The Royal Gazette, New York
Saturday, February 22, 1783
Very seldom do I manage to find a Tory newspaper from the Revolutionary War, much less the almost-legendary Royal Gazette, published by James Rivington. The masthead includes the motto: “TO THE KING’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.” New York City was the last major city stronghold of the British forces at the end of the War. The Patriots throughout new country referred to the newspaper as “Rivington’s Lying Gazette,” owing to its skewed battle reports, false reports of quarrels between Continental leaders, supposed “financial collapse” of the American rebels, and the great strength of the British forces.
This rare issue published during the Revolution’s final days reports news from various sources that peace had broken out in Europe, although talks in Spain had ceased. The whole city of New York was waiting for news that the Revolutionary War was over and American would be declared to be independent. Many of the Tory inhabitants of New York were making plans to go back to Europe or head for Nova Scotia and Canada fearing for their lives of being accused of treason against the new United States. The front page contains “ORDERS,” regarding people who had houses or land within the (British) lines which have been withheld from them for offenses against the English Crown to make their claims to the New York Police (see scan).
There is also a notice playing up Nova Scotia as an excellent place to resettle for those Loyalists and their families who wish to “get out of town” (see remarkable scan).
4 pp., complete, and in very fine condition. The Royal woodcut illustration in the masthead is especially nice. A very rare opportunity to own an original of the most sought-after Tory newspaper in history! It’s also the only one we have in stock or may ever see again.
BURGOYNE FAILS TO MEET TERMS OF SURRENDER CONVENTION
NEWS OF SARATOGA VICTORY REACHES FRANCE–CHANGES THE WAR!
THE RHODE ISLAND OATH OF ALLEGIANCE – FRONT PAGE PRINTING!
BENEDICT ARNOLD DINES WITH GEN. LINCOLN
GEN. LAFAYETTE LEADS 5,000 TROOPS TO CANADA
The Providence Gazette, Rhode Island
Saturday, February 21, 1778
Here’s a really “packed” newspaper from the middle of the American Revolution. The front page contains the complete printing of the Rhode Island “Oath of Allegiance, “ which every free male 21 and over must take before a state or local official. The Oath begins: “I do swear, That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantation, and will faithfully support, maintain and defend the same, against George the third, King of Great-Britain, his abettors, and all other enemies and opposers whatsoever; and will discover all plots and conspiracies that shall come to my knowledge against said State, or any other of the United States of America. So help me God.”
In other important news, Congress has determined that General Burgoyne, who surrendered his army to General Gates in a huge victory at Saratoga, has failed to turn over certain armaments to the Americans under the terms of surrender. Therefore, Congress has resolved that neither he nor his army can embark for England until all the terms are met!
A letter from Baltimore reports, “The news of General Burgoyne’s defeat and surrender was received in France a few days before Capt. Moore sailed,” etc. France would shortly enter the war against Britain and help turn the tide in favor of the United States. There is also news that Gen. Benedict Arnold (soon to turn traitor), dined with General Lincoln, with some details. This tough Rhode Island newspaper has plenty of other war news and reports–they kept me up for an evening reading about the Revolution in first-hand accounts!
4 pp., complete and in very good condition. There is some fairly typical staining in the lower half not affecting anything. Some old archival tape reinforcements as well. This is one of the better papers from 1778 I’ve ever had to offer, and at a reasonable price. Be sure to check the scans!
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!
The Pennsylvania Packet, Philadelphia,
Saturday, June 10, 1780
On Dec. 23, 1776, patriot Thomas Paine, author of the popular pro-American pamphlet, “Common Sense,” penned the first in a series of essays designed to build the spirit and confidence of the hard-pressed Continental Army and the American people, and to argue for complete independence of the newly-formed United States of America. He began that first letter with the famous words, “These are the times that try mens’ souls….” General George Washington found the essay so inspiring that he ordered it read to his beleagured army.
Here in full, is the first printing of Paine’s ninth letter. He writes in part, “The war, on the part of America, has been a war of natural feelings. Brave in distress; serene in conquest; drowsy while at rest; and in every situation generously disposed to peace; a dangerous calm, and a most heightened zeal have, as circumstances varied, succeeded each other. Every passion but that of despair has been called to a tour of duty; and so mistaken has been the enemy, of our abilities and disposition, that when she supposed us conquered, we rose the conquerors. The extensiveness of the United States, and the variety of their resources; the universality of their cause, the quick operation of their feelings, and the similarity of their sentiments, have, in every trying situation, produced a something, which, favored by providence, and pursued with ardor, has accomplished in an instant the business of a campaign. We have never deliberately sought victory, but snatched it; and bravely undone in an hour the blotted operations of a season.”
I have taken the time to scan the entire essay for all to read and ponder–it takes you back in time to the War for Independence in a way no history textbook can truly match. A newspaper like this one is to be preserved and treasured for as long as America has its being.
4 pages, complete, and in excellent condition throughout. Again, this is the very first printing of “The Crisis No. IX.” Other newspapers printed it in the days and weeks afterward as it made its way throughout the new country. First printings are highly sought-after by collectors and historians alike.
The Pennsylvania Evening Post, Philadelphia
Saturday, July 1, 1775
This historic issue publishes two superb reports of the Battle of Bunker (Breed’s) Hill [June 17, 1775]. The first, a 29 line eyewitness report, dated, Worcester, June 21, gives a succinct but colorful account of the battle, “… [our troops] lines of circumvallation, on a small hill south of Bunker’s Hill in Charlestown, was in great forwardness…. about two the enemy began to land… and… marched up to our intrenchments, from which they were twice repulsed with great loss…. Though this scene was horrible, and altogether new to most of our men; yet many stood and received wounds, by swords & bayonets, before they quitted their lines. The number killed and wounded on our side is not yet known. Our men are in high spirits.”
A more detailed, 68 line account, by Thaddeus Burr, also appears. “… you will doubtless hear of the engagement of last Saturday, between our troops and those of the Army at Boston…. Last Friday evening, a detachment from the camp at Cambridge marched to Charlestown, and there took possession of Breeds-Hill…about two o’clock, when a large army of between four and five thousand men…under the command of General Howe landed on the back of the hill, and marched up with great seeming resolution towards our lines; our men reserved their fire till the enemy had advance very near, when a general engagement ensued; the fire from our lines was so excessive heavy, and made such a terrible slaughter as obliged the enemy twice to give way….”
These are some of the earliest published accounts of this major early battle in the American Revolution. The paper also reports on General Washington & other Revolutionary War news.
4 pp., 4to; disbound, a couple of minor spots and a touch of light foxing, but a very fine copy. The Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence in its July 6, 1776 issue, and one recently sold at auction for $722,500 to a dealer! We’ve only had two other newspapers reporting Bunker Hill, and they were sold long ago. In all probability this may be the last such issue we will ever see. For the very finest collection.
The Pennsylvania Packet, Philadelphia
Thursday, January 20, 1780
Two letters sent from France (where the captured “Serapis” anchored) describe Captain Jones’s now legendary sea fight – the first major naval victory of the United States over the vaunted British Navy. The first report states in part, “…they (the “Poor Richard” and the “Serapis”) fought for three hours and a half with inconceivable rage; two hours of which time they were fast to each other, and almost all the time one or the other was on fire.” The second letter says, “I cannot give you a very particular account of the engagement; only that the conflict between the two ships exceed description; upwards of 230 men killed and wounded in both, and so shattered that it was a matter of doubt which of the vessels would sink first.”
Four pp., excellent condition, totally uncut and with the original deckled edges. Yes, this issue has the highly sought-after intricately hand-drawn masthead of a sailing ship (see scan). For the finest collection, and the only such issue on the market today (and probably ever). This newspaper was published by John Dunlap who printed the famous July 4, 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence (25 known); the last one sold for $8.14 million! This issue is many times scarcer than the Declaration broadside!