Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick was the first multi-page newspaper published in the Americas. Before then, single-page newspapers, called broadsides, were published in the English colonies and printed in Cambridge in 1689. The first edition was published September 25, 1690, in Boston, then a city in the Dominion of New England, and was intended to be published monthly, "or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener." It was printed by American Richard Pierce of Boston, and it was edited by Benjamin Harris, who had previously published a newspaper in London. The paper contained four 6-by-10-inch pages, but filled only three of them.
No second edition was printed because the paper was shut down by the Colonial government on September 29, 1690, who issued an order as follows:
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 for 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.
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Full text of the first and only issue of the paper:
Both FORREIGN and DOMESTICK.
Boston, Thursday Sept. 25th. 1690.
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.
In order hereunto, the Publisher will take what pains he can to obtain a Faithful Relation of all such things; and will particularly make himself beholden to such Persons in Boston whom he Knows to have been for their own use the diligent Observers of such matters.
That which is herein proposed, is, First, That Memorable Occurrents of Divine Providence may not be neglected or forgotten, as they too often are. Secondly, That people every where may better understand the Circumstances of Publique Affairs, both abroad and at home; which may not only direct their Thoughts at all times, but at some times also to to assist their Businesses and Negotiations.
Thirdly, That some thing may be done towards the Curing, or at least the Charming, of that Spirit of Lying, which prevails amongst us wherefore nothing shall be entered, but what we have reason to believe is true, repairing to the best fountains for our Information. And when there appears any material mistake in any thing that is collected, it shall be corrected in the next.
Moreover, the Publisher of these Occurrences is willing to engage, that whereas, there are many False Reports, maliciously made, and spread among us, if any well-minded person will be at the pains to trace any such false Report so far as to find out and Convict the First Raiser of it, he will in this Paper ( unless just Advice be given to the contrary ) expose the Name of such person, as A malicious Raiser of a false Report. It is suppos'd that none will dislike this Proposal, but such as intend to be guilty of so villainous a Crime.
THE Crisstianized Indians in some parts of Plimouth, have newly appointed a day of Thanksgiving to God for his Mercy in supplying their extream and pinching Necessities under their late want of Corn, & for His giving them now a prospect of a very Comfortable Harvest. Their Example may be worth Mentioning.
Tis observed by the Husbandmen, that altho' the With-draw of so great a strength from them, as what is in the Forces lately gone for Canada, made them think it almost inpossible for them to get well through the Affairs of their Husbandry at this time of the year, yet the Season has been so unusually favourable that they scarce find any want of the many hundreds of hands, that are gone from them; which is looked upon as a Merciful Providence
While the barbarous Indians were lurking about Chelmsford, there were missing about the beginning of this month a couple of Children belonging to a man of that Town, one of them aged about eleven, the other aged about nine years, both of them supposed to be fallen into the hands of the Indians.
A very Tragical Accident happened at Water-Town, the beginning of this Month, an Old man, that was of somewhat a Silent and Morose Temper, but one that had long Enjoyed the reputation of a Sober and a Pious Man, having newly buried his Wife, The Devil took advantage of the Melancholly which he thereupon fell into, his Wives discretion and industry had long been the support of his Family, and he seemed hurried with an impertinent fear that he should now come to want before he dyed, though he had very careful friends to look after him who kept a strict eye upon him, least he should do himself any harm. But one evening escaping from them into the Cow-house, they there quickly followed him found him hanging by a Rope, which he had used to tye their Calves withal, he was dead with his feet near touching the Ground.
Epidemical Fevers and Agues grow very common, in some parts of the Country, whereof, tho' many dye not, yet they are sorely unfitted for their impolyments; but in some parts a more malignant Fever seems to prevail in such sort that it usually goes thro' a Family where it comes, and proves Mortal unto many.
The Small-pox which has been raging in Boston, after a manner very Extraordinary is now very much abated. It is thought that far more have been sick of it then were visited with it, when it raged so much twelve years ago, nevertheless it has not been so Mortal, The number of them that have dyed in Boston by this last Visitation is about three hundred and twenty, which is not perhaps half so many as fell by the former. The Time of its being most General, was in the Months June, July, and August, then 'twas that sometimes in some one Congregation on a Lords-day there would be Bills Desiring prayers for above an hundered Sick. It seized upon all sorts of people that came in the way of it, it infected even Children in the bellies of Mothers that had themselves undergone this Disease many years ago; for some such where now born full of the Distemper. 'Tis not easy to relate the Trouble and Sorrow that poor Boston has felt by this Epidemical Contagion. But we hope it will be pretty high Extinguished, by the time twelve month when it first began to Spread. It now unhappily spreads in several other places, among which our Garrisons in the East are to be reckoned some of the greatest Sufferers.
Altho' Boston did a few weeks ago, meet with a Disaster by Fire, which consumed about twenty Houses near the Mill-Creek, yet about midnight, between the sixteenth and seventeenth Instant, another Fire broke forth near the South-Meeting-House, which consumed about five or six houses, and had almost carried the Meeting-house it self, one of the fairest Edifices in the Country, if God had not remarkably assisted the Endeavours of the People to put out the Fire. There were two Calamities of this Fire, one was that a young man belonging to the House where the Fire began, unhappily perished in the Flames; it seems that tho' he might sooner awake then some others who did escape, yet he some way lost those Wits that should have taught him to help himself. Another was that the best furnished PRINTING-PRESS, of those few that we know of in America, was lost; a loss not presently to be repaired.
There lately arrived from Piscataqua, one Papoon from Pebobscot, in a small Shallop, wherein he had used to attend upon the pleasure of Casteen, but took his opportunity to run away, and reports: That a Vessel of small Bulk bound from Bristol to Virginia, having been so long at Sea, till they were prest with want, put in at the Penobscot instead of Piscataqua, where the Indians and French seized her, and Butchered the Master, and several of the men : but that himself who belonged unto the Ships Crew, being a Jersey-man, what more farourably used, & found at length an advantage to make his Escape.
The chief discourse this month has been about the affairs of the Western Expedition against Canada. The Albanians, New-Yorkers and the five Nations of Indians, in the West, had long been pressing of the Massachusers, to make an Expedition by Sea, into Canada, and still made us believe, that they stayed for us, and that while we assaulted Quebeck, they would pass the Lake, and by Land make a Descent upon Mount Real. Accordingly the Colony with some assistance from our kind Neighbours of Plimouth; fitted out an Army of near five and twenty hundred men, and a Navy of two and thirty Sail ; which went from hence the beginning of the last August, under the Command of the Honourable Sir William Phips.
In the mean time the English Colonies & Provinces in the West raised Forces, the Numbers whereof have been reported five or six hundred. The Honourable General Winthrop was Head of these, and advanced within a few miles of the Lake; He there had some good Number of Maqua's to joyn his Forces, but contrary to his Expectation, it was found that the Canoo's to have been ready for the Transportation of the Army over the Lake, were not prepared, and the other Nations of Indians, that should have come to this Campaign, sent their Excuses, pretending that the Small-pox was among them, and some other Trifles. The General Meeting with such vexing disappointments, called a Councel of War, wherein 'twas agreed, That it was impossible for them to Prosecute their Intended Expedition. However he dispatched away the Maqua's to the French Territories, who returned with some Success, having slain several of the French, and brought home several Prisoners, whom they used in a manner to barbarous for any English to approve. The General coming back to Albany, there happened a misunderstanding, between him and the Lieutenant Governour of New-york which occasioned much discourse, but produced not those effects which were feared of it. Where lay the bottom of these miscarriages is variously conjectured, if any people further West then Albany have been Tampering with the Indians, to desert the business of Canada, we hope time will discover it. And if Almighty God will have Canada subdu'd without the assistance of those miserable Salvages, in whom we have too much consided, we shall be glad, that there will be no Sacrifice offered up to the Devil, upon this occasion; God alone will have all the Glory.
'Tis possible, we have not so exactly related the Circumstances of this business, but this Account, is as near exactness, as any that could be had, in the midst of many various reports about it.
Another late matter of discourse, has been an unaccountable destruction befalling a body of Indians, that were our Enemies. This body of French Indians had a Fort somewhere far up the River, and a party of Maqua's returning from the East Country, where they have a great rate pursued and terrified those Indians which have been invading of our North-East Plantations, and Killed their General Hope Hood among the rest; resolved to visit this Fort; but they found the Fort ruined, the Canoo's cut to pieces, and the people all either Butchered or Captived, This gave them no little surprize, and they give the English this accounts of it. That a body of Maqua's lately returning from the Spoil of Canada brought several French Prisoners with them; That calling at this Fort in their way, the Indians there seeing themselves unable to resist them did pass divers Complements with them and partake of their Booties, That a French Captive after this, escaping from the Maqua's informed the French that these Indians and revolted unto the Maqua's, and hereupon the French or their Indians made a sudden Sally forth upon them, and utterly destroyed them, tho' they were in reality of their own party still.
Two English Captives escaped from the hands of the Indians and French at Piscadamoquady, come into Portsmouth on the sixteenth Instant & say, That when Capt Mason was at Port Real, he cut the faces, and ript the bellies of two Indians, and threw a third Over-board in the sight of the French, who informing the other Indians of it, they have in revenge barbarously Butcher'd forty Captives of ours that were in their hands.
These two Captives escapes in a Shallop, which our Enemies intended to have set out with all the Circumstances of a Fishing Shallop but to have indeed fill'd with Indians that should have Clap't on board any English Vessel that came in their way; They say that about three of four weeks ago, some Indians were coming this way to War, but crossing a path which they supposed to be of the Maqua's, they followed it until they discovered a place where some Canoo's where making, whereupon twenty Kennebeck Indian Warriors went to look further after the business, who never yet returned. Which gives hope that they may come short home but upon this the Squaws are sent to Penobscot, and the men stand on their Defence.
Portsmouth Sept. 20th. Two days since arrived here a small Vessel from Barbadoes, in which is a Letter to Captain H. K. of 19th August that speaks thus,
Christophers is wholly taken from the French as also a small Island called Stacia; we are very strong in Shipping, and our Ships of War are now gone for Tobago, a very good place to shelter from any Storms, after the suspicious months are over, they will Attack the rest of the French places. We have News here that K. William is safe arrived in Ireland, and is marched with one hundred and forty thousand Foot and Horse. Himself leads the Body, Duke Scomburgh the right Wing, and the Earl of Oxford the left Wing, Duke Hamilton of Scotland leads the forlorn Hope with ten thousand men under him. Great victory they dayly have, and much people dayly come in to him, with submission: He has 200 Shipping with him of one sort or other, above one hundred Sail dayly run between Ireland and England, with meat for Man and Beast; His Majesty being unwilling to trust false Ireland for it. France is in much trouble (and fear) not only with us but also with his Son, who has revolted against him lately, and has great reason,) if reports be true, that the Father used to lie with the Sons Wife. He has got all the Hugonots, and all the dissatisfied Papists, with the great force of the D. of Lorraign, and are now against him, resolving to depose him of his life and Kingdom.
It's Report that the City of Cork in Ireland, has proclaimed K. William, and turned their French Landlords out of Doors; of this there wants further Confirmation.
From Plimouth Sept. 22 We have an Accounts, that on Friday the 12th Instant, in the night, our Force Landing privately, forthwith surrounded Pegypscot Fort; but finding no Indians there, they March d to Amonoscoggin. There on the Lords-day, they kill'd and took 15 or 16 of the Enemy, and recovered five English Captives, mostly belonging to Oyster-River; who advised, that the men had gone about ten days down to a River, to meet with the French, and the French Indians; where they expected to make up a Body of 300 men, and design a first against Wells or Piscataqua.
On Tuesday, the Army came to our Vessels at Macquoit, but one of the Vessels touching a Ground stopt a Tide; by which means, young Bracket, who was a considerable distance up the River, above Amonoscoggin, that an English Army was there attempted his Escape, and came down the Sloop, just as they came on their Sail.
On Thursday, they landed at Saco; a Scout of 60 men of ours discover a party of the Enemy, and had the Advantage of killing three of them, and of taking nine Canoos, and an English captive named, Thomas Baker, who informed, that the Enemy had left a considerable Plunder at Pegypscut-Plains, which he supposed the Enemy was gone to secure. Whereupon the Army immediately embark'd, and arriving there that night, the next morning found the Bever-Plunder accordingly.
While our Vessels were at Anchor in Cascoe-Bay, our Auxiliary Indians lodging on shore, and being too careless in their Watch, the Enemy made an Attaque upon them. The English forth with repair'd to their Relief; but were sorely faled, by an Embuscado of Indians, The Enemy soon quitted the Field, escaping with their Canoo's, whereof ours took several. In the Surprise, we lost 9 men, and had about 20 wounded; the blow chiefly fell on our dear Friends, the Plimouth Forces, 15 being kill'd and wounded of Captain Southworth's Company
Boston, Printed by R. Pierce, for Benjamin Harris, at the London-Coffee-House. 1690
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