Further antedatings: "liberty tree", "tree of liberty" (but still 1765)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Dec 23 20:50:06 UTC 2013

A.  "liberty tree"

18 Dec. 1765.  In a broadside, one day earlier than the
"Massachusetts Gazette" of 19 Dec. 1765 I sent Jesse previously.  EAI
Series 1, No. 41523.

[Heading]  "Boston, (Hanover-Square,) Dec. 18, 1765."

[Letter, "Dec. 16, 1765."]

"therefore [we] desire that you would, To-morrow, appear under
Liberty-Tree, at Twelve o'Clock, to make a public Resignation. Your
Non-compliance, Sir, will incur the Displeasure of / [signed] The
True-born Sons of Liberty."

Antedates OED3 "liberty-tree", sense 1, same letter but Public
Advertiser 1766 8 Feb.

B.   "tree of liberty"

12 Sept. 1765.  Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter
Extraordinary (Supplement), 1/1.  EAN.

[Datelined] "Boston, September 12."

"at the South Part of the Town the Trees for which many have so great
a Veneration, were decorated with the Ensigns of Loyalty, and the
Colours embroidered with several Mottos (which we have not been able
to obtain---) on the Body of the largest Tree was fixed with large
deck Nails, that it might last (as a Poet said, like oaken Bench to
Perpetuity) a Copper-Plate with these Words stamped thereon, in
Golden Letters, THE TREE OF LIBERTY, August 14, 1765."

Antedates OED2 "tree of liberty" under "tree, n.", 1765 Universal
Mag. 37 376/2 [which page is from the December issue].

[For those interested in various other descriptions of the character
and employment of the Tree of Liberty, EAN has four articles from
three different Boston papers dated 4 Nov. 1765 (a significant date
because on Nov. 1 the Stamp Act had become effective and Nov. 5, the
next day any Boston paper published, was "Pope Day").  All EAN.

Boston Gazette, 1/1:  Effigies were exhibited on it.
Boston Evening-Post, 3/1:  Called a "Great Tree"; names the persons
represented by the effigies.
Boston Post-Boy Extraordinary (Supplement), page 1 (two
columns):  "THE TREE OF LIBERTY" appears on the crest of a "portrait"
that is "distinguished with Ensigns Armorial".
Boston Evening-Post, 3/2:  An advertisement for a "Caricatura" having
a representation of the "Tree of Liberty".


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