In the past the Edinburgh Evening Courant, the chief organ of the Tory party, of which James Hannay was editor for a few years, had a high reputation.
In his thirteenth year he was apprenticed to his halfbrother James, who was establishing himself in the printing business, and who in 1721 started the New England Courant, one of the earliest newspapers in America.
When, after various journalistic indiscretions, James Franklin in 1722 was forbidden to publish the Courant, it appeared with Benjamin's name as that of the publisher and was received with much favour, chiefly because of the cleverness of his articles signed " Dr Janus," which, like those previously signed " Mistress Silence Dogood," gave promise of " Poor Richard."
More than ioo periodicals have been established in Hartford, of which the oldest is the Hartford Courant (1764), the oldest newspaper in the United States.
From April 1866 to April 1867 he was governor of Connecticut, and in 1867 he bought the Hartford Courant, with which he combined the Press, and which became under his editorship the most influential newspaper in Connecticut and one of the leading Republican papers in the country.
He delighted to keep himself in this way au courant with the latest developments, and lost no opportunity of establishing relations with men of scientific reputation.