Sometimes, a business starts up and then can’t make a go of it. Whatever the reason, things just don’t work out. Such was the case with a 1690 newspaper called Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick. This newspaper was published for the first and last time on September 25, 1690, making it the shortest business on record.
It would seem like such a business venture wouldn’t hold a very significant place in history, but it did have one distinction that gave it an important place. It was the first multi-page newspaper published in the Americas. Before then, single-page newspapers, called broadsides, were published in the English colonies and printed in Cambridge in 1689. The first edition of Publick Occurrences was published in Boston, then a city in the Dominion of New England, and was intended to be published monthly, “or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener.” It was printed by American Richard Pierce of Boston, and it was edited by Benjamin Harris, who had previously published a newspaper in London. The paper contained four 6 by 10 inch pages, but filled only three of them…not bad for a new newspaper.
The second edition was never printed because the paper was shut down by the Colonial government on September 29, 1690, who issued an order as follows: “Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, September 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same.”
Of course, in those days, we were not an independent nation, and the Constitution did not exist. Freedom of the press…or any of the other freedoms that our soldiers and our nation have fought to give us, didn’t exist either. England was the ruler and the law, and we had to obey…for a time. Soon enough, change would come, as would freedom, and every kind of newspaper and other types of information sources imaginable.
Have you ever noticed how little children interact with other kids? They don’t have to be kids who are younger than they are, and in fact most often it is kids who are older and bigger than they are. It seems that at one time or another, those little kids all have to squat down to look up at another child. This comes, of course, from watching their parents squat down to talk to them. They just think that is how you talk to people. My grand niece, Siara was no exception to that rule. Even though she was, and still is, smaller than most people her age, she thought the proper way to talk to people was to squat down and then look up at them. It was the funniest thing to watch. She thought she was being such a big girl. For her, I suppose that time of people squatting down to talk to her went on longer than most kids, because she was so little.
Of course, those days of childhood innocence and childlike ideas are quickly over, as children mature and find out why people do things like squatting down to talk to a child. Sometimes I wish those cute little moments could last forever, but then we would not get to meet the adult the child will become, so I guess it is for the best that they grow up. I just wish the years would not fly by so very fast. When I look at this picture, and think back to the time when Siara was just a little toddler, it makes me feel a little bit sad that her childhood is over now. It feels like it was just yesterday the she arrived into our lives, the teeny little daughter of my teeny little niece, Chantel.
Today we are attending a going away party for Siara, who is leaving tomorrow for college in Great Falls, Montana. I’m sure the party will be filled with laughter and tears, since we are happy for her to be starting this next chapter in her life, but sorry for ourselves that this chapter is over and she will be leaving us for a while. Yes, she will be back a Christmas, and next summer, but that is simply not the same at all, and looking at the beautiful woman she has become, I find myself feeling very proud of her, and yet, still missing the little teeny girl who thought she needed to be squatting down to look up to talk to people.