A Montana incunable

Charge of Chief Justice Hosmer, to the Grand Jury of the First Judicial District, M.T., delivered, December 5th, 1864

[Virginia City, Montana: 1864.]. Bifolium, 12¼" x 7¾" (31 x 19.5 cm); single page of text in triple column; embossed seal at the top of the first column; small scallop tear at the top of the third column, barely touching 1 letter; all else very good. Streeter IV, 2211: "This previously unrecorded one-page charge to Montana's first grand jury ... marks the beginning of legal administration of justice in Montana. It is likewise the second Montana broadside." "Justice Hosmer discusses the previous attempt at preservation of order by the vigilance committees, and comments on the need of extra legal action since 'the sources of official power had been monopolized by the very class which preyed upon society. The greatest villain of them all - with hands reeking of the blood of numerous victims - was the principle ministerial officer of the Territory, and had at his beck a band of wretches who had become hardened in their bloody trade, years before they came here to practice it.' While praising the work of the vigilance committees Judge Hosmer warns the jury of the danger of the continuance of such organizations. It is a fine change and one can understand the unanimous request of the Bar and the Grand Jury that it be published." This is a separate setting of type from that in the Montana Post of December 10, and with slight variations in the text. The Montana Post was Montana's first newspaper, which began publication on the 27th of August, 1864. A (somewhat larger) facsimile was done in an edition of 400 copies at Meriden Gravure for friends of the Yale Collection of Western Americana. Hosmer arrived in Montana only two months earlier - in October - to become Montana's first Chief Justice. Yale and SMU only in OCLC, to which we can add the copy at the Montana Historical Society. Item #54428

Price: $6,500.00

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