GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S PROCLAMATION REGARDING PERSONS SWEARING BRITISH ALLEGIANCE, AS PRINTED IN DUNLAP'S PENNSYLVANIA PACKET. OR THE GENERAL ADVERTISER. VOL. VI, NUMB. 273. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1777. George WASHINGTON.

GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S PROCLAMATION REGARDING PERSONS SWEARING BRITISH ALLEGIANCE, AS PRINTED IN DUNLAP'S PENNSYLVANIA PACKET. OR THE GENERAL ADVERTISER. VOL. VI, NUMB. 273. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1777.

Philadelphia [PA]: Printed by John Dunlap, at the Newest Printing-Office in Market-street, Feb. 4, 1777. Newspaper. This issue only. Single sheet, folded. 42 cm. 4 pp., text in three columns. Old fold lines, overall toning, worn and rubbed at creases, occasionally obscuring text, with some small holes and resultant loss of a few words. A tender copy.
The text of General George Washington's Proclamation of January 25, 1777, issued at Morristown, New Jersey appears in the first column of the front page. It reads (in part): "Whereas several persons, inhabitants of the United States of America, influenced by inimical motives, intimidated by the threats of the enemy, or deluded by a Proclamation issued the 30th of November last, by Lord and General Howe, stiled the King's Commissioners for granting pardons, &c. (now at open war and invading these States) have been so lost to the interest and welfare of their country as to repair to the enemy, sign a declaration of fidelity, and, in some instances, have been compelled to take oaths of allegiance, and to engage not to take up arms, or encourage others to do so, against the King of Great-Britain. And whereas it has become necessary to distinguish between the friends of America and those of Great-Britain, inhabitants of these States, and that every man who receives a protection from and is a subject of any State (not being conscientiously scrupulous against bearing arms) should stand ready to defend the same against every hostile invasion, I do therefore... strictly command...." that those persons should now either "take the oath of allegiance to the United States of America" or "withdraw themselves and families within the enemy's lines."
Other articles in this issue include: a portion of "The American Crisis. No. II," by the author of "Common Sense," a continuation of the text published in a previous issue [and to be continued in a subsequent one]; Gov. William Livingston's declaration of a day of fasting and prayer for the state of New Jersey; a translation of a letter from a foreign traveler regarding England and its relations with America; text of "An Act for making the Continental Bills of Credit..."; the text of an order by the General Assembly at Williamsburg, Virginia dated Dec. 19, 1776, giving notice that merchants and other tradesmen who remain loyal to the King should prepare to leave the state or face confinement as enemies of the state and prisoners of war; along with obituaries, notices, and ads. Item #66211

Gen. Washington's proclamation was printed as a broadside in Baltimore by John Dunlap, and in Philadelphia by William and Thomas Bradford. It appeared in newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia) on Jan. 30; the Connecticut Courant, and Hartford Weekly Intelligencer on Feb. 3; the Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia) on Feb. 4; the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia) on Feb. 5; and in Purdie's Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) on Feb. 14, 1777. [see: Founders Online site, National Archives]
On Nov. 30, 1776, Lord and General Howe issued a proclamation offering pardons to any rebelling American who took an oath of allegiance to the king within sixty days. This threat made it all the more important for Gen. Washington to score a decisive victory after his "dismal reversals in New York.... A solid blow against Howe's posts in New Jersey would keep alive the spirit of revolt in that state. Doubtless many Americans, postponing a decision on Howe's offer of pardon, would accept by the expiration of the sixty-day limit after November 30 unless the American army did something to revive it prestige." Gen. George Washington did just that in late 1776 and early 1777, at Trenton and at Princeton, before going into winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. These victories gave immeasurably strength to his own proclamation, printed here, seeking pledges to the cause of revolution. [see: "The War of American Independence," by Don Higginbotham (Indiana Univ.: 1977), p. 166]
John Dunlap (ca.1746-1812) had established printing offices in both Philadelphia and Baltimore. Best known for his broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he also published this newspaper the Pennsylvania Packet from 1771-1790. He became the official printer for the Continental Congress in 1777, succeeding Robert Aitken.

Price: $1,500.00

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