Signed book: An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at their request, on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837. Newburyport Herald Office: Morss and Brewster, 1837. Original blue paper wrappers bound into a modern hardcover with gilt stamping, 5 x 8.75, 68 pages. Signed and inscribed on the front wrapper in ink, "Rev'd Peter Whitney, from John Quincy Adams." Autographic condition: very good to fine, with scattered light staining and a central vertical fold to the signed page. Book condition: VG/None, with moderate foxing throughout, and a "John Maxwell Taylor" bookplate affixed to the front pastedown.
The recipient of this important booklet, Reverend Peter Whitney, was the pastor at the Adams family's church, and had officiated the funeral of President John Adams after his death in 1826. In this remarkable oration, Adams outlines the history and purpose of the Declaration of Independence, as well as its outcomes and practical inconsistencies—it is not only a history lesson, but a call to action. After an eloquent discussion of the Declaration and the circumstances which brought it about, he makes a strong case against the institution of slavery, arguing that it violates the foundational principle that 'all men are created equal.' He then invokes religion to further his case. A fascinating and important booklet, presented by Adams to an important figure in his religious life.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.