He was semi-crippled, and his school record was very poor. He should never have achieved success in anything, especially, because he was a Catholic in the intolerant and dangerous Ireland of 1775. But, by the age of 15, Matthew Carey had gotten himself apprenticed to a Dublin printer and bookseller. When he was 17 years old, he anonymously penned an illegal pamphlet called ‘The Urgent Necessity of the Repeal of the Penal Code against Roman Catholics. Threatened with prosecution, Matthew had to flee to France, where he met Benjamin Franklin, who would become his friend and ally.
Eventually, he fled Ireland for a second time, and landed in Franklin’s hometown of Philadelphia—the perfect place, at the perfect moment. With the Constitutional issue being debated daily in the State House, Carey listened in on every session, memorizing the argued points to print in his newspaper, effectively defending the necessity of a strong Constitution. So began a long and fruitful career of printing, publishing and bookselling, always on behalf of the important issues being debated in the fledgling nation. A faithful Catholic and family man, Mathew Carey’s strong sense of justice, exceptional memory and verbal gifts, his generosity and diligence (and a flare for colorful adventures) all contributed to the part he played in the founding of the brand new United States of America.