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Rare title with pro-Loyalist leanings with content...
Item # 642529
December 4, 1782
(reduced in price from $3,860) THE ROYAL GAZETTE, New York, December 4, 1782
* American Revolutionary War
* Extremely rare issue
* James Rivington
This is a case where the rarity of the title equals the historic content within. This was a Tory newspaper by the infamous James Rivington who was supportive of the British cause.
Rivington's initially impartial stance shifted as the revolution loomed and public opinion polarized, until by late 1774 he was advocating the restrictive measures of the British government with such zeal and attacking the patriots so severely, that in 1775 the Whigs of Newport, Rhode Island, resolved to hold no further communication with him. The Sons of Liberty hanged Rivington in effigy. On May 10, 1775, immediately after the opening of hostilities, the Sons of Liberty gathered and mobbed Rivington’s home and press. Rivington fled to the harbor and boarded the British man-of-war Kingfisher. Assistants continued to publish the Gazetteer, but in spite of a public assurance of Rivington's personal safety from the Committee-Chamber of New York, various New York radicals entered Rivington's office, destroyed his press and converted the lead type into bullets. Another mob that day burned Rivington's house to the ground. Rivington and his family sailed for England, where he was appointed King's printer for New York, at £100 per year.
In 1777, after the secure British occupation of that city, he returned with a new press and resumed the publication of his paper under the title of "Rivington's New York Loyal Gazette", which he changed on 13 December 1777, to "The Royal Gazette", with the legend “Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” in the masthead (see). Rivington, who opened a coffee-shop adjacent to his printing-house, would have been the last New Yorker suspected of playing the part of a spy for the Continentals, but he furnished General George Washington with important information. His communications were conveyed to the American camp by agents that were ignorant of their service.
The date of Rivington's secret change of heart is disputed but when New York was evacuated in November, 1783, Rivington remained in the city. Removing the royal arms from his masthead, he changed its title to "Rivington's New York Gazette and Universal Advertiser". But his business rapidly declined, his paper ceased to exist at the end of 1783, and he passed the remainder of his life in comparative poverty. (credit Wikipedia. See hyperlink for more)
The front page has a nice, pro-Loyalist letter concerning the state of affairs between the colonies & England at the moment, reference the King's speech from July. Bits include: "...Trusting to the spirit & sincerity of his Majesty's declaration, we are now in hope that this country will not submit to the humiliating condition of begging a peace with the revolted colonies, through the medium of the Gallic Monarch, but that, in case the Congress refuse to treat for peace, notwithstanding their favourite independence may have been offered on the most liberal terms...every nerve may be exerted to prosecute the war. Perish the man who think of peace on such dishonourable, such vile conditions...let us follow the dictates of that illustriousness statesman...the Earl of Chatham, & sell the last shirt from off our backs to crush rebellion & punish the insolence of an aspiring confederacy..." and also: "...We are now told from the throne that no reason exists which should induce us to think of accepting less than a peace on reasonable terms; let us therefore not make peace on any terms...".
Good text continues on page 2 with one paragraph including: "Lord Shelburne, as a wise man, looks forward to consequences that musts necessarily arise from granting unconditional independence in America, he sees not only the loss of territory, the loss of trade, the loss of alliance, and the loss of that additional strength the colonies were capable of affording the mother country, but he sees the power of the British fleet diminished to an alarming degree..." and more.
Page 2 has a short yet notable report: "On Thursday the 5th inst. was launched at Portsmouth (New-Hampshire) without any accident, the beautiful ship America, of 74 guns. This ship is considered by good judges as one of the best pieces of work ever done in America, and not inferior to any done elsewhere." This USS America was the first ship of the line built for the Continental Navy (see hyperlink for much on it).
Pages 3 & 4 are taken up almost entirely with advertisements.
Complete in four pages, large engraving of the Royal coat-of-arms in the masthead, archival strengthening at the blank spine margin, very nice condition.