"SOME OF THE VERY FEW REVOLUTIONARY POLITICAL SPEECHES TO SURVIVE IN PRINTED FORM": 1807 COLLECTION OF BOSTON MASSACRE ORATIONS, UNCUT IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
(BOSTON MASSACRE) HANCOCK, John; CHURCH, Benjamin; WARREN, Joseph, et al. Orations, Delivered at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, to Commemorate the Evening of the Fifth of March, 1770; When a Number of Citizens Were Killed by a Party of British Troops, Quartered among Them, in a Time of Peace. Boston: Wm. T. Clap, 1807. 12mo, original pale blue boards respined with remnants of original printed paper spine neatly laid down, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $3200.
Second edition of this collection of impassioned speeches delivered annually on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre from 1771-1783, including John Hancock’s electrifying 1774 Boston Massacre Oration, delivered only a few months after the Boston Tea Party, as well as speeches by Benjamin Church, Joseph Warren, William Tudor, and others. Boston Massacre orations "are some of the very few Revolutionary political speeches to survive in printed form" (Gustafson, Eloquence is Power). Scarce in original boards.
Angry American colonists carried an undimmed recollection of the bloody 1770 Boston Massacre, seeing it as a turning point in "a deliberate assault of power upon liberty" (Bailyn, 117). Throughout the Revolutionary period, the annual Boston Massacre orations "created a distinctive colonial identity… Massacre orations are some of the very few Revolutionary political speeches to survive in printed form" (Gustafson, Eloquence is Power, 187, 187n). Famed as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and President of the Continental Congress, Hancock—a "key figure in securing independence and creating the republic"—makes an electrifying call for America's cause in this very scarce first edition, first printing, of his March 5, 1774 Boston Massacre Oration. He proclaims: "Tell me, ye bloody butchers, ye villains high and low… Do not the injured shades of Maverick, Gray, Caldwell, Attucks and Carr… fill even your dreams with terror." In his speech, Hancock anticipates a "strategy, which Jefferson later used to formulate the Declaration," in describing Americans as voices of "order and justice" and the British as "agents of chaos" (Hurm, Fourth of July). The collection also includes a speech by Perez Morton on the occasion of the April 8, 1776 reinternment of the remains of Dr. Joseph Warren, who fell at the Battle of Bunker Hill just a year before. First published in Boston by Edes and Gill in 1785. Shaw and Shoemaker 12301. Sabin 6737. Faint early ink owner signature on front free endpaper, with annotations in the same hand on pp. 94 and 141.
Some foxing and offsetting to text and boards; expertly repaired closed tear to leaf H4 (pp. 91-92). Printed paper spine titling, while neatly laid down, mostly perished. A very good, uncut copy in original boards.