A Boston newspaper of the eighteenth century was seldom mentioned by its contemporaries unless there was between them some subject of controversy. The third paper to be published in Boston — the New-England Courant — was the private enterprise of its publisher, James Franklin. It began its lively career with a reflection upon John Campbell, the publisher of the Boston News-Letter. To this fortunate circumstance we owe our certain knowledge of the date of publication of the first issue of the New-England Courant.298 The Boston News-Letter of 14 August, 1721, contained a long reply from Campbell, which began as follows (p. 4/1):
☞ N. B. ON Monday last the 7th Currant, came forth a Third News-Paper in this Town, Entituled, The New-England Courant, by Homo non unius Negotii; Or, Jack of all Trades; and it would seem, Good at none: giving some very, very frothy fulsome Account of himself, but lest the continuance of that stile, should offend his readers, . . . The said Jack promises in pretence of Friendship to the other News-Publishers to amend, like soure Ale in Summer, Reflecting too too much, that my performances are now and then very, very Dull.
New Style was adopted 15 January, 1722.
Besides his bickerings with contemporaries, James Franklin soon got into serious difficulties with the authorities. In the New-England Courant of 11 June, 1722, it was insinuated that the latter were lukewarm in their efforts to capture a pirate vessel. The following is taken from the Massachusetts House Journals of 12 June, 1722 (p. 21):
Samuel Sewall, Penn Townsend, and Addington Davenport, Esqrs; brought down the following Vote of June 12 th 1722. The Board having had Consideration of a Paragraph in a Paper call’d the New-England Courant, published Monday last, relating to the fitting out a Ship here, to proceed against the Pirates; and having Examined James Franklin Printer, he acknowledged himself the Publisher thereof: And finding the Paragraph to be grounded on a Letter pretended by him to be received from Rhode-Island. Resolved, That the said Paragraph is a high Affront to this Government.
Sent down for Concurrence.
Read and Concurred.
Resolved, That the Sheriff of the County of Suffolk, do forthwith commit to the Goal in Boston, the Body of James Franklin Printer, for the gross Affront offered to this Government, in his Courant of Monday last, there to remain during this Session.
Sent up for Concurrence.
Franklin’s imprisonment continued until the General Court was prorogued on 7 July.299 Two days before this, however, the Council determined on a more drastic measure, but the proposed legislation was defeated in the House. The following is taken from the Massachusetts House Journals of 6 July, 1722 (p. 60):
The following Resolve of Council sent down, viz. In Council July 5 th. 1722.
Whereas in the Paper call’d the New-England Courant printed Weekly by James Franklin, many Passages have been published, boldly reflecting on His Majesty’s Government and on the Administration of it in this Province, the Ministry, Churches and College: and it very often contains Paragraphs that tend to fill the Readers minds with vanity, to the dishonour of God and disservice of Good Men.
Resolved, That no such Weekly Paper be hereafter Printed or Published without the same be first perused and allowed by the Secretary, as has been usual. And that the said Franklin give Security before the Justices of the Superiour Court in the Sum of l. 100 to be of the good Behaviour to the end of the next Fall Sessions of this Court. Sent down for Concurrence.
Read and Non-Concurred.
The issue of the New-England Courant of 14 January, 1723, contained an essay on hypocrites and two other articles of a nature to invite condemnation. Not only did the paper appear as usual on 21 January, but in the issue of that date was printed the following (p. 2):
We hear that the following Act is to be inserted in the News-Letter and Gazette Three Weeks successively.
At a Great and General Court or Assembly of His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, held at Boston the fifteenth Day of November, 1722.
In COUNCIL, Jan. 14. 1722.
WHEREAS the Paper call’d, The New-England Courant, of this Day’s Date, contains many Passages in which the holy Scriptures are perverted, and the Civil Government, Ministers, and People of this Province highly reflected on,
Ordered, That William Taller, Samuel Sewall, and Penn Townsend, Esqrs; with such as the Honourable House of Representatives shall join, be a Committee to consider and Report what is proper for this Court to do thereon.
Sent down for Concurrence.
J. Willard, Secr.
In the House of Representatives.
Jan. 14. 1722. Read & Concurr’d, And Mr. Fulham, Mr. Remington, Mr. Stone, and Mr. Knolton be joyned with them.
John Clark, Speaker.
The Committee appointed to Consider of the Paper called. The New-England Courant, published Monday the fourteenth Currant, are humbly of Opinion that the Tendency of the said Paper is to mock Religion, and bring it into Contempt, that the Holy Scriptures are therein profanely abused, that the Reverend and faithful Ministers of the Gospel are injuriously Reflected on, His Majesty’s Government affronted, and the Peace and good Order of his Majesty’s Subjects of this Province disturbed, by the said Courant; And for prevention of the like Offence for the future, the Committee humbly propose, That James Franklin the Printer and Publisher thereof, be strictly forbidden by this Court to Print or Publish the New-England Courant, or any Pamphlet or Paper of the like Nature, except it be first supervised by the Secretary of this Province; And the Justices of His Majesty’s Sessions of the Peace for the County of Suffolk, at their next Adjournment, be directed to take sufficient Bonds of the said Franklin for [his good Behaviour300] Twelve Months Time.
per Order of the Committee,
In COUNCIL, Jan. 15. 1722.
Read and Accepted. Sent down for Concurrence.
J. Willard, Secr.
In the House of Representatives.
Jan. 16. 1722. Read and Concurr’d.
John Clark, Speaker.
A true Copy,
Examin’d per J. Willard, Secretary.
Franklin’s arrest was ordered by the Council on 24 January, and the warrant for his arrest was issued 28 January.301 The issue of the New-England Courant of 11 February, 1723, contained this notice (p. 1/1):
The late Publisher of this Paper, finding so many inconveniences would arise by his carrying the Manuscripts and publick News to be supervis’d by the Secretary, as to render his carrying it on unprofitable, has intierely dropt the Undertaking. The present Publisher having receiv’d the following Piece, desires the Readers to accept of it as a Preface to what they may hereafter meet with in this Paper.
The “present publisher” was Benjamin Franklin, from whose Autobiography is taken the following account of his connection with the New-England Courant:
One of the pieces in our newspaper on some political point, which I have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly. He was taken up, censur’d, and imprison’d for a month, by the Speaker’s warrant, I suppose, because he would not discover his author. I too was taken up and examin’d before the council; but, tho’ I did not give them any satisfaction, they content’d themselves with admonishing me, and dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound to keep his master’s secrets.
During my brother’s confinement, which I resented a good deal, notwithstanding our private differences, I had the management of the paper; and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it, which my brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an unfavorable light, as a young genius that had a turn for libelling and satyr. My brother’s discharge was accompany’d with an order of the House (a very odd one), that “James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant.”
There was a consultation held in our printing-house among his friends, what he should do in this case. Some proposed to evade the order by changing the name of the paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on as a better way, to let it be printed for the future under the name of Benjamin Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance was that my old indenture should be return’d to me, with a full discharge on the back of it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to him the benefit of my service, I was to sign new indentures for the remainder of the term, which were to be kept private. A very flimsy scheme it was; however, it was immediately executed, and the paper went on accordingly, under my name for several months.302
As this account was written in 1771, it contains the inaccuracies that one would expect after a lapse of nearly half a century. Exactly when Benjamin Franklin left Boston is not known, but perhaps the following advertisement, inserted in the New-England Courant of 30 September, 1723 (p. 2/2), affords a clue:
†*† James Franklin, Printer in Queen-Street, wants a likely lad for an Apprentice.
Isaiah Thomas asserted that the publication of the New-England Courant “ceased in the beginning of the year 1727.” In the issue of 7 May, 1726, was printed this notice (p. 2/2):
†*† This Paper (No. 249) begins a Quarter, and those who have not paid for the last, are desired to send in their Money, or pay it to the Bearer.
For some reason which is not explained, no paper was issued on May 14, the issue of 21 May being dated, “From Saturday May 7. to Saturday May 21. 1726.” The last known issue is that of 4 June, 1726. It contained no notice of discontinuance. It is not known who published and printed the paper after Benjamin Franklin left Boston.
The issue of 11 February, 1723, has frequently been reprinted, notably in Dr. Samuel A. Green’s Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Various Subjects (1903), and, from an original in the British Museum, in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company in the autumn of 1906.
The bibliographical details relating to the New-England Courant are arranged under the following four heads:
- I. Titles.
- II. Days of Publication.
- III. Publishers, Printers, and Places of Publication.
- IV. Devices.
1721, August 7: The New-England Courant.
II DAYS OF PUBLICATION
Monday: 1721, August 7.
Saturday: 1725, June 19.
III PUBLISHERS, PRINTERS, AND PLACES OF PUBLICATION
1721, August 7–1723, February 4: Published and printed by James Franklin303 in Queen Street.
1723, February 11–1724, July 20: Published and printed by Benjamin Franklin in Queen Street.
1724, July 27–1726, June 4: Published and printed by Benjamin Franklin in Union Street.
1 Titles under which the newspapers are listed in the Check-List are printed in heavy face type.
2 Titles under which the newspapers are listed in the Check-List are printed in heavy face type.
3 The Boston News-Letter. Monday.
6 Day of publication changed from Monday to Thursday
7 Title changed to The Weekly News Letter.
9 Title changed to The Boston Weekly News-Letter
12 Owing a fire on 30 January, no paper was issued 31 January, 1734
15 By mistake dated 15 June, 1737
16 By mistake dated 5 January, 1737.
17 Some copies by mistake are dated 30 May, 1739
20 Some copies by mistake are dated 7 October 1740
26 Change from Old Style to New Style
27 Some copies of supplement by mistake are dated 4 June, 1756.
28 Title changed to The Boston News-Letter.
29 Title changed to The Boston News-Letter, And New-England Chronicle.
30 By mistake dated 5 May, 1762.
31 Some copies by mistake are dated 28 July, 1762
32 Title changed to The Boston News-Letter, and the New-England Chronicle
33 By mistake dated 11 May, 1763.
34 Title changed to The Massachusetts Gazette And Boston News-Letter.
36 Title changed to The Massachusetts Gazette.
37 Title changed to The Massachusetts Gazette, And Boston News-Letter.
38 Title changed to The Boston Weekly News-Letter.
39 Title changed to The Massachusetts Gazette: and the Boston Weekly News-Letter
40 Some copies of Supplement by mistake are dated 5 June 1771.
41 For explanation of this number, see page 423 below.
42 Supplement is numbered 2032.
43 Supplement is numbered 3124.
44 For explanation of this number see p. 430, below.
45 Supplement only, without number.
46 Some copies are numbered 3361.
47 Supplement only, without number.
48 This issue apparently has no number.
49 The BOSTON GAZETTE, Monday.
50 Some copies by mistake are dated 31 May, 1724.
69 Title changed to The Boston Gazette, or New-England Weekly Journal. Day of publication changed from Monday to Tuesday.
70 Title changed to The Boston Gazette, or, Weekly Journal.
72 Change from Old Style to New Style.
73 Title changed to The Boston Gazette or Weekly Advertiser. Day of publication changed from Tuesday to Wednesday.
74 Day of publication changed from Wednesday to Tuesday.
75 By mistake dated 1 August, 1753.
76 Title changed to The Boston Gazette, or Country Journal. Day of publication changed from Tuesday to Monday.
77 Supplement by mistake is dated 26 January 1755.
78 Title changed to The Boston Gazette and Country Journal.
83 No issues published between 17 April and 5 June, 1775.
84 Published in Watertown.
85 Published again in Boston.
86 Some copies by mistake are dated 9 June, 1777.
87 Some copies by mistake are dated 2 January, 1779.
88 Title changed to The Boston Gazette, and the Country Journal.
89 Some copies of Supplement are numbered 75.
90 Some copies of Supplement are numbered 943.
91 Some copies of Supplement are numbered 860.
92 Some copies are numbered 666.
93 Some copies are numbered 668.
94 Supplement is numbered 997.
95 The New-England Courant. Monday.
102 Day of publication changed from Monday to Saturday.
103 No paper was issued 14 May, 1726.
104 The New-England Weekly Journal. Monday.
112 Some copies by mistake are dated 4 September, 1728.
113 Some copies by mistake are dated 30 March, 1729.
114 Some copies by mistake are dated 31 June, 1729.
115 Some copies by mistake are dated 4 October, 1730.
116 Day of publication changed from Monday to Tuesday.
117 Some copies by mistake are dated 29 February, 1737.
118 Some copies by mistake are dated 29 February, 1738.
119 This issue has the word “Numb.,” but no figure following. From 27 March, 1727, to 28 April, 1735, the numbers were printed in Roman numerals; from 5 May, 1735, to 13 October, 1741, the numbers were printed in Arabic numerals.
120 By mistake printed CLIVI.
121 By mistake printed CCXVXII.
122 The Weekly Rehearsal. Monday.
125 The first numbered issue.
126 See p. 467, below.
127 The Boston Weekly Post-Boy. Monday.
128 Title changed to The Boston Post-Boy.
129 Change from Old Style to New Style.
130 Publications suspended between 23 December 1754, and 22 August, 1757.
131 Title changed to The Boston Weekly Advertiser.
132 Title changed to Green & Russell’s Boston Post Boy & Advertiser. Some copies by mistake are dated 1 January, 1758.
133 By mistake dated 22 November, 1761.
134 Title changed to The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser.
135 Title changed to The Massachusetts Gazette, and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser. Some copies by mistake are dated 1 October, 1769.
136 Some copies by mistake are dated 5 November, 1771.
137 Perhaps 395.
138 The Boston Evening-Post. Monday.
140 Some copies by mistake are dated 2 January, 1743.
141 Some copies by mistake are dated 9 January, 1743.
143 Some copies by mistake are dated 16 January, 1743.
144 By mistake dated 21 February, 1748.
145 Change from Old Style to New Style.
146 Some copies by mistake are dated 6 April, 1757.
147 For explanation of this number, see p. 474, below.
148 Supplement is numbered 1624.
149 Some copies are numbered 1674.
150 The Independent Advertiser. Monday
151 Publication was probably suspended between 2 October and 5 December, 1749. See p. 477, below
152 See p. 477, below.
153 See p. 477, below.
154 The Boston Chronicle. Monday.
155 Printed Monday and Thursday.
156 Supplement without number.
157 Some copies by mistake are numbered 58.
158 Supplement without number.
159 Supplement without number.
160 Supplement without number.
161 Supplement without number.
162 The Massachusetts Gazette. Monday and Thursday.
163 For explanation of this number, see pp. 487, 488, below.
164 The Massachusetts Spy. Printed Tuesday. No papers issued between 17 July and 7 August.
166 Printed Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
167 By mistake dated 10 August, 1770.
168 Printed Monday and Thursday.
169 Some copies by mistake are dated 3 September, 1770.
170 No papers issued between 1 February and 7 March, 1771.
171 Printed Thursday.
172 Title changed to The Massachusetts Spy Or, Thomas’s Boston Journal.
173 Supplement by mistake was dated 31 June, 1773.
174 Supplement is numbered 100.
175 Supplement is numbered 58.
176 Supplement is numbered 63.
177 Supplement by mistake is dated 31 June, 1773.
178 The New-England Chronicle or, the Essex Gazette. Friday. Printed in Cambridge.
179 Day of publication changed from Friday to Thursday.
180 No paper issued 15 February, 1776.
181 No paper issued 11 and 18 April, 1776.
182 Title changed to The New-England Chronicle. Printed in Boston.
183 Title changed to The Independent Chronicle.
184 Title changed to The Independent Chronicle. And the Universal Advertiser.
185 Some copies by mistake are dated Thursday, 20 November, instead of Friday, 21 November, 1777.
186 For explanation of this number, see p.493, below.
187 The Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser. Thursday.
188 Some copies by mistake are dated 19 September, 1777.
189 The printed number is XCVIV, evidently meant to be XCIX.
190 The Independent Ledger, and American Advertiser. Monday.
191 Title changed to The Independent Ledger, and the American Advertiser.
192 By mistake dated 12 November, 1780.
193 The Evening Post; and the General Advertiser. Saturday.
194 Title changed to The Morning Chronicle; and the General Advertiser. Day of publication changed from Saturday to Thursday.
195 The Editor wishes to express his indebtedness to Miss Ayer and to Miss Mary H. Rollins for aid rendered in collecting the necessary data.
196 Among these is Mr. William Nelson, though the error is corrected by a facsimile of the heading of the paper. In Mr. North’s account, the date of the first issue of the Boston News-Letter is variously given as April 4, 17, and 24, 1704. In his Boyhood and Youth of Franklin, written in 1829, Edward Everett erroneously stated that the Boston News-Letter began April 17, 1704, and that the Boston Gazette began December 14, 1719. (Orations and Speeches, 1850, ii. 22.) In the Massachusetts Magazine for April, 1790, was printed an extract taken from an English paper in which the statement was made that the first issue of the Boston News-Letter was published on April 17, 1704 (ii. 254, 255).
197 A few cases may be specified. In the Boston Athenæum file of the New-England Weekly Journal there is bound between the issues of 27 April and 4 May, 1730, “The Lords Protest On the Treaty of Peace, Union and Friendship, between Great-Britain, France and Spain; concluded at Seville on the 9th of November last .” In the same library’s file of the Boston News-Letter there are bound between the issues of 14 and 21 February, 1715, two documents which are printed in the Publications of this Society, x. 345–352. In the Essex Institute’s file of the Boston Evening-Post there is bound between the issues of 9 and 16 January, 1769, a broadside dated “SALEM, Thursday January 12, 1769,” and headed “Important Advices!” It was doubtless printed by Samuel Hall at Salem. In the American Antiquarian Society’s file of the Boston News-Letter for 1751 there is bound a broadside containing an obituary notice of Paul Dudley taken from the issue of 7 February, 1751. For descriptions of other similar documents, see 2 Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vi. 171–174, xv. 327–362. See also p. 500 note, below.
Occasionally a print as well as a document is bound in. At the beginning of the Boston Athenæum file of the Boston Evening-Post for 1765 is a print which is doubtless a copy of the one advertised in the issue of 4 November, 1765, as “A Caricatura, being a Representation of the Tree of Liberty, and the Distresses of the Present Day. Sold by N. Hurd” (p. 3/2). A long description of this caricature will be found in the supplement to the Boston News-Letter of 7 November, 1765 (p. 1/3).
198 Boston Athenæum copy. The New-England Historic Genealogical Society’s copy of the same issue lacks this notice.
199 The most singular supplement that has come under the notice of the Editor is one listed in this volume as belonging to the Boston Gazette of 26 December, 1726. It is without date, without number, without imprint, and without title. But the heading “POSTSCRIPT” stamps it as being the supplement to some newspaper, and the Boston Gazette and the Boston News-Letter were the only two published in Boston at that time. It is a broadside, printed in two columns, and consists wholly of extracts taken “[From the Weekly Jamaica Courant, Nov. 9.].”
200 A file of the Boston Chronicle in the Massachusetts State Library bears this endorsement: “This volume has been collated, and is complete from Dec. 26. 1769 to June 7. 1770.” The file, however, lacks the title-page to Volume iii.
201 This was unusual. In 1770 the New-England Chronicle was issued on Wednesday, March 6, instead of on Thursday, March 7. A supplement to the Boston News-Letter was issued on Wednesday, June 4, 1766. At the bottom of p. 2 was printed this notice: “The Gazette will be published To-morrow, as usual.” Across the top of the first page of the Boston News-Letter of 22 February, 1758, was printed this notice:
WEDNESDAY, February 22. 1758.
HAVING received two London Papers, one of the 20th of December the other of the 10th of January, bro’t by a Vessel arrived at Marblehead in a short Passage from Lisbon, and which contain many important Articles, at the pressing Desire of some Gentlemen, THIS PAPER is Published the Day before the usual Time.
N. B. A Postscript will be published To-morrow, with some other foreign as well as domestic Paragraphs, &c.
202 Several instances were given in the last note. Two others may be specified. The Boston Gazette was published on 24 and also on 25 July, 1727, and on 19 as well as on 20 October, 1741.
203 Attention may be called to a few examples. The New-England Courant was issued on Wednesday, 16 December, 1724, instead of on Monday, 14 December. The New-England Weekly Journal was issued on Tuesday, 14 April, and 11 August, 1730, though its regular day of publication at that time was Monday. The following issues of the Boston News-Letter appeared on Friday, instead of on Thursday: 18 October, 1723; 21 February, 1729; 29 January, 1748; 22 April, 1 July, 1757. The Massachusetts Spy was issued on Friday, 7 December, 1770, instead of the day before. The New-England Chronicle appeared on Friday, instead of on Thursday, on 24 November, 1775, and on 8 December, 1780. There were many similar instances.
204 An extraordinary irregularity that defies classification is the following. The supplement to the Boston News-Letter of 31 October, 1765, is dated “Thursday, October 31. 1765.” Near the top of the second column on the first page are four paragraphs of news headed “BOSTON, Oct. 31.” Immediately following these is the heading “Boston, November First;” and a little later is a paragraph beginning “This Morning two Effigies were discovered hanging on LIBERTY TREE,” etc. In short, this supplement, dated October 31, was printed partly on that day and partly on the next day, and was published on November 1, the day the Stamp Act went into effect. Again, the Boston News-Letter of 25 February, 1768, consisted of two leaves, as did also the supplement of the same date. But the supplement, though dated Thursday, February 25, was not published until the next day, the reason for the delay being given in the following notice printed at the bottom of p. 2/2:
*** The Publication of this Gazette Extraordinary, after the usual Time, is not to intercept any Articles of Intelligence from the Publishers of other Papers; — but the Notifications of Insolvent Debtors coming too late to set the Press for two Sheets in one Day, the Publisher thereof tho’t it best to be at the Trouble and Expence of tending one out a Day after the other.
205 A curious misprint occurs in the imprint of the Boston News-Letter of 14 April, 1712, where the year is misprinted 1172.
206 That the issue was actually published on Friday, 21 November, 1777, is proved by internal evidence.
207 New-England Weekly Journal, 28 February, 1737.
208 New-England Weekly Journal, 30 June. 1729.
209 When the wording in a footnote is “By mistake dated . . . ,” it means that every known issue is misdated. When the wording is “Some copies are by mistake dated . . . ,” it means that two editions were printed, one correctly dated, the other misdated. Every case of alleged irregularity has been inquired into.
210 The Boston News-Letter of 13 January, 1703, was misdated 11 January, 1763. At the bottom of p. 2 of that issue was printed this notice: “The Date in the Title of the News-Letter should be January 13th, instead of the 11th. The Error was not discovered till too late.”
211 See p. 481, below.
212 The most remarkable error in numbering was the following. The Boston Gazette of 28 April, 1740, was numbered 1057. The issue of 9 June, 1740, was numbered 1062. The only known issue between those two dates is that of 26 May, numbered 10510. See p. 176, above.
213 Occasionally an error in numbering was discovered. The issues of the New-England Courant of 11 and 18 March, 1723, were each numbered 84. In the issue of 25 March was printed this notice (p. 2/2): “[The Number of our last Paper should have been 85, and not 84, as was printed by mistake.].”
214 See in particular what is said about the numbering of the early issues of the Weekly Rehearsal, p. 463, below.
215 In the Massachusetts Historical Society’s copy of the Boston News-Letter of 18 October, 1731, the dates of both month and year are perfectly distinct. In the American Antiquarian Society’s copy of the same issue, the figures have been defaced by having a pen run through them. The copy may have been misdated, but the defacement of the figures makes it impossible to say with certainty.
216 Important historical conclusions have sometimes been drawn from evidence furnished by dates and numbers. In the American Historical Review for April, 1906, Mr. Alexander S. Salley, Jr., sought to prove that a certain facsimile of an alleged newspaper was spurious, and stated that “the wrong date and wrong number are not the only evidences of spuriousness on the face of the facsimile of this paper” (xi. 548–553). An examination of the Check-List and of the Collation of Numbers and Dates in this volume will show that evidence based on wrong dates and wrong numbers must be received with extreme caution.
217 The Rev. John Eliot.
218 Thomas’s work was reprinted at Albany in 1874 by the American Antiquarian Society. All extracts quoted in this volume are from the 1810 edition.
219 For reasons stated in their proper place, a single exception to this plan has been made in the case of the early years of the Boston Post-Boy. See pp. 465–470, below. The only biographical details given in this volume are death dates; and these are given not because they are biographical, but because they are also bibliographical. In two instances — those of Thomas Lewis and of Henry Marshall of the Boston Gazette — death dates make it possible to state exactly when a change in publisher took place. See p. 447 note 2, below. It has also been thought proper to indicate in the Index the often complicated relationships between publishers and printers of the same name.
220 The Boston Chronicle. See p. 483 note, below. There is also extant at least one copy of the prospectus of the Essex Gazette, issued 5 July, 1768. See p. 498, below.
221 An instance of hopeless confusion in titles is found in the statement that “in a few years the Advertiser took the name, by combination or substitution, of the News-Letter, Post-Boy, and Massachusetts Gazette, with which it was in alliance more or less intimate” (Memorial History of Boston, ii. 406).
222 Thus, on 20 July, 1778, the exact title of the Independent Ledger was changed from “The Independent Ledger, and American Advertiser” to “The Independent Ledger, and the American Advertiser.”
223 On and after 26 August, 1735, the hyphen was omitted in the title of the New-England Weekly Journal.
224 On and after 1 January, 1745, the comma was omitted after “or” in the title of the Boston Gazette.
225 On 26 April, 1773, a semicolon was substituted for a comma after the word “Gazette” in the title of the Boston Post-Boy. See also p. 439 note 2, below.
226 In one library the Boston Post-Boy for 1761 is labelled “Massachusetts Gazette.” Such a title was unknown in Boston until 1763, and not until 1769 was it adopted by the Boston Post-Boy. In one library a file of the Boston Post-Boy for 1770 is labelled “Massachusetts Gazette,” without a subtitle; and in one library a file of the Boston News-Letter for 1769 is labelled “Massachusetts Gazette,” without a subtitle.
227 Thus, the issues of the Boston News-Letter dated 24 April–15 May, 1704, were sold by Nicholas Boone.
228 Thus, the imprint of the Weekly Rehearsal of 27 December, 1731, stated that “Advertisements are taken in by T. Hancock, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Ann-Street;” while the imprint of the issue of 2 April, 1733, stated that “Advertisements are taken in” by Thomas Fleet, the printer, and “are also taken in by Mr. N. Belknap, Bookseller, near Clark’s Wharf at the North End.”
229 Curiosities in imprints occur. The main issue of the Boston News-Letter of 9 June, 1774, was published by Margaret Draper and John Boyle, but the supplement of the same date bears the name of John Boyle only. The supplement to the Boston Post-Boy of 18 December, 1758, bears the imprint, “Printed and sold by Green and Russell, at their Printing House in Queen Street. Sold also by J. Draper, at his Printing Office in Newbury Street.” Draper was the publisher of the Boston News-Letter. This is the only instance known to the Editor where an imprint bears the name of a rival publisher.
230 Imprints have been the means of detecting other errors in binding. Thus, the Boston Public Library file of the Boston News-Letter for 1768 contains a copy of the issue of the Massachusetts Gazette of 17 October, 1768, which ought to be bound in the file of the Boston Post-Boy, as it was published not by Draper but by Green and Russell. Again, the Boston Athenæum file of the Massachusetts Gazette contains a second leaf which belongs not to the issue of the Massachusetts Gazette of 8 August, 1768 (which contained a single leaf only), but to the issue of the Boston Post-Boy of 1 August, 1768. and should be bound in the file of the Boston Post-Boy, where will be found the first leaf of the issue of 1 August, 1768.
231 A device was occasionally omitted. Thus, the Independent Ledger of 17 April, 1780, was of smaller size than usual and was without a device. Occasionally, too, a device suddenly changed. Thus, the supplement to the Boston Evening-Post of 7 May, 1764, bore for a device a crown and under it a heart, all enclosed within a border. The design of this device was very different from the design of the device usually employed in the Boston Evening-Post.
232 In the Lenox Library, each leaf of every issue is hinged on guards of thin strong paper, and the issues are interleaved with blank leaves of stiff paper of somewhat larger size of leaf. When issues are missing the two leaves of thin strong paper used for guards are inserted full size, and when an issue is supplied these blank leaves are cut down to the inner margins and the issue is hinged to them. No more than one year is bound in a volume. At the beginning of each volume is inserted a typewritten list giving the number and date of each issue for the year included in the volume, those issues actually in the volume being indicated by a mark. This method is at once the best for the preservation of the papers, for their ready examination, and for the convenience of the inquirer; and its general adoption by librarians is to be desired.
233 See p. 477, below.
234 The only known copy of the original is in the Massachusetts Archives, xxxv. 83. It has been reprinted in the Massachusetts Magazine for October, 1789, i. 642–646; in the Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society (1824, 1866), i. 252–255, viii. 258–260; in the Andros Tracts (1869), ii. 15–18; in facsimile by Mr. William G. Shillaber for the Club of Odd Volumes (1902); and in facsimile by Dr. Samuel A. Green in his Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Various Subjects (1903).
235 Publications, x. 310–320.
236 The only known copy of the original is in the Public Record Office, London. It has been reprinted by Dr. S. A. Green in the Historical Magazine for August, 1857, i. 228–231; in the National Intelligencer of 3 September, 1857, p. 4/1; by Frederic Hudson in his Journalism in the United States, from 1690 to 1872 (1873), pp. 44–48; and again, this time in facsimile, by Dr. Green in his Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Old Boston and Neighborhood (1901).
237 Several of these news-letters, written in 1703, are printed in 1 Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, ix. 485–501.
238 The only known copies of the issue of 24 April, 1704, are in the American Antiquarian Society, the Harvard College Library (a fragment only), the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the New York Historical Society. The copies in the American Antiquarian Society and in the New York Historical Society are identical, while the copy in the Massachusetts Historical Society differs from the former two and is probably the second or later edition. Dr. Green writes:
Both issues were struck off with the same font of type, as might be supposed, but the variations in the two editions show that there was a new setting up of the matter. It is not easy now to give the reason why this should have been so. It seems hardly probable that the first edition was so soon exhausted; and then, again, perhaps, the change in the advertising agency from Boone to Campbell, — who was now both editor and proprietor, — had something to do with the fact (Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Various Subjects, p. 16).
An examination of the present volume will show that the publication of two editions of the same issue, though of course not common, was by no means unknown.
The first issue of the Boston News-Letter has been reproduced several times, notably by Dr. Green in the volume quoted above, where facsimiles of both editions are given. The issue of 15 September, 1763, has also been reprinted.
239 A somewhat similar, but more elaborate practice was also employed for several years iu the New-England Weekly Journal. See pp. 458, 459, below.
240 Introductory Note, p. 410, above.
241 John Draper married Deborah Green, daughter of Bartholomew Green.
242 Temporary Acts and Laws (1755), pp. 146–148.
243 The Boston Evening-Post of 5 May, 1755, contained these lines (p. 1/1):
On the pretty Bird in the Margin.
The little pretty Picture here,
o’th Side looks well enough;
Though nothing to the Purpose ’tis,
’t will serve to set it off.
Although this Emblem has but little in’t
You must e’en take it, or you ’l have no Print.
244 The American Antiquarian Society’s file of the Boston Evening-Post is remarkable for its completeness, and also for the fact that many of the issues published between 30 April, 1755, and 30 April, 1757, are not stamped. The omission is explained by the following entry written in ink in the margin of the first page of the issue of 5 May, 1755:
Many of these papers appear without the Stamps. In this Paper it should first appear — but it is customary for Printers to print a few for their own files without stamps. This file was kept by Mr. Fleet for his own use, which accounts for the want of the stamps.
This entry, in the opinion of Mr. Edmund M. Barton, is possibly but not probably in the handwriting of Isaiah Thomas.
245 Massachusetts Archives, lviii. 475. The petition is printed, except the place, date, and the petitioner’s name, which are in the hand of Richard Draper.
246 Council Records, xv. 189.
247 Richard Draper remained the publisher of the paper, but associated with him as printer his cousin, Samuel Draper. The issues of 2 December, 1762 – 6 January, 1763, bore no imprint; the names of Richard and Samuel Draper as printers appeared in the issue of 13 January, 1763; and Richard Draper’s name as publisher first appeared in the issue of 7 April, 1763. Later, Samuel Draper became publisher as well as printer. See p. 438, below.
248 Council Records, xv. 232.
249 Ibid. xv. 241.
250 Statutes at Large (Cambridge, England, 1764), xxvi. 193, 194.
251 The facts in regard to the Boston News-Letter were set forth at length by Dr. Green in his Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to New England (1903), pp. 40, 41. Throughout that period the Fleets omitted their names and imprint from the Boston Evening-Post; Green and Russell omitted their names and imprint from some, but not all, of the issues of the Boston Post-Boy; while of the Boston Gazette — the only other paper published in Boston during the same period — most of the issues bore the names and imprint of Edes and Gill, but a few issues had no imprint. The presence or absence of an imprint, as pointed out in the Introductory Note (p. 417, above), was apparently largely a matter of chance; and hence caution must be used in drawing conclusions from its omission.
On 7 November, 1765, the title of the Boston News-Letter was changed from “The Massachusetts Gazette. And Boston News-Letter” to “The Massachusetts Gazette;” and on 22 May, 1766, it was changed back again to “The Massachusetts Gazette. And Boston News-Letter.” Thomas stated that —
In the troublesome times occasioned by the Stamp act in 1765, some of the more opulent and cautions printers, when the act was to take place, put their papers in mourning, and, for a few weeks, omitted to publish them; others not so timid, but doubtful of the consequence of publishing newspapers without stamps, omitted the titles, or altered them, as an evasion: — for instance the Pennsylvania Gazette, and some other papers, were headed “Remarkable Occurrences, &c.”—other printers, particularly those in Boston, continued their papers without any alteration in title or imprint.
The facts recited in the text and in this note show that Thomas’s statement in regard to Boston papers was not quite accurate.
252 No other publishers changed the numbering of their papers.
253 How to treat this Massachusetts Gazette, published jointly by Draper and Green and Russell, is the most difficult problem that arises in connection with the Boston newspapers of the eighteenth century. The problem is solved in this volume by regarding the Massachusetts Gazette as a separate paper. See pp. 470, 471, 484–493, below.
254 This is the only notice regarding the peculiar arrangement between the Boston News-Letter and the Boston Post-Boy which has been noted in the Boston News-Letter or in the Boston Post-Boy or in the Massachusetts Gazette.
255 If by “its primitive Title” is meant its first title, the publisher made a mistake. The title adopted 26 May, 1768, was the third of the eleven titles under which the Boston News-Letter was known during its existence, and was originally adopted 5 November, 1730.
256 This was the eleventh and last title. But it should be added that the issue of 13 October, 1775, was entitled “The Massachusetts Gazette: Published Occasionally.”
257 April is doubtless a misprint for May.
258 The only known copy of this issue is somewhat mutilated, and the words within square brackets are conjectural.
259 A passage which appeared in the New-England Chronicle of 28 September, 1775, is pertinent (p. 3/2):
[The following curious Paragraphs were taken from Mrs. Draper’s last Boston Paper. The Impudence they contain is so gross, and the Falshood so notorious, as to render any Remark or Contradiction unnecessary.]
BOSTON, September 21.
Then follow several extracts which are of further interest as showing that an issue of the Boston News-Letter of which no copy is known was published on 21 September, 1775. It may be added that an issue of the Boston News-Letter of which no copy is known was also published on 8 February, 1776, for in the issue of 22 February there is an allusion (p. 1/1) to the issue of 8 February. Another fact of interest may be recorded here. Buckingham quotes from the issue of 16 November, 1775. When the Check-List in this volume was revised, no copy of that issue was known; but in May, 1906, a copy was given to the Boston Public Library.
260 John Campbell died 4 March, 1728 (Boston News-Letter, 7 March, 1728, p. 2/1).
261 Bartholomew Green died 28 December, 1732 (Boston News-Letter, 4 January, 1733, p. 2/1).
262 John Draper died 29 November, 1762 (Boston News-Letter, 2 December, 1762, p. 3/1).
263 Samuel Draper died 21 March, 1767 (Boston News-Letter, 26 March, 1767, p. 3/2).
264 Richard Draper died 5 June, 1774 (Boston News-Letter, 9 June, 1774, p. 1/1).
265 John Boyle died 18 November, 1819 (Publications of this Society, vi. 322 note).
266 Margaret Draper died in London, where her will was proved 12 February, 1807 (Suffolk Probate Records, no. 17015).
267 See pp. 435, 436, above.
268 John Howe died 29 December, 1835 (Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, vi. 120).
269 In the issues of 6 January – 31 March, 1763, the Royal Arms had the letters “GR” above them. In the issue of 7 April, 1763, and in all subsequent issues, these letters were omitted. The same design was used in the issues of 7 April, 1763–31 October, 1765; of 22 May, 1766–19 May, 1768; and of 28 September, 1769–22 February, 1776; while the same design was also employed in the portion of the Massachusetts Gazette published by Draper on Thursdays from 26 May, 1768, to 21 September, 1769. See p. 473, below.
Isaiah Thomas said that Richard Draper “added, ‘The Massachusetts Gazette,’ to the title of ‘The Boston News-Letter,’ and decorated it with the king’s arms;” and remarked:
It had become fashionable, many years before the revolution, among publishers of newspapers, especially those whose title embraced the word Gazette, to ornament the titles with this ensign of royalty. But the printers in Boston had not followed this fashion.
However it may have been elsewhere, the evidence given in our text (pp. 426–429) shows that at least in the Boston newspapers the assumption of the Royal Arms was not a matter of whim or of individual taste on the part of publishers. The only Boston papers to assume the Royal Arms were the Boston News-Letter, the Boston Post-Boy, and the Massachusetts Gazette, the publishers of which were also the official publishers to the Government.
270 Attention has already been called to the curious signatures used in the Boston News-Letter and in the New-England Weekly Journal (p. 423, above, pp. 458, 459, below). Another peculiarity of certain Boston newspapers, which might cause confusion, should also be pointed out. In the early years of several newspapers, the letters “N.E.” or the words “New-England” were printed at the top of the first page, above the title; but such letters or words did not form part of the title.
271 Exactly how long Thomas Lewis remained Postmaster has apparently never been ascertained. Philip Musgrave died 18 May, 1725, and the Boston News-Letter of 27 May, 1725, contained the following notice (p. 2/2):
THese are to give Notice, That the Post-Office is Removed from Cornhill unto Mrs. Proctors in Queen-Street, Boston.
There are no known copies of the Boston Gazette between 17 May and 19 July, 1725. The imprints of the issues of 19 July–1 November, 1725, read: “Printed by S. Kneeland, for Thomas Lewis, Postmaster, at his Office in Queen-Street.” The imprints of the issues of 8 November–13 December, 1725, read: “Printed by S. Kneeland, for Thomas Lewis, at the Post Office.” The imprints of the issues of 20 December, 1725–21 February, 1726, read: “Printed by S. Kneeland, for Thomas Lewis, at Mrs. Proctor’s in Queen-Street.” The imprints of the issues of 28 February–18 April, 1726, read: “Printed for Thomas Lewis, by S. Kneeland, at the Printing-House in Queen-Street.” The imprint of the issue of 25 April, 1726, reads: “Printed for Henry Marshall Post Master, & Thomas Lewis, and Sold at the Post Office.”
272 The dates are those given by Brooker himself in the Boston Gazette of 11 January, 1720 (p. 1). In the Boston News-Letter of 8 September, 1718, the name of John Campbell as Postmaster occurred for the last time in the imprint. In the issue of 15 September, 1718, was printed this notice (p. 2/2):
ON Saturday last the 13th Currant the Post-Office in Boston was removed to the fifth Door to the Southward of the old Office, where all Persons are to receive out, and give in their Letters that come and go either by Post or Shipping.
273 The issue of 12 April, 1731, did not contain the words in question; hence they were resumed either on 3 May, or in some issue between 12 April and 3 May of which no copy is known.
274 The issue of 31 May, 1736, did not contain the words in question; hence they were used for the last time either in the issue of 31 May, or in some issue between 3 and 31 May of which no copy is known.
275 See pp. 466, 467, below.
276 Attention may be called to certain facts. The issues of the Boston Gazette dated 27 October and 3 November, 1741, were numbered 943 and 944, respectively. The issue of 10 November was numbered 1029. The New-England Weekly Journal had been printed on a much larger page than that on which the Boston Gazette was printed; the former contained one leaf, while the latter contained two leaves; and the former had three columns to a page, while the latter had but two. The New-England Weekly Journal had no device; the issue of the Boston Gazette dated 20 October had no device. The issue of 19 October had the same two devices which the Boston Gazette had borne for over six years. The issue of 27 October had two devices, one entirely new, the other newly cut of a different size. It seems probable that in giving the number 942 to the issue of 20 October, and in omitting the devices, the printers were somewhat confused between the New-England Weekly Journal and the Boston Gazette.
277 The only known copy of the issue of 26 December, 1752, is mutilated, but the issue of 19 December was numbered 1708.
278 Dr. Samuel A. Green writes:
The practice of reproducing odd numbers of early Boston newspapers in fac-simile without any token or explanation of the fact, may cause hereafter some confusion among librarians and others not familiar with the circumstances of the case (Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Various Subjects, p. 19).
Dr. Green then goes on to describe various issues which have thus been reproduced, though a few have escaped his attention, and he himself gives facsimile reproductions of the Boston News-Letter of 24 April, 1704, of the New-England Courant of 11 February, 1723, and of the New-England Weekly Journal of 8 April, 1728.
279 Philip Musgrave died 18 May, 1725 (Boston News-Letter, 20 May, 1725, p. 2/2). Presumably, therefore, Thomas Lewis became the publisher on 24 May, 1725.
280 The imprint of the issue of 28 February, 1726, contained the words “at the Printing-House in Queen-Street.” This is apparently the first definite statement as to the place of publication found in the Boston Gazette.
281 Thomas Lewis and Samuel Hirst (a grandson of Judge Sewall) died on 14 January, 1727, through an accident the exact nature of which is not known. The Boston News-Letter of 19 January certainly, and the Boston Gazette of 16 January presumably, contained an account of the accident; but no copies of those issues are known. There is a gap in Judge Sewall’s Diary at that period, but there are references to the event in his Letter-Book (ii. 221). Two sermons were preached on the occasion — one by the Rev. Thomas Prince, the other by the Rev. Joseph Sewall; and but for those sermons, both of which were published by Judge Sewall, the exact date of the accident would apparently be unknown. In his sermon, entitled “Morning Health No Security Against the Sudden Arrest of Death before Night. A Sermon Occasioned By the very sudden Death of Two young Gentlemen in Boston, on Saturday January 14th, 1726, 7. Dedicated to the Youth of the Town,” Prince gives the names of the two victims in a note to the Dedication, and elsewhere speaks of “THE unexpected & surprizing Suddenness of their Destruction” (p. 3). In his sermon, entitled “The Duty of every Man To be Always Ready to Die. A Sermon Occasion’d By the very Sudden Deaths of Mr. Thomas Lewis, Aged 32. And Mr. Samuel Hirst, Aged 22. On Saturday Jan. 14. 1726, 7,” Sewall speaks of “the very Sudden Deaths of the last Week” (p. 18).
282 The issues of 25 April, 1726 – 12 June, 1727, bore no printer’s name in the imprint. In advertisements inserted in the issues of 9 May, 1726 (p. 2/2), of 7 November, 1726 (p. 2/2), of 2 January, 1727 (p. 2/2), and of 20 February, 1727 (p. 2/2), purchasers were requested to inquire of “the Printer in Queen Street,” or at “the Printing-House in Queen Street,” or of “the Printers in Queen-Street,” or at “the Printing-house in Queen-Street.” In an advertisement in the issue of 12 June, 1727 (p. 4/2), purchasers were requested to “Inquire of B. Green, jun. the Printer hereof.” It is certain, therefore, that Green was the printer on 12 June, 1727; and the change in printers may have taken place on 25 April, 1726, or at some time between 20 February and 12 June, 1727. The location of Green’s printing-office was first given in the issue of 1 April, 1734, the imprint of which reads: “Printed by B. Green, at his Printing-House in Newbury Street.”
283 Henry Marshall died 4 October, 1732 (New-England Weekly Journal, 9 October, 1732, p. 2/2).
284 There are no known issues between 2 October and 20 November, 1732, but presumably John Boydell became the publisher on 9 October.
285 On the death of his father on 29 December, 1732, Bartholomew Green, Jr., of course became Bartholomew Green. He died at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was buried 29 October, 1751 (Burial Register of St. Paul’s Parish, Halifax, p. 67).
286 John Boydell died 11 December, 1739 (Boston Gazette, 17 December. 1739, p. 2/1).
287 During this period no publisher’s name appeared. Hannah Boydell died 15 October, 1741 (Boston Gazette, 19 October, 1741, p. 4/1; 20 October, 1741, p. 3/2).
288 Timothy Green died 3 October, 1763 (Boston Post-Boy, 10 October, 1763, p. 3/2; Boston News-Letter, 13 October, 1763, p. 2/1).
289 Throughout the year 1753, Kneeland’s name did not appear in the imprint.
290 Samuel Kneeland died either 12 December, 1769 (Boston Chronicle, 18 December, 1769, ii. 405/2), or 14 December, 1769 (Boston Gazette, 18 December, 1769, p. 2/3; Boston Evening-Post, 18 December, 1769, p. 2/3; Boston Post-Boy, 18 December, 1769, p. 3/1; Boston News-Letter, 21 December, 1769, p. 1/2).
291 The issue of 28 July, 1755, contained this notice (p. 1/1):
☞ The Publishers of this Paper, hereby give Notice, That they have removed from their Office in King-street, to the Printing-Office in Queen-street, formerly improved by Messieurs Rogers & Fowle, next Door to the Prison.
292 Publication suspended between 17 April and 5 June, 1775.
293 The imprint reads Benjamin Edes and Sons, the sons being Benjamin Edes, Jr., and Peter Edes. Benjamin Edes died 11 December, 1803 (Columbian Centinel, 14 December, 1803, p. 2/3); Benjamin Edes, Jr., died 14 May, 1801 (Columbian Centinel, 16 May, 1801, p. 2/4); Peter Edes died 29 March, 1840 (Boston Evening Transcript, 6 April, 1840, p. 2/4).
294 This was a new cut of the Ship and Lighthouse, smaller than the previous one
295 This device is thus described by Isaiah Thomas:
For the want of a more appropriate device, a very singular cut was used in its title, which had been designed and engraved for the lxxvth fable of Croxall’s Esop, representing the boy viewing himself in the glass; his little sister, who was offended with his vanity, and their father who moralized on the subject of their difference.
296 The second device is the same as that used in the Independent Advertiser. See p. 479, below.
297 This device is thus described by Isaiah Thomas:
Before this event [the revolutionary war] took place, the device in the title underwent a change. The figure of Britannia was exchanged for that of Minerva, seated; before her was a pedestal on which was placed a cage; Minerva with her left hand supported a spear, on which was placed the cap of Liberty, and with her right, opened the door of the cage, and liberated a bird which appeared in the act of flying towards a tree that stood at a distance from the city.
There has been some confusion, in previous accounts of the Boston Gazette, between the device of Britannia liberating a bird, adopted on 7 April, 1755 — a device which had previously been used in the Independent Advertiser — and the device of Minerva freeing a bird from a cage, adopted 1 January, 1770. The differences between the two devices can best be seen in Buckingham’s Specimens of Newspaper Literature (i. 156, 165), where also will be found reproductions of most of the devices used in the Boston papers.
298 The date almost invariably assigned is Monday, August 17, 1721. This error — in spite of the easily ascertained fact that that date is an impossible one, since August 17, 1721, did not fall on Monday — is so persistent that it seems worth while to show how it arose. In his account of the Boston News-Letter, Isaiah Thomas wrote that “On the 7th of August, 1721, a third newspaper in Boston was published, entitled The New England Courant;” and proceeded to give at length the passage quoted in our text from the Boston News-Letter of 14 August, 1721. But in his account of the New-England Courant, Thomas said that this “was first printed and published Monday, August 17, 1721.” Hence August 17 was a misprint.
299 Massachusetts House Journals, 7 July, 1722, p. 64.
300 These words were inadvertently omitted. See the Massachusetts House Journals, 14, 16 January, 1723, pp. 79, 82.
301 Council Records, vii. 452, 453; Suffolk Court Files, no. 16480. For this “last instance of an attempt to revive and enforce censorship” of the press in Massachusetts, see, besides the accounts mentioned in the Introductory Note (pp. 412, 413), Professor Clyde A. Duniway’s Development of Freedom of the Press in Massachusetts (Harvard Historical Studies), 1906, pp. 97–103.
302 Works (Bigelow’s edition), i. 55, 56.
303 James Franklin died 4 February, 1735 (Boston News-Letter, 13 February, 1735, p. 2/1).
304 See p. 423, above.
305 Introductory Note, p. 416, above.
306 On and after 18 May, 1736, the hyphen was omitted in “New England.”
307 The issue of 4 August, 1735, contained this notice (p. 2/3):
☞ This Paper for the future will be Published every Tuesday Morning; . . .
308 The date of the last issue of the Weekly Rehearsal is sometimes wrongly given as 14 August, 1735.
309 See pp. 474–476, below.
310 A quondam owner of the file in the American Antiquarian Society attempted to write in numbers in ink, often obliterating the printed number. Needless to say, the result is hopeless confusion.
311 See p. 462, above.
312 Jeremiah Gridley died 10 September, 1767 (Boston Gazette, 14 September, 1767, p. 3/1).
313 “Ellis Huske (his son) was post-master at Boston, and the publisher of the Boston Weekly Post Boy” (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1850, iv. 335 note). In the first edition (1870) of his Wentworth Genealogy, John Wentworth said: “There was an Ellis Huske, who was Post-master at Boston, and who established ‘The Boston Weekly Post Boy,’ in 1734, . . . His relationship to the above [Chief Justice Ellis Huske] is not known” (i. 160 note). In the second edition (1878) of the same work, Wentworth wrote: “Ellis Huske, jr., who established the Boston Weekly Post Boy, in 1734, and continued it about twenty years. He was postmaster at Boston” (i. 287 note). This statement was repeated by the editors of Part I of the Belcher Papers (6 Massachusetts Historical Collections, vi. 3 note), but the error was corrected in Part II (ibid. vii. 114 note).
314 Ellis Huske “is the person, it is said, who recommended to the British government the Stamp Act of 1765” (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, iv. 335 note). This statement was repeated in 1873 by Hudson, who pictures Ellis Huske’s astonishment over “the excitement and indignation that his measure created in the colonies” (Journalism in the United States, p. 96). Ellis Huske died in 1755. and the person intended was his son, John Huske, who, on account of his alleged share in the passage of the Stamp Act, was hanged in effigy in Boston on November 1, 1765 (Boston Gazette, 4 November, 1765, p. 1/1). There is, however, no proof that John Huske favored the Stamp Act, while it is certain that he was an earnest advocate of its repeal.
315 6 Massachusetts Historical Collections, vii. 468.
316 6 Massachusetts Historical Collections, vii. 114. The marriage on October 25, 1720, of Captain Ellis Huske and Mrs. Mary Plaisted is recorded in the Salem Book of Marriages, iv. 29.
317 6 Massachusetts Historical Collections, vii. 471.
318 Hence all dates in the Check-List previous to 21 April, 1735, are conjectural.
319 See in particular what has been said about the numbering of the Weekly Rehearsal on p. 463, above.
320 New Hampshire Provincial Papers, vi. 339.
321 There is apparently no record of his death in Boston, in Portsmouth, or in Concord, New Hampshire.
322 There were no newspapers in New Hampshire at that time.
323 This notice was again printed in the Boston Evening-Post of 6 January, 1755 (p. 2/2), and also in the Boston News-Letter of 2 and 9 January, 1755 (pp. 2/2, 2/2). John Franklin was a brother of Benjamin Franklin.
324 This notice was again printed in the Boston Evening-Post of 6 January, 1755 (p. 2/2), and also in the Boston News-Letter of 2, 9, and 16 January, 1755 (pp. 2/2, 2/2, 2/2). It was again printed in the Boston News-Letter of 27 February, 1755 (p. 2/2), but with the words “are once more desired” substituted for the words “are desired.”
325 See C. W. Ernst’s “Postal service in Boston, from 1639 to 1893,” in Professional and Industrial History of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (1894), ii. 443–504.
326 In the Boston Evening-Post of 30 December, 1754, and of 6 January, 1755, there was printed immediately after the notice signed by Holbrook the following:
☞ AS the Season is now come on, when Victuals, Firing, and many other Things that will be wanted to make the Publisher’s Life comfortable, and to enable him to carry on this Paper, as well for your Entertainment as his Advantage, he therefore hopes and desires you to take his Case into most serious Consideration.
As this notice appeared in the Boston Evening-Post only, and not in the Boston News-Letter, it may safely be regarded as relating not to the Boston Post-Boy but solely to the Boston Evening-Post.
327 John Bushell removed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he published the Halifax Gazette, the first issue of which appeared on 23 March, 1752. He died in January, 1761, and was buried January 22 (Burial Register of St. Paul’s Parish, Halifax, p. 51).
328 There are so few known copies of the early issues of the paper that the statement in the text is necessarily imperfect.
329 See pp. 430–432, above, and pp. 484–492, below.
330 On 26 April, 1773, the comma after the word “Gazette” was displaced by a semicolon.
331 Ellis Huske died 24 April, 1755. See p. 468, above.
332 John Green, who was a son of Bartholomew Green, Jr., died 21 November, 1787 (Massachusetts Centinel, 24 November, 1787, viii. 79/2). Joseph Russell died 29 November, 1795 (Columbian Centinel, 2 December, 1795, p. 3/1).
333 This was the same device which had been used in the portion of the Massachusetts Gazette published by Green and Russell on Mondays. See p. 439 note, above.
334 See p. 463, above.
335 Each paper thus far considered has been called the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth newspaper to be published in Boston; for in regard to those six papers there can be no doubt. But after 1734 such a characterization becomes impossible. The Weekly Rehearsal and the Boston Evening-Post may be regarded either as two distinct papers or merely as the same paper with a change in title. Cf. pp. 414, 415, 444, 445, above.
336 The numbers of the last issue of the Weekly Rehearsal and of the first issue of the Boston Evening-Post are sometimes wrongly given.
337 See p. 463, above.
338 Thomas Fleet died 21 July, 1758 (Boston Evening-Post, 24 July, 1758, p. 2/2).
339 The issue of 24 July bears the imprint, “Printed by T. Fleet;” but as Thomas Fleet, Senior, had died three days before, it is obvious that that issue could not have been published by him. His successors were his sons, Thomas and John Fleet, whose imprint first appears in the issue of 31 July, 1758. Thomas Fleet, Jr., died 15 March, 1797 (Massachusetts Mercury, 17 March, 1797, p. 3/1). John Fleet died 18 March, 1806 (Columbian Centinel, 19 March, 1806, P. 2/4).
340 The Boston Evening-Post of 19 December, 1748 (p. 4/2), contained an advertisement of Thomas Fleet and a cut of his sign, the Heart and Crown. This design is different from either of the devices printed in the title of the paper itself from 19 March, 1759, to 24 April, 1775.
341 The only issue published on a Tuesday was that of 5 December, 1749.
342 Gamaliel Rogers is stated by Thomas to have died in 1775. Daniel Fowle died 8 June, 1787 (New-Hampshire Gazette, 16 June, 1787, p. 3/3).
343 This device is thus described by Isaiah Thomas:
The device in the centre of its title, was a large cut of Britannia liberating a bird confined by a cord to the arms of France. Britannia is represented sitting; the arms of France lying on the ground before her; the bird is on the wing, but being impeded by the cord, one end of which is fastened to the arms of France, and the other to the bird, Britannia is in the act of cutting the cord with a pair of shears, that the bird may escape.
In 1799 the Rev. John Eliot suggested a different interpretation:
. . . the Independent Advertiser . . . was supported by the whigs, who gave a device indicative of their principles, a bird let loose by the hand of Britannia, or the goddess of liberty. It was thus designed; but may as well represent America in the character of a female, active in doing good, profuse of her favours, and pregnant with blessings for future times (1 Massachusetts Historical Collections, vi. 69).
344 It is believed that this printer’s name — in previous accounts of Boston newspapers spelled Fleming — is given correctly in this volume for the first time.
345 During a portion of the years 1720 and 1721, the Boston News-Letter was published twice a week; but those were sporadic issues.
346 The inability to distinguish sharply between publisher and printer has already been commented upon. Isaiah Thomas wrote:
John Mein was a bookseller, and John Fleming a printer. The Chronicle was published by Mein. . . . Before the close of the second year of publication, its publisher, Mein, was engaged in a political warfare with those who were in opposition to the measures of the British administration. In the Chronicle he abused numbers of the most respectable whigs in Boston; and he was charged with insulting the populace. To avoid the effects of popular resentment, it became necessary for him to leave the country. Fleming continued the Chronicle during the absence of Mein, in the name of the firm.
From a passage in the Boston News-Letter of 21 September, 1769 (p. 2/1) it seems certain that Mein was at that time still in Boston. In the Boston Evening-Post of 6 November, 1769, was printed the following (p. 3/1):
MR. John Mein, our intrepid asserter of truth and falshood, has kept himself out of the way (for reasons best known to himself) since Saturday last: . . .
In the Boston Evening-Post of 20 November, 1769, it was stated: “We hear, that John Mein went for England last week in the Hope schooner” (p. 3/2). In the Boston Gazette of 20 November, 1769, appeared the following (p. 3/1):
Since our last sailed the Hope Schooner in his Majesty’s Service, . . . for England; She is to stop at Halifax, . . .
We hear that J. Mein, late Publisher of the Boston Chronicle, is gone home in the above Schooner, in order to [here the item abruptly ends].
In the Boston Gazette of 18 December, 1769, a correspondent said: “Mein we know has eloped, and it is said has been seen at Halifax” (p. 2/3).
347 One edition of the issue of 21 December, 1767, consists of pp. 1–8, without a supplement, the first of John Dickinson’s famous Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies being printed on pp. 1, 2. Another edition contains: (1) the main paper, filling pp. 1–8; (2) one unnumbered leaf, on which is printed the first of the Farmer’s Letters; (3) a supplement filling pp. 9–12, the second of the Farmer’s Letters being printed on pp. 9–11.
348 One edition of the issue of 28 December, 1767, contains pp. 9–16, the second of the Farmer’s Letters being printed on pp. 9–11. Another edition contains pp. 13–20.
349 Two explanations of the absence of pages 153–156 are possible: it may have been a printer’s error; or a supplement which has not been preserved may have been published between 11 and 18 April, 1768.
350 At the end of Mein and Fleeming’s Register for New-England and Nova-Scotia for 1768 are two unnumbered leaves, the first of which contains a prospectus beginning as follows:
Boston, October 22d, 1767. / Proposals / For printing a New Weekly Paper, called / The Boston Chronicle. / Conditions.
351 See pp. 430–432, 470, 471, above.
352 See p. 431, above.
353 Council Records, xvi. 293.
354 Boston News-Letter, 4 March, 1768 (p. 1/1). Neither the message of the Governor nor the address of the Council is recorded in the Council Records, but both are printed in the Boston News-Letter of 4 March, 1768 (p. 1), and in the Boston Post-Boy of 7 March, 1768 (pp. 1, 2).
355 See Council Records, xvi. 293; Massachusetts House Journals under dates of 1, 2, 3 March, 1768, pp. 206, 207, 210, 211; Boston News-Letter of 4 March, 1768, Boston Post-Boy of 7 March, 1768, where the proceedings are printed in full; C. A. Duniway, Development of Freedom of the Press in Massachusetts, pp. 126–128.
356 Council Records, xvi. 294.
357 Ibid. xvi. 302.
358 See Collation of Numbers and Dates, p. 357, above.
359 See pp. 426–428, above.
360 It is probable that the printers arrived at the number 277 by subtracting 3094, the number of the issue of the Boston News-Letter dated 7 April, 1763, from 3372, the number of the issue dated 19 May, 1768; but if so, the result was again a blunder, for the subtraction gives 278 and not 276. But even if the printers had subtracted correctly the result would still have been inaccurate, for the numbering of the Boston News-Letter in the years 1763–1768 was erratic.
361 More space has been given to the Massachusetts Gazette than perhaps is warranted either by its importance or by the length of time during which it was published. The excuse lies in the fact that Thomas — upon whose account all subsequent accounts have been based — was for him singularly inaccurate in his description of what he called “this ‘Adams and Eve paper,’ joined together ‘by authority.’”
362 This was the case with the issues of 9, 16 March, 1769, etc.
363 This was the case with the issues of 23 May, 13, 27 June, 1768, etc.
364 The following (and perhaps other) issues of the Boston News-Letter contained two leaves each: 1768, May 26, June 2, 9, July 28, August 4, 18; 1769, June 1. For the issues which contained a supplement as well, see the Check-List, pp. 79, 80, above. Such notices as the following were often printed:
- 1768, June 2: See the GAZETTE for other Articles and new Advertisements (p. 2/3).
- 1768, June 9: See Gazette (p. 3).
- 1768, June 23: Articles of Intelligence respecting Major Rogers, &c. and Advertisements are in the POSTSCRIPT (p. 2/1).
- 1768, July 21: ☞ Corrigenda in the philological Piece in the Gazette of this Day (p. 1/2).
- 1768, July 28: The latest Articles See Gazette (p. 3/3).
- 1768, August 4: For other Articles See Gazette (p. 3/3).
- 1768, August 18: The latest Articles are in the Gazette (p. 3/3).
- 1768, October 13: This Postscript is wholly taken from three of the Monday’s Papers of October 10 (supplement, p. 1/1).
- 1768, November 3: See the Gazette Extra (p. 1/3).
- 1769, May 25: See SUPPLEMENT (p. 2/3).
- 1769, June 1: See GAZETTE (p. 3/3).
- 1769, June 22: The other foreign and domestic Articles are in the Supplement (p. 2/3).
The supplement to the issue of 25 August, 1768, was a broadside, and contained this notice (p. 1/1):
ALTHO the Particulars of the Celebration [of the repeal of the Stamp Act] of the 14th of August, were kept back from last Thursday’s Paper, yet it is humbly requested that LIBERTY may be given to re print them from Monday’s Papers, for the Perusal of the Customers of this Paper who do not see the others.
365 The following (and perhaps other) issues of the Boston Post-Boy contained two leaves each: 1768, August 1, September 19. For the issues which contained a supplement, see the Check-List, pp. 263, 264, above. The supplement of 24 April, 1769, contains two leaves. Such notices as the following were sometimes printed:
- 1768, August 1: For more News, &c. See the Gazette (p. 3/3).
- 1768, October 10: [See the Supplement.] (p. 1/3).
366 The following (and perhaps other) issues of the Massachusetts Gazette contained two leaves each: 1768, May 26, July 7, 21; 1769, January 19.
The following notices appeared in the portions of the Massachusetts Gazette printed on Monday by Green and Russell:
- 1769, April 24: [See SUPPLEMENT.] (p. 1/1).
- 1769, June 5: [See Supplement.] (p. 2/2).
As no supplement to the Massachusetts Gazette was, so far as is known, issued on the above dates, the references are doubtless to the supplements of the Boston Post-Boy of those dates.
The following notices appeared in the portions of the Massachusetts Gazette printed on Thursday by Draper:
- 1768, July 7: See News-Letter (p 3/3).
- 1768, September 15: Other Foreign and Domestic Articles, and new Advertisements are in the POSTSCRIPT (p. 1/3).
- 1769, January 12: [The other London Articles are in the Supplement.] (p. 1/3).
- 1769, January 19: For other Articles of Intelligence see News-Letter (p. 3/3).
- 1769, February 9: Two Political Pieces from the English Prints are in The SUPPLEMENT (p. 1/2).
- 1769, March 2: The other Articles from the Liverpool Papers are in the SUPPLEMENT. HARTFORD Post not come in at XII. o’clock (p. 1/1).
- 1769, April 20: For other Articles, &c. See the SUPPLEMENT (p. 1/3).
As no supplement to the Massachusetts Gazette was, so far as is known, issued on the above dates, the references are doubtless to the supplements to the Boston News-Letter of those dates.
367 Mechanical reasons alone made it necessary in this volume to treat the Massachusetts Gazette as a separate paper. The practice of librarians differs. In some files, the portions of the Massachusetts Gazette printed on Monday are bound with the Boston Post-Boy, while the portions printed on Thursday are bound with the Boston News-Letter. The Boston Athenæum has a file of the Massachusetts Gazette bound by itself, — and perhaps this is the best plan.
368 The “Journal of Occurrences” was not a newspaper of the day, but was a series of articles which under various titles — “Journal of Transactions,” “Journal of the Times,” “Journal of Occurrences,”— appeared at intervals in the New-York Journal from 13 October, 1768, to 14 September, 1769. These articles were frequently alluded to in the Boston papers and were reprinted at intervals in the Boston Evening-Post from 12 December, 1768, to 18 December, 1769. One of the articles was quoted in 1851 by Lossing in his Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (i. 480 note) in such a way as to give the impression that “the Boston Journal of the Times” was a newspaper.
369 The Massachusetts Gazette of 26 January, 1769, p. 1.
370 This design was used in the Boston Post-Boy on 2 October, 1769.
371 This design was used in the Boston News-Letter on 28 September, 1769, and had previously been used in the Boston News-Letter in 1763–1765 and in 1766–1768. See p. 439, above.
372 The issue of 17 July had no imprint.
373 Zechariah Fowle died in December, 1783 (Independent Ledger, 29 December, 1783, p. 3/2).
374 The issue of 11 October, 1770, has the imprint of Fowle and Thomas. The issues of 13–27 October have no imprint. The issue of 30 October has the imprint of Thomas. Hence it is impossible to say exactly when Fowle’s connection with the paper ceased. Thomas’s own statement is:
The publication of the Spy commenced with No. 2, August 7, 1770, and was printed in this form for three months, by Z. Fowle and I. Thomas; the partnership was then dissolved; and the Spy was continued by Thomas.
375 Isaiah Thomas died 4 April, 1831.
376 This device is thus described by Thomas:
“Massachusetts Spy,” was in large German text, engraved on type metal between two cuts; the device of the cut on the left was, the goddess of Liberty sitting near a pedestal, on which was placed a scroll, a part of which, with the word spy on it, lay over on one side of the pedestal, on which the right arm of liberty rested. The device on the right was, two infants making selections from a basket filled with flowers, and bearing this motto — “they cull the choicest.”
377 This device is thus described by Thomas:
On the 7th of July, 1774, . . . a new political device appeared in the title of this paper — a snake and a dragon. The dragon represented Greatbritain, and the snake the colonies. The snake was divided into nine parts, the head was one part, and under it N.E. as representing Newengland; the second part N.Y. for Newyork; the third N.J. for Newjersey; the fourth P. for Pennsylvania; the fifth M. for Maryland; the sixth V. for Virginia; the seventh N.C. for Northcarolina; the eighth S.C. for Southcarolina; and the ninth part or tail, for Georgia. The head and tail of the snake were supplied with stings, for defence against the dragon, which appeared furious, and as bent on attacking the snake. Over the several parts of the snake, was this motto, in large capitals, “join on die!” This device, which was extended under the whole width of the title of the Spy, appeared in every succeeding paper whilst it was printed in Boston.
Though this particular device had never, so far as the Editor is aware, been used before, yet it was not wholly original with Thomas. The idea apparently first occurred in a paragraph which appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 9 May, 1754 (p. 2/1). Speaking of the raids of the French and of “the present disunited State of the British Colonies,” the writer made an appeal for concerted action on the part of the American Colonies, and enforced his plea by a pictorial design of a snake divided into eight parts—the head representing New England and the tail South Carolina. Beneath the snake were the words “JOIN or DIE.” The article in the Pennsylvania Gazette, with its accompanying design, was copied into several newspapers of the period. The snake design was again used in what has sometimes been called a newspaper, but what was really a political skit, and is now a bibliographical curiosity. This was The Constitutional Courant, dated 21 September, 1765. Here the snake appeared at the top of the first page. A similar design, divided into nine parts (as described by Thomas), with slight variations, was used as a device by John Holt in his New-York Journal of 23 June — 8 December, 1774, and by William and Thomas Bradford in their Pennsylvania Journal of 27 July, 1774 — 18 October, 1775. Another snake device, of a quite different design, was used by Holt in the New-York Journal of 15 December, 1774, and continued into the next year. In the design used in the Massachusetts Spy, the dragon was apparently original with Thomas. An account of The Constitutional Courant and of the snake devices was given at the meeting of this Society held in March, 1907.
378 A copy of these proposals is in the Essex Institute. Cf. p. 483 note, above.
379 Strictly speaking, the New-England Chronicle did not become a Boston paper until 25 April, 1776; but it has seemed advisable to include in this volume the issues published at Cambridge.
380 The heading of this broadside is worth giving, for it is curious from the fact of its having been issued on a Sunday—perhaps the first instance of the sort:
BOSTON, Sunday, January 12, 1777.
The Letters, whereof the following are Extracts, being wrote by several Field Officers in the American Army, arrived in Town last Evening, and are made Public for the Perusal of the several Gentlemen who subscribed to defray the Expences of obtaining Intelligence from the Army.
The matter is printed in three columns, and at the bottom of the third column is the imprint, “Printed by POWARS and WILLIS.” The Massachusetts Historical Society has a duplicate of this broadside, bound in its file of the Continental Journal between the issues of 6 and 13 January, 1777.
381 Ebenezer Hall died 14 February, 1776. See p. 499, above. The issue of 22 February has no imprint.
382 Samuel Hall died 30 October, 1807 (Columbian Centinel, 31 October, 1807, p. 2/3).
383 Nathaniel Willis died 1 April, 1831 (C. D. Warner’s Nathaniel Parker Willis, 1885, p. 6).
384 This was the device adopted by the Essex Gazette on 2 August, 1768. Buckingham said, “I find no explanation of the device.” Isaiah Thomas wrote:
In the centre of the title was a cut, of which the design was taken from the official seal of the county. The principal figure — a bird with its wings extended, and holding a sprig in its bill; perhaps intended to represent Noah’s dove; and this device was far from being ill adapted to the state of our forefathers, who having been inhabitants of Europe, an old world, were become residents in America, to them a new one; above the bird is a fish, which seems to have been intended as a crest, emblematical of the cod-fishery, formerly the principal dependence of the county of Essex, of which Salem is a shire town. The whole is supported by two aborigines, each holding a tomahawk, or battle axe.
385 This device was a modification of the Seal adopted by Massachusetts in August, 1775, when it was voted that, “Instead of an Indian holding a Tomahawk and Cap of Liberty, there be an English American, holding a Sword in the Right Hand, and Magna Charta in the Left Hand, with the Words ‘Magna Charta,’ imprinted thereon.” See Massachusetts House Documents, 1885, No. 345.
386 See p. 444, above.
387 John Gill died 26 August, 1785 (Massachusetts Centinel, 27 August, 1785, p. 3/2).
388 Draper and Folsom published the Independent Ledger from 15 June, 1778, to 24 November, 1783, after which the paper was published by Folsom alone. The firm name only is given, and the identification of Draper in the text is not absolutely certain. Yet there can be little doubt that he was Edward Draper, a brother of the Samuel Draper who died 21 March, 1767. Writing of Samuel Draper, Isaiah Thomas said that “Edward, with a partner, published, for some time during the late war, a newspaper in Boston.”
389 Edward Draper died 16 November, 1831 (Boston Evening Transcript, 18 November, 1831, p. 2/4). John West Folsom died 7 February, 1825 (Boston Daily Advertiser, 8 February, 1825, p. 2/5).
390 The date of the adoption of this device is sometimes wrongly given. In the issue of 27 July, 1778, and in subsequent issues, the word “enflamed” became “inflamed;” in the issue of 5 October, 1778, and in subsequent issues, the word “and” was omitted.
391 This paper is apparently not mentioned in previous accounts of Boston newspapers, and is now described for the first time.
392 This title varies in form, reading, in some issues: The Morning Chronicle & General Advertiser.