[DICKENSON, JOHN. 1742-1808.] The Boston Chronicle. Boston: Printed by Mein and Fleeming, September 5, 1768. Vol 1, no 38. Folio (457 x 280 mm). 8 pp. Disbound, moderate toning, light staining to pp 343-346.
WITH: Manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, 8vo, n.p., n.d., being a 6-stanza Tory lyric criticizing the Sons of Liberty, the colonial organization best known for organizing the Boston Tea Party in 1773, leaf creased and toned, stanza 6 crossed through in pencil.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT OF "THE LIBERTY SONG." Dickenson was a lawyer and early champion of the rights of colonials who served in the first two continental congresses. He opposed the Declaration of Independence, however, arguing that the Articles of Confederation should be completed and signed first, and also opposing the use of violence to resolve the dispute. He abstained from the vote on July 2, 1776 declaring independence, and also refused to sign the formal declaration on July 4, instead resigning from Congress and accepting an appointment in the Pennsylvania militia.
"The Liberty Song" was published in 1768 and designed to be sung to the tune of the Royal Navy's anthem, "Heart of Oak." It is one of the earliest patriotic songs of the 13 colonies, and verse six includes the first appearance of the slogan, "by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall."
The second item present in this lot, the anonymous Tory manuscript criticizing the Sons of Liberty, reads: "Let those that would our Peace invade and strive to work our Wo / In their own Coin be well repaid / By a sad Overthrow / Let General and his Blackgard Gang / Who plot our Overthrow / On Haman's lofty Gallows hang / A Sport to all below." The final stanza, marked through later in pencil, celebrates King George as a "King of Peace."
- The first printing of the "Liberty Song" appeared in the Boston Gazette in July 1768.