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printed at the royal press, and sold at the King's PrintingOffice in Kingston.”
David Douglas, a Scotchman, was manager of the American theatre before the revolution;' and after the commencement of hostilities, he came to Jamaica. He was a scholar, and a man of talents and integrity. Here he was patronized by the governor, and appointed with Aikman printer to the king, in Jamaica, a lucrative office; he was also appointed master in chancery, and commissioned as a magistrate. It has been said, that in a few years he acquired, with reputation, by these offices, a fortune of twentyfive thousand pounds sterling. He died in Spanishtown in 1786.
Printing was introduced to this island as early as 1730, and a newspaper was first published in 1731. There was no other press in the Caribbee islands for several years subsequent to that period.
David Harry. It is supposed that David Harry was the first who opened a printing house on the island. He served his apprenticeship, as we have elsewhere mentioned, with Keimer at Philadelphia, and succeeded him in business; but he left that city, and removed to Barbadoes with his press
1 The revolutionary war closed the theatres on this part of the continent. The players were few in number, and formed only two companies under the management of Douglas and Hallam. Douglas was for some years the principal manager both on the continent and in the West Indies. In 1758, he, with his company, called The American Company of Comedians, performed for the first time at New York in a sail loft, on Cruger's wharf, to an audience said to have been very brilliant. The theatres before 1775, were temporary wooden buildings, little better than barns. The first play publicly performed in New England, was by Douglas and his company at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1762.
about the year 1730. At Bridgetown, Harry found Keimer, and obtained his assistance in the printing house; so that, as Dr. Franklin remarks, “the master became the journeyman of his former apprentice."
Business, it seems, did not suit Harry better in Barbadoes than in Philadelphia ; on the contrary, he became more dissipated, and his profits from printing were not equal to his expenditures. In a few months he sold his printing materials, and returned to Philadelphia.
[See vol. I, pp. 240-41.] SAMUEL KEIMER, to whom Benjamin Franklin was several years a journeyman in Philadelphia, removed from that city to this island. He sold his press and types to Harry before he left Philadelphia. Harry then sold them to Keimer, as has been stated, who resumed business, and published a newspaper at Bridgetown in 1731, entitled,
The Barbadoes Gazette.
This was the first newspaper published in the Caribbee islands, and the first known to have been published twice a week, for any considerable time, in any part of America.
, This, however, finally became a weekly journal. It was continued by Keimer until the end of 1738; and he soon after died. The Gazette was published many years after his death by those who succeeded to his business.
In 1733 Keimer was presented by the grand jury of the island for publishing, in the Barbadoes Gazette, a defamatory libel on Mr. Adams, one of the king's council. The attorney general, on that occasion, declared that there was not anything in the publication complained of, which could justify a prosecution under the criminal law, yet Keimer was bound to keep the peace during six months.'
A work was published in London in 1741, in two volumes quarto, chiefly selected from this Gazette, entitled, Caribbeana; a Collection of Essays, doc., “from a paper carried on several years at Barbadoes.”
Franklin has informed us that Keimer was a poet. I have met with one of his poetical essays in the Barbadoes Mercury, and insert it as a specimen of his poetical talents, and for the information it contains respecting the encouragement given in his time to the typographic art by the colonial government on this continent. It is as follows:
From the Barbados Gazette of May 4, 1734. " TO THOSE WOU'D-BE THOUGHT GENTLEMEN, WHO HAVE LONG
TAKEN THIS PAPER, AND NEVER PAID FOR IT, AND SEEM NEVER TO DESIGN TO PAY FOR IT.
“ The Sorrowful Lamentation of SAMUEL KEIMER, Printer of the
Barbados Gazette. What a pity it is that some modern Bravadoes, Who dub themselves Gentlemen here in Barbadoes, Should, Time after Time, run in Debt to their Printer, And care not to pay him in Summer or Winter ! A Saint by the Hairs of his Beard, had he got 'em, Might be tempted to swear [instead of P-x rot 'em.] He ne'er found before such a Parcel of Wretches, With their Flams, and such Shuffles, Put-offs and odd Fetches. If This is their Honesty, That be their Honour, Amendment seize One; for the Last,- Fie upon her. In Penn's 1 Wooden Country, Type feels no disaster, Their Printer is rich, and is made their post-master; His Father, a Printer, is paid for his work, And wallows in Plenty, just now at New York, Tho' quite past his Labour, and old as my Grannum, The Government pays him Pounds Sixty per Annum. In Maryland's Province, as well as Virginia To Justice and Honour, I am, Sirs to win ye,
Their Printer 1 Im sure can make it appear,
GEORGE ESMAND & COMPANY. This firm in 1762 opened a second Printing house at Bridgetown, and began the publication of
The Barbadoes Mercury.
It was published weekly, on Saturday; printed with long primer types, on a crown sheet, folio. Imprint, “Bridge-Town, Printed by George Esmand and Comp. at the new Printing-Office, in Back-Church-Street. Price one Pistole per Annum."
The memorable stamp act took effect in this island in 1765, and the Mercury was printed on stamped paper.
In 1771, the firm was Esmand & Walker.
George Esmand died in November, 1771, and William Walker in February, 1773.
The Mercury was continued after the year, 1794.
1 William Parks, who printed for both colonies.
Lewis Timothy then printed for the government of South Carolina. * This expression seems to imply that the printer in Jamaica at that time was a female.
Printing was brought to this island as early as 1746, and may have been introduced two or three years sooner. There were two printing houses established before 1775.
Thomas Howe. He probably was the first printer, and settled at Basseterre. Howe printed the laws, and did other work for government; and, in 1747, published
The St. Christopher Gazette. This paper was continued until after the year 1775. Howe was a native of Ireland, and lived to old age.
SAMUEL JONES was a printer and postmaster at Basseterre before 1757, and published a newspaper. He died in London in 1762, after an illness of eight days, of inflammation of the lungs.
EDWARD Dubson, printed after Jones, and was in business after 1767, at Basseterre.
DANIEL Thibou, had a printing house on this island in 1769, and in that year printed the acts of assembly, from 1711 to 1769. He printed several other works.
The St. Christopher Gazette. A second newspaper bearing this title was published at Basseterre. The Gazette printed November 19, 1785, is numbered 693, vol. vir. It then had this imprint, “Basse
, . terre, Saint Christopher, Printed by Edward L. Low in Cayon-Street, No. 84.”