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[112] on The fatal consequences of unscriptural doctrine or twenty considerations against Sin,--remembering these things it will not seem so extraordinary that the newspapers turned to the spectacle of the actual life about them, and, to convey it, sought their models in the world of letters so little known in the colonies.

It was James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's older brother, who first made a news sheet something more than a garbled mass of stale items, “taken from the Gazetts and other Publick Prints of London” some six months late. Franklin, “encouraged by a number of respectable characters, who were desirous of having a paper of a different cast from those then published, . . . began the publication, at his own risk, of a third newspaper, entitled The New England Courant.” 1 These respectable characters were known as the Hell-Fire Club; they succeeded in publishing a paper “of a different cast,” which, although it shocked New England orthodoxy pretty thoroughly, nevertheless proved vastly entertaining and established a kind of literary precedent.

For instead of filling the first page of the Courant with the tedious conventionalities of governors' addresses to provincial legislatures, James Franklin's club wrote essays and satirical letters after the manner of The Spectator just ten years after the first appearance of The Spectator in London. How novel the whole method would be to New England readers may be inferred from the fact that even the Harvard library had no copies of Addison or Steele at this period. Swift, Pope, Prior, and Dryden would also have been looked for in vain. Milton himself was little known in the stronghold of Puritanism. But the printing office of James Franklin had Shakespeare, Milton, Addison, Steele, Cowley, Butler's Hudibras, and “The Tail of the Tub2 on its shelves. All these were read and used in the editor's office, but The Spectator and its kind became the actual model for the new journalism.

As a result, the very look of an ordinary first page of the Courant is like that of a Spectator page. After the more formal introductory paper on some general topic, such as zeal or

1 Isaiah Thomas, History of printing in America. In Transactions and collections of the American antiquarian Society, vol. v, p. 110.

2 The spelling of the Courant.

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