The Public Ledger

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The Public Ledger
CategoriesTrade magazine
FounderJohn Newbery
Year founded1760
Final issue2017
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

The Public Ledger is one of the world's longest continuously running magazines. Today it provides agricultural commodity news, analyses and prices. When established in 1760, however, it not only contained prices of commodities in London, but a wide variety of political, commercial and society news and commentary. It was established by John Newbery, who was better known for his pioneering children's literature.[1] The Public Ledger was London's fourth daily newspaper in a golden age from 1730 to 1772 for 'Advertisers' – two-page advertising-driven newspapers set up after political parties withdrew subsidies to London newspapers.[2] It is also in a stable of agricultural and bioenergy newsletters and conferences at AgraNet. Both in print and web forms, it provides its international subscribers with news, prices and analysis for agricultural commodities such as grains, feed and oilseeds; soft commodities including coffee, cocoa and sugar; and minor commodities such as spices, dried fruit and nuts.[3]


Most sources suggest The Public Ledger was first published on 11 January 1760, though some suggest 1759 and others 12 January 1760. Its founder, John Newbery, son of a farmer in Berkshire, took an apprenticeship with William Carnan in Reading, inheriting the business after his mentor's death. He moved to London in 1743, setting up a shop called the Bible and Sun at 65 St. Paul's Churchyard, from where he published religious and children's books and The Public Ledger.[1] In 18th Century England it was common for political parties to hold sway over (and even subsidise) newspapers. As this trend waned, The Public Ledger took on the mantra "Open to All Parties, Influenced by None". In 2012, a significant redesign saw the traditional 250-year-old Gothic masthead replaced with a modern alternative.

In 2017, The Public Ledger was combined with sister publications Foodnews and Dairy Markets to form IEG Vu.[4]


In January 2014, staff included Emile Mehmet (managing editor), Sandra Boga (deputy editor), Sabine Crook (senior market reporter), Julian Gale (contributor), Matthew Pendered (senior prices analyst) and Mike Moss (data analyst). A number of freelance staff and pooled analysts are also employed around the world.

Former personnel[edit]

Oliver Goldsmith was known to have written for The Public Ledger, including most famously the Chinese Letters where he poses as a traveller from China to comment on Western behaviour and values. He also mentions "The Ledger" in his novel The Vicar of Wakefield.[5]

Reverend William Jackson, a noted Irish preacher, journalist, playwright, radical and spy, was editor in 1766, while the Irish political informant Leonard McNally held the position in the 1780s. Hugh Kelly, an Irish dramatist and poet, held the post before his death in 1777 and Alexander Chalmers did so some time after 1777.


  1. ^ a b Rose, Jonathan. "John Newbery", The British Literary Book Trade, 1700–1820. Eds. J. K. Bracken and J. Silver. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 154. 1995.
  2. ^ Lucyle Werkmeister, The London Daily Press, 1772–1792, University of Nebraska Press, 1963.
  3. ^ "The Public Ledger".
  4. ^ "The Public Ledger :". IEG Vu. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  5. ^ The Vicar of Wakefield, ISBN 0-19-283940-3

External links[edit]