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

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1781 West Point Materiel Issue by Elnathan Haskell

ELNATHAN HASKELL, Autograph Document Signed (E. Haskell DAG) on a slip of paper, [West Point, N.Y.], 9 November 1781, order to issue “one of the best Hor.sm [Horseman’s] Tents” to Col. Luke Drury.

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Item #20639.06, $350

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

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

George Washington on the Impending Execution of Charles Asgill: “The Enemy ought to have learnt before this, that my Resolutions are not to be trifled with.”

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782. 3 pp., with free frank signed on address panel on verso of 3rd page. 9 x 14 in. Offered with discount issue of The Columbian Magazine, January, 1787, printing an excerpt of this letter relating to the Asgill Affair, and supporting documents.

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In the summer of 1782, following America’s victory at Yorktown the previous September, peace negotiations were just getting underway in Paris between the United States and Britain. With their outcome uncertain, desperate Loyalists here sought to strengthen the British hold on New York, undermine America’s vulnerable financial system, and exact revenge for their own losses. Spies were everywhere.

In this powerful letter about two major cases, Washington supports civilian authority, shows frustration over his troops’ handling of captured spies – especially a delay in following a habeas corpus ruling – and expresses steely anger over the British response to the pending execution of young Charles Asgill in retaliation for the murder of American captain Joshua Huddy.

Item #23811, $52,500

Remarkable Linen Textile, Rich in Patriotic Imagery, is Rare Icon of the American Revolution

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Textile. “America Presenting at the Altar of Liberty Medallions of Her Illustrious Sons” ca. 1783-1785. 26¼ x 44 in.

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Item #24406, $3,600

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

Hamilton Aids a Revolutionary War Loyalist:
Important N.Y. Confiscation Act Case Verdict

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Document, 4 ½ pages (8 x 13 in.) hinged together, Supreme Court [New York], n.d. [ca. December 1784], being a special verdict of the case of James Leonard/James Jackson v. Anthony Post

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Item #24628, $24,000

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

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

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

Gov. Harry Lee Requests All Virginia Slave Condemnation Cases for Clemency Review

HENRY “LIGHT HORSE” HARRY LEE, Printed Document Signed as Governor of Virginia, Circular Letter Richmond, January 25, 1794. 1 p., 6 ½ x 8 in.

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“Light Horse” Harry Lee was a Revolutionary War hero, governor of Virginia, and father to famous Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Here, he requests that county clerks fill positions of “Escheator,” persons overseeing land reverting to the state if there are no heirs, and adds that he would like the clerks to inform him of any cases of a slave condemned for crimes where the “person be considered as an object of mercy or not…”

Item #25033, $3,900

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

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

A Textile Tribute to the Father of the Nation

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

From the Library of New York Signer William Floyd

WILLIAM FLOYD, Signed Book. Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife: Comprehending Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners, Religion and Morals. New York, I. Riley, 1810. 5th American ed. Vol. 1 (of 2), 214 pp. Signed in ink on corner of flyleaf, “Wm. Floyd 1813.”

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This is the 5th American edition of a popular moralistic novel by Englishwoman Hannah More, first published in 1809 and frequently reprinted on both sides of the Atlantic.

Item #21869, $2,750

The First Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copper plate printing, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. Facsimile drawn by Benjamin Owen Tyler (b. 1789) and engraved by Peter Maverick (1780-1831), 25 ½ x 31 ½ in., framed to 34 ½ x 40 ½ in.

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Item #25076, $35,000

Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures

BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside, Drawn by Tyler and engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. 1 p., 23⅞ x 31 in., archivally framed to approx. 32 x 40 in.

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“In Congress, July 4th 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

Item #23683, $35,000
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