LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. By the President of the United States: A Proclamation. [Boston?: J.M. Forbes? ca.December 1862.]
Printed Broadside, 403 x 300 mm. Woodcut of spread eagle before an American flag at head. Slight even toning, a few old faint creases and pale spots.
VERY RARE BROADSIDE PRINTING OF THE PRELIMINARY EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. Not in Eberstadt. Lincoln issued what is now referred to as the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, declaring that "on the 1st day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and forever free...." When none of the 10 southern states still in rebellion ceased fighting by January 1st, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, putting into effect the declarations of the September 22 proclamation.
The present example is not recorded by Eberstadt in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (New York, 1950), his careful bibliography on the subject. It is similar to Eberstadt's no 6, the printing of which he attributes to J.M. Forbes of Boston. As in the present example, that broadside includes a quote from Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens headed "Slavery the Chief Corner-Stone," and bears an eagle woodcut similar to the one at the head of this copy; however it measures only 8 x 6 inches.
"The proclamation has been called by responsible persons one of the three great documents of world history, ranking with Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. An even more enthusiastic proponent has extolled it as 'the greatest document ever penned by the hand of mortal man'" (Eberstadt p 5).