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

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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.

Item #20783, $5,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continental Congress Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies Urging Unity Against British Tyranny, and their Separate Address to the Inhabitants of Quebec

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Address by the Continental Congress “To the Inhabitants of the Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Counties of New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina,” October 21, 1774. Printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), November 9, 1774 (No. 2394). Copy sent to Thomas and John Fleet, Boston printers. 4 pp., with Postcript, 2 pp. 10 x 16¼ in.

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“Friends and Countrymen:…

           we find ourselves reduced to the disagreeable alternative, of being silent and betraying the innocent, or of speaking out and censuring those we wish to revere. In making our choice of these distressing difficulties, we prefer the course dictated by honesty, and a regard for the welfare of our country…

           it is clear beyond a doubt, that a resolution is formed, and now is carrying into execution, to extinguish the freedom of these colonies, by subjecting them to a despotic government…”

In addition to the Continental Congress’ address to the inhabitants of the colonies, urging unity in the face of British oppression, this paper and supplement contain resolutions of the Massachusetts provincial assembly of October 26, 28 and 29, calling on the militia to be prepared and approving non-importation and non-consumption agreements (p2); a proclamation from Governor John Penn regarding Pennsylvania’s disputed border with Maryland (p3); Congresses’ October 26 Address “to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec” (p5-6); and several notices and advertisements, including rewards for several Irish, Dutch, and English servants who had run away (p4 & 6) and an advertisement for Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Item #30035.20, $9,500

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

Declaration Signer James Wilson’s Signed Copy of, 1774 Maryland Guide, the First Original American Legal Work, Earliest on Law of Wills

[JAMES WILSON], Signed Book. Vallette, Elie. The Deputy Commissary’s Guide within the Province of Maryland. Annapolis: Ann Catherine Green and Son, 1774. Octavo. Engraved title & table by Thomas Sparrow. Signed twice by Wilson at head of title & on front free endpaper recto. Both signatures ruled through in ink by subsequent owners, other owner’s signatures on endpaper. A little blue & red crayon underlining & scrawl at head of title.

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An important association copy of a rare book with many first claims: this is the only edition of the first original American legal work, and the earliest book published in America on the law of wills. It also contains the only engraving from a colonial Maryland press, by Thomas Sparrow, the only engraver south of the Mason-Dixon Line before 1775.

Item #23609, $10,000

The Annapolis Tea Party, in “Unite or Die” newspaper, with great Revolutionary content; Other news includes Russo-Turkish war treaty guaranteeing independence of Crimea

[ANNAPOLIS TEA PARTY], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, October 26, 1774 (No. 1664). Philadelphia: William and Thomas Bradford.

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There are no Whigs and Tories in America, yet there is a spirit of liberty; and this spirit is too powerful for the management of Governors and ministerial tools, who wish to enslave a free people…Let us try, cries a Minister, if none can be found under the specious cloak of religion. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Pope. You will find it in the church of Rome, cries the Devil. I have found it there, cries the French King. Then I will seek it there, cries the English Minister…” (p1/c3)

The excellent Revolutionary War content starts with the masthead, adopted from a famous design drawn by Benjamin Franklin during the French and Indian War. “Join, or Die,” first published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, urged unity amongst the British colonies. It had not been forgotten 20 years later during the prelude to the Revolutionary War. From July 27, 1774 to October 18, 1775, publisher William Bradford included this variant, “Unite or Die,” in his masthead of The Pennsylvania Journal; and the Weekly Advertiser, this time urging unity against the British. This paper also announces the selection of John Hancock as President of Massachusetts’ Provincial Congress and publishes letters to and from Royal Governor Thomas Gage, and editorials. One comment summarizes all: “We hear express orders have been sent over to the Commander in Chief, to prevent the sitting of the American Congress at all events. [These orders will arrive too late.]

Item #24834, $12,500

An Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain – July 1775 Print of Message that went with the Olive Branch Petition

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Rivington’s New York Gazetteer...and Weekly Advertiser, New York, N.Y., July 21, 1775. 4 pp., 11½ x 18 in.

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While 1776 will remain the most memorable year in American history, 1775 actually marks the moment when the colonists became Americans. Hostilities had already begun, yet the delegates of the Continental Congress still sought to avoid war. On July 8, the Continental Congress approved and sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III. At the same time, they sent an appeal stating the case directly to the British people. Both attempts failed, and we have found no evidence that the address was even published in England. Here, in Rivington’s New York paper, it is published in the first two columns of page one, and the first column of page two.

Item #23544, $12,500

The Day Before Independence, Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull Orders Troops to New York to Help George Washington

JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Manuscript Document Signed as Governor, to Thomas Seymour. Lebanon, Conn., July 3, 1776. 2 pp., folio.

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On the eve of Independence, Connecticut Colonial Jonathan Trumbull orders Lt. Col. Thomas Seymour to New York to assist Commander in Chief George Washington. Seymour is ordered to march his three regiments of light horse to New York. In a postscript, Trumbull orders him to send the equipped parts of units without waiting for others to be furnished.

Item #24487, $15,000

John Binns Scarce and Most Decorative Early 19th century (1819) Declaration of Independence Facsimile

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Engraved Broadside. “In Congress July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” [Philadelphia:] John Binns, 1819. Text engraved by C.H. Parker, facsimiles of signatures engraved by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co. Ornamental border incorporating the seals of the thirteen original states after Thomas Sully. Medallion portrait of Washington (after Gilbert Stuart, 1795), Jefferson (after Otis, 1816), and Hancock (after Copley, 1765). 24½ x 34½ in.

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Item #23834.99, $17,500

Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Enabling Revolutionary War Veterans to Settle the West

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act to enable the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia line on Continental Establishment, to obtain Titles to certain Lands lying north west of the river Ohio, between the Little Miami and Sciota, 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. 2 pp.

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Secretary of State Jefferson signs an act enabling Virginia to issue Northwest Territory land grants promised to veterans for their Revolutionary War service. Jefferson had already played a critical role in the creation of a national domain and the opening of the American West by orchestrating Virginia’s cession of the Northwest Territory to the United States. This act repeals a controversial 1788 Confederation Congress Act that invalidated the state’s right to lay out military bounty lands within a section of the Northwest Territory.

Item #23981, $17,500

African American Revolutionary War Documents,
Including Caesar Ferrit, Said to Have Fought at Lexington

[AMERICAN REVOLUTION], Archive. Six Manuscript Documents, Natick, Mass., May 15, 1775. One document (.16) is signed by the town selectmen, listing the disposition and values of eleven guns, 6¼ x 7½ in.; and five smaller corresponding receipts (.17-.21) signed by the recipients. 6 pp. total.

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Weapon receipts, bearing signatures of two African American patriots, remarkably early in the Revolution.

Item #20632.16-.21, $18,000

Rare French Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copperplate engraving, “In Congress, July 4, 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…” Paris: Kaeppelin & Cie, 15 Quai Voltaire; engraved by F. Lepelle. [1840.] 25 x 32”. 1p.

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Scarce French reproduction based on William J. Stone’s official copperplate facsimile done by order of Congress. This French edition was produced for an 1840 adaptation of Jared Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, appearing as plate 22 in the atlas accompanying the multi-volume work.

Item #20627.99, $22,000
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