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Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)
Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)

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Extremely Rare 1777 New York State Constitution - the first edition in any form - and the Establishment of Provisional Government

[NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTION], Pamphlet. [Fishkill, NY: Samuel Loudon, 1777]. Signed in print by President pro tempore Leonard Gansevoort. [3]-33 pp., 5⅝ x 8⅝ in. 23755.01
With: Pamphlet. An Ordinance of the Convention of the State of New-York, For organizing and establishing the [Gover]nment, Agreed to by the Said Conven[tio]n. [Fishkill, NY: Samuel Loudon, 1777]. Signed in print by Convention President Abraham Ten Broeck. 12 pp. 5˝ x 8⅜ in. 23755.02

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After independence was declared, each state had to create a new government to replace their colonial charters. New York’s Constitutional Convention, originally convened as the Fourth New York Provincial Congress, assembled at White Plains on Sunday evening, July 10, 1776. Fleeing northward as the British Army forced George Washington’s Continental Army out of New York City, it deliberated at several locations. John Jay, Robert R. Livingston, and Gouverneur Morris drafted the new Constitution, which, with only one dissenting vote, was enacted at Kingston on April 20, 1777.

A second pamphlet printed the Ordinance passed when the Convention convened again on May 8, 1777, in Kingston, to establish a temporary government. The Convention appointed fifteen men as a Council of Safety, “invested with all the powers necessary for the safety and preservation of the State, until a meeting of the Legislature.

Item #23755, $5,500

“The African Chief” Antislavery Poem by “Poet of the American Revolution” Sarah Morton, with John Hancock’s Great Address to Massachusetts Legislature

[ANTISLAVERY]. JOHN HANCOCK, Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, June 9, 1792. Boston: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp. (pp. 101-4).

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That a free government founded in the natural equal rights of all the people, is within the reach of human ability, and to be prized as a principal support of national happiness…

That government may be considered as truly free, where all the people are, by the constitution and laws, upon the same rank of privilege, and have an equal security for their lives, liberties, and property. Where the laws do not create, but are calculated to prevent all exclusive rights to fame or wealth, and leave each citizen upon his own merit for the honours of his country, and upon his own honest exertions for the acquirement of property....” (p1/c4)

In his June 6 speech to the Massachusetts legislature, Governor John Hancock waxes eloquent about American liberties, wishing the same for the French people then embroiled in a violent revolution, and making recommendations on a variety of issues, including a law on divorce after the nasty Chickering case, and the payment of state debts not assumed by Congress.

This also contains the first publication of Sarah Apthorp Morton’s “The African Chief,” an antislavery elegy for an African leader slain in 1791 fighting for his freedom in St. Domingo; it was widely reprinted through the nineteenth century.

Item #24833, ON HOLD

The Declaration of Independence, in Britain’s Annual Register for 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, For the Year 1776... London: Printed for J. Dodsley, in Pall Mall, 1777. 270 pp.

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This history of British affairs notes increasing bitterness on the part of Americans, prints the Declaration of Independence and proposed Articles of Confederation, and comments on the disruption of trade, military action, etc. It chronicles events, historical sketches of people around the world, scientific gains, essays and state papers.

The Declaration is printed with some sanitizing edits to make it slightly less insulting to the King, ie: “The history of the present __ __ __, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations; all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.” (State Papers, pp 261-264)

Item #25792, $850

Declaration of Independence William Stone/Peter Force Facsimile, 1833

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copperplate engraving printed on thin wove paper. Imprint at bottom left, “W. J. STONE SC WASHn” [William J. Stone for Peter Force, Washington, D.C. ca. 1833]. Printed for Peter Force’s American Archives, Series 5, Vol I. Framed 32¾ x 37½ in.

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Item #25704, $32,000

Declaration of Independence - Huntington Printing

ELEAZER HUNTINGTON, Engraved Document. Ca. 1820-1825. Framed 30½ x 35¾ in.

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Scarce early engraving of the Declaration of Independence.

Item #25703, $9,500

John Binns Scarce and Most Decorative Early 19th century (1819) Declaration of Independence Facsimile

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Engraved Broadside. “In Congress July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” [Philadelphia:] John Binns, 1819. Text engraved by C.H. Parker, facsimiles of signatures engraved by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co. Ornamental border incorporating the seals of the thirteen original states after Thomas Sully. Medallion portrait of Washington (after Gilbert Stuart, 1795), Jefferson (after Otis, 1816), and Hancock (after Copley, 1765). Framed 35½ x 45¾ in.

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Item #25702, $25,000

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.

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

Item #25701, $34,000

Jefferson Signs Appropriations Bill Funding Federal Government and Making Hamilton’s Assumption Act Payments in 1792

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Document Signed as Secretary of State, December 23, 1791, Philadelphia [Pa.] Signed in type by Jonathan Trumbull as Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Adams as Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate, and George Washington as President. 3 pp.

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The “ACT making APPROPRIATIONS for the SUPPORT of GOVERNMENTthe federal budget for 1792—was passed by the Second Congress during its first session and approved by President George Washington on 23 December 1791. It includes appropriations to pay off foreign debts incurred during the Revolutionary War, pay salaries and expenses, and fund the defense of the country and the departments of government. “There shall be appropriated a sum of money not exceeding three hundred and twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and fifty-three dollars, and fifty-six cents…

Item #21495.99, $37,500

Spymaster John André, Seven Months before His Capture and Execution

JOHN ANDRÉ, Autograph Letter Signed, to Gregory Townsend, Commissary General of the British army in New York. Head Quarters, February 19, 1780. 1 p., with integral address leaf, 7ľ x 12⅝ in.

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Major André, then Adjutant-General for General Henry Clinton at his New York City headquarters, relays Clinton’s authorization to purchase rum. André was also empowered to direct the British Intelligence Service in North America. This letter was written only seven months before the spymaster’s capture and execution for his plotting with Benedict Arnold. “The Commander in Chief bids me inform you with respect to the Rum…

Item #21467.99, $30,000

Washington Anticipates the Arrival of Count Rochambeau’s Expeditionary Force

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, to [Captain William Dobbs], July 11 [clerical error in text states June 11], 1780, Headquarters, Col. Theunis Dey’s House [N.J.]. 1 p., 8 x 13Ľ in.

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Washington, preparing for a joint offensive with the French, awaits news of the arrival of Count Rochambeau’s expeditionary force and gives instructions to William Dobbs, a pilot who had agreed to act as a guide for the French Navy in navigating unfamiliar American waters. “The French fleet have been seen and are hourly expected … you will be pleased to repair to this place … bringing with you, such pilots, as may be acquainted with the navigation into the Harbour of New-York.

Item #21195.99, $37,500

William Ellery to His Daughter on Her Future Role in the Household

WILLIAM ELLERY, Autograph Letter Signed, to his daughter, Lucy, June 9, 1766, Newport, R. I. 3 pp., 6⅜ x 7ľ in.

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Future signer of the Declaration of Independence, to his 14-year old daughter on the progress of her education and his desire for her to help manage his household in the wake of her mother’s death. “I want to see you put on the Woman, and begin to do that which you may be obliged to attempt sometime or other – The nice, prudent conduct of a Family is the greatest female Accomplishment, & to obtain this attention & Steadiness are the principal necessary Qualifications, & these are to be acquired by Practice

Item #21187.99, $4,800

Paul Revere’s Iconic Boston Massacre Print

PAUL REVERE, Engraving. “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King-Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Reg.” Printed by Edes & Gill, Boston, Mass., 1770. First edition, second state (clock showing 10:20), original hand coloring. 1 p., LVG watermark, 9⅝ x 12 in.

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Revere’s print quickly became one of the most successful examples of political propaganda of all time. The depiction of the event, and a poem printed below, vilify the British Army and list the first casualties of the American Revolution: “Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore, Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore...The unhappy Sufferers were Mess[ieur]s Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, Jams Caldwell, Crispus Attucks & Pat[ric]K Carr Killed. Six wounded; two of them (Christr Monk & John Clark) Mortally...” Rushed into print less than a month after the event, Revere’s print helped unite the colonists and, in American minds, cast the British as aggressive oppressors— making rebellion easier to justify.

Item #25697, $280,000

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, $475

Continental Congress Rejects Britain’s 1775 Conciliatory Proposal - Thomas Jefferson Drafted Message in a Prelude to the Declaration of Independence

CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. [THOMAS JEFFERSON], Newspaper. Rivington’s New York Gazetteer, August 10, 1775, printing of the Congressional Resolution of July 31, 1775, rejecting Lord North’s Conciliatory Proposal that attempted to divide the colonies and weaken the move towards independence. Signed in type by John Hancock. The Resolution was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, for a committee including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Richard Henry Lee. 4 pp.

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A proposition to give our money, accompanied with large fleets and armies, seems addressed to our fears, rather than to our freedom.... can the world be deceived into an opinion that we are unreasonable, or can it hesitate to believe with us, that nothing but our own exertions may defeat the ministerial sentence of death or abject submission.

Item #23545, $6,800

Remarkable Linen Textile, Rich in Patriotic Imagery, is Rare Icon of the American Revolution

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Textile. “America Presenting at the Altar of Liberty Medallions of Her Illustrious Sons” ca. 1783-1785. 26Ľ x 44 in.

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Item #24406, $3,600

Harvard’s 1770 Graduating Class and Their Theses, Dedicated to Governor Hutchinson

HARVARD COLLEGE, Broadside. List of Graduating Students and Theses for Disputation. Boston, Massachusetts: Richard Draper, 1770. 1 p., 18 x 22 in.

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Interesting broadside in Latin issued for Harvard University’s 1770 commencement lists Latinized names of 34 graduating students. Among the graduates are Samuel Adams (1751-1788), son of the patriot, Harvard graduate, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and later governor of Massachusetts Samuel Adams (1722-1803); loyalist and New Brunswick Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ward Chipman (1754-1824); Gilbert Saltonstall (1752-1833), grandson of Connecticut Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, son of General Gurdon Saltonstall, close friend of Nathan Hale, and Captain of Marines in the Revolutionary War; and Samuel Osgood (1747-1813), delegate to the Continental Congress and first Postmaster General of the United States.

Item #24460, $1,750

Congress Forms the First Continental Association and Addresses the People of Great Britain

[CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. Postscript to The Pennsylvania Gazette, [November 2, 1774] (No. 2393). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. Front-page printing of “The Association” (October 20, 1774, but misdated in this issue as October 24), signed in type by Peyton Randolph and delegates from twelve colonies, including George Washington and John Adams. With a front-page printing of Address “To the People of Great-Britain” (October 21, 1774), written by John Jay. 2 pp., 10 x 15˝ in.

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To obtain redress of these grievances, which threaten destruction to the lives, liberty and property of his Majesty’s subjects in North-America, we are of opinion, that a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and peaceable measure… We will neither import, nor purchase any slave imported, after the first day of December next; after which time, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade… we will not purchase or use any tea, imported on account of the East-India Company, or any on which a duty bath been or shall be paid…

Item #30035.19, $28,000

An Early Olive Branch Petition - The Continental Congress Implores King George III to Intercede on Colonists’ Behalf

[CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Gazette, January 18, 1775 (No. 2404). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. “Petition of the Continental Congress To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” (October 25, 1774). 4 pp., 10 x 16Ľ in.

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We ask but for Peace, Liberty, and Safety.

Item #30035.24, $10,000

Congress Responds to King George III’s Proclamation that the Colonies are in Rebellion

[SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 13, 1775 (No. 2451). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. With the Response of the Continental Congress to King George III’s Proclamation of Rebellion. (December 6, 1775). 4 pp. 10 x 15˝ in. [Significant damage: Half of column on p1 excised.]

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We are accused of ‘forgetting the allegiance which we owe to the power that has protected and sustained us.’… What allegiance is it that we forget? Allegiance to Parliament? We never owed—we never owned it. Allegiance to our King? Our words have ever avowed it...we oppose the claim and exercise of unconstitutional powers, to which neither the Crown nor Parliament were ever entitled.

Item #30035.30, $1,250

Continental Congress July 1775 Message Asserting American Sovereignty and Rejecting Parliament’s Appeal for Peace Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and Printed at Harvard - With London News Reports on Battles of Lexington and Concord

[SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. The New-England Chronicle, or the Essex Gazette. August 31-September 7, 1775 (Vol. 8, No. 371). Printed at Stoughton Hall, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Samuel Hall and Ebenezer Hall. Includes front-page printing of Opinion of Congress in Response to Lord North’s Conciliatory Proposal (July 31, 1775), written by Thomas Jefferson, signed in type by John Hancock; and Resolution of Congress Clarifying Non-Importation Agreement (August 1, 1775). The original subscriber to this issue was Dr. John Wingate (1743-1819) of Hallowell, Maine (Massachusetts), who served as an army surgeon in the Revolutionary War. 4 pp., 10 x 15˝ in.

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The colonies of America are entitled to the sole and exclusive privilege of giving and granting their own money...It is a high breach of this privilege for any body of men, extraneous to their constitutions...to take to themselves the authority of judging of their conditions.

it is the DESPOTISM of the CROWN and the SLAVERY of the people which the ministry aim at. For refusing those attempts, and for that only the Americans have been inhumanly murdered by the King’s Troops.

Item #30034.05, $7,500
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