FOR NEARLY a century and a half after the establishment of American newspapers, the delay in receiving news of world events was far beyond the province of the publisher to control. Kings could die, battles be fought, and treaties be signed, and it would be weeks and months before the people whose lives were affected could know of such events. The news of the death of Queen Anne, on August 1, 1714, arrived in America on September 15. George I died June 14, 1727, but his subjects in America did not learn of it until August 13. George II died October 25, 1760, and it was two months later before the news arrived at Boston. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles at Paris on September 3, 1783, providing for the settlement of the American Revolution, was first heard of at Boston on October 22, from a vessel thirty-six days out of London, and it was October 30 before the text was published.
Ocean travel was dangerous, and speed was dependent on the weather. Then too, foreign wars and privateering made voyages doubly hazardous. When the Boston News-Letter was established in 1704 the colonies were in the midst of Queen Anne's war and