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

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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, Genteman’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

Declaration of Independence — One of First English Printings, Boldly Publishing Complete Unadulterated Text

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure. August 1776. London: John Hinton, [early September, 1776]. Pp 57-111 plus plate. 5 x 8½. Disbound.

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“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”

Item #23642, ON HOLD

With the British Headed His Way, John Hancock Implores the States to Send Supplies and Troops to the Flagging War Effort

JOHN HANCOCK, Manuscript Document Signed (“John Hancock”) as President of the Continental Congress, 2 pages, 8 x 12½ in., “In Congress” [Philadelphia], November 19 & 21, 1776.

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“Congress deem it necessary upon every principle of propriety to remind the several States how indispensible it is to the Common Safety that they pursue the most immediate & vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of troops for the new Army…”

Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Long Island at the end of August 1776 resulted in the British occupying New York City less than three weeks later. The news for the Americans only got worse, as they had to retreat from White Plains on October 28, and Hessian mercenaries captured Fort Washington, in northern Manhattan on November 16.

With the Redcoats in hot pursuit, the Continental Army retreated across New Jersey throughout December, eventually crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania for safety. Washington had split his troops (the other group commanded by General Charles Lee) in hopes of taking a stand before Philadelphia. With Washington’s command in jeopardy and the British headed towards the seat of Congress, Hancock stresses the urgent need for troops and supplies.

Item #23790, $35,000

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

Captain Luke Drury’s Company Guards Supplies in Grafton, Massachusetts

[LUKE DRURY], Manuscript Document Signed by 20 men of Grafton, Mass. May 19, 1777 1 p.

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Two years after the Lexington alarm of April 19, 1775, some of Drury’s original company of militiamen remained under his command to guard the town of Grafton, Massachusetts.

Item #20993.13, $4,500

Powerful Anti-Slavery Argument Likely by John Laurens

ANTIBIASTES, Newspaper. “Observations on the slaves and the Indentured Servants inlisted in the Army…” Front page printing, in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, October 13, 1777. Boston: Benjamin Edes. 4 pp., 10 x 15½ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Many Slaves …share in the dangers and glory of the efforts made by US, the freeborn members of the United States, to enjoy, undisturbed, the common rights of human nature; and THEY remain SLAVES!... The enlightened equity of a free people, cannot suffer them to be ungrateful.

Item #24438, ON HOLD

For Washington, Hamilton Confirms Receipt of Hessian Troop Movement Intelligence

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, on behalf of General George Washington, to Colonel Charles Stewart, Commissary General of Issues, October 24, 1777, Headquarters [Whitpain Township, Pa]. 1p. with integral address leaf note, “Let the Bearer pass. Tim. Pickering Adjt. Genl.,” 13 x 8¼ in. (open).

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Following the punishing battles at Paoli and Germantown, which left Philadelphia vulnerable to British control for the winter, the Continental Army under Washington spent two weeks recovering at Whitpain, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Hamilton was then Washington’s chief staff aide, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, a position he would hold for four years. He played a crucial role in handling much of the General’s correspondence with Congress, state governors, and other military officers.

Item #24375, ON HOLD

The Declaration of Independence, Printed in 1776 Journals of Congress - Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson’s Chief Clerk’s Copy

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1776, to January 1, 1777. Volume II. York-Town [Penn.]: John Dunlap, 1778. Second issue (i.e. Dunlap’s imprint but incorporating Aitken’s sheets). 520 pp., 8 x 4 ¾ in. Title page with New York City Bar Association stamp, discreet accession number on verso. Lacking the index (xxvii pp.).

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This rare volume of the Journals of Congress, covering the pivotal year of 1776, has an unusual printing history. The first 424 pages were printed in Philadelphia in 1777 by Robert Aitken. The project was interrupted when the British marched into Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. Congress fled, and after a day in Lancaster established itself in York, Pennsylvania. Aitken escaped with some of his finished sheets but had to abandon his press. On the other hand, John Dunlap, the original printer of the Declaration of Independence, managed to remove his press. In May 1778, Congress hired Dunlap to complete the reprint of their 1776 journals.

This copy bears the signature of Henry Remsen Jr., (1762-1843), the Chief Clerk of the State Department when Jefferson was Secretary of State. At that time, the Patent Office was part of the State Department, so among his accomplishments Remsen recorded the first rules for the examination of patents, a subject dear to Jefferson the inventor. Remsen later became a noteworthy New York financier.

Item #23757, ON HOLD

Washington’s Instructions Regarding Deserters
and Hospital Cases at Valley Forge

JOSEPH WARD, Autograph Letter Signed to Richard Varick, [Valley Forge, Pennsylvania], March 13, 1778, 7⅝ x 11¾ in., 3 pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Written from Valley Forge at the close of the terrible winter of 1777-1778. Commissary General of Musters Joseph Ward relays Washington’s directions for determining the status of missing men. Officers are to be given more leeway than the rank and file before labeling them as deserters (a delicacy which Officers ought to deserve”), and hospital surgeons are to be consulted as to whether a patient is “dead or alive” or “likely ever to join the Corps.” Ward also discusses an aborted “Secret Expedition” and a recent naval victory by Commodore John Barry.

Letters written from Valley Forge are rare, particularly if they relate to the condition of the troops.

Item #22299, ON HOLD

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

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

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

“Report of the work on Constitution Island”

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; WEST POINT], Manuscript Document, n.d. [ca. 1780-1781], report on the works across from West Point, critiquing vulnerabilities in the banquettes, parapets, magazines, artillery positions, and a sallyport. From the papers of Col. Luke Drury. 2 pp., 6¾ x 6⅞ in.

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Item #20639.04, $3,850

A Lazy Revolutionary War Doctor, Departing From His Life of Leisure, Reports on “Lord” Stirling’s Failed Attempt On Staten Island

SAMUEL VICKERS, Autograph Letter Signed “S. Vickers,” to Andrew Craigie. Cranburry, N.J., January 17, 1780. 2 pp., 8½ x 12¼ in. We believe the docketing to incorrectly identify the sender as John Vicker.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Fellow physician John Vickers gives Dr. Craigie a nearly instantaneous account of Lord Stirling’s ill-fated attack on Staten Island of Jan 15-16, 1780. Stirling’s campaign was designed to surprise the British troops in their winter camp; the British were alerted, however, and were well fortified by the time the Americans arrived. Vickers also decries plundering of the island by Continental troops.

Item #23414, ON HOLD

One of Hamilton’s Most Revealing Love Letters to Eliza:
“You are certainly a little sorceress and have bewitched me”

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed “A. Hamilton,” to Elizabeth Schuyler, August 8, 1780. [Dobbs Ferry, New York]. 4 pp. including partial integral leaf; lacking portion of page below signature; perhaps his signature on address relief was removed. 6½ x 8½ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“you have made me disrelish every thing that used to please me, and have rendered me as restless and unsatisfied with all about me, as if I was the inhabitant of another world. ... I would go on, but the General summons me to ride....”

In the middle of their whirlwind courtship, Hamilton emphasizes his profound fascination with Eliza Schuyler. Hamilton both complains that she is distracting him from important military duties, while pleading with her for more distraction. Few of Hamilton’s letters to Eliza survive from this period.

As Hamilton was writing, tactical intelligence was being communicated at a frantic pace up and down the Hudson. On July 21, Washington had received intelligence from the Culper spy ring on British General Clinton’s planned attack on Rochambeau’s French squadron at Newport, and the massing of British troops on Long Island for an intensified invasion of New York. Hamilton now was in the middle of authoring a detailed “Plan for an Attack on New York” to recapture Manhattan and Brooklyn from the British. He mentions at the end of this letter his position at Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small town on the Hudson where the army was encamped. Hamilton ends when he is summoned by General Washington.

Item #24329, ON HOLD

John Adams Repeats Good Battle News Including Capture of 55 British Ships, but Warns Not to Expect Peace: “The Heads of a King and Ministers is at Stake...”

JOHN ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Churchill Houston. Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 17, 1780. 2 pp., with integral blank with recipient’s docket, 7½ x 9 in.

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“You will not mistake this for a Promise or an Hope of Peace. This cannot be. The Heads of a King and Ministers is at Stake ... the Capture of 55 ships at once by the combined Fleets of France and Spain … have cast down the English Cause to such a degree, as to put them upon the compassionate List, even with some who detest their Tyranny.” 

On the same day that John Adams received news that his fundraising mission to the Netherlands had been approved by Congress, he received more qualified news from William Churchill Houston, a member of Congress from New Jersey. Houston’s letter, sent from Philadelphia on July 11, 1780, informed Adams of Charleston’s occupation by the British, but also of a reawakening of patriotic spirit “that is fast pervading the whole Comunity, a Spirit which enlivens and encreases every Day.”[1] On September 17, Adams responded to Houston in the letter offered here, and presented him with the more immediate news of military victory.

Item #23797, $46,500

Declaration Signer’s Son Puts Off Love and Business as He Leaves to Join Nathanael Greene’s Southern Army

LEWIS V. MORRIS, Autograph Letter Signed, to S. [Samuel?] White, November 1, 1780, Philadelphia. 2 pp., 6½ x 8¼ in.

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Item #24193, $2,950

Quartermaster’s Account Book, 1781

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Account Book, 14 pp. filled in, 4to. Schenectady, July 20 to August 29, 1781, entitled an “Account of Boards & Plank Recd from sundry Persons &c & Different Mills at Schenectady 1781.”

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A testament to the broad importance of the Hudson River during the American Revolution and worthy of further research.

Item #21007.40, $1,000

West Point Muster Roll

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; WEST POINT]. LT. SAMUEL JONES, Manuscript Document Signed, [ca. August thru October 1781], [West Point, N.Y.].

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Item #20639.03, $3,000

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
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