Salt-Petre and Gun-Powder. An Act and Law, Made and Passed by the General Court, or Assembly of his Majesty’s English Colony of Connecticut, in New-England, in America, holden at New-Haven, by Special Order of the Governor of Said Colony, on the fourteenth Day of December, A.D. 1775. An Act for encouraging the Manufactures of Salt-Petre and Gun-Powder. [Broadside]
[New London]: Likely Timothy Green, 1776. First Edition. Broadside, small folio measuring 11 x 6 ½ inches,  pp. Light wear, near fine overall. Near Fine. Item #List01205
Recent scholarship on the American Revolution, such as David C. Hsiung’s Environmental History and the War of Independence: Saltpeter and the Continental Army’s Shortage of Gunpowder (Spero, The American Revolution Reborn, Philadelphia, 2016. Pp. 205-230), has explored the role of environmental history in the conflict, arguing that “the shortage of gunpowder affected the Continental Army’’s ability to wage war.” Faced with shortages, and a ban on the export of saltpeter outside of Great Britain, the situation grew more direthis period, before trade with France eased the shortages somewhat.
Offered here is a very uncommon broadside from Connecticut, encouraging the production of saltpeter in Connecticut per a law passed on December 14 of 1775, during a period which saw similar laws passed in various other colonies. The act established a bounty of ten pounds for every pound of saltpeter produced, and among other things, calls for two new powder mills to be immediately built in the colony for the production of gunpowder. It also prohibits the creation of any other powder mill that isn’t approved by the General Assembly.
Evans ascribes this to the press of Timothy Green and lists the printing date as 1776, though it is not listed in H.A. Johnson’s Checklist of New London Imprints. We find only one record in commerce, in 1921, at the American Art Association’s auction of the library of James Hammond Trumbull.