"THEY ARE BOUND BY THEIR SAID OATHS, NOT TO REFUSE SUCH OBEDIENCE": CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR THOMAS FITCH'S JUSTIFICATION FOR ABIDING BY THE STAMP ACT, SCARCE 1766 FIRST EDITION—THE SANG COPY
(STAMP ACT) (FITCH, Thomas). Some Reasons that Influenced the Governor to Take, and the Councillors to Administer the Oath, Required by the Act of Parliament; commonly called the Stamp Act. Hartford: Thomas Green, 1766. Small octavo, late 19th-century full brown morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers; pp. 14. $3800.
Scarce first edition of Connecticut governor Thomas Fitch's public defense in consenting to take the Oath to enforce the 1765 Stamp Act, handsomely bound in full morocco by Trow. This copy from the renowned Americana collection of Mr. and Mrs. Philip D. Sang, sold at that famous sale in 1985.
"Before Fitch became the second incumbent Connecticut governor denied reelection (1766), he served ably as a wartime colonial leader during the last imperial war, the French and Indian War (1754-63). At the same time, he also experienced first the developing internal threat to the colony's political and religious status quo and then the simultaneous, revived British efforts to create a revenue from and to tighten control over its American colonies after 1763, an initiative widely perceived in Connecticut as an external assault on the standing order… When news of a proposed stamp act reached Connecticut in May 1764, the assembly directed a committee to prepare an appropriate negative response. Drafted chiefly by Fitch, Reasons why the British Colonies in America, Should not be Charged with Internal Taxes was one of the first official colonial responses to the proposal. The pamphlet argued that in effect, according to the English constitution, no taxes could be voted by Parliament concerning Connecticut unless the colony was represented in Parliament, which it was not… The response satisfied the colony's assembly, but not the British government, which passed the Stamp Act in early 1765. While still opposed to the act itself, Fitch and four council members took the required oath to see to its observance in their colony, an extremely unpopular position to take in Connecticut, where a loud and turbulent majority was against the act. Fitch offered an explanation of his actions in early 1766 in a pamphlet entitled Some Reasons that influenced The Governor to take… The Oath, Required by the Act of Parliament; commonly called the Stamp Act [the present work], in which he contended that his actions followed from his oath taken as governor to obey king and parliament. Not only would he have personally run the risk of a large fine if he had not taken the stamp act oath, but the colony itself might have lost its charter in the face of such insubordination. The eastern, radical interests completed their control over Connecticut’s government in the May 1766 election, however, when Fitch and the four councilors were defeated" (ANB). Sabin 86728. Evans 10297. This item was then part of the renowned Americana collection of Mr. and Mrs. Philip D. Sang, sold at the famous Sang sale in 1985. "Sang spent much of his time collecting and studying manuscripts and other archival materials that illuminate 18th and 19th century American conflicts. Early in his career as a collector Sang concentrated on materials from the Civil War era. This early work broadened into a study of the development of American freedom, in ideals and in practice" (Chicago Public Library). Early inked page numbers to upper right corners of rectos, possibly from a time when this pamphlet was bound with other works.
Faint abrasion along inner margin of title page, affecting three letters in one line of letterpress, text clean. Morocco sunned, front joint lightly rubbed, binding sound and quite handsome. An excellent copy of this very scarce item, with superb provenance.