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JOY, FRANCIS (1697?–1790), printer, papermaker, and journalist, was born at Belfast about 1697. His family claims descent from Captain Thomas Joy, a follower of Arthur Chichester, lord Chichester of Belfast [q. v.] Francis Joy is said to have been originally a tailor; but the authority for this statement adds, with manifest exaggeration, that on setting up as a printer he ‘by mere dint of genius, made the types, the ink, the paper, and the press’ (A Series of Genuine Letters between Henry and Frances, 1757, by Elizabeth Griffith [q. v.]) Madden (United Irishmen, ii. 391) describes him as a conveyancer and notary public, and says that a printing establishment was made over to him by a printer in his debt. In 1737 Joy founded the ‘Belfast Newsletter,’ being, with the exception of a Waterford paper (established 1729), the oldest provincial newspaper in Ireland. The earliest extant copy is the first of an enlarged issue, No. 152, Friday, 16 Feb. 1738, printed by Joy at the ‘Peacock,’ in Bridge Street. On 10 June 1746 he announces that the ‘Newsletter’ is printed ‘on paper of his own manufacturing;’ on 30 Oct. 1747 the place of manufacture is specified as Randalstown, co. Antrim. Joy was the first papermaker in Ulster. Some time before 1752 he had ‘retired upon an easy fortune’ (Griffith), resigning business to his sons Henry and Robert. He died at Randalstown in June 1790 aged 93. The proprietorship of the ‘Newsletter’ remained in his family till the end of May 1795. Francis Joy's son Henry was the father of Henry Joy (1767–1838), chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland (see Times, 9 Jan. 1838). Another son, Robert, introduced a cotton manufacture into Belfast (1779), and was father of Henry Joy (d. 1835), a frequent writer in the ‘Newsletter,’ one of the authors of ‘Belfast Politics,’ 1794, 12mo (anon., with William Bruce (1757–1841) [q. v.]; enlarged by John Lawless, 1818, 8vo); Henry Joy also compiled ‘Historical Collections relative to the Town of Belfast,’ 1817, 8vo (anon.)

[Benn's History of Belfast, 1877 i. 437 sq., 512 sq., 1880 ii. 171 sq.; Anderson's Catalogue of Early Belfast Printed Books, 1890; information from McSkimin's Manuscripts, vol. iii. per R. M. Young, esq.]

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