15 June 2017
SURRENDER OF CORNWALLIS – The Freeman’s Journal: or, the North-American Intelligencer. Philadelphia: Francis Bailey, October 24, 1781. No. 27.
The end of the Revolutionary War announced in unprecedented banner headlines the same day that Congress learned the news. Very likely the first printing of the news of Cornwallis' surrender: the pivotal event that secured American independence. Rare. Tench Tilghman, aide-de-camp to General Washington, arrived in Philadelphia with the Commander’s letter to Congress in the wee morning hours of October 24. The news must have been very fresh to Bailey, or even hear-say as, apart from the extraordinary 8-line headline, there are no further details from Yorktown in this paper. The Pennsylvania Packet prints Washington’s letter the next day. Interestingly the Journal gives the pivotal date to remember as October 17 which is indeed the day that Cornwallis proposed a meeting to discuss surrender, but the actual surrender and the date of Washington’s letter was October 19, 1781. The Freeman’s Journal was a weekly which may have influenced the editor’s decision to publish this momentous news just hours after Tilghman arrived in the city with the official dispatch. In his jubilation, he removed half a page of typeset to give the momentous news eight lines of large type. Bailey also printed an extra the following day which included the Articles of Capitulation.
Four pages, folio (432 x 268mm). Deckle edges preserved (some soiling and light wear at folds).
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