The Patriot And Terra-Nova Herald

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The Patriot began publication in the same year the Newfoundland legislature was established. It was supported in the beginning by several individuals, possibly including John Valentine Nugent and James Douglas.(42) In its prospectus, the proprietors pledged "The Patriot will be a terror to evil doers ... All the acts of the Executive, and of the Legislature, will be critically examined and commented upon with freedom."(43) In the summer of 1835, editor R. J. Parsons was sentenced to a three months prison and was fined 50 pounds for contempt of court by the unpopular Judge Boulton because Parsons refused to reveal the identity of the author of the following article that appeared in April of that year:

Beneficial effects of hanging illustrated! -- We understand that a lecture was delivered in the Courthouse yesterday [by Judge Boulton] ... on the very great benefits which hanging the people confers upon society, arising no doubt from its sedative effects upon the human system which is to be uninitiated, are truly astonishing!
The case attracted the attention of the press in England and North America and a fund was set up to raise money for Parsons' release. Upon his release in September 1835, he became the sole proprietor of the Patriot. Parsons continued to oppose Boulton until the judge was dismissed from office in 1838.

A Liberal Protestant, Parsons was sympathetic to the Irish Catholic population and the Patriot provided wide coverage of Catholic and Irish news. When Bishop Fleming died, the paper was published with black borders (July 20-27, 1850). ThePatriot contained more domestic news than its predecessors as well as foreign news, legislative proceedings, shipping news, "columns for the ladies," and long-winded letters.

The Patriot disagreed with nearly all of its contemporary newspapers at one time or the other. It dismissed the Times as being unworthy of recognition: "It is not our wont to bestow notice on the Times; the character of that journal is too mean and its supporters confined to a circle too narrow to entitle them to the slightest consideration." The Patriot was generally well disposed toward the Newfoundlander, but noted: "we wish the editor would think more of John Kent and Newfoundland, and less of Daniel O'Connell and the Emerald Isle." Parsons accused former supporters John Kent and and John Valentine Nugent of disloyalty when they started their own paper, the short-lived Newfoundland Vindicator which tried to replace the Patriot as the House of Assembly printer and reporter. The Patriot's most bitter rival for several decades was Henry Winton's Conservative Public Ledger, which Parsons early referred to as "the Bigot's Banner" (Dec. 23, 1834). When Winton died, the Patriot announced, "The editor of the Ledger lived long enough to see the utter prostration of the politics he advocated so stoutly but so insincerely and of the party he defended so boldly. Let him rest!" (Jan. 22, 1855).

Parsons outlived Winton for nearly 30 years and sat as a Liberal in the House of Assembly from 1848 to 1852 and from 1855 to 1874. He did not adhere strictly to party lines and never hesitated to criticize members of his own party in thePatriot. Parsons was one of the major proponents of Responsible Government, and published a series of editorials explaining its advantages in the summer of 1850. He opposed Confederation beginning in 1862 and supported the railway. Near the end of his life, he approved of the fact that party politics seemed to be on the wane. In the seven years it continued to publish after Parson's death in 1883, the Patriot declined, but still managed to snipe at the Thorburn administration and two fledgling newspapers, the Evening Mercury and the Evening Telegram

This newspaper's description was sourced from Suzanne Ellison's Historical Directory of Newfoundland and Labrador Newspapers.

Began publication:
July 15, 1833

Latest issue located:
June 30, 1890

Place of publication:
St. John's

Weekly, July 15, 1833-Dec. 26, 1840
Semiweekly, Jan. 2-Mar. 3, 1841
Weekly, Mar. 10, 1841-May 31, 1847
Semiweekly, June 21-Sept. 20, 1847
Weekly, Sept. 29, 1847-July 4, 1859
Semiweekly, July 7, 1859-Jan. 5, 1860
Weekly, Jan. 9, 1860-Aug. 19, 1861
Semiweekly, Aug. 27-Sept. 20, 1861
Weekly, Sept. 23, 1861-June 30, 1890

Suspended publication:
Jan. 10 - Aug. 27 1846
Oct. 8 - Dec. 1846
June 26 - Sept. 2 1853
Oct. 25, 1861 - Apr. 1862

Robert J. Parsons and John Valentine Nugent?,(41) 1833 - Aug. 1835
Robert J. Parsons, Sept. 1835 - June 18, 1883

Robert J. Parsons, 1833-1862; July 26, 1864 - Feb. 1874; Sept. 11, 1874 - June 18, 1883
J. R. Parsons, 1863 - July 19, 1864
Charles Flood Parsons, Mar. - Sept. 4, 1874; July 4, 1883 - June 30, 1890
Editor: Robert J. Parsons, 1833 - Mar. 19, 1855; Apr. 5, 1858 - June 18, 1883

Issues on the DAI:
15 July 1833 to 30 June 1890

Title varies:
Newfoundland Patriot, 1833-July 6, 1842
Patriot and Terra-Nova Herald, July 13, 1842-Apr. 29, 1872
Patriot and Terra-Nova Catholic Herald, May 6-22, 1872
Patriot and Catholic Herald, May 28, 1872-Feb. 1, 1877
Patriot and Terra-Nova Herald, Feb. 12, 1877-June 30, 1890

View other Newfoundland and Labrador newspapers available on the DAI.

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