1789.020: The Expostulations of Potowmac.

Published: 1789

Full Title: The Expostulations of Potowmac. … [signed] Potowmac. Waters of the Potowmac, Nov. 20, 1789.

Author: Potowmac [pseudonym].

Place Issued: Uncertain

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 1 sheet [2 pgs.]; (broadside, printed recto and verso in three columns).


A memorial to Congress, written in the voice of the Potomac River, advocating the choice of a site along its banks for the new national capital. Sheet lacks printer credit, which has left its origin debated among authorities. Evans attributed this title to the Georgetown press of Charles Fierer; the date in the imprint is concurrent with the beginning of his association with Thomas Updike Fosdick, who brought a level of craftsmanship to that press unseen previously; moreover, a three-column printing style for broadsides was common then in Providence where Fosdick originated. That attribution was challenged by Frederick R. Goff in 1958 (Early Printing in Georgetown [Potomak], 1789-1800), who listed this as a "doubtful" Georgetown imprint while suggesting it issued from the Martinsburg press of Nathaniel Willis. Such an attribution is anachronistic however, as Willis did not settle there until November 1792, fully three years later. If not a Georgetown imprint then, it must be an Alexandria imprint by process of elimination. Yet the three-column format employed in this broadside was not a style seen in Alexandria at this time. Hence this compiler does not think that this item is a Virginia imprint, but includes it in this Index because those earlier suggestions may cause researchers to look for it here.

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