The Gentleman’s Magazine, Complete for 1776, with War News, Including an Early British Printing of the Declaration of Independence
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A complete run for 1776 of this monthly journal of news, science, arts and philosophy gives insight into how readers in Great Britain perceived the momentous events occurring in America. News reports cover most of the major events relating to the American Revolution. There were no regularly published magazines in America at the time. [DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE].
Book. Gentleman’s Magazine
. Complete run for 1776, including Supplement and Index. Lacking boards, but original leather spine present. London, England. Clean and tight. Note: The text is complete, but lacking 9 of 14 inserted maps or plates.
The most important issues are August and September, featuring, respectively, the American Declaration of Independence and the British commentary in response.
The “Declaration of American Independency” appears on pages 361 and 362, signed in type by John Hancock and Charles Thompson. The Declaration is also discussed in a later article entitled an “Account of the Proceedings of the American Colonists” Which asks (and concludes): “Whether those grievances were real or imaginary, or whether they did or did not deserve a parliamentary enquiry, we will not presume to decide. The ball is now struck, and time only can shew where it will rest.”
January 1776 - “Act for Prohibiting all Trade with America”, with lengthy particulars. “Act of Massachusetts for Fitting out Armed Vessels” is lengthy, plus: “Declaration of the Continental Congress on a Late Proclamation” is very lengthy & terrific reading. “Proceedings of American Colonies” has a wealth of information on the war. Lacking map of the South Pole.
February 1776 - “Debate... for a bill for composing the present troubles & for quieting the minds of his Majesty’s subjects in America”, five pages of good reading. A great “Letter from Gen. [Charles] Lee to Gen. Burgoyne” taking 1½ pages, in part: “... the whole British Empire stands tottering on the brink of ruin & you have it in your power to prevent the fatal catastrophe... You ask me if it is independence at which the Americans aim? I Answer, No! the idea never entered a single American head until a most intolerable oppression forced it upon them...” plus too much more to list, signed: “Lee”. Other reports on war events, with one beginning: “Some skirmishes have happened in Virginia...” Includes a list of the “Corps in America.”
March 1776 - Lengthy text on the “Resolutions Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere”, mentions “Sandwich Islands”. Lengthy text on: “Account of the Proceedings of the American Colonists since Passing Boston Port Bill” includes talk on Arnold’s failed attempt to capture Quebec. Nice Resolve from Congress regarding those who might “...obstruct & defeat the efforts of the United Colonies in the defense of their just rights...” plus more. Lacking maps of the Eastern Hemisphere and the Discoveries of Capt. Cook.
April 1776 - Lacking map of Western Hemisphere.
May 1776 - Articles include the continued: “Debate on the 2nd Reading of the Bill for Prohibiting all Intercourse with the Colonies in rebellion” and an “Account of the Proceedings of the American Colonists Since the Passing of the Boston Port Bill” includes some good material on the British evacuating Boston, and mentions that: “...Long Island...as the only spot in America for carrying on the war with effect against the rebels, is certainly worthy of notice..” including some description of Long Island, mentioning that “...Suffolk Co. (has) all good & loyal subjects...” Article entitled “Hypocracy unmasked; or a short enquiry into the religious complaints of our American colonies….” Reasons for a new regulation and considerable improvement in the coinage of gold, silver and copper, (pgs. 207-208). Lacking plan of the City and University of Cambridge.
June 1776 - Articles include: “Gen. Carelton’s Account of the Attack on Quebec” (pg. 258) & “Proclamation Published by Gen. Washington on his taking possession of Boston” (pgs. 261-262) is signed in type: “G. Washington” plus another: “Letter from Gen. Washington to Gen. Lord Sterling at New York”, with good military content. “Proceedings of the American Colonies” with much military content.
July 1776 - Three pages of text on events in America, including a Proclamation signed by Carelton regarding Quebec. Reports of New England troops marching on Canada. Also a report noting that “...the [rebel] headquarters are now at New York where Gen. Washington has already taken up his residence...” A Proclamation signed by John Hancock. A note saying: “...We therefore think it absolutely impracticable for three colonies to be ever again subject to, or dependent upon, Great Britain...” and much more. A key date. (See page 332/1).
August 1776 - The title/index page of this issue, with a decorative woodcut, includes: “Declaration of American Independancy” (pg. 361) with the reference to the page with the actual printing which is headed: “Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in general congress Assembled, July 4”, with the complete text beginning: “When in the course of human events...”. The document concludes on the following pages and is signed in type: “John Hancock”. One can imagine the reaction in England to those reading this report in their own magazine! A keystone issue for any collection of American history.
September 1776 - First article is a “Debate to inquire into the Success of his Majesty’s Troops”. Over a full page of fascinating text: “thoughts on the Late Declaration of the American Congress”, analyzing various lines of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold (they say) these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal. In what are they created equal? It is size strength...” and more. “Dean Tucker’s Plan for Separating from Colonies”. “Account of the Proceedings of the American Colonists...” talks of war events with mention that “...the 4th of July was a set apart throughout the colonies...” and mention of Benedict Arnold plus two reports on George Washington. Lacking map of Philadelphia, New Jersey & New York. Also, page 397 has tape repairs in the gutter margin.
October 1776 - Battle of Long Island. Some text on Long Island, the place where the British forces landed “...in order to reduce the Americans to obedience...”(map called for is not present, but we will trade up when we acquire one). Report from the Virginia Convention notes Patrick Henry was elected governor, with a list of the ordinances passed. Very nice & impassioned speech from the President of South Carolina Reports from Congress concerning our affairs with England. Lengthy & detailed account of the “attack on Sullivan’s” near Long Island, New York, with considerable detail. Detailed & historic report of General Howe on the battle of Long Island, taking nearly two pages, concluding “...the inhabitants of this island, many of whom had been forced into rebellion, have all submitted & are ready to take the oaths of Allegiance... the enemy is still in possession of the town & island of New York...”. Key issue. Lacking map of Long Island.
November 1776 - Lacking map of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island.
December 1776 - “Debates in Parliament” includes talk on American affairs. “Strictures on Philanders Defense of the American Congress”. A letter signed in type: “G. Washington”, plus one signed in type: “Howe”, both concerning military affairs. Good reading in: “...an exact state of what passed at the interview between his Excellency General Washington & Col. Patterson, Adj. General of Gen. Howe”, signed in type: “John Hancock”. “Proceedings of the American Colonies”. Talks of the war in New York vicinity around the Bronx and White Plains, mentioning: “...his Majesty’s light troops took possession of the heights of New Rochelle...” Also “A Brief Description of the Country where the war is now carrying on in New York”.
December 1776 (supplement) - A lengthy report on the battle of New York, (pg. 593). Lacking map of “His Majesty’s Armies in New York...”