May 6

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy (May 4, 1772).

“The elegant POEM, which the Committee of the Town of Boston had voted unanimously to be Published with the ORATION.”

The May 4, 1772, edition of the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy carried a brief advertisement for “The elegant POEM, which the Committee of the Town of Boston had voted unanimously to be Published with the ORATION.”  The “ORATION” referred to the address that Dr. Joseph Warren delivered on the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre, an address already published and advertised in several newspapers in Boston and beyond.  Why, if “the Committee of the Town of Boston had voted unanimously” to publish it with Warren’s oration, had that not occurred?

The advertisement did not name the author of the poem, but many readers knew that James Allen wrote it.  Both the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society state that the poem “was suppressed due to doubts about Allen’s patriotism and later was republished by Allen’s friends, with extracts from another of his poems, as ‘The Retrospect.’”  That narrative draws on commentary that accompanied the poems as well as Samuel Kettell’sSpecimens of American Poetry (1829) and Evert A. Duyckinck and George L. Duyckinck’s Cyclopaedia of American Literature (1856).  More recently, Lewis Leary argues that Allen’s “friends” had motives other than commemorating the Bloody Massacre in King Street or demonstrating Allen’s patriotism in the wake of the committee composed of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and other prominent patriots reversing course about publishing the poem in the wake of chatter that called into question Allen’s politics.

According to Leary, Allen’s poem about the Boston Massacre and “The Retrospect” must be considered together, especially because “the extracts from ‘The Retrospect’ are unabashedly loyalist, praising Britain’s military force, her selfless defense of her colonies, and benevolent rule over them.”  Furthermore, the commentary by Allen’s supposed friends “does indeed clear ‘the authors character as to his politics’ and exhibits his ‘political soundness,’ but that character and that soundness are loyalist, not patriot.”[1]

Postscript to the Censor (May 2, 1772).

Significantly, Ezekiel Russell published the pamphlet that contained Allen’s poem, “The Retrospect,” and commentary from Allen’s “friends.”  He also published the Censor, a weekly political magazine that supported the British government and expressed Tory sympathies.  The Postscript that accompanied the final issue of the Censor included a much more extensive advertisement for Allen’s poem, one that included extracts from both the commentary and “The Retrospect.”  The portion of the commentary inserted in the advertisement describes how Allen “describes the triumphant March of the British Soldiers to the CAPITAL” and then “makes the following Reflections, which no less characterise their Humanity than their Heroism” in “The Retrospect.”  The advertisement praises the “ingeniousAUTHOR” for his “luxuriant Representations of the Valour and Achievement of the British Soldiery.”

Leary argues that Allen’s “friends” sought to discredit Adams, Hancock, and other patriots for being so easily fooled by his poem about the Boston Massacre that seemed to say what they wanted to hear.  In that regard, the “publication of his Poem and its antithetical counterpart seems to have been one among many minor skirmishes in the verbal battles between Tories and Patriots on the eve of the Revolution, in which skirmish Allen seems to have been more pawn than participant.”  To that end, the “purpose of his ‘friends’ seems clearly to have been to discomfit the committee for its vacillation on the publication of the poem and to expose patriot leaders in Boston as men who could be duped by a skillful manipulator of words.”  Allen’s “friends,” according to Leary, did seek to clarify his politics, but with the intention of “certify[ing] him, certainly to his embarrassment, a Loyalist clever enough to mislead his patriot townspeople.”[2]

Still, that may not tell the entire story.  Leary argues that “what evidence is available suggests that James Allen as a younger man, like many colonials, had been enthusiastically a loyal British subject, grateful for Britain’s protection of her colonies, but that after the horror of the massacre in Boston on March 5, 1770, had become at thirty-six a patriot who could bitterly challenge the British.”[3]  In 1785, Allen’s poem about the Boston Massacre appeared in a collection of orations that commemorated the event, including Warren’s address.  By then, the editors who compiled the anthology recognized that Allen wrote the poem “when his feelings, like those of every other free-born American were alive at the inhuman murders of their countrymen.”[4]  The controversy had passed, Allen’s poem no longer questioned as an insincere lamentation belied by his earlier work.

**********

[1] Lewis Leary, “The ‘Friends’ of James Allen, or, How Partial Truth Is No Truth at All,” Early American Literature 15, no. 2 (Fall 1980): 166-167.

[2] Leary, “‘Friends’ of James Allen,” 168-169.

[3] Leary, “‘Friends’ of James Allen,” 168.

[4] Quoted in Leary, “‘Friends’ of James Allen,” 170.

April 12

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter (April 9, 1772).

“The Second Edition.”

In the spring of 1772, Benjamin Edes and John Gill marked the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre by printing “AN ORATION DELIVERED MARCH 5th … TO COMMEMORATE THE BLOODY TRAGEDY Of the FIFTH of March, 1770.”  Dr. Joseph Warren gave the address to “the INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON.”  Edes and Gill advertised the pamphlet widely, starting with a lengthy notice in their own Boston-Gazette on March 23.  The next day, the Essex Gazette carried an advertisement alerting readers in Salem and nearby towns that Samuel Hall stocked copies of Warren’s oration “published in Boston.”  Over the next week, Edes and Gill ran advertisements in other newspapers, including the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter on March 26 and the Boston Evening-Post on April 1.

Did those advertisements work?  Perhaps.  Edes and Gill sold enough copies of Warren’s oration that they printed a second edition and began advertising it in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter on April 9.  Their new advertisement, much more extensive than the one that previously appeared in that newspaper, proclaimed that “The Second Edition” was “THIS DAY PUBLISHED … by EDES and GILL.”  It informed prospective customers that they could acquire the address for nine pence.  It also included two other details that appeared in Edes and Gill’s original advertisement in the Boston-Gazette but not in subsequent advertisements in other newspapers, a quotation in Latin by Virgil and a note that the printers also had on hand “A few of Mr. LOVELL’S ORATIONS Deliver’d last April, on the same Occasion.”  Why did Edes and Gill decide to include Lovell’s address from the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre in this new advertisement?  Did they believe that the advertisements in several newspapers incited such demand for the address that Warren recently delivered that they had a good chance of selling surplus copies of Lovell’s oration?  That Edes and Gill expanded their advertising campaign for “The Second Edition” of Warren’s oration suggests that they considered their first round of notices successful and effective.

April 1

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Boston Evening-Post (March 30, 1772).

“An ORATION … to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY.”

On the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre, Dr. Joseph Warren delivered “An ORATION … at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of BOSTON, to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY of the FIFTH of MARCH, 1770.”  Colonizers gathered to listen to the address, but attending that gathering was not their only means of participating in the commemoration of such a significant event.  Benjamin Edes and John Gill, printers of the Boston-Gazette, published Warren’s “ORATION” and marketed it widely in Massachusetts.

They placed their first advertisement in their own newspaper less than three weeks after Warren addressed “the Inhabitants of the Town.”  Their lengthy notice in the March 23, 1772, edition of the Boston-Gazette included an extensive excerpt about “the ruinous Consequences of standing Armies to free Communities.”  Edes and Gill also stated that they stocked “A few of Mr. LOVELL’S ORATIONS Deliver’d last April, on the same Occasion.”  Prospective customers had an opportunity to collect memorabilia related to the “FATAL FIFTH OF MARCH 1770.”  The following day, Samuel Hall, one of the printers of the Essex Gazette, informed readers that he sold copies of Warren’s address “published in Boston.”  His advertisement did not include an excerpt from the address, nor did subsequent advertisements that Edes and Gill placed in other newspapers in Boston.  They inserted a brief notice in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter on March 26 and then repeated it in the Boston Evening-Post on March 30.

Edes and Gill advertised widely.  That increased the chances that consumers would see their notices and contemplate purchasing copies of Warren’s “ORATION,” but those patriot printers likely aimed for more than generating sales.  Their advertisements in several newspapers contributed to a culture of commemoration of the American Revolution years before the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord.  Their work in the printing office, publishing newspapers and marketing pamphlets that commemorated the Boston Massacre, played an important role in shaping public opinion as colonizers considered current events and the possibility of declaring independence.

March 26

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter (March 26, 1772).

“An ORATION … to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY.”

Encouragement to participate in the commemoration of the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre by purchasing a copy of the oration delivered by Joseph Warren to mark the occasion continued in the March 26, 1772, edition of the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter.  Three days earlier, Benjamin Edes and John Gill announced in their own newspaper, the Boston-Gazette, that they had just published “AN ORATION DELIVERED MARCH 5TH, 1772 … TO COMMEMORATE THE BLOODY TRAGEDY.”  The following day, a notice in the Essex Gazette, published in Salem, alerted readers that “Yesterday was published in Boston, and now to be sold by Samuel Hall … An ORATION … to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY.”  That advertisement was much shorter than the one in the Boston-Gazette.  Edes and Gill included a lengthy excerpt from Warren’s address in their notice as a means of inciting greater interest and enticing prospective customers.

As proprietors of the Boston-Gazette, Edes and Gill had access to as much space in that newspaper for promoting the goods and services available at their printing office as they wished.  On the other hand, they presumably had to pay to insert an advertisement in another newspaper, though they could have worked out some other arrangement with fellow printer Richard Draper when they advertised Warren’s oration in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter.  The advertisement in that newspaper was much shorter, consisting of only six lines without any of the excerpt about “the ruinous Consequences of standing Armies to free Communities.”  There may have been limits to what Draper was willing to publish, either paid or gratis.  After all, the excerpt from the oration amounted to an editorial even though it appeared among advertisements.  Draper’s newspaper tended to take a more supportive stance toward the British government, especially compared to the strident critiques that regularly ran in the Boston-Gazette.  Among the printers in Boston, Edes and Gill were some of the most ardent in supporting and promoting the Patriot cause.  For them to advertise “An ORATION … to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY” in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter at all had political significance likely not lost on readers.

March 24

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Essex Gazette (March 24, 1772).

“Yesterday was published in Boston … An ORATION … to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY.”

As soon as Benjamin Edes and John Gill informed readers of the Boston-Gazette that they published an oration that Joseph Warren delivered to commemorate the second anniversary of the “BLOODY TRAGEDY Of the FIFTH of March, 1770,” the printers of the Essex Gazette ran their own advertisement.  “Yesterday was published in Boston, and now to be sold by Samuel Hall, in Salem,” the notice announced, “An ORATION, delivered March 5th, 1772, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, to commemorate the BLOODY TRAGEDY of the Fifth of March, 1770.  By Dr. JOSEPH WARREN.”  That advertisement did not include the lengthy excerpt from the address that Edes and Gill included in their notice, but it did encourage consumers to participate in commemorating the Boston Massacre by purchasing their own copy of Warren’s remarks.

Not surprisingly, given its location, the Essex Gazette engaged in the most extensive remembrances of “Preston’s Massacre–in King-Street … In which Five Persons were killed, and Six wounded” of any newspaper published outside of Boston.  On the occasion of the second anniversary, the Halls devoted the entire first page of their newspaper to a memorial that honored the patriots who gave their lives and listed grievances against the “British Ministry” that “contrived and effected the Establishment of the late Standing Army” in Massachusetts.  In addition to such memorials, the Essex Gazette carried advertisements for commemorative items connected to the Boston Massacre.  Nearly a year before promoting Warren’s address, the Essex Gazette carried an advertisement for “A few of Mr. Lovell’s ORATIONS on the Massacre in Boston, to be sold by the Printer hereof.”  Residents of Salem and surrounding towns had an opportunity to purchase the same commemorative pamphlet printed and sold in Boston.  The commodification and marketing of the Boston Massacre helped to create a culture of commemoration of the Boston Massacre throughout the colony.  Colonizers who did not live in the busy port and could not witness Warren’s oration themselves read the Essex Gazette and the various newspapers printed in Boston.  When they did so, they read coverage of the commemorative events and encountered invitations to purchase their own copies of orations and other items related to the Boston Massacre, opportunities to partake in civic participation through consumption even if they could not attend in person.

March 23

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Boston-Gazette (March 23, 1772).

“AN ORATION … TO COMMEMORATE THE BLOODY TRAGEDY.”

Commemoration and commodification of the Boston Massacre commenced just weeks after British soldiers killed several colonizers when they fired into a crowd of protesters on March 5, 1770.  Paul Revere advertised “A PRINT containing a Representation of the late horrid Massacre in King-Street” in the March 26, 1770, edition of the Boston-Gazette.  He appropriated the image from a sketch done by Henry Pelham.  A week later, Pelham advertised “The Fruits of Arbitrary Power, An Original Print, representing the late horrid Massacre in King Street, taken from the Spot” in the April 2 edition of the Boston-Gazette.  A year later, colonizers in Boston determined that public orations should mark the event.  On April 2, 1771, James Lovell delivered “AN Oration … At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; To Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770.”  Not long after that, an advertisement in the April 15 edition of the Boston-Gazette promoted copies for colonizers to purchase.

In subsequent years, the annual oration occurred on March 5.  From 1771 through 1783, this commemorative event attracted more attention in Boston than Independence Day, but after the Treaty of Paris brought the Revolutionary War to an end July 4 became more widely recognized.  On the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre, Joseph Warren gave “AN ORATION … At the REQUEST of the INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON TO COMMEMORATE THE BLOODY TRAGEDY Of the FIFTH of March, 1770.”  An advertisement quickly appeared in the March 23 edition of the Boston-Gazette, filling nearly two-thirds of a column.  The advertisement occupied so much space because Benjamin Edes and John Gill, the patriot printers of both the Boston-Gazette and the oration, included an extensive excerpt about “the ruinous Consequences of standing Armies to free Communities.”  The printers hoped that by giving prospective customers a taste of what Warren had to say about the “tyranny and oppression” of an “armed soldiery” who “frequently insulted and abused” the residents of Boston that would entice them to purchase the oration and read more.  Doing so also gave them an opportunity to remember the “horrors of THAT DREADFUL NIGHT” and venerate “the mangled bodies of the dead” who perished as a result of the “barbarous caprice of the raging soldiery.”

At the end of the advertisement, Edes and Gill noted that they also stocked “A few of Mr. LOVELL’S ORATIONS Deliver’d last April, on the same Occasion.”  They made it easy for patriotic consumers to collect memorabilia associated with the Boston Massacre.  Commemoration and commodification of that event occurred simultaneously in the years before the colonies declared independence.

March 9

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (March 9, 1772).

“Will be celebrated, the Anniversary of the REPEAL OF THE STAMP-ACT.”

A manicule called attention to an announcement about an upcoming event, a dinner commemorating the repeal of the Stamp Act, when the organizers advertised it in the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury in March 1772.  “ON Wednesday the 18th,” the notice proclaimed, “at the House of Mr. DE LA MONTAGNIE, will be celebrated, the Anniversary of the REPEAL OF THE STAMP-ACT, by those Gentlemen, and their Friends, who associated there last Year.”  The gathering marked the sixth anniversary.  Even before colonizers declared independence, they established traditions for commemorating some of the events that caused the American Revolution.  In New York, they held annual dinners to celebrate colonial resistance that contributed to the repeal of the Stamp Act.  In Boston, colonizers gathered annually for orations about the Bloody Massacre in King Street.  In person and in print, colonizers participated in a culture of commemoration of the revolutionary era before the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.

The advertisement in the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury invited newcomers to join those who had previously celebrated.  It alerted “Gentlemen … who associated there last Year” to return, but also encouraged “their Friends” to attend the dinner held on the sixth anniversary of the king giving royal assent on March 18 to a resolution to repeal the Stamp Act passed by Parliament on February 21, 1766.  News of the repeal arrived in the colonies in May, inciting a round of celebrations at that time as well.  The advertisement for the annual gathering “at the House of Mr. DE LA MONTAGNIE” reminded readers, even those who did not intend to attend, that the anniversary was approaching.  It likely prompted many to recall the protests and the nonimportation agreements that colonizers organized in opposition to the Stamp Act as well as subsequent actions taken against the duties imposed on certain imported goods in the Townshend Acts.  Merely announcing a dinner held to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act served as an abbreviated editorial about politics and recent events.

April 29

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Boston-Gazette (April 29, 1771).

“INNOCENT BLOOD CRYING TO GOD FROM THE STREETS OF BOSTON.”

When ships from England arrived in American ports in the spring of 1771, they delivered news of reactions to George Whitefield’s death from the other side of the Atlantic.  The prominent minister died in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on September 30, 1770.  It took several weeks for news to reach England and even longer, given the difficulty and dangers of crossing the North Atlantic in winter, before colonists learned how that news was received.  In addition to newspaper accounts, colonists also received commemorative items produced in England, including sermons dedicated to the memory of the minister.  Yet that was not the only memorabilia associated with major news events that vessels from England carried to the colonies on the spring of 1771.  They also delivered items that commemorated the Boston Massacre.

Benjamin Edes and John Gill, printers of the Boston-Gazette, received a London edition of “INNOCENT BLOOD CRYING TO GOD FROM THE STREETS OF BOSTON,” a sermon “Occasioned by the HORRID MURDER” of several colonists “by a Party of Troops under the Command of Captain [THOMAS] PRESTON” on March 5, 1770.  John Lathrop, “Pastor of the Second Church in BOSTON,” gave the sermon on the Sunday following the Boston Massacre.  Lathrop or an associate apparently sent a manuscript copy to London.  Printers there took the sermon to press.  The sermon then crossed the Atlantic in the other direction.  When Edes and Gill received it, they published an American edition of a sermon originally delivered in their own city, further disseminating it to consumers in Boston and beyond.  In so doing, they expanded the simultaneous commemoration and commodification of the Boston Massacre already underway in the colonies.

Edes and Gill intended to place copies of Lathrop’s sermon in the hands of as many readers as possible.  They offered discounts to buyers who purchased a dozen or more copies for retail sales, though they also sold single copies.  As entrepreneurs, they wished to generate revenues, but that did not comprise their sole motivation.  Edes and Gill were perhaps the most vocal of Boston’s printers when it came to supporting the patriot cause.  Their newspaper provided extensive coverage of current events, both news accounts and editorials with a patriot slant, during the imperial crisis that culminated in the American Revolution.  Both profits and their principles likely guided their decision to print and distribute Lathrop’s sermon on “INNOCENT BLOOD CRYING TO GOD FROM THE STREETS OF BOSTON.”  In so doing, they helped cultivate a culture of remembrance of significant events.  For several years, colonists had been marking the anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act.  In 1771, residents of Boston commenced a new tradition of commemorating the Massacre on or near its anniversary.  Edes and Gill participated, printing both James Lovell’s oration occasioned by the first anniversary and Lathrop’s sermon delivered just days after the Boston Massacre.

March 11

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Boston-Gazette (March 11, 1771).

“The Feast of ST. PATRICK is to be celebrated, together with the Repeal of the STAMP-ACT.”

According to advertisements in the New-York Journal in February and March 1771, colonists began planning an event to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act several weeks in advance of March 18.  The organizers invited “all the Friends of LIBERTY” to Hampden Hall to mark the occasion “with proper Festivity.”  In early March, advertisements about a similar gathering appeared in the Boston-Gazette.  In that case, however, the organizers combined commemorations of the repeal of the Stamp Act with celebrating the “Feast of ST. PATRICK” at the Green Dragon tavern.

The advertisement ran twice in the Boston-Gazette, first on March 4 and a week later in the last issue prior to the important anniversary.  In neither issue was it the only act of commemoration of events that ultimately led to the American Revolution.  Several years before declaring independence, colonists marked anniversaries of significant events.  In the March 4 edition, Benjamin Edes and John Gill, printers of the Boston-Gazette, inserted an editorial about the Boston Massacre.  “To-morrow will be the anniversary of the fatal fifth of March 1770,” they proclaimed, “when Mess. Gray, Maverick, Caldwell, Car and Attucks, were slain by the Hands of Eight Soldiers, of the 29th Regiment, then posted in this Town.”  Edes and Gill acknowledged that not all colonists agreed about why the soldiers were quartered in Boston, though they made their position clear.  “[S]ome ridiculously alledge” the soldiers were present “to preserve the Peace, but others say to inforce the Revenue Acts, and the arbitrary unconstitutional Measures of a corrupt and wicked Administration.”  The editorial further lamented the outcome of a trial during which “it was adjudg’d to be excuseable Homicide in six of the Soldiers, and in two of them Manslaughter!”  Despite the verdict, Edes and Gill declared that “By far the greater Part” of the residents of Boston “still think it was a barbarous Murder.”

When the advertisement for the gathering at the Green Dragon ran a second time a week later, Edes and Gill devoted the entire front page of the Boston-Gazette to reprinting the “solemn and perpetual MEMORIAL” about “Preston’s Massacre–in King-Street” that originally ran in the Essex Gazette on the day of the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre.  Thick black borders, a symbol of mourning in the wake of a significant loss, enclosed the entire memorial.  Before they encountered the invitation to the event commemorating the repeal of the Stamp Act at the Green Dragon tavern among the advertisements, readers already contemplated other abuses perpetrated by the British.

Dual commemorations thus appeared in the Boston-Gazette, spanning the sections devoted to news and advertising, in the first weeks of March 1771.  Edes and Gill marked the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre with editorials, one original and the other reprinted from another newspaper, while organizers of an event on the fifth anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act published advertisements inviting colonists to the Green Dragon tavern to celebrate.  Advertising contributed to a culture of invoking memories of important events as part of the political culture of the period.

March 5

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Essex Gazette (March 5, 1771).

“Sermons on the Death of Mr. WHITEFIELD.”

A little more than five months following George Whitefield’s death on September 30, 1770, the commodification of that event continued in the pages of the Essex Gazette.  Printers, booksellers, and others produced and marketed a variety of commemorative items dedicated to the prominent minister in the weeks after his death.  The advertising for such items tapered off by the end of the year, but some notices occasionally appeared in newspapers from New England to South Carolina in 1771.  On March 5, Samuel Hall, the printer of the Essex Gazette, informed prospective customers of “Dr. Whitaker’s and Mr. Parsons’s Sermons on the Death of Mr. WHITEFIELD, with Mr. Jewet’s Exhortation at the Grave, annexed to the latter” available at his printing office in Salem.

This particular advertisement included thick black bands on both sides, a common symbol of mourning in early American print.  Whitefield’s death, however, was not the reason that Hall included that symbol in the March 5 edition.  The borders ran throughout the entire newspaper, enclosing every column on all four pages, to mark the first anniversary of “Preston’s Massacre–in King-Street–Boston, N. England–1770.  In which Five of his Majesty’s Subjects were slain, and Six wounded, By the Discharge of a Number of Muskets from a Party of Soldiers under the Command of Capt. Thomas Preston.”  Hall devoted the entire front page to commemorating the Boston Massacre, first in a “solemn and perpetual MEMORIAL Of the Tyranny of the British Administration of Government” that extended across all three columns and filled half of the space below the masthead.  A letter reprinted from the New-Hampshire Gazette accounted for the remainder of the page.  In it, an anonymous author, “CONSIDERATION,” encouraged residents of every colony to designate a day to commemorate “the Massacre of 5 Americans” and, more generally, reflect on “the most important Events that have happened relative to the Government and Liberties of the Country.”  Unless colonists set aside a day for “delivering Discourses upon Government, the fundamental Laws of the Land, [and] the Advantages of civil and religious Liberty,” Consideration feared that “People will grow inattentive to those Concerns” and tyrants would prevail.  The black bands around Consideration’s essay underscored the gravity of the proposal.  Consideration issued a call to action, one endorsed by the printers of the New-Hampshire Gazette when they inserted it in their newspaper and endorsed once again by Hall when he reprinted it.

Two of the most momentous events of 1770, the Boston Massacre and the death of George Whitefield, converged in the March 5, 1771, edition of the Essex Gazette.  Both events fueled acts of commemoration, sometimes mediated through commodification.  Vigilant printers played an important role in keeping those stories familiar among the general public, through news accounts, editorials, and advertisements.

Essex Gazette (March 5, 1771).