Description

    The only extant Loyalty Oath printed by John Dunlap, printer of the Declaration of the Independence.

    Revolutionary War Loyalty Oath Printed by John Dunlap. Partly printed DS, 1 page, 6" x 4", ([Philadelphia]: John Dunlap, 1777), accomplished on June 28, 1777. The text reads in full "I DO hereby Certify, That Frederick Shenkle of Philad[phi]a Leather dresser Hath voluntarily taken and subscribed the AFFIRMATION of Allegiance and Fidelity, as directed by an ACT of General Assembly of Pennsylvania: passed the 13th day of June, A.D. 1777. Witness may hand and seal, the 25th day of June A.D. 1777." The document was designed to be all-inclusive, mindful of the Quaker prohibition against swearing oaths, instead asking the person to 'affirm' rather than 'swear.' An extremely rare copy (we believe, in fact, unique) of Evans 15519 -- certainly the first we have encountered. An examination of OCLC reveals no extant physical copies in any institution. Light vertical folds, margins slightly irregular, else fine condition. John Dunlap (1747-1812) emigrated to America from Northern Ireland. He published the first daily newspaper in this country beginning in 1784, the Pennsylvania Packet. Appointed printer to Congress, his first printings of the Declaration of Independence (forever known as the "Dunlap" issues) were ordered by John Hancock; a total of 200 broadsides were printed the evening of July 4, 1776. This Oath was issued at a time that had the British occupying New York with colonial fears as to where Howe would next land his forces with Burgoyne marching Southward with a sizable army from Montreal. Those in Pennsylvania feared the battle would soon be in their backyards with Philadelphia under direct threat. And, interestingly, this Oath was printed the day before the Continental Congress approved the new flag designed by Betsy Ross. A remarkable piece of history to say the least!


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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