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Charleston Mercury



“C” is for the Charleston Mercury. Although begun as a literary journal, the Charleston Mercury developed into one of the state’s most radical and combative newspapers. In 1821 a local bookseller established the paper, but in 1823 sold it to Henry Laurens Pinckney who transformed it into a partisan organ for John C. Calhoun. By 1830, the Mercury had become a strong proponent of nullification. Although its ownership changed several times in the 1840s and 1850s, its editorial tone remained aggressive. In 1857 the Rhett family purchased the newspaper and Robert Barnwell Rhett, Jr. assumed complete control. The Mercury called loudly for secession. When that was achieved, the paper turned it attention to criticizing the Confederate government. The newspaper’s press was moved to Columbia where it was destroyed in February 1865. After the war, Rhett restarted the Charleston Mercury, but it failed in 1868.

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