Benjamin Harris was born in London in 1673, and immigrated to New England in 1686, leaving his family behind. He eventually returned to London and died in 1716. He was thoroughly anti-Catholic throughout his life.
His most notable publication The New England Primer, used in every school, made him socially influential.
With particularity, Harris attempted to publish Boston's first newspaper on September 25th, 1690, sixty years and two months after the Puritans arrived in Salem.
The Publick Occurrence . . . may well have been a most innovative publication. Here is one example; the fourth page was left blank so the readers could write their personal “news” or views before they passed the paper to neighbors. Wouldn't this be fun or scandalous today??
The initial publication detailed suicides, several hostile Indian events, health matters like small-pox, fires, citizens suffering depression, and continued to debauch the French monarch's incestual sleeping habit. Yet, one of his promises in the first and only edition was “towards the Curing, or at least the Charming of that Spirit of Lying, which prevails amongst us.”
Unfortunately, four days after the first edition, September 28, 1690, the "Governour Council" shut down the paper, based on "doubtful and uncertain Reports."
Harris was the first to lose the initiative. By 1800, over thirty-nine newspapers began and collapsed in Boston. A handful survived into the 19th Century. It was a very risky business.
By rough count The Boston Public Library, microfilm records had at least 39 different newspapers for the period. I had to give up counting.
Here's a tabulation;
Massachusetts Historical Society, collection https://www.masshist.org/search?terms=newspapers&start=40&num=10 tracks many of the most influential and enduring papers.
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