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

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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, 7¾ 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

Depreciation, Inflation and Taxation

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser, John Dunlap: Philadelphia, Pa., July 15, 1779. 4 pp., 10½ x 16½ in., untrimmed.

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Item #21556.04, $750

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

British Major General Henry Clinton Pays the Fraser Highlanders

HENRY CLINTON, Partially Printed Document Signed, July 13, 1778, Pay warrant for Simon Fraser’s regiment. Warrant to Captain Angus Macintosh, who also signs it to acknowledge payment. Bound by a cord, partially disbound and separated, 7¾ x 12½ in. The first leaf is slightly smaller at 7¼ x 12 in. 8 pp.

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Item #24755, $2,750

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. 5½ 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

Dutchess County Militia Members Receive Their Pay in December 1776

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Document. Soldier’s pay register for a Dutchess County militia unit at Fort Constitution. Garrison, New York, December 30, 1776 to May 20, 1777. 9 pp. on 3 folded sheets.

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Revolutionary War soldiers who had been called for a short period of garrison duty at Fort Constitution signed or made their “x-mark” on this register as they received pay from Captain Barnardus Swartwout. More than 100 soldiers, part of the 4th Dutchess County Regiment of the New York militia, signed this document as having received ration money, advances, and other accounting at both Fort Constitution and Wappinger’s Creek.

Item #23008, ON HOLD

The Declaration of Independence - Early British Printing of the “substance” Sanitized to Be Less Offensive to “a great person” (the King)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pamphlet. The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, for August, 1776. London, printed for R. Baldwin. [September, 1776]. Octavo, disbound, without wrappers. Trimmed close on title page, but text entirely intact. Clean & crisp. One old paper repair above the text on final page. With 2 plates showing British antiquities. The last page (448) contains an early British excerpt of the Declaration of Independence taken from the London Gazette. Also of war preparations by General Howe.

Articles include “A Portrait of the present Mode of Female Education,” “Parliamentary History,” “Anecdote of Henry IV of France,” “Reflections on the married State, by a Lady,” “Cautions to young Ladies,” “Happy Effects of Temperance,” “Observations on Soame Jenyn’s View of the internal Evidence of the Christian Religion,” “On Circumspection in licensing public houses” [ie, bars], and more.

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“The Congress next recite a number of proceedings detrimental to the colonies, most of which have been already mentioned, at different times, from the resolutions of their several assemblies, with this difference, that they now attribute the oppressions to a great person, instead of the ministry and parliament, as at their former meetings.”

Item #24366, $2,750

John Hancock’s Letter Proclaiming Independence, and Sending the Declaration to Georgia

JOHN HANCOCK, Letter Signed, text in a secretarial hand (likely Jacob Rust), to the Convention of Georgia [Council of Safety], Philadelphia, July 8, 1776, 2 pages, 8 x 12⅝ in. on the first leaf of a bifolium.

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Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States....

The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.

Hancock sent similar letters to each of the thirteen original states. All five that can be located today (Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) have previously sold. The present example was first recorded at auction in 1899, in the estate auction of the preeminent collector of his day. It last changed hands privately more than 50 years ago.

The Declaration copies that Hancock sent with these letters are known as Dunlap Broadsides, after John Dunlap, who spent the night of July 4-5 printing them. The broadsides – single pages with all the information printed on one side – were all unsigned. Even so, the last Dunlap broadside to change hands sold for more than $20 million.

The original manuscript document that Hancock and Charles Thomson signed on July 4th has not been seen since.

Even the “National Treasure” document in the National Archives came later; it was penned after New York changed its instructions to allow the vote for Independence to be retroactively unanimous, and the signers’ “John Hancocks” were affixed on or after August 2.

Note that we will offer a generous discount to any buyer willing to bring the letter back to Georgia, or to place it in an appropriate museum or library.

Item #26034, PRICE ON REQUEST

General Washington Orders Declaration of Independence Read to Army in New York

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Manuscript Orderly Book. Headquarters [New York City], [July 8, 1776 – August 21, 1776]. Containing two overlapping sequences in different hands: one 145-page sequence runs from July [9], 1776 to August 21, 1776, and another 13-page segment (written from the other end of the book) runs from July 8-13, 1776. 158 pp. 7½ x 6 in. Both versions vary slightly from the published text of Washington’s General Orders of July 9. This volume, with Brigade and Regimental orders, was either kept by battalion adjutant Aaron Comstock or an orderly sergeant in one of Gold S. Silliman’s eight companies enlisted in Connecticut shortly before. This is likely the battalion’s first orderly book after arriving in New York with approximately 415 men.

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the Honble Continental Congress … haveing been plead to Desolve Connection Between this country & great Britain & to declare the united Colonys of North America free & Independent States the Several Brigades are to be Drawn us [up] this Evening on their Respective Parades at 6 oclock when the Deleration of Congress Shewing the grounds & Reasons of the Measures to be Read with Laudable [audible] Voice the genl [George Washington] Hopes that this important Point will serve as a fresh incentive to Every officer and soldier to act with fidelity & courage as knowing that now the Peace and Safety of this country Depends under god solely on the success of our arms....” (July 9, 1776)

the gel being informed to his great surprize that a Report prevails & Industrously spread far and wide that Lord how [British General Lord William Howe] has made <145> Propositions of Peace Calculated by disguiseing Persons most Probably To Lull us into a fatal Security his Duty obliges him to Declare that No such offer has been made by Lord how but on the Contrarary from the Best inteligence he can Procure the army may Expect atack as soon as the wind and tide proves favorable He hopes theirfore every mans mind & arms may be Prepared for action and when caled to it shew our enemies & the whole world that free men Contendin for their own Land are Superior to any Mercenaries on Earth.... (August 20th 1776)

Remarkable manuscript book containing two separate versions of Washington’s General Orders of July 9, 1776, announcing to the Continental Army in New York that Congress had formally declared the 13 colonies to be independent of Great Britain. Of course, Washington’s name is notably absent on the Declaration of Independence, as he was in New York preparing to face the music of the inevitable British invasion.

Item #21461.99, $115,000

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York came on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

“Cato” (William Smith, first Provost of College of Philadelphia) Opposes Common Sense, and “Cassandra” (Penn’s Professor of Mathematics) Answers

[THOMAS PAINE], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Ledger: Or the Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, & New-Jersey Weekly Advertiser, April 13, 1776. Including Cato’s Letter VI, “To the People of Pennsylvania,” attacking Common Sense on political and religious grounds. This issue also prints the first part of Letter II by “Cassandra” [James Cannon]. Philadelphia: James Humphreys Jr. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in.

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you have only entertained us with some loose declamations upon abuses in the English government; and shocked us, for want of better arguments, by a perversion of things sacred; filling the papers with personal invectives, and calumnies against all who cannot swallow, at a venture, every crude notion, you may cook up as the politics of the day. This will as little agree with the stomachs of others as with mine; although I have declared that, when the last necessity comes, I have no expedient in view but to take my chance with you, for better and for worse.

Liberty or Slavery is now the question. Let us but fairly discover to the inhabitants of these Colonies on which side Liberty has erected her banner and we will leave it to them to determine whether they would choose Liberty tho’ accompanied with war, or Slavery attended by peace.

Item #25382, $1,600

John Hancock Signed 1776 Privateering Act

JOHN HANCOCK, Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. Instructions to the commanders of Private Ships of Vessels of War, which shall have Commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisals, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes. [Philadelphia: printed by John Dunlap], dated in text April 3, 1776 [signed between April 3, 1776 and October, 1777]. 1 p., 8¾ x 13½ in. Framed to 24½ x 22½ in.

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The March 23, 1776 resolve of the Continental Congress to empower privateers, was a momentous step in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. Congress had founded a Navy the previous fall, but had few funds to build it, and thus relied heavily on privateers to harass British shipping. “You may, by Force of Arms, attack, subdue, and take all Ships and other Vessels belonging to the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, on the High Seas.”

Item #23701.99, $30,000

Massachusetts Militia Pay Petition Listing 27 Minutemen
Who Responded to the Lexington Alarm

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Document, Dorchester, Massachusetts, December 30th, 1775, addressed to Massachusetts Treasurer Henry Gardner. 1p. 8 x 13 in. Likely Drury’s retained copy from the time, with the signatures all in one hand, though some may be signed with marks & Jonathan Hemenway has signed himself.

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A scarce petition for pay listing 44 members of Captain Luke Drury’s Company, 27 of whom were Grafton, Massachusetts-area Minutemen who had marched 36 miles to respond to the Lexington-Concord Alarm on April 19-21, 1775. The list includes Fortune Burnee, a Minuteman of African American and Native American heritage, and his half-brother, Joseph Anthony, who enlisted on April 29th and died in service. Another of the Minutemen listed is the famous clockmaker Aaron Willard.

Item #20781.03, $8,500

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 15½ 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 & Rejecting Parliament’s Appeal for Peace. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Printed at Harvard. With Reports from London 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 15½ 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.

Historic background

On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode to Lexington to warn that the British were coming. 700 British troops were met on Lexington Green by local minutemen; the skirmish left eight Americans dead. As the British continued to the armory at Concord, hundreds of minutemen and militiamen responded. The British were forced to march back to Boston; on the way, American snipers took a deadly toll. The war had begun in earnest.

Item #30034.05, $7,500

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

An Early Olive Branch Petition - Continental Congress Implores King George III for Relief

[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 16¼ in.

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“We your Majesty’s faithful subjects...beg leave to lay our grievances before the throne… an act was passed for blocking up the harbour of Boston, another impowering the Governor of the Massachusetts-Bay to send persons indicted for murder in that province to another colony, or even to Great-Britain, for trial… a third for altering the chartered constitution of government in that province; and a fourth, for extending the limits of Quebec, abolishing the English, and restoring the French laws… To a sovereign, who ‘glories in the name of Briton,’ the bare recital of these acts must, we presume, justify the loyal subjects who fly to the foot of his throne and implore his clemency for protection against them.… We ask but for Peace, Liberty, and Safety.”

Item #30035.24, $10,000

Continental Congress Address to Inhabitants of the Colonies Urging Unity Against British Tyranny, also prints Letter to Inhabitants of Quebec

[CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, November 9, 1774 (No. 2394). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. Front-page printing of Memorial “To the Inhabitants of the Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Counties of New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina” (October 21, 1774); and Letter “To the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec” (October 26, 1774). Copy sent to Thomas and John Fleet, Boston printers. 4 pp. 10 x 16¼ in.

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Friends and Countrymen:... we find ourselves reduced to the disagreeable alternative, of being silent and betraying the innocent, or of speaking out and censuring those we wish to revere. In making our choice of these distressing difficulties, we prefer the course dictated by honesty, and a regard for the welfare of our country....

it is clear beyond a doubt, that a resolution is formed, and now is carrying into execution, to extinguish the freedom of these colonies, by subjecting them to a despotic government…

Item #30035.20, $15,000

Congress Forms First Continental Association & Addresses 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 printing beginning on the front-page of Address “To the People of Great-Britain” (October 21, 1774), written by John Jay. 2 pp., 10 x 15½ 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 Intrastate Merchant Dispute on the Eve of the American Revolutionary War

UNKNOWN, Handwritten Letter, to Hugh Gaine. November 1, 1774. New York State. 1 p., 8¼ x 8⅜ in.

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Shame, Shame, to take the Advantage of your country in such an oppressive degree…we are sensible of the Mortal Wounds we Received and do receive from you.

Item #24246, $2,400
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