The Diceys and the transmission of cheap print to North America.


Bateman’s drops and Daffy’s elixir were exported to the colonies. A long advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette on June 12 1740 noted the appointment of Samuel Emlen as the "only Salesman" for Bateman’s medicine and stated that "King GEORGE, in Consideration of the uncommon Cures performed by the said Drops on Thousands of his Subjects, hath granted unto Benjamin Okel, the sole Inventor thereof, and to William and Cluer Dicey, his Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Great Britain", a nice example of deceptive advertising since the royal patent was not an endorsement. The same advertisement mentions An Abstract of a short Treatise of Dr Bateman’s Pectoral Drops" which contained testimonials to their effectiveness and could be borrowed by potential purchasers. This book, fairly regularly reprinted with additional testimonials by the Diceys in London, was also printed by Zenger in New York and advertisements for Bateman’s drops appeared in newspapers in many colonies, North and South. (61) Daffy’s elixir was also frequently advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, at least from 1737 onwards.


The Diceys and Dicey and Marshall were exporters of cheap print as well as cheap medicine, as their catalogue statement about "Sale or Exportation" suggests. Richard Marshall, after his partnership with Cluer Dicey ended, maintained a strong interest in the export trade, describing himself in the 1770s as "printer and bookseller to the good children of Great Britain, Ireland, and the plantations". (62) Cheap texts and cheap images as well as medicines were imported into North America in some quantity, certainly during the eighteenth century, joining the increasing volume of manufactured goods which Timothy Breen has described, using an unkind contemporary phrase, as "Baubles of Empire.." (63) An advertisement for "Chapmen's history books" was discovered by Victor Neuberg at the end of a book published in Newport, Rhode Island in 1728 and even a cursory search reveals others. The Pennsylvania Gazette carried an advertisement by Samuel Keimer in 1729 for "History Books, Books of Arithmetick, near Forty several sorts, just imported by Capt. Annis" which were probably chapmens’ history books and in 1730 advertisements for a "Variety of small History Books." (64)


Benjamin Franklin as a child had gained a personal knowledge of chapbooks when he exchanged the works of John Bunyan for "Richard Burton’s historical collections; they were small chapmen’s books and cheap, forty or fifty in all." (65) In 1731, before he ventured into large-scale bookselling, he commented on a perennial work of cheap print, writing in the Pennsylvania Gazette that "I have known a very numerous impression of Robin Hood’s Songs to go off in this Province at 2s per Book, in less than a twelve-month; when a small Quantity of David’s Psalms (an excellent Version) have lain on my Hands above twice that Time." (66) A long advertisement in the same newspaper on February 7, 1740, for "BOOKS Sold by B. FRANKLIN" included some of the staples of the trade in popular print, including some of the same chapbook stories and histories which would appear in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue - Dorastus and Fawnia, Montelion, Fair Rosamond and Parismus, and the History of Dr John Faustus. Franklin's and other advertisements also reflected changes in the trade, as the British producers of cheap print moved to incorporate more recent titles into their output. Probably the most popular of these was The Life and Death of Moll Flanders, the abridgement of Defoe's novel, which was also included in Dicey and Marshall’s list. In fact, by the 1740s, among the popular titles appearing in Franklin and Hall’s advertisements which may well have been purchased from the Diceys, there are specific titles advertised which were almost certainly obtained from them. In the Pennsylvania Gazette of September 3 1747, Franklin advertised A collection of chaste and significant Riddles, Nancy Cock's Song Book, for all little misses and masters, and Tom Thumb's Play-Book, all of which were titles printed by the Diceys and which appeared later in the Catalogue. Wolf in his study of the Philadelphia book trade also cites the widow Bradford's interest in selling chapbooks (67) She advertised in 1743 "play books for Children to allure them to read as soon they can speak", words close to those used by Dicey in the title of Tom Thumb's play book, and two years later a number of chapbook titles. David Hall, Franklin's partner, wrote to William Strahan in London in 1751 asking for "chapman books" but stating that he had too many "in the religious strain." Since Strahan did not publish these items he may well have sought them from the Diceys, who were their best-known producers. He certainly records a number of shipments of chapbooks, primers, prints and paper hangings to David Hall. (68) Similarly, although Hamilton and Balfour in Edinburgh themselves printed learned books for the very well educated, Hall also seems to have imported cheap books from them, including Irish Bibles. In 1759 he noted that "An Assortment of Chapman Books, all in the comical or wonderful strain, will also do. " (69) Neuberg suggested that Thomas Longman, who supplied chapbooks to Henry Knox in Boston in the 1770s, probably obtained these from the Dicey warehouse and supporting evidence for this appears in Hill v. Dicey, 1764, where Longman is listed as one of the Dicey's debtors. (70) Knox in his 1773 Catalogue advertised that he kept a "large assortment of books for the Amusement and Instruction of Children" and he sought to attract the custom of "Country Merchants, Traders, and others" offering them books on "most reasonable terms." (71)


Single-sheet ballads were also important commodities in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. Early in the eighteenth century, Cotton Mather warned against "Plays and Songs, and Novels, and Romances, and foolish and filthy Jests, and Poetry prostituted unto Execrable Ribaldry" and in 1713 he wrote that "I am informed, that the Minds and manners of many People about the Countrey are much corrupted by foolish Songs and Ballads, which the Hawkers and Pedlars carry into all Parts of the Country." It should be noted that, like Bishop Porteus decades later and others, Mather had no objection to virtuous pedlars, continuing "By way of Antidote , I would procure poetical Composures full of Piety, and such as may have a Tendency to advance Truth and Goodness, to be published and scattered into all Corners of the Land[.] There may be an extract of some from the excellent Watts’s Hymns." (72) Another Massachusetts clergyman, Thomas Symmes, also wrote in 1720 of young people "learning Idle, Foolish, yea, pernicious Songs and Ballads" which he described as "Trash." Other sources testify to their popularity. Benjamin Franklin noted in 1723 that while "there was not a good Bookseller’s Shop in any of the colonies to the Southward of Boston," in New York and Philadelphia the printers , who were stationers, also sold "Almanacks, Ballads, and a few common School Books." (73) The Pennsylvania Gazette carried a report at the time of the Great Awakening that "Religion is become the Subject of most Conversations. No Books are in Request but those of Piety and Devotion; and instead of idle Songs and Ballads, the People are every where entertaining themselves with Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs."


It is well known that as a youth Benjamin Franklin wrote ballads which his half-brother, James Franklin, printed. Franklin also sang ballads and other songs throughout his life, with a special preference for Scottish songs. His advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette on July 9, 1730 specifically mentioned the sale of "Ballads" as well as a "Variety of small History Books, Pamphlets,... and cheap Pictures engraved on Copper Plate of all Sorts of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Fruits, Flowers, &c. useful to such as would learn to draw." James Franklin, who moved from Boston to Newport in about 1732, may also have imported, as well as printed, single sheet ballads and songs, advertising that at "his printing house on Tillinghast's Wharf" in Newport, Rhode Island, "may be had many other sorts of verses." (74) Andrew Steuart in Philadelphia advertised ballads alongside "chapman books" including, in 1762, a "greater Collection of Ballads than can be had any where else." He also stated that his almanacs were sold by all "the country storekeepers, moving-merchants, flying stationers and old ballad-women." Neuberg suggests that his chapbook supplier was James Magee of Belfast, and there are several Magee chapbooks not recorded in ESTC in the James Boswell collection at Harvard. (75) This raises a question about the source of Boswell’s Magee imprints as it usually supposed that Boswell bought his chapbooks from the Diceys, whose warehouse he described visiting in 1763. He was in the Belfast area in 1769 for a few days but there is no evidence that he visited bookshops.


Although chapbooks and ballads have attracted more scholarly attention, we have seen that in eighteenth-century Britain songs and small song books, often described as garlands, must have vastly outnumbered them. Indeed contemporaries tended to use the terms ballads and songs interchangeably. They were certainly imported into North America. While William Price advertised "Musick books and songs" in 1743 these were probably fairly expensive engraved songs. But in 1750 Messieurs Cuthbert and Fuller advertised "Bull Finch, new songs, merry medley" and in 1768 James Budden advertised musical scores and also "a choice collection of the [illegible] English, Italian, and Scotch songs, as sung at the public theatres, Vauxhall, Ranelagh, Marybone, &c..." (76) These were exactly the same kind of words used in the Dicey and Marshall imprint, The pretty maidens amusement, "a choice collection of all the favourite new songs, sung at both the theatres, Vaux Hall, Renelagh, Marybone, Sadlers-Wells, &c." (77)


Certainly, songs were popular in taverns and at dinners and entertainments. The Reverend Henry Melchior in 1752 noted while travelling in New York that


The English people have a kind of songs which are set to melodic music and describe all sorts of heroes and feats of arms on land and sea. Respectable people sing them as a pastime, and regard it as a serious invasion of their liberty if one protests against these songs, etc. Now, if one rebukes them on account of their amorous songs they believe they can justify themselves by referring to these songs about heroes. The musical settings and melodies of these songs of heroic deeds are very similar to those which our Germans use for church music. (78)


This was written several years before John Adams famously sang and praised the Liberty Song, exalting that "this is cultivating the Sensations of Freedom." (79) and several years before American printers issued many ballads or songs. However, there is some evidence to challenge Worthington C. Ford’s assertion that "The ballad did not come into popular use until after the War of Independence, and never indeed, attained the popularity it enjoyed in England." (80) For example, songs were an important ingredient in the Regulator movement in North Carolina, of which it was said that Rednap Howell was outlawed "not for his fighting, but for his songs." (81)


Along with chapbooks, ballads and songs, images were advertised fairly extensively. Franklin advertised "cheap Pictures engraved on Copper Plate of all Sorts of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Fruits, Flowers, &c. useful to such as would learn to draw" in 1730 and in 1739 a "great variety of maps and prints." Although David Hall told Strahan that the "country people" in Pennsylvania used "paper-hangings" as wallpaper or decorations for their rooms and therefore did not purchase prints, other booksellers were less pessimistic. (82) William Bradford’s advertisement of September 1742 in the Pennsylvania Gazette specified that he sold "Mezzotinto, and other prints, either with or without Frames and Glasses, such as Sea Pieces, the Cartoons, Views of the most magnificent Buildings in Europe, Sets of fine Horses, and a Variety of other Sorts." Five years later in November 1749 "Mrs. Griffith in Water street, near Chestnut street" advertised "views of the grandest cities, palaces, churches, triumphal arches, pillars, bridges, cascades, fountains, canals, hospitals, and also shipping, fighting, loving, plundering, hunting, &c. The above are divided into classes; the first ten at two shillings, every other ten at one shilling each." Black and white "reproductive print" was the medium through which a wide public was introduced to various works of art, since the originals could be seen only by those able to afford the Grand Tour. Mrs Griffith acknowledged this. "As those curiosities are full as large, and beautiful, as those they represent, and are shewn for a trifle, hoped they will give the greatest satisfaction to all such as can[not?] spare time to travel over Europe to see the originals." But in both Britain and America the specialised selling of images by itinerant traders, which was a large industry in parts of western Europe, has not been recorded. (83)


The likelihood that many of the prints that were sold in colonial America were Dicey or Dicey and Marshall productions seems strong. In 1754 Matthew Clarkson advertised "sea pieces, views of Venice, of Vauxhall and Ranelagh gardens, views of cities, viz. London, Amsterdam, etc. views about London, ditto in Rome, on the river Tyber, in Florence, in Holland, and of the Greenland whale fisheries; and views of Kensington and Hampton court, Paninie roman antiquities; likewise setts of mapps, of the whole world, of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, Great Britain and Ireland." These subjects again matched up with those in the Catalogue where views of the Whale fisheries, of Amsterdam, Rome, Holland, of Hampton and Kensington palaces were featured. On 7 June 1754 the Pennsylvania Gazette advertised portraits of "The Dutchess of Hamilton and Countess of Coventry", a couple whose portraits Dicey and Marshall listed on page 30 of their Catalogue. An extensive advertisement for pictures and maps in the Gazette on November 17, 1773 included pictures in elegant "green and gold frames" but also many obviously reproductive prints that would have sold much more cheaply including not only portraits of churchmen and divines and classical and biblical scenes and characters but "Flora the letter woman, the oyster woman, the bathing beauty" and "the ladymaid, soaping linen" and numerous city scenes and landscapes. "Setts of maps" were offered in a 1755 advertisement as "Imported in the ship Carolina, Capt. Mesnard, and in the Pennsylvania, Capt. Lyon, from London, and to be sold by ALEXANDER HAMILTON, cheap for ready money, or three months credit, at his store in Water street, on William Fisbourn wharff."


Imports accounted for the bulk of the popular texts, images and maps, not to mention patent medicines, that were sold in eighteenth-century British America. Remer, in her recent book on Philadelphia printing in the era of the new republic, notes that colonial Philadelphia printers did print chapbooks. (84) However, their output was limited and mainly confined to religious subjects. The majority were imported. It was generally cheaper for a printer or stationer to buy a large quantity of ballads or chapbooks from a London printer than to attempt to print these locally, especially as the British printer-wholesalers had access to the necessary wood blocks and to relatively plentiful skilled labour.


Yet the transmission of cheap print from Britain was reinforced by American printings from British originals and there is a strong possibility that these were taken from the Dicey corpus. Besides copying from imported ballads and chapbooks, enterprising American printers could have drawn on the same Collection of old ballads which William Dicey used in England. When this collection was first imported into America is not known, but David Hall advertised a three volume London edition in the Pennsylvania Gazette in August, 1748, December 1749 and February 1750. The first recorded reprinted British ballad was James Franklin’s version of The Virgin's advice: or The Oxfordshire tragedy. In two parts issued in Newport, Rhode Island in 1735. (85) This was an Aldermary ballad that was not published in the Collection of Old Ballads. Franklin’s widow, Ann, issued in 1746 Thomas Deloney’s Fair Rosamond, which itself survives only in one mutilated copy and was printed by the Diceys as a history. (86)


Boston was the main New England centre for printing songs, ballads, chapbooks and other kinds of cheap print. Thomas Fleet, who had migrated from England in about 1712, and his family partners and heirs used the imprint "Sold at the Heart and Crown, in Cornhill, Boston" from about 1731 to 1776. Isaiah Thomas stated that Fleet employed several black workers, one of whom was "an ingenious man" and "cut, on wooden blocks, all the pictures that decorated the ballads and small books of his master." (87) Few items have survived but those which also occur in the Dicey corpus include The Great honour of a valiant London prentice: being an account of his matchless manhood, and brave adventures, done in Turkey; and how he came to marry the king's daughter, &c. To the tune of, "All you that love good fellows," a single sheet ballad of about 1748 and The Prodigal daughter, which was printed by the Fleets in the 1740s or 1750s, by Benjamin Mecom in about 1758, and by Zechariah Fowle between 1763 and 1771. The fact that neither of the Fleets’ printings was entered into the standard works of American bibliography and have only been recently listed is an illustration of the difficulties faced by students of cheap print in both Britain and America. Many imprints have only been fully recorded in the last few years and in the future more may come to light. (88)


The Fleets also printed The Children in the woods. Being a true relation of the inhuman murder of two children of a deceased gentleman in Norfolk... a work that was probably the most frequently reprinted of English cheap texts in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century North America and was featured both as a ballad and a history by the Diceys. Similarly popular were versions of Dick Whittington, such as one printed by the Fleets in sixteen pages in about 1770 and The new and true Egyptian fortune-teller; discovering to young men, maids and widows, their good or bad fortunes in two parts. By Ptolomy, King of the Gypsies, a Dicey and Marshall patter and history, which was printed and sold by John Boyle in Boston at the printing-office in Marlborough-Street in about 1774. Boyle in about 1770 also printed The most delightful history of the king and the cobler: Shewing how the king first came acquainted with the cobler, and the many pleasant humours which happened thereupon, &c. This was listed as a history in the Catalogue. Also in Boston, at about the same time, William M'Alpine printed the first known American abridgment of The life, death & misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders, which is not recorded in Evans or Bristol.


Much early American print was religious in character and many of the religious texts that were staples in the British trade were imported or reprinted in North America. Many of these are to be found in the Dicey and Marshall list. They include such frequent titles as the chapbook, The black book of conscience or, God's high court of justice in the soul... printed by B. Gray in Boston in 1732 and by Thomas Fleet in 1742. A Dialogue between Death and a lady. Very suitable for these times was printed by the Fleets before 1776 and by John Kneeland. The Dicey's history and patter, Christ in the clouds coming to judgment: or, The dissolution of all things, which was an item collected by Pepys, was first printed by Benjamin Gray in 1729 and printed again by Fleet in 1742, by Zechariah Fowle in 1752 and Kneeland in 1766. In about 1772 the Fleets printed an eight page version of The Second Spira: or The blasphemers justly reproved, which Dicey and Marshall listed as an eight-page patter in their Catalogue. This could indicate a direct copying from the cheap English version since earlier American printings of this title were of a longer and different version. Boyle also printed the Dicey and Marshall history, A dialogue between a blind-man and Death, in 1773. Isaac Watts was probably the most frequently reprinted English author in America. His Divine songs attempted in easy language for the use of children, which appeared in the Catalogue under histories, was published cheaply from about 1730 onwards by many New England and Philadelphia printers.


The Fleets and Fowle also printed contemporary theatrical and other songs. Zechariah Fowle's familiarity with current British cheap print may be surmised by the fact that in 1762 he printed The Four Indian kings which dated back to the visit of four Iroquois chiefs to London in 1710 and was by the middle of the century listed as an old ballad by Dicey and Marshall. John Gay's very popular song Sweet William's farewell to black-ey'd Susan ("All in the downs the fleet was moor'd") appeared on a single sheet under the title of "Black ey'd Susan's lamentation for the departure of her sweet William, who was impress'd to go to sea" and a number of other "new songs" appeared under the Heart and Crown imprint. The Fleets continued to publish British songs down to the 1780s and beyond. They seem to have been the first American printers to print a ballad set to a tune from Gay's trend-setting Beggar's Opera, The lawer's [sic ] pedigree, tune, Our Polly is a sad slut in Boston in about 1755, (89). Dicey and Marshall, as we have seen, listed Songs from the Beggar’s Opera in their Catalogue.


Other Massachusetts printers had also begun to print both traditional English ballads and small histories, theatrical songs, and abridgements of popular novels before the Revolution. In the early 1770s Samuel and Ebenezer Hall at Salem advertised that "above thirty different kinds of ballads" could be bought at their printing house and in Love in a tub; or,--The merchant outwitted by the vintner... An excellent old song, they advertised fifteen ballad titles and stated that these could be "had (by the groce, dozen, or single)." This work is not listed in Evans or Ford. It was a well-known British item and appeared as a ballad in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue. The same printers’ The penny-worth of wit. Here's a choice penny-worth of wit, for all that stand in need of it, also a single-sheet verse in three columns and again not listed by Evans or Ford, was a very popular British title. So was Chevy-Chace, printed by the Halls in c. 1772. Others imprints to be found in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue that were printed in America were The Friar and boy: or, The young piper's pleasant pastime Containing the witty adventures betwixt the friar and boy, in relation to his step mother, whom he fairly fitted for her unmerciful cruelty, (Boston, A. Barclay 1767), the History of Jack and the giants (Newport, R.I. ?, c. 1770) and England's timely remembrancer. The minister preaching his own funeral sermon. Being a warning from Heaven to all vile sinners on earth (Newburyport Mass., 1773 or 1774), not recorded in Evans or Bristol.


Elsewhere in New England, Connecticut printers developed a market for cheap print that certainly persisted for many years. Timothy Green of New London printed a number of Dicey and Marshall items including The bride's burial, Christ in the clouds, The pleasant history of Lazy Lawrence, and The Black book of conscience. He may have been the first American printer to issue the three popular English ballads, also Dicey items, Bateman’s tragedy, under the title of Young Bateman, The fortunate lovers: or, Sweet William of Plymouth, and Youth's warning-piece: the tragical history of George Barnwell, who was undone by a strumpet, who caused him to rob his master, and murder his uncle, the latter an early seventeenth-century ballad that was constantly reprinted in eighteenth-century Britain. Since only one copy of each survives it must be a matter of speculation as to whether these are the surviving remnants of a much larger output of traditional ballads and histories by Green. In Hartford, Connecticut , Thomas Green also printed Christ in the clouds, and The black book of conscience.


Beyond New England in this period fewer items of popular English cheap print are recorded. In Philadelphia, Chattin sold England's timely remembrancer, at the price of four pence and, in Lancaster, William Dunlap reprinted Josiah Woodward's A disswasive from the sin of drunkenness which featured in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue as a patter. In New York, Hugh Gaine printed an abridgement of Robinson Crusoe in 1774 and advertised "a great variety of little books for young masters and misses", almost a direct quote from the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue, in which appeared Nancy Cock's dainty fine Song-book, for all little Masters and Misses, to be sung to them by their Nurses, till they can sing themselves.


While several large songsters with current English theatre songs were printed in both Philadelphia and New York, there is an almost complete absence of recorded single-sheet British-derived songs or ballads in the latter place and relatively few in the former. But Andrew Steuart did introduce British contemporary "new" songs in the same kind of format as they typically appeared in the mother country, printing, for example, The Pleasures of a single life; or, The miseries of matrimony. .: To which is added, The choice; or, The pleasures of a country life. The former title was a Dicey and Marshall patter.


The years of the Revolution and the War for Independence saw an increasing production of patriotic and political American-written songs and ballads and other categories of American-produced popular print. Yet American printers then and later continued to print numerous items of cheap print from the British Isles. Indeed, although it is difficult to date these items with much precision, it is obvious that between about 1775 and 1820 a very large market for traditional English ballads and chapbooks still existed. In Boston, Ezra White, who advertised himself as a "Ballad-Pedler who keeps a general assortment of Ballads constantly on hand, and intends selling them cheaper than they can be had of any other person in the State" published in 1794 The History of the seven wise masters, of Rome. Containing, many excellent and delightful examples and, as a chapbook in 1795, the first recorded American printing of Robert Greene's The history of Dorastus and Faunia; setting forth their loves, misfortunes, and happy enjoyment of each other at last 1795, a work first published in 1588 and a staple of British cheap print in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


For the Boston area a key source for songs and ballads is the Isaiah Thomas collection in the American Antiquarian Society. These were items that Thomas "purchased from a ballad printer and seller in Boston" and presented to the American Antiquarian Society in August 1814. Although Worthington C. Ford gave the impression that the most of the contents in this collection were of American origin, this was convincingly challenged by Thomas L. Philbrick in 1957, who drew attention to their mainly British provenance. (90) Many of the items in the Isaiah Thomas collection are undated and many are unique copies. But they and other contemporary imprints demonstrate that items from the Dicey corpus and elsewhere had a long survival rate in America. Several are titles that were probably not printed - are certainly not recorded - in America before the Revolution. These included Captain Ward, the pirate. With an account of his famous fight with the Rainbow ship of war, printed in Britain under the title of Captain Ward and the Rainbow, and Cat-skin; or, The wandering lady. The Thomas collection also contains six London-printed sheets and the continuing sale of these London-printed ballads and songs suggests a contemporary importation into America from the British Isles.


The prime printers of cheap print in the later eighteenth and in the early nineteenth century were probably the Coverlys. Nathaniel Coverly the first (1744?-1816), printed at Boston. His output was aimed at the juvenile market and included several items from the Dicey corpus, such as a chapbook version of Robinson Crusoe. Many of his publications carried a price, usually "three pence" or "four coppers." Nathaniel Coverly Junior was located for a time in Boston at the corner on Milk Street from 1810 and some authorities place him there to 1814, others to 1824. One of his American songs, The Sedition act (1811) contained an advertisement for "Songs (by the gross, dozen, or single) constantly for sale by Nathaniel Coverly, Jun. corner of Theatre-Alley, Milk-Street, Boston." Coverly published many British-derived ballads, songs and chapbooks and his imprints also illustrate the introduction of Irish themes into late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British cheap print and their transmission to the United States. He issued, for example, The land of sweet Erin: together with, The garland of love, and Erin go brah as a single-sheet in about 1820. His extensive productions included old English ballads such as The Dorsetshire garland, or The miser outwitted: showing how a rich gentleman of Dorsetshire, who had but one child, a daughter, about 14 years old, when he died, left her to the care of his brother, a rich miser; how the miser contrived to murder his niece for the sake of her money, but was disappointed of his wicked purpose; and how he was forced to part with all his gold to save his life , which had appeared in the Dicey corpus. He also reissued such favourites as Captain Ward, the pirate, Chevy Chase, A Dialogue between Death and a lady, Fair Rosamond, The Golden Bull, The History of Jane Shore and others. Coverly printed the first recorded American version of Lord Bateman, a ballad that first was first registered as a broadside in 1624 but was not included in the Dicey corpus and seems not before to have appeared in any broadside version in the British Isles or North America. (91) The Coverlys' name is also recorded against items printed or sold in other Massachusetts towns: Concord, Plymouth, Medford, and Salem.


Other Massachusetts printers built up a repertoire of British-derived cheap print. Isaiah Thomas in Worcester printed versions of Robinson Crusoe and Tom Thumb and Cock Robin, together with a few other chapbooks, including The History of the seven wise masters, of Rome, also printed in Philadelphia in 1798. Thomas’s version of Mother Goose (not a Dicey item) is described as containing "the most celebrated songs and lullabies of the old British nurses, calculated to amuse children and to excite them to sleep. Part 2d, those of that sweet songster and nurse of wit and humour, Master William Shakespeare." In Newburyport, the existence of a market for British cheap print is suggested by the publication at least as late as 1795 of The Great honour of a valiant London prentice: and the notification that this work was "Sold by the thousand, groce, dozen, or single, at the Middle-Street Bookstore and Printing-Office." The printers at this office also advertised "wholesale and retail, a variety of Ancient and Modern popular Songs and Ballads" and sold one of these The Children in the Woods in about 1805 for 3 cents. Guy of Warwick and Robinson Crusoe were also titles produced there.


Elsewhere in New England, other ballads and chapbooks found in the Dicey corpus still appeared in American cheap editions in this period. In Providence, Rhode Island the single sheet ballad Sweet William of Plymouth was advertised as "Sold wholesale and retail, at no. 78 North Main Street, Providence." It is unrecorded in all the major printed bibliographies. At Fairhaven, Vermont, A dialogue between a blind man and death was "printed at the earnest request of a number of Christian friends, for the good of precious and immortal souls; and sold very low, wholesale or retail, by the travelling booksellers." The Chester garland. In four parts was printed in Keene, New Hampshire in about 1794, and is one of the five surviving copies of this ballad for the period before 1800. The same printer issued The History of Jane Shore, concubine to King Edward IVth, a staple of the British trade, which seems to have made a late appearance in America. The Blackamore in the wood, or, A lamentable ballad on the tragical end of a gallant lord and virtuous lady ... , the story of the cruel murder of a noble family, was printed in New Haven in about 1802. This is a ballad which has generally been overlooked by commentators on seventeenth and eighteenth-century Anglo-American racial attitudes.


Slight changes in title sometimes obscure the derivation of North American printed ballads. The Worthy example of a married daughter: who fed her father with her own milk, he being commanded by the emperor to be starved to death, and afterwards pardoned. To the tune of Flying fame was a popular title in the British Isles, where it was commonly called Roman Charity. In North America it was also published as The Grecian daughter. (92) This same title had also been advertised as a cheap wood royal image by Dicey and Marshall. The Factor's garland. Or the Turkish lady, which appeared frequently in North America, was known in Great Britain as The Turkey Factor. Another name change was A Tragical account of the two lovers of Exeter, in England, who having missed of each other, they died of grief on the road, printed in Boston, between 1810 and 1814. This was the popular English ballad, printed by the Diceys, The Loyal lovers of Exeter. The Isaiah Thomas collection contains two copies. Similarly The cruel step-mother: or, The unhappy son with the first line "You most indulgent parents, lend an ear" was printed as a single-sheet ballad in Boston as The Damsel's tragedy, or, The cruel mother-in-law and the ballad, "sold at the printing-office in Hartford" in about 1790, A Dialogue between a noble lord, and a poor woodman, was the British ballad, The presumptuous sinner. Hunting the hare: a favorite song, which is listed as a Boston imprint between 1810 and 1814, is the ballad Hunting the Hare on Banstead Downs and The Lawyer outwitted , a single-sheet ballad in the Thomas collection, is a version of The crafty lover. The crafty princess; or the golden bull. In four parts, printed by Isaiah Thomas in about 1787 was usually printed in Britain as The Golden Bull: Or, The Garland of Loves's Craftiness.


Religious texts listed in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue also continued to be printed in America well into the nineteenth century. A Coverly edition of Isaac Watts's Divine songs, attempted in easy language, for the use of children. was sold at six pence. Testimony to Watts’s continuing popularity is perhaps the fact that the sole book listed among his stock by Jonathan Turnbull, a rural Connecticut storekeeper, was Watt’s Psalms. (93) The A, B, C. with the Shorter catechism, appointed by the General Assembly of Divines at Westminster. To which are added, some short and easy questions for children, a work that sold widely in England and Scotland throughout the eighteenth century, seems to have found no cheap American edition until 1786 when it was printed in Philadelphia by Peter Stewart. Also the first American edition of Time and eternity: or, The difference between to-day and to-morrow: being a looking-glass for saints and sinners, a single sheet, is first recorded at about the same date, printed in Trenton, New Jersey, by Isaac Collins. This is listed in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue as a "patter" and although the one surviving Aldermary edition, A journey from time to eternity; recommended to all those who call themselves Christians was published in eight pages, it was also produced in the British Isles as a single sheet. A unique copy in this format is held in Exeter Central Library. (94) The much-reprinted chapbook, A sermon on the unpardonable sin, against the Holy ghost, or, The sin unto death, which is categorized by Dicey and Marshall as a "history" and seems to have been especially widely printed in Scotland is described in a printing by Haswell and Russell in Bennington, Vermont in 1789, as the seventieth edition. Yet no cheap version of it is recorded in North America before and its numbering may be taken from a British edition. Its first listing was in London in 1692. [WING R2347L]. The title page of The lost and undone son of perdition: or, The birth, life and character of Judas Iscariot printed in Albany circa 1790, provides further evidence of the continuing marketing of British-derived cheap print, advertising a "great variety of small books, pamphlets, songs, &c.--among which are the history of that renown'd hero Robinson Crusoe, the humorous history of Lazy Laurence, also the second Spira, or the blasphemer justly reproved, to which is added a sermon," all Dicey and Marshall titles.


By the 1790s many of these titles were sold specifically as children’s books and others had always been so. The Parent's best gift: containing the church catechism with many questions and answers out of the Holy Scriptures. With grace before and after meat, also, prayers, &c. &c. was described by J. Harrisson in New York in 1796 as "for all good children-----price six pence". This had also been a staple of the Dicey trade and typical Aldermary printings were of 24 pages in small chapbook format. Other children's books of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries from the Dicey and Marshall corpus included The house that Jack built, a diverting story for children of all ages. To which is added, some account of Jack Gingle; shewing, by what means he acquired his learning, and in consequence thereof got rich, and built himself a house. With a collection of riddles. Adorned with cuts (New York, 1800). Cock Robin's death and funeral - printed in Boston and Worcester, of which there are similar titles in other English printings (e.g. The death and burial of Cock Robin, Derby, 1800?) was probably similar to Cock Robin a pretty gilded toy, a Catalogue small book of 32 pages. A Boston edition of The World turned upside down or The comical metamorphoses. A work entirely calculated to excite laughter in grown persons and promote morality in the younger ones of both sexes: ...., which survives in only one known copy, is a title which although found in Dicey and Marshall's Catalogue was obviously more elaborately and probably more expensively printed than the corresponding British imprint. Another unique surviving copy is the New Haven-printed The Bristol bridegroom... of about 1794, also a Dicey item.


From about the 1780s Philadelphia and New York City became important centres for cheap print. Traditional favourites were certainly printed in large numbers including Whittington, Crusoe, Robin Hood, etc. in both cities. In Philadelphia, as well as more expensive collections of British songs, Matthew Carey generally printed longer versions of titles that had appeared in the Dicey and Marshall Catalogue, such as The most illustrious and renowned history of the seven champions of Christendom. In three parts. and Hocus pocus; or the whole art of legerdemain.... Also in Philadelphia, Death and the lady. To which is added the bride's burial , was printed by Henry Green and sold "at his stand at the Seven Stars opposite the Jersey market, where may be had a variety of songs, wholesale and retail". In New York City items from the Dicey and Marshall corpus included The history of the seven wise masters of Rome, printed in about 1795 and even the old favourite The History of fair Rosamond. The Gosport tragedy or The perjured ship carpenter was "Printed for the hawkers" in 1798 and, at about the same time, The Golden bull: or The crafty princess. In four parts "for the itinerant book-sellers."


Outside of New York City, in Albany, Charles R. & George Webster obviously specialised in cheap print "advertising a great variety of small books, pamphlets, songs, &c.--among which are the history of that renown'd hero Robinson Crusoe, the humorous history of Lazy Laurence, also the second Spira, or the blasphemer justly reproved, to which is added a sermon." Again these were Dicey items. In Hudson, New York, Ashbel Stoddard printed for the " for the itinerant booksellers" but only two relevant titles have survived, The Yarmouth tragedy, or Jamie and Nancy's garland and Death and the lady. To which is added, The bride's burial. In Wilmington, Delaware in the 1790s Peter Brynberg issued several traditional British chapbook titles, but with more pages than those printed in the British Isles, including The renowned history of Valentine and Orson; the two sons of the Emperor of Greece, The life and most surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, mariner , and The Holy Bible abridged; or, The history of the Old and New Testament. Illustrated with notes, and adorned with cuts.


It is only from the late eighteenth century that examples of British-derived cheap print are recorded in the southern states. In Baltimore, Irish songs were printed in eight- page songsters. For example, Reily's courtship to Cooleen Bawn,: to which are added, Reily's trial for running away with Cooleen Bawn[. ] Reily's releasement and marriage with Cooleen Bawn. The hum, a hum appeared in about 1795. This curiously bore the words "Entered according to order" which suggests a direct copying from some provincial British printing on which these obsolete words were often still in place. Among other English texts sold in the city was The English archer; or Robert Earl of Huntington: vulgarly called Robin Hood. : Containing thirty-two songs. : To which is prefixed, a preface. Giving a more full and particular account of his birth, &c. than any hitherto published. Although this was at the upper end of cheap print, containing 144 pages, the wording is very close to that in the title of the Dicey and Marshall item Robin Hood's Garland; being a complete History of all the notable and merry Exploits performed by him and his Men on divers Occasions. With a more full and particular Account of his Birth etc. than any hitherto published... which, as we have seen, sold wholesale at sixteen shillings per hundred in 1764 in London and contained 92 pages. Presumably family ties linked H. & P. Rice in Philadelphia with J. Rice & Co. Market-Street, Baltimore. The title page of The History of the seven wise masters of Rome recorded that it was sold by both printers. Another Maryland printer, the German-American Matthias Bartgis of Fredericktown, decided, in 1794, to issue what he entitled America's timely remembrancer; or, The minister preaching his own funeral sermon; being a warning from heaven to all vile sinners on earth. With a particular relation of many wonderful things seen; by the Rev. Mr. Chamberlain. In a vision just before his decease, the precise time of which was shewn to him. This was in fact a version of England’s Timely remembrancer. Otherwise recorded British cheap print in the southern states in this period is a scarce commodity.


Few items of cheap print carried prices. However, from those that did, it is possible to reconstruct some indication of pricing , although the problem of moving between prices expressed in English and American money make this a difficult topic. An early priced item is an eight-page Philadelphia reprinted version of England's timely remembrancer, or The minister preaching his own funeral sermon... printed and sold by James Chattin in 1756 for four pence. Chattin reprinted several London titles and his usual price ranged from about six pence upwards. In Boston, in 1766, Zechariah Fowle sold the popular The lost and undone son of perdition; or, The birth, life and character of Judas Iscariot, a chapbook of 22 pages for the same price. Fowle sold Mr. Hobby's advice to his people from the grave, an eight page book, in 1765 even more cheaply, for two coppers . The use of the word "coppers" in book prices seems to have been a distinctive American, even New England, usage, a deliberate colloquial attempt to emphasise cheapness, most often used in pricing almanacs. In Boston at about the same time, Kneeland and Adams sold Christ in the clouds coming to judgment or, The dissolution of all things for five coppers, the same price as they charged for almanacs. Ten years later Coverly charged eight coppers for a version of Watt's Divine songs, in easy language for the use of children; this was a book of 48 pages. It was printed and sold in Norwich, Connecticut for nine pence in 1777 in 36 pages. Yet in 1784 Coverly was able to sell The Wonderful life, and surprising adventures of that renowned hero, Robinson Crusoe, a small chapbook of 32 pages, for three pence and Tom Thumb's little book... a sixteen page work for the same price in 1794. E. Russell, in Boston, sold A dialogue between a blind-man and Death, also sixteen pages, for six pence. The same book in 36 pages by Coverly at Haverhill was sold for nine pence. In Boston, in about 1800, Coverly sold Watts's Divine songs at twelve cents. These prices have to be set against wages and family income. In the early 1800s in Philadelphia labourers might expect a wage of about one dollar a day (when work was available) and artisans about $1.65. These rates in fact probably did not change much until after the Civil War. Family incomes are harder to calculate.(95)


Distribution networks and marketing in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century America resembled those in Britain with a substantial sale of cheap print from the printers’ own premises, by country stores and by hawkers and pedlars. While printers obviously supplied some retail outlets in their hinterlands - "town and country shop keepers" - directly, despite some hostile legislation and the imposition of licences and fees, hawkers and pedlars operated extensively, especially in the North (96) Such itinerants were, as we have seen, referred to in relation to the sale of books as travelling booksellers, travelling traders, town flys, flying book-sellers, flying stationers. Hugh Amory has noted that James Gray of Charlestown, Massachusetts, specialised in hawking books and because he dealt for cash had at his death in 1705 amassed a substantial fortune, including eight bags of sliver money (£591) and debts of £200 owing him in current silver money. Franklin also sold to pedlars and to the "riders who delivered newspapers." (97) Hard information on eighteenth-century pedlars is scarce but William J. Gilmore has described them as "the most important component of the informal circulation network" for printed works in the Upper Connecticut Valley at the end of the eighteenth and in the first few decades of the nineteenth centuries and considers that itinerant hawkers and walkers... " usually circulated the widest variety of printed matter available in America". Gilmore also notes that the importance of traditional chapbooks issued in "abbreviated and often recast versions of between twelve and sixty-four pages" and of ballads and broadsides. These mixed European and American subject matter and, although he provides no further analysis, the imprint evidence that we have presented suggests that traditional English works of the kinds issued by the Diceys must have been an important segment, especially as he notes that of all the works circulated in the Valley, excluding almanacs, at this time nearly three-quarters were European-authored. (98) About the South, which had fewer printer/booksellers, less is known. Books were certainly imported by tobacco merchants and others as part of their general business and sold in general stores and presumably also distributed by hawkers and pedlars. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries specialist itinerant book salesman, with more formal relationships with book publishers, covered areas of the south as well as many other sections of the United States. Indeed Bishop Porteus’s wish for a virtuous cheap print empire, supported by respectable pedlars and hawkers, was for a time realised in America, where the Rev. Mason Weems who used some of the techniques of the hawker was highly successful in his work for Matthew Carey. The Philadelphia publisher, William Woodward, "formalized the use of preachers as peddlers by assembling a staff of ministers to sell his books throughout the nation." Such distributors at this time received discounts of usually 20 percent, sometimes of 33 percent. (99)


Imprint information provides further information about the sale of cheap print, particularly in New England. A kind of barter is indicated in some imprints with the Coverlys, for example, offering cash for cotton and linen rags and Elijah Russell at Concord, New Hampshire, "who has a variety of pretty little books, &c. for sale" offering cash for rags. Wholesale discounts are mentioned in many cases, with the preferred quantities being the gross (144) or the dozen. Fowle and Draper in Boston in about 1760 offered " country traders, shop keepers and others... a compleat assortment of small histories, &c. &c. by the gross or dozen, and considerable profits will be allow'd to those who purchase to sell again." By the 1790s there are a few examples of sales by the thousand. The Great honour of a valiant London prentice: being an account of his matchless manhood, and brave adventures was sold in Newburyport, Massachusetts. by the thousand, groce, dozen, or single. There are some indications within title imprints of wholesale pricing strategies. When Alden Spooner sold the first Windsor, Vermont edition of The birth, life and character, of Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition (20 pages) in 1796 he charged eight cents retail and 25 cents per dozen wholesale, giving a wholesale unit price of 2.08 cents. This can be compared with almanac prices of, for example, two pistereens per dozen by Kneeland and Adams in 1767, which was probably the equivalent of 40 cents or pence per dozen against six coppers or pence for a single copy, nearly a 100 percent retail mark-up.


Hugh Amory has noted that "one surprising consequence of American independence from the British Empire was to reinforce the anglicisation of print that culturally was a striking feature of the pre-war decades." (100) The persistence of British cheap print as a cultural commodity well into the nineteenth century was, of course, matched by that of more expensive British works and was part of a number of continuing British influences on American life in the early years of the American Republic. William Gilmore has calculated that in northern New England after 1800 "two-thirds of the law books, four-fifths of all medical works, and seven-tenths of all works in modern literature had British authors." (101) New England Federalism, even New England resistance to the War of 1812, arguably had a cultural as well as a political basis. Similar figures for learned books, fiction and poetry are probably valid elsewhere in the United States, although the amount of British cheap print may not have been so great in the South.