The Constitutional Courant.

After the American stamp act was passed by the British parliament, and near the time it was to be put in operation, a political paper was privately printed in Woodbridge, which attracted much notice. It was entitled The Constitutional Courant, containing Matters interesting to Libertybut no wise repugnant to Loyalty.” Imprint, “Printed by Andrew Marvel, at the Sign of the Bribe refused, on Constitution-Hill, North America.” In the centre of the

' title was a device of a snake, cut into parts, to represent the colonies. Motto — “Join or die.” After the title, followed an address to the public from the fictitious printer and publisher, Andrew Marvel. This paper was without date, but was printed in September, 1765. It contained several well written and spirited essays against the obnoxious stamp act, which were so highly colored, that the editors of newspapers in New York, even Holt, declined to publish them. See Appendix L.

A large edition'was printed, secretly forwarded to New York, and there sold by hawkers selected for the purpose. It had a rapid sale, and was, I believe, reprinted there, and at Boston. It excited some commotion in New York, and was taken notice of by government. A council was called, and holden at the fort in that city, but as no discovery was made of the author or printer, nothing was done. One of the council demanded of a hawker named Lawrence Sweeney, “where that incendiary paper was printed ?” Sweeney, as he had been instructed, answered, “ At Peter Hassenclever's iron-works, please your honor.” Peter Hassenclever was a wealthy German, well known as the owner of extensive iron works in New Jersey. Afterwards,

other publications of a like kind frequently appeared with an imprint, “Printed at Peter Hassenclever's iron-works.”

Only one number of the Constitutional Courant' was published ; a continuance of it was never intended. It was printed by William Goddard, at Parker's printing bouse in Woodbridge, Goddard having previously obtained Parker's permission occasionally to use his press.

This political paper was handsomely commended in some of the periodical works published in England, after the repeal of the stamp act.

See Buckingham's Reminiscences, 1, 246. There is a copy of this paper in the University library, at Cambridge.-M.


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.

Queekly 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. Copson at that time opened the first insurance office in Philadelphia.

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, 1748, 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.

Andrew Bradford's widow, Cornelia. [No monument marks the place of Bradford's burial. See Jones's Address on Andrew Bradford, pp. 2831.-M.)

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