At the House of Mr. John O'Brien, in HALIFAX
on Friday the 24th day of August next, between
the hours of Twleve and Two o'Clock, if not
sold before at private Sale,
Containing 10,000 acres, more or less, at
the Bass Rivers, or Five Islands, near to Par-
tridge Island, in the Bason of Mines; the soil good,
and well timbered, with a great plenty of Bass Fish
in the rivers, where an advantageous fishery might
be carried on. The rivers are numerous, and well
calculated for the erecting of Saw-Mills; where the
Lumber Trade may be carried on in its greatest per-
fection, a great quantity of the land is marsh, which
may easily be dyked, and soon rendered of great
The situation of this tract of land, gives every
advantage, in favour of a small number of families,
who may be desirous of settling together, as thereby
will be made, in a short time, a very excellent settle-
ment. — For further particulars, apply to Mr. John
Butler Dight, at Halifax, who will take a plea-
sure in giving the best information in his power.
Halifax, May 13, 1783
James Rivington was born about 1724 in London, England, and died in New York City in July 1802.
Rivington's Royal Gazette was printed in New York City during the Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence. Once the British forced Washington off Manhattan in 1776, the area of New York City and Long Island became a magnet for displaced loyalists. New York was occupied continuously by the British throughout the Revolutionary War — until November 1783 when the British army left New York forever. New York was the last city in the United States that was occupied by British forces after the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty in September 1783 that ended the war.
On 12 April 1773, Rivington launched his New-York Gazetteer, a weekly newspaper published in New York. This controversial newspaper ended on 23 November 1775, when a party of armed men from Connecticut entered the city on horseback, raided his office, destroyed his press and melted down his type.
Rivington went to England, obtained a new press and type, and resumed publication on 18 October 1777, calling the paper Rivington's New-York Royal Gazette, published twice each week.
The Royal Gazette issue of July 19, 1783 – the issue containing the advertisement copied above – was printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper 60.0cm × 46.0cm (a "broadsheet") folded once to make four pages.
After the departure of the British army from New York on 22 November 1783, Rivington changed the name of his newspaper to Rivington's New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser, but circulation declined rapidly and the last issue appeared on 31 December 1783.
Reference: The New York Press and Its Editors
Book 12, Chapter 21, The History of New York State published 1927
Rivington's New-York Gazetteer, or The Connecticut, New-Jersey, Hudson's-River, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser
22 April 1773 - 9 December 1773
Rivington's New-York Gazetteer, or, The Connecticut, Hudson's River, New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser
16 December 1773 - 23 November 1775
Note the subtle name change,
from Gazetteer (above) to Gazette (below).
Rivington's New-York Gazette, or, The Connecticut, Hudson's River, New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser
4 - 11 October 1777
(published on Saturday each week)
Rivington's New York Loyal Gazette
18 October 1777 - 6 December 1777
(published on Saturday each week)
The Royal Gazette
13 December 1777 - 19 November 1783
Rivington's New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser,
22 November 1783 - 31 December 1783
...Realizing that to stay [in New York] would imperil their lives, the loyalists
appealed to the British government to find them homes elsewhere. Some were
allowed to go to England, others went to the West Indies, but by far the
greatest number were shipped to Nova Scotia. "Hell or Halifax," they shouted
defiantly as their transports set sail from New York harbor. "Nova Scarcity,"
the patriots shouted after them, rejoicing that their enemies were bound for a
cold, barren coast and were leaving behind pleasant homes and fertile lands.
"The country counties have engaged many months ago, to hold the Toryes
banished," wrote a Fishkill citizen in a letter published in the New York
Morning Post on November 7, 1783; "the voice of the inhabitants is so
universally against them that they cannot hope for a peaceful residence
among us." And in the same issue of the Post appeared a burlesque of
a Hamlet soliloquy beginning:
To go–or not to go–is that the question?
of a considerable part of the Hudson River civilization.
More than twenty-eight thousand refugees, many of them residents
of the New York region, left for Canadian ports in that year alone...
— Exerpted from chapter 12 of The Hudson, by Carl Carmer,
published by Farrar and Rinehart, New York, 1939, (one of a series
of books on the rivers of the United States). Chapter 12 deals with
the "Removal of the Hudson River Toryes to Nova Scotia". In the
early 1780s, when it had become clear to everyone that the
Thirteen Colonies had succeeded in breaking away from
Great Britain, the choices facing Loyalists living along the
Hudson River valley were fully as bleak as described by Carmer.
The Hudson by Carl Carmer
Rivers of America Series
Published: New York, Farrar & Rinehart, 1939
Archived: 2002 October 20
Archived: 2003 June 16
Archived: 2004 February 15
In the above land-for-sale ad, there appear to be several spelling mistakes:
fold houfe Bafs Fifh marfh fmall foon
sold house Bass Fish marsh small soon
These look like the typesetter repeatedly confused the letter 'f' for 's',
but they are not mistakes.
[Note: The letter f has been used here to represent the 27th letter, which is not available
in modern fonts and cannot be accurately reproduced in this commentary. The modern
letter f resembles, but is not identical to, the 27th letter.]
They are examples of an old-style spelling that was a well-known usage
in the 1700s when these ads were set in type, but which disappeared
completely in the mid-1800s.
In modern times, our alphabet has 26 letters, and most people are unaware
that there ever were more than the familiar 26.
the English alphabet contained 27 letters.
The standard English alphabet used in those days in Nova Scotia and
throughout English-speaking North America, and in Great Britain and
throughout the British Empire, had a letter that has now disappeared
from the alphabet. This "extra" letter, correctly used at the time,
is what makes the spelling of these two words look odd now.
The 1783 spellings used the letter called the long-s. Up till the
mid-1800s, the long-s was used for s at the beginning and in the
middle of words. In Roman type the long-s looks like an f with
the cross-stroke on the left only, and in italic type it looks like a
stretched round s.
If a word ended in a single s, the short form was used. If a word
ended in double s, a long form followed by a short form was used.
If the word had a double s in the middle, one used either two long
forms or a long form followed by a short one.
The following is an example from the statutes of Nova Scotia,
printed in Halifax in 1758. In this text, compare the 'f' in 'Defender'
with the 'long-s' in 'Fir∫t' (First) and in '∫aid' (said). Note that the
two letters are similar in shape, but in the 'long-s' the right side
of the crossbar is omitted.
[Note: Modern fonts do not include either form of the long-s. The symbol ∫ has been used
here to represent the long-s, this being as close as I can get to the correct symbol.
Some browsers may not recognise this symbol; these will print a question mark in its place.]
"...being the First General Assembly
convened in the said province."
First page of the Nova Scotia Statutes of 1758
The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia 1758-1983: A Biographical Directory
edited and revised by Shirley Burnham Elliott, ISBN 088871050X
published 1984 by the Province of Nova Scotia
The long-s began to disappear from printed documents in the 1790s,
and printed examples are rare after about 1820. The long-s continued
to appear in handwritten documents for some years after it disappeared
completely from printed documents, no doubt because people who
had learned to write that way continued the usage as long as they lived.
The Straight Dope on the Long S
Why did 18th-century writers use F inftead of S?
Who finally put an end to this abfurd practice?
The use of 'f' in the place of 's' in early English writing
Why does 's' look like 'f' in old books?
When you look for the first time at a book or newspaper that was
printed in the 1700s, you see strange looking lower case 's' letters.
They look like 'f'. However, if you look closely, you can see that they
don't have a complete cross-stroke as in 'f'. They evolved from the
way 's' was written in Old English, with a long descending stroke.
How to Read 18th Century British-American Writing
...The lower case s was written in elongated form at the beginning
of a word, in the middle of a word, and when written twice, as in pass.
The elongated s can be mistaken for an f, and ss can look
something like a p...