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Robert Morris - Declaration Signer and Financier of the Revolution - is Drowning in Debt and Calls for Help

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Letter Signed with Initials, to [John Nicholson], November 21, 1794. 1 p.

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Facing ruin, Robert Morris desperately pleads with his partner John Nicholson to cover a debt resulting from speculating in the North American Land Company. Morris, who previously used his own funds to finance the American Revolutionary War, would suffer the indignity of imprisonment for debt between 1798 and 1801.

Item #23987, $3,750

George Washington’s Second Thanksgiving Proclamation, Sent to American Consuls

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Printed Document Signed, as Secretary of State, this copy sent to Nathaniel Cutting, American Consul at Havre de Grace, France, December 31, 1794, 3 pp and blank on one integral leaf. Randolph’s circular on page one notes that he is attaching a reprint of Thomas Jefferson’s August 26, 1790 letter to our Consuls, and an extract of Jefferson’s May 31, 1792 letter calling attention to a part of the Act of Congress governing the security that consuls have to give to insure they can meet obligations they take on for the United States. He then attaches the full text of Washington’s Second Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, which was publicly issued a day later, on January 1, 1795. 15½ x 12⅞ in.

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When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction.

A day before it is publicly issued, Secretary of State Edmund Randolph Sends Washington’s Proclamation to all American Consuls, as “a better comment upon the general prosperity of our affairs than any which I can make.” According to the President, “the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Out exemption hitherto from foreign war; and increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption; the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed…Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States, do recommend to all Religious Societies and Denominations, and to all Persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday the nineteenth day of February next, as a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer…to beseech the Kind Author of these blessings…to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.

Item #24141, $19,000

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

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, $2,400

Jefferson’s Religious Stance against Slavery

[Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia], The Massachusetts Centinel. August 29, 1789. Boston: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp.

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A Federal Era newspaper printing of Query XVIII from Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson’s key section on slavery.  Also George Washington’s Letter to the Philadelphia Convention of the Episcopal Church, Proposed Revisions to the Bill of Rights, &c.

Contains an extract from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.

Item #30027.30, $4,250

Hamilton Asks His College Roommate and Two Other Good Friends to Pay Their Share of Surveying Expenses for a Speculative Joint New York State Land Investment

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Endorsement Signed, below Arthur Breese, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 13, [1801?], 2 pp.

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Item #24642, ON HOLD

To Alexander Hamilton About Settlement of Land Disputes, Docketed by Eliza

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Manuscript note, n.p., n.d. [but ca. 1791], "Communication" sent to Alexander Hamilton, praising attorney Egbert Benson, who was instrumental in negotiating the land claim which New York had made to Vermont. Settling the land dispute was a congressionally mandated prerequisite for Vermont joining the Union as a state of its own, rather than being divided between New York and New Hampshire. Docketed by Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.

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Item #24620, $2,400

Thomas Paine: Who Suggested that America should have a Monarch?

THOMAS PAINE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Elisha Babcock. New Rochelle, N.Y., July 2, 1805. 1 p., 8 x 10 in., with address leaf.

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Paine asks a newspaper publisher for the source of a report, that Great Britain had circulated a proposal “among the most influential federalists” recommending that the Duke of Clarence be made the King of America. This letter, attacking the Federalists generally and American monarchists specifically, is completely in line with a campaign he waged in his waning years against any in the United States who might yearn for a constriction of democracy and a resumption of monarchic rule in America. Thomas Paine returned to the United States in 1802, after living most of the previous fifteen years abroad. Shortly after his arrival in the United States he was hosted by Jefferson at the White House, and quickly became the target of Federalist attacks. Paine answered those attacks in published articles and in private letters – the present letter is one of those responses. He also asks why his letter (dated June 8) was not printed in the paper.

Item #21490.99, $60,000

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for  independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

President Washington Unique Signed Appointment of First Surveyor General

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Manuscript Document Signed as President. Appointing Simeon De Witt Surveyor General of the United States. Philadelphia, Pa., May 30, 1796. 1 p., 14 x 10½ in. With wax seal of the United States.

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Simeon De Witt, scion of the famous Dutch New York political family, served as a surveyor in the Continental Army and Surveyor General of the State of New York from 1784 until his death in 1834. In 1796, Washington, himself an experienced surveyor, tapped De Witt to be the first U.S. Surveyor general under the Public Lands Act of 1796. Congress created the position to organize the Northwest Territory of the Ohio Valley and sell the land. Remarkably, though, De Witt declined Washington’s offer, and instead Brigadier General Rufus Putnam took the job.

Item #24241, $28,000

Daniel Webster Details a Duel Challenge by Senator John Randolph

DANIEL WEBSTER, Autograph Manuscript. Ca. 1826-1831. 2 pp.

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Randolph twice challenged the venerable Congressmen Daniel Webster. The first was in 1816, when Randolph felt scorned by Webster’s speech in a House debate over sugar duty. The second, relating to this document, was in 1825, after Randolph had seethed for eight months over Webster denying William H. Crawford “the fullest opportunity to answer the charges against him” during the election of 1824. (Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2nd Session, 56-58). In the second challenge, Senator Thomas Hart Benton delivered Randolph’s dare to Webster while the House was in session.

Mutual friends intervened on both challenges and attempted to resolve the matters as quietly as possible. In the end, Randolph withdrew both challenges. Historians believe that Benton played an important role in resolving the second conflict. In 1826, after insulting Secretary of State Henry Clay on the Senate Floor, Randolph accepted Clay’s challenge, which subsequently took place but concluded with a handshake.

The date of this manuscript must be 1826 or later as it refers to “then Senator Lloyd.” It doesn’t mention Lloyd’s death in 1831.

Item #24221, $15,000

Former President and Future Confederate Supporter John Tyler Forcefully Defends the Fugitive Slave Act and the “Southern Cause,” Attacks the NY Press, and Plays up His Own Service in the War of 1812

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed and Autograph Manuscript Signed several times in the third person. Sent to S. Cunningham, from Sherwood Forest, October 12, 1850, 1 page, 9⅜ x 7¼ in. on blue paper marked “Private,” being the cover letter for the manuscript, written for anonymous publication: “The fugitive slave bill and Commissioner Gardiner,” [ca. October 12, 1850], 2 pages, 9⅜ x 7⅞ in. on blue paper.

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In the first fugitive slave law case, which came before his cousin Commissioner Gardiner: “The fugitive was promptly dealt by and restored to his owner in Baltimore. Mr. Gardiner has proven himself to be a faithful public servant, an honest man, and a Patriot. And yet, by a certain class of Editors in New York he is sneered at…”

Tyler criticizes two NY editors in particular: Now what jackasses are Mssrs Herricks and Ropes… These would-be somethingarians [a colloquialism, usually used as an insult] in the first place, deem it a matter of censure in a judge, to execute the law—and, in the next they show their ignorance… by ascribing to Mr. Tyler under their witty soubriquet of Captain (a title he is well content to wear since he enjoyed it during the war of 1812 with Great Britain)…”

Item #24043, $24,000

Manuscript Eulogy to George Washington Penned by R.I. Senator Foster During Senate Session

[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. THEODORE FOSTER, Newspaper. United States Chronicle, Providence, Rhode Island, January 23, 1800. 4 pp., 11½ x 17¾ in. Inscribed: Hon. Theodore Foster, Senator from R.I / Senate Chamber. With autograph manuscript verses by Foster, [Philadelphia, late January 1800].

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Issued five weeks after Washington’s death, this newspaper includes the handwritten reflections of a sitting Senator on the loss of the nation’s first President. It is clear from his words that the people of the nation he helped create—and individual Senators—are still struggling with Washington’s death.

Item #24369, $18,000

A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point

[BLOCK ISLAND SOUND], Manuscript Map. “Draft of the Sound.” Parts of Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Circa 1798-1802. 1 p., 13½ x 13 in. With George Washington signed document described below.

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Based on Osgood Carleton’s 1798 Chart from New York to Timber Island including Nantucket shoals, our map adds local nautical knowledge that would have been critical to the safety of lives and cargoes at the time. Noting uncharted shipwrecks off Fisher’s Island, three unmarked reefs, and two small islands on the course from Newport, Rhode Island, to New London, Connecticut, our map is a purposeful and unique document rather than a simple contemporary copy, which would still be rare.

Item #23759.01-.02, $98,000

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

Unusual Oyster Bay NY Slave Manumission

[SLAVERY], Manuscript Document Signed. New York, N.Y., May 21, 1813. 1 p., 8 x 9½ in.

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Samuel Young and Zebulon Frost, “Overseers of the Poor of Oysterbay” certify that a slave named Lizzie is freed.

Item #23621, ON HOLD

Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Congress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete the Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to finish the Light-House, on Portland-Head, in the District of Maine. 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. 1p. 9¾ x 15¼ in. Evans #22955.

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Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson signs an act of the First Congress authorizing Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to complete construction of a lighthouse in Maine’s Portland Harbor. The $1,500 in funds allocated for the work, one of the earliest federal construction projects, was to be appropriated from duties paid on imports and tonnage.

The “Portland Head Light” is the oldest lighthouse in Maine and the first to be constructed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. It has been memorialized in countless photographs and paintings, most notably a series of 1920s watercolors by Edward Hopper. It is now a museum, owned and operated by the town of Cape Elizabeth. It is considered to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States.

Item #23980, $22,500

A History of Harvard University; North Carolina Debates Ratifying the Constitution; and a List of Newly-Minted U.S. Senators

[CONSTITUTION], Magazine. The Columbian Magazine, Philadelphia, Pa., December, 1788. 52 pp., 5 x 8 in. Lacking plates.

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Item #30007.048, $275

James Monroe Signed Missouri Territory Land Grant to War of 1812 Veteran

JAMES MONROE, Partly Printed Document Signed as President. Land grant to Stephen Taylor, countersigned by Josiah Meigs as Commissioner of the General Land Office. Washington, D.C., March 3, 1819, 1 p., 13 x 8½ in. On vellum. Verso with Stephen Taylor Manuscript Document Signed transferring the land to William Turner. April 22, 1819. With a collection of letters to William and Peter Turner of Newport, R.I., from 1821, 1840 and 1859, re. subsequent sales and payment on this land.

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Stephen Taylor is granted 160 acres for his service in the War of 1812.  With a highly decorative engraved masthead, “Militi Forti Et Fideli,” of a seated Columbia handing a deed to a soldier and his young son.

Item #23816, $1,250

Reporting the Infamous XYZ Affair

[JOHN ADAMS], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel. Boston, Mass., April 14, 1798. 4 pp., 12¼ x 20 in.

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The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the administration of John Adams, involving the United States and Republican France. Its name derives from the substitution of the letters X, Y, and Z for the names of French diplomats in documents released by the Adams administration. The three American diplomats sent to France were approached through informal channels by agents of the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin. Although such demands were not uncommon in European diplomacy of the time, the Americans were offended by them, and eventually left France without ever engaging in formal negotiations. When John Adams released the documents regarding the affair, it led to strong anti-French sentiment in the United States, and led to the “Quasi-War,” a largely undeclared naval war between the United States and France.

With additional articles describing the passage of an act similar to the infamous Stamp Act, an article on President Adams’ income, and an advertisement for a play in honor of Thomas Paine.

Item #30000.43, $750
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