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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 5   View pdf image (33K)
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William Goddard, Printer and Founder of the American Post Office

violation of the Constitution" and "directly contrary to the Declaration
of Rights."8 The Whig Club then issued a defense of its position9 and
Goddard, unwilling to let the opportunity pass, published 'The Prowess
of the Whig Club10 which so offended it that he was again sentenced to
banishment. Again he went to Annapolis for protection against the
arbitrary power of this group of patriotic zealots11 and the Club was
ordered by the Assembly to apologize to the Sovereign People at the
bar of the House and the Governor was directed to give Goddard pro-

His next offense against public opinion came during his partnership
with Eleazer Oswald, when, on July 6, 1779, an article was published
entitled "Some Queries, Political and Military, Humbly Offered to
the Consideration of the Public." This incident and the subsequent
proceedings demonstrated that freedom of the press included the right
to print opinions which were contrary to the public will.13 As a result of
this article which had been published at the request of General Charles
Lee, Goddard was visited by a mob which demanded the name of the
author. To save himself from further abuse on the part of the enraged
band of patriots, he wrote and printed a recantation. At the same time
he appealed to the Governor for protection and on July 17, 1779, the
Council of Safety ordered the Baltimore magistrates to appear at a
hearing for not having given him the legal support to which he was
entitled. The hearing seems to have been favorable to him, for on July 27
he published a retraction of his former recantation and thus vindicated
the freedom of the press against the mob spirit of Baltimore.


Perhaps the most interesting of Goddard's several literary projects
was that of printing a series of European classics to provide for the
deficiency in reading matter resulting from the cutting off of the United
States from Europe during the Revolution. In the Maryland Journal
and Baltimore Advertiser for April 10, 1781, Goddard and Oswald pub-
lished the following prospectus:

"..... Much we have suffered this Way, since the Commencement of this unhappy Contest; num-
berless new European Publications have not reached these Shores, besides the Want of the Impor-

8 Votes and Proceedings, Lower House, March 10, 1777. Quoted from Wroth, p. 137.

9 No copy of the original document has been located but it was reprinted in The Prowess of the Whig Club.

10 Bibliography of Imprints, No. 4.

11 See Bibliography of Imprints, No. 3.
12 See Bibliography of Imprints, No. 2.

13 For Oswald's relations to this affair see pages 25-27. The reader is referred to L. C. Wroth, A History of Printing in
Colonial Maryland, pp. 137-140, for the fullest and best documented account of the affair.



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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 5   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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