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The Gunpowder Incident: in a Williamsburg newspaper... And so much more!



Item # 666074

April 28, 1775

THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE, Williamsburg (with Supplement), April 28, 1775

* Very rare Colonial Virginia title
* Gunpowder Incident - Affair


This newspaper was published by Alexander Purdie, a distinction to be made since there were three newspapers of this title printed in Williamsburg during the early period of the Revolutionary War.
This issue was printed 9 days after the battle of Lexington and Concord, however the news of that historic beginning of the Revolutionary War had yet to reach Williamsburg.
Half of the front page is a report from London which has much on the American situation, including: "...acquainted the House that he had a bill...which he proposed to submit...The title of it was read and is as follows: 'A provisional bill for quieting the troubles in the American colonies, and for asserting the legislative supremacy and controlling superintending power of the British Parliament over the same'." The report then goes on to provide some detail on the bill. This reporting carries over to page 2 which includes: "...taking them into consideration, we find that an actual rebellion now exists in America...that their conduct is inexcusable...that we will support his Majesty against all rebellious attempts..." with more.
But a following report from Williamsburg seems to imply a more peaceful resolve to the troubles between England & America.
Then a letter from London to a friend in Virginia noting: "...that Lord North has held out an olive branch to the Americans (as it is called here) for conciliatory measures to be adopted..." with more on this. Page 2 has two more letters concerning these troubles.
Included with this issue is a four page "Supplement". This is a wonderful supplement as much of it has great content on the situation between England and America. Most of the ftpg. is taken up with a letter from Lord Dunmore (gov. of Virginia) to England, detailing the troubles occurring in his back yard--too much to detail here. Just wonderful reading. Then page 2 is fully taken up with more discussion on the American situation--again wonderful reading. The same with page 3--more wonderful reading.
As if all this was not sufficient for one issue, the back page has not one but two reports of what is known as the historic Gunpowder Incident.
This was a conflict early in the Revolutionary War between Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, and militia led by Patrick Henry. On April 20, one day after the Battles of Lexington and Concord (and well before news of that event reached Virginia), Lord Dunmore ordered the removal of the gunpowder from the magazine in Williamsburg to a Royal Navy ship. This action sparked local unrest, and militia companies began mustering throughout the colony. Patrick Henry led a small militia toward Williamsburg to force return of the gunpowder to the colony's control. The matter was resolved without conflict when a payment of £330 was made to Patrick Henry. Dunmore, fearing for his personal safety, later retreated to a naval vessel, ending royal control of the colony.
This report mentions: "...that the powder in the publick magazine, in the city of Williamsburg, deposited there at the expense of the country & for the use of the people in case of invasion or insurrection, has been secretly removed under the clouds of the night...by order of the Governour...came to the following resolution: Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee that the removing the said gunpowder...is an insult to every freeman in this country..." with much more (see).
A terrific issue on many accounts. Eight pages in total, never-trimmed margins, a handsome coat-of-arms engraving in the masthead, some foxing, nice condition.

Category: American