Dartmouth College Library Bulletin




RECENTLY the Dartmouth College Library was given a rare and special copy of the 1765 Stamp Act.

Anno Regni GEORGEII III.REGIS Magnae Britanniae, Franciae, & Hiberniae, QUINTO. At the Parliament begun and holden at Westminster the Nineteenth Day of May, Anno Dom. 1761, in the First Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c

And from thence continued by several Prorogations to the Tenth Day of January, 1765, being the Fourth Session of the Twelfth Parliament of Great Britain. LONDON Printed: BOSTON, N.E. Re-printed and Sold by Edes & Gill, in Queen-Street. 1765.

Anno quinto

Georgii III. Regis.

An Act for granting and applying certain Stamp Duties, and other Duties, in the British Colonies and Plantations in America, towards further defraying the Expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same; and for amending such Parts of the several Acts of Parliament relating to the Trade and Revenues of the said Colonies and Plantations, as direct the Manner of determining and recovering the Penalties and Forfeitures therein mentioned.

There follow twenty-three pages detailing minutely the specific items to carry a tax stamp. This document was given to the Library by Edward E. Emerson Sr. 1926, a resident of Norwich, Vermont. Our particular copy belonged to David Putnam of Danvers, Massachusetts, and had remained in the Putnam-Emerson family until December 1992. A brother of the feisty General Israel Putnam, Lieutenant David Putnam was said to have ridden "'the best horse in the province'" and had the reputation of being a "dashing cavalry officer" and "'the lion-hearted Lieutenant of the King's troops. '"1

The Stamp Act of 1765 was one of several attempts by the British Parliament to raise revenue to pay in part for garrisoning British troops in North America. The tax stipulated that all commercial and legal Documents, pamphlets, newspapers, almanacs, broadsides, dice, and playing cards would carry a stamp. The Stamp Act became the first direct tax Parliament attempted to levy on the American colonists. As one recalls from early school days, it was an extremely unpopular piece of legislation and was detested by all manner of people. Protests mounted and the cry of "Taxation without Representation" spread across the colonies. A Stamp Act Congress met in New York where several of the provinces sent delegates, the outcome of which was a document declaring Parliament did not have the right to tax the colonies. Refusal to use the stamps, petitions to Parliament by London merchants who were losing trade with the colonies, and arguments against the tax by William Pitt caused Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act one year after it was enacted.

1.William E Livingston, IsraelPutnam:Pioneer, Ranger, and Major-General, 17I8-1790.(American Men of Energy) (New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 1901), 16.