Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 264

Price Realized: $ 1,188
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(NEW YORK.) Anti-Rent Lyrics: A Correct Likeness of an Anti-Renter Lecturing. Illustrated broadside, 15 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches; light wrinkling and minor wear. Np, circa 1845

Additional Details

A pair of anonymous poems to rally the insurgents in the Anti-Rent War which spread across upstate New York from 1839 to 1845. The Van Rensselaer family had exercised feudal dominion over the Manor of Rensselaerswyck surrounding Albany, NY throughout the colonial period, and for decades after the revolution. After the 1839 death of Stephen Van Rensselaer, his heirs attempted to collect back rent from the tenants to cover the estate's debts, resulting in a widespread and long-running insurrection, which culminated in the 1845 killing of an undersheriff by masked marauders at an eviction sale in Delaware County.

The Anti-Renters consciously evoked the Boston Tea Party with their American Indian costumes and imagery, a connection drawn clearly in this broadside. The illustration is a crude woodcut showing one of their "brave Indian boys" in full regalia. The first poem begins "Ye sons of Tuscarora, to arms! to arms! advance /'Tis time to take your guns in hand, and make landholders prance / For sixty years our Rents we've paid / And not a word against it said / Now it's time a settlement's made / With brave Indian boys." "Lyric No. 2" similarly begins "With his mask upon his brow, and his rifle in his hand / The Indian marches forth to drive oppression from the land." (One suspects that large groups of actual Indians with rifles might not be embraced as brothers by these Anti-Renters.) Boston and Rhode Island are name-checked to recall the befeathered revolutionaries of the Tea Party and the Gaspee Affair. Several references are made to the tin horns famously used by guerrillas to communicate across the hills--and terrify the sheriff's men.

Any material from the Anti-Rent War is scarce, and (as with any rebellion), material from the insurgent side is considerably scarcer. 2 copies in OCLC, and none traced at auction.