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The Declaration of Independence - Rare July 1776 Massachusetts Spy Printing with Paul Revere Masthead
Worcester, Mass. 1776 - Newspaper. The Massachusetts Spy, Or, American Oracle of Liberty. Published by Isaiah Thomas, printed by W. Stearns and D. Bigelow, Worcester, Mass., July 17, 1776. Vol. 6, no. 273. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."This issue of Worcester's Massachusetts Spy is one of the most attractive and displayable contemporary newspaper printings of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to having the complete text on page one, the elaborate masthead-unusual for the period-was engraved by Paul Revere and features an image of Liberty seated with a pole and cap. The motto, "Undaunted by Tyrants we'll DIE or be FREE" makes clear the newspaper's fervent support of the patriotic cause. The Spy gave many in "western Massachusetts" their first view of America's immortal founding document - even before it became 'unanimous.'[1] Historic BackgroundIn the wake of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, followed by King George's proclamation that the colonies were "engaged in open and avowed rebellion," the Continental Congress decided enough was enough. The committee appointed to write a statement declaring independence turned the task over to their most eloquent writer, Thomas Jefferson. The Committee submitted their draft to Congress on June 28. While still working on the text of the Declaration, Congress voted on and passed the formal resolution declaring independence on July 2. After final revisions, Jefferson's declaration was adopted on July 4th.Printed copies of the Declaration were sent from Philadelphia by John Hancock and others, starting on July 5th, to circulate the news as thoroughly and as quickly as possible. Timeliness of publication depended on how long the initial copies spent in transit, as well as the newspapers' printing schedules; once a week was the most common in Colonial America.The earliest copies of the Declaration arrived in Boston on Saturday, July 13th, according to Dr. Samuel Cooper, patriot pastor of Brattle-Street Church. On July 18th, town officials held a public reading from the state house balcony. This issue of The Massachusetts Spy was published on July 17-the day before both of Boston's newspaper printings and the official Boston readings. It is the first Worcester printing and only the second Massachusetts printing.The first Massachusetts printing appeared at Salem in the July 16, 1776 issue of Ezekiel Russell's American Gazette. The next day, the Massachusetts council ordered a broadside printing to be sent to all parish ministers for public reading, and then to be recorded (copied by hand) by town clerks in each town's books for preservation. The official broadside, prepared in Salem by Ezekiel Russell, was likely printed ca July 20, but wasn't distributed until early August. Abigail Adams heard it read in her Boston church on August 11 - three weeks after Stearns and Bigelow published their scoop.By the end of August 1776, the Declaration had been printed in at least 29 American newspapers and 14 broadsides; all are extremely rare on the market. The last copy on the market of the first official broadside (one page printing with text only on one side) of the Declaration, by John Dunlap, was sold by Sotheby's in June 2000 for $8,140,000, and recently sold again privately at a multiple of that price. The last copy on the market of the first newspaper printing, the July 6, 1776 Pennsylvania Evening Post, was sold by Robert A. Siegel Auctions, Inc., in conjunction with Seth Kaller, Inc., on June 25, 2013, for $632,500.Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) was a leading printer, author, bookseller, and publisher of the influential newspaper, Thomas's Massachusetts Spy. At age 7, Thomas was apprenticed to Boston printer Zechariah Fowle. In 1766, with three years remaining, Thomas left Fowle and sailed to Halifax, where he planned to work his way to London. Instead he found employment with the Halifax Gazette. After inserting too many anti g. (See website for full description)
      [Bookseller: Seth Kaller Inc.]
Last Found On: 2015-07-07           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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