On a quest for some Fourth of July inspiration, I began browsing the thousands of volumes that comprise our rare book collection when I found a copy of Thomas Jefferson’s A Summary View of the Rights of British America, his lesser known indictment of British transgressions of colonial rights written in 1774—a time when Jefferson, among other future revolutionaries, still felt possible “fraternal love and harmony throughout the whole [British] empire.”
Bound with A Summary View are several other political tracts from the revolutionary era, The Justice and Necessity of Taxing the American Colonies, Demonstrated, 1766; An Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress, a British response to the American Declaration of Independence; and, finally, Letters from General Washington to Several of his Friends in the Year 1776, published in 1777.
My interest in this modest volume was piqued by the gilt-stamped initials “J. G.” found on the cover and the name “J. Gillespie” scrawled on the title page. Could this J. Gillespie be North Carolina’s own revolutionary, James Gillespie? James Gillespie was born in 1747, owned a plantation in Kenansville, North Carolina, and, during the American Revolution, fought with a N.C. militia regiment. He later served in the state senate, attended the state’s constitutional conventions, and later sat in the U.S. House as a Federalist.
If you are also in need of a dose of revolutionary spirit come to the RBMSCL (tomorrow—we’re closed today!) and explore the ideological origins of the American Revolution through these tracts, the same ones that were perhaps perused by a revolutionary North Carolinian.
Post contributed by Josh Larkin-Rowley, Research Services Assistant.
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The Devil’s Tale Archive
- Internationalist Books and Community Center records, 1960s-2011. August 26, 2014
- Marcel Montassut papers, 1914-1975. August 21, 2014
- Bengal Chamber of Commerce letter of gratitude to Daniel Mackinlay upon his retirement, 1860 February 21. August 21, 2014
- John Symonds Breedon diaries and account books, 1736-1808. August 18, 2014
- Rosina Lyon letters, 1846-1849. August 15, 2014
- Walden; or, Life in the woods August 22, 2014
- Precationes ex veteribus orthodoxis doctoribus : ex ecclesiae hymnis et canticis, ex Psalmis denique Dauidis collectae, et nunc recens recognitae & auctae August 8, 2014
- The danger of premature interment : proved from many remarkable instances of people who have recovered after being laid out for dead, and of others entombed alive, for want of being properly examined prior to interment : also a description of the manner the ancient Egyptians, and other nations preserved and venerated their dead, and a curious account of their sepulchral ever burning lamps and mausoleums : likewise, the pernicious effects of burying in the body churches, and confined church-yards pointed out, whereby many valuable lives have been lost to the public, and their friends : selected from historical records August 7, 2014
- Conseils aux femmes de quarante ans August 7, 2014
- Ueber die Grundsütze und die Natur des Schünen ... (Volume c.1) August 27, 2014
- Kurzweile in Sinngedichten. (Volume c.1) August 27, 2014
- Empfindsame Reimereien. (Volume c.1) August 27, 2014
- Die Schildwache / (Volume Stuck4 c.1) August 27, 2014
- The Centennial history of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 1890-1990. August 25, 2014