[Boston. March 17, 1776]. Broadside, 17 x 10 1/2 inches. Large woodcut of a harbor fortress and naval vessels exchanging cannon fire (2 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches), text in two columns. One vertical and three horizontal folds. Edges mildly frayed with small losses; several small losses at fold intersections, slightly affecting woodcut and two words of text. Minor foxing, one light stain in woodcut ( 1/2 x 3/4 inch). Very good. Matted. In a cloth chemise and blue half morocco and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM47214
A rare, large-format broadside containing two songs celebrating the British defeat at Boston to General Washington's army after a siege that had lasted from April 1775. Winslow noted that the large woodcut had previously been used on a broadside of 1745 describing the siege of Louisbourg. The first song begins: "In seventeen hundred and seventy six, / On March the eleventh, the time was prefix'd, / Our forces march'd on Dorchester Neck, / Made fortifications against an attack." The supplies and munitions left by the departing British are mentioned, as is a fire set at Castle William during the evacuation. The poet concludes spiritedly: "Let 'em go, let 'em go, for what they will fetch, / I think their great Howe is a miserable wretch; / And as for his men, they are fools for their pains, / So let them return to Old England again." The second song, in a different meter, comprises thirteen four-line stanzas. It commences with a remembrance of the Battle of Bunker Hill: "It wasn't our will that Bunker-Hill, / From us should e'er be taken...." The American re-occupation of Bunker Hill is described, along with several scarecrows left by the British (to give the impression it was still garrisoned). Then: "The women come, and children run, / To brave Putnam rejoicing, / Saying now is the time to man your lines, / For the soldiers have left Boston." The poet speculates on the British force's destination: "Some say they've sail'd for Halifax, / And others for New-York...Where they are bound there's none can tell, / But the great God on high, / May all our heads be covered well, / When cannon balls do fly." A smaller format broadside of the same two songs, set in a different type but employing the same cut, is entitled, simply, ON THE EVACUATION OF BOSTON BY THE BRITISH TROOPS. ESTC locates only three copies, at the Essex Institute, the American Antiquarian Society, and Princeton. SABIN 97588. BRISTOL B4385. SHIPTON & MOONEY 43179. FORD 2040. WEGELIN 808. ESTC W38633.