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Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

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Charles Sumner Discusses the Emerging Duty
of the United States in Promoting Human Rights &
World Peace Evoking the Declaration of Independence and Championing Louis Kossuth and his Exploits

CHARLES SUMNER, Autograph Letter Signed, Boston, October 26, 1851. 4 pp., 7 x 9 in.

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“The influence, we are now able to wield, is a sacred trust, which should be exercised firmly, discreetly, in conformity with the Laws of Nations & with an anxious eye to the peace of the world, so as always to promote the great cause of Human Rights. Our example can do much”

Item #20287, $2,750

John Quincy Adams Proclaims an Unbroken Union Free of Slavery to be the Legacy of the Declaration of Independence

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at Their Request, on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837. Newburyport: Newburyport Herald Office by Morss and Brewster, 1837. Printed pamphlet, 68 pp., 12° (5.5 x 9.25 in.) First Edition, very fine, presentation copy, bound in later quarter leather but with the original blue wrappers, inscribed by the author to William Ellery Channing on the front wrapper: “Revd William E. Channing D.D from John Quincy Adams.”

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The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction, than by the author of the Declaration himself.

Item #24283, $5,000

The Declaration of Independence First Facsimile,
Printed by William J. Stone

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copperplate engraving printed on heavy wove paper. First edition imprint at top, “ENGRAVED by W.J. STONE for the Dept. of State by order of J. Q. Adams, Sec of State July 4, 1823.” 25⅞ x 29⅞ in. overall.

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“In Congress, July 4, 1776.  The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…”

Item #20716, PRICE ON REQUEST

Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures

BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside, Drawn by Tyler and engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. 1 p., 23⅞ x 31 in., archivally framed to approx. 32 x 40 in.

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“In Congress, July 4th 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

Item #23683, $25,000

To Avoid Abuse from “bigots in religion...politics, or...medicine,” Thomas Jefferson Declines to Publish Benjamin Rush’s Private Correspondence

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to James Mease. With conjoined franked address leaf in Jefferson’s hand. August 17, 1816. Monticello, [Charlottesville, Va.]. 1 p., 9¾ x 8 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Thomas Jefferson, long since retired to private life, declines the request of Dr. James Mease for copies of Dr. Benjamin Rush’s correspondence with Jefferson. Mease had hoped to include them in a volume of Rush’s letters to be published and specifically requested letters pertaining to Rush’s personal views on religion and politics. After demurring, Jefferson discusses at length the differences between personal and official correspondence, with philosophical thoughts on public versus private expression. He closes with assurances that his decision is nothing personal, and of his great respect for Mease: “I hope, my dear Sir, you will see in my scruples only a sentiment of fidelity to a deceased friend.”

Item #23233, ON HOLD

Inscribed Volume from the Library of William Ellery, Declaration Signer and Abolitionist

WILLIAM ELLERY, Signed Book. “The Christian Disciple,” Vol. II (index at front, 12 issues bound together). Boston, 1814. 8½ x 5 1/8”. Inscribed to George Ellery on title page. Contemporary calf-backed marbled paper boards. (Worn, rear cover and last leaf detached. Housed in modern custom leather and cloth case.)

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Twelve issues of a non-denominational Christian monthly, featuring edifying essays such as “On the Evils of War,” “On the sinfulness of Infants,” a “Sketch of Mr. William Penn,” a long essay on “The Slave Trade” (in nos. 10 and 12), original poetry (including “Ode to Sickness”), news of overseas congregations, and extracts from missionaries’ letters.

Item #21868, $2,600

From the Library of New York Signer William Floyd

WILLIAM FLOYD, Signed Book. Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife: Comprehending Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners, Religion and Morals. New York, I. Riley, 1810. 5th American ed. Vol. 1 (of 2), 214 pp. Signed in ink on corner of flyleaf, “Wm. Floyd 1813.”

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This is the 5th American edition of a popular moralistic novel by Englishwoman Hannah More, first published in 1809 and frequently reprinted on both sides of the Atlantic.

Item #21869, $2,750

From Smallpox Inoculations to Farm Threshing Machines:
A Declaration Signer Discusses Cutting-Edge Technologies

GEORGE CLYMER, Autograph Letter Signed “GC.” to Harry C?. No place, January 5, 1805. 4 pp., 6½ x 8 in.

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George Clymer emphasizes revitalizing the nation’s first agricultural society and reports the technological innovations the forthcoming secretary was observing in his effort to rebuild the organization.

Item #22748, $2,350

Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris Signs a Promissory Note

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially Printed Document Signed, Promissory Note, John Nicholson to John Greenleaf. Philadelphia, Pa., August 1, 1795.

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Morris signs a note involving his two partners in the doomed North American Land Company. Here, he orders John Nicholson to pay James Greenleaf $5,000 four years hence, in a move that no doubt contributed to Morris’s bankruptcy and imprisonment in 1798.

Item #23013.01, $2,850

Robert Morris Signed Note - Used as Evidence in His Bankruptcy Trial

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Document Signed. Philadelphia, July 17, 1795. 2 pp. 6 ½ x 4”.

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Two documents related to the business failures of Robert Morris and John Nicholson. The first is a partly printed promissory note signed and engrossed by Nicholson to Morris, and endorsed by Morris, later used as evidence in Morris’s bankruptcy trial. The note states, “Three years after date Promise to pay Robert Morris Esqr or order Eight Thousand – Dollars for Value Received.” The second document is Peter Lohra’s protest of Nicholson’s bad promissory note. The document has an embossed seal in the lower left corner and is tipped to a larger sheet. On the document’s verso is a note reading “Exhibited to us under the commission against Robert Morris, Philadelphia, 19th September 1801,” and signed by Joseph Hopkinson and Thomas Cumpston, commissioners appointed to oversee the proceedings after Morris had languished in prison for three years.

Item #21609, $3,500

Documenting Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris’s Financial Troubles

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially-Printed Document Signed. Promissory Note. Philadelphia, Pa., May 12, 1795. 1 p., 4 x 6¾ in. Endorsed on verso by Morris. Ink burn through the “R” and “b” in “Robt.” Left edge irregularly cut.

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Item #23148.01, $2,950

North American Land Company Stock Certificate
Signed by Robert Morris & James Marshall

ROBERT MORRIS & JAMES MARSHALL, Document Signed, Stock Certificate for One Share of the North American Land Company. Philadelphia, Pa., March 16, 1795. 1 p., 12½ x 9¾ in.

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Robert Morris and James Marshall sell a share of their land trust to the company of Bird, Savage, and Bird. Morris was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Item #21287, $1,250

Declaration of Independence Signer Samuel Huntington’s Copy of an Act of Congress Signed by Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State. “An Act to alter the Times and Places of holding the Circuit Courts in the Eastern District, and in North-Carolina,...” Philadelphia, Pa., March 2, 1793. 2 pp., 9¾ x 15 in. Signed in Type by George Washington as President. Lengthy docket by Samuel Huntington.

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This act establishes the exact places and dates for the spring Circuit Courts to meet for the eastern districts of New-York, Connecticut, Vermont, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. This copy of the act, duly signed by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson a day before the official date of the end of the Second Congress, was sent to Governor Samuel Huntington of Connecticut because the act specified that the spring circuit court “shall henceforth be held … for the district of Connecticut, at New-Haven on the twenty-fifth day of April…”

Item #23042.99, $25,000

Jefferson-Signed Patent Act of 1793

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An act to promote the progress of useful arts, and to repeal the act heretofore made for that purpose, February 21, 1793. Signed in type by George Washington as President, Jonathan Trumbull as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President and President of the Senate. [Philadelphia: Francis Childs and John Swaine?, 1793], 4 pp. Evans 26309

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Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson signs the second U.S. Patent Act, which played a signal role in the commercial development of the United States. A key difference between this act and the one it replaced was that, in addition to new inventions, patents could be issued for improvements to existing products. The measure helped foster American innovation, successfully ushering the nation into the Industrial Revolution. We locate no other signed copies of this milestone act.

Item #22424.99, $115,000

Jefferson-Signed Act Allowing Maryland
to Collect Customs Duties

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act Declaring the Consent of Congress to a Certain Act of the State of Maryland, February 9, 1791. Signed in print by George Washington as President, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President, and president of the Senate. [Philadelphia: Printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, 1791], 1 p., 10 x 14 ¾ in. Evans #23851.

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Unless granted permission by Congress, the Constitution forbade States from collecting duties on imports, exports, or vessel tonnage. This was consistent with Hamilton’s plan to fund the federal government. However, Congress regularly granted permission for individual states to levy imposts or duties to be used for the improvement of their harbors and waterways. These permissions were regularly renewed, sometimes for decades. Here, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson certifies a copy of the Congressional Act that was constitutionally required for individual states to levy tonnage duties.

Item #22686, $24,000

Connecticut Governor Samuel Huntington Discusses a Survey of Connecticut’s Claims to the Ohio Valley with Roger Sherman’s Son Isaac

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Autograph Letter Signed as Governor, to Isaac Sherman. Norwich, Conn., March 28, 1787. 1 p., 7¼ x 11¾ in.

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Connecticut’s original land grant from 1662 ran theoretically ran coast to coast. Though the state gave up claims to Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley after the Revolution, in 1796, the Connecticut Land Company surveyed a tract south of Lake Erie and established Cleveland, Ohio. Connecticut finally relinquished its western lands in 1800—the last state to do so.

Item #23470, $3,250

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

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

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

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
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