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Edinburgh Advertiser

Edinburgh Advertiser
TypeTwice weekly newspaper
Small folio;
4 pp. folio of the modern newspaper size
PublisherAlexander Donaldson & John Reid;
James Donaldson;
Claud Muirhead
EditorAndrew Crichton;
Robert Chambers;
Robert W. Paterson
Founded3 January 1764
Political alignmentTory[1]
Ceased publication29 March 1859
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland

"...the Edinburgh Advertiser is the only politico-ecclesiastico journal in the (British) empire which is against the (Church of Scotland's) General Assembly in toto".

London and Edinburgh Magazine, 1841.[2]

The Edinburgh Advertiser,[3][4][5] sometimes referred to as The Advertiser, was a twice-weekly newspaper published in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Tuesday and Friday mornings[citation needed] for almost a century, from 1764 to 1859.[6]

At the time of its inception, it was the only newspaper published on these days of the week in Edinburgh. It ran from 3 January 1764 until 29 March 1859[4] when it merged with the Edinburgh Evening Courant. Through the years, its offices were located at Castlehill; No. 91 Rose Street; No. 13 South Hanover Street;[7] 210 High Street; 15 India Street; and 7 Heriot Row.[8]


Its first publishers were Alexander Donaldson and John Reid. Reid's name appeared on the masthead briefly, only through 21 August 1764, at which time, only Donaldson's continued.[9] Donaldson, a bookseller as well as printer and publisher, is most notable for the 1774 Donaldson v Beckett court case relating to shared perpetual copyrights. In 1774, the newspaper passed from Donaldson to his son, James Donaldson. In 1820, James sold the paper to Claud Muirhead of Heriot Row and Gogar Park, Midlothian.[10] Of the large fortune made by the Donaldsons, James bequeathed it for the endowment of Donaldson's Hospital.[11]


Claud's father, James Muirhead, printer, Burgess and Guild Brother, served as the newspaper's printer, principal manager and superintendent.[8] Rev. Andrew Crichton, a Scottish biographer and historian, served as editor until 1851 when he was replaced by Robert W. Paterson. For a short period, editorial control was held by Robert Chambers.[7] At one point in time, Christopher North (the pseudonym of the Scottish writer John Wilson), was said to be associated with the Edinburgh Advertiser.[12] James Macaulay was a foreman. Journeymen printers included John Bryce, James Lamb, Robert Lamb, and George Robertson. Two of the pressmen were James Thomson and Joseph Thompson.[13]

The paper was run frugally.[14] Its initial cost was 2½d, and it was increased to 7d by 1820.[15] It covered news, religion, trade, manufacturing, agriculture, politics, and entertainment of Great Britain and the Colonial United States; it also published essays.[16] Its motto, Quidquid agunt homines, uotum, timor, ira, uoluptas, gaudia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli,[16] (translation: "whatever men do – prayer, fear, rage, pleasure, joy, running about – is the grist of my little book") is a satire by the Roman poet Juvenal.


The newspaper was the first to publish some historically important pieces. The first publication of Epitaph: On Robert Fergusson appeared in the 7–11 August 1789 issue. One literary note was the first publication of Robert Burns' On the Commemoration of Rodney's Victory which appeared in the 16–19 April 1793 issue.[17] After Burns' death, several of his epigrams were published in the 8 August 1800 issue.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Bulloch, John; John Alexander Henderson (1892). Scottish notes and queries (Digitized 5 Aug 2005 ed.). D. Wyllie and son. p. 85.
  2. ^ "Anatomy of Political Parties and their Organs on Non-Intrusion". The London and Edinburgh Magazine. Vol. 1, no. 4. Cornhill: Smith, Elder & Co. 1841. p. 253.
  3. ^ "The Edinburgh Advertiser, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, 1772–1826". 31 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b "The Edinburgh advertiser". Library of Congress. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Newspapers". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b Couper, William James (1908). The Edinburgh periodical press: being a bibliographical account of the newspapers, journals, and magazines issued in Edinburgh from the earliest times to 1800. Vol. 2 (Digitized 14 Aug 2007 ed.). E. Mackay. pp. 106–114.
  8. ^ a b "Scottish Book Trade Index (SBTI)". National Library of Scotland. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  9. ^ Couper, P. 106
  10. ^ Boase, Frederic (1897). Modern English biography: containing many thousand concise memoirs of persons who have died since the year 1850, with an index of the most interesting matter. Vol. 2 (Digitized 5 Jun 2008 ed.). Netherton and Worth. p. 1906.
  11. ^ Clow, Archibald; Nan L. Clow (1992). The chemical revolution: a contribution to social technology. Classics in the history and philosophy of science. Vol. 8. Taylor & Francis. p. 259. ISBN 2-88124-549-8.
  12. ^ Wilson, John (1855). James Frederick Ferrier (ed.). The Works of Professor Wilson of the University of Edinburgh: Noctes ambrosianae. Vol. 2 (Digitized 9 Aug 2007 ed.). W. Blackwood. p. 126.
  13. ^ "Scottish Book Trade Index". National Library of Scotland. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  14. ^ Macaulay, James (1867). The Leisure hour (Digitized 18 Oct 2007 ed.). p. 86.
  15. ^ Couper, p. 106, 111
  16. ^ a b Couper, p. 107
  17. ^ Noble, Andrew; Patrick Scott Hogg (2002). The Canongate Burns. Canongate classics. Vol. 104. Canongate U.S. p. 454. ISBN 1-84195-380-6.
  18. ^ Highfill, PH Highfill; KA Burnim; EA Langhans (1982). A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Volume 8, Hough to Keyse: Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660–1800. Vol. 8. SIU Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-8093-0919-X.
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Edinburgh Advertiser
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