Raleigh. 1812. ,208pp. Folio. Original half calf and paper boards. Boards heavily worn, some chipping, joints partially split. A few short tears to text, long closed tear to one leaf, first few and last few leaves with heavy creasing, moderate foxing and tanning. A complete copy in good condition. Item #WRCAM51116
A rare collection of this important Southern periodical, with all fifty-two weekly issues, four pages each, from 1812. THE STAR was a unique enterprise, a North Carolina newspaper that set out to print solid news instead of focusing on rumors or "stud horse advertisements." One of the editors' main intentions was to provide a platform for the advancement of agricultural interests in the state. The man who would be responsible for the success of the newspaper over its first fifteen years was Thomas Henderson, Jr., a North Carolina native who had printed newspapers since at least 1806. After he moved to Raleigh in 1807, Henderson formed a partnership with Dr. Calvin Jones to publish THE STAR. Their goal, stated in an announcement in the rival newspaper, the Raleigh REGISTER, was to "pursue a firm yet liberal line of conduct, often giving facts, more seldom opinions, and those ever so candid and dispassionate; solicitous always to stifle the baneful spirit of faction, and looking with a single eye to the happiness and honour of United America." To the modern sensibility, the high-minded motives and intentions of the editors of THE STAR pale in comparison to the printed record of the business of slavery that survives in the newspaper's pages. Each issue contains multiple advertisements for slave auctions, rewards for the capture of runaway slaves, and notices of slaves caught and held in jails awaiting retrieval from their masters. Most of the runaway slave notices feature a small engraved image of a fleeing African-American beside the text. Rewards for runaway slaves vary from as little as $10 to as much as $100, depending on the slave's skill set, and the rancor of the master. Many ads run for weeks at a time, sometimes using stronger language with each subsequent week. The July 10, 1812 issue lists a $100 reward for a runaway slave that encapsulates the tone of most of the slavery notices in the STAR: "Ranaway from the subscriber on the 6th of March last, a mulatto man by the name of Jack, well built, about five feet five or six inches high, 28 eight years of age, a tolerable shoe maker, and has been much in the habit of driving a wagon -- He has a scar on his forehead and a part of one of his upper foreteeth is broken off, one of his wrists broke and crooked, and his right leg pretty much shot with small shot which will shew very plainly." The ad continues for almost two column inches, and provides details of Jack's suspected whereabouts and that he has been passing as a free man by the name of John Revill. The original subscriber, Levi Whitted, placing the ad lives in Knoxville, and he is requesting the ad run for six more weeks. In addition to a wealth of information on the institution of slavery, this run of THE STAR also contains a voluminous amount of reports of naval battles between the United States and the British and other news at the outset of the War of 1812. Several issues towards the end of the year have a column devoted to the conflict, called "The War," with various reports and letters from combatants. An important Southern newspaper with rich content on slavery, the War of 1812, contemporary politics and literature, and the Southern way of life in the early 19th century. William S. Powell. DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY, pp.108-109.