GEORGE III, King of England (1738-1820). By the King. A Proclamation, for suppressing Rebellion and Sedition. George R. Whereas many of Our Subjects in divers Parts of Our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill-designing Men, and forgetting the Allegiance which they owe to the Power that has protected and sustained them, after various disorderly Acts committed in Disturbance of the Publick Peace, to the Obstruction of lawful Commerce, and to the Oppression of Our loyal Subjects carrying on the same, have at length proceeded to an open and avowed Rebellion, by arraying themselves in hostile Manner to withstand the Execution of the Law, and traitorously preparing, ordering, and levying War against Us. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 23 August 1775.
Folio broadside, 405 x 334 mm (15.15/16 x 136 in.), slight separation along center fold, a few tiny nicks at fold intersections, otherwise in good condition. FIRST PRINTING. A LARGE, UNCROPPED COPY, with deckle edges of the sheet preserved, paper with crown and shield watermark. Contemporary ink docket on verso, "The King's Proclamation 1775." RARE: no copy has appeared at auction since 1980.
KING GEORGE'S PROCLAMATION MARKING THE OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
In the aftermath of continued provocations culminating in armed resistance at Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, the King issues what amounts to a declaration of war, proclaiming the American colonies in rebellion and requiring "all of our Officers, Civil and Military," to "exert their utmost Endeavours to suppress this Rebellion and to bring the Traitors to Justice," and decreeing that "all Our Subjects of this Realm and the Dominions thereunto belonging are bound by Law to be aiding and assisting in the Suppression of such Rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous Conspiracies and Attempts against Us, Our Crown and Dignity." Within two months of Lexington and Concord some 16,000 New Englanders had mobilized to confront the 5,000 British troops bottled up in Boston. The grievous losses suffered by the British under General Gage at Bunker Hill (June 17) created shock and consternation when reported on July 25 to the King and the British Ministry, and in mid-August the Olive Branch Petition (the Continental Congress's last attempt at a reconciliation) was rebuffed by the hawks in the government, who urged the King to issue the present proclamation of rebellion "which put England and all the colonies into an official state of war" (D. Cook, The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760-1785, p.230. Evans 14077 (American issue); Streeter sale II:767 (illustrated)).