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Other George Washington Offerings

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An Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain – July 1775 Print of Message that went with the Olive Branch Petition
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While 1776 will remain the most memorable year in American history, 1775 actually marks the moment when the colonists became Americans. Hostilities had already begun, yet the delegates of the Continental Congress still sought to avoid war. On July 8, the Continental Congress approved and sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III. At the same time, they sent an appeal stating the case directly to the British people. Both attempts failed, and we have found no evidence that the address was even published in England. Here, in Rivington’s New York paper, it is published in the first two columns of page one, and the first column of page two.

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR]. Newspaper. Rivington’s New York Gazetteer...and Weekly Advertiser, New York, N.Y., July 21, 1775. 4 pp., 11½ x 18 in.

Inventory #23544       Price: $12,500

Friends, Countrymen, and Brethren! By these, and by every other Appellation that may designate the Ties, which bind us to each other, we entreat your serious Attention to this our second Attempt to prevent their Dissolution.

Our Enemies charge us with Sedition. In what does it consist? In our Refusal to submit to unwarrantable Acts of injustice and Cruelty? If so, shew us a Period in your History, in which you have not been equally Seditious.”

“It is a fundamental Principle of the British Constitution, that every Man should have at least a Representative Share in the Formation of those Laws, by which he is bound.

If you have no regard to the Connexion that has for Ages subsisted between us; if you have forgot the Wounds we have received fighting by your Side for the extension of the Empire; if our Commerce is not an object below your consideration; if Justice and Humanity have lost their influence on your Hearts; still Motives are not wanting to excite your Indignation at the Measures now pursued; Your Wealth, your Honour, your Liberty are at Stake.

In a moment of ironic serendipity that reflects the colonial identity crisis of 1775, the next two columns print the congratulations of the Congress of Massachusetts Bay to George Washington upon his safe arrival in Cambridge to take command of the Continental Army, along with his response.

Cambridge, July 6, 1775 Address from the Colony of Massachusetts Bay

“To his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq; General and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army … impressed with every Sentiment of Gratitude and Respect, beg Leave to congratulate you on your safe Arrival... we equally admire that disinterested Virtue, and distinguished Patriotism, which alone could call you from those Enjoyments of domestic Life, with a sublime and manly taste, joined with a most affluent  fortune, can afford to hazard, and to endure the Fatigues of War, in the Defence of the Rights of Mankind, and the Good of your Country … We beg Leave to assure you, that this Congress will, at all times, be ready to … contribute all the Aid in our Power, to the Cause of America, and your Happiness and Ease, in the Discharge of the Duties of your exalted Office…” (page 3, columns 1-2)

George Washington’s Response:

“His Excellency’s Answer. Gentlemen, Your kind Congratulations on my Appointment, and Arrival, demand my warmest Acknowledgments … In exchanging the Enjoyments of domestic Life for the Duties of my present honourable, but arduous Station, I only emulate the Virtue and publick Spirit of the whole Province of Massachusetts Bay …. The Course of human Affairs forbids an Expectation, that Troops formed under such Circumstances, should at once possess the Order, Regularity and Discipline of Veterans.—Whatever Deficiencies there may be, will I doubt not, soon be made up by the Activity and Zeal of the Officers, and the Docility and Obedience of the Men. These Qualities united with their native Bravery and Spirit will afford a happy Presage of Success…” (page 3, column 2)

The Congress offers similar congratulations to Charles Lee for his appointment to the position of Major General of the Army, with his response.

Further content includes a column-plus printing a substantial part of the Congressional Act establishing Rules and Orders for the soldiers of the already-formed Continental Army (p. 2, col. 4 to p. 3, col. 1; then to be continued in the next issue); a resolution of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress recommending the formation of committees of safety, correspondence, and inspection (p. 2, col. 3, bottom); an order for Boston voters to assemble in Concord to vote for new representatives (p. 2, col. 4, top); a resolution forbidding selling soldiers in camp liquor (p. 2, col. 4); reports that New Hampshire Royal Governor Benning Wentworth had fled to a British ship for his own safety (p. 3, col. 2) and other war news.

Condition

Disbound, sheets separated. Original paper flaws (creases) across pp. 1-2 with minor affect to text.


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