Clipping:A self-congratulatory reprise of the Clipper's origin

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19C Clippings
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Date Saturday, October 25, 1856
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Four or five years ago but little was known in this country regarding sporting affairs, and athletic exercises were but little indulged in.  The merchant hurried to his counting house, the clerk to his desk, the tradesman to his wareroom, and the humble mechanic to his unceasing and but ill-requited toil.  Such a thing as recreation was never dreamed of—it was work, work, work, form morning until night, a continued thirst for the dollars, without one thought to the life they were so determinedly hurrying on to eternity. Children were cooped up in narrow and ill-ventilated school rooms for several hours each day, their health being thus undermined, and their parents unable to account for the inactivity and languor of their offspring...

No sooner was this idea conceived, than we put ourself in a “course of training” to bring about the establishing of a journal devoted to sports and pastimes, physical exercises, and the various recreations that help to lessen the burden with which we are all laden in the downward course of life.  The task seem almost a hopeless one, for the extent of our resources was the munificent sum of $300, all told, and those who had been in the business laughed at us when they understood that, “sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish,” we were bound to “go in,” and win, if possible.  On the 30th of April, 1853, we issued our first number...

...We began to owe the printer, and pressman, good-natured souls that they were to trust us.  We were gradually increasing in circulation, and they knew it, so they held up on us a little, and we went ahead.  We “took the inside position,” gave all opposition the “go by,” and went in a winner by the “skin of our teeth,” raking down the money, and “paying the printer,” with the greatest pleasure imaginable.

Having firmly established the reputation of our craft, we struck out in a new track—we ferreted out old sportsmen who had been “laid on the shelf”--we brought forward new ones who only required a trial to prove themselves A No. 1.  In short, we first made a sporting paper for the people—we then got together readers for our paper, and lastly, created sports and pastimes for their amusement and recreation.  From near and far, subscriptions began to flow in upon us, and sporting matters began to increase and multiply here, there, and everywhere.  The opposition we had encountered at the outset began to diminish—those who had formerly denounced sports and sportsmen began to look upon them in a more favorable light, and in some instances to “indulge a little” themselves.  Of course these were “converts.”  And “organ” having been thus established for the “dissemination of useful knowledge” as regards events in the sporting line, proprietors of race tracks began to improve them, owners of fast nags to “look out for the chances” of a match, pedestrians for a spin, river craft for a sail, ball players for a wide and level green, boxers for the best gloves, and the various other classes who assist in making up this “fancy” world entered into the spirit of the “revolution” with a zeal altogether refreshing and lovely to behold.  Exercises were introduced in academies and schools—the “poor scholar,” no longer imprisoned between four narrow walls, without the least exercise or recreation, became jubilant over the prospect of an hour's play, and with plenty of exercise, no longer presented that wan and sickly appearance that caused his or her parents many a day of anxiety and fear.  Cricket and base ball clubs were formed, north, east, south, and west—the mechanic, the merchant, the tradesman, and clerk, all took part in the manly pastime, and resumed the business of the morrow with renewed energy and vigor...

We do not wish to be considered egotistical in this matter, but we cannot refrain from claiming the credit of having brought about these many changes, for without the Clipper, now the recognized sporting journal of America, these things could not have been so successfully achieved.  Efforts had been made to this end before we entered upon the arena, but they proved futile.  Journals were started, but they soon “acknowledged the corn,” and gave up the ghost.  Look at our little sheet, filled with news from almost every quarter of the globe;  news, too, of interest not only to the sporting man, but to the general reader.  Go where you will, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north, south, east, or west, in the British provinces, in Europe, everywhere, in fact, and you may find the New York Clipper.  This is no idle boast, but a veritable fact.  Have we not cause, then, to exult over the changes that have been brought about in the sporting world, and to congratulate ourself upon the introduction of games, physical and mental, and athletic and other exercises among the people on this continent...

We have done thus much, and the Clipper is not yet four years old.  We shall continue in the course marked out for our guidance at the outset of our newspaporial career, until every nook and corner of the land shall have their representatives in the field of Sports and Pastimes.

Source New York Clipper
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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