[REVOLUTIONARY WAR.] [CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. A declaration by the representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, now met in general Congress at Philadelphia, setting forth the causes and necessity of their taking up arms....By order of Congress, John Hancock, president...Philadelphia, July 6th, 1775. [Portsmouth, N.H.]: Sold at the printing-office in Portsmouth [by Daniel Fowle, 1775]. Folio broadsheet, 16¼ x 9½ in. (414 x 240mm). Printed in two columns, bold heading at top left; to the right a column-width woodcut captioned "View of that great and flourishing City of Boston, when in its purity, and out of the hands of the Philistines" (by J. Turner). Old repair to one edge (browned), small, mostly marginal tears, repaired with archival paper.
A VERY RARE BROADSHEET OF THE DECLARATION OF "THE CAUSES AND NECESSITY OF TAKING UP ARMS"
"...OUR CAUSE IS JUST" AND "WE ARE "RESOLVED TO DIE FREEMEN RATHER THAN TO LIVE SLAVES" On taking his seat as a delegate to Congress, Thomas Jefferson was added to a committee charged with drafting a "Declaration of the causes and necessity of taking up arms." John Dickinson, author of Letters from a Farmer of Pennsylvania was also on the committee, but the final document remained largely the work of Jefferson. "Like all of Jefferson's writings about the imperial controversy, this paper burns with a sense of injustice...Despite the fact that Dickinson watered down Jefferson's draft,...more resolute patriots regarded it as a spirited manifesto and it proved to be generally popular" (D. Malone, Jefferson the Virginian, p.205).
A long list of specific grievances are enumerated, including the suspension of trial by jury, quartering soldiers, interdicting Boston's maritime commerce and "exempting 'murderers' of colonists from trial" (a reference to the Boston Massacre). The American peace overtures have brought only renewed sanctions, and, finally, an armed attack at Lexington and Concord. Boston and its citizens are now under martial law. Gage's troops "have butchered our countrymen," and an invasion from Canada appears likely; so that "We are reduced to...chusing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. The latter is our choice..." VERY RARE. Only one other broadsheet edition of the declaration has been offered at auction since 1975 (Providence: John Carter, , sold Freeman, 14 September 2006, lot 436, $45,000). Evans 14550; Whittemore, Checklist, 184.