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A Rousing Call to Freedom from England That Points to the Later Declaration of Independence
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publish a Manifesto to the World, shewing the necessity of dissolving their connection with a nation whose Ministers were aiming at their ruin....

[John Adams]. The Essex Gazette. Newspaper. March 7-14, 1775 (Vol. 7, No. 346), Salem, Massachusetts: Samuel Hall and Ebenezer Hall. 4 pp., 9½ x 14¾ in.3/1/1775.

Inventory #30007.052       Price: $1,250

A letter from Boston, signed “TIME and JUDGMENT,” foreshadows the Declaration of Independence, issued some fifteen months later:

At this inauspicious Day, when tyranny lifts her shameless front and is followed by a train of unfeeling Apostates, I cannot let my Pen sleep. The enemies to Freedom, convinced that the Americans are not to be cheated, now openly declare that the Colonies must & will be subjected by force: This brings up the last & great Question, whether the united Colonies can defend their Rights? If they cannot, of all Men they will be the most miserable. But I believe they can and will defend them, and if the Sword should be drawn against them they may strike such a Blow as will shake Britain to the Centre.” (p2/c1)

if they will not hearken to the wise and just Proposals of the American Congress, but still continue to go on from bad to worse, the Americans will be compelled by the great Law of Nature to strike a decisive Blow, and follow the example of the once oppressed United Provinces—publish a Manifesto to the World, shewing the necessity of dissolving their connection with a nation whose Ministers were aiming at their ruin—offer a free trade to all nations—and an asylum in the free regions of America to all the oppressed throughout the World—this is the dernier resort—and this, O Americans! you can do—and this you must do, unless Tyranny ceases to invade your Liberties.” (p2/c1)

John Adams, as “Novanglus” defends the movement for American independence in part of a pseudonymous newspaper debate with former friend and loyalist Daniel Leonard (“Massachusettensis”). At the time, Adams believed that “Massachusettensis” was his long-time political opponent Jonathan Sewall, and Adams did not learn the truth until a few years before his death in 1826. Leonard wrote seventeen letters, which were published in the Massachusetts Gazette between December 1774 and April 1775. In reply, Adams ultimately wrote thirteen letters, twelve of which appeared in the Boston Gazette between January and April 1775. This issue includes the first two-thirds of Adams’ fifth letter:

We are not exciting a rebellion. Opposition, nay, open, avowed resistance by arms, against usurpation and lawless violence, is not rebellion by the law of God, or the land.” (p1/c1)

The treatment this province has received, respecting the agency, since Mr. Hutchinson's administration commenced, is a flagrant example of injustice.” (p1/c1)

But what a pity it was that these worthy gentlemen could not be allowed, from the dearest affection to their native country, to which they had every possible attachment, to go on in profound confidential secrecy, procuring troops to cut our throats, acts of parliament to drain our purses, destroy our charters and assemblies, getting estates and dignities for themselves and their own families, and all the while most devoutly professing to be friends to our charter, enemies to parliamentary taxation, and to all pensions, without being detected?” (p1/c3-p4/c1)

If it was out of his power to do us any more injuries, I should wish to forget the part; but as there is reason to fear he is still to continue his malevolent labours against this country, altho' he is out of our sight, he ought not to be out of our minds. This country has every thing to fear, in the present state of the British court, while the lords Bute, Mansfield and North have the principal conduct of affairs, from the deep intrigues of that artful man [Governor Thomas Hutchinson].” (p4/c2)

Another letter, from New York, demonstrates how the British obtained declarations of loyalty:

An artful piece is been handed about here, condemning the proceedings of the Congress, and ascribing absolute dominion to the King and Parliament, and the question is put ‘you must sign the paper, that you join the King, otherwise you will be declared rebels; and when the King’s standard is set up, you will be destroyed—Come, I am in haste, will you sign it, or not?—Thus, are people drawn into an act, which, on reflection, they abhor.” (p2/c2)

Historical Background
The First Continental Congress met in September and October 1774 to discuss an appropriate response to Parliamentary legislation, particularly the Intolerable Acts passed earlier in 1774 The Congress called for a boycott of all British goods and also called for a new congress to convene in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. In the meantime, Americans continued to discuss their rights and duties, largely in pamphlets and newspapers, circulated within and among the American colonies.

Before the Second Continental Congress convened, open warfare erupted in April at the Battles of Lexington and Concord between patriot minutemen and the British Army stationed in Boston.

Additional Content
This issue also includes a notice from New York of an assembly on March 6 to elect New York delegates to the Second Continental Congress (p2/c2); a report from Providence, Rhode Island, that an outbreak of smallpox may be attributable to infected tea used in the process of embalming: “The method is, to fill the hollow of the body therewith, letting it continue therein some time, in order to extract and destroy whatever might make the flesh corrupt, after which the body is filled with spices and gums. Now the TEA, after being again dried, is not sensibly altered either in taste or flavour...and therefore it might easily be imposed on the credulous.” (p2/c3); “The Act of Tarring & Feathering, not repealed,” which includes a sworn deposition by Thomas Ditson Jr. of Massachusetts that some British soldiers and officers falsely accused him of encouraging a soldier to desert to the rebels, tarred and feathered him, and paraded him through the streets of Boston (p3/c1-2); a brief paragraph on weapons: “An Indian Tomahawk is recommended as a very useful and efficacious Weapon in the present Contest. Those, in a particular Manner, who cannot conveniently provide themselves with Bayonets, would do well immediately to provide themselves with Tomahawks.” (p3/c2); and the notice of the sale of a 6 or 7-year-old enslaved African American boy (p4/c2).

The Essex Gazette (1768-1775) was a weekly newspaper published in Salem, Massachusetts by brothers Samuel Hall (1740-1807) and Ebenezer Hall (1749-1776). In early May 1775, the Halls moved the newspaper to Cambridge, where it was published as The New-England Chronicle, or, the Essex Gazette from 1775 to 1776. Ebenezer Hall died in February 1776, and Samuel Hall moved the newspaper to Boston. In June 1776, Samuel Hall sold the newspaper to Edward E. Powars and Nathaniel Willis, who changed the title to The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser and published it in Boston from 1776 to 1801, Willis alone after 1779.

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