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Thomas Jefferson’s Unique, Personally Assembled Seven-Volume Set of the Works of Greek Tragedian Aeschylus

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Signed or owned books. The Works of Aeschylus. Illustrated with engraved plates from the French du Thiel edition. Original marbled tan calf, stamped in gilt, spines and joints professionally restored to style; marbled edges, matching marbled endpapers; by Frederick A. Mayo, Richmond, Virginia, and with his binder’s ticket on front paste-down of each volume. The volumes are housed in seven individual fall-down-back archival boxes, enclosed in a single slipcase. The binder’s tools used during restoration are included in a matching fall-down-back box.

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Jefferson chose specific editions of the works of Aeschylus in English, French, Greek, and Latin, and had them cut up and rebound to make this unique set of seven volumes. In addition to ten of his customary ownership autograph initials (on signatures “I” and “T” throughout the set) parts of four title-pages have autograph amendments by Jefferson and there are approximately 18 marginal autograph annotations, presumably made by him (largely in Vols. IV and V).

This was the second time Jefferson owned these translations. The first set he acquired was sold to Congress as part of his library in 1815.

Item #27809, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Acquittal of Printer John Peter Zenger in Colonial New York Establishes Foundation for American Freedom of the Press

[JOHN PETER ZENGER], The Trial of John Peter Zenger, Of New-York, Printer: Who was charged with having printed and published a Libel against the Government; and acquitted. With a Narrative of his Case. To which is now added, being never printed before, The Trial of Mr. William Owen, Bookseller, near Temple-Bar, Who was also Charged with the Publication of a Libel against the Government; of which he was honourably acquitted by a Jury of Free-born Englishmen, Citizens of London, 1st ed. London: John Almon, 1765. Three-quarter olive calf, red morocco spine label, stamped in blind and in gilt, over marbled paper-covered boards; some sunning to leather; all edges trimmed. 60 pp., 5 x 8.25 in.

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It is not the cause of a poor printer...it is the cause of liberty.

This volume, printed in London three decades after John Peter Zenger’s trial, illustrates the continuing relevance of his acquittal to the freedom of the press. The volume also includes the story of William Owen, a London bookseller, who had been prosecuted for libel at the request of the House of Commons in 1752. Like Zenger, Owen was also acquitted by a jury.

John Almon, a publisher and bookseller known for his commitment to the freedom of the press, printed the volume as part of his challenge to governmental censorship of the press. In the same year that Almon published this pamphlet, the attorney general prosecuted him for the publication of a pamphlet entitled Juries and Libels, but the prosecution failed.

Item #27745, $3,500

General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America, Printed by Benjamin Franklin

LEWIS EVANS, Geographical, Historical, Political, Philosophical and Mechanical Essays. The First, Containing an Analysis of a General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America; And of the Country of the Confederate Indians: A Description of the Face of the Country; … Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall, and sold by Robert and James Dodsley in London, August 1755. First edition. First state (before “The Lakes Cataraqui” caption was added just north of Lake Ontario), original hand-coloring, unfolded to 27 x 20⅛ in. Removed for conservation and display. The accompanying book is included, 7½ x 10¼ in. 36 pp.

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This hand-colored General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America, and the accompanying Analysis, is a first edition, first state printing of one of the most important maps of Colonial America. Particularly due to the details of the Ohio Country, it played a key role in the French and Indian War, with General Edward Braddock using a copy in his ill-fated expedition against the French in modern-day western Pennsylvania.

Item #27200.99, $275,000

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, ON HOLD

One of the Earliest Announcements of Independence

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, The Pennsylvania Magazine; Or American Monthly Museum for January-July, 1776. Philadelphia: Robert Aitken. [5]-344pp.

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A bound volume containing a remarkable issue—one of the most historic magazines ever printed.

July 2.  This day the Hon. Continental Congress declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.

Item #21422.99, $48,000

July 8, 1776 – The First Book Printing of the Declaration of Independence, and One of the First Printings

[Declaration of Independence], “In Congress, July 4, 1776. A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled,” pp. 41–46. Printed immediately after The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution. Carefully collected from the best Authorities; with some Observations, on their Peculiar Fitness, for the United Colonies in General, and Pennsylvania in Particular. By Demophilus. Philadelphia: Printed, and Sold, by Robert Bell, [July 8,] 1776, as dated by the terminal advertisement leaf.

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Very rare. According to Sotheby’s, “while there are copies . . . in a number of major libraries and historical societies, only three other copies have appeared at auction since the Streeter sale” of 1967.

Item #26587.99, $450,000

Declaration Signer’s Copy of the Declaration of Independence (SOLD)

[CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. ROGER SHERMAN, Signed Book. Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings in the Year, 1776. Published by Order of Congress. Volume II. Philadelphia. Robert Aitken, 1777. First edition. Rebound. [2], 513, [26, Index] pages. The Declaration is printed on pages 241-246.

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Roger Sherman’s copy of the 1776 Journals of Congress, including the Declaration of Independence, signed on the title page. This is the second printing of the Declaration to list the names of the signers (after the Goddard broadside) and the third official printing overall (after the Dunlap and Goddard broadsides).

Item #26426, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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 20, 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

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, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Masonic Constitution Dedicated to George Washington, with frontispiece Masonic Coats of Arms by Future Chief Engraver of the US Mint

[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. LAURENCE DERMOTT, Book. Ahiman Rezon [Help to a Brother] abridged and digested: as a Help to all that are, or would be Free and Accepted Masons. To which is added, A Sermon, Preached in Christ-Church, Philadelphia, At A General Communication, Celebrated, agreeable to the Constitutions, on Monday, December 28, 1778, as the Anniversary of St. John the Evangelist. Published by order of The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, by William Smith, D.D. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers, 1783. 4¾ x 7⅝ in.; engraved frontispiece, xvi, 166 pp. First edition.

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In Testimony, as well as of his exalted Services to his Country as of that noble

Philanthropy which distinguishes Him among Masons

This is the scarce first American edition of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s Masonic Constitution, dedicated to Washington as “General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of America.

The 1778 sermon included in this volume carries a similar dedication, as well as a detailed description of the procession in which “our illustrious Brother George Washington” marched as guest of honor. The sermon itself contains a remarkably prescient characterization of Washington as an American Cincinnatus. The volume’s fine frontispiece engraving of two Masonic coats-of-arms is by Robert Scot (Scott), future chief engraver of the United States Mint.

Item #25745, $1,450

Early Printing of the U.S. Constitution, in American Museum—One of the First Two Magazine Printings of the Constitution

[CONSTITUTION], The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Volume II, July – December 1787. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1787. 5⅛ x 8¼ in., approx. 624 pp.

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These six issues of The American Museum magazine capture the events of the dramatic and remarkable latter half of 1787. They include the first magazine printing of the proposed Constitution of the United States, arguments for and against the ratification of the Constitution (including the first six numbers of The Federalist), and notices of the ratification of the Constitution by Delaware and Pennsylvania. Other great material includes the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (one of the three accomplishments of which Jefferson was proudest); Daniel Boone’s account of his exploits in Kentucky; state actions against slavery; and discussions of a wide range of subjects from paper money and public punishment for crimes to Shays’ Rebellion and the promotion of American manufactures.

Item #26595, $17,500

Charter of the Marine Society of the City of New York, Printed in 1788 with Franklin’s Passy Type

[NEW YORK], Printed Pamphlet, Charter of the Marine Society of the City of New-York, in the State of New-York, to Which are Added, the Bye-Laws, and a List of the Members of the Society. New York: Francis Childs, 1788. 34 pp., 6 x 7.75 in. Octavo, contemporary marbled boards (detached), title page toned, some edge tears – but very rare., 1/1/1788.

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A rare volume printed with Franklin’s Passy type. According to Rare Book Hub, only one copy of this edition sold between 1946 (Parke Bernet, 16 May, lot 168) and 2021. Provenance: India House. Ref: “A Descriptive Catalogue of the Marine Collection … at India House” (N.Y., 1935).

Item #26537, $3,500

The Federalist, First Edition, Written to Support the Constitution During Ratification Battle

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, JAMES MADISON, AND JOHN JAY, Book. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays Written in Favor of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. First edition. New York: John and Andrew M’Lean, Two volumes. 1788.

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“it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”

Item #25874, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Early Printing of the Original Twelve Articles of the Bill of Rights

[BILL OF RIGHTS], Acts Passed at the First [-Third] Session of the Congress of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the Fourth of March, in the Year M,DCC,LXXXIX. Philadelphia: Printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, 1791. 3 volumes bound in one, 8vo (368 x 305 mm, uncut). Library stamp on B1 of the first session, repair to lower right corner of Yy4 in the third session. Modern quarter morocco over marbled boards.

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Early reprint of Childs and Swaine’s first official printing, which was issued in New York in 1789. This issue appeared in Philadelphia after the nation’s capital was moved there, and the printers had set up shop. All early printings are scarce, especially those of the first three sessions.

Item #26629.99, $20,000

Opposing the African Slave Trade - 1790 New Haven Sermon

JAMES DANA, Pamphlet. The African Slave Trade. A Discourse Delivered in the City of New-Haven, September 9, 1790, before The Connecticut Society for The Promotion of Freedom. Half-title: Doctor Dana’s Sermon on the African Slave Trade. New Haven: Thomas and Samuel Green, 1791. Evans 23308. 33 pp., 4¾ x 8¼ in.

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Our late warfare was expressly founded on such principles as these: ‘All men are created equal: They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’.... Those who profess to understand and regard the principles of liberty should cheerfully unite to abolish slavery....

In 1784, Connecticut passed a law that all slaves born after March 1, 1784, were to be freed before or when they reached the age of 25. In 1790, a group of clergymen, lawyers, and academics formed the Connecticut Society for the Promotion of Freedom and for the Relief of Persons Unlawfully Holden in Bondage to support the law. Yale University president and Congregationalist minister Ezra Stiles, formerly a slave owner, served as the society’s first president. Here, Rev. Doctor James Dana reviews the history and extent of slavery in the world. Calling it unjust, unchristian, and against the principles of the American Revolution, he urges abolition. Dana’s sermon, and those preached at the Society by Jonathan Edwards Jr., Theodore Dwight, and others, were among the most popular anti-slavery literature from the period. However, the Connecticut Society lapsed and disappeared after the turn of the century.

Item #24464, $1,900

Adams Defends U.S. Constitution, First French Edition

[CONSTITUION]. JOHN ADAMS, Défense des Constitutions américaines, ou, de la nécessité d’une balance dans les pouvoirs d’un gouvernement libre. Paris: Chez Buisson, 1792. 2 volumes, 8vo (197 x 124 mm). Half-titles; a fresh, bright copy. Contemporary French paste paper boards, vellum-tipped corners, smooth mottled calf spines gilt, red and green lettering and numbering pieces; some worm damage to joints.

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First French edition, issued at a crucial moment in that country’s history, as the Revolution was becoming more radical. In 1792 the French Assembly stripped Louis XVI of his power and declared him a prisoner of the nation. They called together the Convention, in order to draft a new constitution to replace that of the prior year. Adams’s treatise explaining and defending the principles of the constitution of the government of the United States would have been a timely and informative work for the emerging French government.

Item #26600.99, $2,000

Justice William Paterson Hold State Law Unconstitutional in Charge to Jury

WILLIAM PATERSON, The Charge of Judge Paterson to the Jury in the Case of Vanhorne’s Lessee against Dorrance: Tried at a Circuit Court for the United States held at Philadelphia, April Term 1795: Wherein the Controverted Title to the Wyoming Lands, Between the Claimants under Pennsylvania and Connecticut, Received a Decision. Philadelphia: Samuel H. Smith, 1796. 42 pp., 3.5 x 5.75 in.

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The case of Van Horne’s Lessee v. Dorrance (1795) was one of the earliest cases in which a federal court asserted the right to disregard a state law that conflicted with the state constitution. Justice William Paterson insisted that a Pennsylvania law that divested one person of property and vested it in another was inconsistent with the “inherent and unalienable rights of man” and a violation of the sanctity of contracts as guaranteed by both the Pennsylvania constitution and the Constitution of the United States.

Item #26251.10, $3,500

Accusing Recently Retired Hamilton of Financial Malfeasance

JAMES CALLENDER, Book. Historical Memories of the United States for 1796. Jan 1797. [Philadelphia: Bioran and Madan]. 288 pp. Half calf and marbled boards, bound in antique style, spine gilt, corners leather tipped.

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Item #24363, $3,500

New York City’s 1797 Laws and Ordinances—James Kent’s Personal Copy

JAMES KENT, Signed Copy of Laws and Ordinances, Ordained and Established by the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of New-York...Passed and Published the first day of May, 1797, in the eighth year of the Mayoralty of Richard Varick, Esquire. New York: George Forman, 1797. First edition, James Kent’s signed copy with autograph notations to front endpapers. Modern calf. 67 pp., 8⅛ x 4¾ in.

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Item #23637.01, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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