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George Washington’s Famous Letter to American Roman Catholics: A Message of Thankfulness, Patriotism, and Inclusiveness

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], “Letter to the Roman Catholics in America,” ca. March 15, 1790, New York. Printed on the first page of The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, April 10, 1790. Providence, Rhode Island: John Carter. 4 pp., 10⅛ x 15⅜ in.

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The prospect of national prosperity now before us is truly animating, and ought to excite the exertions of all good men to establish and secure the happiness of their country, in the permanent duration of its freedom and independence. America, under the smiles of a Divine Providence—the protection of a good government, and the cultivation of manners, morals and piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence, in literature, commerce, agriculture, improvements at home, and respectability abroad.

As mankind become more liberal, they will be more apt to allow, that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.

Item #24985.99, $14,500

Hamilton Seeks Information from Pennsylvania Loan Officer for Report to Senate

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Manuscript Letter Signed, to Thomas Smith, September 10, 1792, [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. 1 p., 7¾ x 9⅛ in.

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With this circular letter, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton requests financial information to respond to an order from the U.S. Senate. This copy went to Commissioner of Loans for Pennsylvania Thomas Smith. Hamilton submitted the report titled “List of Civil Officers of the United States, Except Judges, with Their Emoluments, for the Year Ending October 1, 1792” to the Senate on February 27, 1793.

Item #27441, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Draft of Thomas Jefferson Circular, Addressing Duties of Consuls & Vice-Consuls

[THOMAS JEFFERSON], Letter, to Consuls and Vice-Consuls, August 26, 1790, New York. Draft or copy in the hand of a clerk. 2 pp., 7¾ x 9¼ in.

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In this letter, Thomas Jefferson provides initial and basic instructions to the consuls and vice-consuls of the United States in European and Caribbean ports. It focuses primarily on the logistics of monitoring and reporting the presence of American vessels in the ports under their authority and on other “political and commercial intelligence as you may think interesting to the United States.” It authorizes consuls and vice-consuls to wear the uniform of the U.S. Navy if they choose to do so and provides details on the features of the uniform. Finally, Jefferson offers advice on maintaining good relationships with the governing authorities. He urges the consuls to avoid minor quarrels and to use the utmost respect in communications with governing officials, “never indulging in any case whatever a single expression which may irritate.”

Item #25721, $3,500

Hamilton LS to Bank of New York Advising That Collectors Will No Longer Receive Its Notes

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Manuscript Letter Signed, to President Gulian Verplanck and Directors of the Bank of New York, April 15, 1793, [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. 1 p., 7¼ x 8⅞ in.

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Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton informs President Gulian Verplanck (1751-1799) and the directors of the Bank of New York, an institution he helped to found in 1784, that collectors of three New York and New Jersey ports would no longer receive their bank’s notes in exchange for specie. Those port collectors were John Lamb (1735-1800) of New York City; Henry Packer Dering (1763-1822) of Sag Harbor, on Long Island, New York; and John Halstead (1729-1813) of Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Item #27438, $19,000

Hamilton LS on Declaration-Signer Philip Livingston's Estate, Ten Years After His Death

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to [William Livingston], December 15, 1788, New York, New York. 3 pp., 6¼ x 7¾ in. Together with an engraving of Hamilton, 6 x 8½ in.

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Item #27212, $11,000

Hamilton Serves as Surety for Loan to Fellow Attorney and Second in His Duel with Burr

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Manuscript Document Signed, Bond, Receipts, Deed, Release of Deed, Widow’s Relinquishment, June 5, 1802–March 24, 1807. 6 pp., 8 x 13 in.

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This compound legal document features the signatures of Alexander Hamilton, Elizabeth Hamilton, two of their sons, and the executors of his will. In June 1802, Alexander Hamilton became one of two sureties for a bond that Nathaniel Pendleton gave to John E. LeConte to ensure the repayment of $6,000 that LeConte loaned to Pendleton. To secure their support as sureties, Pendleton conveyed 4,000 acres of land in Ohio and Clinton County, New York, to Hamilton and the other surety. Pendleton made regular payments of interest and principal to LeConte and completed the repayment by June 1806. In March 1807, Hamilton’s executors (including Pendleton) reconveyed the land to Pendleton, and Elizabeth Hamilton relinquished her dower rights. Her sons James A. Hamilton and John C. Hamilton signed the relinquishment as witnesses.

Item #27210, $18,000

Alexander Hamilton Writes to His Beloved Wife, Eliza, About the Deteriorating Health of Her Younger Sister, Peggy

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed “A.H.”, Albany, Tuesday, Feb(ruary) 25, 1801 to Elizabeth (“Eliza”) Schuyler Hamilton, regarding the deteriorating health of her sister, Margarita “Peggy” Schuyler Van Rensselaer. One sheet folded to make four pages, 5 x 7-3/4 in. Addressed on integral leaf in Hamilton’s hand: “Mrs. Hamilton/No. 26 Broadway/New York”, wax seal partially intact on same; further docketed at bottom by Hamilton, “Mrs. H.”

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“My Dear Eliza/Your sister Peggy has gradually grown worse & it is now in a situation that her dissolution in the opinion of the Doctor is not likely to be long delayed. The L. Governor sends the bearer to bring home his Child--I have not time to add more
Adieu my Eliza A.H.”

Item #27110, $20,000

British Lieutenant Inventories Ammunition and Ordnance Taken from Americans in Burning of Washington

[BURNING OF WASHINGTON, DC.], Thomas G. T. Williams, Copy of Manuscript Document Signed, August 25, 1814, Washington, D.C. 2 pp., 8⅛ x 13½ in.

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Royal Artillery Lieutenant Thomas G. T. Williams compiled this list of ordnance and ammunition that the British Army seized from the Americans in their march toward Washington, at the Battle of Bladensburg, and in the capture of the American capital of Washington, D.C. It also notes that Americans destroyed a great deal of ammunition and ordnance as they abandoned Washington to the British. A few days later, the British would have less success against American forces at Baltimore and Fort McHenry. Four months later, 23-year-old Williams died of yellow fever outside of New Orleans.

Item #27323.03, $2,000

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

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

Rare “Address to the People of the State of Connecticut,” the Report of Delegates from 97 Towns Who Met to Call for a Democratic Non-Theocratic State Constitution

[CONNECTICUT], “Address to the People of the State of Connecticut,” broadsheet, August 29, 1804, New Haven, CT. Signed in type by William Judd, Chairman. 2 pp., 10½ x 18 in.

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An important document in American constitutional and religious history.

“Excellent as may appear the government of Connecticut to those, who have administered it… yet to us… it has been and is an unequal government, constantly tending to the increase of aristocracies and to the consequent humiliation of men and principles, friendly to our revolution. The government is indeed good for those, who have enjoyed all power and privileges under it…”

Three months earlier, Abraham Bishop gave an oration celebrating the re-election of President Jefferson. In it, he argued that the Declaration of Independence made the 1662 Royal Charter void, and that Connecticut’s General Assembly had “usurped the rights of the people” by preventing the passage of a State Constitution. “Thus all the abuses inflicted on us when subjects of a crown, were fastened on us anew... We still suffer from the old restrictions on the right to vote; we are still ruled by the whims of seven men…. Not only do they make laws, but they plead before justices of their own appointment, and … interpret the laws of their own making…. Is this an instrument of government for freemen?... We demand a constitution…”

On August 29, 1804, responding to Bishop’s call for a gathering in New-Haven to discuss replacing King Charles II’s Charter, delegates from 97 towns met, and adopted and ordered the printing of this Address. The Federalist-Congregationalist governing party reacted by warning that everyone should fear these radical Jeffersonian Democratic Republican underminers of all religion. “All the friends of stable government [should] support the Standing Order,”they said, as the five state justices who attended the meeting, including its chairman, were fired.  

The harsh reaction of Church and State government actually proved the point of the Address. But it still took the War of 1812, the trial of journalists and other political enemies by partisan judges, culture wars as the officially established Congregational church become more fundamentalist (ie, a “Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Good Morals,” ultimately causing many members to fly from the church of eternal damnation to less Calvinist denominations), the foundation of a Toleration Party that voted with Republicans, the collapse of the national Federalist Party, and the “Revolution of 1817” before succeeding. Fourteen years after this Address, a new Constitution that dis-established the Congregational Church and created separate executive, legislative and judicial branches in the “Constitution State.”

Item #26603.99, $7,500

George Washington’s Farewell Address (Alexander Hamilton’s Genius at Work)

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy or Worcester Gazette. Newspaper, September 28, 1796. Worcester, MA: Isaiah Thomas. 4 pp., 11.75 x 18.75 in. Washington’s September 17th Farewell Address is printed in full on pages two to three, signed in type.

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Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion....

At the end of his second term, Washington sent an open letter emphasizing the importance of unity and warning Americans against entanglements with foreign powers. Though he had initially solicited James Madison’s assistance in crafting his remarks, Alexander Hamilton’s second draft is the basis of the final address. Delivered to Congress in writing, Washington’s Farewell Address warns against the dangers of sectionalism, and criticizes “the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” referring to the pro-French sentiments of Jefferson and the Republicans. Washington’s policy during the wars between Great Britain and France in the early 1790s had been one of strict neutrality, and in the closing paragraphs of his Address he argues for continued American isolationism. America heeded his advice against joining a permanent alliance for more than a century and a half.

Item #27305, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Alexander Hamilton Signed Registration for Schooner Robert of Baltimore

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Partially Printed Document Signed, Registration of Schooner Robert, April 10, 1790, Baltimore, Maryland. Form printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine in New York. 1 p., 8¾ x 13¼ in.

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Under a law passed in September 1789, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton signed blank certificates in New York and sent them to the collectors of the various ports of the new nation, where the local collector of the port filled them out and signed them. This registration system was part of a Congressional effort to limit the merchant marine to American-built ships owned and crewed by Americans. If a ship met the necessary requirements, it would “be deemed and taken to be, and denominated, a ship or vessel of the United States,” with all the benefits of any U.S. laws. Baltimore collector O. H. Williams filled out and signed this form for the Schooner Robert, owned by Baltimore merchant William Patterson.

Item #27521, $18,000

Major General Alexander Hamilton Message to Father of American Viticulture During Quasi-War with France

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Adlum, August 24, 1799, New York. 1 p., 7.75 x 13 in.

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During the Quasi-War with France, Congress established in May 1798 a three-year “Provisional Army” of 10,000 men, consisting of twelve regiments of infantry and one regiment of cavalry to exist simultaneously with the United States Army. Although the commanding officer of the Provisional Army was George Washington, he accepted the appointment on the condition that he remain in retirement at Mount Vernon until he was actually needed. In March 1799, Congress created an “Eventual Army” of 30,000 men, which was to include the Provisional Army and three regiments of cavalry, but neither army was fully recruited or mobilized. Congress dissolved the Provisional Army in June 1800.

This letter to Major John Adlum of Pennsylvania was part of Major General Alexander Hamilton’s efforts as the ranking general below Washington to prepare forces for the brewing hostilities with France.

Item #26539, $12,500

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

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

Alexander Hamilton, Preparing to Report to Congress on Public Credit, Establishes U.S. Treasury Department’s Forms & Procedures

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Letter Signed as Treasury Secretary. New York, December 1, 1789. 2 pp., 8 x 10 in.

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The First Federal Congress established the Treasury Department on September 2, 1789, only three months before this letter. Hamilton became Secretary of the Treasury – actually the very first member of George Washington’s cabinet – on September 11. Hamilton speedily created processes to organize and run the new nation’s financial system. He requires weekly returns of cash receipts and disbursements, and notes that while monthly returns on import duties will normally not be required, they are for the year about to end. He mentions the need for this information so he can make timely reports to Congress near the beginning of their sessions, with “the information relative to the Revenue which they will necessarily require.” In fact, responding to the request of Congress, Hamilton delivered his seminal Report on Public Credit on January 14, 1790. This letter, introducing his subordinate customs and tax collectors to the developing system, is an early and important part of the process.

Item #27211, SOLD — please inquire about other items

(On Hold) The U.S. Constitution – Very Rare Printing on the Second Day of Publication

[U.S. Constitution], The Pennsylvania Herald, Thursday, September 20, 1787. Philadelphia: William Spotswood. Alexander J. Dallas, editor. 4 pp. 11¾ x 19 inches folded, 23½ x 19 inches opened.

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We are not aware of any other example in private hands, and only six institutions list runs that should include this issue. 

Item #27499, ON HOLD

Madison’s Optimistic First Message to Congress: A Prelude to the War of 1812

JAMES MADISON, Special Session Message. National Intelligencer, May 23, 1809. Broadside. Washington, D.C.: Samuel Harrison Smith. Handwritten on the verso: “Presidents Message 1809” 1 p., 10¼ x 12½ in.

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it affords me much satisfaction to be able to communicate the commencement of a favorable change in our foreign relations....

Item #30051.005, $2,400

President Jefferson Sends, Rather than Delivers, His First State of the Union

THOMAS JEFFERSON, State of the Union Message. Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy, Extra, December 18, 1801, signed in type twice. Broadside. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas Jr. 1 p., 12-1/2 x 19-3/4 in.

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Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.

This important first message contains his observations on Indian relations in America, the U.S. Navy versus the Barbary Pirates, the maintenance of armed forces, relying on a latent militia in peacetime while establishing the Navy and coastal defenses, the census and predictions of population growth along with “the settlement of the extensive country still remaining vacant within our limits,” decreasing the costs of government by removing unnecessary public offices, a laissez-faire approach to economics, the Judiciary, and taxation, foreseeing the removal of “all the internal taxes,” and stating that “sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure, for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not, perhaps, happen, but from the temptations offered by that treasure.

Unlike his predecessors, Jefferson did not deliver the message in person, but delivered it in writing through his personal secretary Meriwether Lewis. In doing so, Jefferson began a tradition that persisted until President Woodrow Wilson delivered his first State of the Union message to Congress in 1913.

Item #20822.99, $5,800
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