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President Washington Unique Signed Appointment of First Surveyor General

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Manuscript Document Signed as President. Appointing Simeon De Witt Surveyor General of the United States. Philadelphia, Pa., May 30, 1796. 1 p., 14 x 10½ in. With wax seal of the United States.

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Simeon De Witt, scion of the famous Dutch New York political family, served as a surveyor in the Continental Army and Surveyor General of the State of New York from 1784 until his death in 1834. In 1796, Washington, himself an experienced surveyor, tapped De Witt to be the first U.S. Surveyor general under the Public Lands Act of 1796. Congress created the position to organize the Northwest Territory of the Ohio Valley and sell the land. Remarkably, though, De Witt declined Washington’s offer, and instead Brigadier General Rufus Putnam took the job.

Item #24241, $28,000

Daniel Webster Details a Duel Challenge by Senator John Randolph

DANIEL WEBSTER, Autograph Manuscript. Ca. 1826-1831. 2 pp.

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Randolph twice challenged the venerable Congressmen Daniel Webster. The first was in 1816, when Randolph felt scorned by Webster’s speech in a House debate over sugar duty. The second, relating to this document, was in 1825, after Randolph had seethed for eight months over Webster denying William H. Crawford “the fullest opportunity to answer the charges against him” during the election of 1824. (Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2nd Session, 56-58). In the second challenge, Senator Thomas Hart Benton delivered Randolph’s dare to Webster while the House was in session.

Mutual friends intervened on both challenges and attempted to resolve the matters as quietly as possible. In the end, Randolph withdrew both challenges. Historians believe that Benton played an important role in resolving the second conflict. In 1826, after insulting Secretary of State Henry Clay on the Senate Floor, Randolph accepted Clay’s challenge, which subsequently took place but concluded with a handshake.

The date of this manuscript must be 1826 or later as it refers to “then Senator Lloyd.” It doesn’t mention Lloyd’s death in 1831.

Item #24221, $15,000

Former President and Future Confederate Supporter John Tyler Forcefully Defends the Fugitive Slave Act and the “Southern Cause,” Attacks the NY Press, and Plays up His Own Service in the War of 1812

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed and Autograph Manuscript Signed several times in the third person. Sent to S. Cunningham, from Sherwood Forest, October 12, 1850, 1 page, 9⅜ x 7¼ in. on blue paper marked “Private,” being the cover letter for the manuscript, written for anonymous publication: “The fugitive slave bill and Commissioner Gardiner,” [ca. October 12, 1850], 2 pages, 9⅜ x 7⅞ in. on blue paper.

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In the first fugitive slave law case, which came before his cousin Commissioner Gardiner: “The fugitive was promptly dealt by and restored to his owner in Baltimore. Mr. Gardiner has proven himself to be a faithful public servant, an honest man, and a Patriot. And yet, by a certain class of Editors in New York he is sneered at…”

Tyler criticizes two NY editors in particular: Now what jackasses are Mssrs Herricks and Ropes… These would-be somethingarians [a colloquialism, usually used as an insult] in the first place, deem it a matter of censure in a judge, to execute the law—and, in the next they show their ignorance… by ascribing to Mr. Tyler under their witty soubriquet of Captain (a title he is well content to wear since he enjoyed it during the war of 1812 with Great Britain)…”

Item #24043, $24,000

Manuscript Eulogy to George Washington Penned by R.I. Senator Foster During Senate Session

[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. THEODORE FOSTER, Newspaper. United States Chronicle, Providence, Rhode Island, January 23, 1800. 4 pp., 11½ x 17¾ in. Inscribed: Hon. Theodore Foster, Senator from R.I / Senate Chamber. With autograph manuscript verses by Foster, [Philadelphia, late January 1800].

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Issued five weeks after Washington’s death, this newspaper includes the handwritten reflections of a sitting Senator on the loss of the nation’s first President. It is clear from his words that the people of the nation he helped create—and individual Senators—are still struggling with Washington’s death.

Item #24369, $18,000

A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point

[BLOCK ISLAND SOUND], Manuscript Map. “Draft of the Sound.” Parts of Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Circa 1798-1802. 1 p., 13½ x 13 in. With George Washington signed document described below.

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Based on Osgood Carleton’s 1798 Chart from New York to Timber Island including Nantucket shoals, our map adds local nautical knowledge that would have been critical to the safety of lives and cargoes at the time. Noting uncharted shipwrecks off Fisher’s Island, three unmarked reefs, and two small islands on the course from Newport, Rhode Island, to New London, Connecticut, our map is a purposeful and unique document rather than a simple contemporary copy, which would still be rare.

Item #23759.01-.02, $98,000

Eight Litchfield Connecticut Men Support the War of 1812

[WAR OF 1812], Document Signed. Litchfield County, Conn. Ca. 1813-1815. [docketed “Support of the War 1812”], 1p.

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Item #24163, $1,750

Unusual Oyster Bay NY Slave Manumission

[SLAVERY], Manuscript Document Signed. New York, N.Y., May 21, 1813. 1 p., 8 x 9½ in.

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Samuel Young and Zebulon Frost, “Overseers of the Poor of Oysterbay” certify that a slave named Lizzie is freed.

Item #23621, ON HOLD

Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Congress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete the Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to finish the Light-House, on Portland-Head, in the District of Maine. 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. 1p. 9¾ x 15¼ in. Evans #22955.

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Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson signs an act of the First Congress authorizing Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to complete construction of a lighthouse in Maine’s Portland Harbor. The $1,500 in funds allocated for the work, one of the earliest federal construction projects, was to be appropriated from duties paid on imports and tonnage.

The “Portland Head Light” is the oldest lighthouse in Maine and the first to be constructed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. It has been memorialized in countless photographs and paintings, most notably a series of 1920s watercolors by Edward Hopper. It is now a museum, owned and operated by the town of Cape Elizabeth. It is considered to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States.

Item #23980, $22,500

A History of Harvard University; North Carolina Debates Ratifying the Constitution; and a List of Newly-Minted U.S. Senators

[CONSTITUTION], Magazine. The Columbian Magazine, Philadelphia, Pa., December, 1788. 52 pp., 5 x 8 in. Lacking plates.

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Item #30007.048, $275

James Monroe Signed Missouri Territory Land Grant to War of 1812 Veteran

JAMES MONROE, Partly Printed Document Signed as President. Land grant to Stephen Taylor, countersigned by Josiah Meigs as Commissioner of the General Land Office. Washington, D.C., March 3, 1819, 1 p., 13 x 8½ in. On vellum. Verso with Stephen Taylor Manuscript Document Signed transferring the land to William Turner. April 22, 1819. With a collection of letters to William and Peter Turner of Newport, R.I., from 1821, 1840 and 1859, re. subsequent sales and payment on this land.

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Stephen Taylor is granted 160 acres for his service in the War of 1812.  With a highly decorative engraved masthead, “Militi Forti Et Fideli,” of a seated Columbia handing a deed to a soldier and his young son.

Item #23816, $1,250

Reporting the Infamous XYZ Affair

[JOHN ADAMS], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel. Boston, Mass., April 14, 1798. 4 pp., 12¼ x 20 in.

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The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the administration of John Adams, involving the United States and Republican France. Its name derives from the substitution of the letters X, Y, and Z for the names of French diplomats in documents released by the Adams administration. The three American diplomats sent to France were approached through informal channels by agents of the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin. Although such demands were not uncommon in European diplomacy of the time, the Americans were offended by them, and eventually left France without ever engaging in formal negotiations. When John Adams released the documents regarding the affair, it led to strong anti-French sentiment in the United States, and led to the “Quasi-War,” a largely undeclared naval war between the United States and France.

With additional articles describing the passage of an act similar to the infamous Stamp Act, an article on President Adams’ income, and an advertisement for a play in honor of Thomas Paine.

Item #30000.43, $750

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

William Henry Harrison as Presidential Candidate Determined “to Make no Pledges” - While Affirming His Anti-Masonic Position

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ayres. Cincinnati, Ohio, November 25, 1835. 4 pp., 7½ x 12 in.

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“I set out with a determination to make no pledges – If the Anti Masons rely upon my openly avowed opinions against Masonry one would suppose that they ought to be satisfied with the certainty of their having a full proportion of my confidences.”

Future U.S. President William Henry Harrison demonstrates exceptional political acumen by revealing his credo not to make pledges, and is keenly aware that his actions to get nominated may be used against him in the actual campaign. Harrison also resents that Anti-Masonic leader Thaddeus Stevens, is “determined to support [Daniel] Webster under any circumstances or any person but any old Jeffersonian Democrat like myself.

Item #22520.99, $24,000

John Adams Supporting Neutrality

JOHN ADAMS, Letter Signed to George Alexander Otis. Amsterdam, “Montezillo,” April 22, 1820. 2 pp.

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“this country is as deeply interested in the investigation of the present state of society in Europe, as any nation of Europe is, and the general aphorism to be deduced … is, that perpetual neutrality in all the wars of Europe, a total abstraction from all their quarrels, is not only a moral and religious duty but their highest and soundest political interest.... Peace and friendship with all, perplexing political alliances with none, has been one of my fundamental maxims...”

John Adams effusively thanks George Alexander Otis for a translation of Archbishop de Pradt’s Europe after the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1820). The Congress brought defeated France back into the community of European nations and helped create a stability that would last for nearly a century, until World War I.

Item #23798, $35,000

War of 1812 Hero, Early New Mexico Explorer, and the “First American Buried in California Soil”

SYLVESTER PATTIE, Document Signed. Promissory Note with Pattie signing as witness. No place, October 20, 1800. 1 p., 7¾ x 2¾ Docketed on the verso and signed by Boyd with his mark.

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Item #23393, $2,250

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

Rare Paul Revere-Signed “Rising States Lodge” Masonic Certificate

PAUL REVERE, Printed Document Signed. Boston, Mass., September 3, 1800. 1 p., Countersigned by John Bray, Enoch Baldwin and Joseph Clark (secretary). On vellum, with original red silk ribbon attached. 16 x 13, 31½ x 21½ in.

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Revolutionary Boston hero Paul Revere was a founding member of the Rising States Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. This Masonic initiation certificate for the Lodge, elaborately engraved by B. Hurd, (“Brother B. Hurd del.”), depicts an elaborate arched pediment supported by two columns, large Masonic symbols (crossed keys, sun, moon and stars with comet, crossed quills) and, in the center portion, an open coffin, drafting implements and two candleholders resting on a large altar. To the side are cherubs on pedestals, one holding an open book, the other a mallet.

Item #23700, $30,000

Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures

BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside, Drawn by Tyler and engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. 1 p., 23⅞ x 31 in., archivally framed to approx. 32 x 40 in.

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“In Congress, July 4th 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

Item #23683, $25,000

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

1790 Massachusetts Newspaper Discussing Nantucket Whalers

[NANTUCKET], Newspaper, The Columbian Centinel. Boston: Benjamin Russell, December 15, 1790. 4 pp.

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Item #30000.007, $450
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