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THE CONGRESSIONAL JOURNALS OF THE UNITED STATES
NATIONAL STATE PAPERS OF THE UNITED STATES SERIES,
The Journal of
GEORGE WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION 1789-1797
FIRST CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION;
Every effort has been made to locate the best preserved and most
Printed in the United States of America.
FRANCIS CHILDS & JOHN SWAINE
Printers of the original edition of this volume
Francis Childs was born in Philadelphia on October 23, 1763. At an early age he showed an interest in the printed word and became the protégé of John Jay, who sent him to school at Esopus, New York. He was apprenticed to the Philadelphia printer, William Dunlap, the first printer of the Declaration of Independence, who treated him badly. At the age of twenty-one Childs went to New York, hoping to go into business for himself. He wrote to Benjamin Franklin, then in Paris, and suggested a partnership. Franklin's slow affirmative reply arrived in February 1785, too late for the impatient Childs who followed his own urgent plans and founded the city's second newspaper, the New York Daily Advertiser. By a mere week he missed being the first publisher of a New York City newspaper, but his was the first daily newspaper in America.
When Franklin returned from France in 1786, he brought with him the type he used in his private press; and, to fulfill a promise, sent Childs fonts of type which he needed. In return Childs signed an agreement of payment, which he dishonored.
On July 2, 1789 Childs entered a partnership with John Swaine, who had also learned his craft under William Dunlap. On July 27, 1790 Childs was made printer to the State of New York on a retainer of £500.
On January 11, 1791 Childs and Swaine published in broadside the first census of the State of New York, which stated that its population was 319,627 including the city's population of 30,022 and 2,263 slaves.
In 1789 Childs and Swaine sought and received government printing contracts. Swaine dropped out of the partnership in 1794. Two years later the Daily Advertiser was formally taken over by John Morton. Little more is known about Francis Childs. Evidently he was prosperous, for on February 23, 1801 he and his wife transferred the ownership of the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the United States for a token fee of five dollars. He died in Burlington, Vermont, on October 12, 1830.
Shortly after the dissolution of his printing partnership with Francis Childs, John Swaine died on November 7, 1794 at the age of thirty-two.