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William Duane

Duane, William, 1760–1835, American journalist, b. near Lake Champlain, N.Y., of Irish parentage. He learned the printer's trade in Ireland and in 1787 went to Calcutta (now Kolkata), where he edited the Indian World. His attacks on the local government there brought about his deportation and the confiscation of his property. Unable to secure redress in England, Duane moved to Philadelphia and joined Benjamin Franklin Bache in editing the Aurora. Upon Bache's death (1798), Duane became sole editor. An able and courageous writer, he made the Aurora the leading Jeffersonian organ. His acid criticism, however, led to his arrest (1799) under the Alien Act. Acquitted, he was arrested again under the Sedition Act (see Alien and Sedition Acts). Charges against him were dismissed when Jefferson came into office. Duane's prosperous journal declined after the removal of the government to Washington, D.C., but it remained influential in local politics. In the War of 1812, Duane served as adjutant general. He retired from the Aurora in 1822 and traveled in South America, writing upon his return A Visit to Colombia in the Years 1822 & 1823 (1826).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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