Joseph T. (Joseph Tinker) Buckingham.

Specimens of newspaper literature : with personal memoirs, anecdotes, and reminiscences online

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EXCHANGE








XV

rj




BOSTON.



ALL PRINTERS



CONDUCTORS OF THE NEWSPAPER PRESS,

WHO ENTERTAIN
A TRUE REGARD FOR THE DIGNITY OF THEIR PROFESSION,

AND A
DISPOSITION TO RENDER IT A BLESSING TO HUMANITY

AS WELL AS
A SOURCE OF PROFIT TO THEMSELVES,

THESE VOLUMES

ARE
RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.



FRIEND AND FELLOW-LABORER,

J. T. B.



PREFACE.



THE nature of the contents of these volumes is so dis
tinctly described in the title-page, that a preface may be
thought rather superfluous than needful. It is not my
purpose to forestall objection, to deprecate criticism, or
to offer apology for defect.

Some of the "specimens," here exhibited, were pre
served during an apprenticeship from 1795 to 1800 ;
others, occasionally, in subsequent years. When solicited
by my friends, the publishers, to write a book of reminis
cences, I bethought me of my juvenile repository ; and,
on looking it through, it occurred to me that some of its
materials, with an accompaniment of memoirs, anec
dotes, and scraps of history, to point out their origin, and,
when practicable, identify their authors, might meet
with a degree of favor, sufficient to indemnify the expense
of publication. " On this hint " I went to work, and
here is the product of my labor.

To the History of Printing, by the late Isaiah Thomas,
Esq. I am indebted for many though not all the
items of personal history of the earliest printers. I know
not that those facts can be obtained from any other source.
Mr. Thomas s work is not now to be found in the literary



yi PREFACE.

market ; it is entirely out of print. In what I have
drawn from it, his own language has been freely pre
served ; but seldom, if ever, without some kind of refer
ence acknowledging the obligation.

For most of that, which relates to the history of Thomas
Fleet and his descendants, my acknowledgement is due
to John F. Eliot, of Boston, a branch of that stock by
the maternal line, and, like his venerable father, the late
Dr. Ephraim Eliot, a studious preserver of interesting
and curious morsels of antiquity.

The relatives of the late Benjamin Russell politely
favored me with the examination of all the manuscript
papers he left at his decease. But from these little
could be extracted to aid in the composition of a memoir,
worthy of the subject. They were chiefly letters on
business affairs, that possessed no interest for general
readers. From the papers of one, who had, for many
years, been intimately connected with some of the most
celebrated statesmen and politicians of Massachusetts, it
was expected that there would remain some tokens
of correspondence on matters of public concern ; but
nothing of this description was discovered. A short mem
orandum, on a piece of paper not larger than one of these
pages, stating the name and occupation of his father, the
time of his own birth, and the number and names of his
brothers and sisters, is all the information derived from
these papers. I am indebted to Henry Farnum, Esq. of
Boston, long the familiar friend of Mr. Russell, for
suggestions that have been useful in compiling the
memoir ; and to the Rev. Dr. Jenks of Boston, for his
courteous criticism and kind approbation of my perform
ance. My acquaintance with Mr. Russell began in 1802,



PREFACE. Vll

and most of the anecdotes related of him I have heard
repeatedly from his own lips. It is regretted that he did
not occupy some of the latter years of his life in writing
a history of himself and his times. He was frequently
requested to do this, as frequently resolved that he would
do it, but died and left no record, but what is contained
in the Centinel. THAT is his auto-biography a mirror,
in which, only, a reflection of his character should be
sought, and in which, only, it will be found.

To the Librarians of the Antiquarian Society, the Mas
sachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, and
of Harvard College, my thanks are due for the privilege of
examining the files of newspapers in the libraries of those
institutions respectively. These have been referred to,
chiefly, to verify dates and to confirm impressions on the
tablet of memory.

A large portion of this work consists of extracts, which
required but little exertion to select and arrange in their
present connection, an employment more pleasant than
irksome. But the personal notices, meagre and imper
fect as they are, have not been compiled without labor
and vexation. This portion has been tedious and discour
aging. Many fruitless inquiries have been made many
letters have been written, which produced no satisfactory
answers. I have been anxious to present more particu
lars of the lives and actions of several persons than I have
been able to obtain. In respect to some, who have
deceased within a few years, and who are still remem
bered, I have not been successful in learning, even
from their nearest relatives, any more of their history
than the places and times of their respective births and
deaths.



Vlli PREFACE.

I like the plan of this work, and I make no apology,
nor ask pardon, for the conceitedness of the declaration.
If it could be extended so as to embrace sketches and
specimens of all the prominent newspapers, printers, and
editors, that have put in their claim to public favor in
these United States, and which are entitled to such a
memorial, I cannot resist the belief that it would be
"instructive, useful, and entertaining." But such a
field of labor would require an industrious and patient
gleaner, elastic of nerve, redolent of ambition, instinct
with courage, and confident of coming years. Such a
work would fill more volumes than would be read. The
world itself would hardly contain the books.

The limits, to which, by an arrangement with the pub
lisher, the contents of these volumes were circumscribed,
have necessarily confined the selections of specimens to
New-England (except in one or two instances) and chiefly
to Massachusetts, and precluded all notices of publica
tions that have had their origin since the commencement
of the present century. Materials for a third volume,
embracing matters of more recent date, and which excited
some interest at the time of their occurrence, are on hand ;
but it is not desirable that the public should bejburdened
with uncalled-for details. And even if the publication
should be demanded, a willing compliance with the call
may be defeated by an event, to which all are sub
ject, an event which may happen TO-MORROW, which
must happen SOON.

These volumes make no pretensions to a high literary
character. They are the production of one, who had no
advantages of education, but such as were supplied by
the district schools in Connecticut, more than sixty years



PREFACE. IX

ago, and before he was ten years old. For all else of
literary qualification, he is indebted only to his own un
aided efforts. The printing-office was his academy, and
he has no diploma from any other University than that, of
which Gutenberg, Laurentius, and Faust, were the found
ers, j. T. B.



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



PAGE

/THE BOSTON NEWS-LETTER 4

TiiE BOSTON GAZETTE. BROOKER S 44

THE NEW-ENGLAND COURANT 49

THE NEW-ENGLAND WEEKLY JOURNAL 89

THE WEEKLY REHEARSAL 112

x THE BOSTON EVENING POST 129

THE BOSTON WEEKLY POST-BOY 154

THE INDEPENDENT ADVERTISER 156

THE BOSTON GAZETTE. KNEELAND & GREEN S . . -163

- THE BOSTON GAZETTE. EDES & GILL S 165

THE BOSTON WEEKLY ADVERTISER 206

THE BOSTON CHRONICLE . 212

THE ESSEX GAZETTE -217

- THE NEW-ENGLAND CHRONICLE 220

THE MASSACHUSETTS GAZETTE 227

THE MASSACHUSETTS SPY 229

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURANT ...... 246

THE INDEPENDENT CHRONICLE 248

THE PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL 288

THE ESSEX JOURNAL 298

THE INDEPENDENT LEDGER 304

THE CONTINENTAL JOURNAL 308

THE CONNECTICUT JOURNAL AND NEW-HAVEN POST-BOY . 313

THE NEW-LONDON GAZETTE 316

THE HERALD or FREEDOM 321



Xll CONTENTS.



APPENDIX.

PAGE

JAMES FRANKLIN S IMPRISONMENT 337

LETTERS or REV. S. PETERS 339

BENJAMIN EDES 347

LEONARD WORCESTER 347

INDEX TO VOL. I. ... . 345



SPECIMENS



OF



NEWSPAPER LITERATURE.



THE first attempt to set up a newspaper, hv North-
America, so far as can be, .ascertain ec[ Jimn< existing
records, or from tradition, was made in Boston, in the
year one thousand six hundred and ninety. Of the
paper then issued only one copy is known to be in ex
istence; and that copy is deposited in the State Paper
Office in London, where it has been seen and examined
by the Rev. Joseph B. Felt, the Librarian of the Massa
chusetts Historical Society.

Number 1 of this paper, and probably the only number
ever published, is dated September 25, 1690. It is a small
sheet, of four quarto pages, one of which is blank,
and contains a record of passing occurrences, foreign and
domestic. Immediately on its publication, it was noticed
by the legislative authorities. Four days after, they spoke
of it as a pamphlet ; stated that it came out contrary to
law, and contained " reflections of a very high nature."
They strictly forbade " any thing in print, without license
first obtained from those appointed by the government to

VOL. i. 1



2 SPECIMENS OF

grant the same." It was printed by Richard Pierce for
Benjamin Harris.*

Richard Pierce, the reputed printer of this newspaper,
is said by Mr. Thomas to have been the fifth person
who carried on the printing business in Boston. Where
he learned the art is not known ; but, as there was a
printer of that name in London in 1679, it is thought
not improbable that he emigrated to this country, and
set up his press in Boston, and was identical with the
Richard Pierce, whose name appears in the imprint
of the newspaper, that is in the London State Paper
Office.

Benjamin Harris, whose name is given as that of the
proprietor -of this firs t e wsaper, had a printing-house in
Boston,: aftft .prkrtect chiefly for booksellers. In 1692
and 1694, he printed tiie Act s and Laws of Massachu
setts, and, according to the imprint, was "Printer to his
Excellency the Governour and Council." He was from
London, and returned to that place about the year 1694.
Both before and after his emigration to this country,
he had a bookstore in London. Dunton, an English book
seller, who had been in Boston, in his " Life and Errors,"
printed in London, in 1705, says of Benjamin Har
ris, " He was a brisk asserter of English liberties, and
once printed a book with that very title. He sold a
Protestant Petition in King Charles s reign, for which he
was fined five pounds ; and he was once set in the
pillory, but his wife (like a kind Rib) stood by him to
defend her husband against the mob. After this (having
a deal of mercury in his natural temper) he traveled to

* See Felt s History of Salem, vol. i.



NEWSPAPER LITERATURE. J

New-England, where he followed bookselling, and then
coffee-selling, and then printing, but continued Ben
Harris still, and is now both bookseller and printer in
Grace Church Street, as we find by Ms London Post ;
so that his conversation is general (but never imperti
nent) and his wit pliable to all inventions. But yet his
vanity, if he has any. gives no alloy to his wit, and is no
more than might justly spring from conscious virtue ;
and I do him but justice in this part of his character, for
in once traveling with him from Bury Fair, I found him
to be the most ingenious and innocent companion, that I
had ever met with." *

Harris s commission to print the Laws was placed
on the page opposite to the title, in the words following :

By his Excellency. I order Benjamin Harris to print the Acts
and Laws made by the Great and General Court, or Assembly of Their
Majesties Province of Massachusetts-Bay in New-England, that we the
People may be informed thereof.

WILLIAM PHIPPS.

Boston, December 16, 1692.

* History of Printing-, vol. i. 2S7-9.



THE BOSTON NEWS-LETTER.



THE first newspaper established in North-America,
was the Boston News-Letter, the first number of which
appeared on Monday, April 24, 1704. It was a half
sheet of paper, in size about twelve inches by eight ;
made up in two pages folio, with two columns on each
page. Under the title, which is in Roman letters of
the size called, by printers, French Canon, are the words
" printed by authority," in Old English, or Black let
ter. The imprint is " Boston ; Printed by 7?. Green.
Sold by Nicholas Boone, at his Shop near the Old Meet-
ing-House." From the annexed advertisement, the
only one which the paper contains, it is safe to infer
that the proprietor was John Campbell :

This News-Letter is to be continued Weekly ; and all Persons who
have any Houses, Lands, Tenements, Farms, Ships, Vessels, Goods,
Wares, or Merchandizes, &c. to be Sold, or Let; or Servants Run-away,
or Goods Stole or Lost ; may have the same inserted at a Reasonable
Rate, from Twelve Pence, to Five Shillings, and not to exceed : Who
may agree with John Campbel Postmaster of Boston.

All Persons in Town and Country may have said News-Letter every
Week, Yearly, upon reasonable terms, agreeing with John Campbel, Post
master for the same.



BOSTON NEWS-LETTER. 5

From its commencement to November 3, 1707, the
News-Letter was printed by Bartholomew Green. From
that date to October 2, 1711, it was " Printed by John
Allen in Pudding-Lane.* And Sold at the Post-Office,
in Cornhill." At that time, the post-office and Allen s
printing-office were destroyed by fire, and the paper was
again printed by B. Green, " for John Campbell, Post
master," till the end of the year 1722.

Of the personal history of John Campbell, I am not
aware that any thing is known, except that he " was a
Scotchman, a bookseller, and postmaster in Boston."
If his literary accomplishments should be estimated by
the evidence furnished in the columns of his paper,
they were not of a high order. The contents of the
News-Letter, during the whole of his proprietorship, are
chiefly extracts from London papers. The little, that has
the appearance of having been written by the editor, is
clumsily composed, with no regard to punctuation or
grammatical construction. His own advertisements con
cerning the business relations between him and his cus
tomers form the principal portion of all, that may be
considered as original matter. The extracts, which fol
low, taken almost at random are specimens of the style
of his composition.

During the several years from its commencement, it
is evident, from Campbell s frequent and importunate
calls upon the public, that the News-Letter had but
feeble support, and limited circulation. The following
advertisement is taken from the paper of May 12, 1707,
more than three years after the publication was begun :

* Now Devonshire-street.



6 BOSTON NEWS-LETTER.

At the perswasion of several Gentlemen, Merchants and others, both
in this and the Neighbouring Provinces, who are sensible of the want of
this Publick Letter of Intelligence for both Foreign and Domestic
Occurrences; the Undertaker has once more attempted to Print the
same in hopes that all Persons who loves a Publick Good will one way
or other put to their helping hand, to Promote and Support it, that the
same may not only be carryed on a fourth year, but also continued for
the future.

And all Persons in Town and Countiy who have a mind to encourage
the same, may have the said Letter of Intelligence every Week by the
year upon reasonable Terms, agreeing with John Campbell Post-master
of Boston.

Tis taken for granted that all such who had this Letter of Intelligence
last year, and have not forbid the same, will be still willing to take it at
the Price which others give : If any are of a contrary mind, let them
signify it, and we shall forbear sending it to them.

The Undertaker has also been advised to carry on the Occurrences
where they were left off, and tis hoped that fourteen days will retrieve
the same.

At the close of the fourth year, Campbell repeated his
appeal to the public in more importunate terms than
before. " All Persons in Town and Country," who had
not already paid for the fourth year, were desired " to
pay or send it in : with their resolution if they would
have it continued and proceeded in for a fifth year, (Life
permitted :) though there has not as yet appeared a
competent number to take it annually so as to enable
the Undertaker to carry it on effectually ; yet he is still
willing to proceed with it, if those gentlemen that have
the last year lent their helping hand to support it, con
tinue still of the same mind another year, in hopes that
those who have been backward to promote such a Pub-
lick Good will at last set in with it."

In January, 1719, Campbell proposed publishing his
paper on a whole sheet, " because," as he said, he found
it impossible, " with half a sheet a week to carry on all



JOHN CAMPBELL. 7

the Publick News of Europe." The project does not
seem to have fulfilled his expectations ; for, a few months
afterwards, he again laid his grievances before the public,
in language, which could leave no doubt that he was suf
fering sore disappointment :

The Undertaker of this News-Letter, the 1 2th January last being the
Second Week of this Currant Years Intelligence gave then Intimation
that after 14 (now upwards of 15) years experience, it was impossible
with half a Sheet a Week to carry on all the Publick Occurrences of
Europe, with those of this, our Neighbouring Provinces, and the West
Indies. To make up which Deficiency, and the News Newer and more
acceptable, he has since Printed every other Week a Sheet, whereby
that which seem d Old in the former half Sheets, becomes New now by
the Sheet, which is easy to be seen by any One who will be at the pains
to trace back former years, and even this time 12 Months, we Avere then
13 Months behind with the Foreign News beyond Great Britain, and
now less than Five Months, so that by the Sheet we have retrieved about
8 months since January last, and any One that has the News-Letter
since that time, to January next (life permitted) will be accommodated
with all the News of Europe, &c. contained in the Publick Prints of
London that are needful for to be known in these Parts. And in regard
the Undertaker had not suitable encouragement, even to Print half a
Sheet Weekly, seeing that he cannot vend 300 at an Impression, tho
some ignorantly concludes he Sells upwards of a Thousand ; far less is
he able to Print a Sheet every other Week, without an Addition of 4, 6,
or 8 Shillings a Year, as eveiy one thinks fit to give payable Quarterly,
which will only help to pay for Press and Paper, giving his Labour for
nothing. And considering the great Charge he is at for several Setts of
Publick Prints, by sundry Vessels from London, with the Price of Press,
Paper, Labour, carrying out the News Papers, and his own Trouble, in
collecting and composing, &c. It is afforded by the Year, or by the
Piece or Paper, including the difference of money far cheaper than in
England, where they Sell several Hundreds nay Thousands of Copies
to a very small number vended here. Such therefore as have not
already paid for the half Year past the last Monday of June, are hereby
desired to send or pay in the same to John Campbell at his House in
Cornhill, Boston. August 10, 1719.

It does not appear that Campbell was relieved of his
embarrassments by these urgent representations of his



8 BOSTON NEWS-LETTER.

discouraging circumstances. About this time a new
postmaster was appointed, who, in December, 1719,
began the publication of another paper. Campbell was
much annoyed by his removal from office, and perhaps
equally so by the setting up of a rival newspaper. He
again addressed his customers, stating that he began his
" Publick Letter of Intelligence near upon sixteen years
ago, and ever since continued Weekly with Universal Ap
probation," &,c., " for the Interest and advantage of the
Post-Office, Gentlemen, Merchants and others, both in
Town and Country ; and preventing a great many false
Reports." In a similar style he continued to address
the public, two or three times a year, as long as he re
mained proprietor of the News-Letter.

The establishment of a third newspaper, The New-
England Courant, by James Franklin, in 1721, was
another annoyance to Campbell, and produced a " paper
war," which lasted as long as he was connected with
the News-Letter. In his address to the public, Frank
lin, it seems, intimated that the News-Letter was " a dull
vehicle of intelligence." The imputation roused Camp
bell s temper, and imparted a spark or two of vitality to
his paper. He defended himself against Franklin s
charge in this wise, in the News-Letter of August 14 :

03^ On Monday last the 7th Currant, came forth a Third Newspaper
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 style should offend his readers ; wherein with sub
mission (I speak for the Publisher of this Intelligence, whose endeav
ours has always been to give no offence, not meddling with things out
of his Province.) 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,



JOHN CAMPBELL. 9

very Dull, Misrepresenting my candid endeavours (according to the
Talent of my Capacity and Education ; not soaring above my Sphere)
in giving a true and genuine account of all Matters of Fact, both For
eign and Domestick, as comes any way well Attested, for these Seven
teen Years & an half past. It is often observed, a bright Morning is
succeeded by a dark Rainy Day, and so much Mercury in the beginning
may end in Album Grcecum. And seeing our New Gentleman seems to
be a Scholer of Academical Learning, (which I pretend not to, the
more my unhappiness ; and too late to say, mihi p7~ceteritos referat si
Jupiter Annos) and better qualified to perform a work of this Nature,
for want whereof out of a Design for publick good made me at first at
the Sollicitation of several Gentlemen, Merchants, and Others, come
into it, according to the Proverb, thinking that half a Loafe was better
than no Bread ; often wishing and desiring in Print that such a one
would undertake it, and then no one should sooner come into it and
pay more Yearly to carry it on than this Publisher, and none appearing
then, nor since, (others being judges) to excell him in their perform
ances, made him to continue. And our New Publisher being a Scholler
and Master, he should (me thinks) have given us (whom he terms low,
flat and dull) Admonition and told one and the other wherein our Dul-
ness lay, (that we might be better Proficients for the future, Whither
in reading, hearing, or pains taking, to write, gather, collect and insert
the Publick Occurrences) before publick Censure, and a good example
to copy and write after, and not tell us and the World at his first setting
out, that he ll be like us in doing as we have done. Turpe est Doctori
cum culpa redarguit ipsum. And now all my Latin being spent except
ing what I design always to remember Nemo sine crimine vivit. I pro
mise for my part so soon as he or any Scholler will Undertake my hitherto
Task, arid Endeavours, giving proof that he will not be very, very Dull,
I shall not only desist for his Advantage, but also so far as capable
Assist such a good Scribe.

It is to be regretted that the early numbers of Frank
lin s paper are not to be found, and that no trace can be
discovered of either the address, which called forth the
defence of Campbell, or Franklin s reply, which appeared
in the Courant of the next week. That his reply was
caustic and severe is evident from Campbell s rejoinder,
which came out in the News-Letter of August 28, as
follows :



10 BOSTON NEWS-LETTER.



. C. to Jack Dullman sendeth Greeting.
Sir, What you call a Satyrical Advertisement was a just Vindica
tion of my News-Letter, from some unfair Reflections, in your Introduc
tion to your first Courant ; Your reply in hobling Verse, had they more
Eeasoii and less Railing might possibly have inclined me to think you
was some Man of great Learning, or as you please to Word it, a
Meikle Man ; but Railery is the talent of a mean Spirit, and not to be
returned by me. In honour to the Muses I dare not acknowledge your
Poem to be from Parnassus ; but as a little before the Composure you
had been Rakeing in the Dunghill, its more probable the corrupt Steams



Online LibraryJoseph T. (Joseph Tinker) BuckinghamSpecimens of newspaper literature : with personal memoirs, anecdotes, and reminiscences → online text (page 1 of 56)