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Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)
Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)

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John Hancock’s Letter Proclaiming Independence, and Sending the Declaration to Georgia

JOHN HANCOCK, Letter Signed, text in a secretarial hand (likely Jacob Rust), to the Convention of Georgia [Council of Safety], Philadelphia, July 8, 1776, 2 pages, 8 x 12⅝ in. on the first leaf of a bifolium.

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Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States....

The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.

Hancock sent similar letters to each of the thirteen original states. All five that can be located today (Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) have previously sold. The present example was first recorded at auction in 1899, in the estate auction of the preeminent collector of his day. It last changed hands privately more than 50 years ago.

The Declaration copies that Hancock sent with these letters are known as Dunlap Broadsides, after John Dunlap, who spent the night of July 4-5 printing them. The broadsides – single pages with all the information printed on one side – were all unsigned. Even so, the last Dunlap broadside to change hands sold for more than $20 million.

The original manuscript document that Hancock and Charles Thomson signed on July 4th has not been seen since.

Even the “National Treasure” document in the National Archives came later; it was penned after New York changed its instructions to allow the vote for Independence to be retroactively unanimous, and the signers’ “John Hancocks” were affixed on or after August 2.

Note that we will offer a generous discount to any buyer willing to bring the letter back to Georgia, or to place it in an appropriate museum or library.

Item #26034,

Anti-Catholic “Test Oath” Signed by George Washington – as Required to Validate his Military Commission as Lieutenant Colonel at the Outset of the French and Indian War

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Manuscript Document Signed, [March 19, 1754]. With signatures of more than a dozen others, dating from Feb. 3, 1754 to Aug. 19, 1755. John West, Jr. and James Towers, whose signatures immediately follow Washington’s, subscribed on the same day, and, along with several other signers, served with Washington in the 1754 campaign. The subscribers, all Fairfax County, Va. public officials and militiamen, signed starting on the right side of the paper; a second column was then added to the left.

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“there is no Transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lords supper or in the elements of Bread and wine...”

On March 15, 1754, Governor Robert Dinwiddie enclosed Washington’s commission as lieutenant colonel of the Virginia regiment in a letter directing the young officer and his men to the Ohio Valley to help defend against approaching French forces. Four days later, Washington signed this “test oath” – required of all Virginia civil and military officers – validating his commission. He would soon find himself at the center of a battle that ignited war between Britain and France, and a defeat that led him to sign the only surrender of his entire career.

Ironically, Washington’s signature on this document launched the military and political career that eventually proved instrumental in expanding the religious freedoms that this oath sought to restrict.

Note that we have agreed to steer this to a philanthropic individual, foundation or company willing to acquire and donate this to George Washington’s Mount Vernon or the Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives. Details on request.

Item #23200, PRICE ON REQUEST

John Hancock Addresses Massachusetts Legislature

[JOHN HANCOCK], Newspaper. Massachusetts Centinel, Boston, Mass., June 4, 1788. 4 pp., 9½ x 14½ in. Trimmed close at bottom edge, with minor text loss to pp. 3-4 but not affecting Hancock’s speech. “X”s mark certain columns for reading or copying.

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Item #20650.31, $450

An Annapolis Report of the Continental Congress Deciding Legislative Terms Under the Articles of Confederation

[ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION], Newspaper. Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy, Or, The Worcester Gazette, Worcester, Mass., May 13, 1784. 4 pp., 11 x 18½ in.

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Item #21556.06, $650

Depreciation, Inflation and Taxation

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser, John Dunlap: Philadelphia, Pa., July 15, 1779. 4 pp., 10½ x 16½ in., untrimmed.

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Item #21556.04, $750

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

Declaration Signer George Ross Gets Promissory Note for First Treason Trial in Pennsylvania

GEORGE ROSS, Document Signed in text in Docketing. Promissory note of Joseph Malin to George Ross, September 16, 1778. 2 pp.

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Item #24194.02, $1,250

Congress Responds to King George III’s Proclamation that the Colonies are in Rebellion

[SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 13, 1775 (No. 2451). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. With the Response of the Continental Congress to King George III’s Proclamation of Rebellion. (December 6, 1775). 4 pp. 10 x 15½ in. [Significant damage: Half of column on p1 excised.]

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We are accused of ‘forgetting the allegiance which we owe to the power that has protected and sustained us.’… What allegiance is it that we forget? Allegiance to Parliament? We never owed—we never owned it. Allegiance to our King? Our words have ever avowed it...we oppose the claim and exercise of unconstitutional powers, to which neither the Crown nor Parliament were ever entitled.

Item #30035.30, $1,250

John Marshall’s “Life of George Washington”
and Companion Atlas with Hand-colored Maps

JOHN MARSHALL. [GEORGE WASHINGTON], Books, The Life of George Washington Commander in Chief of the American Forces, During the War which Established the Independence of his Country and First President of the United States, Compiled Under the Inspection of the Honourable Bushrod Washington, From Original Papers Bequeathed to him by his Deceased Relative, 2nd edition, in two volumes. Philadelphia: James Crissy and Thomas Cowperthwait, 1840. 982 pp. plus index, 5½ x 9 in. Both have pencil inscription on blank fly leaf “A. Seeley 1851 Presented by T.C. Gladding.” Rebound; very good, some foxing toward the front. OCLC 183328030. With: Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington, Philadelphia: J. Crissy, [1832], 10 hand-colored maps. Ex-Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Massachusetts bookplate on front paste-down. Black cloth spine and corners, original green boards with label. Internally fine. OCLC 191237946.

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Chief Justice John Marshall’s magisterial biography of George Washington was originally a five-volume set. This 1840 publication, revised and issued in two volumes, also includes the 1832 companion atlas of maps relating to the Revolutionary War.

Item #22477, $1,250

Masonic Constitution Dedicated to George Washington, with frontispiece Masonic Coats of Arms by Future Chief Engraver of the US Mint

[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. LAURENCE DERMOTT, Book. Ahiman Rezon [Help to a Brother] abridged and digested: as a Help to all that are, or would be Free and Accepted Masons. To which is added, A Sermon, Preached in Christ-Church, Philadelphia, At A General Communication, Celebrated, agreeable to the Constitutions, on Monday, December 28, 1778, as the Anniversary of St. John the Evangelist. Published by order of The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, by William Smith, D.D. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers, 1783. 4¾ x 7⅝ in.; engraved frontispiece, xvi, 166 pp. First edition.

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In Testimony, as well as of his exalted Services to his Country as of that noble

Philanthropy which distinguishes Him among Masons

This is the scarce first American edition of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s Masonic Constitution, dedicated to Washington as “General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of America.

The 1778 sermon included in this volume carries a similar dedication, as well as a detailed description of the procession in which “our illustrious Brother George Washington” marched as guest of honor. The sermon itself contains a remarkably prescient characterization of Washington as an American Cincinnatus. The volume’s fine frontispiece engraving of two Masonic coats-of-arms is by Robert Scot (Scott), future chief engraver of the United States Mint.

Item #25745, $1,450

N.Y. “Sons of Freedom” Pull Down Statue of King George III

[Revolutionary War], Large Engraving, “Pulling Down the Statue of George III, By the Sons of Freedom, At the Bowling Green City of New York July 1776,” 34” x 25,’ uncolored, titled after a painting by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel and engraved by John C. McRae, 1859.

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After the Declaration of Independence was read to the Continental Army in New York on July 9, 1776, a boisterous crowd of soldiers, sailors and citizens headed to the huge gilt lead equestrian statue of King George III which had been installed on Bowling Green only six years earlier. The crowd toppled his Majesty, who then made his first Broadway appearance before being carted to Connecticut. The head was rescued by Tory sympathizers, and later spotted in the home of Lord Townshend. The rest of the King and the horse he rode in on was melted down. In a truly epic burn, Ebenezer Hazard remarked that the redcoats “will probably have melted majesty fired at them.” Indeed they did; the sculpture was used to make 42,088 bullets.

Item #24461, $1,600

“Cato” (William Smith, first Provost of College of Philadelphia) Opposes Common Sense, and “Cassandra” (Penn’s Professor of Mathematics) Answers

[THOMAS PAINE], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Ledger: Or the Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, & New-Jersey Weekly Advertiser, April 13, 1776. Including Cato’s Letter VI, “To the People of Pennsylvania,” attacking Common Sense on political and religious grounds. This issue also prints the first part of Letter II by “Cassandra” [James Cannon]. Philadelphia: James Humphreys Jr. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in.

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you have only entertained us with some loose declamations upon abuses in the English government; and shocked us, for want of better arguments, by a perversion of things sacred; filling the papers with personal invectives, and calumnies against all who cannot swallow, at a venture, every crude notion, you may cook up as the politics of the day. This will as little agree with the stomachs of others as with mine; although I have declared that, when the last necessity comes, I have no expedient in view but to take my chance with you, for better and for worse.

Liberty or Slavery is now the question. Let us but fairly discover to the inhabitants of these Colonies on which side Liberty has erected her banner and we will leave it to them to determine whether they would choose Liberty tho’ accompanied with war, or Slavery attended by peace.

Item #25382, $1,600

Financing the New Nation at the End of the American Revolution

ROBERT MORRIS, Manuscript Letter Signed, to William Moore, President of Pennsylvania, January 3, 1782, Philadelphia. 1 p., 7⅜ x 7⅜ in.

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On October 19, 1781, the date of the British surrender at Yorktown, Robert Morris, as Superintendent of Finance of the United States, sent a circular to the governors of each of the states. In it, he asserted that “It is high time to relieve ourselves from the ignominy we have already sustained, and to rescue and restore the national credit. This can only be done by solid revenue.”

On January 3, 1782, Morris sent this letter to William Moore, the President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. He also sent copies to President of New Hampshire John Langdon, Governor of Connecticut Jonathan Trumbull, and Governor of Virginia Benjamin Harrison V.

Item #25778, $2,200

An Intrastate Merchant Dispute on the Eve of the American Revolutionary War

UNKNOWN, Handwritten Letter, to Hugh Gaine. November 1, 1774. New York State. 1 p., 8¼ x 8⅜ in.

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Shame, Shame, to take the Advantage of your country in such an oppressive degree…we are sensible of the Mortal Wounds we Received and do receive from you.

Item #24246, $2,400

Return for Lt. John Hicks’s Company at West Point

[WEST POINT], Manuscript Document Signed (John Hicks Lt), West Point, N.Y, December 3, 1781, 1 p. “A Return of Lt. Hicks Comp” listing the names of 38 men; missing lower right corner professionally restored. Verso: notation “Rye Brooks,” possibly the day’s password.

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Item #20639.12, $2,600

British Major General Henry Clinton Pays the Fraser Highlanders

HENRY CLINTON, Partially Printed Document Signed, July 13, 1778, Pay warrant for Simon Fraser’s regiment. Warrant to Captain Angus Macintosh, who also signs it to acknowledge payment. Bound by a cord, partially disbound and separated, 7¾ x 12½ in. The first leaf is slightly smaller at 7¼ x 12 in. 8 pp.

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Item #24755, $2,750

Washington’s Personal Secretary
Tobias Lear’s Copy of History of Russia

[TOBIAS LEAR], Signed book. William Tooke, History of Russia. London, Strahan, 1800. Two volumes, 8vo, full leather, some repair to binding, fine overall. All four plates present. The folding map is foxed, but complete without major tears. Both volumes are signed “Tobias Lear Malta, Oct 13th, 1804” in ornate, formal hand. Provenance: Tobias Lear; to Benjamin Lincoln Lear, with Benjamin’s bookplate.

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Item #22021.02, $2,800

Honoring Washington and Quoting His Farewell Address (Drafted by Hamilton)

GEORGE WASHINGTON, A rare glazed cotton kerchief printed in black bearing a full length portrait of George Washington and a portion of his Farewell Address. Germantown Print Works, c. 1806.

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The central image has a full length Standing Portrait of George Washington as President with his sword, after the original painting by Gilbert Stuart painted for William Constable, better known as the “Landsdowne Portrait.” Washington’s portrait is framed by a portion of his farewell address on the left, and his epitaph on the right. The bottom bears three panels, including the Great Seal of the United States, a sailing ship scene labeled “Commercial Union,” and “The British Lion.”

Item #24700, $2,850

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

The King’s Attorney Bills Connecticut – including cost of putting down a church riot (over tithing and ecclesiastical conflict between MA. & CT.) – and Suing Stamp Tax Collectors

JEDEDIAH ELDERKIN, Autograph Document Signed (“Jeda Elderkin”), Hartford, November 9, 1768, being an accounting of monies owed to and collected by Elderkin in Connecticut for services rendered as King’s attorney from December 1754 to 1766. 2 pp., recto and verso, double-folio.

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To Trouble & Expence against Rioters at Woodstock £1… To my Trouble & Expence to bring Actions agst the Collectors of Excise pr order of Assembly, £3.10

Item #23409, $3,500
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