"It is designed, that the Countrey shall be furnished once a moneth (or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener,) with an Account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice."

The first American newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, published one issue on Thursday September 25, 1690 before being shut down. The man behind that issue was one Benjamin Harris, a former publisher of a newspaper in London as well as Whig pamphlets.

After several charges of sedition, he emigrated to Boston and became a successful businessman. Eventually he accumulated enough capital to print a new paper, and of course immediately ran afoul of the authorities. He decried the treatment of French captives at the hands of England's allies, the Indians. (SEE French and Indian War)

In response to these allegations, the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued an order that read:
"Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, Septemb. 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons ffor the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same."

The first to print. The first to be censored. You can view a scan of Publick Occurences at http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/academics/courses/is182/s01/second2.html.



SOURCES:
18th-Century American Newspapers in the Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/18th/200.html. Library of Congress. 09/03/04
Newspapers in the BPL. http://www.bpl.org/research/microtext/newsbpl.htm. Boston Public Library. 09/03/04

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.