Friday, November 03, 2006

ABR - Chambers' Historical Newspaper 1

Every Friday, I would like to introduce an antiquarian book of note.

This week it is 'Chambers' Historical Newspaper': a bound compilation of issues 1-48 of the newspaper by that same name, published from 2 November 1832 onwards.

In its binding, the title is unremarkable, derelict even, but within contains all manner of treasure.

The plural Chambers refers to the brothers William and Robert, born on the ancient royal burgh of Peebles in 1800 and 1802, respectively. Robert began as a bookseller age 16 and William would follow a year later. Both would go on to become legendary Victorian publishing talismen. For an intimate account of their early struggles and later successes, 'Memoir of Robert Chambers with Autobiographic Reminiscences of William Chambers', published by, yes, you've guessed it, in 1872, has much to commend it.

Much of the brothers political outlook may be seen in the opening lines of the newspaper: "There are two kinds of government; and the two may be best distinguished by the words LIBERAL and ILLIBERAL.... At present, only Great Britain, France, and Belgium, are liberalised countries." No. 1.

The trivia contained within is equally pleasing:

"Monuments to...

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