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Author of “The True George Washington," "The Honorable Peter Stirling," etc.


IRTUE and a Trade, are a Child's best tice, who was easily found in his brother

Portion,” said Poor Richard, and he not Benjamin, though not so easily bound, for the merely claimed, “He that hath a Trade, hath lad had a “hankering for the sea,” and so an Estate,” but “He that has a Trade has an objected to being apprenticed to the more Office of Profit and Honour.” Through all humdrum life of printer's devil. “I stood Franklin's life, he never missed an opportu- out some time,” he relates, “but at last was nity to praise the workman, be his calling persuaded and signed the indentures when I what it might, and nowhere did he show was but twelve years old. I was to serve as more pride than in his own particular handi- an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of craft.

age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's Printing was not a family “mystery," as wages during the last year. In a little time it was then termed, of the Franklins, they I made great proficiency in the business and having hitherto been blacksmiths, dyers, or became a very useful hand to my brother.” soap-makers. But Josiah, with ten boys to It was certainly good fortune which secured place in the world, had to seek other crafts, him the instruction of a master printer of and James Franklin was sent to London, London training instead of some slovenly presumptively to his uncle Benjamin, and self-taught colonial, for, as Poor Richard rethere apprenticed to a printer. His time marked, “Learn of the skilful: He that out, he purchased a press and types, and teaches himself hath a fool for his master." returning to Boston in March, 1717, estab It is to be questioned if the first years of lished “his Printing House in Queen Street, the apprenticeship were of any particular near the Prison,"otherwise described as “over value to Benjamin, save on their mechanic against Mr. Mills Schools.” Thanks to his side, for the product of James Franklin's English training, probably, he was a good press is a dreary lot of “gone-nothingness.” workman, and the issues of his press rank A few of the New England sermons of the among the best of American printing of his day; Stoddard's “Treatise on Conversion"; time. From the first he seems to have pros- Stone's “Short Catechism”; “A Prefatory pered, and within a year needed an appren- Letter about Psalmody," in defense of

Copyright, 1899, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.

church singing, which many Puritans still material, James Franklin, though“ dissuaded held to be unholy; an allegory styled "The by some of his friends from the undertaking, Isle of Man, or, Legal Proceedings in Man- as not likely to succeed, one newspaper being, shire Against Sin”; Care's “English Liber- in their judgment, enough for America,” on ties"; sundry pamphlets on the local politics August 7, 1721, issued the first number of of the moment, such as “A Letter from One “The New England Courant,” which he in the Country to his Friend in Boston,” promised should“ be published once a Fort“News from the Moon,” “ A Friendly Check night, and out of meer Kindness to my from a Kind Relation to the Chief Cannon- Brother-Writers, I intend now and then to neer,” and “A Word of Comfort to a Melan- be (like them) very, very dull; for I have a choly Country"; two or three tractates on strong Fancy, that unless I am sometimes inoculation, and one aimed half at the Bos- flat and low, this paper will not be very ton clergy and half at the fair sex, entitled grateful to them.” The dullness was to be “Hooped Petticoats Arraigned by the Light only one feature of the new venture, howof Nature and the Law of God,” were the ever, for the “Publisher earnestly desires his chief output of the new printer during the Friends may favor him from time to time with years his brother served him.

some short Piece, Serious, Sarcastick, LudiIn 1719 a more interesting job was under- crous, or otherways amusing; or sometimes taken, for the postmaster of Boston em- professedly Dul (to accomodate some of his Acployed James Franklin to print for him the quaintance) that this Courant may be of the “Boston Gazette,” the third paper issued in more universal Use." America. The contract was a short one, for This prospectus was taken in bad part the appointment of a new official led to other by the already established journals, and one changes, and the printer, having supplied his irate rival addressed an open letter to “Jack office with what was needful for a newspaper Dullman,” taking him to task for his “very and trained his men in the work, found him- very frothy fulsome Account of himself”; a self left in the lurch. Partly in retaliation, reproof the printer acknowledged in a joking and partly to utilize this experience and poem which still more deeply stirred the ob

jector, and led him to reply to what he termed "Franklin's hobbling Verse," which came not “from Parnassus; but as a little before the Composure you had been rakeing in the Dunghill, its more probable the corrupt Streams got into your Brains, and your Dull cold Skul precipitated them into Ribaldry."

In his appeal for subscribers,“ The Undertaker” of the “Courant” pledged himself that nothing should be inserted “reflecting on the Clergy (as such) of whatever Denomination, nor relating to the Affairs of Government, and no Trespass against Decency or good manners.” As already told, however, the “Courant” was quickly breaking lances with the most prominent of the Boston clergy, and within a twelvemonth of its beginning it printed an article which by implication threw discredit on the civil authorities. For this “Scandalous Libel” James Franklin was, by order of the council, taken into custody, publicly censured, and imprisoned for four weeks. Moreover, an attempt was made to pass a resolve that “no such Weekly Paper be hereafter Printed or

Published without the same being first peFRANKLIN WORKED IN WATTS's

rused and allowed by the Secretary,” but this PRINTING-OFFICE, LONDON, 1725. BY MRS. FELICIA M. TUCKER OF NEW YORK,

was rejected as too extreme.

The reproof and punishment were ineffecSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON.

tual, and the authorities complained that the





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(SEE PAGE 817.)

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