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Pennsylvania

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A Revolutionary War Doctor Defends His Reputation, Pennsylvania War News, and Congress Takes a Huge Loan

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Packet or General Advertiser. John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pa., July 1, 1779. 4 pp., 10½ x 17, untrimmed.

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Item #21556.07, $850

William Penn Wanted For Treason

[WILLIAM PENN], Newspaper. The London Gazette, February 9, 1690, 2 pp., 6¼ x 11¼ in.

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Pennsylvania founder William Penn supported James II during the Glorious Revolution, James’s attempt to regain the English throne. When William and Mary ascended the throne, Penn was suspected of treason.

Item #30000.54, $900

Maryland Ratifies the Constitution, Suggests Amendments; and Pennsylvanians Speak Out Against the Slave Trade

[CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. Independent Gazetteer; or, The Chronicle of Freedom, Philadelphia, Pa., May 6, 1788. 4 pp., 9½ x 11½ in.

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The Maryland ratifying convention suggests some amendments along with their approval of the Constitution.

Item #30007.003, $950

January 1776 Pennsylvania Magazine, Edited by Thomas Paine, Including Much Revolutionary War Political and Military Content

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Pamphlet. Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. For January 1776. Philadelphia: R. Aitken, [February 7, 1776]. [9]-52 (44pp.), lacking first two leaves, incl. title, 5¼ x 8¼ in.

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Benedict Arnold’s bravery in the failed American attack on Canada; America’s chief medical officer Dr. Benjamin Church’s treason; an account of the burning of Norfolk, Virginia; anti-slavery piece written by Paine, etc.

Item #23750.03, $1,500

Benjamin Franklin Presents the Constitution
to the Pennsylvania State Legislature;
A Nantucket Indian Creation Myth

[CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser, September 21, 1787. John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pa., 4 pp., 12 x 18¾ in.

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Item #21449.18, $1,800

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

Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris Signs a Promissory Note

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially Printed Document Signed, Promissory Note, John Nicholson to John Greenleaf. Philadelphia, Pa., August 1, 1795.

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Morris signs a note involving his two partners in the doomed North American Land Company. Here, he orders John Nicholson to pay James Greenleaf $5,000 four years hence, in a move that no doubt contributed to Morris’s bankruptcy and imprisonment in 1798.

Item #23013.01, $2,850

Documenting Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris’s Financial Troubles

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially-Printed Document Signed. Promissory Note. Philadelphia, Pa., May 12, 1795. 1 p., 4 x 6¾ in. Endorsed on verso by Morris. Ink burn through the “R” and “b” in “Robt.” Left edge irregularly cut.

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Item #23148.01, $2,950

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

John Penn on the Final Year of the Mason-Dixon Line Survey

JOHN PENN, Autograph Letter Signed, as Governor. Black Point, June 17, 1767, to [Joseph Shippen]. 4 pp.

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Penn advises Joseph Shippen on how best to deal with the inordinate influx of Indian scouts arriving for the famous surveying expedition.  While on vacation, he directs the logistics of the survey party and foretells the survey’s running over budget.

Item #20734.99, $4,500

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

William Goddard Publishes One of the Earliest American Political Cartoons (1772)

[WILLIAM GODDARD], Newspaper. “Americanus” political cartoon in The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, September 19, 1772. Vol. 6, No. 36, pp. 145-148. Philadelphia: William Goddard. 4 pp., 9¾ x 16 in.

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This very early woodcut political cartoon lampoons loyalist “Americanus” (Joseph Galloway). The caption reads, “Americanus, heavy laden, with the 5 Mile Stone on his Back, trampling on the Goddess Liberty, the Bill of Rights, and Pennsylvania Charter, on his Way to Bucks County Electionbegging Relief from his Burthen.” In the woodcut itself, a devil whispers in Americanus’ ear: “Don’t flinch my Dear Galloway, I’ll support you.

Item #24805, $5,200

Congress Demands Pennsylvania Soldiers for a Final Assault on the British Army

[ARTHUR ST. CLAIR]. CHARLES THOMSON, Printed Document, Manuscript Order of the Continental Congress, to Arthur St. Clair, on levying troops in Pennsylvania to organize at Philadelphia, signed by Thomson as Secretary of Congress, September 19, 1781. 1 p., 5¼ x 7¼ in.

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As Washington’s gathered the Continental Army around Yorktown, Virginia, for a final, decisive battle against British forces, tactical planning continued for major cities and strategic points throughout America. The importance of victory and adequate defense weighed heavily on the Revolution’s military leaders. Alexander Hamilton, writing to his wife, Eliza, from his post in Annapolis on September 18, was concise: “I am going to do my duty. Our operations will be so conducted, as to economize the lives of men. Exert your fortitude and rely upon heaven.”[1]

Item #24011, $6,250

With His Colony Just Over a Year Old, William Penn Sells 500 Acres for Pennies an Acre

WILLIAM PENN, Manuscript Document Signed, to William Clark. [London], April 24, 1682. 1 p., 19 x 14 in. On vellum, with red wax signet seal attached to a vellum tab at bottom Countersigned by three witnesses on verso.

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Just 13 months after Pennsylvania was created, this indenture records a land transaction, where William Penn sold 500 acres in Pennsylvania to fellow Quaker William Clark(e) for 5 shillings. Clark became Provincial Councilor and Justice of the Peace in Sussex County (now Delaware). He lived in the area disputed by Lord Baltimore and Penn, and attempted to mediate the dispute between the two proprietors, to no avail.

Item #23407, $7,500

William Penn Appoints Customs Officer for Kent County to Enforce Navigation Acts

WILLIAM PENN, Manuscript Document Signed, Appointment for customs agent (with name left blank) for “the County of Kent, annexed to the Province of Pennsylvania” [now Delaware], Philadelphia, March 10, 1701. On vellum. 1 p., 16¾ x 9¼ in.

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As proprietor of Pennsylvania, including the later state of Delaware, Penn authorizes the appointment of a yet-unnamed customs agent for Kent county. Customs agents were an essential part of funding the British mercantile system. Due to the belief that there was a finite amount of money in the world, Britain sought to keep the benefits of trade within the Empire and minimize the export of gold and silver.

Item #23989.01, $9,000

The Laws of Pennsylvania for 1781-1785, Signed by
Clement Biddle, George Washington’s Commissary General at Valley Forge

CLEMENT BIDDLE, Signed Book. Laws Enacted in the Sixth [-Ninth] General Assembly of the Representatives of the Freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania... Vol. II. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers [and Thomas Bradford], 1782-1785. Folio. 254, [3] 256-270, [3], 272 362, 362-365, 362-368, [6], 372-399, [1], II, [1], 402-857, [1], iv, [1], 590-704, iii p Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1782-1785. First six sections printed by Hall & Sellers, remainder by Thomas Bradford. Approximately 706 pp.

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Item #22236, $9,500

The Annapolis Tea Party, in “Unite or Die” newspaper, with great Revolutionary content; Other news includes Russo-Turkish war treaty guaranteeing independence of Crimea

[ANNAPOLIS TEA PARTY], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, October 26, 1774 (No. 1664). Philadelphia: William and Thomas Bradford.

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There are no Whigs and Tories in America, yet there is a spirit of liberty; and this spirit is too powerful for the management of Governors and ministerial tools, who wish to enslave a free people…Let us try, cries a Minister, if none can be found under the specious cloak of religion. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Pope. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Devil. I have found it there, cries the French King. Then I will seek it there, cries the English Minister…” (p1/c3)

The excellent Revolutionary War content starts with the masthead, adopted from a famous design drawn by Benjamin Franklin during the French and Indian War. “Join, or Die,” first published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, urged unity amongst the British colonies. It had not been forgotten 20 years later during the prelude to the Revolutionary War. From July 27, 1774 to October 18, 1775, publisher William Bradford included this variant, “Unite or Die,” in his masthead of The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, this time urging unity against the British. This paper also announces the selection of John Hancock as President of Massachusetts’ Provincial Congress and publishes letters to and from Royal Governor Thomas Gage, and editorials. One comment summarizes all: “We hear express orders have been sent over to the Commander in Chief, to prevent the sitting of the American Congress at all events. [These orders will arrive too late.]

Item #24834, $12,500

William Penn to James Logan, Future President of Council of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Philadelphia, Chief Justice of PA Supreme Court, and Founder of the Library Company

WILLIAM PENN, Autograph Letter Signed to James Logan. n.p. [London?], June 27, 1706. 1 p., 6¼ x 7½ in. bifolium with integral address leaf with panel in Penn’s hand.

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Penn, writing from England, asks his trusted secretary in Philadelphia to assist Thomas Haywood regarding his lands and debts. Penn was in the midst of his own ongoing dispute about ownership of all of Pennsylvania, which had originated with the crowning of William and Mary in 1688, and trumped-up charges of treason due to Penn’s championing of religious freedom, which led to an opportunity for Penn’s manager to, in effect, embezzle the entire colony from him. (See below for more details). A month after Penn wrote this letter, Logan advises Penn to avoid ruin by selling the government “for a valuable consideration” as the only “probable method of clearing thy debts.” 

Penn did not heed Logan’s advice, and the court placed Penn in debtor’s prison from January 1707 to August 1708. Penn eventually settled the Ford claim with a payment of £7,600, and then began negotiations to sell the colony to the Crown. Unfortunately, a series of strokes from 1711 to 1713 interrupted his negotiations, and he died in poverty. His family (after its own dispute between step-sons) retained ownership of the colony of Pennsylvania until the American Revolution.

Item #23806, $14,000

“Oaths & Declarations”: William Penn, Jr. and Quakers
Sign Separate Declaration to Sit on Pennsylvania Council with Non-Quakers

WILLIAM PENN, JR, Manuscript Document Signed. N.p. [likely Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], n.d. [ca. February-September 1704]. 2 pp., on bifolium sheet. 320 x 198 mm. One page docketed on verso, “Oaths & Declarations / of Members of Council / Stenton.”

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Document signed by Pennsylvania’s political leaders during a stormy period in the province’s history, which saw chronic tensions between Quakers and non-Quakers, between the “lower counties” of Delaware and the rest of the province, and between the proprietor (William Penn) and the Assembly. All the same, the separate signatures on two sheets of paper attests to the landmark commitment of Penn to religious tolerance.

Item #21923, $18,000

Thomas Paine Transmits Act for Resolution
of the PA-VA Border

THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), Manuscript Document Signed, as Clerk of the General Assembly, [Philadelphia?], Pennsylvania, November 19, 1779. To Joseph Reed, as President of the Supreme Executive Council. 1 p.

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Paine, as Clerk of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, transmits a resolution to the state’s Supreme Executive Council [no longer enclosed- but about the boundary with Virginia] and requests that it be forwarded to the governor of that state. After years of wrangling, the two states had finally agreed that summer to settle their dispute by extending the Mason-Dixon line. 

Paine was involved in Pennsylvania politics for several years after his arrival in America in 1774 - he was associated with the men who drafted the state's new constitution in 1776, and Paine wrote a series of letters in local newspapers supporting the constitution.  In 1777 Paine was elected to the Committee of Correspondence of the Whig Society in Pennsylvania.  Needing other employment in order to supplement his income as a writer, he was appointed clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in November, 1779, shortly after resigning his position as secretary of foreign affairs for the Continental Congress. Any manuscript material from Thomas Paine, especially during the era of the American Revolution, is rare.

Item #21919, $25,000
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