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Maryland Ratifies the Constitution, Suggests Amendments; and Pennsylvanians Speak Out Against the Slave Trade

[CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. Independent Gazetteer; or, The Chronicle of Freedom, Philadelphia, Pa., May 6, 1788. 4 pp., 9½ x 11½ in.

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The Maryland ratifying convention suggests some amendments along with their approval of the Constitution.

Item #30007.003, $950

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

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

Manuscript Music & Lyrics for “Liberty,” a Patriotic Song by Composer Stephen Jenks

[STEPHEN JENKS], Manuscript music and lyrics for the tune “Liberty,” ca. 1800-15. 1 p., 13 x 3½ in.

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Item #23904, $1,100

Jonathan Williams - First Superintendent of West Point and First Head of the Army Corps of Engineers - Assesses New York Harbor Defenses

JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Autograph Letter Signed, to Richard Whiley, December 1, 1809, New York. 2 pp., 7¾ x 10 in.

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As Commander of the Corps of Engineers, Jonathan Williams planned and supervised the construction of New York Harbor’s defenses. In this letter to the commander of Fort Columbus on Governors Island, Williams gives a detailed report on the state of the fortifications and their capacity for additional artillery.

Item #23067.02, $1,100

Receipt for Jewelry for Rachel Jackson

[RACHEL JACKSON], Manuscript Document Signed by the recipients, January 10, 1828, New Orleans, Louisiana. 1 p., 6¾ x 7⅞ in.

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In January 1828, a well-known Connecticut jeweler and watchmaker who had established a business in New Orleans supplied jewelry purchased by or for Rachel Jackson.

Item #26377.03, $1,250

Eight Litchfield Connecticut Men Support the War of 1812

[WAR OF 1812], Document Signed. Litchfield County, Conn. Ca. 1813-1815. [docketed “Support of the War 1812”], 1p.

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Item #24163, $1,250

Elisha Boudinot: Vermont Voters Disgraced Themselves by Reelecting a Congressman Who Was Jailed for Violating the Sedition Act

ELISHA BOUDINOT, Autograph Letter Signed, to Governor Isaac Tichenor, February 12, 1799, “New Ark,” N.J. 1 p., 8 x 12¾ in. With integral address leaf (half missing). , 2/12/1799.

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I am sorry that your state have so disgraced themselves by sending again as their Representative the in-famous Lyon – but, we are in an age of excentricity! May we weather the storm!

To the chagrin of President John Adams and the Federalists like New Jersey Supreme Court Judge Elisha Boudinot, voters re-elected Congressman Matthew Lyon while he was in jail for violating the Sedition Act of 1798. The Act outlawed the publishing of “any false, scandalous, and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame...or to bring them into contempt or disrepute.” Most historians view the Alien and Sedition Acts as an overreaching criminalization of dissent during a war scare (the Quasi War with France).

Item #21480.06, $1,450

Continuing Controversy Over Contested 1824 Election, Maryland Governor Accuses North Carolina Congressman of Lying To Hide His Vote for J.Q Adams over Andrew Jackson

[ANDREW JACKSON], Joseph Kent, Autograph Letter Signed, to Joseph Gales Jr. and William W. Seaton, October 6, 1827, Rose Mount, Maryland. 7 pp., 8 x 9⅞ in. Published in the Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), October 8, 1827, 3:1.

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“… until that moment I did not suppose he could have been forced to Vote for Genl Jackson.… I might ask the Gentleman from North Carolina (Mr Saunders) if he does not know some, who made earnest and solem appeals to members who were uncommitted, saying, save the Nation, save the Nation, by the election of Mr Adams, and who are now to be found arrayed among the foremost of the opposition”

In this letter to the editors of the Daily National Intelligencer, Maryland governor Joseph Kent attacks a “false & scurrilous” publication by R[omulus] M[itchell] Saunders regarding the 1824 election, asking them to publish a “correction.” An excerpt from a letter Kent had written in May 1827 characterized Congressman Saunders, a supporter of William Crawford, as anxious that the election be settled on the first ballot so that North Carolina would not “be forced to vote for” Andrew Jackson.[1] In 1827, Saunders vehemently denied Kent’s recollection and denounced the governor and the newspapers that had published his charge.



[1] Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), July 21, 1827, 2:3. Previously published in Phenix Gazette (Alexandria, VA), July 20, 1827, 3:1, which copied it from The Commentator (Frankfort, KY), July 7, 1827, 3:1-2.

Item #27455, $1,500

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.

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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

Ohio Governor’s Response to
South Carolina Nullification Threat

ALLEN TRIMBLE, Printed Letter Signed, for Trimble by S.C. Andrews, private secretary to the Governor of Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, February 12, 1828.

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“I herewith transmit a copy of the Preamble and Resolutions of the General Assembly of Ohio, in reply to the Resolutions from the Legislature of South Carolina, respecting the Constitutional powers of the General Government.”

Item #21057, $1,500

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

The New U.S. Senate Considers Bill to Organize the Federal Judiciary: Full Text of the Senate Bill to Establish the Supreme Court, Federal Judicial Districts and Circuit Courts, as Well as the Position of Attorney General

JUDICIARY ACT, U.S. SENATE DRAFT, The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser. Newspaper, June 29, 1789 (No. 3248). Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. 4 pp., 11⅜ x 18¼ in.

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the supreme court of the United States shall consist of a chief justice and five associate justices...and shall hold annually at the seat of the federal government two sessions....

The U.S. Constitution provided that the “judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and such inferior Courts,” leaving to Congress to establish the details. The Judiciary Act erected a three-tiered federal court system—the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, and the District Courts—essentially the system in place today. The foremost issue was the relative power and authority to be respectively accorded the federal and state courts. The Judiciary Act’s most controversial provision empowered the Supreme Court to hear, at its discretion, appeals of verdicts reached in the state courts whenever those decisions were deemed to raise questions of constitutionality of state or federal laws. 

Item #24830, $1,650

Secretary of War Orders Payment for Georgia State Militia Called Out to Prepare for War With the Creeks

TIMOTHY PICKERING, Autograph Letter Signed, as Secretary of War, to William Simmons, January 8, 1796, [Philadelphia]. 1 p., 7½ x 12 in.

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I am very much inclined to think the claim of Georgia to the whole will be supported.

Despite a 1790 peace treaty, small raiding parties of Creeks and local white militias continued to cross the disputed western border of Georgia to commit depredations. Painting an alarming picture of barbarous Indians in 1793, the governor of Georgia sought and received the promise of federal support for defending the frontier, though President Washington and the Secretary of War were clear that they did not approve of the governor’s plan to wage war.

This order represents an important point in the contentious relations between the state of Georgia and the federal government over defending the Georgia frontier against the Creeks. President Washington had already appointed the writer, Secretary of War Timothy Pickering, as Secretary of State; when he wrote this letter, he was filling both positions. Pickering was premature in thinking the additional claims of Georgia would be supported. Congress repeatedly denied the state’s request for payment for several times the number of militia that the President had authorized until 37 years later, when the potential for conflict with the Cherokee caused the U.S. House of Representatives to pay Georgia’s claim fully.

Item #25998, $1,750

September 1789 Printing of the Act Establishing the Treasury Department, Along With Important Congressional Debates on Organizing the Federal Judiciary

TREASURY DEPARTMENT; JUDICIARY, The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, September 21, 1789 (No. 3320). Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. 4 pp., approx. 11½ x 18½ in.

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This issue of the Pennsylvania Packet includes key debates in the House of Representatives on the bill establishing the federal judiciary, as well as the text of the act establishing the Treasury Department and dramatic news of the French Revolution.

Item #24832, $1,750

General Edward Hand on Framing a New Constitution in Pennsylvania

EDWARD HAND, Autograph Letter Signed, to Jasper Yeates, February 4, 1790, Philadelphia, Pa. 2 pp., 6¾ x 8 in.

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Edward Hand apprises a Pennsylvania political ally of recent developments at the state convention for framing a new constitution. “Some time ago I forwarded you the plan of the Legislative Branch, & now send those for the Executive & Judicial, as agreed on by the Committee of the whole.

Item #27565, $1,750

Caleb Cushing, U.S. Congressman,
Calls for Annexation of Canada

CALEB CUSHING, Autograph Letter Signed, to an unidentified recipient, Newburyport, [ Massachusetts], September 28, 1839.

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“I Trust We May Live To See The Stars & Stripes Floating Over The Citadel Over Quebec.”

Item #20021, $1,750

Eighteenth-Century Archive from Hartford Free Grammar School, the Second Oldest Secondary School in America

[EDUCATION], Archive of 21 documents related to the Hartford Free Grammar School. 28 pp., 5¾ x 5 in. to 13 x 15½ in., 0/0/0.

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This small archive includes promissory notes for tuition and a series of accounts with teachers and others from the late eighteenth-century for the Hartford Free Grammar School, the second oldest school of secondary education in the United States. Items include the signatures of Thomas Seymour (1735-1829), who served as the first mayor of Hartford (1784-1812); Solomon Porter (1753-1821), principal of the school; Joshua Leffingwell (1762-1811), Hartford architect; and others.

Item #24151.01, $1,800

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
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