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

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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. 25¼ x 30⅞ in.

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Item #24402, $35,000

The Day Before Independence, Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull Orders Troops to New York to Help George Washington

JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Manuscript Document Signed as Governor, to Thomas Seymour. Lebanon, Conn., July 3, 1776. 2 pp., folio.

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On the eve of Independence, Connecticut Colonial Jonathan Trumbull orders Lt. Col. Thomas Seymour to New York to assist Commander in Chief George Washington. Seymour is ordered to march his three regiments of light horse to New York. In a postscript, Trumbull orders him to send the equipped parts of units without waiting for others to be furnished.

Item #24487, $15,000

George Washington, Outraged over Continued Native American and Loyalist Attacks on the New York Frontier, Wishes “to chastise the insolence of the enemy in any future incursion,” But Cannot Provide Much Direct Aid

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed as Commander in Chief, to Governor George Clinton. Newburgh, N.Y., July 30, 1782. 4 pp., 7 x 11¾ in.

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“I have learnt with great concern the repeated depredations that have been committed on your Western frontier … notwithstanding the order … for the buildings necessary at the posts on the Mohawk, I fear he will not have it in his power to do it for want of money.”

Between victory at Yorktown and recognition of American independence, British forces, Loyalists, and native tribes all continued raids on American outposts and settlers, especially on the New York frontier. Washington had to maintain the army’s strength in order to force favorable negotiations, but here defers to the local governor. Fortunately for both General and Governor, Colonel Marinus Willett was one of the Revolution’s most capable leaders with decades of familiarity with Western New York’s peoples, places, and potential problems.

Item #24418, $35,000

John Hancock Helps Build Washington’s Army and Appoints a Captain

JOHN HANCOCK, Partially Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. [Philadelphia, PA] July 1, 1775. Counter-signed by Charles Thomson. 1 p., folio.

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The Continental Congress had appointed George Washington as Commander in Chief of the newly-formed Continental Army on June 15, only two weeks before this document. Hancock, as president of the Continental Congress, began raising troops and officers for the war effort. Here, he appoints Stephen Kimball at the rank of Captain in the 14th Regiment of the Continental Army. The 14th, commanded by Col. Daniel Hitchcock, was part of the Rhode Island militia. The unit, which included some African American soldiers, went to Boston to fight under General Nathanael Greene. Later, incorporated into the Continental Army, it saw action in the Battle of Long Island and at White Plains.

Item #24001, $16,500

Benjamin Franklin Very Rare Colonial Postmaster-General Appointment

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN and JOHN FOXCROFT, Partially Printed Document Signed by both as co-Postmasters General for North America. [Philadelphia], Pa., January 10, 1764. 1 p. 9 x 14½ in.

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An extremely rare postmaster’s appointment signed by Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft, joint Postmasters General for the British dominions in North America. Franklin, of course, would go on to become the first United States Postmaster General in 1775, appointed by the Second Continental Congress.

The Papers of Benjamin Franklin have not located any other postmaster commissions in private hands, and the only institutional holdings known are commissions signed by Franklin in the American Philosophical Society (Abraham Woodward, April 10, 1758), two in the New York Public Library (Thomas Vernon, Dec. 24, 1754 and Thomas MacKreth, July 11, 1760), Yale University (William Ellery, Oct. 22, 1767), and Fort Ticonderoga Museum (Philip Skene, June 5, 1771).

Item #24601, $29,000

During the War of 1812, Paul Revere Remains a Patriot by Leading the “Mechanics of the Town of Boston” in the Defense of the City

PAUL REVERE, Manuscript Document Signed. A pledge of “Mechanics [skilled tradesmen] of the Town of Boston” to aid in the defense of the town during the War of 1812, signed by “Paul Revere” along with 120 additional members. The text of the resolution is likely in the hand of Isaac Harris. Bound into a 3¾ x 6¼ inch, paper bound blank notebook. Boston, Mass., September 8, 1814. With 5 Harris family letters, circa 1834-1858.

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At the age of 79, Paul Revere remained as patriotic as he had been in his youthful Revolutionary days.  At the outset of the War of 1812, he sets an example to help enlist the skilled tradesmen and craftsmen of Boston to aid in the defense of their city.

Item #24217, $30,000

From Aaron Lopez’s Library

[AARON LOPEZ], Signed Book. Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, in a Series of Letters from John Earl of Orrery to His Son, the Honourable Hamilton Boyle. Fifth Edition. London: For A. Millar, 1752. From the library of Aaron Lopez, signed on the verso of the portrait by Ravenet. “Aaron Lopez’s Book / New Port Novr. 18th. 1772.” Contemporary sheep, heavily worn, front cover detached, front endpaper lacking. Would benefit from professional rebinding. Priced accordingly. 12mo. 4 x 6½ in., 250 pp.

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Item #22235, $2,500

Washington’s Personal Secretary
Tobias Lear’s Copy of History of Russia

[TOBIAS LEAR], Signed book. William Tooke, History of Russia. London, Strahan, 1800. Two volumes, 8vo, full leather, some repair to binding, fine overall. All four plates present. The folding map is foxed, but complete without major tears. Both volumes are signed “Tobias Lear Malta, Oct 13th, 1804” in ornate, formal hand. Provenance: Tobias Lear; to Benjamin Lincoln Lear, with Benjamin’s bookplate.

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Item #22021.02, $2,500

Presidential Secretary Tobias Lear’s Copy of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s English-Latin Humanistic Philosophies

TOBIAS LEAR, Signed Book, Erasmus’s Select Colloquies. London, 1766. In Latin and English. Signed “Tobias Lear ejus Liber ex dono Patris iri anno domini noster 1773” on the rear free fly. A rough copy, rubbed, boards separating but present. Also signed by Tobias Sherburne and Benjamin Lincoln Lear at front.

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Item #22021.04, $1,000

Rare Issue of John Peter Zenger’s
New-York Weekly Journal, 1734

[JOHN PETER ZENGER], Newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal, Containing the freshest advices, Foreign and Domestick, Numb. XXXIV. New York: John Peter Zenger, June 24, 1734 4 pp. 11 x 6⅞ in.

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John Peter Zenger’s iconic newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal, was created to spark popular opposition to William Cosby, the new royal governor of New York. He was the last colonist to be prosecuted for seditious libel, and to have his case go to trial, before the American Revolution. Zenger’s case, ending in his acquittal, stands as a landmark in the history of one of our most basic rights – freedom of the press. Historian Leonard Levy concludes that “the Zenger verdict made people exult in liberty and the relationship of liberty of the press to liberty itself.”

Pre-1768 newspapers are exceedingly rare, and this newspaper is central to the debate over freedom of the press in America.

Item #30026.01, $4,800

Washington Discharges a Gunner’s Mate After Six Years of Faithful Service

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Partially Printed Document Signed. Also signed by John Trumbull, Jr., James Bradford, and “Col. Lamb.” [Newburgh, N.Y.], [June 1783]. 1 p., 7½ x 11¾ in.

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“The above Edmund E. Hill has been honored with the Badge of Merit for Six Years faithful Service...”

Edmund E. Hill, a matross (member of a gunner’s crew) in the 2nd New York Artillery regiment receives his discharge. Hill was a long-serving veteran of the War for Independence, having enlisted on 1 January 1777.  Here, he receives an honorable discharge and the Badge of Merit, an award created by Washington intended for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers.

Item #23997, $11,500

January 1776 Pennsylvania Magazine, Edited by Thomas Paine, Including Much Revolutionary War Political and Military Content

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Pamphlet. Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. For January 1776. Philadelphia: R. Aitken, [February 7, 1776]. [9]-52 (44pp.), lacking first two leaves, incl. title, 5¼ x 8¼ in.

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Benedict Arnold’s bravery in the failed American attack on Canada; America’s chief medical officer Dr. Benjamin Church’s treason; an account of the burning of Norfolk, Virginia; anti-slavery piece written by Paine, etc.

Item #23750.03, $1,500

Washington Asks MA Militia to Join General Glover Before Battle of Rhode Island; Two Years Earlier Glover Ferried Washington Across Delaware River

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, [to Jeremiah D. Powell, Massachusetts Council President.] n.p., n.d. [but White Plains, August 2, 1778], 1 p., 8 x 12 ¾ in. Text in the hand of Robert Hanson Harrison. (Recipient, place and date according to The Papers of George Washington, per a photocopy in the Massachusetts State Archives.)

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Washington asks the Massachusetts Council President (in effect, the governor) to send the militia to join with the army under General John Glover, then preparing for battle in Rhode Island. Two years earlier, Glover had ferried Washington across the Delaware River in the surprise Christmas attack that turned around the American war effort.

Item #23888, $27,500

George Washington on the Impending Execution of Charles Asgill: “The Enemy ought to have learnt before this, that my Resolutions are not to be trifled with.”

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782. 3 pp., with free frank signed on address panel on verso of 3rd page. 9 x 14 in. Offered with discount issue of The Columbian Magazine, January, 1787, printing an excerpt of this letter relating to the Asgill Affair, and supporting documents.

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In the summer of 1782, following America’s victory at Yorktown the previous September, peace negotiations were just getting underway in Paris between the United States and Britain. With their outcome uncertain, desperate Loyalists here sought to strengthen the British hold on New York, undermine America’s vulnerable financial system, and exact revenge for their own losses. Spies were everywhere.

In this powerful letter about two major cases, Washington supports civilian authority, shows frustration over his troops’ handling of captured spies – especially a delay in following a habeas corpus ruling – and expresses steely anger over the British response to the pending execution of young Charles Asgill in retaliation for the murder of American captain Joshua Huddy.

Item #23811, $52,500

“Liberty without End. Amen.” Incredibly Rare Toasts from Boston’s Sons of Liberty, 1769

[SONS OF LIBERTY.] WILLIAM RUSSELL, Autograph Document, Boston, Massachusetts, August 14, 1769, 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, $27,500

The Gentleman’s Magazine, Complete for 1776, with War News, Including an Early British Printing of the Declaration of Independence

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Gentleman’s Magazine. Complete run for 1776, including Supplement and Index. Lacking boards, but original leather spine present. London, England. Clean and tight. Note: The text is complete, but lacking 9 of 14 inserted maps or plates.

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A complete run for 1776 of this monthly journal of news, science, arts and philosophy gives insight into how readers in Great Britain perceived the momentous events occurring in America.  News reports cover most of the major events relating to the American Revolution.  There were no regularly published magazines in America at the time.

Item #23705, $5,500

Very Rare Pennsylvania Signer George Taylor Receives Payment for Land

GEORGE TAYLOR, Autograph Document Signed. Receipt. Trimmed close, n.p., Dec. 6, 1774. 1 p. 4¾ x 3 in.

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Taylor’s signature is among the rarest of the Signers in part due to his limited role in public life and his death prior to an American victory that would have opened more opportunities to serve.

Item #22992.99, $27,500

Declaration Signer James Wilson’s Signed Copy of, 1774 Maryland Guide, the First Original American Legal Work, Earliest on Law of Wills

[JAMES WILSON], Signed Book. Vallette, Elie. The Deputy Commissary’s Guide within the Province of Maryland. Annapolis: Ann Catherine Green and Son, 1774. Octavo. Engraved title & table by Thomas Sparrow. Signed twice by Wilson at head of title & on front free endpaper recto. Both signatures ruled through in ink by subsequent owners, other owner’s signatures on endpaper. A little blue & red crayon underlining & scrawl at head of title.

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An important association copy of a rare book with many first claims: this is the only edition of the first original American legal work, and the earliest book published in America on the law of wills. It also contains the only engraving from a colonial Maryland press, by Thomas Sparrow, the only engraver south of the Mason-Dixon Line before 1775.

Item #23609, $10,000

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

George Washington’s Rare Anti-Catholic Test Oath, Taken before being Appointed Colonel and Commander in Chief of all Virginia Forces

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Document Signed. A list of subscribers to the declaration denying Catholic doctrines. Washington’s signature is the 9th in the second column below the declaration. May 22, 1754 – July 17, 1755.

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“there is no Transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lords supper or in the elements of Bread and wine...”

Item #23200, PRICE ON REQUEST
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