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Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights

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The American Museum Magazine Considers Race and Slavery, Bound Together with Congressional Proceedings
on the Bill of Rights

MATHEW CAREY, Magazine. The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Volume VI, July to December, 1789. 492 pp., plus 46 pp. bound in, Proceedings of Congress, from the First Session of the First Congress, including the process of amending the U.S. Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights. Signed by previous owner, Connecticut Revolutionary War General Jedediah Huntington on free front endpaper. Dedicated in type to George Washington. Bound in contemporary calf, binding worn, small library label on spine, some staining on title page, several pages trimmed near end, with minor loss of text, primitive drawings of soldiers on back endpaper.


Item #22660, $2,400

Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, Support for Education (particularly Harvard), Bettering the State’s Finances: The Massachusetts Legislature Writes to Governor Hancock at the Opening of its 1791 Session

[BILL OF RIGHTS], Manuscript Document Signed, by Samuel Phillips and David Cobb, as Massachusetts Senate President and House Speaker, respectively. [Boston, Mass.], June 1, 1791. 4 pp., 7½ x 12¼ in. Docket in unknown hand on verso of last page: “Letter by Phillips & Cobb 1791.”


“Every friend to America must reprobate the idea of introducing a standing army in our Republic. The establishment of a well disciplined militia, must be an object the most salutary and desirable. On the permanency of this measure, the happiness & security of the people, & the force and energy of the Government greatly depend.”

After Governor John Hancock called on the Massachusetts legislature to consider the new federal Bill of Rights, the representatives wrote to him expressing some concerns, specifically, the items that would become the Second and Sixth Amendments: the rights to bear arms and trial by jury, respectively. Their response shows that the Second Amendment’s foundation was fear of a standing army. They respond favorably to both amendments as well as to Hancock’s suggestions regarding state support for education in general, and for “the University at Cambridge” (referring to Harvard) specifically.

Item #21905, $14,500

One of the Last Drafts of the Bill of Rights

[BILL OF RIGHTS], Newspaper, New-York Daily Gazette. New York: Archibald M’lean, Friday, September 18, 1789. 4 pp.


“Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America … That the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States….”

Very rare printing of twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution, as approved by the Senate on September 9, 1789, but not yet reconciled with the House. Article 3, guaranteeing freedom of religion, underwent the most substantial changes between this and the final version ten days later. 

Item #22100, $22,500

First Draft of the Bill of Rights:
17 Amendments Approved by the House (SOLD)

[BILL OF RIGHTS], The Connecticut Gazette. September 4, 1789 (Vol. XXVI, no. 1347). New-London, Connecticut. 4 pp.


Remarkable full printing of the seventeen amendments to the Constitution approved by the House of Representatives on August 24th. Ultimately, ten of these amendments would be ratified by the states as the Bill of Rights. On May 4, 1789, two months into the first session of the First Federal Congress, James Madison had announced to the House of Representatives that he intended to propose amendments that would guarantee basic civil rights. The absence of such language had almost waylaid acceptance of the Constitution. In the end, New York and several other states had agreed to ratify the Constitution with the understanding that a Bill of Rights would be added at a later date.

Item #20650.12, SOLD — please inquire about other items