Broadsides from the William Reese Company
Broadsides from the William Reese Company.
The William Reese Company has issued a bulletin entitled Broadsides. These are single sheets, often the means of conveying news during the 18th and 19th century. They may have been handed out or posted in a public place. These are overwhelmingly American, with an exception for the British. They range in date from the early 18th century through the end of the Civil War. There are 32 in all, and each offers an intriguing look at their times. Here are a few.
Times were tense in America when Massachusetts Governor William Shirley issued this broadside: A Proclamation for a public FAST. The year was 1755, the French and Indian War just underway, and no one knew how that was going to turn out. Whether fasting was a good way to win the war is debatable. If not eating could win a war, Napoleon would have conquered Russia. However, the Governor believed the war must have been God's punishment for the colonists' sinfulness. Not having burned a witch in half a century, Shirley believed the colonists must do something to appease God's anger, and not eating for a day is certainly far more humanitarian than killing old ladies. Shirley's fast was not particularly effective, at least short term, as the war dragged on for eight more years, but eventually the British did win, so maybe it didn't hurt. Item 5. $4,500.
What a difference two decades make! In 1755, the British and Americans were working hand in hand. In 1775, they were at each others' throats. When this appeal was sent out by the Continental Congress on July 8, 1775, the colonists had already fought the British at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. The anger had spread way beyond Massachusetts, but the actual fighting had still been confined to that colony. There was still hope. This broadside is headed, The Twelve united Colonies, by their DELEGATES in CONGRESS To the Inhabitants of GREAT_BRITAIN. Friends, Countrymen, and Brethren! It is a long and emotional appeal directed at the citizens of England to encourage their leaders to lay off of the colonies. The appeal was promoted by the more conservative members of the Congress, still hopeful that a reconciliation was possible. The broadside lists the wrongs that have been done to the colonies, notably the Intolerable Acts, but still calls for a peaceful resolution to their differences. Item 7. $27,500.
Item 16 is a list of rules for Kine Pock Inoculation. They were issued in 1809 by Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, the first professor of medicine at Harvard, and an expert in vaccinations. The rules warn against scratching your arm where it has been vaccinated. Vinegar will provide relief for the itchiness. There is no need to change your diet, and working men can go to work. Women, however, should not wash or bake on the 7th and 8th days. Waterhouse at the end explains, “It leaves behind no blemish, but a blessing...a perfect security against the future infection of the small-pox.” $1,250.
Broadsides from the William Reese Company
Children were auctioned off with animals in this 1859 sale.
Item 30 is one of the ugliest types of broadsides you come across – a slave sale. It is headed Executor's Sale of Land, Negroes, and Perishable Property. It was the sale of the estate of one Jane Anderson, of Greensboro, Alabama, who obviously chose not to set her slaves free when she died. There were 24 slaves in all, many of them young children. Sarah, Chaney, and Henry were only 3 years old. Edmond was 4, Mark 5, Jim 6, and Easter 8. Who were there parents, or whether they stayed together, is unknown. At the other end of the age spectrum was Wallis, who at 74 would not have brought much cash. About the only positive was the date. The sale was scheduled for December 21 and 22, 1859. Whoever bought these slaves did not get nearly the years of free labor they expected, and the youngest children would have only been able to supply minimal amounts of work before they were emancipated. Hopefully, Wallis lived long enough to see freedom. Along with the humans, mules, cows, hogs, and personal and real property were auctioned. $6,000.
These people would not have approved of the slave sale. Item 28 is a broadside from the Westerns Anti-Slavery Society, an Ohio-based abolition group. It announces Anti-Slavery Meetings! though the blank space for the time and place on this poster has not been filled in. The Society implores people to “Turn Out!,” while stating, “Three million of your fellow beings are in chains -- the Church and Government sustains the horrible system of oppression.” At the bottom, it adds one more very interesting demand, one that would be adopted by the South rather than the North - “Emancipation or Dissolution, and a Free Northern Republic!” $4,000.
Item 25 is a very rare broadside from London in 1844, headed, Ojibway Indians...Illustrate Catlin's North-American Indian Collection... George Catlin was the American illustrator whose drawings of Indians were published in book form in the 1840s. Catlin then took his gallery of paintings on tours of Europe. The behavior and appearance of indigenous people's of far off lands was long fascinating to Europeans. While Catlin was touring London in 1844, the Canadian showman, later mining executive and eccentric politician, Arthur Rankin showed up with a tour of nine Ojibway Indians from the north side of Lake Huron. Catlin saw an opportunity to combine forces for a bigger draw. This was the first time he used live Indians to promote his gallery, but it would not be the last. He would later work with American showman P.T. Barnum to bring live Indians to his gallery. The broadside explains, “This Extraordinary Group of Nine Wild Indians from the Forests of America...acting out, in their own way, so many of their rude and exciting modes in the heart of the civilized world...” $6,000.
The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is www.reeseco.com.