William Duane, an American politician and journalist, born near Lake Champlain, N. Y., in 1760, died in Philadelphia, Nov. 24, 1835. At the age of 11 he was taken by his mother to her native country, Ireland, and liberally educated; but having forfeited her protection by marrying against her will at the age of 19, he learned the art of printing, and in 1784 went to India. There he amassed property rapidly, and became editor of an Indian journal entitled " The World." Having taken sides against the local government in a dispute with some of its troops, he was seized and sent to England, and his large fortune was confiscated. After in vain petitioning parliament and the East India company for redress, he became editor of the "General Advertiser," siding in politics with the party of Home Tooke and others. In 1795 he returned to America, and became editor of the "Aurora," published at Philadelphia, making it the most influential organ of the democratic party. The change of the seat of government to Washington caused the "Aurora" to decline in political importance.
Duane retired from its editorship in 1822, and travelled through the republics of South America. On his return he published an account of these travels, and was appointed prothonotary of the supreme court of Pennsylvania for the eastern district, an office which he retained until his death. He served in the war of 1812, and published a. "Military Dictionary" (Philadelphia, 1810), and a "Handbook for Riflemen " (1813).