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Gov. Harry Lee Requests All Virginia Slave Condemnation Cases for Clemency Review

HENRY “LIGHT HORSE” HARRY LEE, Printed Document Signed as Governor of Virginia, Circular Letter Richmond, January 25, 1794. 1 p., 6 ½ x 8 in.


“Light Horse” Harry Lee was a Revolutionary War hero, governor of Virginia, and father to famous Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Here, he requests that county clerks fill positions of “Escheator,” persons overseeing land reverting to the state if there are no heirs, and adds that he would like the clerks to inform him of any cases of a slave condemned for crimes where the “person be considered as an object of mercy or not…”

Item #25033, $3,900

The earliest obtainable printing of George Washington’s Clearest Statement on Religious Freedom: “the Government of the United to bigotry no sanction...”

[GEORGE WASHINGTON. AMERICAN JUDAICA], Newspaper. Newport Mercury, September 13, 1790. Newport, Rhode Island: Henry Barber. Moses Seixas’ letter to Washington, and his response, the “Touro Synagogue letter,” both printed in full on page 1. 4 pp., 8⅛ x 13 in.


From fifteen Sephardic families who arrived in 1658, Newport’s Jewish community grew to be the largest in the colonies by the Revolutionary War. Many Jews left during the British occupation, but a significant number returned. By the time of Washington’s visit, there were approximately 300 Jews in the thriving Newport community.

On August 17, 1790, on behalf of the Congregation Kahal Kadosh Yeshuat Israel, Newport merchant and banker Moses Seixas wrote an address to welcome George Washington. Seixas’ letter (see below) welcomed Washington to Newport, and congratulated his ascendancy to the Presidency. Seixas also expressed his hopes for the new government’s success and its commitment to religious freedom, that a “government erected by the majesty of the people, a government which to bigotry gives no sanction, persecution no alliance, but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience,” would be created under the new Constitution. Seixas most likely gave Washington the letter on the morning of August 18, when other Clergy and townspeople met with Washington to express their regard for him.

Washington replied later on August 18. He thanked the community for its warm welcome, and assured the congregation that in his administration, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship....” He then echoed and built on Seixas’ words, “For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

The original letter is owned by the Morris Morgenstern Foundation, and is on long-term loan to the National Museum of American Jewish History. We were honored to have appraised the original prior to its exhibit, and to have arranged several loans to the museum. Each year, members of the Touro Synagogue in Newport read the letter in a public ceremony.

The Boston Herald of Freedom first published both Seixas’ letter and Washington’s reply on September 7, 1790, followed by a Newport printing on September 9.

Washington echoed Seixas’ words, and built on them, to make his most celebrated statement on religious freedom.

Item #25029, $125,000

Burr Sub-Leases a Lot on Richmond Hill Estate Land he had Leased from Trinity Church

AARON BURR, Partially Printed Indenture Signed “Aaron Burr,” to Mathew Goul, July 20, 1797, New York, with additional certification on verso, August 30, 1797, also signed “Aaron Burr.” 2 pp., 9¾ x 15¾ in.


Item #24953, $2,000

Massachusetts Learns the News of Philip Hamilton’s Death

[PHILIP HAMILTON DUEL], Newspaper. The Salem Gazette, December 4, 1801. Salem, Massachusetts: Thomas C. Cushing. 4 pp.


Item #24959, $900

Genêt Offers a Rather Inadequate Explanation of the Citizen Genêt Affair

EDMOND-CHARLES GENÊT, Autograph Letter Signed in French, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, July 9, 1793, Philadelphia. 2 pp., 8 x 13¼ in.


Item #24762, $3,500

King George III Approves Appointments and Promotions for Senior Military Officers

GEORGE III, Document Signed “GR” [George Rex], Assignments of Senior Military Officers, ca. 1808. 1 p.


Administering and protecting the far-flung British Empire, the British army was posted throughout the world. Having shrunk to a poorly administered force of some 40,000 men by 1793, the army grew rapidly during the period of the Napoleonic Wars with France, numbering more than 250,000 men in 1813. This list, approved by King George III, posts senior officers in Great Britain, the Caribbean Islands, Malta, and Canada. Many of these men had served in the American Revolutionary War as junior officers and gained promotion for their service there and in Egypt, India, the Netherlands, Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

Item #24659, $2,500

A Frustrated Former Officer Pushes Hamilton Too Far

CALEB GIBBS, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 30, 1799. 2½ pp.


Item #24645.16, $1,500

Answering Hamilton’s Question on Naturalization and Immigrant Rights in Maryland

WILLIAM TILGHMAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, March 19, 1797, 2 pp.


“I have carefully reexamined the laws of Maryland, since the receipt of your favor of the 15th inst. & cannot find that a single Justice of the Peace, ever had authority since the revolution, to naturalize & grant a certificate of it.”A

Item #24645.12, $2,500

A Legal Document Signed by Hamilton’s Second in His Fatal Duel

NATHANIEL PENDLETON, Manuscript Document Signed as Federal Judge, District of Georgia. Deposition of Hannah Miller, March 14, 1796, St. Marys, Georgia.


This affidavit is from a federal court case that federal District Judge Nathaniel Pendleton heard in Georgia.

Item #24398, $2,000

Jewish Synagogue Thanks Washington for His Role in Ensuring Civil and Religious Liberty

[MOSES SEIXAS], Pamphlet. The American Museum, or Universal Magazine, for June 1791. Philadelphia, PA: Matthew Carey. Final issue of vol 9. Disbound. Including Moses Seixas’ letter to President Washington on behalf of the Newport congregation (based in Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue still standing in America). The Seixas letter appears on p. 40 of Appendix II. 192? pp. 8¼ x 5 in.


In 1789, President George Washington toured New England but did not visit Rhode Island because it had not yet ratified the Constitution. Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the Constitution, on May 29, 1790. Fewer than three months later, Washington visited Rhode Island with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and others. On August 18, 1790, Washington stopped at the Touro Synagogue, and Warden Moses Seixas read this letter from the congregation to Washington.

Washington’s reply to the Touro letter (which unfortunately is not printed here) is his most famous letter, and one of the greatest statements on religious freedom. Washington’s declaration that the U.S. government gives “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” is actually drawn from Seixas’ letter to him. Washington made loyalty to the nation, rather than a particular creed, the prerequisite for religious freedom and equality.

Item #24159, $1,500

Lafayette Seeks a Position for a Friend

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gillbert du Motier, MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, to Unknown Recipient. June 15, 1811, La Grange. 1 p.


The French hero of the American Revolution writes from his home to a customs official in Napoleonic France recommending his attorney friend Monsieur Gros for a position in a customs office in southern France.

Item #24153, $1,750

Anti-Federalists Mock “His Worship” James Duane

DAVID GELSTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Smith, New York, January 20, 1789. 2 pp., 7½ x 12¼ in. With New York Daily Advertiser, January 20, 1789, New York: Francis Childs. 4 pp. This issue publishes Duane’s remarks in full on page 2. Among the many ads on pages 1, 3 and 4 are those for the sale of stock certificates, wanted to purchase shares in the Bank of the United States, Hayman Levy selling furs, renting a house, sherry wine, auctions of real estate, sale of an enslaved woman and child, Cuban cigars, ship’s passages, etc.


his arguments are so solid, so firm, so clear, & so conclusive as incontestably to prove that the battle of Lexington happened in the year 1775… those arguments with the more solid one if Possible to wit, the tremendous Mountain called Antonys Nose do so clearly and undeniably move than an Election is an Act of Legislation

Anthony’s Nose is a peak along the Hudson River at the north end of Westchester County.

Item #23868, $1,100

Senator Burr’s Not-So-Impartial Opinion on the 1792 NY Gubernatorial Election

AARON BURR, Pamphlet. An Impartial Statement of the Controversy, Respecting the Decision of the Late Committee of Canvassers. Containing, the Opinions of Edmund Randolph, Esq. Attorney General of the United States, and Several Other Eminent Law Characters. New York: Thomas Greenleaf, 1792. 46 pp. [2 blank] With the elegant ownership signature of “John McKesson, 1792,” Clerk of the 16th New York State Legislature (1792–1793).


Item #23406, $2,800

The Bill of Rights – and Ratification

[BILL OF RIGHTS], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, March 14, 1792. Boston, Mass.: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp., 10½ x 16½ in.


This issue contains twelve proposed Constitutional amendments that Congress sent to the states for ratification. Following Virginia’s vote in December 1791, the required number of states had passed ten of the twelve amendments. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson sent a circular to the governors of the states including the articles that had been ratified, which became the Bill of Rights, as well as the two proposed amendments that had not been ratified. The fate of the remaining two amendments was still in question, as the action of the Massachusetts legislature in 1790 had not been transmitted to Jefferson.

Item #25046, $6,500

George Washington & Thomas Jefferson Signed Patent for Brick Making Machine

GEORGE WASHINGTON, THOMAS JEFFERSON, EDMUND RANDOLPH, Washington as President, Jefferson as Secretary of State, Randolph as Attorney General. Partially Printed Document Signed, August 17, 1793. Patent for a Brickmaking Machine, to Samuel Brouwer. With inventor’s description, and large drawing signed by J. Mackay, Delineator.


The federal government issued this patent to Samuel Brouwer of New York City in 1793 for his invention of a brick-making machine. It is signed by George Washington as President, Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, and Edmund Randolph as Attorney General.

Only 19 patents signed by George Washington are currently known to survive, of which only 7 are also signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. Brouwer’s is:

- the only known patent signed by Washington and Jefferson with its original drawing;

- one of only two patents signed by Washington and Jefferson known in private hands;

- one of only ten patents issued by Washington and Jefferson under the 1793 second patent act which was heavily influenced by Jefferson and one of only two known to survive;

- the only known surviving GW-TJ signed patent for a New York inventor.

Samuel Brouwer, the inventor, was born in New York in 1762. He married Sarah Martin in 1794, and they had at least six children. Various sources list him as a carpenter, a drum-maker (barrels, not musical instruments), and a composition and fanlight (decorative windows over doors) maker, but add few details of his life.[1]

The illustrator of the brick-making machine, “J. Mackay,” is very likely John MacKay, included in New York City directories from 1790 to 1812. He is sometimes listed as a glazier as well as a painter.

The National Gallery of Art holds a 1791 portrait by Mackay of Catherine Brower. Four other portraits, Hannah Bush and John Bush, also from 1791, and John Mix and Ruth Stanley Mix, from 1788, depict prominent New York City residents.

Item #24982, $285,000

Self-Exiled Burr Ordered Out of the United Kingdom

[AARON BURR], Newspaper. New-England Palladium, January 9, 1810. Boston: Young and Minns.


Item #30005.011, $400

Light Horse Harry Lee Asks Hamilton for a Favor

HENRY LEE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, August 12, 1791, Alexandria, Virginia. 1 p.


Item #24645.06, $2,000

Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Enabling Revolutionary War Veterans to Settle the West

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act to enable the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia line on Continental Establishment, to obtain Titles to certain Lands lying north west of the river Ohio, between the Little Miami and Sciota, August 10, 1790. [New York, N.Y.: Francis Childs and John Swaine]. Signed in type 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. 2 pp.


Secretary of State Jefferson signs an act enabling Virginia to issue Northwest Territory land grants promised to veterans for their Revolutionary War service. Jefferson had already played a critical role in the creation of a national domain and the opening of the American West by orchestrating Virginia’s cession of the Northwest Territory to the United States. This act repeals a controversial 1788 Confederation Congress Act that invalidated the state’s right to lay out military bounty lands within a section of the Northwest Territory.

Item #23981, $17,500

Part of Hamilton’s Draft of 1787 Act “for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes,” from His One Term in New York’s Legislature

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript. c. March 1787. New York. 2 pp.


Two pages of Hamilton’s third draft of a bill for “An Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes within This State.” These two pages were retained by the family until acquired by us earlier this year. The balance of Hamilton’s third draft is in the Library of Congress.

Item #24627, $20,000

Harvard’s 1791 Graduating Students and Theses, Dedicated to Governor John Hancock and Lieutenant Governor Samuel Adams

HARVARD COLLEGE, Broadside. List of Graduating Students and Theses for Disputation. Boston, Massachusetts: Samuel Hall, 1791. 1 p., 18 x 22 in.


Interesting broadside in Latin issued for Harvard University’s 1791 commencement lists Latinized names of 27 graduating students. Among the graduates are New Hampshire Justice John Harris (1769-1845); U.S. Representative Thomas Rice (1768-1854); and Henry Dana Ward (1768-1817), youngest son of General Artemas Ward (1727-1800), who initially commanded the patriot army around Boston in 1775.

Item #24462, $1,500
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