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Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Enabling Revolutionary War Veterans to Settle the West

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act to enable the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia line on Continental Establishment, to obtain Titles to certain Lands lying north west of the river Ohio, between the Little Miami and Sciota, August 10, 1790. [New York, N.Y.: Francis Childs and John Swaine]. Signed in type by George Washington as President, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President and President of the Senate. 2 pp.

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Secretary of State Jefferson signs an act enabling Virginia to issue Northwest Territory land grants promised to veterans for their Revolutionary War service. Jefferson had already played a critical role in the creation of a national domain and the opening of the American West by orchestrating Virginia’s cession of the Northwest Territory to the United States. This act repeals a controversial 1788 Confederation Congress Act that invalidated the state’s right to lay out military bounty lands within a section of the Northwest Territory.

Item #23981, $17,500

George Washington to the Jewish Masons
of Newport, Rhode Island

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States. September 11, 1790. New York, John Fenno. 4pp. The letter of the Masons to Washington, and Washington’s letter of August 18, 1790[1] in response, printed in full on page 4. This issue also includes a piece on the “Character of Dr. Franklin.” (p. 2, col. 1).

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“Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the masonic fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them a deserving Brother.”

Item #30022.06, $2,500

To Alexander Hamilton About Settlement of Land Disputes, Docketed by Eliza

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Manuscript note, n.p., n.d. [but ca. 1791], "Communication" sent to Alexander Hamilton, praising attorney Egbert Benson, who was instrumental in negotiating the land claim which New York had made to Vermont. Settling the land dispute was a congressionally mandated prerequisite for Vermont joining the Union as a state of its own, rather than being divided between New York and New Hampshire. Docketed by Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.

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Item #24620, $2,400

Jefferson-Signed Act Allowing Maryland
to Collect Customs Duties

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act Declaring the Consent of Congress to a Certain Act of the State of Maryland, February 9, 1791. Signed in print by George Washington as President, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President, and president of the Senate. [Philadelphia: Printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, 1791], 1 p., 10 x 14 ¾ in. Evans #23851.

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Unless granted permission by Congress, the Constitution forbade States from collecting duties on imports, exports, or vessel tonnage. This was consistent with Hamilton’s plan to fund the federal government. However, Congress regularly granted permission for individual states to levy imposts or duties to be used for the improvement of their harbors and waterways. These permissions were regularly renewed, sometimes for decades. Here, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson certifies a copy of the Congressional Act that was constitutionally required for individual states to levy tonnage duties.

Item #22686, $24,000

Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Congress for Compensating Court Officers, Jurors, and Witnesses

FIRST CONGRESS. [THOMAS JEFFERSON], Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act providing compensations for the officers of the Judicial Courts of the United States, and for Jurors and Witnesses, and for other purposes. New York, N.Y., March 3, 1791. Signed in type by George Washington as President, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President, and president of the Senate. 2 pp., 9 x 15 in.

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Under the new federal Constitution, the First Congress had the momentous job of creating the laws to govern the various branches of the new government, whether setting up the framework for executive departments such as Treasury and State, establishing its own rules and schedule, or, in this case, creating a federal court system. In its second session (January 4, 1790 through August 12, 1790) Congress passed the Crimes Act, which defined a plethora of federal crimes, punishments, and court procedures. Here in the third session, the Congress provides a schedule of compensation for officers and jurors, as well as a process for scheduling and meeting places for the various federal district courts around the new nation.

Item #23804, $19,000

Aaron Burr Manages his New York City Law Office From Albany

AARON BURR, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ireson. Albany, N.Y., July 20, 1791. 3 pp., folio, with integral address leaf to Ireson “at A Burr’s.”

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In July 1791, Burr was serving as New York State commissioner of Revolutionary claims and as freshman U.S. Senator, while also practicing law. Here, the future presidential candidate instructs the clerk keeping his New York office on everything from entering pleas, to sending case paperwork, to ordering vials of an eye moisturizer and books analyzing the French Revolution, to correspondence.

Item #21480.04, $1,900

Light Horse Harry Lee Asks Hamilton for a Favor

HENRY LEE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, August 12, 1791, Alexandria, Virginia. 1 p.

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Item #24645.06, $2,000

The Bill of Rights – and Ratification

[BILL OF RIGHTS], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, March 14, 1792. Boston, Mass.: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp., 10½ x 16½ in.

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This issue contains twelve proposed Constitutional amendments that Congress sent to the states for ratification. Following Virginia’s vote in December 1791, the required number of states had passed ten of the twelve amendments. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson sent a circular to the governors of the states including the articles that had been ratified, which became the Bill of Rights, as well as the two proposed amendments that had not been ratified. The fate of the remaining two amendments was still in question, as the action of the Massachusetts legislature in 1790 had not been transmitted to Jefferson.

Item #25046, $6,500

Senator Burr’s Not-So-Impartial Opinion on the 1792 NY Gubernatorial Election

AARON BURR, Pamphlet. An Impartial Statement of the Controversy, Respecting the Decision of the Late Committee of Canvassers. Containing, the Opinions of Edmund Randolph, Esq. Attorney General of the United States, and Several Other Eminent Law Characters. New York: Thomas Greenleaf, 1792. 46 pp. [2 blank] With the elegant ownership signature of “John McKesson, 1792,” Clerk of the 16th New York State Legislature (1792–1793).

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Item #23406, $2,800

Genêt Offers a Rather Inadequate Explanation of the Citizen Genêt Affair

EDMOND-CHARLES GENÊT, Autograph Letter Signed in French, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, July 9, 1793, Philadelphia. 2 pp., 8 x 13¼ in.

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Item #24762, $3,500

Robert Morris Promissory Note,
Used As Evidence In His Bankruptcy Trial

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Document Signed, December 12, 1794. 1 p., 7⅛ x 3¾ in.

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Financier of the Revolution forced into bankruptcy court: “Sixty days after date, I promise to pay unto Mr. Mathias Kurlin Junr or Order Thirteen Hundred & forty six Dolls & Sixty Seven Cents for value recd.”

Item #20892, $2,800

President Washington Addresses Congress and Other Groups on Issues Ranging from Freedom of Religion to Democratic Governance

AMERICAN JUDAICA. GEORGE WASHINGTON, Book. A Collection of the Speeches of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress, At the Opening of Every Session, with Their Answers. Also, the Addresses to the President, with His Answers, From the Time of His Election: With An Appendix, Containing the Circular Letter of General Washington to the Governors of the Several States, and His Farewell Orders, to the Armies of America, and the Answer, FIRST EDITION. Boston: Manning and Loring, 1796. 8vo., 4¼ x 7 in. 282 pp. Foxed. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, scuffed, rebacked.

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This remarkable collection of speeches and letters by President George Washington is notable for including all of his annual messages to Congress (the forerunner of modern state-of-the-union addresses), including his first inaugural, and the response of Congress to each. It also includes letters from religious groups, state legislatures, municipal organizations, and a variety of other societies to the President and his response. Finally, it includes Washington’s letter of resignation as commander in chief of the armies of the United States and his farewell orders to the armies, both from late 1783.

Because it includes addresses from the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, and from the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond, along with Washington’s responses, and was “published according to Act of Congress,” it is the first official publication of the United States government relating to American Jews.

Historic subscriber list at front, with Revolutionary War names of note, including Samuel Adams, General Henry Knox, and a large group of Harvard University tutors and students.

Item #24711, $12,000

Alexander Hamilton’s Autograph Legal Notes Representing a Widow in Mamaroneck, NY Appealing Her Case Against a Conflicted Trustee of Her Husband’s Estate

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript, seven points on one page with Hamilton’s additional citations on verso, n.p., n.d., but early in 1796, relating to Peter Jay Munro et al, appellants v. Peter Allaire. 1 p. plus additional Autograph notes on verso.

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Mary Palmer had lost a case against a trustee of her husband’s estate who sought to buy her interest in the estate. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston ruled against her. Hamilton handled the winning appeal. The decision found that a trustee with power over the estate could never be a purchaser, a principle “founded in indispensable necessity, to prevent that great inlet of fraud, and those dangerous consequences which would ensue” if trustees were allowed to pursue their own interests perhaps at the expense of the estate.

Item #24622, ON HOLD

A Legal Document Signed by Hamilton’s Second in His Fatal Duel

NATHANIEL PENDLETON, Manuscript Document Signed as Federal Judge, District of Georgia. Deposition of Hannah Miller, March 14, 1796, St. Marys, Georgia.

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This affidavit is from a federal court case that federal District Judge Nathaniel Pendleton heard in Georgia.

Item #24398, $2,000

Answering Hamilton’s Question on Naturalization and Immigrant Rights in Maryland

WILLIAM TILGHMAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, March 19, 1797, 2 pp.

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“I have carefully reexamined the laws of Maryland, since the receipt of your favor of the 15th inst. & cannot find that a single Justice of the Peace, ever had authority since the revolution, to naturalize & grant a certificate of it.”

Item #24645.12, $2,500

Attacking Congressman Jailed
for Violating Alien and Sedition Act:
“the in-famous Lyon... we are in an age of excentricity”

ELISHA BOUDINOT, Autograph Letter Signed, to Governor Isaac Tichenor. “New Ark,” N.J. February 12, 1799. 1 p. With integral address leaf (half missing).

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Boudinot discredits Vermont Congressman Matthew Lyon, the first politician to be jailed for criticizing the president under the terms of the Sedition Act of 1798. I am sorry that your state have so disgraced themselves by sending again as their Representative the in-famous Lyon – but, we are in an age of excentricity! May we weather the storm! To the chagrin of John Adams and the Federalists, Lyons was re-elected while in jail.

Item #21480.06, $1,800

A Frustrated Former Officer Pushes Hamilton Too Far

CALEB GIBBS, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 30, 1799. 2½ pp.

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Item #24645.16, $1,500

Hamilton Fires Back: The Infamous Reynolds Pamphlet

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Pamphlet. Observations on Certain Documents Contained in “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in Which the Charge of Speculation Against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself. Philadelphia: [William Duane], “Pro Bono Publico,” 1800. 37 pp. plus appendix (58 pp.). Leaves a2-a4 (pages 3-8) duplicated. In late 19th-century three-quarter morocco and marbled paper boards, spine gilt. Binding rubbed at extremities. Title page lightly foxed. 5 x 8¼ in.

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“The charge against me is a connection with one James Reynolds for purposes of improper pecuniary speculation. My real crime is an amorous connection with his wife, for a considerable time with his privity and connivance, if not originally brought on by a combination of the husband and wife with the design to extort money from me.”

Item #24260, $13,500

Thomas Paine: “Contentment”

THOMAS PAINE, Autograph Poem Signed “T.P.,” to Mrs. Barlow. [c. 1798-1799]. 2 pp., 7¼ x 9⅜ in.

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“This prayer is Common Sense./ Let others choose another plan,/ I mean no fault to find,/ The true Theology of Man/ Is happiness of Mind. T.P.”

The original manuscript of a poem by the great Revolutionary pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, written to Mrs. Joel Barlow, the wife of a famed American poet. In the poem, Paine explains his ideas on happiness and love and makes direct references to America and his most famous work, Common Sense. The poem, entitled “Contentment or, If You Please, Confession,” was written in response to a comment by Mrs. Barlow (the Barlows were living in Paris at the time). Turning away from what he calls “the superstition of scripture Religion,” Paine proposes a new religion—“happiness of mind.”

Item #21491.99, $100,000

Hamilton Asks His College Roommate and Two Other Good Friends to Pay Their Share of Surveying Expenses for a Speculative Joint New York State Land Investment

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Endorsement Signed, below Arthur Breese, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 13, [1801?], 2 pp.

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Item #24642, $13,500
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