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Boston Newspaper Publishes Former Governor Hutchinson’s Letters
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This newspaper features a masthead by noted silversmith and engraver Paul Revere, first used on January 1, 1770. The masthead features an illustration of a seated woman on the right with a laurel wreath on her brow and a lance with a liberty cap in her hand and the shield of Britain at her feet. She is opening the door to a birdcage and releasing a dove. A tree adorns the left side, and a town is visible in the distance. Beneath the image is the epigram, “Containing the freshest Advices, Foreign and Domestic.

This issue publishes a series of letters from Thomas Hutchinson in the late 1760s, demonstrating that Hutchinson had sought the post of governor. The publication of these and other letters by Hutchinson convinced many that he had conspired with Parliament to deprive the American colonists of their rights. Hutchinson left Boston for England in early 1774, and his request for leave was granted. General Thomas Gage replaced him as governor of Massachusetts Bay in May 1774, but Hutchinson’s letters continued, even in December 1775, to be evidence to American patriots that the British sought to strip them of their rights.

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR]. The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, December 11, 1775. Watertown, Massachusetts: Benjamin Edes. 4 pp., 10 x 15¼ in.

Inventory #27304       Price: $2,500

Historical Background
Although Paul Revere is most remembered for his “midnight ride” of April 18-19, 1775, he was an engraver and silversmith by trade. Although the plates for eighteenth-century newspapers and publications are frequently referred to as woodcuts, they were usually engraved on type-metal, an alloy of lead, antimony, and tin.

In this and some following papers the public will be favour’d with a number of letters, from which they will perceive with what art Mr. Hutchinson conducted, that so he might gain the chair.” (p1/c1)

[Letter of Thomas Hutchinson, July 18, 1767:]

Mr. B——, soon after my misfortune applied for leave to go home, and I was in hopes to have been left in command, at least during his absence, which would have been of pecuniary advantage to me, and if I had gained any reputation might have established me in the government, if he had been otherwise provided for: but it was not thought adviseable for him then to leave the province, and I doubt that he himself is fond of a voyage to England now at his own expence, so that I see no prospect of rising.” (p1/c2)

[Letter of Thomas Hutchinson to the Duke of Grafton, February 3, 1768:]

I have the unexpected honour of receiving a letter from your Grace, signifying your favourable opinion of my past services and your intention to name me to his majesty for a seat at the board of customs whenever a vacancy shall happen, if you shall know that it will be agreeable to me. The place your Grace proposes has more than three times the emoluments of the post I now hold of chief justice; and as I have several children to introduce into the world, this pecuniary advantage would not be unwelcome, but I may not dispense without acquainting your Grace, that these two posts are thought to be incompatible, and that I very much doubt whether it should remain the [?] and interest which I have in the people, and be as able to contribute to the preserving or ratherrestoring order and a due subordination to the supreme authority of the whole empire, was I to hold a place in the customs, as I might in my present post, or any other place not immediately related to the revenue.” (p1/c2-3)

[Letter of Thomas Hutchinson, November 14, 1768:]

I Believe he (the governor) has no thoughts of leaving the province this winter. The hint you have given me of my succeeding him has by other hands been given to others, and raised a general expectation. I know too well the weight of the trust to be very eager in seeking for it, but my friends tell me if the appointment should be thought a proper measure, I ought not to decline it [no, or ever really designed to decline it, for it was what he was assiduously and convertly [covertly] aiming at] notwithstanding all the difficulties which must attend it.” (p1/c3)

Additional Content
This issue also includes several resolutions of the Second Continental Congress, including one allowing ships bringing gunpowder, cannon, or muskets to the American colonies to export a similar value of goods in spite of the non-exportation agreement (p2/c1); news of a skirmish between patriots and Lord Dunmore’s forces (“the very scum of the country, to assist him in his diabolical schemes”) in Virginia (p2/c2); a notice of the jailing of several Tories in Worcester County, Maryland (p2/c2); the destruction of the press and seizure of the lead type of Loyalist James Rivington (1724-1802) in New York City by a party from Connecticut (they reportedly converted his type into bullets) (p2/c2); news from Newport, Rhode Island, that “Ten thousand minute men stand ready to come in, for the protection of this Island, on the shortest notice” (p2/c3); news that Captain Manley of a privateer had seized a large ship filled with military supplies, including cannon and muskets, bound for the British Army (p3/c1); a report of experiments at Philadelphia for creating saltpeter (potassium nitrate) in families to supply the patriots with gunpowder (p4/c1-2); along with numerous notices and advertisements, including several for horses that had strayed or been stolen (p4/c2-3) and another for a book by Roger Stevenson, entitled Military Instructions for Officers Detached in the Field: Containing a Scheme for Forming a Corps of a Partisan, just published in Philadelphia and the first book dedicated to General George Washington (p4/c2).

Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College in 1727. His father trained him as a merchant, for which he had a strong aptitude. He was elected to the General Court of the province in 1737 but voted out in 1739. Elected again to the General Court in 1742, he served until 1749, when he was appointed to the Governor’s Council. In 1754, he served as a delegate to the Albany Congress to discuss better relations with Native Americans and common defense measures. In 1758, he was appointed lieutenant governor under Governor Thomas Pownall. Hutchinson served as acting governor for two months in 1760 before Francis Bernard arrived to replace Pownall. Bernard appointed Hutchinson as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature. Although he opposed both the 1764 Sugar Act and the 1765 Stamp Act, he did so privately and refused to challenge Parliamentary supremacy, leading a mob to ransack his mansion in August 1765. Following Bernard’s recall in August 1769, Hutchinson was again acting governor until the King appointed him as governor in March 1771. He personally appeared at the scene of the Boston Massacre to calm tensions and promise justice. He insisted that he had to uphold the laws, including the Tea Act, which led to the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. Hutchinson’s relationship with the increasingly radical provincial assembly produced tensions that led to his replacement in May 1774 by General Thomas Gage. Hutchinson sailed for England in June 1774 and spent the rest of his life in exile in London, where he completed his three-volume History of Massachusetts.

The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal (1719-1798) was a weekly newspaper printed in Boston. It was established by William Brooker, the postmaster of Boston, in 1719. Published by Benjamin Edes (1732-1803) and John Gill (1732-1785) from 1755 to 1775, and by Edes and his son thereafter, The Boston Gazette and Country Journal became one of the most powerful voices for American independence. Contributors included Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, Josiah Quincy, James Otis, Paul Revere, and Phyllis Wheatley. After the war, the newspaper opposed the adoption of the Constitution and the administration of George Washington and lost much of its influence.

Condition: Rough edges with minor chipping to edges, not affecting text; stab holes from prior stitch binding in the left margin; offsetting; creased along folds with minor paper loss at intersections just affecting text; light scattered soiling; ink ownership signature to first page; text somewhat rubbed.

American Antiquarian Society, Illustrated Inventory of Paul Revere’s Works. Brigham Plate 67.

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