BENEDICT ARNOLD IN THE BRITISH SERVICE! THOMAS JEFFERSON CAPTURED?
The Independent Chronicle, and The Universal Advertiser, Boston, Mass.
Thursday, July 5, 1781
From the superb Paul Revere engraving in the masthead, to notice and acts signed, in type, “Samuel Adams,” and “John Hancock” (then Mass. Governor), to reports of the depredations of Benedict Arnold (now on the British side), in Virginia, you know this is a very special early American newspaper!
Benedict Arnold, after attempting to sell the plans of the American post at West Point to the British, switched sides in the American Revolution. Invading Virginia, he dispatched troops under Banastre Tarleton to enter Charlottesville to try to capture government officials. Although Gov. Thomas Jefferson barely escaped the British dragoons, he was investigated by the Virginia House of Delegates for possible negligence of duty! This newspaper publishes the news that “300 cavalry, and 100 infantry entered Charlottesville….for the express purpose of seizing the members of the assembly of Virginia, and the principal officers of that government….but the gentlemen having….gained intelligence of the rapid approach of the enemy, retired from the village…but his excellency Gov. Jefferson, and two other gentlemen, (members of the legislature) it is feared were taken….”
In another report dated “Annapolis, (Maryland) June 1,” it is stated that “….Lord North had the impudence to declare….to the parliament of Great Britain, that the confederation of America was not accomplished, and that Maryland had refused to accede to it. The Traitor Arnold….foolishly boasted of the same thing. ” And, in other news, Lord Cornwallis had destroyed tobacco in Virginia, while General Greene was winning battles in North and South Carolina.
The front page contains a Massachusetts act regarding keeping soldiers for service in defence of the state and nation, and is signed, in type, “JOHN HANCOCK,” then Governor of Massachusetts, as well as Samuel Adams (beer, anyone!?), President of the House of Representatives. And the back page has a full column notice for the “Massachusetts LOTTERY For the SOLE Purpose of Cloathing the ARMY.”
4 pages, complete, and in very fine condition, with a few foxing spots at the top of page three. The scarce Paul Revere “Sword in Hand” woodcut illustration is one of the finest I’ve seen in any issue of The Independent Chronicle. This is a keeper!