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Starting A Newspaper. An Experience Of Mr. Jones
by [?]

IT happened sometime within the last ten or fifteen years, that, in my way through this troublesome world, I became captivated with the idea of starting a newspaper. That I had some talent for scribbling, I was vain enough to believe, and my estimate of the ability I possessed was sufficiently high to induce me to think that I could give a peculiar interest to the columns of a weekly paper, were such a publication entirely under my control.

I talked about the matter to a number of my literary and other friends, who, much to my satisfaction, saw all in a favourable light, and promised, if I would go on in the proposed enterprise, to use all their interest in my favour.

“I,” said one, “will guaranty you fifty subscribers among my own circle of acquaintances.”

“And I,” said another, “am good for double that number.”

“Put me down for a hundred more,” said a third, and so the promises of support came like music to my willing ear.

One or two old veterans of the “press gang,” to whom I spoke of my design, shrugged their shoulders, and said I had better try my hand at almost any thing else. But I was sanguine that I could succeed, though hundreds had failed before me. I felt that I possessed a peculiar fitness for the work, and could give a peculiar charm to a newspaper that would at once take it to the hearts and homes of the people.

A printer was called upon for an estimate, based upon a circulation of three thousand copies, which was set down as a very moderate expectation. He gave the whole cost of paper, composition, (type setting,) and press-work, at $4000.

This fell a little below my own roughly-made estimate, and settled my determinations. Two thousand copies, at two dollars a copy, which was to be the subscription price, would pay all the expenses, and if the number of subscribers rose to three thousand, of which there was not the shadow of a doubt in my mind, I would have a clear profit of $2000 the first year. And should it go to four thousand, as was most probable, my net income would be about $3400, for all increase would simply be chargeable with cost of paper and press-work–or about sixty cents on a subscriber. After the first year, of course there would be a steady increase in the number of subscribers, which, if at the rate of only a thousand a year, would give me in five years the handsome annual income of $9000. I was rich in prospective! Nothing could now hold me back. I ordered the printer to get ready his cases, and the paper-maker to provide, by a certain time, the paper.

As the terms were to be in advance, or rather the whole year payable at the expiration of the first quarter, I promised to begin paying cash for all contracts at the end of the first quarter. Up to this period of my life, I had gone on the strict principle of owing no man any thing, and I was known in the community where I lived to be a strictly honest and honourable man. Never having strained my credit, it was tight and strong, and I had but to ask the three months’ favour to get it without a sign of reluctance.

Next I issued my prospectus for the “Literary Gazette and Weekly Reflex of Art, Literature, and Science, a Newspaper devoted to, etc. etc.,” and scattered copies among my friends, expecting each to do his duty for me like a man. They were also posted in every book-store, hotel, and public place in the city. Said city, be it known, rejoiced in a population of a hundred thousand souls, of which number I saw no reason for doubting my ability to reach, with my interesting paper, at least three or four thousand, in the end. That was felt to be a very moderate calculation indeed. Then, when I turned my eyes over our vast country, with its millions and millions of intelligent, enlightened, reading and prosperous people, I felt that even to admit a doubt of success was a weakness for which I ought to be ashamed. And I wondered why, with such a harvest to reap, twenty such enterprises to one were not started.