J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

“Now happily dawns the Year”

It’s a Boston 1775 tradition to quote a news carrier’s verse each New Year. These were printed flyers that newsboys carried around to their customers to solicit tips. So far I’ve quoted political ones, both Whig and Loyalist. This one is purely mercenary.

Job Weeden, Salem News-Boy,
Begs Leave to present the following Lines to the
GENTLEMEN and LADIES to whom he carries the
Essex Gazette.

Jan 1, 1772.

Now happily dawns the Year---Seventy-two.--
Accept my Regards--they’re chearful and true.
Pray grant me a Smile---a little Cash too.

No Heat nor no Cold my Course does retard:
Your Service is all I ever regard.
Shall I not meet with an ample Reward?

To please and amuse you---still I will go,
As patient as Job--blow high or blow low.
Tho’ drenched with Rain, or smother’d in Snow.

Your Goodness is great---my Boldness excuse,
’Tis not for Beggars to have what they chuse;
But pray remember, ’tis Job brings the News.
This verse is unusual for having a name attached to it; most speak generically of the boy or boys who carry the papers. Young Job also issued his own verse in 1769. Perhaps he was the only apprentice in that shop.

Cpl. Job Weeden was serving in Col. Thomas Crafts’s state artillery regiment in 1777.

Weeden co-published The Gentleman and Lady’s Town and Country Magazine, or, Repository of Instruction and Entertainment out of Boston in 1784. This was the first American periodical to have the words “lady’s” and “magazine” in the title together, targeting female readers. It printed the first essay by Judith Sargent Murray, under the pseudonym Constantia. For more on that magazine, see Women’s Periodicals in the United States: Consumer Magazines, by Kathleen L. Endres and Therese L. Lueck.

The 1796 Boston town directory lists Job Weeden as a printer with a house on Ship Street. However, the 1805 directory says he was on Ship Street running a “slop shop,” selling clothing and other supplies for sailors. The boy always did seem to be in publishing just for the money.

1 comment:

John L. Smith said...

"Job's Big, Tall & Patriot Slop Shop." ...for some reason, that chain never caught on. Thanks JB, for a great New Years blog kickoff! :)Hail 2011!