Courier du Bas-Rhin

Courier du Bas-Rhin (or Courrier du Bas Rhin, lit. Courier of Lower Rhine) was one of the leading European papers of the late 18th century and the Enlightenment period.[1] It was published in French language in Kleve (Cleves) (then a Prussian exclave east of the Dutch Republic[1][2] from 1767.[1][3]


In the 18th century, the Netherlands (United Provinces) were very tolerant in matters of freedom of the press and religious freedom. Unlike most contemporary countries, such as France, Great Britain or the Holy Roman Empire, there was little government interference (censorship or monopolies) there.[4] Many Huguenots were exiled to the Netherlands during the reign of Louis XIV, and the numbers of French refugees increased with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Several exiles begun publishing French-language (as it was both an international language and their own - see lingua franca) newspapers in various European cities covering political news in France and Europe. Read by the European elites, in France these papers were called "Foreign gazettes".[4]

Contents and historyEdit

The Courier had a circulation of 1430 in 1793 and 530 in 1801.[5]

It was heavily influenced by the Prussian authorities, and seen by some as a Prussian propaganda outlet.[6] It was, nonetheless, much freer when it came to reporting events outside Prussia, for example, in France.[6][7] It lost most of its remaining independence around 1806-1807, when the authorities took control of most German newspapers.[8]

Courier du Bas Rhin supported enlightened absolutism;[9] supported British liberties - but doubted they were fully respected;[10] supported the Dutch Stadholder,[10] and was sympathetic to the French Revolution (although mostly, post-revolution).[9][10][11] It was often in major opposition to another leading journal of its time, Gazette de Leyde (the papers were, for example, on opposite sides concerning the Dutch Revolution).[11]

Sources vary on when the Courier stopped publication. Barker and Burrows suggest 1807,[1] while Beermann indicates 1810.[12] Alexander notes that a publication with similar name was published in the first half of the 19th century.[13][14] Another similarly named publication (Courrier du département du Bas-Rhin, also known as Niederrheinischer Kurier) was also published in Alsace in the second half of the 19th century.[15]




  1. ^ a b c d Hanna Barker, Simon Burrows, Press, Politics and the Public Sphere in Europe and North America, 1760-1820, Cambridge University Press, 2002, Google Print, p.24-25
  2. ^ Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.28
  3. ^ Barker, Burrows, 2002, p.159
  4. ^ a b John Christian Laursen, New essays on the political thought of the Huguenots of the Refuge, BRILL, 1995, ISBN 90-04-09986-7, Google Print, p.73, 94-5
  5. ^ Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.26
  6. ^ a b Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.33-34
  7. ^ Jeremy D. Popkin, Revolutionary news: the press in France, 1789-1799, ISBN 0-8223-0997-1, Duke University Press, 1990, Google Print, p.21
  8. ^ Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.39
  9. ^ a b Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.34
  10. ^ a b c Barker, Burrows, 2002, Google Print, p.36
  11. ^ a b Jack Richard Censer, Jeremy D. Popkin, Press and politics in pre-revolutionary France, University of California Press, 1987, ISBN 0-520-05672-8, Print, p.81-82
  12. ^ Matthias Beermann, Zeitung zwischen Profit und Politik. Der Courier du Bas-Rhin (1767-1810) (Leipzig, 1996)
  13. ^ a b R. S. Alexander, Re-writing the French revolutionary tradition, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-521-80122-2, Google Print, p.115
  14. ^ a b R. S. Alexander, Re-writing the French revolutionary tradition, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-521-80122-2, Google Print, p.147
  15. ^ Detmar Klein, The Virgin with the Sword: Marian Apparitions, Religion and National Identity in Alasce in the 1870s.. French History, 2007, Online[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Barker, Burrows, 2002, p.29
  17. ^ (in French) Anne-Marie Mercier-Faivre, Le travail du gazetier Archived 2013-01-10 at the Wayback Machine

Further readingEdit

  • Matthias Beermann, Zeitung zwischen Profit und Politik. Der Courier du Bas-Rhin (1767–1810) (Leipzig, 1996).
  • Ute van Runset, "Faits divers et la guerre dans La Gazette de Cologne et le Journal du Bas-Rhin (1756-1779): Information, prise de position, distraction"
  • Ute Van Runset, "La politique de Frédéric II et les gazettes : Entre le Courrier du Bas-Rhin et la Gazette de Cologne"
  • J. J. V. M. de Vet, "Le Courrier du Bas-Rhin de Jean Manzon et les Provinces-Unies (1787-1795): Un traitement idéologique de l'information"