When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
May 30, 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post became America’s first daily newspaper.
Benjamin Towne published the first issue of the Post on January 24, 1775. The paper was supportive of the cause of the American Revolution, and was the first to publish the full text of the Declaration of Independence, with it taking up the front page of the July 6, 1776 issue.
During the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1778, the paper’s ideology shifted towards loyalism. Other loyalist papers in the city, such as Humphrey’s Pennsylvania Ledger, ceased publication as the British were losing control of Philadelphia; Towne stayed. As a result of his loyalist publication, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania placed him on a list of traitors. Towne’s Post was selected to publish this list of traitors, possibly because other printers had not returned to the city.
In 1779, the Post published a series of articles written by Whitehead Humphreys, under the pseudonym “Cato.” Humphreys’s articles attacked the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 and accused Thomas Paine of being a loyalist. On July 24, supporters of the Constitutional Society, lead by Charles Wilson Peale, dragged Towne to a meeting and demanded the identity of Cato. Towne named Humphreys, and the mob attacked Humphreys’ house. These controversies lead to a decrease in revenue and the publication ceased in 1784.
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