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Welsh History Review

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Vol. 1, nos. 1-4 1960

South Wales and Monmouthshire newspapers under the stamp acts

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Jones 'left in the lurch' with the paper, its debts, its now unrealizable
promises of further capital, and the new press and types. He found
a new collaborator in William Henry Fleet, put an end to the
Reporter, and started the Merthyr and Cardiff Chronicle. This, too,
unable to attract advertisers, and without sufficient capital to meet
its costs till things improved, failed before the end of the year. Jones
then tried a Welsh monthly paper, Y Gwron Cymreig, which he soon
transferred to Cowbridge, and printed there till October 1839. The
Reporter attacked Church Rates and Truck; the Chronicle, strongly
influenced by Morgan Williams, the Merthyr Chartist, advanced
more Radical views; the Gwron, edited by William Ellis Jones
('Cawrdaf') seems to have been especially interested in the Odyddion
(Oddfellows). It, too, lacked advertisements.1
The Monmouthshire Beacon,2 the last of the promotions encour-
aged by the reduction of the newspaper duty, was delayed for some
months by 'unavoidable circumstances', but, at last, was 'clubbed
into life' by the Monmouthshire Conservatives. Its appearance was
greeted with enthusiasm at a dinner in honour of Joseph Bailey, and
a toast to its success, proposed by Richard Blakemore, M.P., was
followed by 'several volleys of Conservative fire'3. It was printed by
Thomas Farror, and edited by Richard Ramsay Dinnis, with the
help and guidance of the Rev. George Roberts, vicar of Monmouth.4
Its virulent leading articles, and its attacks on R. J. Blewitt, now
M.P. for Monmouth borough, seemed too offensive even for the
Merthyr Guardian, and the two papers, though of the same party,
quarrelled over this. The Beacon's sales seldom exceeded 550 a week,
and it did not attract many advertisers. Many copies were given
away gratis. It seems to have been a subsidized political print.
Subsequent newspaper development came in response to the
expanding economy, and to particular causes and local needs, rather
than to any major single cause. The Newport Mercantile Presentment
began as a shipping register, added some local news, and grew into
the Conservative Monmouthshire Advertiser, which soon merged
with the Merthyr Guardian.5 The Demetian Mirror was a weekly
miscellany for summer visitors to Aberystwyth.6 The Tenby Observer
began as a summer publication of the same kind, publicising the
1 N.L.W. MSS. J. T. Jones' papers (above). Holdings at Cardiff.
2 A few copies only at Cardiff Public Library.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 14 October 1837.
Ibid., 21 August 1847 (Rev. Roberts disclosed his editorship at a Conservative political
dinner).
6 Complete at Cardiff.
Copies at N.L.W.
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