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Director of Ordnance on Loan of Gunpowder to DuPont and Private Individuals; forwards Copy of Prior Letter Informing Secretary of War John Calhoun of his Objection

DECIUS WADSWORTH, Autograph Letter Signed, to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, February 10, 1821, Washington, D.C. 2 pp., 8 x 10 in.
[With] DECIUS WADSWORTH, Autograph Letter Signed, to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, July 18, 1818, [ca. February 10, 1821, Washington, D.C.]. Marked “copy.” 2 pp., 8 x 10 in.

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The loaning of Munitions of War, in such large quantities from our Magazines and Arsenals is viewed by me as highly impolitic and hazardous; and it is hardly necessary for me to add, that I have had no agency in the Transaction.

Item #23067.06, $1,000

First Army Chief of Ordnance Rails against Military Waste in a Very Modern Essay

DECIUS WADSWORTH, Autograph Document Signed, critique of Senate bill to combine Ordnance and Artillery departments, ca. 1821. 7 pp., 8½ x 12½ in.
[with] DECIUS WADSWORTH, Autograph Document Signed, proposal regarding Ordnance Department, ca. 1821. 3 pp., 8 x 10 in. #23067.04
[with] [JAMES MADISON]. An act for the better regulation of the Ordnance Department, passed by Congress, February 8, 1815, signed in type by President James Madison, Speaker of the House Langdon Cheves, and Senate President pro tem John Gaillard. 2 pp., 7⅞ x 9⅝ in.

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The Idea that an Army shall be entitled to receive whatever may be called for, is monstrous, and is what the Resources of no Nation can support.

Colonel Wadsworth provides a lengthy critique of a Senate bill to combine the Ordnance and Artillery departments. He insists on the need to maintain uniformity in arms manufacture and the necessity to control the flow of supplies. Many of his arguments about the tendency to waste in military expenditures resonate with modern critiques.

Item #23067.03, $1,000

Insurance Companies Refuse to Pay for American Ship Captured While Shipping Arms to Simón Bolívar’s Rebels

[INSURANCE, NEUTRALITY, SHIPPING, SPANISH EMPIRE], Archive of Evidence in Thompson and Bathurst v. Maryland Insurance Company and Thompson and Bathurst v. Phoenix Fire Insurance Company cases, 1821-1824. 28 documents, 41 pp., most 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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This fascinating archive consists of 27 manuscript documents in English and one in Spanish from litigation between the Baltimore owners of the merchant ship Budget and insurance companies that underwrote its voyage from England to South America. This conflict occurred against a backdrop of the collapse of Spain’s American empire, as various areas in Central and South America asserted their independence, many under the leadership of Simón Bolívar. The ship, carrying weapons and supplies destined for Simón Bolívar’s rebels, was captured by a Spanish privateer and condemned in Puerto Rico. The insurance companies refused to pay on their policies, leading to two important cases on maritime law, neutral rights, and the responsibilities of insurance companies.

Item #21602, $1,750

Hamilton’s Future Duel-Doctor to President of Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons

DAVID HOSACK, Autograph Letter Signed, to Samuel Bard, November 26, 1820. 4 pp. plus autograph address to “Doctor Samuel Bard / Hyde Park / Dutchess County” with manuscript and stamped philatelic markings. 8⅛ x 10 in.

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This outstanding letter discusses both early Columbia University (then King's College) medical school administration and early nineteenth-century medicine. The writer served as the doctor for the duels that resulted in the deaths of both Philip and Alexander Hamilton. He was also the founder of the first botanical garden in America, where Rockefeller Center now stands. He sold it to New York State to be given to Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, which transferred it to Columbia University (they sold the land for $400 million in 1985) and another which is now the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site.

Item #25078, ON HOLD

Dartmouth v. Woodward Landmark Supreme Court Case on Contracts & Corporations

TIMOTHY FARRAR, Book. Report of the Case of the Trustees of Dartmouth College against William H. Woodward. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: John W. Foster, and West, Richardson, and Lord, Boston, [1819]. First edition. With ownership signature of A. W. Haven and bookplate of William Russell Foster. 406 pp., 5¾ x 9½ in.

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The opinion of the court after mature deliberation, is, that this [charter] is a contract, the obligation of which cannot be impaired without violating the constitution of the United States.

This volume provides a full report of the landmark decision of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward. After Dartmouth College’s president was removed by its Trustees, the New Hampshire legislature attempted to invalidate the College’s 1769 charter to make it a public institution, giving the governor the power to appoint trustees. The Supreme Court ruled that a corporate charter (in this case, predating even the establishment of the state) was protected by the contracts clause of the Constitution. The decision upheld the sanctity of contracts as necessary to the function of a republic, and declared that a state legislature could not interfere with contracts between private parties, paving the way for American corporations and the modern free enterprise system.

Item #25744, $2,200

Many of the leading Jews of Newport and New York sign 1818 land sale from estate of Benjamin Seixas to Oliver Hazard Perry

[EARLY AMERICAN JUDAICA]. NAPHTALI PHILLIPS, Manuscript Document Signed, 1p, folio, 14½ x 21½ in., November 30, 1818.

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Elaborate receipt for Newport, Rhode Island sale of land from estate of Benjamin Seixas (1747-1817) signed by numerous members of his family and members of the Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Congregation who were heirs to the property, known now as the Buliod-Perry House at 29 Touro Street, to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the great naval hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.

Item #25466, $18,000

Otis on the Infamous Hartford Convention:
“We Ought Not … Be Indifferent to The Effects Of An Erroneous Public Opinion On This Subject,
Upon The Present Age & Upon Posterity …”

HARRISON GRAY OTIS, Autograph Letter Signed, to George Bliss. Boston, October 20, 1818. 1 p. With integral address leaf.

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The presiding officer of the infamous Hartford Convention endeavors to clear the names of its Federalist creators.

Item #20023, $800

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, $29,000

Andrew Jackson and the Taking of Spanish Florida (SOLD)

ANDREW JACKSON, Manuscript Document Signed as Major General Commanding Department of the South. May 7, 1818. 8 x 9 ¾ in. 1 p.

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Order to pay a pilot who guided U.S. navy ships into Florida waters, enabling Jackson to remove Spanish influence there. The order includes payment for piloting the schooner that carried captured British agent Alexander Arbuthnot. Jackson’s hanging of the Scotsman would lead to an international outcry and a Congressional investigation.  

Also signed by John Baptiste, the pilot, with his mark, and witnessed by Surgeon Moses H. Elliott. Baptiste took this document back to the quartermaster at Fort Gadsden, where it was paid: “Fort Gadsden, May 7, 1818. Received of Maj. Milo Mason, Dept. Q.M.Genl., twenty six dollars in full of the above account.”

“The United States to John Baptiste for his service, as pilot on board the United States armed Schooner Thomas Shields under the command of Capt. McKeever from the 30th March to 14th April inclusive-16 days. For the same on board the Schooner Milo, Capt. Snow, from the 15 to 22nd April inclusive being- 8 days. For the same in piloting the Schooner Chance from the Bay of Apalache to St. Marks- 2 days. Total 26 days.  One dollar per day-- $26.  The Q.M. Genl. will pay the above account.”

Item #20007, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The First Engraving of the Declaration of Independence - The Only Known of the 3 Ordered on Linen (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE]. BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside on linen, engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, 1818], approximately 24½ x 31 in.

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“To Thomas Jefferson, Patron of the Arts, the firm Supporter of American Independence, and the Rights of Man, this Charter of Freedom is, with the highest esteem, most Respectfully Inscribed by his much Obliged and very Humble Servant Benjamin Owen Tyler.”

Benjamin Owen Tyler’s engraving was the first decorative print of the Declaration. A self-taught calligrapher and instructor of penmanship, Tyler copied and designed the text of the Declaration, and made exact copies (facsimilies) of the signatures from the engrossed manuscript. The exactness of his work is particularly impressive given the limitations of copying them freehand prior to engraving on a copper plate. Richard Rush, son of the signer Benjamin Rush and acting Secretary of State in 1817, gave a strong endorsement which is printed on the bottom left corner.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Tompkins are among the many notables who ordered copies in advance.

Tyler’s subscription book was donated by Albert Small to the University of Virginia, and now can be viewed online. After extensive study, we count approximately 1650 orders for copies on paper at $5 each, and 40 for copies on vellum at $7 each. 3 noted special orders on silk, 2 of which are known to survive. Only 3 were ordered on linen, of which this is the only copy known to survive. Silk and linen copies also apparently cost $7 each. The three purchasers of premium copies on linen were John G.[?] Camp, Buffalo, N.Y., J. C. Spencer, Canandaigua, NY and John Savage, Salem, N.Y. We don’t know which of the original subscribers ours belonged to, but it does have distinguished provenance, selling in 1979 in the Nathaniel E. Stein auction at Sotheby Parke Bernet, January 30, 1979, lot 47. Stein also owned Tyler’s subscription book, lot 46.

Item #23754, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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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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, $75,000

William Pinkney, Ripped Off by the Government
for His Work on Jay’s Treaty, Declares
“I Do Not Owe The Government One Farthing”

WILLIAM PINKNEY, Autograph Letter Signed, Baltimore, January 11, 1815, to Richard Forrest.

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“I am brought in Debt upon the Treasury Books…by stopping my salary…and leaving me to maintain myself in London…while I was employed under the orders of the President in the affairs of the Maryland Bank stock…”

Item #20893, $1,500

Very early mention of Chicago in archive relating to French and American foundations of Illinois, St. Louis, and Kansas City

[WESTWARD EXPANSION], 11 Handwritten Documents, 1815-1843, centering around George H. Kennerly and his wife Alzire Menard Kennerly, daughter of pioneer fur-trader Pierre Menard. Four are written in French. 21 pp., most approximately 8 x 10 in. Documents have expected toning. A few have some tears on folds and holes with small text loss.

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Genl Mr Johnson and myself rode up from the foot of the Rapids, yesterday to this place. we have had no news from the Troops on Rock River for some days, they were all well when heard from. report from Chicoga says that the hostile Indians, are all trying to get across the Missippi again, the last that was heard from them they were high up on Rock River.

(George Kennerly, during the Black Hawk War, June 10, 1832)

This reference to “Chicoga” is rare this early. From 1825 to 1831, Chicago was a hamlet of about 100 residents in Peoria County. In 1831, Cook County was organized. The next year, many white settlers in northern Illinois fled to Chicago to avoid Black Hawk’s forces. By 1833, when Chicago was organized as a town (a year after this letter), it still only had about 350 residents.

Even earlier letters in the archive, by fur trader, St. Louis pioneer, and first lieutenant governor of Illinois Pierre Menard, and by three of his daughters, and son-in-law George Kennerly, offer glimpses into a pioneering bilingual community. The Menard, Gratiot, Chouteau, and other French creole families founded St. Louis, Kansas City, and additional cities in the Mississippi and Missouri River valleys.

The archive starts with an 1815 power of attorney signed by George Kennerly, with the very rare signature of pioneer fur trader Charles Gratiot who certifies it. Includes the first letter in English written by Alzire Menard, to her soon-to-be-husband George Kennerly. This archive illuminates several facets of American Westward Expansion. It ends with a poignant letter of Amadee Menard, celebrating her 23rd birthday, and contemplating whether she would live to see her 24th birthday: “It is ever thus with those who are young and possess buoyant spirits. Time will soon tell what fortune has in store for me…” Unfortunately, Amadee died ten months later.

Item #25331, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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The News in 1815: 104 Issues of the Boston Patriot

[WAR OF 1812], Newspapers. January 1815 to December 30, 1815 (Vol. XII, no. 34 - vol. XIV, no. 33). Boston, Mass., Davis C. Ballard. 104 issues, each 4 pp., 14 x 20 1/8 in. Bound in 19th-century quarter calf and marbled boards. With some column-width engraved illustrations.

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Item #20655,

“John Bull and the Baltimoreans” Lampooning British Defeat at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Following their Earlier Success at Alexandria

[WAR OF 1812]. WILLIAM CHARLES, Print. John Bull and the Baltimoreans. Satirical engraved aquatint cartoon. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [October, 1814]. 1 p., 12½ x 9 in.

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Mercy! mercy on me. What fellows those Baltimoreans are. After the example of the Alexandrians I thought I had nothing to do but enter the Town and carry off the Booty. And here is nothing but Defeat and Disgrace!!

A masterpiece of design and composition.

Item #25448, $4,500

“Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians” War of 1812 Cartoon Ridiculing Alexandria’s Surrender without a Fight

[WAR OF 1812]. WILLIAM CHARLES, Print. Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians, satirical engraved aquatint cartoon. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [October, 1814]. 1 p., 13 x 9 in.

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Push on Jack, the yankeys are not all so Cowardly as these Fellows here. let’s make the best of our time.

This cartoon mocks the citizens of Alexandria, who easily capitulated to a small British fleet in August 1814. As part of the terms of surrender, John Bull, dressed as a sailor with a sword in one hand and “Terms of Capitulation” in the other, confiscates their property.

Williams Charles’ images were based loosely on Thomas Rowlandson’s 1798 satire, “High Fun for John Bull or the Republicans Put to Their last Shift.”

Item #25449, SOLD — please inquire about other items

“John Bull Making A New Batch of Ships to send to the Lakes” – a Scottish-born American Illustrator Satirizes British Losses on Great Lakes and Lake Champlain

[WAR OF 1812]. WILLIAM CHARLES, Print. John Bull making a new Batch of Ships to send to the Lakes, engraved satirical aquatint cartoon. Philadelphia, [October, 1814]. 1 p., 12¾ x 9¼ in. Excellent condition.

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Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie caused the loss of the British fleet there in September, 1813. Then, in September 1814, Thomas Macdonough’s victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain caused the British, with French Canadian allies and financiers, and British arms makers, to fear that the Yankees might take Canada next. This beautifully colored print by William Charles shows King George III frantically baking more ships to replace those lost to American victories on the Great Lakes. It is a companion to John Bull and the Baltimoreans and Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians.

Item #25451, SOLD — please inquire about other items

James Monroe Defends his Actions in Futile Defense of Washington in War of 1812

JAMES MONROE, Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State, to [Charles Everett], Washington, D.C., September 16, 1814. 2 pp., 7½ x 10 in.

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I stand responsible for my own acts only. [Secretary of War John Armstrong] claims credit for the measures which had been taken for defense of this place. Those measures were not proposed by him but the President....

James Monroe, then Secretary of State, led a scouting expedition in August 1814 that revealed the British marching towards the nation’s capital. His warning allowed President James Madison to evacuate and save America’s founding documents. In the face of criticism, Monroe here discusses his role, trying to avoid blame for the crushing loss and destruction of the Capitol.

Item #24256, $10,000

James Madison’s Second Inaugural Address,
in a Rare New York Irish Newspaper

[JAMES MADISON], Newspaper. The Shamrock, or, Hibernian Chronicle, New York, N.Y., March 13, 1813. Madison’s second inaugural address begins on p. 2 and concludes on p. 3. 4 pp., 12 x 19 in.

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On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty.”

Item #30001.01, $1,000

Shortly After the Beginning of the War of 1812,
Monroe Expresses his Opposition to Mob Violence

JAMES MONROE, Autograph Letter Signed as James Madison’s Secretary of State to an unidentified friend, Albemarle [his home], Virginia, August 5, 1812. 1 p.

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Item #21059.99, $10,000
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