On 3rd December 1844, John Thompson published the inaugural edition of his new weekly journal, The Armagh Guardian. At this juncture in his publishing career, he kept a general print shop at 63, English-street in Armagh.
No matter how much and how loudly they doth protest, then as now the news issues forth from bias. As editor of The Armagh Guardian, Mr. Thompson claimed a Conservative and Protestant position. By this, he meant to support the status quo of the social classes, and to espouse the landlord-tenant system as a cornerstone of British glory. Yet, in lieu of expediency, popularity, and novelty, he declared that he did not want to increase the stock of prejudices. He would rather depend upon the force rather than the number of our arguments and, in so doing, soften the asperities of manner.
More shall be said of John Thompson’s life in this blog at a later date. In the meantime, the 3rd December 1844 edition contained a goodly smattering of local flavour mixed among the national current events, viz.:—
- the death of Anne Christian, relict of Christopher, at the good old age of eighty-two years;
- the marriages of: William Langtry of Moyallen and/or Strabane to Catherine Isabella Walker of Annahilt, both of the county Down in the parish church of Kilmore (Church of Ireland); and of John Fannon of Monaghan to Miss Hughes of Thomas-street, Armagh, in the Catholic church;
- the regalement of John Heather on the occasion of his removal from the Beresford Arms Hotel to an engagement with a mercantile firm in Belfast, at which the utmost hilarity prevailed;
- the conversion of the wife of the Rev. Charles Seaver of Drumcree to Roman Catholicism; and
- adverts for James Riddall’s mercantile concern in English-street, and that of Thomas Jackson & Co. in Scotch-street; for Mr. Thompson’s new cheap general printing office, in which he also sought an apprentice to bring up in the newspaper business; for George R. Clarke’s tree and shrub nursery at Coolkill near Tynan, and for W.H. Lillyman’s veterinary services in the district of Armagh.
Farther afield, we also find the following notices featuring other counties in the province of Ulster and in the southern reaches of Ireland:
- the appointment of Richard Hastings Frith of Islandview, Enniskillen, to the post of District Surveyor of county Dublin;
- the celebration of the harvest at Kinlough House in county Donegal, the proceedings given and overseen by James Johnston, Esq.;
- the narrow escape of William Maunsell, Esq. of Killinure House, county Westmeath, from a dangerous fall whilst out on a harrier meet;
- a description of the disturbed state of county Leitrim, which detailed several attacks on people and property;
- the results of the municipal elections in Dublin, including the election of Daniel O’Connell, M.P., to the Four Courts district, and similarly, an election by the burgesses of Derry to supply vacancies;
- the continuation of Samuel Murray Going, Esq., in the office of sub-sheriff in county Tipperary; — and last, but not least:
- a lengthy prospectus for the Newry and Enniskillen Railway, not the first and not the last such prospectus to appear in most Irish newspapers, heralding this modern advancement in transportation.
While all of these accounts should be viewed through the lens of the editor’s stated political and other biases, still this inaugural edition of The Armagh Guardian augured the sort of coverage which Mr. Thompson would favour. Local news, more than sufficient to supply the grist of the local rumour mill, would feature heavily in his journal, as well as an excellent cross-section of current events throughout Ireland.
Transcripts for the articles cited above, and others to follow (through September, 1845), may be selected from the index for The Armagh Guardian in the Historical Newspapers section of this site. Happy reading, and please mind the copyright notice steps. (penned 3rd December 2020)
Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Inaugural edition of The Armagh Guardian, 3rd September 1844.” Blog article published to Arborealis 3rd December 2020, online at arborealis.ca/2020/12/03/inaugural-edition-armagh-guardian-1844-09-03/, accessed [insert date of access.]
Image credit: — French, Robert (?). (Upper) English-street, Armagh; at the intersection of College-street, looking southwards; with the north side of the Armagh Guardian building visible in the right mid-ground. Dublin: Lawrence Photographic Studios, c.1905. Digital image online at the National Library of Ireland on Flickr. Edited by Alison Kilpatrick, 2020.
- The Armagh Guardian (Armagh, Ireland), 3rd December 1844. Transcripts by Alison Kilpatrick; online at Arborealis, arborealis.ca/local-history/newspapers/ireland/armagh-guardian/ag-18441203/.
- Kilpatrick, Alison. “John Thompson, proprietor and editor.” The Armagh Guardian, 1844–1852. Vol. I. Births, Marriages, and Deaths. St. Thomas, Ontario: Quercus Arborealis Publications, 2015.