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ZENGER, John Peter (1697-1746) The New-York Weekly Journal. New York: John Peter Zenger, 23 December 1734. No. 59.
ZENGER, John Peter (1697-1746) The New-York Weekly Journal. New York: John Peter Zenger, 23 December 1734. No. 59.

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ZENGER, John Peter (1697-1746) The New-York Weekly Journal. New York: John Peter Zenger, 23 December 1734. No. 59.

“I was deny’d the Use of Pen, Ink and Paper….” (p. 4).

An issue of John Peter Zenger’s newspaper printed during his imprisonment, with an account of the harassment he endured before his arrest and “edited by him from the hole in the door of his cell” (Heartman). The New-York Weekly Journal was the first newspaper in America to be the organ of a political faction and its printer, Zenger, was soon charged with and imprisoned for seditious libel. The present issue carries a long diatribe by Zenger against his nemesis, William Bradford, headed, “From my Prison, December 20th 1734.” He continues with an account of how he was physically threatened by Francis Harison and notes, “What private Orders the Sherif had concerning me are best known to himself. This I know that from the Time of my being apprehended till the Return of the Precept by virtue of which I was taken, I was deny’d the Use of Pen, Ink and Paper; Altercations were purposely Made on my Account, to put me into a Place by my self, where I was so strictly confin’d above 50 hours that my Wife might not speak to me….” Zenger was eventually found not guilty thanks to the eloquence of his counsel, Andrew Hamilton, and the case is considered the first major victory for freedom of the press in North America.

Four pages, folio (300 x 190mm). (Even toning.) Tipped into: HEARTMAN, C. John Peter Zenger and his Fight for the Freedom of the American Press. Highland Park, NJ: Weiss, 1934. No. 14 of an edition limited to 99. (Some chipping to spine and box.)

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