A rare Boston almanac from the pre-Revolutionary period, with a terrific Revere cartoon lampooning Governor Hutchinson.
Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780) was an eminent merchant, politican and historian in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts, and served continuously as Lieutenant Governor and then Governor from 1758-1774. Though intelligent, competent, and rather fair minded, his conservative and Loyalist policies brought him into conflict with Massachusetts radicals, so much so that a Boston mob had ransacked his home in 1765. This cut was produced in the Fall of 1773 when his reputation was at its lowest ebb, just months after some of his more inflammatory correspondence was leaked by none other than Ben Franklin and published in Boston. The last civilian governor of Massachusetts, he was replaced in May 1774 by General Thomas Gage.
The cut bears the caption “The wicked Statesman, or the Traitor to his Country, at the Hour of DEATH.” It depicts a finely-dressed Governor Hutchinson-“the wicked Statesman”-seated at a table with a pot of currency before him and a copy of Machiavelli at his feet. Hutchinson looks with trepidation to his right, where the flames of Hell burn high, a horned devil holds a tablet bearing a list of his crimes, and Death prepares to impale him with its spear. Lest the point is insufficiently clear a note on the verso reads:
“ how wretched, how intolerable, are the last Moments of one who has made it his Business to sacrifice Mankind to accumulate a little Pelf [i.e., dishonestly acquired wealth] ! Look at the Engraving on the first Page, and endeavor to form some faint Idea of the Horrors that Man must endure, who owes his Greatness to his Country’s Ruin, when he is about taking Leave of this World, to receive a just and proper Punishment for his Crimes. Let the Destroyers of Mankind behold and Tremble !”
The cut is attributed to Paul Revere based on stylistic grounds and from the following note in Revere’s account book, dated October 15, 1773: “Mr Isaiah Thomas Dr/ To Engraving a plate for Almanack/ 0-18-0.” (cited in Brigham, p. 208) Though crude in execution, it is undeniably both dynamic and effective in making its point.
The rest of the almanac is taken up with the usual mix of astronomical data, anecdotes, and folk remedies, as well as a table of distances. As noted above, it has been disbound from a volume, and the final leaf is missing.
Bristol, 3253; Drake, Almanacs, #3233 (Both Evans and Drake record a variant state of the Calendar with curved brackets substituted for the square brackets at the base of the title page.) The cut is described and illustrated in Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, pl. 69, p. 208.
Incomplete and disbound, edges somewhat ragged. Toned, with some very minor foxing. 1827 ownership inscription of John H. Eliot, cut labeled in ink (incorrectly) "Wm. Pitt."