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    1775 Pennsylvania Ledger, four pages, 10" x 16", Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Saturday, July 15, 1775, Number XXV. An original copy of The Pennsylvania Ledger: Or the Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, & New-Jersey Weekly Advertiser, "Printed by James Humphreys, junr. in Front-Street, at the Corner of Black-horse Alley: - Where Essays, Articles of News, Advertisements. &c. are gratefully received and impartially inserted. And Where Supscriptions [sic] are taken in for this Paper, at Ten Shillings per Year." The vignette atop page one displays the royal coat of arms.
    On April 19, 1775, British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord and the American Revolution had begun. The Second Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft "a Declaration to be published by General Washington, upon his arrival at the Camp before Boston" to explain to the world why it was necessary to take up arms against the British. A first draft was submitted on June 24, 1775, and was debated and recommitted. Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson were then added to the committee to work on a second draft. Jefferson submitted a draft which was criticized by Dickinson for its harshness. In his autobiography, Jefferson wrote, "It was too strong for Mr. Dickinson. He still retained the hope of reconciliation with the mother country, and was unwilling it should be lessened by offensive statements. He was so honest a man, and so able a one, that he was greatly indulged even by those who could not feel his scruples. We therefore requested him to take the paper, and put it into a form he could approve. He did so, preparing an entire new statement, and preserving of the former only the last four paragraphs and the half of the preceding one. We approved and reported it to Congress."
    This issue of The Pennsylvania Ledger, a Loyalist newspaper, reprints in full in 3.5 columns on pages one and four, "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" noting that it was issued "By Order of Congress,/John Hancock, President/Attested, Charles Thompson [sic, Thomson], Secretary,/Philadelphia, July 6th, 1775." This declaration was a prelude to the Declaration of Independence issued almost exactly one year later. There is much news from London and reports of British soldiers killed and wounded including Major Pitcairn, killed at Bunker Hill ("Bunker Hill" is not mentioned in the listing). James Humphreys began publishing The Pennsylvania Ledger on January 28, 1775; this was only his 25th issue. A Loyalist, he suspended publication on November 30 1776, presumably because of lack of advertising by Patriots. He resumed when the British occupied Philadelphia on October 10, 1777. On December 3rd, it became a semi-weekly issued on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On May 23, 1778, just prior to the British evacuation of Philadelphia, Humphreys left for New York, then to England. He returned to Philadelphia in 1797 when he resumed his printing business, but not his newspaper, until his death in 1810. According to the History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820 by Clarence Saunders Brigham, only five institutions, including the Library of Congress, have the July 15, 1775, issue of The Pennsylvania Ledger. This newspaper, of the utmost importance in American history, is in very fine condition. It is displayed in a 12" x 18" black leatherette presentation folder, one-eighth red at the spine, with "The/Pennsylvania/Ledger" and "July 15, 1775/Declaration of the Causes/for Taking up Arms" in gilt lettering on the cover.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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