"ALL OUR CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES… SEEMED UNDER GOD TO BE DEPENDING": VERY SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF THOMAS PRINCE'S FIERY THANKSGIVING-SERMON, 1746, DELIVERED IN BOSTON'S OLD SOUTH CHURCH
PRINCE, Thomas. The Salvations of God in 1746. In Part set forth in a Sermon at the South Church in Boston, Nov. 27, 1746. Being the Day of the Anniversary Thanksgiving In the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in N.E. Boston: D. Henchman, 1746. Slim quarto, full sheep gilt, red morocco spine label; pp. (iv), (5), 6-35, (1). $850.
First edition of Boston minister Thomas Prince’s powerful November 27, 1746 Thanksgiving-Sermon delivered in Boston’s famed Old South Church, proclaiming God’s “wonderful Salvations” in New England’s victories over “dangerous Enemies,” a profound influence on America’s sense of a covenanted place in history.
A disciple of Cotton Mather, leading Boston minster Thomas Prince, known for his Chronological History of New England (1736), shared with many of his contemporaries the belief "that America was a promised land and that Americans were a chosen people bound by a special covenant" (Covenanted People, 83). It is a conviction that continues to shape America's views of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. At Boston's famed Old South Church, Prince was "one of the most respected ministers of his generation… called on by his ministerial colleagues and by the government to deliver important civic sermons, as on the occasion of the king's death in 1727 and after the victory at Louisbourg in 1745" (ANB). Louisbourg, which he highlights in this Thanksgiving-Sermon, was pivotal in the contest between England and France known as King George's War. "On all sides the stakes were high. But nowhere were they higher than in New England, where every man, woman and child faced armed resistance or foreign subjugation" (Stout, New England Soul, 233). For Prince, as well, the "defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in April 1746 simply had to be placed alongside New England's victory over the French fortress at Louisbourg… These victories were literal godsends" (Noll, Rise of Evangelism, 143). With these battles, he proclaims, "all our civil and religious Liberties, our Privileges, Properties and the Lives of Multitudes seemed under GOD to be depending." Prince eloquently recalls "the dangerous Enemies we have been concerned with. The dangerous Circumstances we were in a Year ago and since. The wonderful Salvations God has wrought for us… that we might see our Salvation was his Work alone" (emphasis in original). Containing half title. With woodcut-engraved headpieces and initial. ESTC W29088. Sabin 65610. Evans 5856. Stevens 2235. Hill, History of the Old South Church 319. Early institutional bookplate; faint inkstamp to title page verso. Tiny numerical notations above half title.
Text with light scattered foxing and some minor staining. A very scarce extremely good copy.