Jun 05, 2008 - Sale 2148

Sale 2148 - Lot 60

Price Realized: $ 1,920
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
ZENGER'S PRINTING MASTER FACES ARREST, JUST MONTHS BEFORE ZENGER'S BRADFORD, WILLIAM (1663-1752). Autograph Letter Signed to Mr. [James] Alexander. One page, 149 x 160 mm, dampstaining and a chip affecting date line, docketed verso by Anderson. New York, 17 August 1734

Additional Details

Bradford became the first printer in Pennsylvania in 1685. After his entanglement in a notable freedom of the press case, he left and in 1693 became the first printer in New York, where he later trained John Peter Zenger. Zenger became synonymous with freedom of the press when jailed in 1734 for printing seditious material. Bradford, in financial difficulty, faced imprisonment himself during this period. Here he writes to James Alexander (who published the newspaper which would send Zenger to jail three months later, and who would soon serve as Zenger's attorney): "As you have been my friend and attorney so I am desirous that you will be so in cases where you are not retaind against me, because I do and can depend upon your advice . . . I want to know if any one lay an action agt me in ye Mayors Court and get judgment, whether they can take out execution agt my goods while I am in custody? . . . Although I am come under this misfortune, I doubt not but to overcome it all."