From Benjamin Lincoln
Boston Sept. 14th. 1792
My knowledge of your wishes to support the manufactures of your Country will apologize I hope for the trouble of this Letter on the subject of tipes. Mr. Thomas1 of this State has it in contemplation to print the bible in two different small sizes. To do it on terms which will give him a profit among the importers he is under the [necessity] of importing tipes sufficient for the whole work before it can be compleated for they cannot do this as in other case set a part & break up the forms they must in order to save them selves set the whole & let the press stand untill the tipes are worn out. This will involve him in an expence of about ten thousand dollars the duties2 on which is an object. He wishes to know whether all circumstances considered they can be dispensed with. He wishes to procure the tipes of american manufactures but cannot do it.
LC, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston; copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Boston, National Archives.
1. A strong supporter of the American Revolution, Isaiah Thomas of Worcester, Massachusetts, had established the Massachusetts Spy in 1770. His publications, more than two hundred and fifty of which were issued before the end of 1792, were well known for their typography, excellence of paper, binding, and general execution. In December, 1791, he printed the first American folio Bible and the first American royal quarto Bible in English. In 1793 he printed an octavo edition, some copies of which were printed without the Apocrypha.
2. Printer’s type, a nonenumerated commodity, was subject to an import duty of seven and one-half percent ad valorem under “An Act for raising a farther sum of money for the protection of the frontiers, and for other purposes therein mentioned” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 259–63 [May 2, 1792]).