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Publication Name:

The Western Examiner

Years in print:

1833- 1834


First issue came out November 19, 1833. Introduced as a monthly January 1, 1834. Became bi-monthly.

"To the Reader: We must apologize for the lack of editorial and other original matter in this week's Examiner. For several weeks past, duties of a pressing nature have so engrossed the attention of the almost only individual who, for several months, has contributed to its columns, that it has been found necessary, sometimes, to neglect the editorial department of the paper, and, consequently, the revision of communications that otherwise might have appeared. The same causes, too, have prevented the mailing of several numbers - a neglect which will have been remedied with the appearance of the present number. When we inform our readers, that upon one individual has devolved, for a considerable time past, the entire duties of conducting and issuing this paper, and that said individual has also been under the necessity of attending to the duties of another profession, it will not be a matter of surprize that, a work which, instead of being a sourse of profit is an annual expense of some four or five hundred dollars, should have been frequently neglected. We regret that those who have paid us have not received our paper with regularity; but they constitute so small a portion of our whole number of patrons that we have not been able to afford a salary to an assistant, out of the means they have furnished us. They will have received, however, by the first of January next, fifty-two numbers, the entire volume for 1835. In the mean time, those who have not paid, would render us material service by forwarding us their respective dues.
"We received a clamorous letter the other day, complaining of the irregularity of our paper, from an agency that has not furnished us, as yet, one dollar on either volume! although the number of subscribers at the place alluded to is considerable! Readers should recollect that there are reciprocal duties bwteeen a publisher and his readers, which are as sacred on one hand as on the other."
(From the Western Examiner 10/1/1835.)

The Western Examiner, with the motto, "It is error only, and not truth, that shuns investigation," issued a speciman number on November 19, 1833. On January 1, 1834, it began its regular publication. It was a monthly paper of eight pages, magazine style, edited by an association of free thinkers, and published by John Bobb. Its purpose was "the free discussion of subjects connected with the morals and happiness of society." It was issued on the first and fifteenth days of each month. In No.1 we read, "We are not Christians because we do not believe in the Christian revelation to be the revealed word of, or will of, a being or beings superior to man...At no very great distant period Christianity must fall." The first volume of the Examiner closed with the number bearing the date  of December 15, 1834. We can find no further record of the paper...
(From the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri by Alexander N. De Menil, 1901).

One of the earliest magazines published in St. Louis (if not the very earliest) was the Westeren Examiner. A speciman number was issued Nov 19, 1833, and the publication was regularly launched Jan. 1, 1834. Its motto was, "It is error only, and not truth, that shuns investigation;" and its objects were declared to be "the free discussion of subjects connected with morals and the happiness of society, and to oppose the productions of sectarian partisans." It was an eight-page pamphlet, and appeared twice a month. John Robb was its publisher, and it was edited by an association, none of whose names were given; the aticles were signed "Veritas," "Plato," "Celsus," "Alpha," "Prometheus," etc. William C. Barrows was traveling agent, and the only other name of a St. Louisan interested in the publication that a search through the first volume discloses was Dr. Joseph R. De Prefontaine.
The Western Examiner abounded in the freest of free thinking and gave much space to the alleged escapades of clergymen. It engaged in frequent warfare with The Advocate, the Shepherd of the Valley, a Catholic publication, and the St. Louis Observer, a Presbyterian paper, edited by the Rev. E.P. Lovejoy, which subsequently, on account of its pronounced abolitionism, fell a victim to mob law. The first volume of the Western Examiner is in the Mercantile Library. How long the publication flourished is not known.
(From the History of St. Louis City and County by John Thomas Scharf, 1883).

Another of the town's short-lived publications was the Western Examiner. It appeared monthly from January 1834 to December 1835. Other publications assumed a pro-religious and often confessional stance, but this publication's primary purpose was to attack religion and openly espouse atheism. Its publisher was the relatively long-time resident  and well-known brick maker, John Bobb. As with most submissions printed, the real names of the writers did not appear in the paper. Unlike Lovejoy's strident anti-Catholicism, Bobb's publication attacked all religions. To the annoyance of its editor and printer, the publication failed to come close to paying for itself. The publication probably ceased when the fairly well-to-do Bobb tired of subsidizing it.
(From Rising on the River by Frederick A Hodes, 2009).

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