The Boston Gazette (not the first Boston newspaper to be so called) was founded by Edes and Gill in 1755 and it had become the principal Patriot newspaper for which many of the prominent Boston Whigs of the day, to include Dr Benjamin Church Jr, wrote. Edes was the principal publisher and ardent patriot while Gill attended more to the printing side of the business. But the newspaper was the principal enterprise and source of income for Edes and Gill.
As soon as Mein read the attack in the Gazette, he stormed into the Gazette's office, also on King Street, demanding to know the author's name. Benjamin Edes admonished him saying that, as a printer, he should know better than to ask "such an unpertinent, improper question." Mein was too angry to worry about "journalistic ethics" and responded that if Edes didn't divulge the author, he would assume that Edes was responsible "and the affair shall be decided in three minutes." Edes told him he was too busy and that Mein should return the following morning. Edes was either stalling for time or he may have been wishing to seek the author's permission to reveal his identity; but, in either case, when Mein returned the next day, Edes told him that he would not reveal the name. Mein challenged him to a fight and, after Edes declined, left the building. That evening, Mein encountered Edes' partner, John Gill, on the street and struck him with his cane, rather brutally. Gill retaliated with a lawsuit.
In the February 1st edition of the Gazette, Samuel Adams, writing under the name "Populus" stated the affair was in no sense a private one, but a "Spaniard-like Attempt" on the freedom of the press; and at Mein's trial, so did James Otis, as Gill's counsel. Mein was fined L130, and though, on appeal, he got the amount reduced to L75 plus court costs, he still suffered a severe penalty.
|James Otis, Jr|
Next - John Mein battles the Boston merchants.