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Declaration of Independence Early Publication

 1776 Bound Gentleman's Magazine Issues With All Maps & Plates


These bound 12 monthly issues, plus supplement, of the Gentleman's Magazine contains some of the earliest publication of documents of the American Revolution, including the most important of them all, the Declaration of Independence, published in August 1776.  There is much, much more than the Declaration in this volume, it includes all the major events and documents of the Revolution covered in great detail (see below) and many important maps by which the British public followed the startling and historic events in America.  Below are pictures of the Declaration text and two of the important maps. There are very few of these historic volumes remaining that are complete and in wonderful condition. 

URBANUS, Sylvanus. The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. London: D. Henry, 1776. Octavo, original paper-covered boards, rebacked , raised bands, spine label. First edition of the entire twelve issues of Gentleman’s Magazine for 1776, bound with Supplement in one volume, featuring an early (and very possibly the first British) printing of the Declaration of Independence, extensive coverage of the American Revolution, and eight folding maps, including four of America, as well as numerous engraved plates and in-text illustrations.  The binding is tight and there are no bookplates, library or other markings. All the called for maps and plates are included, which is very rare.

Gentleman’s Magazine closely followed the growing controversy and unrest in the English colonies in America and the four folding maps provided a visual guide to the areas of the colonies were the British and American troops engaged in major battles. You can imagine that these were very important documents to the British public as well as the many subscribers in America and throughout the British Empire. The complete list of maps and plates included in this volume are as follows:

Maps & City Views

A Map of the South Pole, with the Track of His Majesty's Sloop Resolution in Search of a Southern Continent

A new Projection of the Eastern Hemisphere of the Earth on a Plane

Part of the Tropical Discoveries of the Resolution Sloop, Captain J, Cook in 1774

A new Projection of the Western Hemisphere of the Earth on a Plane

Plan of Cambridge (with legend identifying buildings)

A Map of the Country Round Philadelphia, including part of New Jersey, New York (See picture below)

Sketch of the Country Illustrating the late Engagement in Long Island

A Map Connecticut and Rhode Island with Long Island Sound

Progress of his Majesty’s Armies in New York  (See picture below)


Dr. Johnson’s Entertainment at Highland Change

Menalcus and Alexis, Pastoral Print

Mirtilas and Chloe, A Pastoral Scene

View of the Old Castle of Chepstow

Old Coins and figures



Maps and plates are in nice condition.  All the most valuable American maps are in fine condition. This is probably the 1776 volume that is in the most complete and in the best condition that is currently available.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, founded by Edward Cave in 1731 under the pseudonym “Sylvanus Urban,” (see the original 1731 and 1732 volumes available here) was the most influential periodical of its age. Its impact extended to America where, in 1741, Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine was chiefly patterned it.

Below is the start and end of the text of the Declaration of Independence published in August 1776

Below is the fine map of the Philadelphia area with parts of New Jersey, New York, Staten Island and Long Island

Below is the fold-out map of New York and New Jersey showing "the Progress of his Majesty's Armies"

In addition to the Declaration of Independence, the important contemporaneous events reported upon in this volume include, Parliamentary debate on Edmund Burke resolution seeking reconciliation with America; Virginia’s Royal Governor Dunmore proclaims the indented servants &  slaves free to protect against the provincial militia but the proclamation ends up rallying of opposition; General Lee’s letter to General Burgoyne; Account of British surrender of Montreal and later retaking; General Carleton’s account of the unsuccessful American attack on Quebec City; American account of loss of Quebec; British leave Boston but initial reports do not explain the reason (i.e.,the Ticonderoga cannons on Dorchester heights; Congress authorizes privateers to seize British shipping; General Washington’s Proclamation on his taking possession of Boston; Continental Congress resolutions and actions; Mr. Cruger’s famous speech in the House of Commons in favor of America; Review of Gibbons’ new book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; General Howe arrives in New York; Reference to Tom Paine’s “Common Sense”; Account of Long Island and New York battles led by George Washington; General Howe’s letter on taking New York; British responses to Declaration of Independence; Silas Deane in France to negotiate French help; Benedict Arnold and the battles on Lake Champlain; George Washington refuses to accept correspondence from British not directed to him in his official title; Virginia government formed with Patrick Henry as Governor; Account of British unsuccessful  attack on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina by Gen. Clinton; British treaty with Hessians to serve as mercenaries against America; Account of Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery to the southern hemisphere (journal of the Resolution); Fighting words in Kings address to Parliament;  and General Howe’s account of his New York military victories.

Timothy Hughes rare newspaper has sold the August 1776 issue of Gentleman's Magazine (i.e., no maps or the other 11 monthly issues) with the Declaration a number of times for about $4,000. We are also offering the August 1776 issue in our magazine section. Bauman Rare Books sold the only other complete bound 1776 volume that we could find on the internet in recent years for $8,800.  There will be few if any offered in your lifetime that will be as complete and as in great condition as this historic volume.

Price: $7,500

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