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Exceedingly Rare First Official Public Boston Memorial Service Broadside Announcement for President George Washington “Order of Performances” (January 9th, 1800)
(c. January 9th, 1800), Rare Large Printed Broadside with Thick Black Mourning Borders headed, “Order of Performances / INSTRUMENTAL DIRGE. / PRAYER, By REV. DR. ECKLEY. / HYMN, / Written At The Request Of The Committee of Arrangement By Rev. John S. J. Gardner.”, being the First Official Public nonmilitary Boston Memorial Service for George Washington, Fine.
Exceedingly Rare original Broadside printing of the official program for President George Washington’s Memorial Service at Boston’s Old South Meeting House, held on January 9th, 1800. There are four examples locked in institutional collections (provided below) and only two auction records, thus only 5 or 6 are known to exist, with this offering likely the only example available to collectors.

This large Broadside measures about 7.75” x 16”. It is boldly printed in deep black on laid period paper, having been expertly conserved with the some reinforcement and silked for preservation on the blank reverse. The outer margin edges allow full display of its complete thick bold black outer “Mourning” borders. There is some horizontal creasing from contemporary folds with small scattered internal splits and light tone spotting as shown. Overall, this historic Broadside appears solid and vivid in its print quality. An impressive example that would display well, ready for framing and display. The “PRAYER” reads, in part:

“Peace to his soul! the fatal hour is past,

And silence o’er him has her mantle cast :

His deeds, his virtues are enroll’d by Fame,

Nor shall oblivion ever shroud his name.

Then let Fraternal Love attune the lyre,

And snatch a ray of Genius’ sacred fire,

Whilst the sad strain, in soft and solemn lays,

Dwells on his merit, and records his praise.

Let the full chord to yon blue arch arise,

Our WASHINGTON’s translated to the skies.”

EULOGY, By The Hon. George Richards Minot, Esq. (1758-1802)

(* Note: George R. Minot was an American jurist and historian, was one of the founding members of the Massachusetts Historical Society.)

After, “INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.” it reads: “To Conclude With The Following Lines, Set To Music By Mr. Holden.” (Reading:)

FROM Vernon’s Mount behold the Hero rise !

Resplendent forms attend him through the skies !

The shades of war-worn veterans round him throng,

And lead, enwrapt, their honour’d Chief along !

A laurel wreath th’ immortal WARREN bears,

An arch triumphant MERCER’S hand prepares ;

Young LAURENCE, erst th’ avenging bolt of war,

With port majestic guides the gilttering car ;

MONTGOMERY’S godlike form directs the way,

And GREENE unfolds the gates of endless day ;

While Angels, “trumpet-tongued,” proclaim through air,

“Due honours for the FIRST OF MEN prepare.”

This extraordinary Broadside was printed for the first Official Public Memorial Service held by the city of Boston to honor the late first president George Washington. The service was held less than a month following his death, on December 14, 1799. The city of Boston came to a standstill. That Thursday, as most businesses closed, a huge procession of over 2,000 mourners made their way through Boston’s streets inclding members of the Masonic Grand Lodge.

The official procession started at the Massachusetts State House and concluded at the Meeting House, where a Memorial service was then held for the city’s municipal authorities. The ceremony itself opened with an instrumental performance, followed by a prayer led by Reverend Joseph Eckley (1750-1811), a hymn conducted by Reverend John Sylvester John Gardiner (1765-1830), and a eulogy by Judge George Richards Minot (1758-1802). It concluded with words set to music, written by Oliver Holden (1765-1844).

Only four institutional copies are located at the: Boston Athenaeum; Houghton Library, Harvard University’s Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery; and the John Carter Brown Library, at Brown University. We can trace only two others in auction records, from 1976 and 1916 (Selling in 1916 for the then large price of $21.00). Evans 36999; Sabin 101868; Hough, Washingtoniana, pp. 88-90; ESTC W36080.
According to historian Franklin Benjamin Hough, this was only the first public, and the second inclusive of an ordered military salute ceremony by General Alexander Hamilton, held in Boston after news of President George Washington’s death reached the city on Wednesday, December 25th, 1799.

This Public Memorial Service was only preceded by an “Honorary Military Funerary Procession,” held on Thursday, January 3rd, 1800 at Fort Independence on Castle Island in Boston Harbor by the fort’s soldiers. This military procession was held after receiving orders that were given by Alexander Hamilton, then Major General of the Army, and Washington’s former Aide-de-camp, and Treasury Secretary.

According to Hough, upon the news of George Washington’s death in Boston, "bells were at once tolled, offices and stores were closed, and a handbill from the theatre announced a postponement of amusement. The flag colors on Castle Williams, and on all the shipping in the harbor, were displayed at half mast, and an aspect of gloom and sorrow appeared everywhere." (see p. 81, Washingtoniana, Or, Memorials of the Death of George Washington, Giving an Account of the Funeral Honors Paid to His Memory..., 1865).

The Massachusetts state legislature opened the day following the official Boston Memorial, on January 10th, where various Resolves were passed by both houses, preparing for future ceremonies. On February 8th, Fisher Ames delivered a speech in honor of Washington before the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and the General Court, again at the Old South Meeting House.

More ceremonies were held by the courts and the Boston City Council on February 22nd, 1800 in observance of the official “National Day of Mourning,” as passed by Act of Congress. Overall, over 100 various Memorial ceremonies were held, in over 60 different places throughout Massachusetts, in the weeks following George Washington’s death.
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Item #113499Price: $6,750.00Add to Cart
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