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- 1 2016-08-19T17:46:32+00:00 William Fenton 9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944c A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania William Fenton 2 A brief state of the province of Pennsylvania, : in which the conduct of their assemblies for several years past is impartially examined, and the true cause of the continual encroachments of the French displayed, more especially the secret design of their late unwarrantable invasion and settlement upon the river Ohio. To which is annexed, an easy plan for restoring quiet in the public measures of that province, and defeating the ambitious views of the French in time to come. In a letter from a gentleman who has resided many years in Pennsylvania to his friends in London. gallery 2018-02-12T02:57:52+00:00 London [England]: : Printed for R. Griffiths at the Dunciad, in Paternoster-Row., 1755. Smith, William, 1727-1803. Call Number: Am 1755 Smi 112519.O With a half-title. By William Smith. "Price one shilling."--half-title. Signatures: [A]-B-F? G (G2 verso blank). English short title catalogue (ESTC), T68506; Sabin 84589; Howes, W. U.S.iana (2nd ed.), S686; Smith, J. Anti-Quakeriana, p. 405. Library Company of Philadelphia. William Fenton 9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944c
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One strength of Digital Paxton is that it provides access to various materials that eighteenth-century audiences would have encountered reading while the texts. While a digital facsimile is not the same as the physical object it stands in for, the digital object can be easily searched and broadly disseminated without overlooking the fact that the text was a material object. More than words on a page, this materiality provides key insights into the text itself, its production, circulation, and reception.
This article will analyse how materiality enables readers to discern between the 'main' body of a text and the texts that surround it, called paratexts. Few texts started from the first line of the argument; instead there was usually a heading, date or a title page that would provide context for what the audience read. Longer and more complex texts typically had more paratexts to surround them such as dedications, prefaces, contents page, indices, footnotes, and epilogues. The common purpose of each paratext is to explain in some way how the words on the page relate to the social world of the reader.
The relationship between reader and text was both commercial and intellectual. In many cases, readers bought texts in order to engage in debates. Consequently, debates were not just intellectual, they took place in a commercial medium, in which business concerns affected the trajectory of the dispute. Paratexts also had significant intellectual implications. Paratexts could highlight aspects of the 'main' argument to help readers better understand the author's interpretation of the world.
In this article, I want to demonstrate the value of paratexts for analysing a debate like the Paxton Boys, and by extension, to underscore the value of resources like Digital Paxton, which provide access to digital facsimiles that attend to the materiality of printed objects. I will concentrate on back matter, the material that comes at the end of a piece. Typical backmatter include appendices, indices, errata, advertisements, coda, epilogues, and postscripts.
I argue that back matter encouraged readers to reflect on and revisit the text in contrast to other forms of paratexts. For example, whereas backmatter rhetorically responded to the main text, front matter (at the beginning of a piece) was rhetorically preparatory. Front matter framed the argument to give readers an indication of what will be important in the text: the title page, contents page, or preface prepared the reader for significant points in the main text that followed.
This article will trace how backmatter in the form of errata, advertisements, supplementary material, and postscripts encouraged the reader to revisit and reinterpret a text. Attending to such paratexts opens up new ways to read Paxton Boys printed materials.
Writers published numerous histories of the Pennsylvania colony during the late-1750s, each purporting to shed new understanding on the present conflict. Central of those narratives was whom to blame. Authors variously pointed fingers at the fecklessness of Pennsylvania Proprietors and the pacifism of Quaker Assembly members.
William Smith, A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania (London, 1755).Episcopalian priest William Smith attributed the colony’s troubles to Quaker opposition to a militia. His attacks on the Society of Friends eventually alienated him from Benjamin Franklin, whose ally—and recent Quaker convert—Joseph Galloway penned a lengthy retort, A True and Impartial State of the Province of Pennsylvania (1759).
Richard Jackson, An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (London, 1759).This anonymously-published book attacked the Penn family (who were no longer Quakers) and the proprietary nature of the colonial government while defending the actions of Quakers in the assembly during the Seven Years’ War. While originally credited to Benjamin Franklin, it was actually authored by Richard Jackson.
Anonymous (likely Thomas Penn), Criticism of Franklin’s Historical Review (London, 1759 or 1760).This anonymous, unpublished manuscript critiques Historical Review. The manuscript was written in 1759 or 1760, almost certainly by Thomas Penn.
Anonymous (likely James Claypoole), Franklin and the Quakers (Philadelphia, 1764).Franklin’s associations with the Quakers complicated his political career. Franklin appears in the foreground of this etching, holding a sack labeled “Pennsylvania money.” Israel Pemberton appears inferentially: To the left, prominent Quaker merchant Abel James distributes tomahawks from a barrel labeled “I.P.”