The Oeconomist, Or, Englishman's Magazine

The Oeconomist, full title The Oeconomist, Or, Englishman's Magazine, was an English monthly periodical at the end of the 18th century. It was published in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was edited by Thomas Bigge, in partnership with James Losh.

Contributors and contentEdit

"Truth, Liberty, Virtue", title page engraving for The Oeconomist by Charlton Nesbit

The contributors to The Oeconomist included some of those associated with the "Friends of Peace", an anti-war network, such as Vicesimus Knox.[1] Theophilus Lindsey offered to help Bigge by soliciting contributions, but came away empty-handed when he approached William Belsham and Ann Jebb. Graham counts Bigge an ally of Christopher Wyvill.[2] Besides Losh, the contributors included William Turner and Thomas Beddoes.[3] An article appeared signed "V.F.", praising Count Rumford's workhouse in Munich, and describing a Rumford soup kitchen in Newcastle.[4] "V.F." was a pseudonym used by Turner.[5] Poetry by William Cowper was featured.[6]

The Oeconomist took a moralising as well as a political tone.[7][8] Scrivener identifies its values as pastoral, the intended audience being those engaged in farming. Its thought was taken from the Country Party and physiocrats.[6]

Practical arrangementsEdit

In London The Oeconomist was circulated by Joseph Johnson. For towns not handled by Johnson there were separate arrangements with other booksellers, such as Joseph Cottle;[9][10] the announcement in the Newcastle Courant of 9 December 1797 mentioned Benjamin Flower.[11]

It was subsidised by funds raised from Bigge, Wyvill and others. The price was reduced, from 3½d. to 2d., in February 1799;[12] or raised from 1½d. to 2d.[13] The woodcut for the cover was the work of Charlton Nesbit in 1797—it was attributed though to Thomas Bewick in the 19th century.[14][15] The publication lasted until the end of the year, printed by M. Angus.[13]

Ritchie identifies the editor of The Oeconomist, working with Losh, instead as Thomas Bigge the brother of John Thomas Bigge, i.e. Thomas Hanway Bigge.[16]

Related political tractsEdit

A political tract, full title Considerations on the State of Parties, and the Means of effecting a Reconciliation between them and often dated 1794, spoke of a balanced tension within British politics.[17] Its author was described as Thomas Bigge A.M.; and the same author was also responsible for An Address to the Inhabitants of Northumberland and Newcastle upon Tyne, who petitioned against the two bills depending in parliament (1795).[18] Both works were favourably noticed in The Monthly Review;[19] the second also in The Critical Review.[20] and The Analytical Review.[21]

The Considerations was an anti-war work, quoted with approval in the Cambridge Intelligencer. Wahrman identifies its author with the editor of The Oeconomist.[22]


  1. ^ James Livesey (2001). Making Democracy in the French Revolution. Harvard University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-674-00624-9.
  2. ^ Jenny Graham, "'This unhappy country of ours': extracts of letters, 1793–1801, of Theophilus Lindsey", Enlightenment and Dissent No. 18 (1999) (PDF), at p. 152.
  3. ^ Welford, Richard (1895). Men of Mark 'twixt Tyne and Tweed. Vol. 3. London: W. Scott. pp. 84–5.
  4. ^ Samantha Webb, Wordsworth, Count Rumford, and Poverty Relief, The Wordsworth Circle Vol. 43, No. 1, Wordsworth Summer Conference Papers, A Selection: 2011 (Winter 2012), pp. 29–35, at p. 32. Published by: Marilyn Gaull. Stable URL:
  5. ^ "Turner, William (1714-1794)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  6. ^ a b Michael Henry Scrivener (May 1992). Poetry and Reform: periodical verse from the English democratic press, 1792-1824. Wayne State University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-8143-2378-6.
  7. ^ J. R. Dinwiddy (1 July 1992). Radicalism and Reform in Britain, 1780-1850. A&C Black. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8264-3453-1.
  8. ^ Karen Harvey (19 April 2012). The Little Republic: Masculinity and Domestic Authority in Eighteenth-Century Britain. OUP Oxford. pp. 53–5. ISBN 978-0-19-953384-8.
  9. ^ J. E. Cookson (January 1982). The Friends of Peace: Anti-war Liberalism in England, 1793-1815. Cambridge University Press. pp. 95–6. ISBN 978-0-521-23928-8.
  10. ^ Michael Henry Scrivener (May 1992). Poetry and Reform: periodical verse from the English democratic press, 1792-1824. Wayne State University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-8143-2378-6.
  11. ^ "The Oeconomist, Or, Englishman's Magazine, to be continued monthly". Newcastle Courant. 9 December 1797. Retrieved 25 June 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ J. E. Cookson (January 1982). The Friends of Peace: Anti-war Liberalism in England, 1793-1815. Cambridge University Press. p. 273 note 23. ISBN 978-0-521-23928-8.
  13. ^ a b Eneas Mackenzie, 'Trade and manufactures', in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827), pp. 715–730 [accessed 23 June 2015].
  14. ^ Nigel Tattersfield (1999). Bookplates by Beilby & Bewick: a biographical dictionary of bookplates from the workshop of Ralph Beilby, Thomas Bewick & Robert Bewick, 1760–1849. British Library. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7123-4508-8.
  15. ^ Thomas Hugo; John Bewick (1866). The Bewick Collector. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Works of T. and J. Bewick. pp. 60–.
  16. ^ John Ritchie (1971). The Evidence to the Bigge Reports: The written evidence. Index. Vol. 2. Heinemann. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-85561-027-2.
  17. ^ Nicholas Hudson (30 October 2003). Samuel Johnson and the Making of Modern England. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-521-83125-3.
  18. ^ Jeremias David Reuss (1804). Alphabetical Register of All the Authors Actually Living in Great-Britain, Ireland and in the United Provinces of North-America, with a Catalogue of Their Publications. Frederic Nicolai. p. 99.
  19. ^ Ralph Griffiths; G. E. Griffiths (1796). The Monthly Review, Or, Literary Journal. p. 211.
  20. ^ Tobias George Smollett (1796). The Critical Review: Or, Annals of Literature. R[ichard]. Baldwin, at the Rose in Pater-noster-Row. p. 462.
  21. ^ The Analytical Review, Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, on an Enlarged Plan. 1796. p. 296.
  22. ^ Dror Wahrman, Virtual Representation: Parliamentary Reporting and Languages of Class in the 1790s, Past & Present No. 136 (Aug., 1992), pp. 83–113. Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Past and Present Society. Stable URL: