Title Boston Massacre
Number 50916
Size 5.25” x 8”
Date March 5, 1779
Place Boston, Massachusetts
Category Revolutionary War
Price $5,000.00
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John Adams' 20-year-old law clerk during the time he was defending the British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre, William Tudor, delivers an Oration commemorating the "Bloody Tragedy" nine years later at the request of John Hancock and other prominent Bostonians.
Printed pamphlet: “An Oration, delivered March 5th, 1779, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770, By William Tudor, Esquire,” 18 pages, 5.25” x 8”. Boston: Printed by Edes & Gill, in Court-Street. M.DCC.LXXIX. Signed atop the first page of the oration, “Thos Jackson April 15 1801.”

Each year since 1770, at a town meeting held in Faneuil Hall, a person was asked to deliver an oration to mark the anniversary of the Boston Massacre including Dr. Joseph Warren in 1772 and 1775 and John Hancock in 1774. William Tudor (1750-1819), Harvard Class of 1769, was one of John Adams’ law clerks when Adams was defending the British soldiers accused of the massacre. Tudor began his own practice in 1774. From 1775-1777, Capt. Tudor served as the chief legal officer on Gen. George Washington’s staff at Cambridge and later in New York City. Lieutenant Colonel and later Colonel, Tudor returned to Boston in 1777 and resigned his commission in 1778.

Some pages closely cut affecting the last letter of some lines. Soiling and minor foxing. Pages tied together with thread. Very good condition. [Evans 16500] Some passages are underlined and there are cross-outs and corrections. For example, in the phrase “Cromwell granted their request – and became sole tyrant of three kingdoms,” Jackson, most probably, crossed out “kingdoms,” replacing it with “countries.” Referring to Sweden’s King Gustavus III, Tudor calls him “so wise, so good a King.” “King” is crossed out and replaced with “Man.” The back page is numbered “20” and the word “Our” appears at the bottom right indicating that at least a twenty-first page beginning with “Our” is missing.

Printed inside the front cover is the text of a motion voted “At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston” on March 5th to appoint a committee of seven including John Hancock to go to Tudor “to thank him for the spirited and elegant Oration delivered by him at their Request, in Commemoration of the horrid Massacre perpetrated on the Evening of the fifth of March, 1770, by a Party of Soldiers of the XXIXth Regiment, under the Commander of Capt. Thomas Preston, and to request of him a Copy thereof for the Press.” Tudor’s March 6th reply is printed beneath: “Conceiving that nothing short of Impossibility ought to dispense with that prompt Obedience which Individuals owe to the public Voice, this Oration was composed and delivered in Sickness: In the same sentiment I consent to the Publication of it.”
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