In 1717, James Franklin returned to Boston after an apprenticeship in England, bringing with him the printing press that is now on exhibition in the Museum of Newport History at the Brick Market. He established the New-England Courant in 1721 and brought his younger brother Benjamin to Boston to train with him as an apprentice. On April 2, 1722, the first of a series of articles written by Benjamin Franklin appeared in the Courant under the pen name "Silence Dogood." When James was ordered imprisoned and his paper suppressed because of his strong political views, the Courant appeared with Benjamin Franklin named as the printer from 1723 until 1726. However, Benjamin likely was only a figurehead, and he left Boston in October 1723 because of stormy relations with his brother and mentor, James. Around 1725, James left Boston for more liberal-minded Newport, and the Courant continued under a different publisher until 1726 or 1727. On September 27, 1732, James Franklin established the Rhode Island Gazette in Newport. The weekly newspaper struggled to find a steady readership, and on January 25, 1733, Franklin notified his readers that the continuance of the paper depended "on punctual Quarterly Payments, or a greater Number of Subscribers." Despite Franklin's best efforts, the Gazette ceased publication less than eight months after it began. The Newport Historical Society has original copies of four issues of the Rhode Island Gazette in its collection, those of January 11, January 25, February 22, and March I, 1733.

From the Newport Historical Society Collections ...MS 1995.31.1-4 Gift of Albert and Edward Sherman