Rare Revolutionary War era book found in Austin College archives

By: Rick Springer Email
By: Rick Springer Email

SHERMAN, TX - Austin College has made a rare discovery in their book archives. A pamphlet that dates back to and comments on the revolutionary war. And, it's not just the historical value that makes this book so significant, It's what it represents.

"Very rarely do we come across a work that has true national significance," said Austin College archivist Justin Banks.

In early June Banks was going through the college's rare books vault when he found an original copy of an essay written by Cambridge History professor and classical scholar John Symonds. The pamphlet was printed in London in 1778.

"This is from the era of the revolutionary war," Banks said. "Our founding as a nation."

The essay is titled "Remarks Upon an Essay Intituled The History of the Colonization of the Free States of Antiquity, Applied to the Present Contest Between Great Britain and her American Colonies." It criticizes Britain for taxing the American colonies without their consent. One of the main reasons for the Revolutionary war and America's declaration of independence."

"It goes against in a sense what the whole nation, England was doing at the time," Banks said. "They were at war with the American colonies."

The pamphlet was donated to the college over twenty years ago. There are only 100 known copies, one of which was found in Thomas Jefferson's personal library.

"In the midst of some very dark times," said Library Director John West, "he was getting a copy of a pamphlet that was arguing certain things with regards to how Great Britain should handle the American Colonies."

The college would need an appraiser to determine what the pamphlet is worth, but they say it's material value is not what makes this books special.

"Even if we were told that it's worth some significant figure I think the greater value is the historical value."

"If this pamphlet does anything else aside from it's title is which is kind of dramatic," said West. "if anything else it points at the fact that July 4th in terms of it's celebration is a celebration of ideas that form the United States of America."

Ideas that not only define our nation, but that many have fought, suffered, and died for.

"Freedom of speech," West said." "Freedom of religion. Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Wow."


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