Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Other Constitution and Bill of Rights Offerings


Other Alexander Hamilton Offerings


Connecticut Broadsheet Reports Ratification of U.S. Constitution by Rhode Island, Hamilton’s Funding and Assumption Plans, and Other Debates
Click to enlarge:
Select an image:

A message was received from the President of the United States, with the ratification of the Constitution of the United States by the State of Rhode Island.” (p1/c1)

This very rare broadside Supplement to the Connecticut Courant details congressional proceedings from June 16-25, 1790, including the announcement of the ratification of the Constitution by Rhode Island, debates surrounding the assumption of state war debts by the federal government, a bill regulating trade with Native American tribes, a committee report on books “necessary for the use of Congress,” a committee report on providing “the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations,” and other matters.

[CONSTITUTION]. Broadsheet, Supplement to the Connecticut Courant, Aug. 23, 1790. Hartford: Barzillai Hudson and George Goodwin. 2 pp., 10 x 14⅜ in.

Inventory #26597       Price: $35,000

Mr. Sedgwick [of Massachusetts]...moved that the two first clauses should be struck out—and offered a clause as a substitute which was to authorize the Post-Master-General, with the approbation of the President of the United States, to establish the Post Roads from Wiscassett in Massachusetts, to Savanna in Georgia.”(p1/c1)

This motion was objected to.... It was further said that it cannot be supposed that the Post-Master-General knows what routs are most eligible better than many of the members—the constitutionality of the motion was doubted.” (p1/c1)

If the House mean to avoid a great deal of unnecessary business, which will probably come before them in petitions to abolish old roads, and establish new ones, the proposition appears necessary.” (p1/c1)

The motion was negatived by a great majority.” (p1/c1)

The bill to authorize the purchasing of West-Point was read the second and third time—and passed.” (p1/c1)

The bill for repealing after the last day of —— the duties heretofore laid on spirits, &c. was taken into consideration. The question was, whether the bill should be engrossed.

Mr. Stone [of Maryland] observed, that no man could be more in favor of making provision for the debt of the United States, than himself—but the present bill pointed out a mode which he conceived to be the worst that could be devised—the most exceptionable, and would turn out the most unproductive. He should therefore vote against the bill on a full conviction that other funds, entirely unexceptionable, might be found....” (p1/c2)

Mr. Carroll [of Maryland] observed, that as so much time had been taken up maturing the bill, he hoped it would pass to be engrossed—the business is of very great importance, and ought now to be finished.” (p1/c2)

The amendatory bill providing for the settlement of accounts between the United States and individual States, have been engrossed—the house filled up the blanks, and passed the bill.” (p1/c3)

That, as far as the nature of the case will admit, they have in the schedule annexed, complied with the order of the house, having due regard for the state of the treasury. That the committee have confined themselves, in a great measure, to books necessary for the use of the legislative and executive departments, and not often to be found in private or in circulating libraries.... without farther provision of books on laws and government, to which reference is often necessary, members of the legislature and other officers of government may be either deprived of the use of such books when necessary, or be obliged at every session, to transport to the seat of government a considerable part of their libraries....” (p2/c1)

A message was received from the President of the United States, informing that he had approved of, and signed ‘an act for extending to Rhode-Island the judiciary system of the United States.’” (p2/c1)

In support of the motion [of increasing expenditures for ministers to foreign nations from $30,000 to $40,000] it was urged that the President of the United States is by the Constitution vested with the power of appointing such foreign officers as he may think necessary, and it must devolve upon the legislature to make provision for defraying the expence. The Committee of conference did not rely on their own judgment—they consulted the Secretary of foreign affairs [Thomas Jefferson]; his opinion was that in the present situation of this country with respect to foreign nations, two ministers and tow Charge des Affairs were necessary; a minister at the Court of Versailles is generally conceded to be requisite; the peculiar situation of this country with respect to the posts, the Northern and Eastern frontiers and the State of our commerce in respect to Great-Britain, can scarcely leave a doubt of the necessity and importance of sending a minister to that country; this being the State of affairs a less sum than that proposed it is demonstrably evident, will not be found adequate.” (p2/c2)

Historical Background
By the summer of 1788, eleven of the thirteen American states had ratified the U.S. Constitution, and the new federal government began in the spring of 1789. In November 1789, North Carolina ratified the Constitution after initially rejecting it in 1788 and joined the United States, leaving only Rhode Island outside the union. After overwhelmingly rejecting the Constitution in a statewide referendum in March 1788, Rhode Island held a ratifying convention in the spring of 1790 and finally ratified the Constitution by a narrow 34-32 vote on May 29, 1790, completing the union of the thirteen original states.

In January 1790, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton proposed in his First Report on Public Credit that the federal government assume all state debts from the Revolutionary War because he felt it would strengthen the credit of the United States credit abroad and make the federal government the principal taxing authority. Southerners generally rejected the idea, feeling that debt holders would then be able to buy power in Congress, and they blocked the Hamiltonian program in Congress twice in the first half of 1790. States such as Virginia, which had already paid its debts, felt that the federal assumption of debts would then force them to subsidize the debts of other states. Meanwhile, southerners wanted to locate the permanent national capital on the border of Virginia and Maryland, but northerners had rejected that proposal.

At the same time that Congress was officially debating these matters, as reported in this broadsheet, Secretary of Foreign Affairs (State) Thomas Jefferson hosted a dinner at his home in New York City on or about June 20, 1790, attended only by himself, Hamilton, and Congressman James Madison of Virginia. The result was a “dinner table bargain” that gave Hamilton the federal assumption of state debts in exchange for his support of locating the national capital in the South. The political settlement resolved the legislative deadlock on both the “assumption” and “residency” crises. As this broadsheet illustrates, Congress resumed consideration of the Funding Act on June 21 and passed it on August 2. President Washington signed it into law on August 4, 1790.

This Supplement also recounts the contemporaneous debates surrounding the Post Office bill. The House proceeded to debate the bill’s constitutionality and other objections before passing the bill on June 21. President George Washington signed “An Act to continue in force for a limited Time, an Act, intituled ‘An Act for the temporary Establishment of the Post-Office’” on August 4, 1790. Congress had passed the original temporary law in September 1789. In February 1792, Congress finally passed an act permanently establishing the postal system. The first section gave explicit detail for the route of post roads from Wiscassett, Massachusetts (Maine) to Savannah, Georgia.

Although the House committee tasked with considering the establishment of a library for Congress recommended an appropriation of $1,000 in 1790 and $500 annually thereafter, Congress did not provide money for such purposes until 1800. As part of an act for moving the federal government from Philadelphia to Washington, Congress provided a $5,000 appropriation for books for the use of Congress, the beginning of the Library of Congress. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson appointed the first Librarian of Congress, who initially was also the clerk of the House of Representatives.

Connecticut Courant (1764-1914) was established as a weekly paper in Hartford by Thomas Green. He later sold the newspaper to Ebenezer Watson, who ran it until he died of smallpox in 1777. His widow Hannah Watson took over and became one of the first women publishers in America. She also quickly made George Goodwin her business partner. Watson soon married he widowed neighbor Barzillai Hudson, who took over her ownership in partnership with Goodwin. The Courant was an influential proponent of the Patriot cause in the Revolutionary War. By the 1790s, it was Federalist in politics and later supported the Whig and then the Republican Party. From 1887 to 1914, it was published semiweekly, and the weekly edition was the Hartford Courant, which succeeded it as a daily newspaper.

Condition: Printed in 3 columns verso and recto, edges untrimmed; old horizontal and vertical folds, some browning particularly along folds, 5 pinholes, light foxing. In blue quarter Morocco slipcase, with folding chemise.

Add to Cart Ask About This Item Add to Favorites