Today’s gem consists of two parts. They are the two earliest newspapers in our collection both dating from April 1801. They came to us as a donation from the Archives of Nova Scotia, Canada. The rest of the collection dates from the 1870s and is extremely fragile. We managed to narrow the gaps with microfilms of newspapers held at the British Library and the America Antiquarian Society.
The St. Christopher Chronicle and Caribbean Courier was founded in 1747 by Thomas Howe. The family continued to control the newspaper for many years. They were also Government printers. Their newspaper was very supportive of the hypocrisy, arguing for the retention of enslavement and even attacking Governor Charles Maxwell who had abolitionist leanings. One member of the family was George Howe, who had been trained as printer in St. Kitts. In 1799 while working in England he was caught shoplifting and transported to Australia where he eventually was given permission to start that colony’s first newspaper. His story here can be found here. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/howe-george-1600 and his obituary here http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/howe-george-1600.
The St. Christopher Advertiser and Weekly Intelligence was started around 1782 by Richard Cable who was originally from Antigua. It was later run by Samuel Cable, Elizabeth Cable and Richard Cable in succession. The Cable family was a mixed race printing dynasty that continued to be involved in the newspaper business till 1915. The family was in part responsible for the arrival of the Methodist Missionaries on the island but tended to steer clear of politics in their newspaper. That did not mean that they shied away from taking a stand. Richard and Samuel Cable signed a petition deploring the disadvantages that the law of the land inflicted on free people of color. Then in 1834 Samuel Cable infuriated the planter class by questioning the fairness of justice under the Apprenticeship system. He was fined and jailed and it was only because of the intervention of the Governor that he was released. The creation of the post of Stipendiary Magistrate showed the the Imperial Government had similar concerns.