“HOW FIRM AND HOW PRECIOUS A FOUNDATION WILL HAVE BEEN LAID FOR ACCELERATING, MATURING, AND ESTABLISHING THE PROSPERITY OF OUR COUNTRY”: WASHINGTON’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, 1795, “WORTHY TO BE PRINTED WITH LETTERS OF GOLD”
WASHINGTON, George. [Seventh Annual Message Before Congress]. Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives… Delivered Philadelphia, December 8, 1795. IN: Centinel Extra. [Boston]: Columbian Centinel, Wednesday, December 16, 1795. Broadside (measures 9 by 17-1/2 inches), printed in three columns on recto only under Centinel Extra banner. $4500.
Very early Boston newspaper printing of Washington’s 1795 State of the Union Address, issued as a broadside extra just eight days after Washington delivered the speech in Congress.
The Library of Congress has a copy of this broadside displayed in their on-line exhibition, American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. In the Columbian Centinel issue of December 19 (the issue after the extra appeared), the President’s speech was again reprinted, preceded by this note: “The following ‘worthy to be printed with letters of gold’ was circulated from this Office in handbills on Wednesday: -But as all our patrons may not have seen the handbills; and as those who may have read it, cannot read it too often; we afford it a place this day.” “Broadsides-by far the most popular ephemeral format used throughout printed history-are single sheets of paper, printed on one side only. Often quickly produced in large numbers and distributed free in town squares, taverns, and churches or sold by chapmen for a nominal charge, broadsides are intended to have an immediate popular impact and then to be thrown away. Historically, broadsides have been used to inform the public about current news events, and publicize official proclamations and government decisions… Essential late-breaking news was transmitted as broadside ‘Postscripts’ or ‘Extras’ to the weekly newspapers” (Library of Congress). It is impossible to establish definitive priority of printings of this address; Evans lists three 1795 printings: a 7-page Philadelphia pamphlet printing by Francis Childs, one of the official printers of U.S. government publications, and two Philadelphia broadside printings.
Only the slightest edge-wear, a few minor spots. A bright, near-fine copy. Very scarce.