Anti-Gallican Monitor joins The Archive | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 126,386 new pages to The Archive. We have added four brand new titles this week, with the addition of Kent title the Thanet Times, London title the Harrow Leaderand Middlesex title the Staines & Ashford News. This week also sees the publication of a curious title from 1811, the Anti-Gallican Monitor, which was published during the the Napoleonic wars.

We have also updated two of our existing titles: adding over 60,000 pages to the Reading Evening Post, with additions also to the Kensington Post. Updates to both titles come from the 1990s.

As its name not so subtly suggests, the Anti-Gallican Monitor is a journal which takes a firmly anti-French viewpoint, and most particularly, publishes strong propaganda opposed to Napoleon Bonaparte. The Anti-Gallican Monitor was founded by Lewis Goldsmith, an Anglo-French publicist of Portuguese-Jewish origins, who held strongly anti-republican views, resulting in a highly inflammatory publication.

Anti-Gallican Monitor | 7 July 1811

Indeed, at the time the Anti-Gallican Monitor was highly divisive, as it called for the assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte for the benefit of Europe, which was condemned by the British government. By 1811 the First French Empire, built by Napoleon’s successful military campaigns with his Grande Armée, covered large parts of Europe, including Italy and the Netherlands. France had also invaded Spain, although the Spanish and their British allies were in the midst of resisting the French forces.

Graphic | 4 August 1906

During the course of 1811 the Anti-Gallican Monitor became more nuanced in its objection to France, changing its title to the Anti-Gallican Monitor and Anti-Corsican Chronicle. The journal’s principle objection was to Napoleon, rather than to the nation of France. This is outlined in the below editorial, entitled ‘Crimes of Buonaparte:’

The people of France, by this time, know Napoleon Buonaparte, and the inveterate atrocity of his crimes; but this knowledge they have purchased at too dear a price – they have obtained it at the expense of their most valuable privileges, many at the expense of their lives, or that of their families, and all at the expense of their liberties! They have exchanged their king for a blood-thirsty usurper, every day of whose life has been stained by some act of rapine or murder. Frenchmen! when you patiently permitted a foreigner to seize on the reins of government, you little imagined what horrors he would inflict on you.

Some of the above mentioned horrors are outlined in a piece from 3 March 1811, which details how ‘the treatment of the French soldiery is barbarous beyond example.’ A practice for punishing deserters is outlined, called la peine du boulet, in which ‘an iron ball of 8lb weight [is] tied to one leg, while the other is chained to a wheelbarrow.’ The deserter is then forced to work on the public highways with a shaved head for up to ten years.

Anti-Gallican Monitor | 3 March 1811

Whether such outrageous reports were accurate, the Anti-Gallican Monitor provides us with an intriguing glimpse into attitudes towards France and Napoleon during the height of the Napoleonic wars, especially for the historians among us. Indeed, the scathing tone of the journal is at times entertaining, as in this piece regarding the ‘projected invasion of England.’

It appears, by the last accounts from the French coast, that the ‘Emperor of France’ has revived the farce of invasion, and he will probably soon tell us that we are to be conquered! But a question naturally arises, how that ‘great and extraordinary genius’ is to come over, as his flotilla, which had been collected at Boulogne ever since the year 1804, must certainly be rotten ere this. Perhaps he is a second Moses, and the Straights of Calais will be consequently dried up at his approach, and become another Red Sea, as in the good times of the Pharaoh. What achievements are not to be expected from, and what miracles are not to be performed in favour of this ‘Child of Providence!’


New Titles
Years Covered
Thanet Times 1958-1980, 1988-1989
Harrow Leader 1987-1993
Staines & Ashford News 1950, 1987, 1989-1991
Anti-Gallican Monitor 1811
Updated Titles

This week we have updated two of our existing titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

Years Covered
Reading Evening Post 1995-1998
Kensington Post 1993

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