21 June 2005
HANCOCK, John (1737-1793). An Oration Delivered...at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March 1770. Boston: Edes and Gill, 1774.
2o (247 x 195 mm). Title printed within heavy mourning borders. (Minor age-toning, small repairs to title margins, a few stains at back.) Stitched as issued; quarter calf folding slipcase.
FIRST EDITION. HANCOCK'S INCENDIARY ORATION ON THE BOSTON MASSACRE. On the verso of the titlepage, the Committee appointed to request publication of the address is listed; among them are such radical Bostonians as Samuel and John Adams, Joseph Warren and Benjamin Church. In his impassioned commemoration address, Hancock strikes a strongly patriotic tone, presaging his oratorical style in the soon-to-be-convened Continental Congress: "I conjure you by all that is dear, by all that is honourable, by all that is sacred, not only that you pray, but that you act; that, if necessary, ye fight, and even die...Break in sunder, with noble disdain, the bonds with which the Philistines have bound you..." "In all probability, a number of Boston radicals had a hand in its composition" (American Independence 17a). Evans 7223; Sabin 30177.
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