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Alexander Hamilton Collection Highlights

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Alexander Hamilton Collection Highlights
Alexander Hamilton Collection Highlights

We are pleased to share a few highlights from our unique collection of more than 1,000 original letters, documents and relics. The Alexander Hamilton Collection tells the story of the orphan immigrant founding father who fought for independence, founded our financial system, and fostered a government capable of surviving internal factions and foreign foes.

Yes, Hamilton’s story includes hubris, infidelity, scandal, and tragedy. The Collection captures that and more within the wider arc of its time. Here are the bold and innovative ideas, original personal letters, historic reports and documents that, at the moment they were written, were changing the world. It contains hundreds of powerful documents from leaders, soldiers, citizens, and the press, written when the Revolutionary War and Founding were current events.

For a quick introduction to The Collection, see and download the 8-page Highlights Brochure (press the download icon in the upper left-hand corner of the page). Curl up with the complete Alexander Hamilton Collection, Part I, our 132-page doctorate-worthy catalog. And to embrace the depth of an expanded presentation, view The Alexander Hamilton Collection, Part II.

You can also view here on the website a selection of Individual Alexander Hamilton and Founding Documents that are available individually.

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Benjamin Franklin Calls For Abolition of Slavery, Washington Addresses the Dutch Reformed Church on Religious Freedom, Thanksgiving Thoughts, Hamilton’s Plans, and More

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States. November 25, 1789, New York, N.Y., 4 pp., (pp. 257-60), 10 x 16 in.


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This important newspaper includes an October 9, 1789 letter to George Washington, with his Address responding To the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America discussing his gratitude for their support, thanks for the nation weathering the revolution and peacefully establishing constitutional government, and ensuring religious freedom. (p. 1, col. 3).

As well as a printing of Benjamin Franklin’s “Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage.”

Item #23116

John Hancock Helps Build Washington’s Army and Appoints a Captain

JOHN HANCOCK, Partially Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. [Philadelphia, PA] July 1, 1775. Counter-signed by Charles Thomson. 1 p., folio.


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

The Continental Congress had appointed George Washington as Commander in Chief of the newly-formed Continental Army on June 15, only two weeks before this document. Hancock, as president of the Continental Congress, began raising troops and officers for the war effort. Here, he appoints Stephen Kimball at the rank of Captain in the 14th Regiment of the Continental Army. The 14th, commanded by Col. Daniel Hitchcock, was part of the Rhode Island militia. The unit, which included some African American soldiers, went to Boston to fight under General Nathanael Greene. Later, incorporated into the Continental Army, it saw action in the Battle of Long Island and at White Plains.

Item #24001

To Avoid Abuse from “bigots in religion...politics, or...medicine,” Thomas Jefferson Declines to Publish Benjamin Rush’s Private Correspondence

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to James Mease. With conjoined franked address leaf in Jefferson’s hand. August 17, 1816. Monticello, [Charlottesville, Va.]. 1 p., 9¾ x 8 in.


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Thomas Jefferson, long since retired to private life, declines the request of Dr. James Mease for copies of Dr. Benjamin Rush’s correspondence with Jefferson. Mease had hoped to include them in a volume of Rush’s letters to be published and specifically requested letters pertaining to Rush’s personal views on religion and politics. After demurring, Jefferson discusses at length the differences between personal and official correspondence, with philosophical thoughts on public versus private expression. He closes with assurances that his decision is nothing personal, and of his great respect for Mease: “I hope, my dear Sir, you will see in my scruples only a sentiment of fidelity to a deceased friend.”

Item #23233

The Charter for Hamilton’s “Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures”

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, September 10, 1791. Philadelphia: John Fenno. 4 pp. 10 x 16 in. Including the Charter for the Society of Useful Manufactures in full, and a report on Joseph Brant, the famous Mohawk Indian Chief.

Item #30019

An Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, March 2, 1791. Philadelphia: John Fenno. 4 pp. (765-768), 10½ x 17 in. Includes full text of February 25 Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States.


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“The establishment of a bank for the United States … upon the principles which afford adequate security for an upright and prudent administration.”

Item #23392

The Assumption Plan, Passed as Four Acts of Congress

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, New York: John Fenno. 16 pp. Included in full, all four parts of Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, as passed by Congress, in the issues of August 7, 14, 21, and 28, 1790. (4 pp. each)


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“Justice and the support of the public credit require, that provision should be made for fulfilling the engagements of the United States, in respect to their foreign debt, and for funding their domestic debt upon equitable and satisfactory terms.”

Item #30022.27-.30

Congress Begs the States for the Power to Regulate Trade and Negotiate Treaties

CHARLES THOMSON, Document Signed as Secretary of Congress. Resolutions Concerning Foreign Commerce. April 30, 1784, [Annapolis, Maryland]. 1 p., 7¾ x 12¾ in.


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“The fortune of every citizen is interested in the success thereof [of trade]; for it is the constant source of wealth and incentive to industry; and the value of our produce and our land must ever rise or fall in proportion to the prosperous or adverse state of trade.…”

Item #20874

One of the Earliest Printings of the Declaration of Independence - July 8, 1776, Bound with a Very Rare Copy of the Most Complete Printing of Common Sense

[THOMAS PAINE], Robert Bell’s “complete” edition of Common Sense, made up from pamphlets first sold independently. Common Sense; with the Whole Appendix: The Address to the Quakers: Also, the Large Additions, and a Dialogue between the Ghost of General Montgomery, just arrived from the Elysian fields; and an American Delegate in a Wood, near Philadelphia: On the Grand Subject of American Independancy. [Second title:] Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America … Third edition. [Third title:] Large Additions to Common Sense. … II. The Propriety of Independancy, by Demophilus. … An Appendix to Common Sense. [Fourth title:] A Dialogue between the Ghost of General Montgomery, Just arrived from the Elysian Fields; and an American Delegate in a Wood near Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Printed, and Sold, by R. Bell, 1776. 8vo in half-sheets, general half-title, U3 with ads and Bell’s statement “Self-defence against unjust attacks”; natural paper flaw in lower blank margin of final leaf. (Gimbel CS-9; Evans 14966; Adams, American Independence 222e).


Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This is likely the finest copy extant of the first book printing of the Declaration of Independence, preserved with other significant pamphlets of the American Revolution, including the best early edition of Common Sense. The Declaration was printed immediately following The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution… By Demophilus, which was already in the press. The terminal ad leaf dates it to July 8, 1776. Bound together with five separately issued pamphlets, possibly compiled by Thomas Paine.

From the library of Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1755–1824), with press-mark of his library at the château de La Brède. He was a grandson of the famous enlightenment philosopher, and son of a founder of Freemasonry in France (along with Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin). Charles-Louis corresponded with Franklin and served as aide-de-camp to the Comte de Rochambeau and the Marquis de Chastellux. After fighting at Yorktown, he was among the delegation sent to inform the King of France of the victory. Accompanied by the statement on the provenance of the book by Charles-Henry de Montesquieu, a descendant). Sold at Sotheby’s June 19, 2015.

The Declaration was first printed by John Dunlap, the official printer to the Continental Congress, as a broadside on the evening of July 4 into the morning of July 5, 1776. The text next appeared in the July 6 issue of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, and on July 8th in Dunlap’s own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Packet, or General Advertiser.

Genuine Principles was already on the press when Dunlap’s broadside appeared. Bell quickly added a new gathering to accommodate the Declaration, and a stirring introduction: “The events which have given birth to this mighty revolution; and will vindicate the provisions that shall be wisely made against our ever again relapsing into a state of bondage and misery, cannot be better set forth than in the following Declaration of American Independence.

On the final leaf, the advertisement dated July 8th announces Bell’s next publication, “In a few days,” of American Independence the Interest and Glory of Great Britain. (A copy of John Cartwright’s anonymous pamphlet is bound in the present volume).

Advertisements in the July 9th issue of the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the July 10th issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette for Genuine Principles say that it was “just printed, published and now selling by Robert Bell.” Bell’s printing is not simply the first book printing of the Declaration; it is one of the earliest printings overall—and one of the rarest.

In a way, this Declaration imprint is even more “original” than the signed Declaration manuscript. This is the July 4th Declaration, not yet Unanimous. The engrossed manuscript was prepared only after New York’s legislature heard the news, and then voted to join the other 12 colonies. The “National Treasure” document was prepared, and the signers added their “John Hancocks” in August.

The first pamphlet in this sammelband is Robert Bell’s “complete” edition of Common Sense, made up from very rare pamphlets sold independently, with the text that Paine gave first to another printer after Bell claimed he was losing money selling a pamphlet that was as hot a ticket as HAMILTON.

Item #24865
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