THE FIRST AMERICAN BIBLE

The recent sale in Philadelphia of a copy of what is believed to be the first Bible printed in this country in the

English language—Robert Aitken's Philadelphia, 1872—has brought up again for fresh discussion the old unanswered question, Was Aitken's Bible the first printed here in English. William Bradford endeavored to issue a Bible under the auspices of the Society of Friends in 1688; Cotton Mather's Bible (the Biblia Americana"), upon the preparation of which he spent fifteen years, was never published, though he tried to find printers in 1710, 1713, and 1728, and exists today in manuscript in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and in 1770 John Fleming, a Scotch printer in Boston, circulated the prospectus of a proposed edition of the Bible ("This Work will be put to the Press as soon as Three Hundred are subscribed for"), but the project failed through want of encouragement. Finally, in 1781, Robert Aitken of Philadelphia printed the "New Testament" in English, and the year following issued the whole Bible in the language—the first so issued in this country of which copies are known, says the New York Sun. Thus, one apparently has to come down to the era of American independence without meeting a Bible printed here in English, though editions of the Scriptures had been published for the use of the Indians in 1661, 1663, and 1685, and for the use of the Germans in 1743, 1763, and 1776.

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