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

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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

Defending New York in 1776 - Entrenching Tools

ABRAHAM BRINCKERHOFF, Autograph Document Signed. March 16, 1776. 2 pp. A detailed account of various tools delivered and returned for the purposes of constructing defenses around New York City in the spring of 1776. Colonel Abraham Brinckerhoff, “quartermaster of the 2nd battallion” is the officer in charge of supplying the tools. This account records the names of captains on the day’s fatigue duty together with the tools they took for the day’s work including “Pick Axes”, “Shod Shovels,” “Spades,” “Iron Shovels,” and “Axes.” Captains include Jacob Chase, Patrick Birmingham, and others.

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Item #21007.64, $1,950

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

Siege of Boston Minutemen Pay Scale

LUKE DRURY, Manuscript Document Signed (“Luke Drury Capn”), 1 p, folio, Dorchester, 20 December 1775, pay scale with calculations from one to ten days for Privates, Corporals, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, Sergeants and the Captain; mild browning and a few brown stains.

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Captain Luke Drury of Grafton had commanded a company of Minutemen since 1773. Hearing news of the Lexington Alarm, Drury and his men began the 36-mile march to Cambridge. They arrived on the morning of April 20, 1775, to join an army of volunteers from across Massachusetts. Drury’s company was soon incorporated into a Continental Army regiment under Col. Jonathan Ward, and stationed on the lines at Dorchester. On June 17, 1775, they fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill), with at least one man, Samuel Heard, being killed. Also serving under Drury that day was Aaron Heath, who later recalled: “I fired thirty-two rounds at the red-coats.” Though Washington feared his army would disband when enlistments expired at year’s end, many of Drury’s men reenlisted on January 1, 1776. Drury’s men next took part in the March 4, 1776 overnight seizure of Dorchester Heights – the celebrated action that forced the British to evacuate Boston.

Item #20993.10, $2,750

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 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 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.

Item #30034.05, $7,500

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

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 16¼ in.

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We ask but for Peace, Liberty, and Safety.

Item #30035.24, $10,000

Continental Congress Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies Urging Unity Against British Tyranny, and their Separate Letter to the 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., with Postcript, 2 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 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 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

Boston suffers under “Intolerable Act” closing of its port, Harvard cancels commencement, and New York calls for what became the first Continental Congress

[BOSTON PORT ACT], Newspaper. The Boston Evening-Post, June 6, 1774, No. 2019. Boston: Thomas and John Fleet. 4 pp., 9¾ x 15⅜ in.

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Early report in the local Boston newspaper on implementation of Parliament’s Boston Port Act, the first of the Intolerable Acts, and the reaction to it in Massachusetts and beyond. Taking effect on June 1, 1774, rather than punishing individuals, the Act besieged the entire city until the colonists paid for the tea destroyed in the Tea Party (December 16, 1773).

the Act of Parliament for blocking up the Port of Boston, is now in all its Parts carrying into Execution with the greatest Severity, many Vessels being already prevented from coming in, and Fishing boats and other small Craft strictly search’d; so that we have reason to expect, that in a little time this Town will be in a truly distressed and melancholy Situation.” (p3/c1)

Item #24806, $4,800

The Psalms of David, Carried in a Rhode Island Revolutionary War Unit in 1776

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; RHODE ISLAND]. ISAAC WATTS, Book. The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament: and Applied to the Christian State and Worship (title supplied). Norwich, [Connecticut]: Alexander Robertson, James Robertson, and Trumbull, 1774. Approx. 300 pp., 3 x 5 x 1¼ in.

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Bibles, psalm books, or other printed works carried during the Revolution are rare on the market. This edition appears to be scarce: the last offering we find was by Goodspeed’s in 1934.

Item #24693, $7,500

A Unique Pairing: Connecticut Printer Timothy Green’s scarce 1774 Proceedings of the American Continental Congress…, with CT Treasury Order Paying Him to Distribute it

CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, Book. Extracts from the Votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress, held at Philadelphia on the 5th of September 1774 Containing the Bill of rights, a List of grievances, Occasional resolves, the Association, an Address to the People of Great-Britain, a Memorial to the Inhabitants of the British American Colonies, and an Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec. New-London: Timothy Green, 1774. Quarto, 16 pp. Sewn as issued. Edges chipped with small loss at corners of first leaves (not affecting text).

With:
CONNECTICUT REVOLUTIONARY WAR TREASURY. Manuscript Document Signed. Order to pay Timothy Green “To Transporting to the Several Counties, the Doings of the Continental Congress…,” April 17, 1775, New London, Conn. 1 p., 6 x 9 in. Signed twice by Nathan Baxter, countersigned by Richard Law, Thomas Mumford, and Caleb Knight.

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Item #23976/24244.01, $8,500

The First Published Book by an African-American Woman

PHILLIS WHEATLEY, Book. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. First edition, with the advertisement on the final page reading “Lately published in 2 vols. Twelves...” and engraved frontispiece portrait after Scipio Morehead (second state). London: Archibald Bell, 1773, for Cox and Berry, Boston. 128 pp., 4⅜ x 6¾ in. Modern half brown leather, marbled sides.

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“Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain
And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!”

—from Wheatley’s“Thoughts on the Works of Providence”

Item #23638, PRICE ON REQUEST

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

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

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

Unique Patriotic Toasts from Boston’s Sons of Liberty

[SONS OF LIBERTY]. WILLIAM RUSSELL, Autograph Document, August 14, 1769, Boston, Massachusetts. 1 p., with additional writing on verso.

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These patriotic toasts—written on the fourth anniversary of Boston’s Stamp Act Riot—defiantly salute American liberty. The writer may have numbered among the 350 Sons of Liberty who celebrated the event at a dinner in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He would have been in good company: John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Adams were among the guests.

Item #23891, $19,000

Opposition to and Support of the Townshend Acts, and an Ad for a Tooth-Ache Cure

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR] [WILLIAM GODDARD], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Chronicle, and Universal Advertiser, May, 29 1769, Philadelphia, Pa., 8 pp., 9⅜ x 11¾ in.

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Item #30000.72, $750
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