William Strahan

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William Strahan (24 March 1715 – 9 July 1785) was a Scottish printer and publisher, and a Member of Parliament.

Born in Edinburgh as William Strachan, and educated at the Royal High School, Strahan was originally apprenticed to an Edinburgh printer but became a Master Printer in London (at which time he changed the spelling of his name). In 1738 he was made a Freeman of the City of London and a freeman of the Stationers' Company. Diversifying from printing to publishing, he built up a highly important and successful business, at one time employing 50 men. He was Samuel Johnson's chief publisher, being entrusted with the printing of Johnson's Dictionary, and also published the works of the philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith, and the historian Edward Gibbon. From 1770, he was Printer to the King.

For many years, Strahan attended debates in Parliament and wrote reports of the proceedings that were widely circulated; his paragraphs of political news were frequently printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, and he became a friend of its owner, Benjamin Franklin. His protege, David Hall, succeeded Franklin at his print shop in Philadelphia when Franklin retired in 1747. At first he sympathised with the grievances of the American colonists, disapproving of the Stamp Act and publishing arguments in favour of a reconciliation in his London Chronicle. However, he later developed a much more hostile attitude,...
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