The Cambridge Press, 1638-1692: A Reexamination of the Evidence concerning the Bay Psalm Book and the Eliot Indian Bible as Well as Other Contemporary Books and People

By George Parker Winship | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
THE CLOSING YEARS

TRANSMIGRATION

FOR reasons that will doubtless remain a matter for speculation, in June 1677 the attorney for the Commissioners who had not met since the previous September brought an action which is recorded in the archives of the Middlesex County, Massachusetts, court.

At a County Court held at Charlestown June 19, 1677, Mr. John Hayward attorney in behalf of the Commissioners of the United Colonies plaintiff against Jonathan Cane, executor to the last will and testament of Ruth Johnson, administratrix to the estate of her husband Marmaduke Johnson deceased, in an action of the case for detaining a font of letters, bought by the said Johnson with money that he received for that end and use of the Honorable Corporation in London constituted by his Majesty for propagating of the gospel to the Indians in New England, and also for detaining of a printer's chace, and other implements that belong to a printing press, and is appertaining to the said Indian stock, according to attachment dated 8,4,77 [June 8]. Both parties appeared and joined issue in the case. The jury having heard their respective pleas and evidence in the case, brought in their verdict, finding for the plaintiff that the defendant shall deliver the weight of letters expressed in the attachment, with other materials expressed in the attachment, or the value thereof in money, which we find to be forty pounds, with costs of court. The defendant made his appeal to the next Court of Assistants.

On September 4 the Assistants or Magistrates of the Governor's Council "found for the defendant confirmation of the former judgement and cost of Courts thirty seven shillings and eight pence." The eleven weeks' postponement of the decision would have given Foster and his backers time to send abroad for replacements for the type and implements at issue. They may have decided that the used stock was not worth the appraised value, inasmuch as Foster's printing in 1678 appears to be in a new type.

Even if Green in September 1677 obtained the type that had been used by Johnson since 1665, his actions are not likely to have made friends of the men who had work to do and money to pay for it. There is noth

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