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A great rarity: an early volume one issue of the Massachsetts Spy...

Item # 687191

September 22, 1770

THE MASSACHUSETTS SPY, (Boston), September 22, 1770

* Very early famous 18th century publication
* Volume 1 issue - Isaiah Thomas as publisher

This innocuous looking newspaper is arguably the most famous of all American titles of the 18th century. It began in July, 1770, this being issue number 22. It is exceedingly rare to find this title from the first year of publication.
The famed Isaiah Thomas was the publisher. Wikipedia notes that it was a heavily political paper that was constantly on the verge of being suppressed by the Royalist government from the time of its establishment in 1770 thru 1776, during the runup to the American Revolution. In 1771–1773 the Spy featured the essays of several anonymous political commentators.
The Spy soon carried radicalism to its logical conclusion. When articles from the Spy were reprinted in other papers, as the country as a whole was ready for Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776), the newspaper had to be removed from Boston to Worcester after the April 6, 1775 issue, just before the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the subsequent siege of Boston, to prevent the arrest of the publisher and printers and the presses from being seized and destroyed by the British.
The entire front page and over half of the back page are taken up with: "A Political Dialogue" being a thinly disguised discussion between two people (pseudonyms only) relating rather specifically to the oppressions of the British upon the Colonies.
A few bits include: "Pray, Sir, what are we to understand by a free and civil community?...a political body made up of individuals, properly endowed with immunities and a power of making such laws for their own regulation as they shall think most proper...to subserve the general good & to promote the mutual peace & temporal felicity of the community...by vindicating and asserting to them their natural rights, liberties, privileges and properties against the iniquitous demands, invasions, encroachments, injuries, ravages and violences of fraudulent, oppressive and unreasonable men..." with so much more. The photos show the full text of the issue.
Terrific content for an issue of this era, just a few months after the Boston Massacre.
Complete as a single sheet issue, 7 by 9 1/2 inches. To verify completeness we checked with the American Antiquarian Society and their files (the personal collection of Isaiah Thomas himself) show this issue to be complete as a single sheet without an imprint. Very nice condition.

Category: Revolutionary War