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Before the year 1719, only one newspaper was printed in the British North American colonies. It was published at Boston; and, on the 21st of December, in that year, the second American journal appeared at the same place. On the following day the third paper was brought forward in the capital of this province.


In 1760, there were only three newspapers published in that city, viz: two in English, and one in the German language. In 1762, two English and two German papers existed; one of the latter was afterwards discontinued; and from that time until the year 1773, only three papers, two

, English and one German, were printed in Philadelphia.

The first newspaper in Pennsylvania was entitled,

No. I.

JUeekly Mercury.
TUESDAY, December, 22, 1719.

It was printed on a half sheet of pot. Imprint, “Philadelphia: Printed by Andrew Bradford, and Sold by him and John Copson.May 25, 1721,Copson's name was

i The Boston Gazette. 2 Copson at that time opened the first insurance office in Philadelphia.


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omitted in the imprint, which was altered thus — “Philadelphia : Printed and Sold by Andrew Bradford, at the BIBLE in Second Street; and also by William Bradford in New York, where Advertisements are taken in.” William Bradford's name as a vender of the Mercury in New York, was omitted in December, 1725. In January, 1730, an addition was made to the imprint, viz.“ Price 10s. per Annum. All sorts of Printing Work done cheap, and old Books neatly bound.” In 1738, it was printed in “ Front Street,” to which he transferred his sign of the Bible.

The Mercury occasionally appeared on a whole sheet of pot, from types of various sizes, as small pica, pica and english. It was published weekly, generally on Tuesday, but the day of publication was varied. In January, 1743, the day of the week is omitted; and it is dated from January 18 to January 27; after that time it was conducted with more stability.

In No. 22, two cuts, coarsely engraven, were introduced, one on the right, and the other on the left of the title; the one on the left, was a small figure of Mercury, bearing his caduceus; he is represented walking, with extended wings; the other is a postman riding full speed. The cuts were sometimes shifted, and Mercury and the postman exchanged places.

The Mercury of December 13, 1739, was “ Printed by Andrew and William Bradford,” and on September 11, 1740, it had a new head, with three figures, well executed; on the left was Mercury; in the centre a town, intended, I suppose, to represent Philadelphia; and, on the right, the postman on horseback; the whole formed a parrallelogram, and extended across the page from margin to margin. This partnership continued only eleven months, when the Mercury was again printed by Andrew Bradford alone. The typography of the Mercury was equal to that of Franklin's Gazette.

Andrew Bradford died November 23, 1742, and the next Mercury, dated December 2, appeared in mourning. The paper was suspended one week, on account of the death of Bradford ; therefore the first paper, “ published by the widow Bradford,” I contained an extra half sheet. The tokens of mourning were continued six weeks.

The widow entered into partnership with Isaiah Warner, and the Mercury of March 1, 1743, bears this imprint, “Printed by Isaiah Warner and Cornelia Bradford.” Warner, in an introductory advertisement, informed the public, that the paper would be conducted by him.

Cornelia Bradford resumed the publication, October 18, 1744, and carried it on in her own name till the end of 1746. It was, I believe, soon after discontinued. The Mercury was well printed on a good type, during the whole time she had the management of it.

The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences;

And Pennsylvania Gazette. This was the second newspaper established in the province; it has been continued under the title of the Pennsylvania Gazette to the present time, and is now (1810), the oldest newspaper in the United States.

No. 1 was published December 24, 1728, by Samuel Keimer, on a small sheet, pot size, folio. In No. 2 the publisher adopted the style of the quakers, and dated it, “The 2d of the 11th mo. 1728.” The first and second pages of each sheet were generally occupied with extracts from Chambers's Dictionary; this practice was continued until the 25th of the 7th mo., 1729, in which the article Air concludes the extracts.

1 Andrew Bradford's widow, Cornelia. [No monument marks the place of Bradford's burial. See Jones's Address on Andrew Bradford, pp. 28– 31.--M.]

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When the paper had been published nine months, the printer had not procured one hundred subscribers.

Franklin, soon after he began business, formed the design of publishing a newspaper, but was prevented by the sudden appearance of this Gazette ; he was greatly disappointed; and, as he observes, used his endeavors to bring it into contempt. He was successful, and the publisher, being obliged to relinquish it, for a trifling consideration resigned it to Franklin. At this time, Franklin was in partnership with Hugh Meredith ; they began printing this paper with No. 40, and published it a few weeks on Mondays and Thursdays, on a whole or half sheet, pot, as occasion required. The price “ten shillings per annum.” The first part of the title they expunged, and called their paper The Pennsylvania Gazette. “ Containing the freshest Advices Foreign and Domestick.” The Gazette, under their management, gained reputation, but until Franklin obtained the appointment of post-master, Bradford's Mercury had the largest circulation; after this event, the Gazette had a full proportion of subscribers and of advertising custom, and it became very profitable.

Meredith and Franklin separated in May, 1732. Franklin continued the Gazette, but published it only once a week. In 1733, he printed it on a crown half sheet, in quarto. Imprint, “ Philadelphia : Printed by B. Franklin, Post-Master, at the New Printing-Office near the Market. Price 10s. a year.

Where Advertisements are taken in, and Book-Binding is done reasonably in the best manner.' In 1741, he enlarged the size to a demy quarto, half sheet, and added a cut of the Pennsylvania arms in the title. In 1745, he returned to foolscap, folio. In 174; the Gazette was published“By B. Franklin, Postmaster, and D. Hall;" it was enlarged to a whole sheet, crown, folio; and afterwards, by a great increase of advertisements, to a sheet, and often to a sheet and a half, demy. On the 9th of May,


1754, the device of a snake, divided into parts, with the motto, “ Join or die,” I believe, first appeared in this paper. It accompanied an account of the French and Indians having killed and scalped many of the inhabitants in the frontier counties of Virginia and Pennsylvania. The account was published with this device, with a view to rouse the British colonies, and cause them to unite in effectual measures for their defence and security against the common enemy. The snake was divided into eight parts, to represent, first, New England ; second, New York; third, New Jersey; fourth, Pennsylvania; fifth, Maryland ; sixth, Virginia; seventh, North Carolina; and eighth, South Carolina. The account and the figures appeared in several other papers, and had a good effect.

The Gazette was put into mourning October 31, 1765, on account of the stamp act, passed by the British parliament, which was to take effect the next day. From that time until the 21st of November following, the publication of it was suspended. In the interim, large handbills, as substitutes, were published, headed “Remarkable Occurrences,” “No Stamped paper to be had,” &c. When revived, it was published without an imprint until February 6, 1766; it then appeared with the name of David Hall only, who now became the proprietor and the printer of it.' In May following, it was published by Hall & Sellers, who continued it until 1772, when Hall died, but was succeeded by his sons; and the firm of Hall & Sellers continued, and the Gazette was published until 1777, when, on the approach of the British army, the publishers retired from Philadelphia, and the publication was suspended while the British possessed the city. On the evacuation of Philadelphia the Gazette was again revived, and published once a week until the death of Sellers, in 1804.

1 See account of Franklin and Hall, vol. 1, p. 235.

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