DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
The New-England Chronicle. Boston: Powars and Willis, July 18, 1776. No. 413.
Bifolium (395 x 255 mm). Mild toning, light wear to centerfold with a tiny tear, small rub to second column affecting 5 letters, tiny hole to second leaf not affecting Declaration.
Provenance: headed in early manuscript around the title: "Declaration of Independence ... Gill's paper 1776, saving the first which is Powars & Willis."
THE FIRST BOSTON NEWSPAPER PRINTING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, TIED WITH THAT IN THE CONTINENTAL JOURNAL. A highly attractive artifact of the single-most glorious declaration in American history. The entire Declaration is printed on the front page, from "When in the course of human events..." to "we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." And, it is headed by an early owner who understood its primary importance.
This paper came out on the same day as John Gill's Continental Journal of Boston and slightly before or at the same time as a broadside printing issued by Powars & Willis in partnership with John Gill.
The text is that as read in Congress on July 4, even before it was the "unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America" as titled in the engrossed version at the National Archives. The occasion of the public reading from the State House balcony on July 18th, as depicted above, comes from the account of Samuel Cooper, pastor of Brattle-Street Church.
Bostonians were famously among the most radical of patriots. In July 1776, they had only recently escaped the privations of the Siege of Boston and one can easily imagine their excitement as they absorbed the enormity of the news of the Declaration of Independence. This issue is prominently signed in type by one of their own, John Hancock.
Brigham I:321-322 (noting copies held in only 8 institutions); see Walsh, "Contemporary Broadside Editions of the Declaration of Independence," in Harvard Library Bulletin vol III, p 33.