[COLONIAL AMERICA]. BOONE, Joseph (1678-1733); ANNE, Queen of Great Britain (1665-1714)
The Humble Address of the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament Assembled Presented to Her Majesty on Wednesday the Thirteenth Day of March, 1705. Relating to the Province of Carolina, and the Petition Therein Mentioned. With Her Majesties Most Gracious Answer Thereunto.
London: Charles Bill, and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb, deceas'd; Printers to the Queens most Excellent Majesty, 1705. Folio. 4 pp. (13 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches).
Red straight grain Morocco with tooled gilt lettering on cover and spine, blue endpapers and pastedowns with armorial bookplate of Philip S. Henry and early auction description. Bound-in with 10 leaves of fine blank laid paper to protect four-page work. Title with double rule borders and initials.
Provenance: Philips S. Henry (d.1930), a diplomat, scholar, and avid book collector in Asheville, North Carolina.
An exceedingly rare colonial document asserting Carolinians' freedom of religion. Seldom found in such impeccable condition, this petition from Joseph Boone and sixteen other colonists to the British Parliament exemplifies the inherent contradictions in British rule that would come to the fore in the American Revolution.
This historically significant political document from Colonial America is composed of three parts, besides the title page and order to print: A petition made by prominent colonists of the Province of Carolina to the British Parliament concerning their freedom of religion; the report of the British Parliament on the colonists' petition to Queen Anne; and Queen Anne's response to Parliament. The Province of Carolina consisted of a huge swath of the American South including all or part of present-day Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The convoluted form of governance in the province, in which colonists, the Lords Proprietors, the British Parliament, and the Crown all had a hand, produced untenable, often contradictory policies, which are put fully on display in this document. The Province of Carolina's colonial assembly had passed two acts conforming religious practices in the colony to those of the Church of England. One might think this would be appreciated by the powers in England; but in fact it went against the Crown and Parliament's wishes and the constitution of the colony itself. But it was still incumbent on those colonial subjects whose religious practices were encumbered to petition higher powers in the UK to strike down laws their representative Lords Proprietors put in place. Boone's petition is an impassioned plea based on the 1663 royal charter for the Province of Carolina, in which King Charles the Second ensured "express Provision is made in the said Charter, for a Toleration and Indulgence to all Christians in the Free Exercise of their Religion" and that "no Person should be disturbed for any Speculative Opinion in Religion" or be, on account of religion, "Excluded from being a Member of the General Assembly." But were the colonist petitioners themselves paragons of democratic decision-making? Well, no. Part of the blame for these newly restrictive religious acts is put by the colonists at the feet of "Servants, Negroes, Aliens, Jews and Common Sailors" who were allowed to vote in the Election of 1703 for the New Assembly. Using a tactic that recurs throughout American history, the colonists argue for their personal freedoms by stating the economic benefits to be had from them. They lament the potential consequences of this religious deprivation, foreseeing imminent ruin that could reverberate not only within the settlement itself but also in the wider context of trade and commerce. The address paints a vivid picture of the repercussions should this injustice persist, portraying a scenario in which the well-being of the entire settlement hangs in the balance. It warns that such a downfall would not only result in the detriment of the province but also strike at the very heart of the Kingdom's trade, imperiling Her Majesty's Customs revenue. Furthermore, it highlights the looming threat of the French, who, seizing the opportunity, could fortify their own foothold in the American territories at the expense of British interests. The Queen's response to Parliament? "I am very Sensible of what Great Consequence the Plantations are to England, and will do all that is in My Power to Relieve My Subjects in Carolina, and to Protect them in their just Rights." The Carolinian signers of the petition were: James Ball, Joseph Paice, Stephen Mason, Rt. Hackshaw, Christopher Shaw, Thomas Byfeld, Rener, Nathaniel Soriano, Joseph Boone, Michah Perry, Daniel Wharley, Thomas Coutts, Joseph Marshall, Thomas Gould, John Hodgkins, Christopher Boone, and David Watenhouse. Worldcat finds only eight copies of this document in libraries. It has rarely appeared at auction in the past hundred years. In 1919, the American Art Association wrote that only one copy had been known and it was "not mentioned by Sabin, Winsor or any bibliographer and believed to be the only copy known. It was not in the Church, Ives, Menzies, Barlow, Brinley, Rice or any of the sales held during the last fifty years."
Brinsfield, Religion and Politics in Colonial South Carolina. Colonial Records of North Carolina, Raleigh, 1886, v. 1, p. 634.ESTC, T36777. Hanson, Contemporary Printed Sources for British and Irish Economic History, 1701-1750, entry 690. Rivers, Sketch of the History of South Carolina, 461-463. Sabin, Dictionary of Books Relating to America, 10972; referenced in Sabin 87359, 87805. Stevens, H. Historical Nuggets, entry 457. Stevens, Son & Stiles, Americana Voyages, Issues 19-21, 9. Winsor V: 342.