Sermon Preached before His Excellency Francis Bernard.... May 25th, 1758

AMERICAN REVOLUTION   |   Daniel SHUTE

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Sermon Preached before His Excellency Francis Bernard.... May 25th, 1758
Sermon Preached before His Excellency Francis Bernard.... May 25th, 1758

AMERICANS, "TO COMPLETE OUR POLITICAL HAPPINESS… SHOULD VOLUNTARILY RISE UP": RARE FIRST EDITION OF DANIEL SHUTE'S BOLD 1868 SERMON PREACHED BEFORE THE BRITISH GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR IN THE MASSACHUSETTS-BAY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) SHUTE, Daniel, A.M. A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency Francis Bernard, Esq; Governor, His Honor Thomas Hutchinson Esq; Lieutenant-Governor, The Honourable His Majesty's Council, and the Honourable House of Representatives, Of the Province of the Massachusets-Bay in New England, May 25th. 1768. Being the Aniversary for the Election of His Majesty's Council for said Province. Boston: New-England: Printed by Richard Draper, 1768. Small octavo (6 by 9 inches), original self-wrappers, string stitching, uncut; pp. (1-5), 6-70 (2). $5500.

First edition of Shute's provocative Sermon delivered in the aftermath of the Stamp Act and other punitive British legislation, asserting the basis for "political resistance" against violation of Americans' "natural and civil rights," affirming historians' view of colonial rebellion as fueled by clergy such as Reverend Shute, demonstrating "religion was a fundamental cause of the American Revolution, very rare uncut in original wrappers.

Following Britain's 1765 Stamp Act and 1766 Declaratory Act, seen as establishing "the same principle of political absolutism," American clergy such as Congregationalist minister Daniel Shute "played an important role in shaping the public mind and provoking the response to the British that became the American Revolution" (Steward, Justifying Revolution, 52, 1). Historians increasingly assert the role played by religious leaders such as Shute when they note "the genius of the creation of the American Republic… was the ability to fuse the formerly opposed motives of transcendence and bodily well-being… it is this synthesis… that constitutes the fundamental unity of the various strands of thought—Protestant, liberal and republican—dominant in America's beginnings" (Hancock, Religion and the Limits of Limited Government, 699).

One of the era's "strong proponents… [of] political resistance" (Steward, 69), Reverend Shute here affirms "life, liberty, and property, are the gifts of the creator," yet also argues "the line… between one society, and another, is not drawn by heaven; nor is the particular form of civil government." He states civil government "is not a refiguration of… natural privileges, but that method of securing them." Shute's principles and the persuasive eloquence of his Sermon reveal what historians increasingly note in the era: a demonstration of how "religion was a fundamental cause of the American Revolution" (Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre, xx).

Shute asserts that for the colonists—"every privation of their natural rights… is subversive of their happiness." He significantly points to how Americans, who are made subject to the laws "by civil rulers… may be morally obliged to resist them." Speaking against a doctrine of "passive obedience and non-resistence [sic]," he declares this "came not down from above, as it can be supported neither by reason nor revelation, and therefore… may be urged with a better grace by the rulers of darkness… than by those powers that are ordained of God for the good of mankind… The welfare of the province," he asserts, "demands the attention of the guarantees of our natural and civil rights." Key to this is Shute's bold claim that Americans, in order "to complete our political happiness… [exert] ourselves to aid the civil power… and instead of leaving the magistrates unaided, should voluntarily rise up for them against the evil doers" (original emphasis). His electrifying Sermon richly demonstrates an emerging belief that the American Revolution depended "upon a faith that took forms both Christian and non-Christian; and the framing of the Constitution of the U.S. represented, not an abandonment of that faith, but an attempt to embody and promote it" (Hancock, 698). First edition, first printing: title page with uncorrected "MDCCXLVIII" for 1768. With errata (p. 70). Evans 11071. Sabin 80802. ESTC W29294.

Text with light expert cleaning, with residual faint soiling and scattered foxing. Original stitching thread present but double sewn with recent thread.

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