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The Annapolis Tea Party, in “Unite or Die” newspaper, with great Revolutionary content; Other news includes Russo-Turkish war treaty guaranteeing independence of Crimea
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There are no Whigs and Tories in America, yet there is a spirit of liberty; and this spirit is too powerful for the management of Governors and ministerial tools, who wish to enslave a free people…Let us try, cries a Minister, if none can be found under the specious cloak of religion. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Pope. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Devil. I have found it there, cries the French King. Then I will seek it there, cries the English Minister…” (p1/c3)

The excellent Revolutionary War content starts with the masthead, adopted from a famous design drawn by Benjamin Franklin during the French and Indian War. “Join, or Die,” first published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, urged unity amongst the British colonies. It had not been forgotten 20 years later during the prelude to the Revolutionary War. From July 27, 1774 to October 18, 1775, publisher William Bradford included this variant, “Unite or Die,” in his masthead of The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, this time urging unity against the British. This paper also announces the selection of John Hancock as President of Massachusetts’ Provincial Congress and publishes letters to and from Royal Governor Thomas Gage, and editorials. One comment summarizes all: “We hear express orders have been sent over to the Commander in Chief, to prevent the sitting of the American Congress at all events. [These orders will arrive too late.]

[ANNAPOLIS TEA PARTY]. Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, October 26, 1774 (No. 1664). Philadelphia: William and Thomas Bradford.

Inventory #24834       Price: $12,500

This issue starts with an anecdote of King George II, and a proposal of a poll tax. A large particle is devoted to news from Warsaw regarding the treaty concluding the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774. That treaty resulted in “the absolute independence of the Crimea,” and Russia’s having free navigation of the Black Sea and all the harbors of the Turkish Empire (p1/c2).

News often travelled circuitously back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. A patriotic message went from a June 23, 1774, newspaper in Newport, R.I., to the August 16, 1774, issue of the London Chronicle, before being re-published here:

The behavior of the Americans at this alarming crisis, will most probable stamp their characters, and hand them down to posterity, as a brave generation of Patriots, or sink them into contempt in the opinions of all future ages. Life or death, or which are tantamount thereto, Liberty and Slavery are now before them, and it is in their power to chuse which they please…” (p1/c2)

As the Ministry very well knew that most, if not all, the American Colonies were averse to the imposition of the East India Company’s Tea with a tax, it is surprising they should venture upon a measure, that in all probability would produce such general disapprobation…” (p1/c3)

August 23. “A correspondent expresses great admiration at the sagacity of the present Ministry in planning the Quebec Bill…They have experienced the difficulty of supporting their plan of government at home, by the rewards and punishments which a Minister can dispense, even with the assistance of their Scotch friends…there are no Whigs and Tories in America, yet there is a spirit of liberty; and this spirit is too powerful for the management of Governors and ministerial tools, who wish to enslave a free people…Let us try, cries a Minister, if none can be found under the specious cloak of religion. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Pope. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Devil. I have found it there, cries the French King. Then I will seek it there, cries the English Minister…” (p1/c3)

We here express orders have been sent over to the Commander in Chief, to prevent the sitting of the American Congress at all events. [These orders will arrive too late.]” (p1/c3)

Annapolis Tea Party – Report from Annapolis, Maryland, October 20

The brig Peggy Stewart arrived in Annapolis from London on October 14, 1774, carrying 2,320 pounds of “that detestable weed tea.” Hearing that the royal duty was paid, the Anne Arundel County Committee of Correspondence appointed twelve persons to ensure that the tea was not unloaded. On October 19, in a public meeting, the Committee interrogated the merchants and ship owner. James and Joseph Williams and Anthony Stewart offered to destroy the tea. Not all on the committee thought this sufficient. In order to avoid tarring and feathering, Stewart then offered to burn the vessel with the tea in it and to publish an “acknowledgment” in the Maryland Gazette. The repentant owners then went on board the vessel, set fire to the tea, and “in a few hours, the whole, together with the vessel, was consumed in the presence of a great number of spectators.” (There is more in the report, and historic background for reference below this description. The paper fails to mention that “other goods” on the vessel perhaps refers to the number of Irish indentured servants, who were ill; if Stewart hadn’t paid the tax, and they hadn’t been allowed to disembark, it is possible the “cargo” would have died.)

Complete Transcript of Acknowledgment

            WE James Williams, Joseph Williams, and Anthony Stewart do severally acknowledge, that we have committed a most daring insult, and act of the most pernicious tendency to the liberties of America; we the said Williams’s in importing the tea, and said Stewart in paying the duty thereon, and thereby deservedly incurred the displeasure of the people now convened, and all others interested in the preservation of the constitutional rights and liberties of North America, do ask pardon for the same; and we solemnly declare, for the future, that we never will infringe any resolution formed by the people for the salvation of their rights, nor will we do any act that may be injurious to the liberties of the people: and to shew our desire of living in amity with the friends to America, we do request this meeting, or as many as may choose to attend, to be present at any place where the people shall appoint, and we will there commit to the flames, or otherwise destroy, as the people may choose, the detestable article which has been the cause of this our misconduct.

                        ANTHONY STEWART / JOSEPH WILLIAMS / JAMES WILLIAMS. (p2/c2)

On October 11, the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts-Bay met at Concord, and selected John Hancock as President. This Congress appointed a committee of twenty-one members to deliver a message to Thomas Gage, Royal Governor of Massachusetts-Bay and Commander in Chief of all British forces in North America. (p2/c2). This paper prints the message and the governor’s reply.

Complete Transcript of Provincial Congress Message to Governor Thomas Gage

May it please your Excellency,

The Delegates from the several towns in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, having convened in general Congress, beg leave to address your Excellency: The distressed and miserable state of province, occasioned by the intolerable grievances and oppressions which the people are subjected, and the danger and destruction which they are exposed, of which your Excellency must be sensible, and the want of a General Assembly have rendered it indispensably necessary to collect the wisdom of the province by their Delegates in this Congress, to concert some adequate remedy for preventing impending ruin and providing for the public safety.

It is with the utmost concern we see your hostile preparations have spread such an alarm throughout this province and the whole continent, as threatens to involve us in all the confusion and horrors of a Civil War; and while we contemplate an event so deeply to be regretted by every good man, it must occasion the surprize and astonishment of all mankind that such measures are pursued against a people whose love of order, attachment to Britain, and loyalty to their Prince, have ever been exemplary.

Your Excellency must be sensible that the sole end of government is the protection and security of the people; whenever therefore that power which was originally instituted to effect these important and valuable purposes, is employed to harrass, distress or enslave the people, in this case it becomes a curse rather than a blessing. The most painful apprehensions are excited in our minds by the measures now pursuing, the vigorous execution of the Port-Bill with improved severity, must eventually reduce the capital and its numerous dependencies to a state of poverty and ruin: The acts for altering the charter and the administration of justice in the colony, are manifestly designed to abridge this people of their rights, and to license murders; and if carried into execution, will reduce them to a state of slavery: The number of troops in the capital encreasing by daily accessions drawn from the whole continent, together with the formidable and hostile preparations which you are now making on Boston Neck, in our opinion greatly endanger the lives, liberties and properties, not only of our brethren in the town of Boston, but of this province in general. Permit us to ask your Excellency! Whether an inattentive and unconcerned acquiescence to such alarming, such menacing measures, would not evidence a state of insanity; or whether the delaying to take every possible precaution for the security of the province, would not be the most criminal neglect in a people heretofore rigidly and justly tenacious of their constitutional rights.

Penetrated with the most poignant concern, and ardently solicitous to preserve union and harmony between Great-Britain and the colonies, so indispensably necessary to the well-being of both, we entreat your Excellency to remove that brand of contention, the Fortress at the entrance of Boston. We are much concerned that you should have been induced to construct it, and thereby causelessly excite such a spirit of resentment and indignation as now generally prevails. We assure you, Sir! that the good people of this colony never have had the least intention to do any injury to his Majesty’s troops; but on the contrary most earnestly desire that every obstacle to treating them as fellow-subjects may be immediately removed; and are constrained to tell your Excellency, that the minds of the people will never be relieved till those hostile works are demolished: And we request you, as you regard his Majesty’s honor and interest, the dignity and happiness of the empire, and the peace and welfare of this province, that you immediately desist from the Fortress now constructing at the south entrance into the town of Boston, and restore the pass to its natural state.” (p2/c2). Followed by an extract from the minutes by Benjamin Lincoln, and a letter from Worcester.

In May 1754, Thomas Gage (1718-1787) was appointed by King George III as governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Initially more popular than his predecessor Thomas Hutchinson, Gage’s enforcement of the Intolerable Acts passed by Parliament in response to the Boston Tea Party quickly made him enemies. In June 1774, he dissolved the provincial assembly when he learned that it had sent representatives to the Continental Congress. That September, he withdrew British garrisons from New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Halifax, and Newfoundland, and concentrated them in Boston, supported by a large British naval force. That same month, he seized provincial gunpowder from a magazine outside of Boston, sparking the Powder Alarm, which mobilized thousands of militiamen. The careful watch of the Sons of Liberty made it difficult for Gage to mobilize British troops without notice. His efforts to seize militia weapons at Concord, Massachusetts, in April 1775, set off the “shot heard round the world” that initiated the American Revolutionary War.

Additional Content

This issue also includes an announcement of a meeting of the contributors to “the scheme for promoting the culture of silk (p3/c2); separate advertisements for reward for the return of runaway Irish indentured servants named Charles Brannan, Edward Dumphy, Thomas Brady, and Garret Fitzgibons (p3/c2-3); and advertisements for the return of runaway slaves: an unnamed slave from Virginia (p1/c1), and Pope from Baltimore (p4/c2).

The Pennsylvania Journal, or, Weekly Advertiser (1742-1793) was published weekly in Philadelphia by William Bradford (1719-1791) under slightly varying titles. On October 31, 1765, Bradford published a skull and crossbones on the masthead to announce that he would be stopping publication rather than submit to the Stamp Act, which required newspapers to be printed on stamped and taxed paper. Like many other colonial newspapers, though, Bradford continued weekly publication in defiance of the Stamp Act. From mid-1774 to late 1775, each issue of the newspaper included a snake chopped into segments with the motto “Unite or Die” on the masthead. When the Revolutionary War began, William Bradford joined the Pennsylvania militia, while his son Thomas continued to publish the newspaper. After the war, he and his son were partners in the publication, and Thomas Bradford continued the journal after his father’s death, eventually changing its name to the True American.


Small loss at fold, costing a few letters. Brittle, with some edge tears and toning, and old tape. Scheduled for treatment by a professional conservator.

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