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[AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE]. The Constitutional Gazette. New Yo...

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[AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE]. The Constitutional Gazette. New York: John Anderson, 8 May 1776. No. 81. Printed bifolium priced individually, 4to (267 x 203 mm), few tiny stains, light edgewear. Provenance: Benjamin Towne (notation on front leaf), this issue sent to the notable Philadelphia printer that is best remembered for printing for the first time the Declaration of Independence in a newspaper. A RARE PRE-REVOLUTION NEWSPAPER, POSSIBLY THE ONLY ONE EXTANT, which consists of several mentions of American colonial independence from Great Britain, written only two months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “these feeble American colonies are now in arms against all the formidable force and omnipotence of Great Britain, which haith made the nations tremble… We are now come to a total separation from Great Britain, and are fixed on the plan of an independent state, as our only security… They verily thought that a few regiments of regulars, with an equal number of armed ships, would instantly desolate our sea coasts, penetrate into the heart of our country, and scare the inhabitants out of existence; but facts have demonstrated the contrary. We have fattened Bunker’s barren hill with the blood of 500 of these invulnerable immortals, and driven the rest from the strongest fortress in America… They have repeatedly assured that corrupt, venal assembly, those mercenary tools of tyranny, that the oppressive, bloody measures they were pursuing would certainly unite the colonies into an independent state; which plainly declared their judgement of our being able to form and support such an union and combination, for altho’ our enemies at home and here, have called us rebels, yet neither they, nor our friends in Britain have ever thought us idiots. Why then should we, or why should our Congress, hesitate a moment about declaring independence? Why should we timidly look up any longer for protection to that unnatural power, which hath already tried its force to distress and subdue us by every cruel method of oppression and bloodshed; that thrown us out of her protections and cart us off; and, after having tried in vain to subdue us by land, is now exerting her last feeble effort to rob us, like pirates, of all our property on the seas?” The paper also mentions news from the invasion of Quebec under the command of Benedict Arnold. Other mentions include the capture of the American spy Caleb Brewster, who was seen scouting a location to pilot a gang across a channel “to pilot a gang of cruel murderers, about one thousand in number, whose orders were to massacre men, women, and children”. John Anderson Sr. (1733-1798) had only published a year’s worth of The Constitutional Gazette before he earned the title of “the rebel printer” after opposing James Rivington’s loyalist paper, The Royal Gazette. His printing of Common Sense by Thomas Paine for the first time in New York supplanted his reputation, especially with Britain as he was forced to flee with his press after the British invaded and occupied Manhattan in August of 1776.

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[AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE]. The Constitutional Gazette. New York: John Anderson, 8 May 1776. No. 81. Printed bifolium priced individually, 4to (267 x 203 mm), few tiny stains, light edgewear. Provenance: Benjamin Towne (notation on front leaf), this issue sent to the notable Philadelphia printer that is best remembered for printing for the first time the Declaration of Independence in a newspaper. A RARE PRE-REVOLUTION NEWSPAPER, POSSIBLY THE ONLY ONE EXTANT, which consists of several mentions of American colonial independence from Great Britain, written only two months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “these feeble American colonies are now in arms against all the formidable force and omnipotence of Great Britain, which haith made the nations tremble… We are now come to a total separation from Great Britain, and are fixed on the plan of an independent state, as our only security… They verily thought that a few regiments of regulars, with an equal number of armed ships, would instantly desolate our sea coasts, penetrate into the heart of our country, and scare the inhabitants out of existence; but facts have demonstrated the contrary. We have fattened Bunker’s barren hill with the blood of 500 of these invulnerable immortals, and driven the rest from the strongest fortress in America… They have repeatedly assured that corrupt, venal assembly, those mercenary tools of tyranny, that the oppressive, bloody measures they were pursuing would certainly unite the colonies into an independent state; which plainly declared their judgement of our being able to form and support such an union and combination, for altho’ our enemies at home and here, have called us rebels, yet neither they, nor our friends in Britain have ever thought us idiots. Why then should we, or why should our Congress, hesitate a moment about declaring independence? Why should we timidly look up any longer for protection to that unnatural power, which hath already tried its force to distress and subdue us by every cruel method of oppression and bloodshed; that thrown us out of her protections and cart us off; and, after having tried in vain to subdue us by land, is now exerting her last feeble effort to rob us, like pirates, of all our property on the seas?” The paper also mentions news from the invasion of Quebec under the command of Benedict Arnold. Other mentions include the capture of the American spy Caleb Brewster, who was seen scouting a location to pilot a gang across a channel “to pilot a gang of cruel murderers, about one thousand in number, whose orders were to massacre men, women, and children”. John Anderson Sr. (1733-1798) had only published a year’s worth of The Constitutional Gazette before he earned the title of “the rebel printer” after opposing James Rivington’s loyalist paper, The Royal Gazette. His printing of Common Sense by Thomas Paine for the first time in New York supplanted his reputation, especially with Britain as he was forced to flee with his press after the British invaded and occupied Manhattan in August of 1776.

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