"tree of liberty", 1765 (OED, also 1765)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 6 22:02:29 UTC 2010

I have been on the same trail for the past couple of hours, but am
still in the process of composing. The date is off by nearly three
decades, although I am not sure how much the OED would be receptive to
the idea of the metaphorical pre-dating the physical use.

I am still trying to figure out if Locke or someone in the same period use it.


On Sat, Mar 6, 2010 at 3:47 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> The OED has "tree of liberty" from 1765, in the "Universal
> Magazine".  Primary sources, same year:
> (1)  The earliest in EAN, Oct. 17:
> The Subscriber hereby Notifies all Persons Licensed to sell Tea,
> Coffee and Chiina Ware in the County of Essex, that he will attend to
> receive the Duties arising on said Articles on Monday the 11th of
> November next at Major Moors at Haverhill [and elsewhere on other
> dates]. ... All those who do not give their Attendance at the Times
> and Places abovementioned are desired to settle the same with me at
> my House near the TREE OF LIBERTY, South-End, Boston, in order to
> prevent further Trouble.
> John Haskins, Farmer.
> Source:  Boston News-Letter, published as The Boston News-Letter and
> New-England Chronicle; Date: 10-17-1765; Issue: 3237; Page: [3], col. 2.  [EAN]
> I will presume this is satirical, even though it appears among the
> advertisements rather than in the news/essays/letters
> (2)  Perhaps a more enlightening context, Nov. 4:
> Last Friday being the Day the Stamp-Act was to take Place, ... yet
> the People were soon informed that the Great Tree at the South Part
> of the Town (Known by the Name of the Tree of Liberty ever since the
> memorable 14th of August) was adorned with the Effigies of the two
> famous or rather imnfamous enemies of American Liberty, G---ge
> G--nv-le and J-hn H-sk.
> Source:  Boston Evening-Post, published as Boston Evening Post.;
> Date: 11-04-1765; Issue: 1573; Page: [3], col. 1. [EAN]
> The hanging of Andrew Oliver in effigy occurred Aug. 14.
> Joel

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