Monday, the 1st of November, 1819, will ever be memorable in the history of literature. On that day appeared, composed, edited, but not printed, within the arctic circle, within fifteen degree of the North Pole of the earth, the first number of the “North Georgian Gazette, or Winter Chronicle;”—a work, take it all in all, without a fellow.
A preliminary proposal recommended a newspaper to “assist in enlivening the tedious and inactive months of winter.” The first number was just for the officers of the expedition. Sabine was the editor with full powers of censorship, to avoid hurting anyone. But he says “he will be wholly dependent on the Gentlemen of the Expedition for the support of the Paper.” Signed Oct 29th, 1819 at Winter Harbour. [The first number alludes to earlier shipboard newspapers—what would that refer to—Cook, Anson, or other?.]
Introduction – purpose was relieving the tedium of an Arctic Winter; and perhaps afterwards affording amusement to a few private friends at home.
p. 2, letter to Editor implies circulation in one copy, since the author was to make a copy for subsequent distribution at home.
p. 8, Letter to editor in No. 1, Nov. 1, 1819, surmises the purpose: A source of rational amusement not only for the evenings of this our Arctic Winter, but of many a future one, when a paragraph of the Winter Chronicle, read aloud around some cheerful fireside, may draw a tear of pride and pleasure from the eye of an aged parent, an affectionate wife, or a beloved sister..
p. 16: The theatrical library at present consists of six or seven pieces only, and some of them but badly adopted to our stage.
p. 33, follows format of English newspapers with letters to the editor, reviews, advertisements poetry, job ads (, e.g. an ad for a “middle-aged Women, not above thirty, of good character, to assist in DRESSING the LADIES at the THEATER.”) (No. 6, Monday, Dec. 9, 1819.)
p. 39: Also, “Wants a place” adverts, (No. 7, Dec. 13), lost articles (“White Fox”), corrections. Advertisements for “A New Weekly paper!” The Non- contributor’s post, or , opposition journal, with prospectus. The ad ends with the offerings: Stationary supplied. Book-binding in all its branches. Obituaries (for a gull) p. 71. Reporting on the activities of aristocracy (Earl and Countess of Musk-Ox, Lord and Lady Deer…)
p. 88, Ad for “ONE of the FELINE SPECIES” to repair the strings of a violin, p. 39: “Inquiry to be made at the Academy of Art and Sciences.”
All is written in high, formal, tongue-in-cheek, style. In plays, women were usually played by Mr. Ross, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Beechey, and Mr. Hoppner.
p. 61: Moreover, it is well known how very limited the theatrical library is, and, judging from the representation on Thursday evening, I am inclined to think, the small stock of pieces that contained humour suited to the audience, has been exhausted. (No. XI, Jan. 10, 1820.)
p. 93-5: On interruptions to reading (whistling, humming, drumming, bangers, (nose) blowers.) (No. 14, Mon. Dec. 14, 1820).