Apr 27, 2017 - Sale 2444

Sale 2444 - Lot 13

Price Realized: $ 1,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--PRELUDE.) Hutchinson, Thomas; et al. Copy of Letters Sent to Great-Britain. 40 pages. 8vo, later 1/2 morocco, moderate wear; contents quite worn and in need of conservation, heavy toning, title page laid down, first 6 leaves with numerous tears and crude repairs but only minimal loss of text, some leaves loose. Boston: Edes and Gill, 1773

Additional Details

first edition, second state. These controversial letters were written in 1768 and 1769 by Thomas Hutchinson (then the royal lieutenant governor of Massachusetts), his secretary Andrew Oliver, and others. Writing to the Prime Minister's office in England, they discussed ways to increase royal control over the colonies, and famously suggested "abridgement of what are called English liberties." By 1772, Hutchinson was the governor and increasingly unpopular. The letters were leaked to Benjamin Franklin, who then sent them to Massachusetts for private circulation among Hutchinson's opponents. Samuel Adams helped stir up rumors of their contents, even before they were first published in the week of 10 June 1773. The Boston Tea Party and Hutchinson's departure from Massachusetts followed a few months later.
As described by ESTC, this is the second state, retaining the errata statement, but with the page 10 catchword corrected to "troops", and without the later appendix printed in Philadelphia. Adams, American Independence 96a (first state); Evans 12818; Howes H851 ("fanned revolutionary sentiment in America more than any other book of the period"); Sabin 34071. Only 2 other complete first editions are known at auction since 1982.