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John Quincy Adams Scathing Anti-Masonic Letter After the Murder of a Prominent Anti-Mason Who Threatened to Reveal their Secrets

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed as Congressman, to Stephen Bates. Washington, D.C., April 1, 1833. 3 pp. 8 x 9¾ in.

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“To all members of the Masonic fraternity, who entered it before the murder of Morgan I would extend the most liberal Toleration. Most of them took the Oaths without reflecting upon what they imported….Now the case is otherwise. How they can now take or administer the cutthroat Oath to keep Secret, what all the world knows, I cannot comprehend.”

In the wake of the murder of William Morgan, a prominent anti-Mason who had threatened to reveal the society’s secrets, John Quincy Adams requested the return of an old letter. Considering the political climate, Adams thought the letter would reflect poorly on its now-deceased recipient, as well as expose Adams, a prominent opponent of Freemasonry, to public criticism for having supported a man he knew to be of good character who also happened to be a Mason. The former president, now in Congress, goes on to explain his political support for anti-Masonry, one of the first third-party political movements in the United States.

Item #23716, $19,000

Henry Clay’s “In Defense of the American System”: Pre-Speech Outline and Final Manuscript Sent For Publication of One of the Most Important Economic and Political Speeches in American History

HENRY CLAY, This remarkable offering consists of two unique steps in the creation and dissemination of his speech: 1) Clay’s 21-page autograph manuscript notes, used to prepare for or deliver the speech in the Senate, plus 2) Clay’s 67-page autograph manuscript signed, preparing and delivering the text to the printer. With a copy of the published text, Speech of Henry Clay, in Defence of the American System, against the British Colonial System: with an Appendix, by Gales & Seaton, 1832, 43 pp., 2/2/1832.

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Henry Clay’s philosophy of developmental capitalism focused on achieving economic independence and national self-sufficiency, allowing the United States to grow internally and expand its reach into global markets. His “American System,” spelled out while Speaker of the House in 1824, included four main components: tariffs to protect and promote American industry; a national bank to control the money supply and foster commerce; federal subsidies for roads, canals, and other “internal improvements” to move products, services, and capital to markets; and high prices for public land to generate revenue for the federal government. His system was designed to balance states’ rights with national interests. Though the industrializing northeast, the predominantly agricultural west and the cotton-growing south had diverging interests, the plan supported the growth of the whole.

But in 1828, with low-priced imports driving northern industries out of business, revisions were called for. In theory aiming to protect American manufactures and forestall even higher future rates, the “Tariff of Abominations” was actually designed to fail. Southerners opposed to tariffs joined in writing the bill, adding heavy taxes on materials imported by New England. Despite the ploy’s success in galvanizing opposition, the bill surprisingly garnered just enough votes to pass, aided by members willing to sacrifice short term and sectional interests in favor of longer term national benefits. Knowing that it would be a political liability, President John Quincy Adams still signed it into law. Higher tariffs resulted in higher prices and reduced British exports to the U.S., which impacted Britain’s ability to pay for Southern cotton. And Westerners, though appreciating tariff support for agriculture, disliked the high price for public lands, believing that northeastern factory owners sought to prevent westward migration that would deplete the labor pool and force higher wages—and in turn keeping the region underrepresented in Congress. Both southerners and westerners distrusted the Bank of the United States, which they viewed as only a prop for northeastern manufacturers. 

Clay and his supporters sought to make adjustments while preserving the general policy, but the whole system came under increasing attack, especially in South Carolina.  In January 1832, Senator Robert Y. Hayne (1791-1839) gave a noted speech assaulting the Tariff of Abominations. Over three days in early February, Clay, having just been elected to the Senate, gave a masterful response that is widely regarded as one of the most important speeches in American history. (Later that same year, Hayne would chair the South Carolina Nullification Convention, a bold challenge to federal authority that was firmly opposed by Jackson.

Item #23830, PRICE ON REQUEST

Andrew Jackson’s Proclamation Responding to Nullification

ANDREW JACKSON, Broadside. The Proclamation of Andrew Jackson, President To the People of the United States. New York: E. Conrad, [1832]. Large broadside on silk, text in 5 columns, surrounded by an ornamental border. 20½ x 29 in. 1 p.

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Item #21418.99, $3,000

Andrew Jackson Denouncing South Carolina’s
Nullification Attempt

ANDREW JACKSON, Broadside. Proclamation, By Andrew Jackson, President of the United States. New York: Marsh & Harrison, [1832]. Large broadside on silk, text in 5 columns, surrounded by an ornamental border. 19 x 26 in. 1p.

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Item #22308, $2,950

Andrew Jackson’s First Inaugural Address in Maryland Newspaper

ANDREW JACKSON, Newspaper. Niles’ Weekly Register, March 7, 1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Hezekiah Niles & Son. 16 pp. (17-32), 6¼ x 9⅞ in.

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As long as our Government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of person and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending....

Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828 over incumbent John Quincy Adams marked an end to the “Era of Good Feelings,” as Jackson’s supporters became the Democratic Party, while those who supported Adams became the National Republicans. In March 1829, Jackson became the first president to take the oath of office on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. His inaugural address promised to respect the rights of states and the constitutional limits on the presidency.

Item #30001.60, $245

Anti-Jackson Broadside in Highly Contested
1828 Presidential Election

ANDREW JACKSON, Broadside. A Brief Account of Some of the Bloody Deeds of General Jackson, Philadelphia?, 1828. 15¼ x 21 in. 1 p.

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Item #21417.99, $7,500

Monroe Expands on his Doctrine in Last Annual Message

JAMES MONROE, Broadside. Albany Argus - Extra. Albany, N.Y.: Edward Croswell, December 10, 1824. 1 p., large folio broadside in 6 columns, text extracted from the National Journal, Extra, December 7, 1824. 21¾ x 15½ in.

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Apparently unrecorded, this broadside extra prints President Monroe’s last annual message to Congress, delivered on December 7, 1824. Covers relations with Great Britain, the slave trade, Indian relations, the comprehensive survey of possible road and canal sites in the interior, and an elaboration on the Monroe Doctrine, providing the rationale for exhorting European states not to interfere with the evolution of the newly independent Latin American states. “Separated as we are, from Europe by the great Atlantic Ocean, we can have no concern in the wars of the European governments, nor in the causes which produce them. The balance of power between them, into whichever scale it may turn, in its various vibrations, cannot affect us. It is the interest of the United States to preserve the most friendly relations with every power, and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to all. But in regard to our neighbours, our situation is different. It is impossible for the European governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us …

Item #30001.02, $2,750

Bound Volume of the Daily National Intelligencer
for the Year 1823

[DAILY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER], Bound Volume, Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., January 1 to December 31, 1823. Approximately 312 issues, including one 4 pp. The only issues lacking are December 2 and December 3 (the days pertaining to the Monroe Doctrine).

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Item #22153.02, $4,400

Newspaper Belonging to John Quincy Adams Reports Transfer of the Floridas to the U.S.

[JOHN QUINCY ADAMS], Newspaper. Western Monitor, August 7, 1821. Lexington, Kentucky: William Gibbes Hunt. Issue owned by John Quincy Adams; Report on Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. 4 pp, 14½ x 20½ in.

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This issue contains an inside page report of the U.S. taking possession of Florida from Spain under the terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. This issue was owned by, delivered to, and read by John Quincy Adams (the “Adams” in the Adams-Onís Treaty) when Adams was the Secretary of State in the James Monroe administration. “Hon. John Q. Adams” is written in contemporary brown iron gall ink in the top blank margin on the front page, indicating that this issued was delivered to Adams while he was serving as Secretary of State.

Item #23822, $3,500

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, $29,000

James Monroe’s State of the Union Address

[JAMES MONROE], Newspaper. American Mercury, Hartford, Ct., December 9, 1817, 4 pp., 13 x 19½ in. With the State of the Union Address in full on page 2.

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Monroe enters office in a time of peace and prosperity well deserving of its moniker, the Era of Good Feelings. Still, the president outlines a plan for the future in his first message to Congress.

Item #30001.04, $950

Future President, General William Henry Harrison, Successfully Defends Himself Against Graft Charges

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed as Congressman, to Peter Hagner. Northbend, [Ohio], September 18, 1816. 3 pp, 7½ x 12½ in., On two conjoined sheets.

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During a Congressional inquiry that he requested to clear his name, Harrison answers criticism regarding an incident during his command of the Northwestern Army during the War of 1812. Here, the future president provides lengthy details to the Department of War about “supplying the troops at Detroit under orders given by General Cass & Colo Butler” in order “to supply the neglect of the contractor in furnishing the troops then.”

Item #23213.03, $15,000

James Madison’s Second Inaugural Address,
in a Rare New York Irish Newspaper

[JAMES MADISON], Newspaper. The Shamrock, or, Hibernian Chronicle, New York, N.Y., March 13, 1813. Madison’s second inaugural address begins on p. 2 and concludes on p. 3. 4 pp., 12 x 19 in.

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On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty.”

Item #30001.01, $1,000

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, $10,000

James Monroe & Congress Support the Independence Movements of Spain’s American Colonies

[SOUTH AMERICA]. JAMES MONROE, Pamphlet. “Report (in Part) of the Committee on so Much of the President’s Message as Relates to the Spanish American colonies / December 10th, 1811. Read, and referred to the committee of the whole on the state of the Union.” Washington, D.C.: Printed by R. C. Weightman: 1811. 4 pp.

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[We] behold with friendly interest, the establishment of independent sovereignties, by the Spanish provinces in America…”

Item #21298, $950

James Madison’s First Inaugural Address, Asserting Neutral Rights in Prelude to the War of 1812

JAMES MADISON, Newspaper. The Repertory, March 14, 1809. Boston, Massachusetts: John & Andrew W. Park. 4 pp., 13¼ x 20¼ in.

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Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality.

When President Thomas Jefferson followed George Washington’s example and declined to seek a third term, he selected James Madison as his successor. Reflecting challenges within his own party, Madison won the Presidency over fellow Democratic-Republican DeWitt Clinton, who was endorsed by some state Federalist parties, by a narrow margin.

Item #30001.61, $795

In His State of the Union Address, Thomas Jefferson Commends Lewis and Clark for Their Successful Explorations

THOMAS JEFFERSON. [LEWIS AND CLARK], Newspaper. Connecticut Courant. Hartford, Conn., December 10, 1806. 4 pp, 12½ x 20½ in.

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Item #22459, $2,000

Jefferson’s Attempted Seduction
of His Friend’s Wife - the Alleged Affair

[THOMAS JEFFERSON], Newspaper. Boston Gazette, July 18, 1805. 4 pp., 13½ x 20 in.

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A piece in the Boston Gazette criticizing a passage in the Richmond Enquirer, “a partisan paper of Mr. Jefferson” that defended his attempt to “seduce the wife of his friend.” They ask “has the spirit of party, then, so far subdued the sense of moral right in our country…to rescue a vile Letcher from the merited reproach.”

Item #30004.014, $1,000

Thomas Jefferson’s Tragic Loss Sparks Famous Reconciliation with John Adams

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to John W. Eppes, June 4, 1804, Washington D.C. 2 pp., 7¾ x 10 in.

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A remarkable, poignant letter from a crucial chapter in Jefferson’s life, his presidency, anticipating his famous reconciliation with his predecessor and longtime compatriot, Adams, but still holding one grudge. “He [John Adams] & myself have gone through so many scenes together…that I have never withdrawn my esteem, and I am happy that this letter gives an opportunity of expressing it to both of them. I shall do it with a frank declaration that one act of his life, & never but one, gave me personal displeasure, his midnight appointments. A respect for him will not permit me to ascribe that altogether to the influence of others, it will leave something for friendship to forgive.

Item #21161.99, $180,000

Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, Rare Printing on Silk

Thomas Jefferson, Broadside, The inaugural speech of Thomas Jefferson. Washington-City, March 4th, 1801 - this day, at XII o’clock, Thomas Jefferson, President Elect of the United States of America, took the oath of office required by the Constitution, in the Senate Chamber, in the presence of the Senate, the members of the House of Representatives, the public officers, and a large concourse of citizens. Previously to which, he delivered the following address.... [Boston]: From the Chronicle Press, by Adams & Rhoades, Court-Street. [March 19, 1801]. On silk. 16½ x 22½ in. 1 p.

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Jefferson’s most famous speech lays out his political program, but also makes a ringing call for patriotism beyond partisanship. It is considered to be one of the most important presidential speeches, and is widely quoted even today – by President Clinton, President Bush, and almost every other current political figure. Alluding to the recent controversial and acrimonious presidential election, Jefferson calls for a calming of partisan passions, and outlines “what I deem the essential principles of our government. . . . We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans; we are all federalists.

Item #21089.99, $28,000
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