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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

Shortly After the Beginning of the War of 1812,
Monroe Expresses his Opposition to Mob Violence

JAMES MONROE, Autograph Letter Signed as James Madison’s Secretary of State to an unidentified friend, Albemarle [his home], Virginia, August 5, 1812. 1 p.

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Item #21059.99, $6,500

Assailing the Pennsylvania “Board of Censors”
for Failing to Amend the Constitution

[PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION], Broadside. An Alarm. To the Freemen and Electors of Pennsylvania. [Philadelphia, Pa.], October 1, 1784. 1 p., 16½ x 21 in.

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Item #22886, $4,800

Iconic Pillars Illustration -- Celebrating Massachusetts’ Ratification and the Process of Erecting the “great federal superstructure”

[CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. Massachusetts Centinel, February 13, 1788 (Volume VIII, pp. 171-174). Boston: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp., 9⅝ x 14⅞ in.

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This newspaper is replete with Constitution-related content, including minutes from the debates of Massachusetts’ State Ratifying Convention – everything from discourse on standing armies to Fisher Ames’ hearkening back to 1775 with, “WE MUST UNITE OR DIE”; a poem to Washington on his birthday; a fictional dialogue, The Federal Anti-Federalist, Returned to His Neighbours; a rare example of one of Benjamin Russell’s famed ‘Pillars’ illustration series; and a great deal of reporting on the popular reception of the news of ratification, expressed in particular by an enormous parade and surrounding celebrations.

Item #24836, $4,750

Jefferson’s Religious Stance against Slavery

[Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia], The Massachusetts Centinel. August 29, 1789. Boston: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp.

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A Federal Era newspaper printing of Query XVIII from Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson’s key section on slavery.  Also George Washington’s Letter to the Philadelphia Convention of the Episcopal Church, Proposed Revisions to the Bill of Rights, &c.

Contains an extract from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.

Item #30027.30, $4,250

Gov. Harry Lee Requests All Virginia Slave Condemnation Cases for Clemency Review

HENRY “LIGHT HORSE” HARRY LEE, Printed Document Signed as Governor of Virginia, Circular Letter Richmond, January 25, 1794. 1 p., 6 ½ x 8 in.

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“Light Horse” Harry Lee was a Revolutionary War hero, governor of Virginia, and father to famous Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Here, he requests that county clerks fill positions of “Escheator,” persons overseeing land reverting to the state if there are no heirs, and adds that he would like the clerks to inform him of any cases of a slave condemned for crimes where the “person be considered as an object of mercy or not…”

Item #25033, $3,900

Robert Morris - Declaration Signer and Financier of the Revolution - is Drowning in Debt and Calls for Help

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Letter Signed with Initials, to [John Nicholson], November 21, 1794. 1 p.

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Facing ruin, Robert Morris desperately pleads with his partner John Nicholson to cover a debt resulting from speculating in the North American Land Company. Morris, who previously used his own funds to finance the American Revolutionary War, would suffer the indignity of imprisonment for debt between 1798 and 1801.

Item #23987, $3,750

Maryland Claims Stock in the Bank of England

TIMOTHY PICKERING, Letter Signed, as Secretary of State, to Rufus King, Minister Plenipotentiary in England; [Philadelphia], February 7, 1798. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

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Pickering encloses a copy of a letter (included) from Samuel Chase concerning the stock owned by the state of Maryland being held in the Bank of England and vigorously claiming their rights to the entire stock.

Item #20584, $3,750

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 Signed Note - Used as Evidence in His Bankruptcy Trial

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Document Signed. Philadelphia, July 17, 1795. 2 pp. 6 ½ x 4”.

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Two documents related to the business failures of Robert Morris and John Nicholson. The first is a partly printed promissory note signed and engrossed by Nicholson to Morris, and endorsed by Morris, later used as evidence in Morris’s bankruptcy trial. The note states, “Three years after date Promise to pay Robert Morris Esqr or order Eight Thousand – Dollars for Value Received.” The second document is Peter Lohra’s protest of Nicholson’s bad promissory note. The document has an embossed seal in the lower left corner and is tipped to a larger sheet. On the document’s verso is a note reading “Exhibited to us under the commission against Robert Morris, Philadelphia, 19th September 1801,” and signed by Joseph Hopkinson and Thomas Cumpston, commissioners appointed to oversee the proceedings after Morris had languished in prison for three years.

Item #21609, $3,500

Connecticut Governor Samuel Huntington Discusses a Survey of Connecticut’s Claims to the Ohio Valley with Roger Sherman’s Son Isaac

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Autograph Letter Signed as Governor, to Isaac Sherman. Norwich, Conn., March 28, 1787. 1 p., 7¼ x 11¾ in.

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Connecticut’s original land grant from 1662 ran theoretically ran coast to coast. Though the state gave up claims to Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley after the Revolution, in 1796, the Connecticut Land Company surveyed a tract south of Lake Erie and established Cleveland, Ohio. Connecticut finally relinquished its western lands in 1800—the last state to do so.

Item #23470, $3,250

The Deed to Horn’s Hook, Future Site of Carl Schurz Park

[RICHARD VARICK], Manuscript Document Signed by Adolph Waldron and Christina Waldron with Richard Varick signing as Recorder of Deeds and Adrian Kissam signing as witness. New York, N.Y., June 24, 1784. 4 pp., 17 x 22 in.

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This 1784 agreement settles the estate of William Waldron, selling 30 acres of land to Abraham Duryee in the Out Ward of New York City. This parcel, along with the neighboring parcel that held Gracie Mansion, official home of the Mayor of New York, would both become part of Carl Schurz Park in 1910.

Item #22625, ON HOLD

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

James Monroe and John Quincy Adams Signed Patent for Wheel to Secure Ropes and Chains Used in Machinery

JAMES MONROE and JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Document Signed by Madison as President and co-signed by Adams as Secretary of State, issued to James Cooper, Patent for a wheel to prevent ropes and chains from slipping when used for turning machinery. Washington, June 17, 1823. 1 p. 11½ x 14¾ in.

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Item #24025.05, $2,750

Madison, Monroe, Talleyrand and Jefferson’s “Crimes” and “back door pimps” in Negotiations to Buy Florida From Spain

KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER, Autograph Letter Signed, April 2, 1806. 4 pp.

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Randolphs charges agt. Jefferson are that he recommended one thing in his private message, which he counteracted by his ‘back door pimps’ and obtained 2 Millions of Dollars to give Talleyrand, to open the door with Spain for Negotiation //- Also, for having nominated Gen.l Wilkinson Governor of upper Louisiana - blending the military with the civil.

R[andolph]- remarked in a reply to B[idwell], that he considered the ‘half formed opinion, from the half bred Attorney, as not worthy an answer, unless it was to tell him, that he was like the rest of the political wood cocks, with which he associated, that had run their Bills in the mud, and therefore wished not to see, nor to be seen.’

Item #22274, $2,750

King George III Approves Appointments and Promotions for Senior Military Officers

GEORGE III, Document Signed “GR” [George Rex], Assignments of Senior Military Officers, ca. 1808. 1 p.

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Administering and protecting the far-flung British Empire, the British army was posted throughout the world. Having shrunk to a poorly administered force of some 40,000 men by 1793, the army grew rapidly during the period of the Napoleonic Wars with France, numbering more than 250,000 men in 1813. This list, approved by King George III, posts senior officers in Great Britain, the Caribbean Islands, Malta, and Canada. Many of these men had served in the American Revolutionary War as junior officers and gained promotion for their service there and in Egypt, India, the Netherlands, Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

Item #24659, $2,500

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.”A

Item #24645.12, $2,500

A Fatal Duel Set Up by N.C. Congressman & Later Republic of Texas’s Secretary of State

SAMUEL PRICE CARSON, Autograph Letter Signed. Daring Former North Carolina Congressmen Dr. Robert B. Vance to challenge him to a duel, September 12, 1827. 2 pp. Browned paper, stain on verso, some losses on the edges and minor tears, but unique.

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the malignant shafts of your disappointed ambition fell perfectly harmless at my feet. I am incapable of any revenge towards you & let me assure you that my chivalry would not permit me to avenge any rongs which you could offer… But if you are serious make good your bost—throw the gantlett upon nutrill ground....

Jacksonian Congressman Samuel P. Carson dares his recent opponent Dr. Robert B. Vance to challenge him to a duel. Carson had won Vance’s seat in 1825. In 1827, Vance tried to regain his old seat, in part by accusing Carson’s father of turning Tory during the Revolutionary War. Carson’s lopsided victory (by more than a two-to-one margin) apparently wasn’t enough. On November 5, 1827, the men met near Saluda Gap, perhaps just over the border into South Carolina, where dueling was legal until 1880. Vance withheld his shot. Carson did not. He seriously wounded Vance, who died the next day.

Item #24222, $2,500

Timothy Pickering on His Successful Negotiation of 1791 Treaty with the Five Nations, Unrealistically Hoping for Peace with other Western Native Americans

TIMOTHY PICKERING, Autograph Letter Signed, likely to Samuel Hodgdon. August 25, 1791. Philadelphia, PA. 2 pp. 8 x 9¼ in.

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from them no danger is to be apprehended: they are firmly resolved on peace…. I hope and trust the western campaign will succeed without bloodshed. Scott’s expedition was extremely fortunate; and must when combined with the consideration of the power of the main army, impel the hostile Indians if not to make, yet to accept of offers of peace...

Item #24376, $2,500

James Madison Signed Presidential Patent
for Pendulum Pumps

JAMES MADISON, Document Signed as President, issued to Atkinson Farra, Patent for a double-bored pendulum pump. Washington, December 5, 1809. Co-signed by Robert Smith as Secretary of State. 1 p plus inventor’s 2 pp. description affixed by thin silk ribbon. 11½ x 14½ in.

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President James Madison issued this patent to Atkinson Farra of Pennsylvania. This double-bored wooden pump was operated by a pendulum handle, which caused the “suckers in each cylinder to play alternately; by operation of which the water flows without intermission.” Farra adds, “If it be necessary (as it may be in ships) to increase the force this may be done by adding another handle to be worked on the opposite side; it is also suggested by the inventor that the rods may be worked by mechanisms similar to a Clock.”

Item #24025.03, $2,500
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