The sixth newspaper to be published in Boston was the Boston Post-Boy. During the first twenty years of its existence — from 1734 to 1754 — information in regard to it is meagre. It is not known when the first issue was published; it is not known when the last issue was published; it is not known who printed the paper; and many erroneous statements have been current with respect to its publisher. Under these circumstances, it has been deemed desirable to depart, in this single instance, from the plan laid down in the Introductory Note of strictly confining these Bibliographical Notes to bibliographical details.

    Ellis Huske, the first publisher of the Boston Post-Boy, was a prominent figure in the politics of New Hampshire during the first half of the eighteenth century. He was long a member of the Council of New Hampshire; he was for many years Naval Officer at Portsmouth; he was made a Justice of the Superior Court in 1739; and he was Chief Justice of the Province from 1749 until his resignation in 1754. Finally, he was for twenty years Postmaster of Boston, succeeding in that office John Boydell, the publisher of the Boston Gazette. Ellis Huske has frequently been confused with his son, Ellis Huske, Jr.,313 who was in no way connected with the Boston Post-Boy, and with another son, John Huske,314 who was for several years a Member of Parliament.

    From 1704 to 1754, the Postmasters of Boston seemed to think, as Isaiah Thomas expressed it, “that a newspaper was an appendage to their office.” Exactly when Ellis Huske became Postmaster has never hitherto been shown, but the date can be determined with certainty. That John Boydell, who became Postmaster in October, 1732, soon desired to relinquish the office is proved by the following paragraph which appeared in the Boston News-Letter of 27 June, 1734 (p. 2/1):

    From New York, We have Advice, That they were credibly informed, that Mr. Ellis Huske will be appointed Post-Master of Boston, Mr. John Boydell having desired to resign that Place, and Col. Spotswood (in whose disposal it is) having promised it to the said Mr. Huske, when it became vacant.

    But though willing to abandon his office, Boydell was determined to retain his newspaper, for in the same issue of the Boston News-Letter we read (p. 2/1):

    We are well inform’d that Mr. Boydell (Life permitted) will continue to publish the News Paper call’d the Boston Gazette, for his Customers both in Town and Country, after he is succeeded as Post-Master of Boston.

    In a letter written to Huske on August 12, 1734, Governor Jonathan Belcher said that he had received “a deputation for your executing the office of Deputy Postmaster of Boston.”315 In a letter to Richard Waldron, dated August 23, Belcher wrote:

    I thank your advice about H—sk, but give myself no concern about what buzzes he may have in his ears. . . . His commission from Coll Spotswood is in todidem verbis with Mr Boydell’s (the name of the person only excepted), nor can the Postmaster General give a fuller commission; and it’s in his breast to frank what letters & packets he pleases without asking the leave of any of his deputies, . . . If Husk comes hither, and the Naval Office [at Portsmouth] will sute you, you are welcome to it.316

    Writing to Alexander Spotswood on September 30, Belcher stated that he would have answered his letter before, —

    but have been waiting for Mr Husk’s conclusion, which he is now come to, having brôt his wife to town and taken a house, and sayes he shall fix here and attend the office himself, according to your deputation, which gives no power of further deputation.317

    In the Weekly Rehearsal of 7 October, 1734, was printed this notice (p. 2/2):


    THis may inform all Gentlemen and others. That the Post-Office is now kept by Ellis Husk, Esq; at the House of Mr. Benjamin Eliot, Bookseller, just below the Town-House, in Boston.

    An examination of the Boston News-Letter, the New-England Weekly Journal, and the Weekly Rehearsal from October 1, 1734, to April 21, 1735, has failed to disclose any further allusion to Huske, or any reference at all to the Boston Post-Boy. As Huske displaced Boydell, who was the publisher of the Boston Gazette, it is not unlikely that the Boston Gazette may have contained some information about the Boston Post-Boy; but unfortunately, of the issues of the Boston Gazette published during the above period only two — those of 21 October and 25 November, 1734 — are known to be in existence. Nor is there known to be in existence any copy of the Boston Post-Boy previous to the issue of 21 April, 1735, numbered 23.318 If this number is to be accepted as a guide, the first issue of the Boston Post-Boy must have been published on 18 November, 1734. On the other hand, it has again and again been shown in this volume that the numbering of papers was too erratic to be a criterion,319 and Thomas declared that Huske “began in October, 1734, the publication” of the Boston Post-Boy, though no proof of this statement is offered.

    Equally uncertain is the date of the last issue of the Boston Post-Boy published by Huske. The last known issue was that of 23 December, 1754, numbered 1030. It contained no notice of discontinuance, and Thomas asserted that the Boston Post-Boy, “I believe, . . . was continued until within a few weeks of the time when the provincial stamp act took place, in 1755 [April 30].” The Boston Evening-Post, the Boston Gazette, and the Boston News-Letter — the only other papers published in Boston from December, 1754, to May, 1755 — have been searched in vain for allusions to Huske. In a message to the New Hampshire Legislature dated January 8, 1755, Governor Benning Wentworth said that “upon the resignation of the late Chief Justice, . . . I prevailed on the Honble Theodore Atkinson, Esq. to accept of a Commission for Chief Justice.”320 It may be argued that this indicates the death of Huske, but such a conclusion would not be justifiable, as the language is ambiguous. It seems extraordinary that the death of so prominent a man should not have been recorded in town records321 or in the Boston newspapers,322 and that apparently the only notice of his death must be sought for in an English magazine. In the London Magazine for June, 1755, will be found this notice:

    Hon. Ellis Huske, Esq; on April 24, at Boston in New England, brother to lieut. general Huske (xxiv. 301/1).

    But while Thomas’s surmise that the Boston Post-Boy was continued well into the year 1755 may be correct, there is other evidence which seems to indicate that the issue of 23 December, 1754, was probably the last published by Huske. In the Boston Evening-Post of 30 December, 1754, was printed the following (p. 2/1):

    NOtice is hereby given, that the Post-Office is now kept at Mr. John Franklin’s in Cornhill. December 30th. 1754.323

    This was immediately followed by another notice:

    ALL Persons indebted to the Subscriber, either for Post-Boy Papers, or Postage of Letters, are desired to pay off their respective Ballances as soon as possible.

    Samuel Holbrook.324

    Samuel Holbrook was Huske’s deputy.325 As there is no indication in this notice of a continuation of the Boston Post-Boy, and as Huske’s sole reason, apparently, for publishing a newspaper was the fact that he was Postmaster of Boston, it is, in the absence of proof to the contrary, a fair assumption that with the loss of his office the paper came to an end.326 At all events, it is certain that after the death of Huske no Boston paper was published by a postmaster, and the practice of half a century came to an end.

    From 1734 to 1754 no printer’s name appeared in the imprint of the Boston Post-Boy, nor is it known with certainty who the printers were. Thomas, however, stated that John Bushell, “as I have been informed, printed The Boston Weekly Post Boy, during a short period, for Ellis Huske, postmaster.”327

    The words “Published by Authority” appeared in the title of the issues of 21 April, 1735–19 April, 1736.328

    The issue of 5 January, 1736, was dated 1735, while the issues of 12 January–15 March, 1736, were dated 1736. There are no known copies of the issues published in January–March, 1735. New Style was apparently adopted 12 January, 1736.

    The publication of the Boston Post-Boy was suspended between 23 December, 1754, and 22 August, 1757. On the latter date the paper was revived, though under a somewhat different title, by John Green and Joseph Russell, who continued to publish it until April, 1773. The title was changed several times, but the numbering was continuous after 22 August, 1757.

    In May, 1768, a singular arrangement was entered into between John Green and Joseph Russell, publishers of the Boston Post-Boy, and Richard Draper, publisher of the Boston News-Letter. The Boston Post-Boy was published on Monday, the Boston News-Letter on Thursday. The publication of each paper continued under its own name and on its regular day of issue, while the publishers of both papers published jointly a paper called the Massachusetts Gazette. The portion of the Massachusetts Gazette which appeared on Monday was printed by Green and Russell and was sometimes, but not always, printed on the same sheet with the Boston Post-Boy of the same date; while the portion of the Massachusetts Gazette which appeared on Thursday was printed by Draper and was sometimes, but not always, printed on the same sheet with the Boston News-Letter of the same date. This curious arrangement between the Boston Post-Boy and the Boston News-Letter lasted from 23 May, 1768, to 25 September, 1769. On 28 September, 1769, the Boston News-Letter changed its title to “The Massachusetts Gazette: and the Boston Weekly News-Letter;” while on 2 October, 1769, the Boston Post-Boy changed its title to “The Massachusetts Gazette, and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser.” This confusing similarity in titles continued until the last appearance of the Boston Post-Boy on 17 April, 1775.329

    The issue of 26 April, 1773, contained this notice (p. 2/2):

    ☞ THE Public are hereby informed, that the Printing and Publishing of this PAPER will, in future, be carried on by Nathaniel Mills and John Hicks. — The late Printers of it return their respectful Thanks for the Favours they have received; and hope the Customers to the Paper will continue to encourage it by advertising, &c. Those who choose to discontinue it will signify the same; and such as are willing further to encourage it, are desired to apply to Mills and Hicks, at their Printing-Office in School-street, next to the new Sign of OLIVER CROMWELL.

    The last known issue was that of 17 April, 1775. It contained no notice of discontinuance.

    The bibliographical details relating to the Boston Post-Boy are arranged under the following four heads:

    • I. Titles.
    • II. Days of Publication.
    • III. Publishers, Printers, and Places of Publication.
    • IV. Devices.


    1735, April 21: The Boston Weekly Post-Boy.

    1750, June 4: The Boston Post-Boy.

    1754, December 23 – 1757, August 22: Publication suspended between these dates.

    1757, August 22: The Boston Weekly Advertiser.

    1759, January 1: Green & Russell’s Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser.

    1763, May 30: The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser.

    1769, October 2: The Massachusetts Gazette, and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser.330




    1735, April 21 – 1754, December 23: Published by Ellis Huske. No printer’s name.

    1754, December 23: Last known issue published by Ellis Huske.331

    1757, August 22: Published and printed by John Green and Joseph Russell in Queen Street.

    1773, April 19: Last issue published and printed by John Green and Joseph Russell.332

    1773, April 26: Published and printed by Nathaniel Mills and John Hicks next door to Cromwell’s Head Tavern in School Street.


    1735, April 21 – 1750, June 4: Two devices: (1) on left, Ship; (2) on right, Postboy on horseback blowing a horn, riding to the right.

    1750, June 11 – 1754, December 23: Two new devices: (1) on left, Ship, with Fort to right of it; (2) on left, Postboy, riding to the left.

    1757, August 22 – 1758, August 14: Postboy, riding to the left.

    1758, August 21–1767, July 13: Two devices: (1) on left, Ship and Fort; (2) on right, Postboy, riding to the left.

    1767, July 20–1768, May 16: Same devices, but newly cut.

    1768, May 23–1769, September 25: No device.

    1769, October 2–1773, April 19: Royal Arms.333

    1773, April 26–1775, April 19: New cut of Royal Arms, larger than the former.