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A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED COLONIES OF NORTH-AMERICA ... SETTING FORTH THE CAUSES AND NECESSITY OF THEIR TAKING UP ARMS
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF AMBASSADOR J. WILLIAM MIDDENDORF II
A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED COLONIES OF NORTH-AMERICA ... SETTING FORTH THE CAUSES AND NECESSITY OF THEIR TAKING UP ARMS

CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, 1775

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A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED COLONIES OF NORTH-AMERICA ... SETTING FORTH THE CAUSES AND NECESSITY OF THEIR TAKING UP ARMS
Continental Congress, 1775

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Lot Essay

AMERICAN REVOLUTION – [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].

A very rare broadsheet of the Declaration of "The Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms."

"…Our Cause is just." and "being with one Mind resolved, to die Freeman rather than to live Slaves" On taking his seat as a delegate to the Continental Congress, Thomas Jefferson joined 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, also served 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). The broadside enumerates a long list of specific grievances, including the suspension of trial by jury, quartering soldiers, interdicting Boston's maritime commerce and "exempting 'murderers' of colonists from trial." Colonial peace overtures had 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 example of this braodsheet edition offered at auction since 1975 (Bonahm's, 11 April 2016, lot 63). Evans 14550; Whittemore, Checklist, 184. Provenance: New Jersey Historical Society (sale, Christie's, New York, 19 May 2011, lot 79).

Folio broadsheet, 16 3/8 x 9 in (415 x 230mm). 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). (Toned at bottom margin, a few small losses at left and bottom margins, light soiling, tear at top left repaired.) Matted and framed to reveal both recto and verso.

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