The ''Advocate'' was a newspaper in Pittsburgh, published under several title variants from 1832 to 1844. It was the second daily newspaper issued in the city, the first being its eventual purchaser, the ''Gazette''. Politically, the paper supported the principles of the Whig Party.
On 13 August 1832, ''The Pennsylvanian Advocate'' was started by James Wilson (paternal grandfather of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson), then of Steubenville, Ohio. He announced in his prospectus that he would promote protectionism, internal improvements, a sound currency, the independence of Congress and the preservation of the Union, which, at that time, was threatened by a faction in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South. Important to all of these missions, the editor believed, was to defeat the re-election of President Andrew Jackson.
The first few issues were printed on a weekly basis at Steubenville and sent to Pittsburgh for distribution. Very soon, Wilson had a press set up in a Pittsburgh office and began turning out a thrice-weekly edition.〔〔〔〔 According to William Bayard Hale, the press was the first west of the Allegheny Mountains that could print a double-page form (one side of a whole sheet) at one impression.〔
Born during the Bank War, the paper met controversy early on when Jacksonian newspapers accused it of accepting payments from the United States Bank to publish pro-Bank propaganda.〔 (Citing the ''Pittsburgh Mercury''.)〕 It was reported that a letter intended for James Wilson was mistakenly received by another man of the same name, who opened it and found a large check from Nicholas Biddle, the Bank's president. Wilson published an affidavit denying that he had been bribed or corrupted.
With the ''Advocate'' about a year old and on firm footing, Wilson returned to Steubenville,〔 leaving the paper to be carried on by his eldest son William Duane Wilson, at first in partnership with Alfred W. Marks. Upon this change the paper issued its first daily edition under the name ''Pennsylvania Advocate and Pittsburgh Daily Advertiser''.〔
In keeping with its founding political views, the ''Advocate'' became an organ of the newly formed Whig Party. In 1836 it absorbed another Whig paper, the weekly ''Statesman'', which had been established over thirty years earlier as the ''Commonwealth''.
Control of the paper passed in 1837 to Robert M. Riddle, later to be Whig mayor of Pittsburgh and editor of the ''Commercial Journal''. In 1839 George Parkin merged his weekly ''Western Emporium'' into the ''Advocate'' and joined Riddle as co-editor. Parkin assumed full editorship the following year.
The last editor-proprietor of the ''Advocate'', Judge Thomas H. Baird, sold the paper in 1844 to be merged with the ''Gazette''. The titles of the daily editions of the two papers, ''Pittsburgh Daily Gazette'' and ''Daily Advocate and Advertiser'', were combined as ''Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser'' ("Advocate" was dropped to avoid confusion with two religious papers known by that name).〔 (from daily ed., 1 March 1844)〕 In his farewell address, Baird wrote, "Thus two of the oldest papers in the Western country will be coalesced in the support of Henry Clay and the American system. This consummation has been desired for some time, by many leading Whigs of the District, and to their wishes I have yielded."〔
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