What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 205 years ago today?
“This Paper compleats the 14th Year since its first Publication.”
Daniel Fowle and Robert Fowle, the printers of the New-Hampshire Gazette, made the usual updates to the masthead for the September 28, 1770, edition. It included the full title, The New-Hampshire Gazette, and Historical Chronicle, and advised readers that it “CONTAIN[ED] the Freshest ADVICES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.” A woodcut depicting a lion and unicorn, symbols of the United Kingdom, appeared in the center, along with the initials G.R. for George Rex, the king. Despite tensions with Parliament due to the Townshend Acts and other abuses, colonists continued to identify as members of the British Empire loyal to George III. Like most other newspapers printed in the colonies, the volume and issue number also adorned the masthead. The September 28 edition was part of “VOL. XIV.” The Fowles listed the issue as “NUM. 728” and, unlike most other printers, explained that number indicated how many “Weeks since this Paper was first Publish’d.” They added one additional item to the masthead to mark a milestone in the history of the newspaper’s publication. “This PAPER compleats the fourteenth Year of” the New-Hampshire Gazette, that notation informed readers.
The Fowles noted this milestone elsewhere in the issue as well. Those “Freshest ADVICES” included advertisements that delivered news and other information, among them notices from the printers. The Fowles gave their advertisement a privileged place, positioning first among the advertisements and immediately following the shipping news from the customs house. “As this Paper compleats the 14th Year since its first Publication,” the Fowles addressed readers, “it is desir’d, that those who are in Arrears, would pay off immediately, that it may be determin’d, whether it will be worth while to send any more to those who are so very delinquent.” The Fowles simultaneously celebrated their accomplishment and an important milestone in the history of their newspaper while also warning subscribers who had not paid their bills to remedy the situation or they would not receive additional issues on credit. The end of one year and the start of another was a good opportunity for the Fowles to settle accounts and make sure all was in order.