abundance of those periodical tracts above-mentioned, as well as of all those that have been published since the first newspaper that appeared in the present form, the public Intelligencer, published by Sir Roger L'Estrange, Aug. 31, 1661.

Mr. Chalmers subjoins to these curious researches, the account of the first paper printed in Scotland, in February, 1699, the Edinburgh Gazette, which was accompanied after: wards, in 1705, by the Edinburgh Courant; and, at the period of the Union, Scotland had only three newspapers.

The publication of the Caledonian Mercury, by Ruddiman, April 28, 1720, led this curious and entertaining biographer to this minute and laborious investigation ; from which it appears, that England had in 1792, thirty-three town, and sevenly country papers; Scotland, fourteen newspapers, published at Edinburgh and in the country.

1794, Jan.

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