[Watertown, Mass. Printed by Benjamin Edes, 1776] Imprint information supplied by Bristol. Broadside. 17 x 15 cm. Small closed tear, stain on left third of paper, some wear along an old fold line. Encapsulated. John Avery, whose name appears in type at the bottom of this broadside, was part of a group of Patriots called “The Loyal Nine” (the innermost circle of the Sons of Liberty, which also included Benjamin Edes, printer of the "Boston Gazette.") Avery served as Deputy Secretary under Samuel Adams in the Massachusetts Provincial Government, defeated Adams for Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This broadside resolves to postpone and suspend the implementation of the Test Act, an act to require every male person over the age of 16 to swear loyalty to the Commonwealth. On this same day in Philadelphia the Declaration of Independence was being finalized. OCLC appears to list no copies, though it seems Library of Congress may have a copy. ESTC W15034: AAS [microform], MHS. BRISTOL B4256; SHIPTON & MOONEY 43070; FORD. Broadsides 1992; MOONEY. Loyalist Imprints. Item #63919
The printing of this broadside is attributed by Bristol to Benjamin Edes. The Boston Committee of Correspondence used Edes and his partner John Gill's "Boston Gazette" and another newspaper [the "Massachusetts Spy"] to disseminate information to the rest of the colony vital to the Patriot cause. In April 1775, Edes fled Boston, spiriting away the printing press and type. He continued to publish the paper and other Revolutionary documents from Watertown, only returning to Boston in November 1776. According to an article by Rollo Silver, "Benjamin Edes, Trumpeter of Sedition," [Papers of the Bibliographical Society, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Third quarter, 1953, pp.248-68)], Edes operated out of a makeshift printing office, using a "battered press, paper made in wartime, worn type, and poor ink.... The Watertown productions with their imperfections remind one of the critical conditions which faced Edes."