Benjamin Edes The Boston Printer 1732-1803
Benjamin Edes was one of the Sons of Liberty, particiapated in the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773 and was the printer of the Boston Gazette and Country Journal. In 2005 a posthumous award, The Yankee Quill, was presented for 'Services to Journalism' , by the New England Newspapers Editor's Association.
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Benjamin Edes Boston Printer "The Poet of the Revolution
16th December 1773 | Boston, MA
Benjamin Edes, One of the Sons of Liberty, was the printer of the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, and involved in the Boston Tea Party (16th December 1773), was described as the Poet of the Revolution.
The British Government tried on at least two occasions to arrest Edes for sedition, whereby he would have been sent back to England for trial.
He escaped Boston by boat, with his printing press and went to Watertown.
His son, Peter, was arrested by the troops that had been sent to arrest his father, his arrest supposedly for possession and concealing of firearms, in the company of his cousin.
The order was for them to be hanged, but a miscommunication had them put in jail, Peter to spend some 105 days in jail, as well as keeping a diary of his time there, later to be released as a pamphlet. This diary was reprinted in 1902 as a limited edition run by a literary society, detailing the conditions of Peter's incarceration and his thoughts of the time.
Peter would leave Boston and travel to Maine, to work as a printer in his own right, with his paper the Kennebec Intelligencer, working in both Bangor and Augusta. His son, Benjamin would travel to Baltimore and he too became a printer, being a job printer but also printing a newspaper, the Minerva and Emerald. Benjamin, at the time of the War of 1812 was an officer in the 27th Militia, and supposedly at the time printed the handbills, that circulated the city, of Francis Scott Key's immortal words to the National Anthem "The Star Spangled Banner"
There are many versions of the manner in which Francis Scott Key wrote the poem, The Star Spang Banner, but perhaps the most reliable one is that given in a preface to the 1857 edition of Key's poems, by Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who had married Key's only sister. Tansy asserts that the verses were written down from memory on an envelope as Key and his companions came ashore on the morning of September 14, and were rewritten in a hotel that night. The next morning Key showed the lines to Judge Joseph H. Nicholson, of Baltimore, who had married his wife's sister. Judge Nicholson was greatly impressed by the inspirational quality of the poem and his wife took the manuscript to the printing office of Captain Benjamin Edes, on the corner of Baltimore and Gay Streets) and had the verses struck off in hand bill form. It appears that Edes was absent on duty with his regiment and that The Star Spangled Banner was set up in type and printed by an apprentice, Samuel Sands, a young boy only 12 years of age.