"WE NEVER CAN BE MADE AN INDEPENDENT PEOPLE, EXCEPT BY GREAT BRITAIN HERSELF; AND THE ONLY WAY FOR HER TO DO IT, IS TO MAKE US FRUGAL, INGENIOUS, UNITED AND DISCONTENTED": FOUNDING FATHER JOHN DICKINSON'S POWERFUL 1765 ATTACK ON THE STAMP ACT
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) (DICKINSON, John). The Late Regulations, Respecting the British Colonies on the Continent of America Considered; in a Letter from a Gentleman in Philadelphia to His Friend in London. Philadelphia printed, London Re-printed for J. Almon, 1765. Octavo, period-style full sprinkled sheep gilt, red morocco spine label; pp. (1-4), 5-59, (60), 61-62. $4500.
First English edition of the seminal Revolutionary work by Dickinson—"one of the leaders of the opposition to the Stamp Act"—a rare copy of his influential attack on the 1765 Stamp Act, printed in London immediately after the Philadelphia first edition "on the order of Benjamin Franklin," who was then in London.
Dickinson was "a leader of the Revolutionary movement from its inception—author of the Declaration of the Stamp Act Congress and of the Farmer's Letters (1768), drafter if not sole author of both the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms and of the Articles of Confederation… a radical in the vital sense in which the Revolution itself was radical" (Bailyn, Pamphlets, 660-62). "One of the leaders of the opposition to the Stamp Act" (ANB), he was especially pivotal in crafting Late Regulations, a core work that affirms "the American Revolution began… with resistance to the Stamp Act" (Smith I: 257). Here Dickinson presents a highly sophisticated analysis of taxation, and trade between Britain and the colonies—key to his belief "that the only way to secure the repeal of the Sugar and Stamp acts was to enlist the English merchants on the American side by economic interest" (ANB). Late Regulations is seminal, as well, for its skillful, persuasive and "vivid phraseology… that would soon make Dickinson the most widely read pamphleteer in the colonies" (Bailyn, 666-67).
Here Dickinson predicts that Britain's increasing oppression of the colonies will drive them towards, instead of away from, independence. "We are informed [that Great Britain believes the American colonists are] designing and endeavouring to render themselves independent, and therefore it may be said to be proper as much as possible to depress them… But the attempt in almost every instance from Athens down to Genoa has been unsuccessful… Evils are frequently precipitated by imprudent attempts to prevent them. In short, we never can be made an independent people, except it be by Great Britain herself; and the only way for her to do it, is to make us frugal, ingenious, united and discontented… Late measures have indeed excited an universal and unexampled grief and indignation throughout the colonies… taxes torn from her without her consent.—Her legislative assemblies, the principal pillars of her liberty, crushed into insignificance.—A formidable force established in the midst of peace, to bleed her into obedience—The sacred right of trial by jury, violated by the erection of arbitrary and unconstitutional jurisdictions—and general poverty, discontent and despondence" (54-8; emphasis added). Benjamin Franklin, who was in London when the Stamp Act went into effect in November 1765, sought to rebuff British anti-American sentiments by arranging for Dickinson's pamphlet (published in Philadelphia in December 1765) to be immediately printed in London. With half title; without rear advertisement leaf. Adams, 65-5b. Adams, American Independence 10b. ESTC N10279. Howes D328. Sabin 20043.
Text very fresh and clear, beautifully bound.