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Want of Chief Justice’s Salary Just One Example of Maryland’s Deep State Debt

ROBERT HANSON HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Walter Stone, March 12, 1788. 2 pp.

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Robert Harrison attempts to find a way to get his salary for November 1787 through January 1788 by offering notes on the state treasurer to various merchants.

Item #22053, $450

Aaron Burr, “much in want” of Money, Does Not Want to Release his Judgment

AARON BURR, Autograph Letter Signed to Colonel John Robert, Haverstraw, December 5, 1788. Two pages with integral autograph address leaf, with the integral leaf inlaid onto a backing sheet, 7¼ x 8½ in.

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A revealing letter already showing Burr’s tenacious business mind and perhaps foreshadowing his future path in politics and financial struggles.

Item #24050.42, $1,100

Declaration Signer Robert Treat Paine Prosecutes Theft in Boston

ROBERT TREAT PAINE, Autograph Document Signed, Boston, September 7, 1789. 1 p., 6 x 7 in.

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“since the dismission of the Grand Jury… James Ferrel resident at said Boston Mariner… with force and arms feloniously did break up and enter a certain vessel viz a ship called the Elizabeth in the Possession and under the Care of Francis Wenham Master of the same and one Sattin figured Wastcoat of the value of three pounds…”

Item #24332.02, $1,250

N.J. Congressman Praises Andrew Jackson After His 1824 Presidential Election Loss in the House of Representatives

GEORGE HOLCOMBE, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Imlay, February 10, 1825. 1 p., 7⅞ x 9 ¾ in.

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The great struggle is over…. no one, friend nor foe, expected a defeat, so sudden & signal. But we must submit like good citizens; I hope for better & brighter times. The Genl bears his disappointment, as he always bore his victories, like—a hero.

Congressman George Holcombe, a loyal Jacksonian, bemoans the loss of the election. New Jersey had given its one vote in the House of Representatives election to Jackson.

Item #24286.01, $750

Traitor General James Wilkinson re Intercepted Letters, Praises American Reaction to the XYZ Affair

JAMES WILKINSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Anthony Walton White, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 2, 1798. 1 p., 7¾ x 12½ in.

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I have had many Letters intercepted, in search for my politics, so much the better, yet I think it might be worthy Enquiry, to know the fate of yours & Mr. Bootes…

The french are at length unmasqued, & stand confessed a band of freebooters, unequaled among civilized nations. The Conduct of our Envoys has been noble, that of our President decisive.

Wilkinson was undoubtedly in the pay of the Spanish, but somehow managed to retain the trust of each president from Washington to Madison. He was acquitted by several public inquiries and courts martial despite his involvement in the Burr conspiracy and other intrigues. A month after this letter, Wilkinson left Pittsburgh. Going downriver, he stayed Fort Massac in July and August. In August 1799, Major General Alexander Hamilton ordered Wilkinson to establish a base to seize the lower Mississippi Valley and New Orleans if the Quasi-War turned into open war with France or its ally Spain; luckily it did not.

Item #24489, $1,750

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

Jefferson’s Autograph Notes Explaining Napier’s Rule on Spherical Triangles, a Branch of Geometry Crucial to Astronomy, Geodesy, Navigation, & Architecture

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Manuscript. Notes on Napier’s Theorem. [Monticello, Va.], [ca. March 18, 1814].

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John Napier, who is also credited with inventing logarithms and pioneering the use of the decimal point, first published his rule in 1614. While spherical trigonometry was the foundation for many scientific pursuits including astronomy, celestial navigation, geodesy (the measurement and mathematical representation of the Earth), architecture, and other disciplines, Napier’s Theorum remained largely unknown in America because of its complexity. Since it was so important to his own scholarly pursuits, Jefferson, the Sage of Monticello, was the perfect person to school a professor friend on this important, but complicated mathematical formula.

For instance, a navigator’s distance and position can be determined by “solving” spherical triangles with latitude and longitude lines—essentially very large triangles laid out on a curved surface. Astronomers apply similar principles; stargazers imagine the sky to be a vast dome of stars, with triangles laid out on curved (in this case concave) surface. The distance of stars can be calculated by the viewer, who is considered to be standing at the center (the Earth) and looking up at stars and planets as if they were hung on the inside surface of the sphere. In architecture, spherical triangles fill the corner spaces between a dome that sits on foursquare arches—called a dome on pendentives.

Item #23358, $35,000

All in the Family – Alexander Hamilton Helps Manage his Brother-in-Law’s American Finances, and Coordinates Delivery of a Package that his Sister-in-Law (Angelica) Sent from Paris to his Wife (Eliza) and His Mother-in-law

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Letter Signed in full “Alexander Hamilton,” to John Chaloner, New York, August 14, 1784. Sent copy (The Hamilton Papers at the Library of Congress has Hamilton’s retained draft). 2 pp., 8x 13 in.

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Just months after founding the Bank of New York, Hamilton writes to Philadelphia merchant John Chaloner regarding financial transactions including the purchase by John Church of 25 shares of Bank stock. Hamilton also checks on a package sent to Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth from her sister Angelica Church, then in Paris.

Item #24857, $9,000

Hamilton Receives Money From Robert Troup, His Old Columbia College Roommate, Who Was Then Helping Hamilton Publish the Federalist Papers

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Document Signed, a receipt of £89 from Robert Troup, January 2, 1788. 1 p., 2⅜ x 7½ in.

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Item #24838, $9,500

Rare same day broadside of John Adams’ Fourth State of the Union Address: Opening Washington D.C. as the Nation’s Capital

[JOHN ADAMS], Broadside, Supplement to the National Intelligencer. [Washington: Samuel Harrison Smith, November 22, 1800].

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Adams’ historic fourth Annual Message to Congress—now known as the State of the Union Address—announces the establishment of the District of Columbia as the nation’s capital. The second President, who had just been defeated for re-election, optimistically discusses unprecedented economic growth, considers the recently consummated treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia, and focuses on the need for expanded naval forces and coastal fortifications, which he believes to be necessary given the Quasi-War with France.

A rare broadside extra edition: no institutional copies are listed in OCLC, although it is possible they exist in uncatalogued runs. The National Intelligencer, then in its second month in print, had moved to Washington at the behest of President-elect Thomas Jefferson.

Item #30028.06, $8,500

Celebrating LaFayette’s Visit in Music

[MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE], CHRISTOPHER MEINEKE, Printed Sheet Music. “General Lafayette’s Grand March and Quickstep,” Baltimore: John Cole, ca. 1824. 3 pp.

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When General Lafayette made a grand tour of the United States in 1824 and 1825, near the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, he visited Baltimore seven times. On one of those visits, he likely heard this march written by a local composer and church organist.

Item #23905.02, $375

Aaron Burr Resells 20 Lots in Greenwich Village After Initial Buyer Couldn’t Pay Mortgage to Burr’s Manhattan
Company – the Predecessor of JP Morgan Chase

AARON BURR, Manuscript Document Signed, November 1, 1803, Deed to David Gelston for twenty lots in New York City. 4 pp, 9¾ x 16 in.

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Item #24022.088, $3,750

Hamilton Supports Anyone but Jefferson to Replace Washington as President

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Draft Autograph Letter, on George Washington’s declining a third term, and the importance of Jefferson not being president, c. November 8, 1796. Heavily marked and edited draft. Possibly to Jeremiah Wadsworth. 2 pp., 8 x 13 in.

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“it is far less important, who of many men that may be named shall be the person, than that it shall not be Jefferson.”

Item #24639,

John Adams Reacts to the “Reynolds Pamphlet”:
“Can talents atone for such turpitude? Can wisdom reside with such Gullibility?”

JOHN ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Samuel B. Malcom. September 17, 1797. Quincy, Mass. 2 pp. 8 x 9¾ in.

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“Mr Locke says the world has all sorts of men. All degrees of human wisdom are mixed with all degrees of human Folly. To me, and I believe, to you, this world would be a Region of Torment, if such a Recollection existed in our memories.”

Item #24380,

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,

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

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.

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“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,

Aaron Burr in Debt to Manhattan Company Bank He Founded

AARON BURR, Manuscript Document (not Burr’s hand, but an original written at the time). Account of Debts to the Manhattan Company, ca. July 20, 1802. 2 pp. 8 x 13 in.

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Aaron Burr founded the Manhattan Company in 1799, purportedly to bring clean water to Manhattan to combat a yellow fever epidemic, though only 5% of its capital was used for that purpose. Burr included in its charter a clause allowing surplus capital to be used for banking operations; 95% of the $2,000,000 raised was employed competing with the Bank of New York (founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784) and the N.Y. branch of the Bank of the United States.

Although Burr earned large fees from his law practice, he spent lavishly, and debt negotiations took much of his time. Between 1799 and 1802, Burr borrowed $61,440 from the Manhattan Company. (In December 1800, Alexander Hamilton wrote that Burr, then the Vice President-elect, “is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country.”) This 1802 summary shows Burr’s total debt to the Company of $64,908.63. Against this, Burr had assigned as security nine mortgages and a promissory note of $5,500 - still $7,000 less than the debt.

Item #24702, $2,750

Future President Van Buren Recommends a Man he Doesn’t Know to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun

MARTIN VAN BUREN, Autograph Letter Signed, August 1, 1821, 1 p.

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Van Buren had served as Attorney General of New York from 1815 to 1819. His successor Samuel A. Talcott (1789-1836) asked the recently elected Senator from New York for a recommendation for an uncle of his wife. In response to Talcott’s request, Van Buren penned this letter to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun.

Item #23995.02, $750

Duel Challenge

CYRENUS FRENCH, Autograph Letter Signed. Grafton, 2 January 1790, to Col. Luke Drury, challenge to a duel for reconciliation of a disagreement between the two. Having been “denyed the Priviledge of Mutual conversation with you,” (and if they can not talk it over at a publick or private house), then “I am ready to meet you upon a Level – & axcept of any Equal Chance for satisfaction that you may propose – for I had rather finish a Quarrel than Live in Continuation…” Small hole in center from wax seal, causing loss of 5 letters.

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Item #20639.27, $450
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