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

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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

Native American Land Sale, Signed with Totem Marks

[NATIVE AMERICAN], Tateew, Ochangues and Neckarind, Manuscript deed for land in Ulster County, N.Y. to Cornelius Hornbeek and Frederick Shoonmaker, signed by Abraham Gaasbeek Chambers and Gilbert Livingston, countersigned by John Schoonmaker, Anderyes Decker, J. Pruyn, Jr., and Conrad Weiser as witnesses June 15, 1728. Rochester, Ulster Co., N.Y.

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Deed for land in Ulster County, N.Y., signed by three Indians with their totem marks and red wax seals, conveying a mine and 400 acres of land to Cornelius Hornbeek and Frederick Schoonmaker.

Item #21419, $9,000

Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, Passed as Four Acts of Congress, Plus the Residence Act Quid-pro-quo

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Each of the four Gazette of the United States, August 7, 14, 21, and 28, 1790, were printed in New York: John Fenno. 4 pp. each. The four parts of Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, as passed by Congress, are included in full only days after each were passed. #30022.37-.40

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“Justice and the support of the public credit require, that provision should be made for fulfilling the engagements of the United States, in respect to their foreign debt, and for funding their domestic debt upon equitable and satisfactory terms.”

Alexander Hamilton understood the necessity of placing the new nation on firm financial ground.

On January 9, 1790, Hamilton delivered to Congress his First Report on Public Credit, a strategy for achieving seven key goals for America’s financial system. One of his primary recommendations was the federal assumption of all states’ war debts, amounting to approximately $22 million in addition to foreign powers who were owed nearly $11 million, and American citizens who had sold food, horses, and supplies to the Army, who held $43 million in debt. Hamilton’s ambitious debt plan aimed to draw both creditors and debtors closer to the federal government by honoring all the Revolutionary War debts in full, paying off the resulting national debt over time from excise taxes and land sales.

Many Southerners opposed Hamilton’s plan, believing it would create a dangerous centralization of power, unfairly penalize the southern states who had already paid off more of their debts, and give the North too much financial control. Ultimately, in a deal between Hamilton, James Madison and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, southern legislators agreed to support the Plan in return for locating the permanent national capital (then temporarily in NY) on the banks of the Potomac River.

The Gazette of the United States, the semi-official newspaper of the federal government, published the acts that codified Hamilton’s Assumption Plan in four parts: “An Act Making Provision for the Debt of the United States” (passed Aug. 4, in the Aug. 7 issue); “An Act to Provide more Effectually for the Settlement of the Accounts between the United States and the Individual States” (passed Aug. 5, in the Aug. 14 issue); “An Act Making Further Provision for the Payment of the Debts of the United States” (padded Aug. 10, in the Aug 21 issue); “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt” (passed Aug 12, in the Aug. 28 issue).

Item #30022.37-.40 & 30022.41, $8,500

Psalms of David, Carried by a Continental Army Officer and Inscribed in 1776

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; RHODE ISLAND]. ISAAC WATTS, Book. The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament: and Applied to the Christian State and Worship (title supplied). Norwich, [Connecticut]: Alexander Robertson, James Robertson, and Trumbull, 1774. Approx. 300 pp., 3 x 5 x 1¼ in.

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Bibles, psalm books, or other printed works carried during the Revolution are rare on the market. This edition appears to be scarce: the last offering we find was by Goodspeed’s in 1934.

Item #24693, $8,500

A Unique Pairing: Connecticut Printer Timothy Green’s scarce 1774 Proceedings of the American Continental Congress…, with CT Treasury Order Paying Him to Distribute it

CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, Book. Extracts from the Votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress, held at Philadelphia on the 5th of September 1774 Containing the Bill of rights, a List of grievances, Occasional resolves, the Association, an Address to the People of Great-Britain, a Memorial to the Inhabitants of the British American Colonies, and an Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec. New-London: Timothy Green, 1774. Quarto, 16 pp. Sewn as issued. Edges chipped with small loss at corners of first leaves (not affecting text).

With:
CONNECTICUT REVOLUTIONARY WAR TREASURY. Manuscript Document Signed. Order to pay Timothy Green “To Transporting to the Several Counties, the Doings of the Continental Congress…,” April 17, 1775, New London, Conn. 1 p., 6 x 9 in. Signed twice by Nathan Baxter, countersigned by Richard Law, Thomas Mumford, and Caleb Knight.

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Item #23976/24244.01, $8,500

Massachusetts Militia Pay Petition Listing 27 Minutemen
Who Responded to the Lexington Alarm

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Document, Dorchester, Massachusetts, December 30th, 1775, addressed to Massachusetts Treasurer Henry Gardner. 1p. 8 x 13 in. Likely Drury’s retained copy from the time, with the signatures all in one hand, though some may be signed with marks & Jonathan Hemenway has signed himself.

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A scarce petition for pay listing 44 members of Captain Luke Drury’s Company, 27 of whom were Grafton, Massachusetts-area Minutemen who had marched 36 miles to respond to the Lexington-Concord Alarm on April 19-21, 1775. The list includes Fortune Burnee, a Minuteman of African American and Native American heritage, and his half-brother, Joseph Anthony, who enlisted on April 29th and died in service. Another of the Minutemen listed is the famous clockmaker Aaron Willard.

Item #20781.03, $8,500

Broadside Declaring War on Spain

[GEORGE II], Broadside, “His Majesty’s Declaration of War Against the King of Spain,” John Bassett, printer, London, October 19, 1739, 16 x 21 in., with contemporary manuscript notes and docketing, October 23, 1739.

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Parliament goes to war after Robert Jenkins displays his detached ear.

Item #22456, $6,500

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, $6,250

The Gentleman’s Magazine, Complete for 1776, with War News, Including an Early British Printing of the Declaration of Independence

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Gentleman’s Magazine. Complete run for 1776, including Supplement and Index. Lacking boards, but original leather spine present. London, England. Clean and tight. Note: The text is complete, but lacking 9 of 14 inserted maps or plates.

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A complete run for 1776 of this monthly journal of news, science, arts and philosophy gives insight into how readers in Great Britain perceived the momentous events occurring in America.  News reports cover most of the major events relating to the American Revolution.  There were no regularly published magazines in America at the time.

Item #23705, $5,500

Quartermaster’s Account Book, ca. 1783

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], A very fine content ledger kept by Nicholas Quackenbush. 19 pp. folio, [Albany, ca. 1783].

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Item #21007.17, $5,500

A Month After Yorktown, Colonel Drury’s Weekly Return for His Regiment at West Point Notes “Chain Fatigue”

[LUKE DRURY], Manuscript Document Signed as Lieutenant Colonel and Commandant. West Point, N.Y., November 15, 1781. 1 p., 12¼ x 15¾ in.

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Item #20639.08, $5,000

Revolutionary Recipes for Gunpowder

REVOLUTIONARY WAR, Archive. Five documents related to gunpowder manufacturing. [Connecticut and Massachusetts]. 1775 – 1787.

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A rare and fascinating collection of Revolutionary War period documents concerning the manufacture and distribution of gunpowder for the American cause. The documents include several recipes for the all-important substance, as well as instructions for making saltpeter, a key component. The highlights include a rare manuscript recipe for powder sent to a man in New Milford, Connecticut, and two formulas published in The Essex Journal and New Hampshire Packet. Other documents detail the procurement from domestic producers, who were critical in the early days of the war to keeping the Continental Army and militiamen supplied with black powder.

Includes:

Manuscript Document, to Mr. Davis Marsh. “To make Gun powder,” [no place, no date], 1p. 7½ x 11½ in.

Two recipes from The Essex Journal and New-Hampshire Packet, Newburyport, Mass., December 15, 1775, with a nearly full-page article with instructions for making saltpeter, and January 19, 1776, with detailed instructions by Henry Wisner for the production of powder. Each 4 pp., 10 x 15 in.

Manuscript Document Signed, by the Select Men of Milford, Connecticut. January 15, 1777. 1 p., 8 x 10 in. For 618 pounds of saltpeter.

Manuscript Document Signed, a receipt from Enoch Huse to Nathaniel Cushing for “1 Qr Cask Gunpowder.” Boston, Mass., December 22, 1787. 1 p., 6 x 2 ½ in.

Item #20783, $5,000

Rare Issue of John Peter Zenger’s
New-York Weekly Journal, 1734

[JOHN PETER ZENGER], Newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal, Containing the freshest advices, Foreign and Domestick, Numb. XXXIV. New York: John Peter Zenger, June 24, 1734 4 pp. 11 x 6⅞ in.

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John Peter Zenger’s iconic newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal, was created to spark popular opposition to William Cosby, the new royal governor of New York. He was the last colonist to be prosecuted for seditious libel, and to have his case go to trial, before the American Revolution. Zenger’s case, ending in his acquittal, stands as a landmark in the history of one of our most basic rights – freedom of the press. Historian Leonard Levy concludes that “the Zenger verdict made people exult in liberty and the relationship of liberty of the press to liberty itself.”

Pre-1768 newspapers are exceedingly rare, and this newspaper is central to the debate over freedom of the press in America.

Item #30026.01, $4,800

Dutchess County Militia Members Receive Their Pay in December 1776

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Document. Soldier’s pay register for a Dutchess County militia unit at Fort Constitution. Garrison, New York, December 30, 1776 to May 20, 1777. 9 pp. on 3 folded sheets.

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Revolutionary War soldiers who had been called for a short period of garrison duty at Fort Constitution signed or made their “x-mark” on this register as they received pay from Captain Barnardus Swartwout. More than 100 soldiers, part of the 4th Dutchess County Regiment of the New York militia, signed this document as having received ration money, advances, and other accounting at both Fort Constitution and Wappinger’s Creek.

Item #23008, ON HOLD

Captain Luke Drury’s Company Guards Supplies in Grafton, Massachusetts

[LUKE DRURY], Manuscript Document Signed by 20 men of Grafton, Mass. May 19, 1777 1 p.

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Two years after the Lexington alarm of April 19, 1775, some of Drury’s original company of militiamen remained under his command to guard the town of Grafton, Massachusetts.

Item #20993.13, $4,500

Woodbury, Connecticut Adopts First Continental Congress’ Articles of Association

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Broadside, in the hand of Captain Benjamin Stiles, Sr., August 21, 1775. Woodbury, Connecticut. 1 p. 7⅜ x 11¾ in. Condition: Fine. Some wear along edge, including a few short tears, and 1¼ in. vertical tear at bottom edge clear of text.

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“being unanimosly agreed…if any of the good people of this town Shall go Counter…it shall be the duty of this Committee publickly to advertise them…all persons must break of all Connections with Such person”

In response to the “Intolerable Acts” that Britain had passed to suppress the patriot movement, in October of 1774, the First Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Association, signed by 53 delegates, including George Washington and John Adams. The Articles called for severing economic ties with Britain, banning the slave trade, and improving agriculture and industry within the colonies. During the boycott, the Articles discouraged “every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of games, cock fighting, exhibitions of shews, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments.” It even frowned on expensive mourning clothes. While it lasted, the boycott was relatively successful in damaging Britain’s economy. In 1775, the Crown responded with harsher acts which, rather than having the intended effect, pushed the colonies towards war.

Item #24223, $4,000

Declaration of Independence — One of First English Printings, Boldly Publishing Complete Unadulterated Text

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure. August 1776. London: John Hinton, [early September, 1776]. Pp 57-111 plus plate. 5 x 8½. Disbound.

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“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”

Item #23642, ON HOLD

“Report of the work on Constitution Island”

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; WEST POINT], Manuscript Document, n.d. [ca. 1780-1781], report on the works across from West Point, critiquing vulnerabilities in the banquettes, parapets, magazines, artillery positions, and a sallyport. From the papers of Col. Luke Drury. 2 pp., 6¾ x 6⅞ in.

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Item #20639.04, $3,850

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

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
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