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Pennsylvania

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A Revolutionary War Doctor Defends His Reputation, Pennsylvania War News, and Congress Takes a Huge Loan

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Packet or General Advertiser. John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pa., July 1, 1779. 4 pp., 10½ x 17, untrimmed.

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Item #21556.07, $850

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper with European and Colonial News, Warns Against Con Man Tom Bell, Mentions “a Jew, astronomer” Who May Have Solved Problem of Longitude

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 14, 1749. Philadelphia, PA: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. 4 pp., 8½ x 13¼ in.

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This issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette, edited by Benjamin Franklin with his new partner David Hall, includes a brief story on a Jewish astronomer with a new method for determining longitude, a warning against confidence man Tom Bell, and a minor eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Item #30028.01, $850

William Penn Wanted For Treason

[WILLIAM PENN], Newspaper. The London Gazette, February 9, 1690, 2 pp., 6¼ x 11¼ in.

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Pennsylvania founder William Penn supported James II during the Glorious Revolution, James’s attempt to regain the English throne. When William and Mary ascended the throne, Penn was suspected of treason.

Item #30000.54, $900

Franklin Proclaims,
“Britain has no Right to tax the Colonies…”

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper, The Pennsylvania Chronicle. Philadelphia: William Goddard, February 6, 1769. 8 pp. (pp. 9-16), 10 x 12.5 in.

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Item #30000.71, $950

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

January 1776 Pennsylvania Magazine, Edited by Thomas Paine, Including Much Revolutionary War Political and Military Content

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Pamphlet. Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. For January 1776. Philadelphia: R. Aitken, [February 7, 1776]. [9]-52 (44pp.), lacking first two leaves, incl. title, 5¼ x 8¼ in.

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Benedict Arnold’s bravery in the failed American attack on Canada; America’s chief medical officer Dr. Benjamin Church’s treason; an account of the burning of Norfolk, Virginia; anti-slavery piece written by Paine, etc.

Item #23750.03, $1,500

Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris Signs a Promissory Note

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially Printed Document Signed, Promissory Note, John Nicholson to John Greenleaf. Philadelphia, Pa., August 1, 1795.

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Morris signs a note involving his two partners in the doomed North American Land Company. Here, he orders John Nicholson to pay James Greenleaf $5,000 four years hence, in a move that no doubt contributed to Morris’s bankruptcy and imprisonment in 1798.

Item #23013.01, $1,600

Benjamin Franklin Presents the Constitution
to the Pennsylvania State Legislature;
A Nantucket Indian Creation Myth

[CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser, September 21, 1787. John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pa., 4 pp., 12 x 18¾ in.

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Item #21449.18, $1,800

Documenting Declaration of Independence Signer
Robert Morris’s Financial Troubles

ROBERT MORRIS, Partially-Printed Document Signed. Promissory Note. Philadelphia, Pa., May 12, 1795. 1 p., 4 x 6¾ in. Endorsed on verso by Morris. Ink burn through the “R” and “b” in “Robt.” Left edge irregularly cut.

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Item #23148.01, $2,950

Robert Morris Signed Note - Used as Evidence in His Bankruptcy Trial

ROBERT MORRIS, Autograph Document Signed. Philadelphia, July 17, 1795. 2 pp. 6 ½ x 4”. With Peter Lohra, Document Signed. Philadelphia, July 20, 1798, endorsed on verso, Joseph Hopkinson and Thomas Cumpston, Philadelphia, September 19, 1801. 1 p. 8 x 13”.

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Two documents related to the business failures of Robert Morris and John Nicholson. The first is a partly printed promissory note signed and engrossed by Nicholson to Morris, and endorsed by Morris, later used as evidence in Morris’s bankruptcy trial. The note states, “Three years after date Promise to pay Robert Morris Esqr or order Eight Thousand – Dollars for Value Received.” The second document is Peter Lohra’s protest of Nicholson’s bad promissory note. The document has an embossed seal in the lower left corner and is tipped to a larger sheet. On the document’s verso is a note reading “Exhibited to us under the commission against Robert Morris, Philadelphia, 19th September 1801,” and signed by Joseph Hopkinson and Thomas Cumpston, commissioners appointed to oversee the proceedings after Morris had languished in prison for three years.

Item #21609, $3,500

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports Virginia’s Call to Arms at the Outset of the French and Indian War

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., November 7, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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From Williamsburg, Virginia, Governor Robert Dinwiddie addresses the House of Burgesses to address the continuing problem of French and Indian incursions into Virginia’s western territories and calling them to action.

Item #22426.08, $3,800

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports on the Proposed Union of the Colonies

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., September 12, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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New York’s legislative bodies and governor volley for position on a defensive pact that suggested that the colonies join together for the first time. With the usual shipping news, advertisements, and news from other colonial cities, including New York and Williamsburg.

Item #22426.06, $3,800

John Penn on the Final Year of the Mason-Dixon Line Survey

JOHN PENN, Autograph Letter Signed, as Governor. Black Point, June 17, 1767, to [Joseph Shippen]. 4 pp.

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Penn advises Joseph Shippen on how best to deal with the inordinate influx of Indian scouts arriving for the famous surveying expedition.  While on vacation, he directs the logistics of the survey party and foretells the survey’s running over budget.

Item #20734.99, $4,500

Assailing the Pennsylvania “Board of Censors”
for Failing to Amend the Constitution

[PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION], Broadside. An Alarm. To the Freemen and Electors of Pennsylvania. [Philadelphia, Pa.], October 1, 1784. 1 p., 16½ x 21 in.

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Item #22886, $4,800

William Goddard Publishes One of the Earliest American Political Cartoons (1772)

[WILLIAM GODDARD], Newspaper. “Americanus” political cartoon in The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, September 19, 1772. Vol. 6, No. 36, pp. 145-148. Philadelphia: William Goddard. 4 pp., 9¾ x 16 in.

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This very early woodcut political cartoon lampoons loyalist “Americanus” (Joseph Galloway). The caption reads, “Americanus, heavy laden, with the 5 Mile Stone on his Back, trampling on the Goddess Liberty, the Bill of Rights, and Pennsylvania Charter, on his Way to Bucks County Electionbegging Relief from his Burthen.” In the woodcut itself, a devil whispers in Americanus’ ear: “Don’t flinch my Dear Galloway, I’ll support you.

Item #24805, $5,200

Congress Demands Pennsylvania Soldiers for a Final Assault on the British Army

[ARTHUR ST. CLAIR]. CHARLES THOMSON, Printed Document, Manuscript Order of the Continental Congress, to Arthur St. Clair, on levying troops in Pennsylvania to organize at Philadelphia, signed by Thomson as Secretary of Congress, September 19, 1781. 1 p., 5¼ x 7¼ in.

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As Washington’s gathered the Continental Army around Yorktown, Virginia, for a final, decisive battle against British forces, tactical planning continued for major cities and strategic points throughout America. The importance of victory and adequate defense weighed heavily on the Revolution’s military leaders. Alexander Hamilton, writing to his wife, Eliza, from his post in Annapolis on September 18, was concise: “I am going to do my duty. Our operations will be so conducted, as to economize the lives of men. Exert your fortitude and rely upon heaven.”[1]

Item #24011, $6,500

With His Colony Just Over a Year Old, William Penn Sells 500 Acres for Pennies an Acre

WILLIAM PENN, Manuscript Document Signed, to William Clark. [London], April 24, 1682. 1 p., 19 x 14 in. On vellum, with red wax signet seal attached to a vellum tab at bottom Countersigned by three witnesses on verso.

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Just 13 months after Pennsylvania was created, this indenture records a land transaction, where William Penn sold 500 acres in Pennsylvania to fellow Quaker William Clark(e) for 5 shillings. Clark became Provincial Councilor and Justice of the Peace in Sussex County (now Delaware). He lived in the area disputed by Lord Baltimore and Penn, and attempted to mediate the dispute between the two proprietors, to no avail.

Item #23407, $7,500

William Penn Appoints Customs Officer for Kent County to Enforce Navigation Acts

WILLIAM PENN, Manuscript Document Signed, Appointment for customs agent (with name left blank) for “the County of Kent, annexed to the Province of Pennsylvania” [now Delaware], Philadelphia, March 10, 1701. On vellum. 1 p., 16¾ x 9¼ in.

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As proprietor of Pennsylvania, including the later state of Delaware, Penn authorizes the appointment of a yet-unnamed customs agent for Kent county. Customs agents were an essential part of funding the British mercantile system. Due to the belief that there was a finite amount of money in the world, Britain sought to keep the benefits of trade within the Empire and minimize the export of gold and silver.

Item #23989.01, $9,000

The Laws of Pennsylvania for 1781-1785, Signed by
Clement Biddle, George Washington’s Commissary General at Valley Forge

CLEMENT BIDDLE, Signed Book. Laws Enacted in the Sixth [-Ninth] General Assembly of the Representatives of the Freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania... Vol. II. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers [and Thomas Bradford], 1782-1785. Folio. 254, [3] 256-270, [3], 272 362, 362-365, 362-368, [6], 372-399, [1], II, [1], 402-857, [1], iv, [1], 590-704, iii p Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1782-1785. First six sections printed by Hall & Sellers, remainder by Thomas Bradford. Approximately 706 pp.

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Item #22236, $9,500

William Penn to James Logan, Future President of Council of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Philadelphia, Chief Justice of PA Supreme Court, and Founder of the Library Company

WILLIAM PENN, Autograph Letter Signed to James Logan. n.p. [London?], June 27, 1706. 1 p., 6¼ x 7½ in. bifolium with integral address leaf with panel in Penn’s hand.

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Penn, writing from England, asks his trusted secretary in Philadelphia to assist Thomas Haywood regarding his lands and debts. Penn was in the midst of his own ongoing dispute about ownership of all of Pennsylvania, which had originated with the crowning of William and Mary in 1688, and trumped-up charges of treason due to Penn’s championing of religious freedom, which led to an opportunity for Penn’s manager to, in effect, embezzle the entire colony from him. (See below for more details). A month after Penn wrote this letter, Logan advises Penn to avoid ruin by selling the government “for a valuable consideration” as the only “probable method of clearing thy debts.” 

Penn did not heed Logan’s advice, and the court placed Penn in debtor’s prison from January 1707 to August 1708. Penn eventually settled the Ford claim with a payment of £7,600, and then began negotiations to sell the colony to the Crown. Unfortunately, a series of strokes from 1711 to 1713 interrupted his negotiations, and he died in poverty. His family (after its own dispute between step-sons) retained ownership of the colony of Pennsylvania until the American Revolution.

Item #23806, $14,000
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