The New-York Mercury
Monday, May 3, 1756
This excessively rare Colonial newspaper contains an anxious report that the French and their Indian allies are pushing hard on the frontiers, killing and scalping on the way, and concern is growing among the British and American Colonials. In what would be termed today as “Breaking News,” “Col. (George) Washington is endeavouring to collect some of the Militia together; with whom, and what Soldiers are here, he intends to scour the Woods, and find them out, if possible. If he does, I hope it will deter them (the enemy) from coming again soon, as we shall have several good Woodsmen with us, who are so dextrous with their Rifles, that they generally make sure of their Mark.”
The front page begins with, “An ACT for the more speedy levying of Soldiers for the Expedition against Crown Point.” It’s quite interesting to read, let me tell you! From Capt. Waggoner’s Fort in Virginia, there is a report that Lt. John Bacon “was kill’d and scalp’d by the Indians about 4 or 5 Miles from Cumberland Fort….” and more killings and scalpings. Other news tells of a meeting with the “Heads of many different Nations of Indians, at Onondago…” in order to incorporate the tribes with the Mohawks to strengthen their forces, and “….to secure and impede the former from murdering any more of our People, as ’tis evident they formerly practised.”
4 pages, folio, and in very fine condition which is special as I seldom find any papers from this era in such nice shape. Reports of George Washington in the French and Indian War are highly sought-after by collectors of autographs, manuscripts and newspapers. Plus, this paper will keep you up nights!
The Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia
November 10, 1748
An original issue of the printer Benjamin Franklin’s famous Gazette printed at the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (King George’s War in America). Report from Aix-la-Chapelle that the peace talks have finally come to an end. SPAIN CEDES GIBRALTAR TO GREAT BRITAIN INDEFINITELY (and set up Prudential Insurance, lol)! Printing of the Tenth Article of the Treaty: “The Catholick King, for himself, his heirs and successors, yields to the crown of Great Britain, the full property of the town and castle of Gibraltar, with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging, to be enjoyed forever without exception or impediment; but with this restriction, to prevent fraudulent importation of goods, &c.” Another interesting term of the ceding of Gibraltar reads, “That Jews or Moors shall not reside in the said town, nor shall the ships of the latter remain in the harbour, except purely on the account of merchandizing….”
There are three superb woodcut sketches of sailing vessels showing the intricacy of early printing. And, I love the notice placed by Ben Franklin himself for delinquent subscribers to pay for their accounts in full (see scan)!
Four pages, complete, original, and in simply superb condition–to see it in person is to be amazed at the quality of the rag paper. One of the finest Franklin printings in existence, and still almost ridiculously undervalued. (Mediocre condition Mickey Mantle baseball cards from 1952 sell for far more–go figure….)
The Athenian Mercury, London
Thursday, February 28, 1693
Amazingly, under the heading, “ADVERTISEMENTS” of this early newspaper is a notice for a new book by the Boston clergyman, Cotton Mather, “The TRYALS of several WITCHES lately Executed in New-England, and of several remarkable Curiosities therein occurring.” Quite unique as references to the Salem Witch Trials are seldom found anywhere. But, this special issue has more! The front and back pages contain two fascinating pieces on “Witch Tryals” in Kent, England, beginning: “Divers Persons in the County of Kent being accused for Practising Witchcraft, were examined by a Justice of the Peace, from whom I had a Copy of their Examination and Confessions.”
The second piece asks the question: “Is it Lawfull to attempt the Discovery of Witches by Swimming, and how far is it an Evidence against them?” I’ve scanned both pieces so you can read them yourself–I’d love to hear your comments on tossing people into the water to see if they sink or swim in order to determine whether or not they are witches!
Single sheet in absolutely superb condition. This is one incredible 17th century newspaper!
The Gentleman’s Magazine
London, April, 1733
James Oglethorpe establishes the last of the Thirteen Original Colonies! An extremely historic news item states, “The Trustees for establishing a Colony in Georgia, received a Letter from James Oglethorpe, Esq; advising his safe Arrival there, with all the People under his Care on the 1st of February last; that he had mark’d out the Town; that they had received great Encouragement from the Assembly, Governor, and Council of Charles Town; and that a little Indian Nation, about 50 miles off, were desirous to be Subjects to K. George, and to breed their Children in Christian Schools.” The new town was, of course, Savannah. The periodical also publishes a remarkabl poetic, “An Address” to James Oglethorpe, Esq; on his settling the Colony in Georgia.” And, there is yet another poem on the Colony of Maryland with the lead-in: “A Description of Maryland, extracted from a Poem, entitled, “Carmen Seculate, addressed to L(or)d Baltimore, Proprietor of that Province, now there.”
55 pp., in near mint condition, just beautifully preserved for over well over 270 years! It even has a complete Table of Contents listing the various 18th century articles, news stories, publications, obituaries and much more. The Gentleman’s Magazine was the very first periodical to use the term “Magazine,” having made its first appearance in January, 1731.