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Publishing and Distributing the “Doings” of the Continental Congress The First Continental Congress met in September 1774 as Americans united in their desire to maintain their English rights but unwilling to accept the decades of coercive Parliamentary actions intended to reestablish dominion over the recalcitrant colonies. Laying a foundation for American independence, it passed a Declaration of Rights on October 14, in which the colonists protest violation of their rights as Englishmen by the Stamp Act, the Townsend duties, the Coercive Acts, and the Quebec Act. It asserts the colonists’ rights to peaceably assemble and maintain their own legislatures. It also records the formation of the Continental Association, where the colonies (but for Georgia) agreed to mutual non-importation, non-exportation, and nonconsumption of British goods. They further resolved to gather the following May if there had been no redress, and included two addresses, one directly to the people of Great Britain and another to the inhabitants of the colonies that justified their actions. Published first in Philadelphia while Congress was sitting, other Eastern cities followed, with the proceedings helping to unify opposition to the Crown. In New London, Timothy Green (1737-1796) published two editions, this in 16 pages and another in 70 pages with the same text but larger type and smaller pages. Green took over the Connecticut Gazette from his brother Thomas Green in 1763 and changed the name to the New London Gazette. According to Evans, the edition issued by Green by order of the Connecticut government on November 3 is regarded as the best. (Evans 13732.) Excerpts “Declaration and Resolves”: “Resolved, n.c.d. 1 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever a right to dispose of either without their consent. “Resolved, n.c.d. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural- born subjects, within the realm of England.” “Resolved, n.c.d. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal. “Resolved, n.c.d. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.” “Address to the People of Great Britain”: “The cause of America is now the object of universal attention; it has at length become very serious. This unhappy country has not only been oppressed, but abused and misrepresented; and 1
nemine contra dicente, meaning unanimous, or without a dissenting vote.
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the duty we owe to ourselves and posterity, to your interest, and the general welfare of the British Empire, leads us to address you on this very important subject.” “Memorial to the Inhabitants of the British American Colonies”: “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.” The accompanying order is to reimburse Green for expenses of £2, 5 shillings for “transporting to the several counties the doings of the Continental Congress, printed by the order of the colony of Connecticut.” Issued just two days before the Battles of Lexington and Concord, it marks the turning point between political discourse and the beginning of the shooting war—the point when the colonists fired the “shot heard ’round the world.” Moving at the speed of government, justices Richard Law and Thomas Mumford ordered the bill paid in September 1775, and forwarded it to treasurer John Lawrence in Hartford, who then paid Green’s representative Caleb Knight on November 14, 1775. 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 GreatBritain, 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. #23976 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. #24244.01 Together, $8,500
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Future Revolutionary War General Alexander McDougall Reports to Future NYC Mayor Richard Varick on the Payments to Wives of Soldiers “I am now in too Critical a state to pay any more money...Because if I continue...it is uncertain but I may Pay those, whose principals or husbands may be either Dead or Defected...” The “shot heard round the world” had been fired, Boston was under siege, and colonial Committees of Correspondence and Safety were mobilizing. Here, as a colonel in the 1st New York regiment, MacDougall was concerned about double-paying his soldiers (or their agents) during the early days of the Revolution. Excerpts “I am now in too Critical a state to pay any more money...Because if I continue...it is uncertain but I may Pay those, whose principals or husbands may be either Dead or Defected...” “many of the Men have ordered their wives and others to receive Forty Shillings per Month, which if paid to them would render the Soldiers unable to pay for their under Cloaths, or to Buy such necessarys, as will be wanted by them, for their Comfortable Support in the Service. At foot you have a list of the Cost of the Under Cloaths, as they were purchased by whole Sale, and you are to make such reasonable Stoppages, per Month, as will in the Course of the Service pay the whole.” Alexander McDougall (1731-1786) was born in Scotland and immigrated to New York with his parents in 1740. As a leading member of the New York Sons of Liberty, McDougall penned an anonymous broadside, To the Betrayed Inhabitants, which criticized the New York Assembly’s plans to finance the housing of British troops and sparked the Battle of Golden Hill. McDougall was brought before the House and imprisoned. During the Revolutionary War, he served as colonel of the 1st New York Infantry. Later promoted to brigadier general and major general of the Continental Army, he participated in the battles of White Plains and Germantown. He was stationed for most of the war in the Highlands of the Hudson, much of the time as commanding officer. He served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1781. He was the first president of the New York Society of the Cincinnati and the first president of the Bank of New York. Richard Varick (1753-1831) was a lawyer and politician. He became Captain of the 1st New York Regiment under General Philip Schuyler in June 1775 and deputy muster-master general in September 1776. Varick was appointed Inspector General of West Point, and then served as Secretary to George Washington. He was the recorder of Deeds for New York between 1784 and 1789. He served as mayor of New York City from 1789 to 1801, after having served for two years in the New York State Assembly. ALEXANDER MCDOUGALL. Letter Signed, to Richard Varick, October 13, 1775, New York, N.Y. Docketed by Varick. 2 pp., with integral address leaf, 7¼ x 12⅛ in. #22604.02
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How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower somehow defeat a global superpower? A unique enlistment agreement draft, penned in 1776, detailing terms for a company of 90 Massachusetts men. Its structure follows the recommendations made by George Washington, including the specification of “one Captain two Lieutenants one Ensign four Sergeants four Corporals one drummer.” This also specifies the arms and equipment with which individual soldiers are to furnish themselves. This detail, together with the letter’s non-standard spelling, suggests a rushed process, likely by a local militia member (for whom the supply of personal weapons and equipment would have been standard practice). Most officerdrafted letters from 1776, by contrast, detail the equipment that the Continental Congress will supply for each soldier. A particularly interesting detail in this letter is the elided fragment “subj-,” which suggests that the original word choice was “subject” or “subjected.” Its replacement by the more neutral, “under” hints at the sensitivity to terms of subjection in a volunteer Continental Army fighting for its independence. Complete Transcript We the Subscribers do hearby sevorially inlist our selves into the servis of the United Colonies of America to serve until the firs day of April next if the servis shall require it and each of us do engage to furnish and carry with us into the servis—a good effective fire arm and Blanket and also a good Bayonet and Cartridge Pouch if possebel and we sevorially consent to be formed by such Persons, as the General Cort shall appoint, into a company of Nine-ety men including one Captain two Lieutenants one Ensign four Sergeants four Corporals one drummer and one fifer to be elected by the Companies and when formed we engage to march to Head Quarters of the american army with the utmost Expedition and to be under the Command of such Field officer or officers as the General Cort shall appoint and we further agree during the time afore said to be subject to such Generals as are or shall appointed and to be subj under such Regulations in every Respect as are provided for the armey aforesaid. Dated this day of A:D 1776 [AMERICAN REVOLUTION]. Manuscript Draft Enlistment Agreement, “Blank draugh of an enlistment of Soldiers to go to New York,” 1776, Massachusetts. 1 p., 7⅝ x 12¼ in. #22281.01
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Psalms of David, Carried by a Continental Army Officer Inscribed: “Steel not this Book For / For fear of Shame For underneath thair is / Oners Name David Sayles Ensign / NewPoart May 6 Day AD 1776 / Nicholas Jencks His work.” Two days prior to this inscription, Rhode Island became the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce its allegiance to George III. Sayles and Jencks are two of the oldest colonial families in Providence County, Rhode Island. 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. David Sayles (1755-1820) was a great-great-great-grandson of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. Sayles was commissioned an ensign in Col. Babcock’s regiment on January 15, 1776, and promoted to lieutenant in Col. Christopher Lippitt’s regiment later that year. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in Col. Angell’s regiment on January 1, 1777, in Captain David Dexter’s company and promoted to first lieutenant on June 12, 1777. Sayles received a promotion to captain of the Rhode Island regiment on May 1, 1782. He resigned on March 17, 1783, and returned to Rhode Island. He was an early member of the Society of the Cincinnati and a Mason. Nicholas Jencks (1750-1819) was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His ancestor, a cutler from Sheffield, England, settled in Providence, and was employed at the Saugus Ironworks in Massachusetts, where he is said to have cut the dies for the Pine Tree Shillings. Jencks served as a sergeant in David Dexter’s company in Colonel Christopher Lippitt’s regiment in 1776, then in Colonel John Topham’s regiment in 1779. He moved to New York state in 1796. Contains several intriguing homespun cloth fragments used as bookmarks. One is a plain linen* and another a deep navy blue which may well be a scrap from a Continental uniform. With a third fragment and a loop of thick thread. A thin splint of wood and a printed fragment (likely from an early page of this book) are also used. Original sheep binding; hinge joints intact; easily handled and sound. Lacks upper half of title page through and page 10, and some loss to final leaf of the Index. Isaac Watts (1674-1748), an English minister, produced more than 750 hymns. Here, he presents the psalms in various poetical forms to be sung according to common meter, long meter, short meter, etc. Watts first published his Psalms of David in 1719. Benjamin Franklin produced the first American edition in 1729. Initially selling poorly, churches and individuals eventually began to demand it, and several editions came out before the Revolutionary War. Afterwards, some of Watts’ language about loyalty to Great Britain and the king was removed for Americanized editions starting in 1781. 2 [REVOLUTIONARY WAR] Isaac Watts, 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. #24693 $8,500 2
Louis F. Benson, “The American Revisions of Watts’s ‘Psalms,’” Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society 2 (June 1903), 18-19.
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General Washington Orders Declaration of Independence Read to Army in New York “the Honble Continental Congress … haveing been plead to Desolve Connection Between this country & great Britain & to declare the united Colonys of North America free & Independent States the Several Brigades are to be Drawn us [up] this Evening on their Respective Parades at 6 oclock when the Deleration of Congress Shewing the grounds & Reasons of the Measures to be Read with Laudable [audible] Voice the genl [George Washington] Hopes that this important Point will serve as a fresh incentive to Every officer and soldier to act with fidelity & courage as knowing that now the Peace and Safety of this country Depends under god solely on the success of our arms....” (July 9, 1776) “…the gel being informed to his great surprize that a Report prevails & Industrously spread far and wide that Lord how [British General Lord William Howe] has made <145> Propositions of Peace Calculated by disguiseing Persons most Probably To Lull us into a fatal Security his Duty obliges him to Declare that No such offer has been made by Lord how but on the Contrarary from the Best inteligence he can Procure the army may Expect atack as soon as the wind and tide proves favorable He hopes theirfore every mans mind & arms may be Prepared for action and when caled to it shew our enemies & the whole world that free men Contendin for their own Land are Superior to any Mercenaries on Earth....” (August 20th 1776) Remarkable 1776 manuscript orderly book, evidently kept for Brigadier General Gold S. Silliman’s Connecticut militia, containing two separate versions of Washington’s famous General Orders of July 9, 1776, in which he announced to the Continental Army that Congress had formally declared the 13 colonies to be independent of Great Britain. Washington ordered that the momentous text be proclaimed before all assembled troops in and around New York. Historical Background During the evening following the public reading of the Declaration of Independence, the impassioned celebrations in Manhattan culminated in the toppling and destruction of the grand, gilded equestrian statue of King George III at the foot of Broadway at Bowling Green. The balance of the book contains a detailed record of the New York garrison and its affairs while it and its commander awaited the long-expected British assault. The present orderly book ends ominously on August 21, the day General Sir William Howe led the British to Gravesend, Brooklyn, out of which he launched a successful campaign to conquer Long Island and Manhattan. Orderly books were the primary documents for organizing day-to-day life within the army. The process of updating orderly books was a logistical nightmare. The officer serving in the rotating position of major general of the day communicated orders to the adjutant general. Early each morning, meeting at Washington’s headquarters, the adjutant general read aloud, while division adjutants copied the orders into their own orderly books. The division adjutants then met with their brigade majors and repeated the process of dictation, adding any division orders. Brigade majors then met with regimental adjutants, again reading the orders aloud for regimental adjutants to copy down.
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Finally, the regimental adjutants met with all of the first or orderly sergeants of their regiment’s companies to repeat the process. The quality of the transmission depended on the oral presentation, speed, ability, and level of literacy of the adjutants involved, so the wording from headquarters was often garbled by the time it reached regimental and company orderly books. In late August 1776, the American forces in New York consisted of 30,000 men in more than 70 regiments and battalions of Continental Army soldiers and militia. These regiments and battalions were organized into thirteen brigades, eleven of which were grouped into five divisions. If each regiment had eight companies, there would have been more than 650 orderly books updated daily in this army alone, from those kept in Washington’s headquarters down to the company orderly books. Seven battalions had enlisted in Connecticut in the summer of 1776 under the overall command of Brigadier General James Wadsworth. There are three other extant orderly books from Wadsworth’s Brigade, each beginning on July 10, 1776 (while this began on July 9). Those three are in institutions: Mattatuck Historical Society, Waterbury, CT; Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, New York City; and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Two of them are from Colonel William Douglas’ Fifth Battalion and one is from Colonel John Chester’s Sixth Battalion; no other orderly books from Colonel Silliman’s First Battalion are known to have survived. Gold S. Silliman (1732-1790) was a Yale graduate, lawyer, and crown attorney before the War. He was commissioned colonel of a battalion on June 20, 1776, and for a time served in command of the brigade. Silliman commanded a brigade of militia during the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, and later worked with Benedict Arnold to beat back William Tryon’s raid on Danbury in April 1777. He was captured by Tories in 1779, and did not regain his freedom until May 1780. His son, Benjamin, was to become the first professor of science at Yale, and an innovator in the distillation of petroleum. First Battalion, Wadsworth’s Brigade (1776). The Connecticut legislature passed an act in June 1776 for the enlistment of seven militia battalions in response to General George Washington’s call for reinforcements in New York City. Brigadier General James Wadsworth (1730-1817) commanded the entire brigade, and Colonel Gold S. Silliman commanded the first of the seven battalions. The battalion served on the Brooklyn front a few days before and during the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776. It retreated to New York City on August 29 and 30, and nearly escaped capture during the evacuation of New York City on September 15. The battalion was posted on Washington Height during the Battle of White Plains on October 28. The term of the battalion expired on December 25, 1776, though many officers and men reenlisted in the Continental Line of 1777. [DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE]. Manuscript Orderly Book. Headquarters [New York City], [July 8, 1776–August 21, 1776]. Containing two overlapping sequences in different hands: one 145-page sequence runs from July , 1776 to August 21, 1776, and another 13-page segment (written from the other end of the book) runs from July 8-13, 1776. 158 pp. 7½ x 6 in. Both versions vary slightly from the published text of Washington’s General Orders of July 9. This volume, with Brigade and Regimental orders, was either kept by battalion adjutant Aaron Comstock or an orderly sergeant in one of Gold S. Silliman’s eight companies enlisted in Connecticut shortly before. This is likely the battalion’s first orderly book after arriving in New York with approximately 415 men. #21461.99 $125,000
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The Declaration of Independence – A Printing Interrupted by British Capture of Philadelphia, with an Interesting Thomas Jefferson Association This copy was owned by Henry Remsen Jr., the Chief Clerk of the State Department under Secretary of State Jefferson. In the fall of 1776, Congress ordered Robert Aitken to print a uniform edition of their Journals. Aitken combined the First and Second Continental Congresses into Volume I, for 1774-1775. He had originally printed January through April 1776 in monthly issues limited to eighty copies each solely for the use of Congress. He reprinted those, and printed the rest of 1776, for Volume II. The project was interrupted when the British marched into Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. Congress fled, and after a day in Lancaster established itself in York, Pennsylvania, where it settled from September 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778. Aitken had to abandon his press, but managed to escape with some of his finished sheets, running through page 424. According to Aitken’s account book, he printed 532 copies of the first edition. Bibliographers are unclear, but based on the true rarity of first editions, his count may have included incomplete copies. In any case, on May 2, 1778, Congress resolved to complete the second issue of the Journals. They hired John Dunlap, who used Aitken’s already-printed pages 1-424, and his own printing of the remaining pages. He added his own title page for the entire completed work. Therefore, despite the “York-Town:[ Pennsylvania]...John Dunlap” imprint at the front of this volume, the Declaration of Independence, on pp. 241-246, was not printed in 1778 by Dunlap at Yorktown, but rather, in Philadelphia, in 1777, by Aitken. As evidence, page 241, the first page of the Declaration, is exactly the same—right down to a broken “f” in the final line on the page—in the first edition (with Aitken’s title page) and the second edition (with John Dunlap’s title page.) It is interesting to note that Dunlap’s July 4 Dunlap broadside, and all 1776 Declaration printings in any format, do not record the signers’ names. In February of 1777, Congress had Mary Goddard of Baltimore print a new broadside, including the names. But it was actually the Journals of Congress that finally spread the names of the signers (except for Thomas McKean’s; he added his signature to the engrossed Declaration in 1781). Additional major texts found in this volume of the 1776 Journals of Congress include accounts of the colonies’ desperate need for money, muskets and gunpowder, and printings of communications with General Washington, as well as negotiations with Indians and Canada. A resolution that all within the colonies who are “notoriously disaffected to the cause of America” must be disarmed is on p. 91. An April 3rd resolution approves privateering by authorizing friendly vessels to employ “force of arms, attack, subdue, and take all ships… carrying soldiers, arms, gun-powder, ammunition, provisions, or any other contraband goods, to any of the British armies or ships of war” is on p. 119.
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On April 6th, Congress resolves “that no Slaves be imported into any of the Thirteen United Colonies” (p. 122), and subsequently agrees on the terms of 18 articles of war (p. 365-81). On June 7, it first reports that “certain resolutions respecting Independency being moved and seconded,” (Richard Henry Lee’s motion for Independence), the next day it reports that it be referred to a committee of the whole Congress (p. 204-5). Resolved that the consideration on Richard Henry Lee’s motion: The July 2, 1776 resolution for Independence is on page 239: “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” The Journal does not note that the signing actually took place until August 2, with four of those listed here signing at various times between August 27 and November 19. It also prints the July 4 heading, “A Declaration by the Representatives...” rather than the updated “Unanimous Declaration” heading agreed to after NY voted yes later in July, before the engrossed manuscript was penned and signed. This particular volume presumably came out between Dunlap’s appointment on May 2 and the return of Congress to Philadelphia in July 1778. Henry Remsen Jr. (1762-1843) banker and real-estate investor, served as undersecretary of Foreign Affairs under Secretary of State John Jay from Mar 2, 1784. When the Department of State (Foreign Affairs) was formed under the Constitution following passage of the Act of July 27, 1789, Remsen became chief clerk in the Department of State until December 31, 1789. He served again, this time under Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, from September 1, 1790 to March 31, 1792. He left in 1792 to become first teller of the New York branch of the Bank of the United States. Remsen later became cashier (the equivalent of today’s CFO) at the Manhattan Bank about 1801, and served as its president from 1808 until about 1825. The Patent Office was part of the State Department, so Remsen recorded the first rules for the examination of patents, a subject dear to Jefferson the inventor. Condition: Professionally rebound to style with a quarter calfskin spine and blue paper boards. On the title page, the “R” of Journals” is scraped. Slightly toned, but internally sound and fine. Provenance: The New York City Bar Association. Stamped October 17, 1922, deaccessioned 2015. [DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE]. Book. Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1776, to January 1, 1777. Volume II. York-Town [Penn.]: John Dunlap, 1778. Second issue (i.e. Dunlap’s imprint but incorporating Aitken’s sheets). 520 pp., 8 x 4 ¾ in. Title page with New York City Bar Association stamp, discreet accession number on verso. Lacking the index (xxvii pp.). #23757 $25,000
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With the British Headed His Way, John Hancock Implores the States to Send Supplies and Troops to the Flagging War Effort “Congress deem it necessary upon every principle of propriety to remind the several States how indispensible it is to the Common Safety that they pursue the most immediate & vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of troops for the new Army…” Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Long Island resulted in the British occupying New York City starting in September, 1776. The news for the Americans only got worse, as they had to retreat from White Plains on October 28, and Hessian mercenaries captured Fort Washington, in northern Manhattan on November 16. With the Redcoats in hot pursuit, the Continental Army retreated across New Jersey throughout December, eventually crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania for safety. Washington had split his troops (the other group commanded by General Charles Lee) in hopes of taking a stand before Philadelphia. With Washington’s command in jeopardy and the British headed towards the seat of Congress, Hancock stresses the urgent need for troops and supplies. Complete Transcript In Congress Nov. 19, 1776 Resolved, That Letters be immediately sent to the Councils of Safety, Conventions or Legislatures of Pennsylvania, & the States to the Southward thereof, desiring them forthwith to lay up Magazines of military Stores, ammunition & Salt provisions in the safest & most convenient places in the said States respectively, for the use of such Continental Troops & Militia as it may be necessary to bring into the Field in the ensuing winter for the defence of these States. Congress deem it necessary upon every principle of propriety to remind the several States how indispensible it is to the Common Safety that they pursue the most immediate & vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of troops for the new Army, as the time of Service for which the present Army was enlisted is so near expiring that the Country may be left in a Condition in a great measure defenceless, unless quickly supplied by new levies. By order of Congress – <2> In Congress Nov. 21, 1776 As the Necessity of obtaining an Army immediately to oppose the Designs of the Enemy is so evident & pressing as to render it proper to give all possible Facility to that Business. Resolved, that each State be at Liberty to direct the recruiting Officers to enlist their Men either for the War, or three years, upon the respective Bounties offered by Congress, without presenting enlisting Rolls for both Terms according to a former Resolution, keeping it always in View that in the opinion of Congress, the public Service will be best promoted by Inlistments for the War, if the recruiting Business is not retarded thereby. By Order of Congress John Hancock Presdt.
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Historic Background Between these two Congressional resolutions, Lord Cornwallis captured Fort Lee, New Jersey, (November 20, 1776) leaving the British a large store of gunpowder and munitions (as well as the fort’s women and children). Combined with the fall of Fort Washington four days earlier, the American war effort was in shambles and the British had regained navigational control of the strategic Hudson River. With Washington’s troops lacking food and supplies, disease, desertion, and expiring tours of duty had thinned the ranks. Here, Hancock and the Congress recognize the dire situation and attempt to shore up the war effort. With American troops dispirited and in full retreat, men were reluctant to leave their farms and businesses to join the army for any time at all, , and very very few were willing to sign up for the uncertain duration of the war. Ultimately, Washington and his ragtag army retreated across the Delaware River to the safety of Pennsylvania. Thinking the campaign season over for the winter, the British removed to winter quarters in Trenton and Manhattan. In a desperate attempt to hold his army together, retain his command, and give the American the victory they so badly needed, Washington planned a surprise assault on Trenton, New Jersey. An American double agent informed Washington that Cornwallis’s forces had returned to winter quarters on Manhattan and Staten Island while Hessian mercenaries remained at Trenton. Upon his return, the patriot spy told Hessian commander Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall that morale was so low among Washington’s troops that they would be incapable of launching any attacks. Crossing the Delaware River to attack Trenton on December 25, 1776, Washington’s victory reaffirmed his command, bolstered American morale, spurred reenlistments, and laid the groundwork for another successful attack on Princeton on January 3. John Hancock (1737-1793) was a Boston merchant and leader of the colonial resistance movement. Born in Braintree, his paternal uncle, Thomas Hancock, adopted John after his father died in 1742. Under his uncle, he learned the mercantile trade and was groomed for partnership. The Hancock family engaged in smuggling with the French West Indies in defiance of the Molasses Act. Named a Boston selectman in 1765, Hancock opposed the Stamp Act, and upon passage of the Townshend Duties in 1767, he resolved to prohibit British customs officials from setting foot on his ships. Hancock served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and, in 1774, he was elected president of the revolutionary Provincial Congress. He and Samuel Adams were the targets of General Gage’s projected campaign against Lexington and Concord in April 1775. During the war, Hancock served as President of the Continental Congress, 1775-1777, and in that capacity signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. He was later a popular governor of Massachusetts (1780-1785, 1787-1793). JOHN HANCOCK. Manuscript Document Signed (“John Hancock”) as President of the Continental Congress, 2 pages, 8 x 12.5 in., “In Congress” [Philadelphia], November 19 & 21, 1776. #23790 SOLD
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Washington’s Instructions Regarding Deserters and Hospital Cases at Valley Forge Written from Valley Forge at the close of the terrible winter of 1777-1778, Commissary General of Musters Joseph Ward relays Washington’s directions for determining the status of missing men. Officers are to be given more leeway than the rank and file before labeling them as deserters, and hospital surgeons are to be consulted regarding the status of patients. Ward also discusses an aborted “Secret Expedition” and a recent naval victory by Commodore John Barry. Letters written from Valley Forge are rare, particularly if they relate to the condition of the troops. Excerpt “The difficulties you mention, respecting Furloughs, men left in Hospitals, &c., are too much experienced here, as well as with you. I consulted his Excellency general Washington on these matters, and his direction was, that Soldiers who did not join their Corps at the expiration of their Furloughs, (unless their Officers, or others, could make it appear that they were necessarily detained) should be returned Deserters. If upon joining their Corps, they should then make it appear they had been necessarily detained, they will notwithstanding their <2> having been returned Deserters, draw their whole pay. Officers, are not to be returned Deserters, unless they have been long absent after the expiration of their Furloughs, but are to be answerable to the Commander in chief of the Department, for absence beyond the limited time. But when their is good reason to apprehend an absent Officer will never join his Corps, or that he has any fraudulent design to keep out of Camp & at the same time draw pay, you may strike him off the Roll, until he joins and does duty. This I think may be a more eligible method than to return them Deserters, and more consistent with that delicacy which Officers ought to deserve. “With respect to men in Hospitals, their Officers ought to know from the Surgeons what their state is, whether dead or alive, and whether they are likely ever to join the Corps; but when men have been left sick at a great distance and their Officers cannot obtain proper information respecting them, immediately, they must be notified to obtain such information against the next muster; and if the Officers neglect a proper attention to this duty, they must answer for the neglect before a Courtmartial. When you are satisfied any absent men who were left in Hospitals or elsewhere, who by reason of incapacity, desertion, or other cause, will never join their corps, you may strike them out of the Rolls. You are not obliged to wait for proof of their <3> death or desertion. If any such should after being struck out of the Rolls, join their Corps, and give reasons for their absence sufficient to justify them, they may be inserted in the next Roll for the whole time of their absence; by which means no honest man will suffer by being struck off the Roll.” The suffering of the soldiers at Valley Forge, and Washington’s desperate attempts to rally Congress and the states to their aid, has become legend. This was the first large, prolonged winter encampment that the Continental Army endured; nine thousand men were quartered at Valley Forge for a sixmonth period. During that time, some two thousand American soldiers died from cold, hunger and disease. The quintessential symbol of Valley Forge—bloody footprints left in the snow by shoeless Continental soldiers—was no exaggeration. After the worst of the ordeal had ended, Washington would observe that “no history…can furnish an instance of an Army’s suffering such uncommon hardships…and bearing them with the same patience and fortitude.” The men were “without
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Cloathes to cover their nakedness–without Blankets to lay on–without Shoes, by which their Marches might be traced by the Blood from their feet–and almost as often without Provisions as with.…” 3 By early 1778, the condition and morale of the troops at Valley Forge had reached their lowest point. The supply system was in a state of collapse, and poor hygiene, malnourishment, cold, and communicable disease continued to take a relentless toll. Mutiny was a real possibility. Then, as spring approached, the situation began to show signs of improvement. The arrival of Prussian drillmaster Baron von Steuben in late February marked a turning point. Von Steuben, appointed acting inspector general, instituted a strict drill system that gradually brought discipline and professionalism to the ranks. On March 2, General Nathanael Greene, at Washington’s urging, accepted the position of quartermaster general and set about reorganizing that department. Under his competent management, quantities of supplies began to arrive in camp. Those troops that survived Valley Forge emerged seasoned and disciplined, a far cry from the untrained band of men that had straggled into the camp during the bitter December of 1777. The naval adventure recounted by Ward involved John Barry, sometimes dubbed the “Father of the American Navy.” In early March, as commander of the brig Lexington, Barry had surprised two British armed supply ships and an armed schooner, the Alert. Barry’s 27 men boarded and captured all three vessels, including the 116 men aboard the Alert. Though forced to burn the transports to prevent them from falling back into enemy hands, Barry was able to report to Washington “with the Greatest Satisfaction imaginable” of the venture’s overall success. The unsuccessful “Secret Expedition” cited here was likely Spencer’s Expedition, a late 1777 plan to surprise the British in Rhode Island. When the American commander learned that the British had received word of the intended attack, he aborted the mission. Joseph Ward (1737-1812) was born in Massachusetts and became a schoolmaster and teacher. As a Minuteman, he fought at the Battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. After serving as secretary to his cousin Artemas Ward until 1777, he was appointed commissary general of musters, with the rank of colonel. He was taken prisoner by the British in November 1778 and held for several months until exchanged. He retired from the army in 1789 and settled in Boston, where he had been a real estate dealer and stockbroker since 1781. Richard Varick (1753-1831) was born in New Jersey and attended King’s College (Columbia University). He suspended his studies to become a captain in the 1st New York Regiment in the summer of 1775, where he served until mid-1776, when he became military secretary to General Philip Schuyler. At the time of this letter, he was deputy muster master general at West Point. Varick later served as aide-de-camp to Benedict Arnold and then as private secretary to George Washington until the end of the war. After the war, Varick served as recorder of New York (1784-1789), attorney general of New York (1788-1789), and mayor of New York City (1789-1801) JOSEPH WARD. Autograph Letter Signed, to Richard Varick, March 13, 1778, [Valley Forge, Pennsylvania]. 3 pp., 7⅝ x 11¾ in. #22299
George Washington to John Banister, April 21, 1778.
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British Major General Henry Clinton Pays the Fraser Highlanders “You are hereby directed and required … for the Subsistence of His Majesty’s Forces under my Command, to pay, or cause to be paid to Captain Agnus Macintosh, Paymaster of His Majesty’s 2d Battalion, 71st Regiment of Foot, whereof Lieutenant General Simon Fraser is Colonel, or his Assigns, without Deduction….” Lieutenant-General Simon Fraser raised the 71st Regiment of Foot in Inverness, Stirling, and Glasgow in 1775. Arriving in New York in July 1776, the regiment helped seize the city in August. It participated in the battles of Fort Washington and Fort Lee in November 1776, and in 1777 in the Philadelphia campaign, including the Battle of Brandywine. The Fraser Highlanders wore Black Watch tartan trousers with a cartridge box around the stomach, and elaborate feathered caps. Officers wore Black Watch tartan kilts. This pay warrant covers their service from October 25 to December 24, 1777. During that time, a detachment supported General John Burgoyne’s foray up the Hudson River, while the remainder garrisoned New York City. The warrant directs Deputy Paymaster-General Thomas Barrow to pay the money to Captain Angus Macintosh for him to pay 32 sergeants, 32 corporals, 16 drummers, and 702 privates for 61 days and an additional 145 recruits for 61 days. It is counter-signed by John Smith. Captain Angus Macintosh signed the reverse to acknowledge receipt of the funds. The regiment later moved south to participate in the capture of Savannah in December 1778, and the siege of Charleston in March 1780. They also took part in the battles of Camden (August 1780), Cowpens (January 1781), Guilford Court House (March 1781), and the Siege of Yorktown, ending with their surrender in September 1781. The regiment disbanded in Scotland in 1786. Henry Clinton (1730-1795), son of Admiral George Clinton, who governor of the province of New York from 1741 to 1753, was commissioned captain in 1746. The son served garrison duty in Nova Scotia. He returned to Great Britain and served in the 1st Foot Guards during the Seven Years War in Europe. Promoted to major general in 1772, Clinton also obtained a seat in Parliament that same year and held it until 1784. In May 1775, he continued his military service in Boston. He participated in the unsuccessful assault on Charleston in June 1776, and the siege of New York City in August. In 1777, he returned to England from January to July, unsuccessfully seeking command of the northern campaign from Montreal to Albany. After General Howe resigned, Clinton served as the British Commander-in-Chief in North America from February 1778 to 1782. He was reelected to Parliament in 1790, and in 1794, appointed Governor of Gibraltar, but he died before assuming office. Angus Macintosh, from Inverness, settled with his family on the St. John’s river in New Brunswick. HENRY CLINTON. Partially Printed Document Signed, July 13, 1778, Pay warrant for £1,486 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, 8 pp., 7¾ x 12½ in. #24755 $2,750
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Aaron Burr Receives Letter on Behalf of his Imprisoned Future Brother-in-Law “I wish for no other security than his prudence and your Honour but as it is official, am obliged to prescribe to him the inclosed Parole....” Peter DeVisme, a British officer, was captured at sea by American forces early in the war. DeVisme’s half-sister, Mrs. Theodosia Prevost (herself a patriot and a friend of George Washington and Aaron Burr), was married to Major General Augustine Prevost of the British Army. Earlier in 1779, Mrs. Prevost had written to Washington on behalf of DeVisme. Washington replied on May 19, 1779, declining Prevost’s request to intervene in her brother’s case: “Madam: It is much to be regretted, that the pleasure of obeying the first emotions in favor of misfortune, is not always in our power…however great the satisfaction I should feel in obliging.” After her husband’s death during the Revolutionary War in the West Indies, Theodosia Provost married Aaron Burr in 1782. Complete Transcript Commissy of Prisoners Office / Middle Brook 23 May / 1779 Dear Sir, I am this moment favored with yours of yesterday. The duplicate of which you allude to in your postscript has not yet reached me. Thank you for the good opinion you are pleased to entertain of my disposition to heal prisoners under my care, with every indulgent civility in my power and not incompatible with the line of my office. I have been made acquainted with Mr. Devisme [De Visme] Character, as also every circumstance attending his capture, and I am happy in having it in my power to indulge him at your request in remaining for the present with his friends at Paramus. I wish for no other security than his prudence and your Honour but as it is official, am obliged to prescribe to him the inclosed Parole, which you will be pleased to have signed and transmitted to me by the first conveyance. It does not lie with me to give him permission to go to N. York for any space of time and indeed I would advise him not to urge a matter of that kind at this time as it would appear unreasonable and I am confident it would be denied him. You will be kind enough to present my respects to Mrs Prevost whom I have the honor of some small acquaintance with. I am Dr Sir with much esteem Your mo: Obt / Hum Servt / Jno Beatty. o [To] Col Aaron Burr John Beatty (1749-1826) studied medicine in Philadelphia before entering the Revolutionary Army in 1775. He was captured by the British at the surrender of Fort Washington in Manhattan in 1776. After his exchange, Beatty was appointed commissary general of prisoners. In 1780, he resumed the practice of medicine in Princeton, N.J. Beatty served as delegate to the Continental Congress in 1784-1785, and as secretary of state of New Jersey from 1795 to 1805. JOHN BEATTY. Autograph Letter, to Aaron Burr regarding Peter DeVisme, May 23, 1779, Commissary of Prisoners Office, Middle Brook, N.J. 2 pp., 7½ x 12 in. #24394
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Lord Stirling’s Attempt on Staten Island “A party of our militia, who followed after the Continental Troops have surpassed the Hessians in plundering the Inhabitants....” In this letter to Andrew Craigie (1754-1819), the first Apothecary General of the United States, fellow military physician Samuel Vickers gives an immediate account of Lord Stirling’s ill-fated attack on Staten Island of January 15-16, 1780. Stirling had intended to surprise the British in their winter camp. The troops were alerted, however, and were well-fortified by the time the Americans arrived. Partial Transcript “I was in some expectation of spending the winter in Philadelphia; but the badness of the weather has detained me so long, that I have chose to defer my intention to the next year. I am realy affraid you will esteem this excuse for my omission to be a meer evasion, & to amount ad nihil; & therefore I will endeavor to procure a remission for this negligence by a frank confession—I have been for these three or four weeks downright lazy, & for the only & worse reason in the world, I have had more leisure on my hands, than I know what to do with it. However notwithstanding the inclination I feel to be lazy, I have laid myself this day under a penance of writing to all my acquaintance.… Lord Stirling has just returned from his expedition against Staten Island. He has brought off a few of the inhabitants, some cattle and distroyed a few vessels. It seems he failed in taking the fort (which I believe was his intention) from the great quantity of snow which surrounded it & hindered his approaches- A party of our militia, who followed after the Continental Troops have surpassed the Hessians in plundering the Inhabitants; many of whom they have stripped of all their property. This conduct has so incited the indignation of the more worthy part of their Citizens, that all their plunder which was found with them has been taken away, & I expect it will be returned again to its owners on the Island. I shall sett off in a few days for Albany, where I hope since I have opened the preliminaries a treaty of amity & Correspondence will be established between us on your part....” Samuel Vickers (1755-1785) was a native of New Jersey and graduated from Princeton in 1778. In April 1777, he enlisted as surgeon’s mate with the Continental Army. By late 1780, Vickers was serving as a senior surgeon in the army and was promoted to Surgeon of Hospitals in 1782. He relocated to Savannah after the war, but returned to New Jersey in 1785 to collect his A.M. degree. Prone to depression, Vickers went through a rapid decline in the fall of 1785 and died of a selfinflicted gunshot wound at his Savannah home at age 30. William Alexander, Lord Stirling (1726-1783) was born in New York to a prominent family. After confirming an ancestral link to a noble family, Alexander styled himself as a Scottish lord. Alexander was made a colonel in the New Jersey militia. In March of 1776, he was promoted to BrigadierGeneral in the Continental Army and participated in the battles of Long Island, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. Stirling tried to secure Alexander Hamilton as his aide-de-camp, as did Henry Knox and Nathanael Greene. Hamilton, however, still desiring a command post, turned down their offers. Stirling was celebrated by his peers for his tactical brilliance and bravery in battle. By the end of the war, however, he was in poor physical health and was assigned to guard New York. He died of gout in January of 1783. SAMUEL VICKERS. Autograph Letter Signed, to Andrew Craigie, January 17, 1780, Cranberry, N.J. 2 pp., legal folio. #23414
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Congress Demands Pennsylvania Soldiers for a Final Assault on the British Army [ARTHUR ST. CLAIR]. CHARLES THOMSON. 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. #24011 $6,250 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.” 4 Complete Transcript By the United States in Congress Assembled Septr 19, 1781 Ordered that major genl St Clair cause the levies of the Pennsylvania line now in Pennsylvania to rendezvous at or near Philadelphia with all possible expedition / Extract from the minutes Charles Thomson secy In January of 1781, the Pennsylvania militia posted near Morristown, New Jersey, rebelled against the difficult conditions at the camp and the low pay (for most, $20 for three years of service). The rebellion was successfully suppressed but left the Continental Army with a critical shortage of men from a strategically important state. In early 1781, Congress issued another levy on men from Pennsylvania with improved, but still stingy, enlistment terms. Continental military officers again struggled to fill the quota. On July 20, Arthur St. Clair suggested to General Washington in a private letter that the soldiers who had been enlisted might be more critical in the north “should Lord Cornwallis return to N. York.” One month later, Washington ordered St. Clair to “assemble all the Recruits in the State of Pennsilvania at their respective places of Rendesvous, where they may be properly equiped to march on the shortest notice to the Southward.” 5 On September 15, Washington wrote from Williamsburg, Virginia, with barely concealed irritation at both St. Clair, whom he ordered to march south immediately, and the Pennsylvania Assembly, whose low bounties and poor supply allowances, had made recruiting difficult: “Let it not be said that those Troops are kept from Service for Want of a few Articles which they could wish to be furnished with, when other Troops doing Duty in the Field are combatting almost every Distress imaginable, in the Want of almost every Necessary.” 6 Washington was likely behind this order of Congress. Despite the urgency of these requests, the final detachment of St. Clair’s Pennsylvania troops did not arrive at Yorktown until October 19, 1781, the day the British surrender terms were finalized. 4
Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Hamilton, ca. September 15-18, 1781. Arthur St. Clair to George Washington, July 20, 1781; George Washington to Arthur St. Clair, August 22, 1781. 6 George Washington to Arthur St. Clair, September 15, 1781. 5
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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.” 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. Complete Transcript Head-Quarters 11th. June 1782. Sir, After writing to you yesterday, your letter of the 8th. came to hand. A Letter from Justice Symes, remanding Mr. Depeyster to be delivered over to the civil power, accompanied yours. I more and more lament the conducting of this matter. Your knowing that a Habeas Corpus was taken out to rescue the prisoner from the military, ought at least, to have occasioned your delaying to send on Mr. Depeyster, until you had obtained my further Instructions. Some fatality seems to attend this business; & I fear is such as will prevent any thing being effected for the detection of Mr. Depeyster in his Correspondence. On enquiry I can learn nothing of Cadmus, unless it is that he has been so loosely kept, that he is suffered to be taken off, by which means your principal proof will be defeated. <2> Mr Depeyster is now delivered over to the civil authority of the State that he maybe brought to his trial upon a civil process. It rests therefore upon you & Colo. [Matthias] Ogden to use your utmost industry and vigilance to obtain & produce every Evidence in support of the charge that can possibly be come at—This I shall rely upon.— The paper, said to have been taken from the prisoner, & which you sent to Major General Heath, is now returned to you by Ensign Hopper. You will inform me as early as possible the present Situation of Captn. Asgill, the Prisoner destined for Retaliation; and what prospect he has of relief from his Application to Sir Guy Carleton, which I have been informed, he has made through his Friend Capt. Ludlow. I have heard nothing yet from New-York in Consequence of this Application. His Fate will be suspended till I can be informed of the Decision of Sir Guy; but I am impatient lest this should be unreasonably delayed. The Enemy ought to have learnt before this, that my <3> Resolutions are not to be trifled with. I am, / Sir,/Your very humble servant G: Washington PS— I am informed that Capt. Asgill is at Chatham—without Guard, & under no Constraint. This if true is certainly wrong—I wish to have the young [Gentle]man treated with all the Tenderness possible, cons[istent wit]h his present Situation—but until his Fate [is] determined he must be considered as a close prisoner—& be kept with the greatest Security— I reque[st] therefore that he be sent immediately to the Jersey Line, where he is to be kept close prisoner—in perfect Security, till further Orders— I am as above GW—
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NB—this letter was opened after sealing which occasions the appearance of the Seal being Broken Jo Trumbull Junr Secty Colonel Dayton <4> [Address leaf:] public service / Colonel Elias Dayton / Commanding Jersey Brigade / at / Morristown / [free frank signed:] Go: Washington [Docket:] From Gl. Washington June 11th 1782 Historical Background Depeyster’s Treason New Jersey resident Pierre Depeyster (b. 1745/1746?), a former New Yorker and wealthy estate and mill owner, had been successfully employed by the British since 1777 to obtain intelligence about American vulnerabilities. On May 26, 1782, Depeyster wrote a report intended for Sir Guy Carleton, giving the locations and condition of various components of the Continental Army, as well as details of Washington’s schedule and movements. He also suggested a plan to cripple the nascent Bank of North America. Depeyster’s report relayed statements made by financier Robert Morris to one of his contractors suggesting that the Bank was doomed to failure if Congress did not find the money promised for its support. The greatest obstacle to that end was the loss of American income from trade due to Britain’s control of the coastline, particularly the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. A French fleet was on its way to break that stranglehold; if the British were to defeat it, the consequences for the Bank would be catastrophic. Depeyster told Carleton that “Mr. Morris points out to you … the very method you are to pursue to destroy the Fabrick that they with so much pains have been creating and are now exerting every nerve to support… Therefore my Dear Sir profit from the advice and [block] up the Delaware and Chesapeake without delay….” Full Text of the Report. Depeyster’s letter was intercepted, and on May 29, he and fellow spy Abraham Cadmus were arrested on suspicion of treason. Washington ordered this letter’s recipient, Elias Dayton, to contact New Jersey governor William Livingston to determine if Depeyster could be tried by a military tribunal, in which case he should be brought to West Point. Livingston laid the matter before the state council, which advised him not to interfere with the prisoner, but to send him on to Washington’s headquarters. However, New Jersey Supreme Court justice John Cleves Symmes issued a writ of habeas corpus to have him released by the military to be tried by the civil authorities. (Symmes explained in a letter to Washington that Depeyster did not qualify for continued military detention under New Jersey law). Depeyster then had the temerity to write directly to Washington, on June 9, stating that he was being held illegally by the military, and that the judge of the Supreme Court who had heard his case agreed. Washington’s response was to the point: “I have received your Letter of this Date. Not having been furnished by Colo. Dayton with Copies of what has passed between him & the Civil powr of your State respectg your Case, I shall suspend all proceedings with you, untill I shall receive those papers, and have already written to Colo. Dayton for them—In the mean Time, you will be indulged to remain in your present Situation.” 7 Washington expressed his annoyance to Dayton in his letter of June 10: “It is extremely painfull to me, to have continually to remark on the irregular manner in which business seems to be conducted at your Post … In a matter of so serious a nature as the Trial of a Citizen for his life, it is certainly
George Washington to Pierre De Peyster, June 10, 1782.
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necessary that we should be well assured of the legality of our proceedings, and till this is the case nothing can be done in the affair.” 8 Meanwhile, Dayton’s letter of June 8 had come to hand. In it, Dayton described the conflicting instructions he had received from Washington, Livingston, and Symmes. “In this Situation I knew not, well what to do,” he explained, “but as I had your Excellys Orders to send Mr Depuyster to Genl Heath, in Case Govr Livingston should think proper to submit him to military Tribunal, and as the Writs of habeas Corpus were not directed to me, I tho’t myself bound to obey your Excellcys Order & accordingly sent Mr Depuyster under Guard to Genl Heath.” 9 Washington’s reply, once again confirms his deference to civilian authority, revealing his frustration that Dayton followed Washington’s order rather than the court’s habeas corpus order. In any case, news of Depeyster’s arrest spread quickly. One account from Philadelphia on June 11 tried to put a positive spin on the Loyalists’ targeting of the Bank of North America: “This … tends to shew how anxiously the British are enquiring concerning an institution, the success of which has seriously alarmed them” (reprinted in June 29 issue of Providence Gazette and Country Journal). Robert Morris’s diary notes that Washington’s aide-de-camp, William Stephens Smith, had called on him on June 11 to deny that dePeyster had an actual report on the “state of the Bank.” Still, Morris was still alarmed, and ordered guards placed around the bank. Depeyster narrowly avoided the hangman’s noose, in large part because Cadmus’ escape in early June undermined the case, as Washington predicted here. In September, Depeyster escaped from detention and fled by way of New York to England. The Huddy - Asgill Affair While that case was unfolding, Washington was embroiled in another serious incident. In March of 1782, Loyalist Philip White died in American custody, purportedly while trying to escape. Rumor spread within the Tory community that he had been prodded with a sword until he ran, and then tortured and mutilated. In retaliation, White’s compatriots hung American captain Joshua Huddy on April 12 and put a sign on his corpse reading “Up goes Huddy for Philip White.” The fact that Huddy had nothing to do with White’s killing, coupled with the insolence of the message, enraged the American public. To head off more reprisals, which might derail the ongoing peace process, Washington sought and received Congressional approval to have a British POW of comparable rank chosen for execution in retaliation. On May 26, 1782, straws were drawn. Captain Charles Asgill’s pick read “Unfortunate.” If Captain Lippincott was not turned over for trial, Asgill would face the executioner. Indeed, Asgill could not have been a more unfortunate choice for Washington. A prisoner of war captured at Yorktown, the well-liked 19-year old Asgill was the heir to a large fortune and significant title. His influential British family had ties to America’s key ally, France. Several of Washington’s advisors opposed the decision to retaliate. Henry Knox and Alexander Hamilton both asked Washington to rescind the order, worrying that the execution would be seen as a breach of the Yorktown surrender terms. As a fellow signer of the articles of capitulation, Rochambeau, commander of French forces in America, indicated that he considered his own honor, and that of France, at stake. Even Catherine Hart, Huddy’s widow, called for mercy. 8 9
George Washington to Elias Dayton, June 10, 1782. Elias Dayton to George Washington, June 8, 1782.
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Exactly a week before the present letter, Washington wrote to Dayton that he “most devoutly” wished that Asgill would be spared. Still, very concerned about British intentions for peace, Washington writes, “The Enemy ought to have learnt before this, that my Resolutions are not to be trifled with.” Fortunately for all, Asgill’s execution was stayed as the British held a court-martial of Lippincott. The situation remained unresolved as Lippincott was found not guilty on the basis that he was just following orders, but during the delay Asgill’s mother appealed to French king Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who instructed their foreign minister to plead Asgill’s case to Washington. Washington immediately forwarded the correspondence, “without Observations,” to Congress by special messenger. He had already told Congressional president John Hanson that it was no longer a military decision, but “a great national concern, upon which an individual [Washington] ought not to decide.” After debate, Congress ordered Asgill’s release on November 7, 1782. The peace negotiations in Paris, which had coincidentally begun the same day Huddy was murdered, were not derailed; a preliminary treaty was signed on November 30 in Paris, with the final Treaty of Paris signed on September 3, 1783. Elias Dayton, a veteran of the French and Indian Wars and an Elizabethtown merchant, joined the Committee of Safety in New Jersey in December of 1774, and was commissioned a colonel in the New Jersey Line in early 1776. In 1777, he and fellow officer Matthias Ogden set up a loose-knit spy ring for Washington to gather intelligence in the New York/New Jersey area. Dayton was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1778, but chose to retain his military position and did not attend. In 1783, Dayton achieved the rank of brigadier general. After the war, he remained active in state politics and served as the mayor of Elizabethtown from 1796-1805. Joshua “Jack” Huddy (1735-1782) grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where he earned a troublemaker’s reputation, with convictions for theft and assault. In 1779, then living in New Jersey, Huddy became a captain of the Monmouth County militia. He led a number of raids and took many Loyalist prisoners, of whom he was accused of executing more than a dozen. The next year, Huddy became commander of the Black Snake, a privateer. While at home, he was attacked by a group of 25 Loyalists. Huddy and a woman servant held the Loyalists off during a two-hour gun battle. With his house in flames, Huddy agreed to surrender if his attackers put out the fire. He was taken captive and transported by boat on the Shrewsbury River to N.Y. When his boat capsized after Patriots fired on it, the wounded Huddy escaped by swimming to shore. He was now a marked man. On March 24, 1782, a large force of irregulars, the Associated Loyalists (a group led by Benjamin Franklin’s son, William, the last colonial governor of New Jersey) assaulted the blockhouse at Toms River that Huddy and his men defended. Huddy was among those captured. On April 12, Loyalist captain Richard Lippincott came on board with orders to take Huddy, ostensibly to exchange him for a British officer. Instead, Huddy was brought to the New Jersey highlands, told to make out his will, and hanged on the spot. His murder led to the international incident known as the “Asgill Affair.” The January 1787 issue of The Columbian Magazine, included with this offer, was published by David Humphrey to respond to criticism he had heard while in England relating to Washington and the treatment of Asgill. Under Humphrey’s cover, the magazine prints extracts of four George Washington letters, the final one being the last paragraph of the letter offered here. A fine engraving of Washington faces the article’s beginning. Disbound, and pages separating.
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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. #23811 $52,500
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George Washington, Outraged over Continued Native American and Loyalist Attacks on the New York Frontier, Wishes “to chastise the insolence of the enemy in any future incursion,” But Cannot Provide Much Direct Aid “I have learnt with great concern the repeated depredations that have been committed on your Western frontier … notwithstanding the order … for the buildings necessary at the posts on the Mohawk, I fear he will not have it in his power to do it for want of money.” Between victory at Yorktown and recognition of American independence, British forces, Loyalists, and native tribes all continued raids on American outposts and settlers, especially on the New York frontier. Washington had to maintain the army’s strength in order to force favorable negotiations, but here defers to the local governor. Fortunately for both General and Governor, Colonel Marinus Willett was one of the Revolution’s most capable leaders with decades of familiarity with Western New York’s peoples, places, and potential problems. Complete Transcript Sir, I have been honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 24th inclosing the Copy of a Letter From Col. Willet: From which I have learnt with great concern the repeated depredations that have been committed on your Western frontier, and should be extremely happy (were it in my power consistent with the general state of affairs) to afford a sufficient detachment from this army to cover the whole country; but I dare say you must be sensible this is not the case. How far it may therefore be expedient to call forth an additional aid of militia, I shall submit to your Excellency’s judgment, as you are better <2> acquainted with the circumstances of the frontier, the strength of Willet’s command, and probably the state of the enemy at Oswego, than I am. In the mean time, I wish to be informed as far as may be in your power, of the force of Willet’s corps now assembled on the Mohawk, also of the strength of the enemy at Oswego, of which I have as yet had only vague and unsatisfactory accounts. Since the date of Colo Willet’s letter, he has, I suppose, received four hundred cartridgeboxes, in which article his most essential deficiency consisted. In consequence of which I cannot but hope, that corps in conjunction with the Continental regiment stationed in that quarter will be able to give a better protection to the country than has lately been the case, and to chastise the insolence of the enemy in any future incursion, especially <3> since they are now likely to be supplied with hard bread and salted meat—Of which articles, however, I apprehend there will not at present be such quantities accumulated, but that they may be preserved from spoiling by temporary sheds, or cellars covered with good thatch, or substantial well-wrought shade of boughs, which may be constructed by a little care and attention of the officers and labour of the soldiers. This is upon a supposition that the publick will not be enabled to erect stores for the purpose; for notwithstanding the order I have sometime since given to the Quarter Master to furnish materials for the buildings necessary at the posts on the Mohawk, I fear he will not have it in his power <4> to do it, for want of money. I have the Honor to be, / with great respect, Your Excellency’s most / obedient Servant Go: Washington
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His Excellency / Governor Clinton Historical Background Despite Washington’s victory over Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781, the war lasted another year. The British had left Savannah, Georgia, only three weeks before Washington wrote this letter, and they still occupied Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City. Washington believed that the United States had to be robustly prepared for another campaign. Nathanael Greene, one of his most respected generals, agreed that the British would continue to prosecute the war. King George III wanted to fight on, and debates in Parliament left the option open. Even after a string of American victories had convinced the British to negotiate for peace, the British naval victory over French Admiral de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes in the Caribbean in April 1782, gave some in Great Britain second thoughts. They questioned whether it was any longer necessary to grant full American independence. Events in London, however, overtook military operations in North America. In late March, Lord Rockingham, who was sympathetic to the American cause, replaced Lord North as Prime Minister. In early April, British envoy Richard Oswald opened formal negotiations with American commissioner Benjamin Franklin. On November 30, 1782, Britain agreed to recognize American independence and to withdraw its forces. The Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War, was formally ratified by Congress on April 11, 1783. By the end of that year, the last British troops had evacuated New York City. In the interim between the victory of American and French forces at Yorktown and recognition of American independence a year later, the frontier raids continued. In early 1782, the British rebuilt Fort Ontario in Oswego, and their allies, including Native Americans and local Loyalists, continued raids on settlers and soldiers on the New York frontier. Late in June 1782, a war party of 300 to 400, “consisting of British, Refugees, and Savages,” according to Washington, attacked soldiers and civilians at Little Falls, on the Mohawk River. They burned the mill, killed Daniel Petrie, and “captured (after a gallant defence) a small guard of Continental Troops.” Washington likely learned of this latest raid on June 30, when he visited Schenectady, fifty miles east of Little Falls. He told the leaders of Schenectady, “May you, and the good People of this Town…be protected from every insidious or open foe, and may the complicated blessings of peace soon Reward your arduous Struggles for the establishment of the freedom and Independence of our common country.” 10 On July 17, 1782, Colonel Marinus Willett wrote from Fort Rensselaer on the Mohawk River to New York Governor Clinton that an enemy force of 500 or 600 had burned all uninhabited places between Herkimer and Little Falls on the Mohawk River and driven off 150 head of cattle and 50 horses. Willett complained that he could not pursue them without “salt provisions and hard bread,” which he did not have. His lack of weapons and clothing prevented him from utilizing a “considerable proportion” of the troops raised by promises of land bounties. On July 24, Governor Clinton forwarded Willett’s letter to General Washington with his concern that unless Willett’s command were augmented and properly supplied, “the whole of the Settlements on the Mohawk River will be destroyed or abandoned.” He offered to call into service more militia to reinforce Willett. He also reported that the troops along the Mohawk River lacked the necessary buildings to store hard bread and salted meat. 11 10 11
George Washington to John Hanson, 9 July 1782; George Washington to Frederick Visscher, 30 June 1782. George Clinton to George Washington, July 24, 1782.
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Washington was in the unenviable position of trying to maintain the strength of his forces to keep a favorable negotiating position, while also protecting American settlers over a wide frontier. The Commander-in-Chief had much to do and few resources, so he was happy to defer to New York Governor George Clinton regarding troop strength and reconnaissance in the Empire State. In this letter from his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, Washington explains the discrepancy between his desires and his abilities to the governor up the river in Albany. George Clinton (1739-1812) served as the first governor of the State of New York from 1777 to 1795, and again from 1801 to 1804. He served as Vice President to both President Thomas Jefferson and President James Madison (1805-1812). Born to Irish parents in the colony of New York, he served in the French and Indian War first on a privateer in the Caribbean and then in the militia. After studying law, he began his practice in 1764, and also served in the New York Provincial Assembly from 1768 to 1776. Commissioned as brigadier general in both the militia and the Continental Army, Clinton began serving as New York’s governor in July 1777. Colonel Marinus Willett (1740-1830) was intimately familiar with the geography and geopolitics of the Western New York frontier. He was characterized by historian Mark M. Boatner as “one of the truly outstanding American leaders of the Revolution.” Willett served in the militia during the French and Indian War and had taken part in the expedition to Fort Ticonderoga. He participated in the Battle of Fort Frontenac, and later convalesced at Fort Stanwix. As a New York Son of Liberty, he helped confiscate arms from an arsenal and captured British stores at Turtle Bay in the East River. Willett was appointed captain in the Continental Army, again heading north and participating in the Invasion of Canada and the Siege of Quebec. After a series of posts throughout New York, in April 1781 he was made a colonel of the New York militia and assigned to the Mohawk Valley. Most of his efforts involved fighting local Loyalists and their Indian allies, notably at the Battles of Sharon Springs (July 10, 1781) and Johnstown (October 25, 1781). Willett was still in the Mohawk Valley when Washington wrote to Clinton asking him to keep an eye on the British forces that had recently rebuilt Fort Ontario. In February 1783, Washington instructed Willett to take Fort Ontario back from the British, but Willett retreated upon determining that he had lost the element of surprise. The fort would remain in British hands until 1796, after the signing of Jay’s Treaty. Willett maintained his political alignment with Governor Clinton and later served in the New York State Assembly, as Sheriff of New York County, and as the 48th Mayor of New York City. GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed as Commander in Chief, to Governor George Clinton, July 30, 1782, Newburgh, N.Y. 4 pp., 7 x 11¾ in. #24418 $35,000
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Quartermaster’s Account Book, ca. 1783 The ledger concerns settlements with various suppliers and vendors to the Continental Army together with prominent officers. The names include numerous important New Yorkers including Anthony Wayne, Philip Schuyler, Marinus Willet, William Pemberton and Abraham Ten Broeck. In addition numerous prominent family names appear, including Beekman, DeWitt, Van Renselear, Van Schanck, and even Van Buren. All accounts are “To the United States” and include a wide variety of supplies and expenses. Henry Bogart submitted a bill for £25.11.4 which included “105 Pounds of White rope,” “16 Pounds Deck nails,” “2 Soldier Coats by Leonard Van Buren,” and “6 pounds of Tallow” among other things. General Schuyler billed £53 for variety of items including, “Shoeing 17 Horses,” “17 Bushels of lime,” and “Making 4 Candlesticks...” An important record, worthy of further research. Nicholas Quackenbush (1734-1813) was a member of a powerful Dutch family in the Hudson River Valley. He sided with the Revolutionary cause, serving as Assistant Deputy Quartermaster to the Continental forces in Albany with rank as Major. In this capacity, Quackenbush, situated roughly half way between Albany and Montreal, was one of the most important people in the region, coordinating critical supplies that would ultimately result in the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777 and help secure the Mohawk valley frontier against Loyalist and Indian raids. The letters are primarily from others in the quartermaster corps concerning critical supplies for the campaign of 1777. [REVOLUTIONARY WAR]. A very fine content ledger kept by Nicholas Quackenbush, [Albany, ca. 1783]. 19 pp., folio. #21007.17 $5,500
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A New York Loyalist Newspaper Announces Articles of Peace “preliminaries to a General Peace between Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, and the United States of America, were signed at Paris...in consequence of which, hostilities by sea and land were to cease...in America.... Great Britain acknowledges the Sovereignty and Independence of the Thirteen United States of America….” (p3) This Loyalist newspaper reports that the preliminary Articles of Peace, ending the Revolutionary War, have been signed in Paris and that Britain now acknowledges American independence, marking the end of the Revolutionary War. This issue contains an article titled “A General Peace” that describes the terms of the treaty, alongside Parliamentary discussion of American independence, an order by Loyalist adjutant general Oliver De Lancey regarding forfeited and abandoned estates in New York, other international news, and various advertisements. These highlights can be found among a variety of advertisements, including a notice to Loyalist refugees, signed by members of the King’s Rangers, promoting the Island of St. John (now Prince Edward Island) as an attractive resettlement alternative to Nova Scotia. The preliminary Articles of Peace, which formally acknowledged American independence, were signed on November 30, 1782, by British commissioner Richard Oswald and his American counterparts, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens. James Rivington (1724-1802), cited here as “Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty,” moved from London to America in 1760, settling in New York, where he established a successful bookselling and printing company on Wall Street. His Royal Gazette is widely considered the first daily newspaper in the colonies. While the paper staunchly supported king and country (in this case, England) throughout the British occupation of New York, Rivington secretly passed critical intelligence to General George Washington. According to historian Benson J. Lossing, Rivington concealed important messages on thin strips of paper in the bindings of the books he sold. The printer remained in New York, under the protection of Washington’s spymaster Benjamin Tallmadge, after the British withdrawal from the city. [TREATY OF PARIS]. The Royal Gazette, March 26, 1783, New York: James Rivington. 4 pp., 11½ x 18 in. #21201.99
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Boston Patriots Urge Expulsion of Loyalists at the End of the War “This Town will at all times (as they have done to the utmost of their power) oppose every enemy to the just rights & Liberties of Mankind…” In early 1783, with America’s victory in the Revolution secure, Boston’s Committee of Correspondence was tasked with defining the rights of American Loyalists who sought to return to the city after the war. While some patriots—Alexander Hamilton notable among them—were vocal in defense of former Loyalists, other revolutionaries were wary about the dangers posed by Loyalists in the vulnerable new nation. Biographers credit Samuel Adams as the author. Though their names do not appear in the text, he, James Otis, and Joseph Greenleaf, crafted the resolution. With a definitive peace treaty under final negotiation, Adams lobbied hard against allowing the return of unrepentant Tories, which he viewed as a threat to national security. In this letter, the Boston Committee declares that Loyalists “ought never to be suffered to return but to be excluded from having Lot or Portion among us,” and urges other Massachusetts towns to follow its lead. Several articles in the Treaty of Peace, signed at Paris in September 1783, sought to put an end to the exile of Loyalists and confiscation of their properties. Those Loyalists who were able to resume their livelihoods in the state were largely from humble origins and kept a low profile after the war. Excerpts “This Town does not presume to Dictate to any of their Sister Towns but they always receive with pleasure their Sentiments with respect to what Concerns the public Good The advantages that have been derived from thus freely Communicating the Sentiments of each other during the late Struggle with our inveterate internal and external Enemies are of too Great Magnitude to need pointing out.” This letter is equally significant for the Committee’s emphasis on “maintaining good Faith and Friendship with our natural and generous allies the French who reached out to us their supporting hand in the Hour of our distress and whose interest it is to maintain the Independence of our Country.... we must timely and most cautiously Guard against the Machinations and Influence of our late Enemies the Britons and Surely the British King cannot have more Subservient Tools and Emissaries amongst us for the purpose of Sowing the Seeds of Dissention in this infant Nation....” Printed version of Resolution and Circular Letter. Both documents were subsequently printed as a broadsheet, and in newspapers in other states, who were also dealing with Tory property issues. This draft version was preserved in the papers of Luke Drury of Grafton. Ironically, Drury, a former captain of Minutemen, would be imprisoned four years later during a home-grown Massachusetts conspiracy—Shays’ Rebellion. Nathaniel Barber (1728-1787) was a merchant and insurance broker in Boston. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty, a participant in the Boston Tea Party, muster master for Suffolk County, and commissary of Boston’s military stores until 1781. [SAMUEL ADAMS]. Boston Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety, Resolution and Manuscript Circular Letter, April 10, 17, 1783, Boston. Signed by Nathaniel Barber as Chairman and secretarially for William Cooper as Town Clerk. Folium, 3 pp., 8¼ x 13 in. #20638
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Philip Schuyler Discusses Family Estate with Peggy Schuyler’s Husband “General Renselaer is come up to divide the personal estate of his Father. Mrs Schuyler insists upon my being present I suppose to afford some protection against the Old Lady.” Complete Transcript Dear Sir General Renselaer is come up to divide the personal Estate of his Father. Mrs Schuyler insists upon my being present I suppose to afford her protection against the Old Lady. We had asked Mr Stephen Bayard to dine with us. It is probable we shall not be back to dinner. pray come out and dine with him. Ask Mr Taylor or any others you please to dine with you Love to Margaret we will call on her this evening. Yours affectionately / & sincerely Ph: Schuyler Saturday Stephen Van Rensselaer Esqr Philip Schuyler (1733-1804) was a Revolutionary War General, and U.S. Senator from New York. He lost his reelection campaign to Aaron Burr. Born into one of the most powerful political families in the province of New York, Schuyler was privately tutored but never attended college. He briefly served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775, before being appointed a Major General in the Continental Army. His wife was Catherine Van Rensselaer, daughter of Johannes Van Rensselaer. They had 15 children, including daughters Angelica, Elizabeth and Margaret (Peggy). Eliza married Alexander Hamilton in 1780, and Peggy married Stephen Van Rensselaer, the recipient of this letter, in 1783. Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764-1839) was born in New York City. His mother was Catharina Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Because his father died when he was five years old, Van Rensselaer was raised to be lord of the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Van Rensselaer began attending the College of New Jersey (Princeton) but nearby battles in the Revolutionary War caused his transfer to Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1782. In June 1783, he married Margarita “Peggy” Schuyler (1758-1801), his third cousin and the younger sister of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, making him Alexander Hamilton’s brother-in-law. In November 1785, on his 21st birthday, Van Rensselaer took possession of Rennselaerwyck. He was a generous and lenient landlord to the tens of thousands of tenants that ultimately leased land on the estate. He served as a Federalist member of the New York State Assembly from 1789 to 1791 and the New York Senate from 1791 to 1796. He served as Governor John Jay’s lieutenant governor from 1795 to 1801, and he narrowly lost the 1801 election for governor to George Clinton. Van Rensselaer was active in the New York Militia, eventually rising to the rank of major general. PHILIP SCHUYLER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Stephen Van Rensselaer III, c. 1783-1790. 1 p., 9 x 13½ in. #24388
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All in the Family – Alexander Hamilton Helps Manage his Brother-in-Law’s American Finances, and Coordinates Delivery of a Package that his Sister-in-Law (Angelica) Sent from Paris to his Wife (Eliza) and His Mother-in-law Just months after founding the Bank of New York, Hamilton writes to Philadelphia merchant John Chaloner regarding financial transactions including the purchase by John Church of 25 shares of Bank of North America stock. Hamilton also checks on a package sent to Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth from her sister Angelica Church, then in Paris. Complete Transcript Dr Sir I Received in due time your letter of the 14th July 12 The bill sent by you which have been paid and will be paid are— on James & Alexander Stewart 600. ditto 300. on Delafield 149:4 James Buchannon & Co 400 on Capt G. Giddes 23:9:2 William Bowne 30: 1502:13:2 The Drafts on Lowe and Woodward I return by Mr McCarty’s desire who will have explained to you The ballance due on the lot will be £1297:6-10, which bears interest at Seven Pr Cent. if you are in Cash on Mr Church’s account, I shall be obliged to you as soon as possible to forward that ballance the rather as from particular circumstances there is some little hazard in the title till the transaction is completed. I enclose you Messrs Nathaniel and John Traceys obligation to Mr Church for Twenty five Shares of bank Stock; <2> agreeable to your request. Mrs Hamilton tells me that Mrs Church informs her she has sent to your care a box of sheeting for her and there is some other thing which she does not recolect for Mrs Schuyler. She requests you will be so good as to forward these articles. Mrs Hamilton joins in compliments to Mrs Chaloner. Believe me to be / with great regard Dr Sir Your Obed. Servt Alexander Hamilton New York / August the 14th 1784 Mr J. Chaloner <3><4> [Address, in Hamilton’s hand:] Mr John Chaloner / Merchant / Philadelphia [Recipient’s Docketing:] New York Augt 14, 1784 / Alexr Hamilton Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton’s older sister Angelica married John Barker Church, an English businessman, in 1777. Church supported the American Revolution and made a fortune supplying the 12
John Chaloner to Alexander Hamilton, July 14, 1784.
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American and French armies with provisions. After the war, he served as a U.S. envoy to the French government from 1783 to 1785. Angelica Church apparently was shopping in Paris, and bought a box of sheeting for her sister and another item for their mother, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. After a brief return to America, the Church family left for England, where John B. Church served in Parliament from 1790 to 1796. During Church’s absence from 1783 to 1797, Hamilton managed his financial affairs, with Chaloner conducting his business in Philadelphia. Hamilton discusses various obligations to Church, including accounts with Philadelphia merchants James and Alexander Stewart, New York broker John Delafield, New York merchant and Bank of New York stockholder James Buchanan, Philadelphia Captain George Geddis, and New York stationer and printer William Bowne. Hamilton returns drafts on New York merchants Nicholas Low and John Woodward at the request of Pennsylvania merchant William Macarty, who had gone bankrupt and received a general discharge from his creditors. Macarty went to France to reestablish himself in business and asked Chaloner to collect debts owed to him in America. Nathaniel and John Tracy were merchants of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Apparently, they sold Church twenty-five shares of bank stock (for the Bank of North America, according to the Papers of Alexander Hamilton), the obligation for which Hamilton was now sending. Nathaniel Tracy was among the first stockholders of the Bank of North America. According to the editors of the Papers of Alexander Hamilton, “The debates in the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1786 over the recharter of the Bank of North America undoubtedly had an important influence on Hamilton’s thinking. Hamilton followed these debates with particular interest, for John B. Church, Elizabeth Hamilton’s brother-inlaw for whom Hamilton served as attorney, and Jeremiah Wadsworth, who was Church’s partner, were both large stockholders in the Bank of North America.” 13 John Chaloner (1748-1793) lived in Philadelphia and served as assistant commissary of purchases for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He married Ann Ruby Gilkey (1753-1801) in 1777. He was also a merchant in the firm of Chaloner and White and served as a state legislator. He was appointed an additional auctioneer for the city of Philadelphia in 1790. He died in the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. The Bank of North America (1781-1908) was a private bank chartered by the Confederation Congress on December 31, 1781, and opened in Philadelphia a week later. It was the nation’s first de facto central bank, based on a plan presented by U.S. Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris based on a suggestion from Alexander Hamilton. After Robert Morris deposited large quantities of gold and silver coin and bills of exchange, he issued new paper currency backed by the deposits. ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Letter Signed in full “Alexander Hamilton,” to John Chaloner, New York, August 14, 1784. Sent copy (The Hamilton Papers at the Library of Congress has Hamilton’s retained draft). 2 pp., 8 x 13 in. #24857 $9,000
Introductory Note: Second Report on the Further Provision Necessary for Establishing Public Credit (Report on a National Bank), [December 13, 1790].
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Hamilton Aids a Revolutionary War Loyalist: Important N.Y. Confiscation Act Case Verdict Historical Background When the British occupied New York City in 1776, they confiscated the estates of patriots who had fled and placed them under the management of the Barrack Master General. Likewise, many American states passed laws allowing the seizure of loyalists’ property; these co-called “confiscation laws” effectively criminalized war dissent. New York’s most aggressive confiscation (or forfeiture) law, titled “An Act for the Forfeiture and Sale of the Estates of Persons who have adhered to the Enemies of this State, and for declaring the Sovereignty of the People of this State, in respect to all Property within the same,” was passed on October 22, 1779 (New York Laws, 3rd session, Ch. 25). New Yorkers who were convicted of adhering to the British side (for instance, by voluntarily moving into areas occupied by the British or remaining behind enemy lines after obtaining a pass) forfeited their real and personal property and were banished from the state, which in turn was empowered to seize and sell the forfeited property. 14 While this law could not be enforced while the British occupied the city, that didn’t stop litigation. On May 5, 1780 an Ulster County, New York jury indicted James Leonard under the Confiscation Act. Following Leonard’s failure to appear to contest the indictment, judgment was entered against him and his property was forfeited. The judgment roll was signed on November 9, 1782. In the meantime, on May 13, 1781 James Leonard had bought a house and lot in British occupied New York City. Following the British evacuation of New York City in November 1783, patriots returning to reclaim their property could invoke the Trespass Act, which the New York State legislature passed on March 17, 1783. 15 This law gave patriots the right to sue anyone who had occupied, damaged, or destroyed property they had left behind British lines during the war, using the legal action of trespass. Without this act, patriots could use the common law action of trespass quare clausum fregit (“wherefore he broke the close”) against those who entered their land unlawfully (“broke the close”). According to the law of nations, the use of abandoned property during wartime was justifiable if authorized by a military commander and if it answered the common law claim. The Trespass Act, however, explicitly prohibited the use of military orders and authorizations as a defense. On May 15, 1784 the New York State Commissioners of Forfeiture seized Leonard’s property which he had purchased in May 1781 and sold it to a carpenter named Anthony Post. 16 In July 1784, Leonard filed suit to recover his property, hiring Alexander Hamilton as his attorney. The trial was held in December 1784 before John S. Hobart of the New York State Supreme Court of Judicature. In the special verdict transcribed by Hamilton offered here, the jury upheld both Leonard’s title to the property and the 1780 judgment of forfeiture. The determination of what effect the 1780 judgment had on Leonard’s purchase of property in May 1781 was postponed. In January 1786, judgment was given for Leonard for approximately £31 damages and costs, plus retention of the property. Thus, the court set the important precedent that property acquired by a Loyalist after a judgment of forfeiture was not subject to confiscation. 17 14
Julius Goebel Jr., ed., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964), Volume 1, 197-99. 15 Ibid, Volume 1, 228-29. 16 Ibid, Volume 1, 229. 17 Ibid, Volume 1, 229.
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The theme of loyalists and property also played a role in another 1784 Hamilton case, Rutgers v. Waddington. Elizabeth Rutgers owned a brewery that she was forced to abandon during the British occupation of New York City. Citing the Trespass Act of 1783, Rutgers sought £8,000 in rent from Joshua Waddington, the agent of the two merchants who occupied the property under British authority. Representing the defendants, Hamilton argued before the Mayor’s Court of New York City that the Trespass Act was inconsistent with the Tory property provisions of the Treaty of Paris, the 1783 pact which ended the war. Hamilton also asserted that the Law of Nations and the New York State Constitution’s incorporation of the English common law trumped the Trespass Act as the governing authority in the case. Thus, the defendants’ payments to the lawful British authorities absolved them of any obligation to Rutgers. Mayor James Duane delivered the court’s decision in August 1784, finding the defendants liable for rent during the period when they occupied the brewery under the authority of the British commissary general (September 1778 to April 1780) but not during the time when they had paid rent to authorities under the British military command (May 1780 to March 1783). The decision also recognized the Law of Nations as part of the common law that was incorporated under the 1777 New York State Constitution. Thus Rutgers v. Waddington was the first case to establish the principle that state legislation in conflict with provisions of a United States treaty was void. It also set a state precedent for judicial review, the doctrine later established on the federal level by the United States Supreme Court in the Marbury v. Madison case of 1803. Hamilton would use his arguments regarding judicial review from the Rutgers case as a basis for essays 22 and 78 in The Federalist. 18 Provenance: Descended in the Hamilton family until acquired by us at Sotheby’s, Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters and Manuscripts, January 18, 2017, lot 1026. ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Autograph Document, special verdict of the case of James Leonard/ James Jackson v. Anthony Post, New York Supreme Court, December 1784. 5 pp., 8 x 13 in. #24628 $24,000
18 For more on the Rutgers case, see Peter Charles Hoffer, Rutgers v. Waddington: Alexander Hamilton, the End of the War for Independence, and the Origins of Judicial Review (Lawrence, KS: Kansas University Press, 2016).
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Alexander Hamilton Drafts a Circular Letter to Tenants for His Brother-in-Law Hamilton drafts a circular letter for his young brother-in-law Stephen Van Rensselaer III, the patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, who had just reached the age at which he could take control of the manor from an administrator. Complete Transcript Sir The situation in which you occupy the lands in your possession in the manor of Rensselaerwyck must of course make you anxious to be put upon a more certain and explicit footing. On my part it is my wish not merely to do justice but to act liberally towards those with whom I have any concerns of property. In this disposition I have concluded to give you a lease in fee for the farm in your possession on such rent ^terms^ 19 and conditions as will be reasonable in respect to you and consistent with a due regard to myself and my family. You will therefore call upon me at my house on [intentionally blank] in order that what is necessary may be done. I am Sir Your hume ser A Hamilton [On verso, in Hamilton’s hand]: “Circular Letter” Historical Background The Van Rensselaer family holdings were based on purchases from American Indians and Dutch West India Company grants to the first patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643), in 1630. Van Rensselaer was a diamond and pearl merchant from Amsterdam who became a founder and director of the Dutch West India Company. Van Rensselaer was a leading proponent of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions and the only patroon who was successful in establishing American settlements. (Patroonships were large tracts of land with manorial rights granted to individuals to encourage Dutch colonization and settlement in New Netherland.) After the English assuming control and New Netherland became New York later in the seventeenth century, Rensselaerswyck became an English manor and passed down in the Van Rensselaer family. Although its boundaries are unclear, it contained all of the land around Albany, New York, along both sides of the Hudson River. In 1704, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1663-1719), grandson of the first patroon, divided Rensselaerswyck with his younger brother Hendrick (Henry) Van Rensselaer (1667-1740), who received the Lower Manor (Claverack) plus 1,500 acres east of Albany (Greenbush) in fee tail (a form of lifetime use with descent to a specific successor). The main estate of Rensselaerswyck passed to Kiliaen Van Rensselaer’s second son Stephen Van Rensselaer (1707-1747) after his older brother died without children. After serving as Patroon of Rensselaerwyck for two years, Stephen Van Rensselaer died, and the estate passed to his oldest son Stephen.
Inserted “terms” in another hand.
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Stephen Van Rensselaer II (1742-1769) was the Patroon of Rensselaerwyck from 1747 to 1769. When he died, his oldest son Stephen Van Rensselaer III became the final Patroon of Rennsselaerwyck. As the younger Stephen was only five years old when his father died, his uncle Abraham Ten Broeck administered the estate until he came of age. On his 21st birthday in 1785, Stephen Van Rensselaer III took possession of Rensselaerwyck, his family’s 1,200-square-mile estate. Reluctant to sell the land, Van Rensselaer offered perpetual leases at moderate rates to farmers. This arrangement provided him with a steady rental income, while farmers avoided having to pay a large purchase price. Over time, Van Rensselaer became landlord to more than 80,000 tenants. On July 11, 1786, Philip Schuyler wrote to his son-in-law Alexander Hamilton asking him to send “the papers I requested” to Stephen Van Rensselaer “as soon as you can,” because “his tenants seem at present in good humour and anxious for their leases.” 20 Hamilton forwarded this document to his brother-in-law, which Van Rensselaer then had copied and sent to his tenants. 21
Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764-1839) was born in New York City. His mother was Catharina Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Because his father died when he was five years old, Van Rensselaer was raised to be lord of the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Van Rensselaer began attending the College of New Jersey (Princeton) but nearby battles in the Revolutionary War caused his transfer to Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1782. In June 1783, he married Margarita “Peggy” Schuyler (1758-1801), his third cousin and the younger sister of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, making him Alexander Hamilton’s brother-in-law. In November 1785, on his 21st birthday, Van Rensselaer took possession of Rennselaerwyck. He was a generous and lenient landlord to the tens of thousands of tenants that ultimately leased land on the estate. He served as a Federalist member of the New York State Assembly from 1789 to 1791 and the New York Senate from 1791 to 1796. He served as Governor John Jay’s lieutenant governor from 1795 to 1801, and he narrowly lost the 1801 election for governor to George Clinton. Van Rensselaer was active in the New York Militia, eventually rising to the rank of major general. He reluctantly commanded during the War of 1812 and led an attack that became the Battle of Queenston Heights in Canada, a disastrous defeat by a smaller British force that ended Van Rensselaer’s active military career. He served on the Erie Canal Commission from 1816 to 1839, for fourteen years as its president. In 1822, he won election to the U.S House of Representatives and served from 1822 to 1829. There, he cast a key vote in favor of John Quincy Adams in the 1824 presidential election. ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Autograph Letter Signed (but with signature struck), drafted by Hamilton for his brother-in-law Stephen van Rensselaer, ca. July-August 1786. 1 p., 7⅜ x 10⅛ in. With docketing by Hamilton, “Circular Letter” #22601.03
Philip Schuyler to Alexander Hamilton, July 11, 1786. See Stephen Van Rensselaer to the Tenants of Rensselaerwyck, [July-August 1786].
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Part of Hamilton’s Draft of 1787 “Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes,” from His One Term in New York’s Legislature Two pages of Hamilton’s third draft of a bill for “An Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes within This State.” The balance of Hamilton’s third draft is in the Library of Congress. These two pages were retained by his descendants until 2017. Hamilton served a single term in the New York State Assembly, from January 12 to April 21, 1787. The 70-member Assembly met in the Old Royal Exchange in New York City. On February 9, a committee introduced a proposal for a new and fairer system of taxation. “It was agreed on all hands,” the Daily Advertiser summarized Hamilton’s remarks, “that the system heretofore in use was full of defects; both in the view of equality among individuals and of revenue to the state. From the legislature to the assessors, all was conjecture and uncertainty.” He explained that the present system left too much discretion to assessors and supervisors with their individual biases and inclinations. “Equality and certainty are the two great objects to be aimed at in taxation,” Hamilton concluded, and although his system “does not pretend to reach absolute equality,” it would “approach much nearer to equality than the former system” and “leaves nothing to discretion.” He invited the committee, the Assembly, and the Legislature to improve it, but warned, “we could not fall upon a worse system than the present. Any change would be for the better.” 22 Members of both the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate offered amendments to Hamilton’s bill, and the “Act for raising monies by tax,” that passed on April 11, 1787, was substantially shorter and did not include this text. Rather than imposing duties on specific possessions and implementing detailed reforms, the final act levied a quota on each county in the state to raise a total of £50,000, and made the assessors in each county responsible for determining taxable property and the rates of taxation. 23 Excerpt “Assessor shall leave with each possessor of land his or her bailiff Agent or servant or fix up upon some public place of the dwelling house of such possessor of land his or her bailiff agent or servant, if any there be on the premisses a memorandum in writing of the amount of this tax to the end that each person may be prepared in time to pay the same And the said tax shall be payable in the several counties at the respective periods hereinbefore limited for the payment of the tax on inhabited dwelling houses, and in the same proportions, and shall be collected to all intents and purposes within the times and in the manner prescribed for the collection of the said tax on inhabited dwelling houses.” ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Autograph Manuscript, c. March 1787, New York. 2 pp. #24627 $20,000
The Daily Advertiser (New York), February 21, 1787. “An Act for raising monies by tax,” April 11, 1787, Chap. 77, Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, inclusive, being the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Sessions (Albany, NY: Weed Parsons and Company, 1886), 505-6; Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 4, January 1787 – May 1788 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962), 51–66. 23
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Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Enabling Revolutionary War Veterans to Settle the West 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. Excerpt “That the act of Congress of the seventeenth of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, relative to certain locations and surveys made by, or on account of the Virginia troops on continental establishment upon lands between the Little Miami and Sciota Rivers, north-west of the Ohio, be, and the same is hereby repealed. “And whereas the agents for such of the troops of the state of Virginia who served on the continental establishment in the army of the United States, during the late war, have reported to the executive of the said state, that there is not a sufficiency of good land on the south-easterly side of the river Ohio, according to the act of cession from the said state to the United States, and within the limits assigned by the laws of the said state, to satisfy the said troops for the bounty lands due to them, in conformity to the said laws: to the intent therefore, that the difference between what has already been located for the said troops, on the south-easterly side of the said river, and the aggregate of what is due to the whole of the said troops, may be located on the north-westerly side of the said river, and between the Sciota and Little Miami rivers, as stipulated by the said state.” Historical Background As competing claims to the American frontier threatened national unity during the Revolutionary War, Congress encouraged the states to cede their western lands to the newly declared nation. In 1780, New York became the first state to do so. Virginia, which had, by far, the largest claim to western territory, offered its own cession in 1781, conditioned on all the other states ratifying the Articles of Confederation. Thomas Jefferson signed that legislation as Virginia’s governor. In his January 17 letter of transmittal to the president of Congress, Jefferson wrote that he would be “rendered very happy if the other States of the Union, equally impressed with the necessity of that important convention, shall be willing to sacrifice equally to its completion. This single event, could it take place shortly, would overweigh every success which the enemy have hitherto obtained and render desperate the hopes to which those successes have given birth.” 24 Land-poor Maryland’s objections to Virginia’s claims to vast tracts in the northwest had delayed ratification of the Articles of Confederation for almost four years. With Virginia’s offer of cession, Maryland signed the Articles two months later. Congress formally accepted the cession on March 1, 24
Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Huntington, January 17, 1781.
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1784, following more political maneuvering. Then Congressman Jefferson and his fellow Virginia delegates signed and delivered the deed to Congress. The editors of the Jefferson Papers observe, that the cession stands “as a monument to the strength of national feeling in the post-Revolutionary period…. No other state, then or since, ever yielded so great a natural resource to the domain of the whole people.” 25 This 1790 act, signed by Jefferson as Secretary of State, addresses a conflict that developed from a provision in the 1784 act accepting the cession. During the Revolutionary War, the Virginia legislature had set aside a large tract of land southeast of the Ohio River, in present-day Kentucky, from which to offer land bounties to officers and soldiers serving in the state militia or in the Virginia line of the Continental Army. When the state agreed to cede its claims to western lands, it did so with the caveat that territory between the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers, in present-day Ohio, be set aside in case the original bounty tract proved insufficient. In the summer of 1787, with signs that the first tract would indeed be too small, Virginia began to lay out bounty land between the Scioto and Miami rivers. The Confederation Congress, fearing that Virginia was encroaching on its new authority, passed a resolve on July 17, 1788, invalidating any “locations or surveys” in the area until the state proved the deficiency. Virginia protested, but they also submitted the required reports. On August 4, 1788, the First Federal Congress passed this repeal of its earlier resolution. The controversy continued though. Because this new act specified the procedures by which veterans could obtain land in the second tract, Virginia officials again argued that the federal government was impinging on their authority. Virginia veterans, meanwhile, complained that Congress had made it too difficult for them to obtain their promised grants. Congress finally responded on June 9, 1794, with an amendment to this act that eased the requirements. Legislative measures signed by Jefferson as Secretary of State Following a law passed on September 15, 1789, Thomas Jefferson, as Secretary of State, signed two copies of each law, order, vote, or resolution of Congress for distribution to the executive of every state. At the time this resolution was passed, there were 13 states, so it is very likely that Jefferson signed only 26 copies to be sent to the governors. 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. #23981 $17,500
Editorial Note: The Virginia Cession of Territory Northwest of the Ohio.
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Anti-Federalists Mock “His Worship” James Duane “his arguments are so solid, so firm, so clear, & so conclusive as incontestably to prove that the battle of Lexington happened in the year 1775… those arguments with the more solid one if Possible to wit, the tremendous Mountain called Antonys Nose do so clearly and undeniably move than an Election is an Act of Legislation” (Anthony’s Nose is a peak along the Hudson River in northern Westchester County.) The U.S. Constitution specified that Representatives would be elected directly, but Senators would be chosen by state legislatures. New York’s legislature convened in December 1788, and debated “An Act for prescribing the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators of the United States of America, to be chosen in this State.” At first, the Assembly, with an Anti-Federalist majority, favored election of U.S. Senators by the Assembly only, while the Senate, with a Federalist majority, insisted that both houses have a say. On January 5, 1789, James Duane, Federalist Senator and Mayor of New York City, spoke to a joint session about the bill, defending the Senate’s proposed role. In this letter to fellow Anti-Federalist John Smith, Gelston dismisses Duane’s speech. On January 27, 1789, New York drew six congressional districts, and voters went to the polls in early March to select Representatives for the first Federal Congress. But the legislature adjourned without electing U.S. Senators; both sides thought they would win the upcoming state elections. In April, voters elected a large Federalist majority to the Assembly, and Governor George Clinton called a special session to elect U.S. Senators. The Council of Revision (the Governor, Chancellor, and members of the state Supreme Court) vetoed the Assembly’s bill, arguing that it was unnecessary. If the houses chose the same candidate, he was elected, but if they chose differently, they would meet for a joint ballot (the first time that happened was in 1802). On July 16, the legislators selected Senator Philip Schuyler and Assemblyman Rufus King, both Federalists, to represent New York in the U.S. Senate. Partial Transcript “this will be handed you by Melancton Smith Esqr and will be by my present determination the last I shall write you until I receive at least one from you… I have this day been favored through the medium of Mr Childs paper 26 with his Worships Speech at the Conference, his arguments are so solid, so firm, so clear, & so conclusive as <2> as incontestably to prove that the battle of Lexington happened in the year 1775, and as it really happened in that year, so the first Congress met in Philada in 1774. those arguments with the more solid one if Possible to wit, the tremendous Mountain called Antonys Nose do so clearly and undeniably move than an Election is an Act of Legislation, that what mortal in his senses can any longer doubt, there is any difference between, passing an Act to regulate Elections, and enacting in the same Law the whole number of Persons to be Elected. Mr Smith going off. Adieu / yours as ever / David Gelston” David Gelston (1744-1828) was a Long Island-born merchant who signed the articles of association in 1774, agreeing to boycott British imports. He represented Suffolk County in the New York Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1777, in his state’s Constitutional Convention in 1777, and in the State Assembly from 1777 to 1785, the last term as speaker. Gelston moved to New York City in 26
Francis Childs (1763-1830) published the New York Daily Advertiser (1785 to 1796), the third daily paper in America.
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1787. Two years later, the Assembly appointed him to the last session of the Congress of the Confederation. He served in the state Senate from 1791 to 1794 and 1798 to 1802. He worked closely with Aaron Burr. President Thomas Jefferson appointed him as Collector of the Port of New York in 1801, and he remained in that position until 1821. John Smith (1752-1816) represented Suffolk County in the New York State Assembly from 1784 to 1785, 1787 to 1794, and 1798 to 1800. A Democratic Republican, he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives to fill out a term and was re-elected twice. In 1804, he resigned to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. In 1813, President James Madison appointed Smith as U.S. Marshal for the District of New York, a position he held until 1815. Melancton Smith (1744-1798) was born on Long Island and moved with his family to Poughkeepsie. He represented Dutchess County in the New York Provincial Congress in 1775, and moved in 1785 to New York City, where he became a prominent merchant. He helped found the New York Manumission Society and represented New York in the Congress of the Confederation from 1785 to 1787. In the Ratifying Convention in the summer of 1788, Smith was initially a leading opponent of the Constitution, but he eventually broke ranks with other Anti-Federalists and voted for it, angering New York Governor George Clinton. Smith died in the yellow fever epidemic in New York City. James Duane (1733-1797), born in New York City, was admitted to the bar in 1754. He established a lucrative practice and owned a house in Manhattan, another in the country, and an estate of 36,000 acres near Schenectady, New York. He served as a member of New York’s Committee of Sixty, represented the state in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1784. He nd signed the Articles of Confederation in 1778. He served on the committee that drafted New York’s constitution in 1777. Duane was a member of the Federalist Party and served in the New York Senate from 1783 to 1790. The Council of Appointment appointed him as the 44th Mayor of New York in 1784, and he served in that position until 1789. That September, President George Washington appointed him as the first judge of the United States District Court for the District of New York, where he sat until ill health forced his resignation in 1794. Additional Background In June and July 1788, New York’s ratification convention met to consider the U.S. Constitution. A majority of delegates were initially opposed, but the convention ultimately ratified the Constitution on July 26, 1788, by a vote of 30 to 27. It also attached recommended amendments. On February 7, 1789, the Assembly resolved to ask the first federal Congress to call a second general convention to consider amendments to the Constitution. In June, James Madison presented to Congress proposals for amendments, and in September, Congress passed twelve amendments and sent them to the states for ratification. By December 1792, the required three-quarters of the states had adopted ten of those amendments as the Bill of Rights. DAVID GELSTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Smith, New York, January 20, 1789. 2 pp., 7½ x 12¼ in. With New York Daily Advertiser, January 20, 1789, New York: Francis Childs. 4 pp., This issue publishes Duane’s remarks in full on page 2. Among the many ads on pages 1, 3 and 4 are those for the sale of stock certificates, wanted to purchase shares in the Bank of the United States, Hayman Levy selling furs, renting a house, sherry wine, auctions of real estate, sale of an enslaved woman and child, Cuban cigars, ship’s passages, etc. #23868.01- .02 $1,100 George Washington to the Jewish Masons of Newport, Rhode Island Part II 42
“Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the masonic fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them a deserving Brother.” Historical Background Early in his presidency, Washington received many messages from civic leaders, fraternal organizations such as the Masons, and the elders of the great diversity of religions throughout America. Each offered the incoming president congratulations, praise lauding his deeds in war, peace, and politics, prayers on behalf of their congregations, and more praise for what they were certain he would accomplish as president. Washington’s responses to these addresses count among his most famous pronouncements, firmly establishing the liberty to practice one’s own faith as a bedrock of the new Constitutional government. The Washington letters provide great examples of his very effective habit of incorporating the best thoughts or words from messages to him into his responses. One of his most celebrated quotes, for instance, proclaiming that the United States would give “to bigotry no sanction,” was adopted from Moses Seixas’s Newport Hebrew Congregation (Touro Synagogue) letter to him. The Gazette, a champion of the new federal government, was printed in New York City when it was the nation’s capital, and is often considered the most significant newspaper of the 18th century. [GEORGE WASHINGTON]. Newspaper. Gazette of the United States. September 11, 1790. New York, John Fenno. The letter of the Masons to Washington, and Washington’s letter of August 18, 1790 27 in response, printed in full on page 4. This issue also includes a piece on the “Character of Dr. Franklin.” (p2/c1). 4 pp. #30022.06 $2,500
The Manuscript Letter Signed is in the Boston Athenaeum.
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Acts of Congress From 1789-1791, Plus Other Documents “Thought Most Important…in the Administration of the Present Government” The Acts of Congress of the First through Third Sessions of the First Federal Congress, from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1791. Including the proposed Bill of Rights, as sent to the states for ratification (pp 149-150). This publication also includes an early printing of the U.S. Constitution (pp. 3-12), a number of American Treaties, 1778-1790 (France, Treaty of Paris, Fort Stanwix, etc., pp. 13-72), and an appendix, “Containing such Acts of the Congress Under the Confederation, as May be Thought Most Important to be Generally known in the Administration of the Present Government,” including the Declaration of Independence (316-319) and the Articles of Confederation (322-327). The first session of Congress opened with 11 of the 13 colonies attending; as noted in the lengthy sub-title, North Carolina and Rhode Island had yet to ratify the Constitution. This edition includes acts approved as late as March 2, 1791. Thus, it encompasses the founding of the Mint, the Post Office, the Judiciary, the Department of State, the Treasury Department - and Alexander Hamilton's Assumption Plan, the Residency Act, the founding of the Bank of the United States, etc. Inscription: “This Book belongs to the Town of Coventry and is to be kept in Andover part of said Town for the Benefit of the Inhabitants and when Read to be Returned to the Care of Daniel White. Decr 15th 1791.” Possibly Captain Daniel White (1749-1816), who married Sarah (Hale), the daughter of Captain Jonathan Hale and his wife, Elizabeth (Welles). A subsequent owner inscribed it: “Wilmot L. Warren / Springfield, Mass 1873.” Warren wrote an article for the International Review on “Recent Changes in State Constitutions,” and a book on the state constitutions as they were in 1859 and as they were revised. Another owner, Gorham Harris, has signed the inside front cover, and underlined the name “Nathaniel Gorham” in the list of signers of the Constitution. Sabin 15494. Printing preceded by Sabin 15492 (New York, 1789); 15493 (Philadelphia, 1789). Also 21975 (New Haven). Condition: Some chipping to front end papers and opening (Index) pages. Additional leaf laid in by Daniel White with inscription has some losses. Light to moderate foxing throughout. Rebacked. Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the Fourth of March, in the Year M,DCC,LXXXIX. Hartford, CT: Hudson and Goodwin, 1791. 486 pp. Two ownership inscriptions. #20821 $5,000
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Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Allowing Maryland to Collect Customs Duties The Constitution forbade the states from collecting duties on imports, exports, or vessel tonnage unless specifically authorized by Congress. This was consistent with Hamilton’s plan to fund the federal government. However, Congress regularly granted such permission to states when the proposed imposts or duties were to be used for the improvement of harbors and waterways. Here, Secretary of State Jefferson certifies a copy of the Congressional act that was constitutionally required for Maryland to levy tonnage duties to fund improvements to the port of Baltimore. “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the consent of Congress be, and is hereby granted and declared to the operation of an act of the General Assembly of Maryland, made and passed at a session begun and held at the city of Annapolis...intituled, ‘An act to empower the wardens of the port of Baltimore to levy and collect the duty therein mentioned,’ until the tenth day of January next, and from thence until the end of the then next session of Congress, and no longer.” Historical Background The Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. This was relatively uncomplicated when the waters involved more than one state. Funding other improvements, such as clearing local harbors or providing for local inspectors, was more complex. James Madison’s diary of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention made it clear that the Constitution’s framers did not want to hinder the states from imposing duties to improve their waterways, but Section 10 of Article 1 asserted that “No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws.... [and] No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage.” The solution was to have Congress consent. When a state desired to improve its harbors or canals, Congress authorized the state to impose duties for finite amounts of time. The first such Act of Congress, passed in 1790, allowed Maryland, Georgia, and Rhode Island to levy tonnage duties for harbor improvements. Congress routinely extended its assent to these duties; Maryland’s duties continued in force until 1850. In addition to navigational aids and dredging, states used tonnage duties to fund harbor masters, health inspectors, and care for sick or disabled seamen. Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution and become the 13th state in May of 1790. Thus, Jefferson signed 26 copies. Few copies of any of the Acts Jefferson signed survive. This is the only Jeffersonsigned copy known in private hands, with three in institutions: Library Company of Philadelphia, Library of Congress, and New York Public Library. THOMAS JEFFERSON. Document Signed as Secretary of State, An Act Declaring the Consent of Congress to a Certain Act of the State of Maryland, February 9, 1791. [Philadelphia: Francis Childs and John Swaine]. Signed in print 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. 1 p., 10 x 14¾ in. Variant of Evans 23851. #22686 $24,000
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Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress for Compensating Court Officers, Jurors, and Witnesses Under the new federal Constitution, the First Congress had the momentous job of creating the laws to govern the various branches of the new government, whether setting up the framework for executive departments such as Treasury and State, establishing its own rules and schedule, or, in this case, creating a federal court system. In its second session (January 4 through August 12, 1790), Congress passed the Crimes Act, which defined a plethora of federal crimes, punishments, and court procedures. Here in the third session, Congress provides a schedule of compensation for officers and jurors, as well as a process for scheduling and meeting places for the various federal district courts around the new nation. This act from the early days of the federal legal system under the new Constitution shows Congress deciding how to reimburse the participants of the courts. The U.S. Attorney is granted traveling expenses of “ten cents per mile going, and the same allowance for returning.” The clerk of the District Court receives a salary of $5 per day; the clerk of the Supreme Court gets $8 per day. Jurors are to receive 50 cents per day, plus 50 cents traveling expenses for every ten miles. The act also specifies fees for marshals, process servers, and even witnesses. This Act covers only the federal District Courts for six states and specifies which cities shall house the court: Portsmouth and Exeter, New Hampshire; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport and Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut; New York, New York; and Richmond, Virginia. Excerpts “the several officers following...are otherwise by law intitled, and also to jurors and witnesses...the following respective compensations: to the marshal of the district, for attending the supreme, circuit or district courts, five dollars per day; for summoning a grand jury, three dollars, and for summoning a petit jury, two dollars, and for serving and returning a writ, five cents per mile for his necessary travel.... there shall also be paid to the marshal, the amount of the expense for fuel, candles, and other reasonable contingencies for holding a court.... Sec. 2...In New York district, on the fifth, and in Connecticut district, on the twenty-fifth days of April next; in Massachusetts district, on the twelfth, and in New Hampshire district on the twenty-fourth days of May next; and in Rhode Island district, on the seventh day of June next; and the subsequent sessions in the respective districts, on the like days of every sixth calendar month thereafter, except when any of those days shall happen on a Sunday, and then the sessions shall commence on the next day following....” THOMAS JEFFERSON. Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act providing compensations for the officers of the Judicial Courts of the United States, and for Jurors and Witnesses, and for other purposes. New York, N.Y., March 3, 1791. 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., 9 x 15 in. #23804 $19,000
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N.Y. Merchant Supports Excise Taxes and Gives Information for Report on Manufactures Complete Transcript Sir I must beg your Patience once more, it shall not be again trespassed, or intruded upon. I addressed you by White Matlack, in a hasty, & of Course improper Letter, as all my hasty; & most of my leisurable ones, generally are. I value your good opinion, because it is not cheaply & indiscriminately bestowed, nor promptly avowed. It once waked up in me, a momentary Hectic of Ambition; which happily for me, was as suddenly extinguished, by my unauthorized Disclaimers, & real Benefactors. I, who had never aspired to be even a Committee Man, should certainly have done myself no Service as an Assemblyman. I am persuaded, that either my Credit, or Conscience, must have suffered in the Course of a single Session. I could not have born, the Crucify of Prejudice, if I had been sure the Hosanna’s of applause; would follow in due Season. As my Letter reads, I told you of something I “wished” to communicate, which obviously implies, my Expectation; that you would require me to make my Communications. I beg you to acquit me of so weak an Idea. I well know that a Person in your situation, even if at perfect Leisure, should neither correspond, nor converse with any but a few influential Characters, or confidential Intimates upon such subjects. I also called your attention in an obscure way, to a Publication in the [American] Museum, upon Excise in September last. 28 I might in as few words, have assigned my sole reason for it, which was, that it contained my Theory or System, & of Course was a proper Preface to my Detail, which I proposed communicating to you & was a Part of the whole. Speaking from the Impulse of the Moment, is my constitutional sin & love To inform, to advise, to censure, or to commend, require the Warrant of Intimacy. The possible suspicion of a possible vanity which station alone could inspire, has I hope on this occasion operated both as a Knife & a Caustic upon me, & wrought a radical Cure. The value of the acquaintance with or Notice of Rank alone, age & Experience will generally ascertain in the vainest & weakest Minds. It was my Fortune to enjoy all that this Distinction could bestow, in early Life. At the age of Twenty two, The Bathursts & Bolingrooks, the Swifts, & the Addisons, of our provincial Augustan Age, were either the Friends, the Companions or the Patrons of my Youth. All who were disting[uished] for Love of Science & Love of Freedom, either associated as Members, or passed the Day as often as they dared, at our weekly Whig Club, 29 of which I was a Member. The provincial Peer, now Chief Justice of Canada, 30 & the Provincial Supreme Judge the Chancellor’s Father, 31 were often with us. All the literary Livingstons, Mr Dougall, Scott & others were of our Corps. That a petty Vanity; the vicious Excess of the humblest grade of ambition, should now at Forty Two seize a man, who has humbly & unambitiously walked this Life, untempted by powerful Patrons, & Independence of Fortune, in the Days of Youth & Prosperity; in the proudest Era of his pigmy Reign, would be a “Falling off” indeed. 28
Columbianus, “Hints and Conjectural Observations on the Subject of an American Excise” appeared in The Daily Advertiser (New York), August 3, 1790, and was reprinted in The American Museum, or, Universal Magazine 7 (September 1790): 136-40. The letter supported excise taxes on luxury items such as liquor and snuff, but opposed as impractical a general excise tax on all consumption. 29 Formed by the Livingston family and their friends in 1752, the Whig Club of New York met weekly at the King’s Arms tavern to toast the memory of Oliver Cromwell and oppose both the established church and the monarchy. Some of its members later became leaders of the Sons of Liberty. 30 William Smith (1728-1793) was a lawyer and served as the Loyalist Chief Justice of the Province of New York from 1780 to 1782. He was the Chief Justice of the Province of Quebec (Lower Canada) from 1786 to his death. 31 Robert R. Livingston (1718-1775) was the justice of the New York provincial supreme court from 1763 to his death. His son Robert Livingston (1746-1813) was the first Chancellor of New York from 1777 to 1801.
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I have seated myself quietly in the Lap of Inland Commerce, & domestic Manufactures for Life. It is time, I have comparatively, as to Rank & Wealth, been whirled by the surge of Fortune’s Wheel; from the Zenith, well on towards her Nadir. Still however, steel snuff & Porter, are worth more to me than a Marshallship, or Post-Mastership; the Contest for which amongst great men; amused a humble Porter seller, who would have declined them as gravely, as Whitbread the Brewer, did Knighthood; & thanked the <2> President “for offering to make him such a Thing” as Peter Pindar sings. 32 I love Beauty & Order in the moral, as well as the natural World. I love to see Talents & Virtue, by Dint of Perseverance, hew their own way out to Eminence. I scarcely even knew them fail. I have been Twenty five Years in the busy World, not an unobservant spectator. I lost my Father before I was seventeen. I was the oldest son, & my little Bark was early forced upon the tempestuous ocean of busy Life. I have not the scurvy selfish Spirit of Shakespeare’s swaggering Ancient Pistol, who says “This World’s mine Oyster, which I with Point of Sword will ope.” 33 This World’s my Garden, & I will enjoy the Fragrance & rapid Growth, of every fair Flower that springs up & flourishes in it. Those who most abuse the World, & Fate & Fortune, generally deserve its neglect. Swift calls Fortune a Drab; 34 I say She is a fine woman, with some Failings; I blame her for forgetting me. In general however She conducts with the Decency & Dignity Eve did, when Adam courted her. Milton says “She would be woo’d, & not unsought be won.” 35 But to descend from Philosophy, & resume Business. Since my Letter by Matlack, a Channell has opened itself to me, that will afford me Facility, & make me at Ease & Home, in any Communications, I may conceive to be profitly useful. In order to serve a deserving young Man (in Mr Wolcott’s office) who I bred to Business & esteem highly, I was obliged to correspond with Mr Wolcott on that Business. I have been gratified in it, & asked with a Frankness & Friendliness, I did not look for, to correspond with him. I have a hereditary Claim to his Friendship, on his Father’s Score, as well as a strong collateral one, from Twenty One years intimate acquaintance with, I believe his most intimate Friend. I had called two or three Times upon him when he lived in Newyork. I did not then know that his Reserve arose principally from native Diffidence. I have (except in one Instance) shunned public Men, & public Life, as timidly & warily as Knaves & Fools do wits, who whip them, except when public Men have visited the Hermitage, for the sake of the Hermit. Mr Wolcott’s Father did Business for me, Twenty four years ago, as Sheriff of Litchfield County, & afterwards with me, when in Trade. He is that Kind
Brewer Samuel Whitbread (1720-1796) allegedly declined an offer of knighthood from King George III in 1787. Robert Huish, Public and Private Life of His late Excellent and most Gracious Majesty, George the Third (London: Thomas Kelly, 1821), 483-84. “Peter Pindar” was the pseudonym of John Wolcot (1738-1819), an English satirist. In his satire, “The Progress of Curiosity; or a Royal Visit to Whitbread’s Brewery,” he included the following stanzas: Full of the art of brewing beer, The Monarch heard of Whitbread’s fame:/Quoth he unto the Queen, “My dear, my dear Whitbread hath got a marvelous great name;/ Charly, we must, must, must see Whitbread brew— Rich as us, Charly, richer than a Jew: / Shame, shame, we have not yet his brewhouse seen!” Thus sweetly said the King unto the Queen!/ and But first the Monarch, so polite,/Ask’d Mister Whitbread if he’d be a Knight. Unwilling in the list to be enroll’d,/ Whitbread contemplated the Knights of Peg, Then to his generous Sov’reign made a leg,/ And said, “He was afraid he was too old. He thank’d however his most gracious King, / For offering to make him such a Thing.” The Works of Peter Pindar, 3 vols. (London: John Walker, 1797), 1:323, 332. 33 Pistol, one of Falstaff’s followers, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, Scene 2. 34 In Jonathan Swift’s usage, a “drab” was a slovenly woman or prostitute. 35 John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VIII, Line 503.
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of proud independent spirit which dignifies high elective office. He is as deserving of the Government, as any Man in it. It is Time for me to close. I will do it with the Scotch saying of “The World to the worthiest”; with a wish that it will treat you precisely as you merit; I am not apt to prophesy or pronounce Maledictions, even on those who deserve them. I have assumed the Sage & the Philosopher, I will therefore in the ? ? of ancient Court Language; that of Pliny to Trajan, say to you cordially, Vale. 36 Fare you well N. H. May 17th 1791. <3> <4> [Address:] FREE / The Honble The Secretary of the Treasury / Of / The United States of America. Historical Background In March 1791, New York City merchant Nathaniel Hazard wrote a letter to Alexander Hamilton regarding excise taxes and asked White Matlack to deliver it when he traveled to Philadelphia. Hazard wrote, “Mr. Matlack is not averse to a moderate Excise on American, provided, a proportionably heavy one, is laid on foreign Steels. I have been for several Years, Agent for the Sale of that made at Matlack’s Furnace. I apprehend the Consumption of Steel in America is little short of 3000 Tons per Annum. The Use of American Porter & Beer is rapidly increasing, particularly in the Southern States. The Vend of Snuff is not inconsiderable, & confined to the Northern, principally. Of these Articles I speak professionally, or occupationally; having dealt extensively in them for several Years.” Based on his professional experience, Hazard thought the United States could raise revenue in excess of $80,000 annually through an excise tax on snuff, ale, and American steel. 37 This letter was one of a series that Hamilton received throughout 1791, as he prepared his “Report on the Subject of Manufactures,” which he presented to Congress in December of that year. Hamilton agreed that an excise tax could raise needed funds for the new federal government and had proposed in January 1790 an excise tax on domestically produced distilled spirits. Congress passed it on March 3, 1791. The “whiskey tax” was politically unpopular and led directly to the Whiskey Rebellion, which continued until the Washington administration suppressed it in 1794. 38 The letter offered here continues that correspondence in Hazard’s odd style. Filled with references to classical and contemporary literature, it offers a few references on excise taxes and compliments regarding various political figures, including Oliver Wolcott Jr., who at the time was auditor of the federal treasury and in June 1791, at Hamilton’s recommendation was promoted to comptroller of the treasury. He succeeded Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795.
Pliny the Younger (61-c. 113) often closed his letters “Vale,” which means “Farewell” in Latin, including his letters to Roman Emperor Trajan (53-117). 37 The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 8:166-68. 38 “An Act repealing, after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon Distilled Spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead; and also upon Spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same,” March 3, 1791, ch. 15, 1 Stat. 199-214. In 1794, Congress added an excise tax of eight cents per pound on snuff and two cents per pound on sugar produced domestically. “An Act laying certain duties upon Snuff and Refined Sugar,” June 5, 1794, chap. 51, 1 Stat. 384-90.
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Hazard resumed his correspondence with Hamilton in the fall of 1791, with letters that offered gossip on New York and Connecticut politics and local attitudes toward John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Aaron Burr. Nathaniel Hazard (1748-1798) graduated from Princeton University in 1764, and his father, a prosperous New York merchant and prominent Presbyterian layman, died a few months later. As the oldest son, Nathaniel Hazard became responsible for his father’s debts and property. When the British occupied New York in 1776, he fled with his mother and brothers to Newtown, Connecticut, where they remained during the war. At war’s end, Hazard returned to New York City and sold snuff, porter, beer, and steel on an extensive scale. He also sold American woolens manufactured in Hartford. He became one of the first members of the state Chamber of Commerce. In 1785, Hazard wrote Observations on the Peculiar Case of the Whig Merchants, Indebted to Great-Britain at the Commencement of the Late War, in which he argued that merchants were particularly affected by the conflict because of the nature of their capital, unlike that of landowners. He urged Congress to assume the debts that Patriot merchants owed the British and indicated that he alone owed £20,000. He carried on an intermittent correspondence with Alexander Hamilton from 1786 to 1791 on issues including politics, national debt, and taxation. White Matlack (1745-1824) was a New York City watchmaker and silversmith in the 1770s, but he later ran a brewery and manufactured steel in the 1780s. A Quaker and an abolitionist, he supported the American Revolution, and orthodox Quakers disowned him. He and other Quaker Patriots formed the Society of Free Quakers. He delivered Nathaniel Hazard’s letter to Alexander Hamilton of March 9, 1791. Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 8, February 1791 – July 1791 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), 166-68. Oliver Wolcott Jr. (1760-1833) was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale University in 1778. He served in the Continental Army from 1777 to 1779, and was admitted to the bar in 1781. After serving as state comptroller of Connecticut from 1788 to 1790, he served as auditor and then comptroller of the federal treasury in New York City. In 1795, President George Washington appointed him to succeed Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, an office he held until 1800. He later served as the governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827. Oliver Wolcott Sr. (1726-1797) was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale College in 1747. He served as sheriff of Litchfield County from 1751 to 1771. As a representative of Connecticut, he signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. As a major general of all Connecticut militia during the Revolutionary War, he saw considerable military service. Serving as lieutenant governor, he became governor of Connecticut when his predecessor died in 1796 and served until his own death in 1797. NATHANIEL HAZARD, Autograph Letter Signed with initials “N.H.” to Alexander Hamilton, May 17, 1791, 2 pp. #24645.05
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Jewish Synagogue Thanks Washington for His Role in Ensuring Civil and Religious Liberty In 1789, President George Washington toured New England but did not visit Rhode Island because it had not yet ratified the Constitution. Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the Constitution, on May 29, 1790. Fewer than three months later, Washington visited Rhode Island with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and others. On August 18, 1790, Washington stopped at the Touro Synagogue, and Warden Moses Seixas read this letter from the congregation to Washington. Washington’s reply to the Touro letter (which unfortunately is not printed here) is his most famous letter, and one of the greatest statements on religious freedom. Washington’s declaration that the U.S. government gives “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” is actually drawn from Seixas’ letter to him. Washington made loyalty to the nation, rather than a particular creed, the prerequisite for religious freedom and equality. Moses Seixas (1744-1809) was born in Rhode Island to Jewish parents who migrated from Portugal. He became a prominent leader in Newport, as warden of the Touro Synagogue of Congregation Jeshuat Israel, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Rhode Island, and a cofounder of the Bank of Rhode Island. Complete Transcript Address of the Hebrew congregation in Newport, Rhode-Island, to the president of the united states of America, August 17, 1790. Sir, PERMIT the children of the Stock of Abraham to approach you, with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person & merit—and to join with our fellow Citizens in welcoming you to Newport. With pleasure we reflect on those days—those days of difficulty and danger, when the God of Israel, who delivered David from the peril of the sword, shielded your head in the day of battle: and we rejoice to think, that the same Spirit who rested in the Bosom of the greatly beloved Daniel, enabling him to preside over the provinces of the Babylonish empire, rests, and ever will rest, upon you, enabling you to discharge the arduous duties of CHIEF MAGISTRATE in these states. Deprived, as we heretofore have been, of the invaluable rights of free citizens, we now, with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty Disposer of all events, behold a government, erected by the MAJESTY OF THE PEOPLE.—A government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance—but generously affords to ALL liberty of conscience and immunities of Citizenship— deeming every one, of whatever nation, tongue or language, equal parts of the great governmental machine. This so ample and extensive federal union whose basis is philanthropy, mutual confidence and public virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, doing whatever seemeth to him good. For all the blessings of civil and religious liberty, which we enjoy under an equal and benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of days, the great Preserver of men— beseeching him, that the angel, who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness, into the promised land, may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life—And when, like Joshua, full of days and full of honour, you are gathered to your fathers, may you be admitted into the heavenly paradise, to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality. Done and signed by order of the Hebrew congregation, in Newport, Rhode-Island. Moses Seixas, Warden. [SIGNED]
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Additional Content This sixty-page monthly issue for June 1791 contains more than twenty prose essays, such as “Observations on the Florida gulph stream” (p303-5), “Remarks on the construction of the heavens” (p307-12), “The negro equaled by few Europeans” (p313-24), “Essay on the influence of religion in civil society, concluded” (p324-27), “Thoughts on smuggling” (p331-32), “Remarks on the slave trade” by Benjamin Franklin (p336-37), and “Detached observations on hemp” (p342-43). The fortyeight-page Appendix I includes more than fifty selections of poetry. The forty-page Appendix II includes a variety of “Public Papers,” including the Rhode-Island Charter, granted by King Charles II in 1663 (p1-10) and the Constitutions of New York (1777) (p12-19), New Jersey (1776) (p20-23), Pennsylvania (1790) (p23-33), and Delaware (1776) (p33-40). The forty-four-page Appendix III includes a variety of foreign and domestic “intelligence” or news on a variety of subjects. The American Museum, or Universal Magazine (1787-1792) was a literary magazine published by Matthew Carey (1760-1839) and was one of the first successful American magazines. With $400 given him by the Marquis de Lafayette, Carey established the magazine in Philadelphia and published twelve volumes of the magazine, with monthly issues from January 1787 to December 1792. In its first edition, The American Museum republished Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and also published the proposed Constitution of the United States. Contributors included the first four presidents of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Noah Webster, among many others. Although The American Museum had approximately 1,250 subscribers, the magazine was not profitable and ceased publication at the end of 1792. [MOSES SEIXAS] Pamphlet. The American Museum, or Universal Magazine, for June 1791. Philadelphia, PA: Matthew Carey. Final issue of vol 9. Disbound. Including Moses Seixas’ letter to President Washington on behalf of the Newport congregation (based in Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue still standing in America). The Seixas letter appears on p. 40 of Appendix II. 192? pp. 8¼ x 5 in. #24159 $1,500
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Aaron Burr Manages his New York City Law Office from Albany In July 1791, Burr was serving as New York State commissioner of Revolutionary claims and as freshman U.S. Senator, while also practicing law. Here, the future presidential candidate instructs the clerk keeping his New York office on everything from entering pleas, to sending case paperwork, to ordering vials of an eye moisturizer and books analyzing the French Revolution, to correspondence. Partial Transcript: “I have just received your letter of the 17th In the suits in which Mr Cozine has sent you Declarations, I am Counsel and think JB Prevost is atty. if so give him the narr’s [narratios], if not, you must either get Cozines leave to delay the pleas till my Return or if he declines that Indulgence, plead the Genl Issue and plene administravit—but I shall wish to alter the Pleas on my return. Ask Mr Prevost to draw and deliver these pleas. I do not wish you to be interrupted.” “You will find among the Gravesend papers, copies of several Patents for Gravesend and of one or two for New Utrect, send them to me.” “Tell Brooks to send me two Phials of Mrs Lambs Eye Water, one small, the other larger.” “Beg Brooks also to enquire for a Piece of Linnen which was sent by Judge Yates to Doctor Browne to be bleached, if it is done and he can find it, let him send it to the Judge by sloop. “If he cannot find it and an opportunity offers desire him to write to Doctor Browne on the subject.” “Daniel Vardon, Junr No 39 Gr Dock Street advertises ‘Letters and observations to Burke.’ If they are neither by Payne [Paine?], Priestly, Towers or Loft, buy and send them to me. Buy also of Saml Campbell No 44 Hannover Sq and send me ‘Mackintosh’s defense of the french revolution against the accusations of Mr Burke.’” “I am surprised that I have no Letter from Mrs Burr by the last two posts.” “It gives me the greatest pleasure to find that the business of the office begins at length to be reduced to order. Do either of the young Lads attend?” “yr friend & Hs / Aaron Burr” Aaron Burr Jr. (1756-1836) was the third Vice President of the United States, serving during Jefferson’s first term, through March 4, 1805. He graduated from Princeton University in 1772, at age 16. His first public service was as a Continental Army officer, where he distinguished himself at the Battles of Quebec, New York, and Monmouth. While Vice President, on July 11, 1804, Burr fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel. With his political fortunes in decline, Burr is reputed to have formed a conspiracy to establish a private army and set up an empire from portions of Mexico (then belonging to Spain) and/or Louisiana (a U.S. territory). Burr was brought to trial on August 3, 1807, with Chief Justice John Marshall presiding, and acquitted on September 1. Following the trial, he lived in Europe in self-imposed exile for four years, then returned to New York to practice law. AARON BURR. Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ireson. Albany, N.Y., July 20, 1791. 3 pp., folio, with integral address leaf to Ireson “at A Burr’s.” #21480.04 $1,900
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Light Horse Harry Lee Asks Hamilton for a Favor Complete Transcript My dear sir I wrote to you this morning. I pray your attention as my friend to that party of my ler which concerns the paper I mean to send to Leroy & Bayard the moment you receive my lr & to favor me with your answer by return of post; On the political subject at your leisure I presume to hear your sentiments. Affy yours / HL August 12th 1791. / Alexa e r <2> [Address:] The hon / Alex Hamilton esqr / Secretary of the / Treasury / Philada [Docketing:] 12 Aug 1791 / Henry Lee [Endorsement by Hamilton:] Henry Lee / Answered Historical Background Herman Le Roy and William Bayard were New York merchants with a branch in Philadelphia. Henry Lee had “a large sum in funded paper,” and at the recommendation of Théophile Cazenove, he intended to transfer it to Le Roy and Bayard to “turn into cash.” Because Lee did not know Le Roy, he asked Hamilton to intervene personally to complete the transaction soon because “the money being soon wanted & the price allowed by me very high, disappointment in the agency will be injurious & distressing.” 39 Lee was at this time a member of the Virginia Assembly but was elected governor later in 1791. Although he objected to some features of Hamilton’s economic policies, he remained an enthusiastic Federalist throughout his life. Henry (“Light Horse Harry”) Lee (1756-1818) was born in Virginia and graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1773. He began to pursue a legal career, but with the beginning of the Revolutionary War he became a captain in a Virginia dragoon detachment. Promoted to major in 1778, he took command of a mixture of infantry and cavalry, and his horsemanship gave him the nickname “Light Horse Harry.” He later served as a lieutenant colonel in the southern theater and was present at Yorktown for the British surrender. Lee was a delegate to the Confederation Congress from 1786 to 1788. From 1789 to 1791, he served in the Virginia General Assembly, then as governor of Virginia from 1791 to 1794. In the latter year, he helped President George Washington suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Lee represented Virginia in Congress from 1799 to 1801, and famously eulogized Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” HENRY LEE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, August 12, 1791, Alexandria, Virginia. 1 p. #24645.06 $2,000
Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 9, August 1791 – December 1791 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), 31-32. 39
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The Prospectus of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures Contrasting with the agrarian view of many Virginia founding fathers, New Yorker Alexander Hamilton saw an industrial future for the United States. After nearly two years of study and with the aid of Assistant Secretary Tench Coxe, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton compiled his famed Report on Manufactures at the request of Congress. With the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, Coxe and Hamilton advocate creating the nation’s first public-private partnership to develop the area around the Great Falls of the Passaic River, using the cataract for power. Historical Background The Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.) was a public-private partnership to industrialize the area around the Great Falls of the Passaic River. By utilizing the falls’ water power, Hamilton envisioned a planned industrial community that would promote his industrial vision for the United States. Although no manuscript of the prospectus of the Society in Hamilton’s handwriting has been found, scholars have generally attributed primary authorship to him. 40 Chartered by New Jersey Governor William Paterson in 1791, S.U.M. was exempt from property taxes for a decade. Washington, D.C. designer Pierre L’Enfant had grand designs for the races and sluiceways to harness the waterpower, but he was soon replaced by the more pragmatic Peter Colt. The society founded the town of Paterson (named after the state’s governor) as one of the first planned industrial centers in the United States. After a shaky start, cotton manufacturing took off in the late 1790s, followed by steel and locomotive manufacturing in the midnineteenth century. In the 1880s, Paterson was the center of American silk production. The venture presaged future public-private partnerships. In addition, this issue contains a report on Joseph Brant, the famous Mohawk Indian Chief (p3/c1-2); a portion of the new constitution of Poland (p4/c1-2); and other national, international, and local Philadelphia news and advertisements. [ALEXANDER HAMILTON]. Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, September 10, 1791. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John Fenno. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in. The prospectus is printed on the front page in three columns. #30014.06 $2,500
Prospectus of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, [August 1791].
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The Bill of Rights – and Ratification This issue contains twelve proposed Constitutional amendments that Congress sent to the states for ratification. Following Virginia’s vote in December 1791, the required number of states had passed ten of the twelve amendments. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson sent a circular to the governors of the states including the articles that had been ratified, which became the Bill of Rights, as well as the two proposed amendments that had not been ratified. The fate of the remaining two amendments was still in question, as the action of the Massachusetts legislature in 1790 had not been transmitted to Jefferson. “The Convention of a number of States having at the time of their adopting the CONSTITUTION expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of publick confidence in the government will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (p1/c1) Following the text of the twelve proposed amendments, a note at the end declares, “The Ratificatory Acts of the Legislature of the several States, will appear in succeeding CENTINELS.” (p1/c2) Historical Background New Hampshire and Virginia became the ninth and tenth states to ratify the proposed Constitution in June 1788, launching the new federal government. In their debates on ratification, several state conventions proposed amendments. Massachusetts proposed nine, South Carolina adopted five declarations and resolves, New Hampshire proposed twelve, and Virginia proposed a twenty-point bill of rights and twenty proposed amendments. When New York ratified in July 1788, it proposed a twentyfive-point bill of rights and thirty-one amendments. James Madison sifted through all the proposals, and introduced several. After debates in the House and Senate, and several drafts, in September 1789, Congress approved twelve amendments to the U.S. Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. Between November 1789 and June 1790, nine states adopted ten of those Amendments. Vermont became the fourteenth state on March 3, 1791, and adopted the ten amendments on November 3. On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the eleventh state to adopt the ten amendments, thus providing the necessary three-fourths of the states to put the Bill of Rights into effect.
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Ironically, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature had approved proposed amendments three through eleven in February 1790, but the action was not reported to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, nor to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson inquired in August 1791, Massachusetts legislator Christopher Gore responded that “it does not appear that the Committee ever reported any bill.” 41 Both branches of the Connecticut legislature apparently also approved all twelve amendments in May 1790, but the ratification document was misfiled and not reported. (Though it was unnecessary to do so, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia formally adopted the amendments in 1939, the sesquicentennial anniversary of Congress’ vote.) Additional Content This issue includes a reader’s query about the “large compensations” Congress allowed to Revenue Department officers; LaFayette’s “pecuniary sacrifices of an enormous kind” in service to America during the Revolution; a memorial from Philadelphia merchants asking Congress to protect the India and China trade; secret debates on the bill for “further and more effectual provision for the defensive protection of the frontiers” (the expense of which Hamilton used as a back-door way to enact his Report on Manufactures proposals); notice that an expanded copyright bill was proposed; the invention of an “Air-Gun” by a young Rhode Island man; an obituary for Prince Grigory Potemkin (1739-1791), the Russian military leader and consort of Empress Catherine the Great; and advertisements (including two for the recovery of runaway apprentices), notices, and other news. A note from New York complains that certain states that protest the ability of U.S. Congressmen to sit on the board of the Bank of the United States do not similarly object to Congressmen who sit on the boards of their state banks. This note is headed by a great quote, presaging today’s partisan doublestandards: “one may steal a horse, while the other may not look over a hedge.” [BILL OF RIGHTS]. Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, March 14, 1792. Boston, Mass.: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp., 10½ x 16½ in. #25046
Thomas Jefferson to Christopher Gore, August 8, 1791; Christopher Gore to Thomas Jefferson, August 18, 1791.
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Senator Burr’s Not-So-Impartial Opinion on the 1792 NY Gubernatorial Election In the 1791 U.S. Senate election, Philip Schuyler had run for reelection as the Federalist candidate. Aaron Burr, then Attorney General of New York, was the moderate Democratic-Republican candidate. Simmering intra-party rivalries, Federalist opposition to Schuyler personally, as well as opposition to his son-in-law Hamilton’s policies led to Burr’s victory. Next, in New York’s 1792 race for governor, Democratic-Republican incumbent George Clinton was opposed by the Federalist Chief Justice John Jay. Jay won the popular vote. New York state law, however, required that the sheriff of each county deliver all cast ballots to the Secretary of State for the votes to be certified. Earlier in the year, the term of Otsego County’s sheriff had expired, and no successor had been appointed in his place. Clintonians argued that because the sheriff’s office was vacant, Otsego’s votes could not be counted. The question was arbitrated by New York’s U.S. Senators, Rufus King and Aaron Burr. Burr, who owed his political success to the Clinton faction in New York politics—but denied having been influenced thereby—supported the Clinton position with a learned legal opinion. The election canvassers agreed, and threw out Otsego’s votes. With the votes of Otsego and two other counties disqualified, Clinton won a razor-thin victory. This pamphlet prints the opinions of Aaron Burr and Rufus King, the Certificate of the Canvassers, the outraged protests of a minority [Messrs. Jones, Roosevelt, and Ganesvoort], and the opinions of a number of lawyers, including Attorney General Edmund Randolph. John McKesson (1734-1798) graduated from Princeton and practiced law in Manhattan. He “was one of the most active Americans in the State of New York during the Revolutionary War.… He was appointed Secretary of the Provincial Convention which met in New York the 20th of April, 1775, for the purpose of choosing delegates to represent the colony in the Continental Congress.” Thereafter, he was secretary at the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Provincial Congresses, May 1775 to May 1777, and the first Clerk of the Assembly of New York from 1777 through 1794. Additionally, he served as secretary at the State Convention on the ratification of the Federal Constitution. AARON BURR. Pamphlet. An Impartial Statement of the Controversy, Respecting the Decision of the Late Committee of Canvassers. Containing, the Opinions of Edmund Randolph, Esq. Attorney General of the United States, and Several Other Eminent Law Characters. New York: Thomas Greenleaf, 1792. 46 pp. [2 blank] With the elegant ownership signature of “John McKesson, 1792,” Clerk of the 16th New York State Legislature (1792–1793). #23406 $2,800
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Genêt Offers a Rather Inadequate Explanation of the Citizen Genêt Affair Historical Background Genêt wrote this letter regarding the 1793 Genêt Affair precipitated by the capture of British vessel Little Sarah, offering a riveting account of this erstwhile emissary’s explanation of his actions. “Citizen Genêt,” as he was known by American Francophiles, was charged with encouraging France’s former ally, the newly liberated United States, to repay its debts. Another more dubious diplomatic goal was to ensure support for France’s war with Britain, either through obtaining credit or supplies in the United States, or as Genêt would attempt, by entangling the new nation in the conflict. Sometime in the spring of 1793, the French frigate Embuscade commandeered the British vessel Little Sarah and dragged it into Philadelphia. The ship was there outfitted as a French privateer and renamed La Petite Démocrate. On June 22, the Washington administration began to investigate the disturbing claims coming from the nation’s capital. Thomas Jefferson prevented a public relations disaster by dispersing a local militia that had mustered in response to fears that La Petite Démocrate would leave Philadelphia without presidential approval. Genêt wrote this letter in the middle of the Affair in response to Jefferson’s request for further information. Jefferson and Genêt met in person just two days before this letter was written, discussing some of the same points later addressed in written form. Jefferson chose to regard Genêt’s equivocal statements as a promise that La Petite Démocrate would not sail until President George Washington returned to consider the case. On the following day, July 8, Jefferson met with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of War Henry Knox. Hamilton and Knox wanted to place a battery manned by militia on Mud Island, seven miles below Philadelphia, to prevent the ship from leaving the Delaware River. Jefferson dissented from the opinion. 42 Genêt then had La Petite Démocrate moved to Chester, below the proposed fortifications on Mud Island. In this letter, Genêt explains that the ship, which featured a copper hull, four cannon, and catapults, could employ many stranded French sailors who were “exposed to danger” in Philadelphia. “I formed the opinion that the acquisition of this vessel would be advantageous to the Republic,” Genêt blithely writes. Washington returned on July 11 and assembled his cabinet on July 12. Prior to the cabinet meeting, Jefferson received Genêt’s assurance that La Petite Démocrate would remain in Philadelphia until further notice. The cabinet decided to obtain counsel from the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on questions regarding American neutrality, and Jefferson asked Genêt to keep La Petite Démocrate from sailing until the justices had time to respond. A few days later, Genêt dispatched La Petite Démocrate to attack British shipping in the Atlantic, in clear violation of his pledge to Jefferson. On August 1, the cabinet agreed to request Genêt’s recall as French ambassador, fewer than three months after he had arrived in the capital. Complete Translation from French Note pertaining to la Petite Démocrate captured by frigate Embuscade heretofore The Little Sarah that Citizen 42
Philadelphia, July 9, 1793, 2nd year 2 of the Republic Lieutenant Commandant General to Mr Jefferson
Cabinet Opinions on the Little Sarah, July 8, 1793.
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Genet has had armed on behalf of the Republic and whose launching was opposed by some. *1 British property and equipped by the enemy with 4 cannon and several catapults and other arms. *2 her rigging and her masts in good condition <2>
*3 I have entrusted the command to Citizen [Annot?], an ensign not in the service of the Navy of the Republic *4 of the Republic and of my specific instructions, as soon as it is ready.
Sir, You have asked me for details about the Brigantine la Petite Démocrate, previously called the Little Sarah, which is at this moment armed and ready to leave from Delaware. This warship,*1 Sir, was captured by the Republic’s frigate Embuscade and sent to Philadelphia. The construction was elegant and solid, her hull lined with copper, and her molding superior.*2 Based on the Embuscade’s captain’s report and that provided by other knowledgeable sailors, I formed the opinion that the acquisition of this vessel would be advantageous to the Republic, and this consideration, along with my wish to procure employment for a rather large number of French sailors here who are exposed to the dangers that often accompany idleness and misery, made me determined to acquire her on behalf of the State. I had her repaired right away. I outfitted her with more cannon that were on board of 4 French vessels*3 and I will appoint her better [pending] a letter from the Executive Council.*4 I have to limit myself, Sir, to relating these facts which are not susceptible to advance discussion by me, nor will give rise to any by your government.
Edmond-Charles Genêt, also known as Citizen Genêt (1763-1834) was born in Versailles and was a prodigy who could read seven languages by age twelve. At age eighteen, he became a court translator. Sent to St. Petersburg in 1788, Empress of Russia Catherine II expelled him from the imperial court in 1789. In 1793, he was dispatched to the United States to promote American support of France in its wars with Great Britain and Spain. Genêt commissioned four privateering vessels, and his activities in the United States threatened American neutrality. When he met President George Washington in Philadelphia, he asked for a reversal of American neutrality in favor of France. When Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson objected to his actions, Genêt protested. Washington ultimately sent him a letter of complaint on the unusually united advice of both Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Genêt’s reply was obstinate, and Washington asked the French government to recall Genêt. Fearing the guillotine if he returned, Genêt asked for asylum in the United States and moved to New York. There, he married the daughter of Governor George Clinton and lived out Alexis de Toqueville’s dream of the life of the American farmer until his death some forty years later. EDMOND-CHARLES GENÊT, Autograph Letter Signed in French, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, July 9, 1793, Philadelphia. 2 pp., 8 x 13¼ in. #24762 $3,500
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Morse’s American Geography Most desirable edition, containing twenty-five maps, including the famous Filson map of Kentucky. Most copies of Morse have only three maps; this rare copy (evidently one of a special printing), has 25, one of them being the rare Filson map of Kentucky. In this respect, it is more desirable than the original 1789 edition. Howes calls this “the best edition,” and states that a few copies were issued with twenty-five maps. Of the 25 maps, 18 are of states or slightly larger areas of the United States, and only one (of new discoveries around the Globe) is not specifically tied to the Americas. The Thomas W. Streeter copy, and most other copies, only have three maps. Filson’s famous map of Kentucky, included here, is one of the key cartographic landmarks of the trans-Allegheny frontier. It is essentially unprocurable in the American first edition published in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1789, and was not contained in the first London edition. Morse’s text provides extensive geographical information for each state and province, including the western territory and the Spanish dominions of Louisiana, Florida, New Mexico and California, as well as on the major countries and regions of the world. Most of this volume is text, with maps interspersed. The focus of both the text and the maps is primarily North America, with greatest concentration on U.S. The text essentially serves as a “book of facts” re the states and territories covered. There is overview information about the U.S. – geography, history, wildlife, statistics, etc., and a full printing of the Constitution along with the Convention and George Washington’s transmittal letters, and the Bill of Rights. Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826), a Yale-educated Congregational minister, sought the assistance of prominent leaders in revising his Geography, and even contacted such luminaries as Washington and Franklin. Through Chauncey Whittelsey, a tutor at Yale, Morse became acquainted with William Livingston, who aided Morse with his revision, and eventually became the book’s dedicatee. It was through Livingston’s influence and connections that Morse was able to collect the necessary data for such a wide-ranging work. Expertly bound to style in half 18th-century diced russia gilt over 18th-century marbled paper boards. References: Howes M840, “aa”; Sabin 50924; Streeter Sale 75.
REV. JEDIDIAH MORSE. The American Geography; or, a view of the present situation of the United States of America containing ... A particular description of Kentucky, the Western Territory, the Territory South of Ohio, and Vermont ... with a view of the British, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch dominions, on the continent, and in the West Indies, and of Europe, Asia, and Africa ... A new edition. London: printed for John Stockdale, 1794. 25 engraved maps. Second London, and the first quarto (8 x 10 ½”), edition of the first American geography. #20912.99 $20,000
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Relieving Persons in Debtors Prison EDMUND RANDOLPH. Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act to continue in force the act for the relief of persons imprisoned for Debt and An Act to alter the time for the next annual meeting of Congress, May 30, 1794. Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine. Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and Frederick Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House. 1 p., 8¼ x 13½ in. #24428.04 $3,750
The Revolution’s Financier Declares Bankruptcy “Sixty days after date, I promise to pay unto Mr. Mathias Kurlin Junr or Order Thirteen Hundred & forty six Dolls & Sixty Seven Cents for value recd.” On the document’s verso is a note reading “Exhibited to us under the commission against Robert Morris, Philadelphia, 15th October 1801.” Also signed by John Hollowell and Thomas Cumpston, commissioners appointed to oversee the bankruptcy proceedings after Robert Morris had languished in debtor’s prison for three years. Robert Morris (1734-1806), signer of the Declaration of Independence, merchant, and land speculator, is best known for his role as financier for the Continental Congress. With the national government virtually bankrupt, Morris risked his own personal fortune by securing supplies for the army, pressuring the states for cash contributions, and arranging a major French loan to finance the Bank of North America. After the war, he continued to use his financial position behind the scenes to support a strong central government. In 1789, Morris was George Washington’s first choice for Treasury Secretary. Morris declined the office, citing a need to attend to his personal finances, but recommended Alexander Hamilton in his stead. Morris spent most of his remaining years in various public positions, including U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. In 1795, however, Morris joined Robert Nicholson and James Greenleaf in creating the North American Land Company, which speculated in six million acres of land across six states. Stung by the worldwide panic of 1797 and the Napoleonic Wars (which drove down the European market for American lands), as well as their own overspending, Morris and Nicholson were each imprisoned for debt in 1798. The collapse of the American Land Company was devastating for the national economy, and whole sectors of the burgeoning market were crippled by Morris’ bankruptcy. His wife was able to use an annuity to get him out of prison eventually, but Morris never rebuilt his fortune or repaid his debts. Washington famously visited Morris in prison, just before the aging General’s death, in gratitude for Morris’ past hospitality and friendship. ROBERT MORRIS. Autograph Document Signed. December 12, 1794. 1 p., 7⅛ x 3¾ in. #20892 $2,800
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President Washington’s Famous Letter to Touro Synagogue, his Farewell Address, and Speeches and Letters on Religious Freedom, Democracy, Foreign Affairs, etc. “happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” This remarkable collection of speeches and letters by President George Washington is notable for including all of his annual messages to Congress (the forerunner of modern state-of-the-union addresses), his first inaugural, the response of Congress to each, and Washington’s letter of resignation as commander in chief and his farewell orders to the armies, both from late 1783. Because it includes addresses from the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, and from the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond, along with Washington’s responses, and was “published according to Act of Congress,” it is the first official publication of the United States government relating to American Jews. The Jewish congregation in Newport sent an address to the President on August 17, 1790, welcoming him to Newport, and Washington responded with his views of religious liberty in the new nation: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.... May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig-tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” The collection also includes another address by Moses Seixas, the warden of the Jewish congregation in Newport, in his other role as Master of the King David’s Lodge of the Masons in Newport. This address welcomed Washington to Rhode Island “as a Brother” and expressed their “fervent supplications, that the Sovereign Architect of the Universe may always encompass you with his holy protection.” Washington responded, “Being persuaded that a just application of the principles on which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interest of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving Brother.” The Jewish congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Richmond sent a joint congratulatory letter to Washington in December 1790: “The wonders which the Lord of Hosts hath worked in the days of our forefathers, have taught us to observe the greatness of his wisdom and his might, throughout the events of the late glorious revolution; and while we humble ourselves at his footstool in thanksgiving and praise for the blessing of his deliverance, we acknowledge you the Leader of the American Armies, as his chosen and beloved servant. But not to your sword alone is
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our present happiness to be ascribed: that, indeed, opened the way to the reign of freedom; but never was it perfectly secure, till your hand gave birth to the Federal Constitution; and you renounced the joys of retirement, to seal by your administration in peace what you had achieved in war.” In response to the good wishes expressed in this address, Washington reciprocated: “The liberality of sentiment towards each other which marks every political and religious denomination of men in this country, stands unparalleled in the history of nations.... May the same temporal and eternal blessings which you implore for me, rest upon your Congregations.” During the struggle for the passage of the Maryland Jew Bill (to eliminate Jewish disabilities in the state) at the beginning of the nineteenth century, one supporter, Col. William G. D. Worthington, delivered an address before the State Legislature and read the entire correspondence between the Jews of Newport and Washington. The letters continued to be cited by Jews and their advocates throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to demonstrate that the founding father had fully sanctioned their inclusion into the American nation. This volume also includes eleven other addresses from religious denominations to George Washington expressing their appreciation of him, together with his responses to them. In addition, addresses from more than fifty other groups of citizens and Washington’s response to them appear in the volume. Groups range from state governors and legislators to mayors and town councils, from college faculties to the inhabitants of individual towns, from groups of Masons to groups of tradesmen. Together, these addresses provide a remarkable view of the relationship of many groups of Americans to their first president. Additional Excerpts George Washington, Fifth State of the Union Address, December 3, 1793: “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war....” George Washington, Sixth State of the Union Address, November 19, 1794: “with the deepest regret do I announce to you that during your recess some of the citizens of the United States have been found capable of insurrection.... to yield to the treasonable fury of so small a portion of the United States would be to violate the fundamental principle of our Constitution, which enjoins that the will of the majority shall prevail.” George Washington to the Religious Society of Quakers, 1789: “Government being among other purposes instituted to protect the persons and consciences of men from oppression, it certainly is the duty of rulers not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to their stations to prevent it in others.” AMERICAN JUDAICA. GEORGE WASHINGTON. A Collection of the Speeches of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress, At the Opening of Every Session, with Their Answers. Also, the Addresses to the President, with His Answers, From the Time of His Election: With An Appendix, Containing the Circular Letter of General Washington to the Governors of the Several States, and His Farewell Orders, to the Armies of America, and the Answer, First Edition. Boston: Manning and Loring, 1796. 282 pp., 4¼ x 7 in. Foxed. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, scuffed, rebacked. #24711 $12,000
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A Legal Document Signed by Hamilton’s Second in His Fatal Duel This affidavit is from a federal court case that federal District Judge Nathaniel Pendleton heard in Georgia. Complete Transcript Before Nathaniel Pendleton District Judge of George personally came Hannah Miller who being duely sworn deposeth, that she was at the house of Robert Stafford this day, and saw there, several Jackets & petticoats of muslin, and callicoe lying on the floor, & some bags, which Mrs Stafford said were full of the same kind of Cloathes. She supposed there might be seven or eight bags. Mrs Stafford said the negro Captain desired Stafford to bring them away from the wreck to his house. She went on board at Capt Readys, and Captain Ready said the sloop was coming to St Marys to bring the negroes things here. And some of the same bags, or the whole are now on board the sloop brought here. Has heard of some of the things being at Dilworths somd at Williams’s. The Deponent says Mrs Stafford told her that those that were not in bags were given by the negroes for provisions, & for bringing the things on shore. She heard Mrs McClain say there was some silver spoons, & other silver ware, but did not say how many, nor who had them, but believed it was the negroes. Hannah Miller Sworn before me 14th March 1796 Nathl Pendleton. Nathaniel Pendleton (1756-1821) was born in Virginia and read law with his uncle Edmund Pendleton. He entered the Revolutionary War Army at the age of 19, and served as aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene in the southern campaigns. He practiced law in Savannah, Georgia after the war, and served as the state’s Attorney General from 1785 to 1786. In 1789, President George Washington appointed Pendleton as the first Judge for the federal District of Georgia. He resigned in 1796, and returned to private practice in New York. He served as a second to Alexander Hamilton in his fatal duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. Hannah Miller married James Woodland Jr. on April 15, 1796. Robert Stafford was born in England and owned property in British East Florida. When the Spanish regained control of East Florida in 1783, Stafford, his brother, and many other British landowners resettled in the United States, especially in neighboring Georgia. Stafford became a planter on Cumberland Island in Georgia. Captain William Reddy (d. 1797) was a planter who lived in British East Florida in the 1770s and moved to Camden County, Georgia, in 1787. He was one of the original founders of St. Marys, Georgia, and owned a plantation on Cumberland Island. After his death, Robert Stafford was the administrator of his estate. NATHANIEL PENDLETON. Manuscript Document Signed as Federal Judge, District of Georgia. Deposition of Hannah Miller, March 14, 1796, St. Marys, Georgia. #24398 $2,000
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Answering Hamilton’s Question on Naturalization and Immigrant Rights in Maryland “I have carefully reexamined the laws of Maryland, since the receipt of your favor of the 15th inst. & cannot find that a single Justice of the Peace, ever had authority since the revolution, to naturalize & grant a certificate of it.” Hamilton represented the defendants in the insurance cases of Daniel Ludlow and Gulian Ludlow v. John B. Coles and Daniel Ludlow and Gulian Ludlow v. Archibald Gracie in the New York Supreme Court. The cases concerned policies on the vessel and cargo of the schooner Theresa. During the prelude to America’s “Quasi-War,” a French privateer seized the Theresa in the spring of 1795 and took it to St. Martin, where French authorities condemned it, ruling that the owners, Baltimore merchants John Royer Champayne and John Deyme Jr., were French émigrés. To prepare for his defense, Hamilton wrote to William Tilghman (1756-1827), who had practiced law in Maryland before moving to Philadelphia in 1793. In April 1797, the New York Supreme Court ruled for the defendants and ordered the plaintiffs to pay court costs. 43 On appeal of the condemnation by French authorities to the Tribunal of Commerce at Basse-Terre in March 1801, that court reversed the decision and ordered full restitution to the owners. 44 Excerpts “both these supplementary laws contain a proviso, ‘that the said foreigners before they shall receive any benefit from the said Acts, shall naturalize themselves in the mode prescribed by the original Act, by a certain day.’ 45 “From all these circumstances, corroborating my general recollection of the law of Maryland, I am as confident as one ever will be of a negative, that a single Justice of the Peace never had authority to naturalize in that State. “I beg you will not apologize for any questions you may find it serviceable to ask me. Instead of trouble I shall consider them as pleasure.” [File Note in Hamilton’s hand:] William Tilghman WILLIAM TILGHMAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, March 19, 1797, 2 pp. #24645.12 $2,500
Julius Goebel and Joseph H. Smith et al., eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, 5 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964-1981), 5:499. 44 The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton, 2:770; Greg H. Williams, The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793-1813: A History and Comprehensive Record of Merchant Marine Losses (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2009), 338. 45 “An Act for naturalization,” July 1779 (chap. 6), Laws of Maryland, 3 vols. (Baltimore: Philip H. Nicklin & Co., 1811), 1:362-64; “An Act for the relief of certain foreigners who have settled within this state, and for other purposes, supplemental to the act for naturalization,” November 1789 (chap. 24), Laws of Maryland, 2:93-95; “An act for the relief of certain foreigners who have settled within this state, further supplementary to the act for naturalization,” November 1792 (chap. 14), Laws of Maryland, 2:178-80; “An Act to extend to certain foreigners the benefit of an act passed November session, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, entitled, An act for the relief of certain foreigners who have settled within this state, further supplementary to the act for naturalization,” November 1793 (chap. 26), Laws of Maryland, 2:199-200.
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Lafayette on “These Cursed Differences” between France and America “the fine sight after a long time of an American uniform recall many dear ideas to my heart and to my mind.… I am sick, and for the whole winter intent to remain in this solitary country seat.… There is another subject of unhappiness to me, these cursed differences between America and France. How they damp every enjoyment of my restoration to Liberty and Life, how I regret not to be able to do more than write a few letters, how I wish it was in my power to adjust them with Equal Convenience and Equal Dignity to both countries. I need not tell you, my dear McHenry, a quarrel between the two commonwealths is so unnatural a thing that I had never feared I should live to see it.… “Your friend / Lafayette” Although France and America had been allies since 1778, political developments in both countries damaged the relationship. The French Revolution was viewed by Federalists like Alexander Hamilton as a dangerous precedent; and the ensuing wars between Britain and France placed the neutral United States in a precarious position. Relations deteriorated further on the signing of Jay’s Treaty (1794) with Great Britain. France ordered the seizure of American ships carrying British goods and, in 1796, the French refused to admit American diplomats. This impasse led to the XYZ Affair, which provoked Congress, in turn, to suspend commercial relations with France and to authorize American warships to seize armed French vessels. This undeclared naval war lasted for three years with the United States capturing about eighty-five French vessels. Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) After the Revolutionary War, Lafayette returned to France a celebrated military leader. With the fall of the Bastille in July 1789, he was named commandant of the Parisian National Guard. As protector of the royal family, he had the difficult task of preventing royal conspiracy on one flank, and mob anarchy on the other. By 1792, his popularity waned due to his position in King Louis XVI’s personal guard. In 1793, while attempting to escape to America, he was captured and imprisoned for five years in Austria. Lafayette wrote this letter three months after his release. Following Napoleon’s fall, Lafayette returned to France and participated briefly in politics. In 1824, he made a fifteen-month tour of the United States, receiving a triumphant welcome. James McHenry (1753-1816) served as an officer on Lafayette’s staff during the Revolutionary War. He was a Federalist member of the Constitutional Convention and signer of the U.S. Constitution. An intimate associate of Washington, McHenry succeeded Timothy Pickering as Secretary of War in January 1796. MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. Autograph Letter Signed, to Secretary of War James McHenry, Austria, December 26, 1797. #00555
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Burr Sub-Leases a Lot on Richmond Hill Estate Land he had Leased from Trinity Church In 1767, Major Abraham Mortier obtained 99-year-lease from Trinity Church on a 26-acre parcel in Manhattan. Mortier, the Paymaster for the British Army in colonial New York, built the estate of Richmond Hill on the property. The main house, at what is now the intersection of Varick and Charlton Streets, was near the footpath and plank that connected the city of Manhattan with Greenwich Village. Sir Jeffrey Amherst used Mortier’s house as his headquarters at the end of the French and Indian War. In April to August 1776, it served as George Washington’s headquarters. It was later briefly the official residence of Vice President John Adams during the first presidency, before the capital temporarily moved to Philadelphia. Abigail Adams wrote of the estate: “In natural beauty it might vie with the most delicious spot I ever saw. It is a mile and a half from the city of New York. The house stands upon an eminence: at an agreeable distance flows the noble Hudson, bearing upon its bosom innumerable small vessels laden with the fruitful productions of the adjacent country.” In 1794, Aaron Burr purchased the property as a “country” home, a mile and a half north of the city. In the winters, people would ice skate on "Burr's Pond." One day in 1797, Burr's fourteen-year-old daughter Theodosia received an unexpected visit from Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chieftain, carrying a letter of introduction from her father. Burr soon sub-leased several parcels. This indenture leases a 25 by 100 feet lot on Brannon (now Spring) Street to tavern keeper Mathew Goul, for 66 years, for £60 per year. Goul signed the document in the lower margin along with Burr and two witnesses, John A. Winans and Isaac Vanvleck. The lease ended in 1863, three years before the land reverted to Trinity Church, when Burr’s heirs would have had the right of renewal. In 1807, Burr’s plans for building three new streets of houses was approved by the City Council. He mortgaged approximately 240 building lots to the Bank of the Manhattan Company, for $38,000. His creditors eventually sold the estate to John Jacob Astor, for $32,000. Excerpt “This Indenture made the twentieth day of July in the Year one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven Between Aaron Burr, of the City of New-York, of the one part, and Mathew Goul of the same City of the other part… To have and to hold the said Lot or piece of Ground with the appurtenances, unto the said Mathew Goul his Executors, Administrators or Assigns from the first day of May last past for the full end and term of sixty six years Yielding and Paying therefor yearly and every year during the said term of sixty six years unto the said Aaron Burr his Executors, Administrators or Assigns the rent or sum of fifteen Pounds current money of New York....” AARON BURR. Partially Printed Indenture Signed “Aaron Burr,” to Mathew Goul, July 20, 1797, New York, with additional certification on verso, August 30, 1797, also signed “Aaron Burr.” 2 pp., 9¾ x 15¾ in. #24953 $2,000
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Ten Documents from Hamilton’s Legal Files Plea of John Woodward by Alexander Hamilton his Attorney. Robert Gilbert Livingston v. John Woodward. Manuscript Document. New York Supreme Court. c. August 1784. Woodward, having put “in his place Alexander Hamilton his attorney at the suit of Robert Gilbert Livingston,” here denies owing Livingston six thousand four hundred pounds. Written and signed “Alex. Hamilton” in unknown hand. Though undated, this suit is referenced in Alexander Hamilton to John Chaloner, August 14, 1784. Hamilton Defends a Loyalist. Manuscript Document. [New York, c. June 1785]. Headed: “Mayor’s Court. Edward Meeks v. Jeronimus Van Alstyne} Demurrer.” Docket on verso in unknown hand “For Alex Hamilton Esqr.” 1 p., 8 x 13 in. In Meeks v Van Alstyne, Hamilton defended a Loyalist who had collected rent from tenants during the British occupation of New York. The building that Van Alstyne had occupied and collected rent on was legally owned by patriot Edward Meeks. After the war, Meeks sought to collect the money that Van Alstyne had charged tenants, on the grounds that Van Alstyne’s seizure and occupancy of Meeks’ property was illegal. On June 24, 1785, Hamilton entered Van Alstyne’s “not guilty” plea. Names penned at conclusion in unknown hand: “Hamilton Atty p Deft” and “Crimsheir Atty Plnt.” In part, “And the said Edward Meeks says that he by any thing by the said Jeronimus Van Alstyne above by Pleading alledges ought not to barred from having his said Action against the said Jeronimus Van Alstyne…the matter herein Contained are not Sufficient in Law to barr the said Edward Meeks from having his said Action… Wherefore for Default of a sufficient Plea in this behalf he the said Edward Meeks prays Judgement and that his Damages by reason of the Trespass aforesaid may be adjudged to him…” Hamilton Opposes Brockholst Livingston. Manuscript Document. [New York, July 21, 1785] Thomas Duncan v. Gulian VerPlank plea. 1 p., 6½ x 8½ in. Penned in unknown hand: “Hamilton Atty for Def.” and, on the docket on verso “Hamilton Atty.” In part, “New York Supreme Court … the said Thomas Duncan by Alexander Hamilton his attorney comes & defends the force & injury … and says that he ought not to be charged with the said debt.…” Also bears the name “B. Livingston for Plaintiff.” A Woman Accuses Three Men who “evilly treated her.” Manuscript Document, [New York, 1786]. Jemima Widger v. Aaron Gilbert et al. 1 p., 7½ x 12¼ in. Integral leaf bears docket on verso, all in unknown hand. In part: “Jemima Widger Complains of Aaron Gilbert John Johnson and James King together with Robert Townsend…with force and Arms to wit Swords Staves and Fists made an Assault upon the Said Jemima Widger…so that her Life was greatly despaired of… And thereof She brings this Suit.” It appears from the address that Hamilton represented Jemima Widger. 1786 Plea of Lewis Mary by Alexander Hamilton his Attorney Manuscript Document. New York Supreme Court, March 11, 1786. New York, NY.
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Lewis Mary, having put “in his place Alexander Hamilton his attorney at the suit of Henry Nash,” here pleads not guilty. Plea is written and signed “Alex Hamilton” in unknown hand. This case appears in Hamilton’s January 1786 account book. Former Soldiers Exchange Land Manuscript Document. [New York, Sep 21, 1796]. Sale of bounty land between Sebastian Bauman and Oliver Logier, two Revolutionary War veterans. 13 pp., 8 x 12¾ in., front & verso. Signed on last page: “I do hereby certify the aforegoing to be a just & true copy…Isaac L. Kip.” Charging Trespass Manuscript Document. [Supreme Court, New York, 1796]. Turell v. Woodhull and Hall. 9 pp., 7¾ x 12¾ in. All in unidentified hand including “Hamilton for Plf” at the conclusion and “Hamilton” on the docket. Notation on verso of ninth page in same hand: “City and County of New York Ebenezer Turell puts in his place Alexander Hamilton his Attorney against Richard M. Woodhull and Aaron Hall in a plea of Trespass on the case” front & verso, attached to each other with red wax. Case Involving the Bank of New York Manuscript Document. [New York, October 21, 1800]. Defendants to the Bill of Complainants of the President Directors and Company of the Bank of New York. The bank had been founded by Hamilton. Contemporarily certified as a true copy by a clerk. 5 pp., 8 x 12¾ in. In part, “The Joint and Several answer of Robert Sharp and John Sharp (who are Impleaded with Joseph Eden, John Ward, Brockholst Livingston, Simon Gilbert, John Jones and Henry Masterton) Defendants to the Bill of Complainants of the President Directors and Company of the Bank of New York Complainants…” Remnants of red wax seals, with holes, in blank upper margins. Suit to Recover Value of Mahogany Logs. Manuscript Document, [New York, June 1802]. Haye v. Burling. 9 pp., 8 x 13 in. Penned on docket, in unknown hand: “A. Hamilton Esq.” In part, “Supreme Court / Christian Haye / vs. / Samuel Burling} Case as prepared on part of Plaintiff. This was an action of Trover brought by the Plaintiff to recover the value of two Logs of Mahogany from the Defendant and was held…before Mr. Justice Radcliff…” Front & verso attached to each other in the upper left with red wax. Hamilton Refuses a plea. Manuscript Document, [Supreme Court, New York, n.d.] 1 p., 8 x 13 in. In part, “[Isaac Riley] says that they the said Isaac and Seth [Wetmore] did not undertake and promise in manner and form as the said Stephen [Fales] and George [Athearn] have above thereof complained against them…” Signed on filing docket on verso by Isaac and Seth’s attorney “W. Johnson” Beneath which is penned, in an unknown hand, “Mr. Hamilton told Mr. Johnson he would not accept this plea.” Legal documents, 1784-1802.
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Dissing Vermont’s re-election of Congressman Lyon, Recently Jailed Under Sedition Act “I am sorry that your state have so disgraced themselves by sending again as their Representative the in-famous Lyon – but, we are in an age of excentricity! May we weather the storm!” Writing to the Governor of Vermont, Elisha Boudinot calls in a debt and rebukes Vermont Congressman Matthew Lyon (1749-1822), the first politician to be jailed for criticizing the President under the terms of the Sedition Act of 1798. To the chagrin of President John Adams and the Federalists, Lyons was re-elected while in jail. Under the Sedition Act of 1798, passed amid mobilization for war with France, the United States began to restrict basic American freedoms. It was now a crime to utter or publish “any false, scandalous, and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame … or to bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The Alien and Sedition Acts are seen by most historians as an overreaching attempt by Federalists to criminalize dissent during a war scare. The first person to be convicted under its provisions was Matthew Lyon, a sitting U.S. Congressman from Vermont. Lyon, an Irish émigré and aggressively opportunistic self-made man, was considered uncouth in manners and opinions. Lyon supported the French Revolution and advocated the creation of Democratic Societies, radical groups that had drawn the ire of President Washington in 1793. In Congress in 1797, during a nasty debate with Connecticut Federalist Roger Griswold, Lyon spit in Griswold’s face. Griswold beat Lyon with a hickory cane in a subsequent encounter. In October, 1798, Lyon was brought to trial for first publishing and then criticizing a letter written from Europe by Joel Barlow, who analyzed the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and France and counseled war mobilization. Lyon also savaged President Adams regularly in his paper. Lyon was fined $1,000 and imprisoned for four months. To the dismay of Federalists - including Hamilton - who supported sedition prosecutions, Lyon became a hero. He was reelected to Congress by a wider margin, and he used a new publication, The Scourge of Aristocracy, to resume his attacks on John Adams and Federalist elitism. The Lyon episode showed how far Federalists were willing to go to preserve the post-revolutionary world. Their fear and scorn of democracy caused them to become increasingly unpopular. The party never recovered after Jefferson’s victory in 1800. Elisha Boudinot (1749-1819) was born in Philadelphia, the younger brother of Elias Boudinot, later President of the Continental Congress. Elisha Boudinot studied law under his brother, then opened a law practice in Newark, New Jersey. He entertained both George Washington and Alexander Hamilton in his home. In 1798, Boudinot was elected to the New Jersey Supreme Court, where he served until 1804. Isaac Tichenor (1754-1838) graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) in 1775. He became a lawyer and Federalist politician in Bennington, Vermont. He served as Vermont’s agent to the Continental Congress to lobby for statehood, which was achieved in 1791. He served as the state’s Supreme Court justice and chief justice, twice as governor (1797-1807, 1808-1809), and also twice represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate (1796-1797, 1815-1821). ELISHA BOUDINOT. Autograph Letter Signed, to Governor Isaac Tichenor, February 12, 1799, “New Ark,” N.J. 1 p., 8 x 12¾ in. With integral address leaf (half missing). # 21480.06 $1,800
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A Frustrated Former Officer Pushes Hamilton Too Far “This Letter also tells me That it ‘was not for the want of Friendship in General Washington nor yourself that I had not my appointment in the Army but from other causes[’] which you could not with propriety explain. This to me is a most extraordinary proceeding that a man who has professed such friendship for another as you have for me for so long a period, and after so recently seing each other face to face … (knowing my business to Philadelphia and telling me that my most sanguine wishes should be accomplished) should once lend an listing ear to any thing to check my expectation.... I have an undoubted right to call on you to know what those other causes are. I therefore do claim and request of you an explanation of them, upon every principle of honor, as a friend Soldier and Gentleman.” In December 1798, during the Quasi-War with France, Washington and Hamilton recommended Caleb Gibbs (1748-1818) to Secretary of War James McHenry to command a Massachusetts regiment. However, Senator Benjamin Goodhue and Congressmen Harrison Gray Otis, Samuel Sewall, Dwight Foster, and Isaac Parker, all objected, considering Gibbs “as a trifler.” In March, Washington angrily protested that the five weeks of work that he, Hamilton, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had undertaken to identify proper officers could be “set at naught” by “any Member of Congress who had a friend to serve, or a prejudice to endulge.” Washington called attention to the “striking” instance of Gibbs, who “served through the whole Revolutionary war, from the Assembling of the first Troops at Cambridge, to the closing of the Military Drama at the conclusion of Peace without reproach; and in the last Act of it, If I mistake not, was a Major in the selected Corps of light Infantry. He was strongly recommended by Generals Lincoln, Knox, Brooks & Jackson; all on the same theatre with himself and who ought to be perfectly acquainted with his respectability & pretensions: yet the Veto of a Member of Congress (I presume) was more respected; & sufficient to set him aside.” McHenry responded that Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott also opposed Gibbs’ commission, and Washington reluctantly refused to push the matter further. 46 Between January and June 1799, Gibbs wrote to Hamilton three times. Hamilton responded to this fourth letter on October 24, “I have received your very improper letter…This is not the first instance of my life in which good offices on my part have met with an ill return.... Tis therefore as curious as it is unbecoming to interrogate me in a premptory and even censorious manner about the causes which may have induced the President to reject the nomination. It is true that collaterally and after the thing was determined upon, I heard what they were, but it was in a manner which did not leave me at liberty to explain to you. This I before hinted, and you must on reflection see the impropriety of your having addressed me on the subject as you have done…. If any one has wickedly endeavoured to make you believe that there has been any thing uncandid or unfriendly in my conduct, you ought to dispise the author…If you have inferred it from the reserve in my mode of writing to you on the subject, you formed as false an estimate of what the delicacy of my situation required, as you did of my true character.” 47 CALEB GIBBS. Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 30, 1799. 2½ pp. #24645.16 $1,500 46
Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 22, July 1798–March 1799, 428-31, 466-68, 472-73; W. W. Abbot and Edward G. Lengel, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series, vol. 3, 16 September 1798 – 19 April 1799 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999), 438-44, 453-58. 47 Hamilton to Gibbs, October 24, 1799, Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 23, April 1799 – October 1799, 554-55.
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Former French Consul Writes Hamilton Regarding a Brewing Controversy “implicated in the consequences of a certain paper, the publicity of which may have produced some one consequence more than you foresaw or could now wish.” Complete Transcript Philadelphia the 27th february 1800. No 63 south third street./. 48 Dear sir, Before you Cast your eyes on the inclosed note, permit me to assure you in the most positive terms on the veracity of a gentleman, that there is not the most remote intercourse between me & the writer thereof, nor any interference whatever from any third caracter. Nor should I make so bold as to intrude upon your attention, on so delicate an occasion was I not in some shape implicated in the consequences of a certain paper, the publicity of which may have produced some one consequence more than you foresaw or could now wish. Whether your Circumstances or present situation will permit a generous & prudent interference through a third person, what propriety would suggest to yourself in order to do away with the evil effect of the mode you adopted in order to regret the most wanton calumny & an odious attempt upon your reputation, cannot be questions with me. I shall not presume to urge one single reflexion, being convinced from the knowledge I have of your principles & of the goodness of your heart that every thing will be done which honour would prescribe or delicacy permit. I shall <2> not even request to be favored with an answer, if you judge it prudent to be silent: I will only add that I am preparing to return to France as soon as I possibly can, where I incline to believe you will not have a warmer friend, than myself, Nor a more sincerely devoted servant, Holker Genl Alexander Hamilton; N. York. This cryptic letter from former French consul general John Holker to Alexander Hamilton, the senior officer in the American army at the time, seems to concern a potential offense against Hamilton. They had first met in 1779. After the war, they encountered each other with Hamilton in public capacity as Secretary of the Treasury, and privately as Hamilton managed his brother-in-law’s American legal and financial affairs, from 1790 to 1796, when Church had returned to England. Holker’s land speculations led him to mortgage some New York land to Church. We don’t know what delicate papers Holker is referring to. He was involved in interesting negotiations to settle debts with Robert Morris, but could have been involved in numerous other French and American political and financial intrigues at the time. JOHN HOLKER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, February 27, 1800. 2 pp. #24645.24
48 Mary Hoffner, boarding house owner, and Charles Chauncey, attorney at law, were at 63 South Third Street, Philadelphia, in 1800. Holker was likely staying at the boarding house prior to his return to France.
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Future Editor of Hamilton’s New-York Post Begs for Help in Getting Job as Court Clerk “I recd yesterday a message from the Govr that he wished to speak with me. He told me I had met with opposition on a ground which perhaps was unexpected & he had sent for me that I might candidly inform him of the exact truth; he had been told that day that my circumstances were so much embarrassed that the public would never bear with the appointment. I told him frankly that I was involved in some serious pecuniary difficulties & proceeded to inform him that I had some three or four years ago been drawn into the vortex of speculation & had made three large contracts for Virginia lands.... He heard me thro’ & said he was grieved extremely, that he had made up his mind to give me the preference in his nomination but that here was a dreadful obstacle, which he saw no way to avoid or to overcome. That he rather believed the maxim to be a sound one that no man should be appointed to any office in the State who was subject to the pleasure of creditors....” In response to the letter offered here, Hamilton wrote to Governor John Jay on March 4, 1800: “We are all here very anxious for the success of Mr Coleman. We know his abilities and we believe in his integrity. Your good disposition towards him is well understood—Yet it is feared that his pecuniary situation may prove an obstacle. It is undoubtedly a good rule to avoid embarrassed men in appointments—yet this like every other general rule may admit of exceptions in special cases.” On May 13, the Council of Appointment appointed Coleman as clerk of the circuit court of the city and county of New York and for the sittings of the New York Supreme Court there. In a letter the same day, Jay explained that he had nominated another candidate first who was unsuccessful and then nominated Coleman. Jay continued, “My Feelings were in Coleman[’s] favor, and had my Judgmt. been equally so, he wd. have suffered less anxiety than he has.” One of the principal expectations of the appointment was that Coleman would edit a selection of cases from the Supreme Court, about which Jay wrote, “I hope Mr. Coleman will be attentive to the Reports. Much Expectation has been excited; and Disappointmt. wd. produce Disgust. It is I think essential to him that the Work be prosecuted with Diligence, but not with Haste; and that they be such as they ought to be.” Coleman published Cases of Practice Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the State of New-York in 1801. 49 William Coleman (1766-1829) was born in Boston and became an attorney in Greenfield, Massachusetts. After major financial losses from speculating in Yazoo lands, he moved to New York City to practice law, where he practiced law for a time with Aaron Burr but also became Hamilton’s personal friend. In November 1801, Coleman became the editor of Hamilton’s newspaper, the NewYork Evening Post. In January 1804, Coleman killed New York harbormaster Jeremiah Thompson in a duel. Six months later, Coleman’s former law partner Aaron Burr killed Coleman’s friend and employer Alexander Hamilton in a much more famous duel. WILLIAM COLEMAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, February 28, 1800, 5 pp., plus address leaf. #24645.18
Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, March 4, 1800, John Jay to Alexander Hamilton, March 13, 1800, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 24, November 1799 – June 1800, 283, 324-25; William Coleman, Cases of Practice Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the State of New-York (New York: Isaac Collins, 1801).
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Aaron Burr Signs Bail Bond for Mulatto Cook and Confectioner Mulatto confectioner and cook William Husbands and banker Aaron Burr signed a bail bond for $1,200 to New York Sheriff James Morris to ensure Husbands’ appearance at trial.
Excerpt “We William Husbands and Aaron Burr of the City of New-York, are held and firmly bound unto JAMES MORRIS, Esquire, Sheriff of the City and County of New-York, in the sum of twelve hundred dollars…. NOW THE CONDITION of the above OBLIGATION is such, That if the said William Husbands shall remain a true and faithful prisoner, and shall not at any time or in any wise escape…then the above Obligation to be void….” William Husbands lived in New York City and married Jane Ryals in January 1783. In the 1790 census, he is listed as white with three black or mulatto household members. In a 1797 city directory, he is listed as a cook and confectioner at 166 William Street. The 1800 federal census listed Husbands as a mulatto, with five other non-white members of his household. In 1810, he is the head of a household of three non-white persons. Husbands was a small stockholder in the Bank of New York, when it was incorporated in 1791. James Morris (1764-1827) was the son of Revolutionary War General and signer of the Declaration of Independence Lewis Morris (17261798). James Morris was sent to England to study under the care of his uncle British General Staats Long Morris (1728-1800), and James Morris graduated from Princeton University in 1784. When he returned to New York, he studied law in the office of Aaron Burr. Governor John Jay appointed Morris as sheriff of New York City and County in December 1798, a position he held until August 1801. He later retired and settled at Morrisania, his family’s country estate, where he lived as a country gentleman. AARON BURR, Partially Printed Document Signed, July 11, 1800. 1 p.
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Pay Order for Shoeing Horses for Hamilton’s Army in Anticipation of French Invasion Maj. Gen. Alexander Hamilton’s Deputy Quarter Master General Aaron Ogden approves payment for shoeing horses for Hamilton’s army raised in anticipation of a French invasion in the Quasi-War. Complete Transcript The United States To William Stackhouse Dr- / 1800 July 31 To Shoeing 2 public horses from ye 1t April to this day – four Months – Dolls. 4./ $4. [Endorsement:] Received payment of the above four dollars of Elias B. Dayton Agent &c Wm Stackhouse. [Endorsement:] approved / Aa. Ogden DQMG. Historical Background Elias B. Dayton was the Agent of Deputy Quarter Master General Aaron Ogden at the Union Cantonment in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. At the time of this document, his brother Jonathan Dayton served as U.S. Senator from New Jersey. In 1801, Aaron Ogden became New Jersey’s other U.S. Senator. On February 26, 1800, Lt. Col. Aaron Ogden, 11th Regiment of Infantry, was appointed Deputy Quarter Master General to the troops under the immediate command of Major General Alexander Hamilton. He was honorably discharged on June 14, 1800, when the Army was disbanded. However, as is evidenced by this document, he continued at his post to approve payments due from the United States for services rendered to the Army. During the Quasi-War (1798-1800), the undeclared naval war between the United States and France stemming from the fallout of the XYZ Affair, the United States raised a provisional army and increased the naval forces to counter a possible French invasion. The army never saw action on the battlefield and was disbanded later in 1800. Aaron Ogden (1756-1839) was born in New Jersey and graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1773. During the Revolutionary War, Ogden was paymaster of the First New Jersey Battalion in the First New Jersey Regiment. He saw action at the Battle of Brandywine, and was assistant aide-de-camp to Lord Stirling at Monmouth. Ogden accompanied General Sullivan in 1779 on his Indian expedition to western New York. He served with Lafayette in the campaign of 1781 in Virginia, and was specially commended by Washington for his gallantry in the siege of Yorktown, where he was wounded. Admitted to the bar in 1784, Ogden practiced law in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate as a Federalist from 1801-1803. He also served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1803 to 1812 and as Governor of New Jersey from 1812 to 1813. He became engaged in steamboat navigation in 1813, and, in 1824, was the defendant in the Gibbons v. Ogden case, a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court, ruling in favor of Gibbons, held that Congress had the power to regulate interstate commerce. AARON OGDEN, Manuscript Document Endorsed, Account due to William Stackhouse, July 31, 1800, [Scotch Plains, New Jersey]. 1 p., 8 x 6½ in. #24395
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Treasury Secretary Gallatin Receives Deposits to Bank of the United States, Despite Earlier Opposition to Hamiltonâ€™s Policies Albert Gallatin acknowledges receiving eight receipts totaling $7,000 from the Boston branch of the Bank of the United States. Complete Transcript TREASURY DEPARTMENT, June 17th 1801. SIR, Eight duplicate receipts of the office of discount and deposit of the United States Bank, at Boston No.s 7043. 7054. 7069. 7079. 7084. 7101. 7107. & 7118 amounting to Seven thousand Dollars have been received from you at this office. I am Sir, / Your obedient Servant, Albert Gallatin / Secretary of the Treasury r/ William Tuck Esq Collector / Gloucester, Massats <2> [Address:] Treasury Department / Albert Gallatin / FREE William Tuck Esquire/ Collector of Gloucester / Massachusetts [Docketing:] 7000 Dolls paid at the Branch Bank at Boston / June 17th 1801. [Docketing:] June 17, 1801 / From the Secretary / rect for 7000 Dollars First Bank of the United States (1791-1811) was chartered by Congress in 1791 with a twentyyear-term, which was not renewed in 1811. Its first President was Philadelphia merchant Thomas Willing. In 1792, the Bank of the United States established offices of discount and deposit in Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, and New York. A Norfolk branch opened in 1800, Washington and Savannah branches in 1802, and one in New Orleans in 1805. Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1780. By 1782, he was teaching French at Harvard College. He purchased land in western Pennsylvania and moved there in 1784. In 1789, he was a member of the Pennsylvania state constitutional convention and served in the General Assembly from 1790 to 1793, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate. However, the Federalist majority refused him a seat because he had not been a citizen for the minimum nine years required. After he counseled moderation during the Whiskey Rebellion, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1795 to 1801. He opposed Alexander Hamiltonâ€™s entire program in the 1790s, but when he served as Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison from 1801 to 1814, he kept all of its main parts, and even supported the Bank of the United States, which other Jeffersonians opposed. Gallatin helped organize the areas that Lewis and Clark explored into the new Louisiana Purchase. He resigned from the Treasury to head the U.S. negotiations that ended the War of 1812 through the Treaty of Ghent. From 1816 to 1823, he served as Minister to France. In 1825, John Quincy Adams offered him the position of Secretary of the Treasury, but he declined. After serving as U.S. Minister to Great Britain in 1826-1827, he settled in New York City, where he helped found New York University in 1831. William Tuck (1741-1826) was born in Massachusetts and was a sea captain. In 1777, he represented Manchester in the Massachusetts General Court. Tuck commanded a schooner to
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transport powder during the Revolutionary War. He also commanded the privateer Remington during the war. He later served as a justice of the peace in Manchester. George Washington appointed him as collector of customs at Gloucester in March 1795. In January 1803, Thomas Jefferson removed him from office in a purge of many Federalists. ALBERT GALLATIN, Partially Printed Letter Signed, to William Tuck, June 17, 1801, Treasury Department, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 7Âž x 9Â˝ in. #24399 $750
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Hamilton Asks His College Roommate and Two Other Good Friends to Pay Their Share of Surveying Expenses for a Speculative Joint New York State Land Investment Complete Transcript D Sir. Your favor of the 1st Inst. I had the honor of receiving by fridays Mail. I should have had the survey completed, had I not relied upon MrBrodheads 50 executing it, he being much engaged I have at length employed a substitute who is now engaged in the Job. The whole expense will be about $500. I have been obliged to advance one hundred & upwards, in Provisions & have taken the liberty of drawing upon you in favor of Suydam & Wykoff 51 Merchs N. York, for $200. The survey will be completed well & expeditiously. Two good surveyors being employed. I am with much Respect Yrmost obed. Sert Arthur Breese Whitestown Sep. 13th 180[1?] 52 [Endorsement, in Hamilton’s hand:] As I expect momently to be called upon for the amount of the abovementioned Bill, I request the following Gentlemen to pay their respective proportions to the bearer A Hamilton John Laurance Dollars 50 Robert Troupe do Nicholas Fish do <2> [Address:] Whitestown/ Sept 13th Honle Alexander Hamilton / New York / Mail
Charles C. Brodhead (1772-1852) learned the business of surveying and settled in the Utica area in 1792. The surveyor-general of New York employed him as a deputy. He was Oneida County sheriff from 1800 to 1804, and he was in the mercantile business in Utica. In 1816-1817, he led the survey of the eastern third of the Erie Canal. 51 John Suydam (1763-1841) and Henry J. Wyckoff (1768-1839) formed the merchant firm of Suydam & Wyckoff in 1794, and dealt in teas, wines, and groceries. The firm continued until 1821. Walter Barrett, The Old Merchants of New York City, 5 vols. (New York: Thomas R. Knox & Co., 1885-1889), 2:265-66, 274. 52 The handwriting is unclear, but on March 20, 1803, Hamilton wrote to Albany attorney John V. Henry that the tract “formerly belonged to Arthur Noble was either the whole or part of the tract called Nobleborough & is situate in Herkermer County. If these indications do not enable the Comptroller to pronounce with certainty whether it has been taxed or not, I will entreat you to take the trouble to write to S Breese Esqr of Whites Town under whose superintendence it was not long since surveyed and who doubtless can name the Town in which it lies and afford any auxiliary description which may be requisite.” This letter declares that the survey, which Arthur Breese said in September would be completed “expeditiously,” had “not long since” been completed by March 1803, suggesting either an 1801 or 1802 date for this letter. Samuel Sidney Breese (1768-1848) was Arthur Breese’s older brother, who was also an attorney and lived in Whitestown. Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 – 23 October 1804 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), 96-99.
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In 1795, Hamilton, in partnership with John Laurance, Robert Troup, and Nicholas Fish, purchased 21,800 acres in Herkimer County, New York, from Arthur Noble. Hamilton and Fish paid £300 annual installments on the bond to Arthur Noble in July of each year from 1796 to 1805. Hamilton still owned his quarter interest, worth about $9,000, in the area called Noblesborough, at the time of his death. 53 John Laurance (1750-1810) was a delegate to the Confederation Congress from 1785 to 1787 and served in the New York Senate from 1788 to 1790. From 1794 to 1796 he was U.S. judge for the District of New York. He served as a U.S Congressman from 1789 to 1792 and as a U.S. Senator from 1795 to 1800. Robert Troup (1757-1832) studied law and served in the military in the Revolutionary War. At King’s College (Columbia University), he was Alexander Hamilton’s roommate, and he studied law under John Jay. After the war, he was a lawyer in Albany and New York City and a land agent. In 1796, he became judge of the U.S. district court for New York. From 1801 to 1832, he was a land agent for the Pulteney Estate of England for its properties in western New York. Nicholas Fish (1758-1833) was the son of Loyalist parents, who broke with them to support the Patriots. While studying law at King’s College and working as a legal clerk in New York City from 1774 to 1776, he made close friendships with Alexander Hamilton and Robert Troup. He served in the military throughout the Revolutionary War and rose to the rank of colonel. In 1784, he received appointment as the first adjutant general of New York and held the position until 1793. President George Washington appointed him in 1794 as supervisor of the Federal revenue in New York City. Arthur Breese (1770-1825) was born in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Breese graduated from Princeton University and received an honorary degree from Yale College in 1789. In 1793, he married Catharine Livingston, the daughter of Henry Livingston Jr. of Poughkeepsie, New York. They had nine children before her death in 1808. Breese was admitted to the bar of the New York Supreme Court in 1792, and settled in Whitestown, New York, in 1793. He speculated in land in northern New York and assisted others, including James Madison, in doing so. In 1796-1797, he served in the New York State Assembly, and he was the first surrogate judge of Oneida County from 1798 to 1808. In 1808, he relocated to Utica as a clerk of the Supreme Court. In 1810, he married Ann Carpenter, with whom he had six children. Provenance: Descended in the Hamilton family until acquired by us at Sotheby’s, Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters and Manuscripts, January 18, 2017. ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Autograph Endorsement Signed, below Arthur Breese, Autograph Letter Signed, to Alexander Hamilton, September 13, [1801?], 2 pp. #24642 $13,500
The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 18:5037, 26:283-87; Julius Goebel and Joseph H. Smith, The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, 5 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964-1981), 5:410-11, 431, 513, 561, 597, 646.
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Massachusetts Learns the News of Philip Hamilton’s Death Excerpts “Since extracting the account of the duel in which Mr. Hamilton was wounded, from a New York paper, we have received the following affecting and melancholy intelligence. “‘With sorrow I state to you, from the information of a gentleman immediately from New York, that the ill-fated Philip expired on Tuesday morning. He was shot through the body, after attempting in vain to appease his antagonist, and after deporting himself with equal coolness and spirit. Eacker is a flagrant democrat, and the quarrel was a political one.’” (p2/c4) “Poor Philip Hamilton, the amiable and worthy son of General Hamilton, aged about 19, died last night of the wound he received of Mr. Eacker. It is a most melancholy event. He had just completed the best of educations, and bid fair to be an ornament to society.” (p2/c4) A full-column letter, entitled “The Duellists” and dated November 27, gives details from the Eacker perspective: “The friends of Mr. Eacker consider themselves obliged, in consequence of the gross misstatements, omissions, and unfounded falsehoods which have appeared in a Morning and Evening Paper, to lay before the public the unfortunate causes which produced the truly melancholy catastrophe of Monday. They beg leave to assure the public, and Mr. Hamilton’s friends in particular, that it is with the extremest regret that they are obliged to give publicity to these circumstances; but their duty to Mr. Eacker, and to truth, compels them to undertake the painful task.” (p2/c3) Historical Background On July 4, 1801, George Eacker had given a speech at King’s College (now Columbia University), criticizing Federalist policies, many of which were developed by Alexander Hamilton. On November 20, 1801, Philip Hamilton and friend Richard Price went to see a play at Park Theater, and ran into Eacker. A screaming match ensued, and Eacker called them “damned rascals,” a grave insult. Both Philip and Price challenged Eacker to duels. On November 22, Eacker and Price dueled in Weehawken, New Jersey, but neither were injured. The next day at the same location, Eacker faced Hamilton, who reportedly took his father’s advice and refused to raise his pistol. Eacker did not shoot either—at first. After some time, Eacker raised his pistol, and Philip followed. Eacker shot. The bullet struck Hamilton above his right hip, went through his body, and lodged in his left arm. He died on the morning of November 24. Three years later, Alexander Hamilton would duel in the same spot, with the same tragic results right down to his mortal wound being attended by the same doctor. [PHILIP HAMILTON DUEL.] The Salem Gazette, December 4, 1801. Salem, Massachusetts: Thomas C. Cushing. 4 pp. #24959 $900
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Burr Sues Editor of the New York American Citizen for Libel “The Vice President of the United States has commenced an action against the editor of the NewYork ‘Citizen’ for a libel.” (p2/c4) In this brief notice, the editors of the New-England Palladium announce that Vice President Aaron Burr has sued James Cheetham (1772-1810), the editor of the American Citizen newspaper in New York City. Although the American Citizen was a rival of Alexander Hamilton’s newspaper, the NewYork Evening Post, Cheetham also bitterly opposed Aaron Burr. In 1802, Cheetham published A View of the Political Conduct of Aaron Burr, Esq., Vice-president of the United States, a 120-page pamphlet that attacked Burr’s character, and A Narrative of the Suppression by Col. Burr, of the History of the Administration of John Adams, Late President of the United States, Written by John Wood, a 72-page pamphlet accusing Burr of suppressing an anti-Federalist attack on John Adams. Although Burr sued Cheetham for libel early in 1804, the case continued in the courts for several years, long after Burr had killed Hamilton in their duel. Additional Content This issue also includes Governor Caleb Strong’s proclamation for a day of fasting and prayer on April 5 (p1/c4); extracts of letters on land speculation in Spanish East Florida and gold discovered in North Carolina (p1/c5); an article on taxing banks (p2/c1); a letter opposing the creation of new banks (p2/c5-p3/c1), report of a fire that destroyed printer Peter Edes’ house and shop in Augusta, Maine, and requests for charitable contributions for him (p2/c4); New-England Palladium (1801-1840) was a semi-weekly newspaper published under various titles in Boston by Alexander Young and Thomas Minns. They had previously published the Massachusetts Mercury (1797-1800). Although Federalist-leaning, Young and Minns were fairly even-handed in their coverage. [AARON BURR]. New-England Palladium, February 21, 1804. Boston: Young and Minns. 4 pp., 14 x 21½ in. #30005.001
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A Federalist Congressman Writes to Another on the Impeachment of Judge Pickering, the Race Between Aaron Burr & Lewis Morris, the New Marine Corps, and New Orleans “The Senate are on Pickerings impeachment…. Burr vs. Lewis is now the cause that is preparing for our State trial.... Our Marine Corps is ordered to N. Orleans, where our new Brethren require more Bayonets, then representative government.” Two Federalist Congressmen, in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives, correspond over the news from Congress and in New York during Aaron Burr’s run for New York governor and the organization of a government for the Louisiana Purchase. Complete Transcript March 5th 1804 DSir The Senate are on Pickerings impeachment. The question now agitated is, shall counsel be heard to shew cause why he did not attend his summons,-two days have been taken up already, when the Senate will finish the trial I know not. Burr vs. Lewis is now the cause that is preparing for our State trial. The former has many advocates here, and what his friends are doing at home <2> you know better than I can advise. [New York Federalist Joshua] Sands is off for N. York. We shall rise about the 15 or 20 Inst. Miss Hunt had her shoulder dislocated in going to Philadelphia, by the overturning of the stage. Our Marine Corps is ordered to N. Orleans, where our new Brethren require more Bayonets, then representative government. The Louisiana Bill we have cut up in two days, which the Senate have <3> been nine weeks in framing- [New Jersey Republican James] Sloan &c are for Representative Government- [Pennsylvania Republican John Baptiste Charles] Lucas against it. Thus you see our new Premiers since you left us. Burrows has resigned [as Commandant of the Marine Corps]. [Virginia Republican] Thomas Lewis will loose his seat. [North Carolina Federalist Samuel Dinsmore] Purvaiance will keep his. yours sincerely, K. K. V. Rensselaer Historical Background This letter, rich in content, mentions the ongoing impeachment of Judge John Pickering who presided over the District of New Hampshire from 1795 to 1804. President Thomas Jefferson sent evidence of unlawful rulings and drunkenness while on the bench. Federalists argued that DemocraticRepublicans were violating the Constitution by attempting to remove a judge who had committed neither high crimes nor misdemeanors. Still, the Senate trial of Pickering began on January 4, 1804, and concluded on March 12 with a 19-7 vote, making Pickering the first federal judge removed through impeachment.
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The letter also references “the state trial,” the election of New York’s governor. Morgan Lewis, supported by Alexander Hamilton, defeated Aaron Burr to win the election with 58 percent of the vote a month after this letter. Lewis took office on July 1, 1804. Ten days later, Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel, arising in part from allegations made during the campaign. Van Rensselaer also comments on the recently completed Louisiana Purchase, where U.S. Marines were required to keep order among the population of fifty thousand territorial citizens. A Senate committee led by John Breckinridge of Kentucky introduced a bill dividing the territory into a vast northern portion called the Louisiana District and a smaller southern part called the Territory of Orleans (the present state of Louisiana), the bill called for the President to appoint a governor and council to govern Orleans. The Senate started debate on January 16, and reported a bill to the House of Representatives on Feb. 28. The following day, the House rejected part of the proposal by a vote of 80 to 15. After the Senate rejected the change, and the House refused to back down, a committee was appointed to work out a compromise. On March 23, the House agreed to the plan but limited it to one year. A year later, Congress passed a new law giving Orleans Territory the same governmental structure as Mississippi. Killian K. Van Rensselaer (1763-1845) was born in New York and attended Yale College. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1784. He served as a private secretary to General Philip Schuyler. He served as a Federalist in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1801 to 1811, when he returned to New York and the practice of law. This Killian was a descendant of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643), a diamond and pearl merchant from Amsterdam, who became a founder and director of the Dutch West India Company. When the English assumed control and New Netherland became New York in the seventeenth century, Rensselaerswyck became an English manor containing all of the land around Albany, New York, along both sides of the Hudson River. Alexander Hamilton’s mother-in-law was another Van Rensselaer descendant. George Tibbits (1763-1849) was born in Rhode Island and became a businessman. In 1797, he moved to Troy, New York, where he engaged in extensive mercantile activities. He served as a Federalist in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1803 to 1805. He later served in the New York Senate from 1815 to 1818, and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1816. He served as mayor of Troy from 1830 to 1836. William Ward Burrows (1758-1805) served in the Revolutionary War with South Carolina troops. Afterwards, he moved to Philadelphia to practice law. In 1798, President John Adams appointed him as Major Commandant of the newly formed U.S. Marine Corps. Burrows began many of the Corps’ institutions, including the U.S. Marine Band. He was forced to resign due to ill health on March 6, 1804, and he died exactly one year later. KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER, Autograph Letter Signed, March 5, 1804, to George Tibbits, 3 pp., with integral address leaf free franked by Rensselaer as a Member of Congress. 8 x 12⅝ in. #24705 $1,750
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Madison Urges Georgia Governor to Return Critical Ratification of Twelfth Amendment The Constitution established an electoral process that resulted in the candidate with the majority vote being named President, and the runner-up being named Vice-President. When no majority candidate was chosen, the election was sent to the House of Representatives for balloting. This process created unexpected problems in the election of 1796, after George Washington chose not to seek a third term. The winner in the Electoral College, Federalist John Adams, became president, but his Vice President was not his running mate but the Democratic-Republican candidate for the presidency, Thomas Jefferson. In 1800, both Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received 73 electoral votes, requiring a decision by the House of Representatives, which took 36 ballots to select Jefferson as President and Burr as Vice President. In the wake of this fiasco, amending the process became urgent. Pursuant to the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, both the electoral college vote and House ballots (if necessary), distinguished between Presidential and VicePresidential candidates, a change that eliminated the possibility of tie votes and established the “running mate” system. In this letter, President James Madison successfully urges Georgia Governor James Milledge to ratify before the upcoming 1804 presidential election. Nearly a month later, on September 13, 1804, Milledge responded, informing Madison that he had sent two copies, via separate routes, of Georgia’s “exemplification.” With 13 out of 17 states approving, the Amendment passed. Complete Transcript Sir Department of State / Aug. 18. 1804 It being understood that the Legislature of Georgia has ratified the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the U. States, concerning the election of President and vice President, and the requisite number of states, including Georgia, having concurred in that proposition, I take the liberty of intimating to you that no exemplification of the ratifying act of her Legislature has yet been recd. and that the official notification required by law from the Department of State, awaits that formality only. Not doubting Sir that whether the failure has happened from miscarriage or otherwise no time will be lost in forwarding the necessary document, I have the honor to remain, with sentiments of great respect & consideration your most ob. hbe Sevt. James Madison JAMES MADISON. Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State, to Georgia Governor James Milledge, August 18, 1804, Washington, D.C. Wove paper watermarked “1800.” 1 p., 8 x 9¼ in. #23396
With: WILLIAM DUANE. Report of a Debate, in the Senate of the United States, on a resolution for recommending to the legislatures of the several states, an amendment to the third paragraph of the first section of the second article of the Constitution of the United States, relative to the mode of electing a President and Vice President of the said States. Philadelphia: William Duane, 1804. 158 pp., 5¼ x 8¼ in. #23396.01 $20,000
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Charging Aaron Burr with Hamilton’s Murder “A bill has been found in New-Jersey, against Mr. BURR, for the murder of Gen. HAMILTON.— Nevertheless he will take his seat in Congress.” This brief mention of the Burr-Hamilton duel is among a number of announcements in this early national newspaper.
This issue also includes: • A piece on the efficacy of the small pox vaccine and the obstinacy of those who refuse to see its benefits; • A 1787 letter from Thomas Jefferson, then minister to France, arguing that the presidential term should have been limited in the Constitution to a single term (Jefferson was running for re-election); • President Jefferson’s guarantee to the Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans that their property would be protected under the U.S. Constitution following the Louisiana Purchase; • A notice that the “Louisiana Remonstrants” had arrived in New York on their way to Washington to protest the territorial government under William C.C. Claiborne and the Congressional organization of the recently-acquired territory; • and the usual advertisements. [ALEXANDER HAMILTON]. Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, November 7, 1804. Boston, Massachusetts: Benjamin Russell. 4 pp., 13 x 19¾ in. Loss (roughly 2 x ¾ in.) on pp. 3-4 professionally filled, still, some small text lacking. #30000.55 $500
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From Smallpox Inoculation to Farm Threshing Machines: A Declaration Signer Discusses Cutting-Edge Technologies George Clymer emphasizes revitalizing the nation’s first agricultural society and reports the technological innovations the future secretary was observing in his effort to rebuild the group. Complete Transcript Dear Harry I take up my pen today, because I have not had it in my hands, in a letter to you, for a long time, for I consider some weeks so. I think my last was accompanied by the vaccine matter from Dr Cone, for poor Tom, but you have said nothing about your administration of it. perhaps you took it for granted that I would look upon the inoculation as having taken place, and well got over. Indeed I hope so, but you might as well have said it. Dr Mease is very ardent in the revival of the old agricultural society, and speaking to me about it, we called on Major Hodgdon who possesses the old minutes for the names of the members, and when the Major is more at leisure we can proceed with his help. I make no doubt but the regenerative spirit of it would be better than the original. There being now so many more intelligent people than formerly, who have got their hands into the farming business, and have <2> been made to understand the important difference between systems. The society was born under the auspices of town ignorance and country prejudice, and will be revived when both these are pretty well subdued. The Doctor would make an exceedingly good secretary, for he has turned his attention to such subjects, and no doubt expecting fame from the office, would endeavor to exercise it so as to merit it. The Doctor called upon me yesterday to tell me of a journey he has just made in the cold, expressly to view a new made thrashing machine. It seems it is an Englishman, settled on the Schuylkill at the Mouth of Perkiomin [Perkiomen Creek], named Bakewell,54 and a relation of the great breeder, who has this machine. The Doctor saw it in operation, the power two, oxen, the work 18 bushels pr hour. The cost $200. The workman a man in town named Prentiss from England or Scotland. in connection was a fan <3> but the fan was hastily made and did not succeed as it ought to have done. The Dr thinks it is too large to carry about, but agreed with me in thinking that a lighter one, equal to 40 or 50 bushels a day, should be encouraged, if of correspondent cheapness. The Doctor has seen a lately invented instrument something like a screw worked with a winch, that most effectually grinds up all manner of Indian corn cobs. A very important thing! a saving to man, and a new food to animals. I dare say upon further tapping the Doctor would give more out, and so I suppose you think, who have a good opinion of his late work, but enough for the present, and indeed more could not be got in further than my sencere love to all of you. GC January 5, 1805—Saturday The Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture and Agricultural Reform was founded in 1785 and was the first organization in the United States dedicated to advancing farming methods and agriculture. The society, organized by 23 leading merchants and landowners, was modeled upon European learned societies. Maryland farmers John Beale Bordley and John 54
William Woodhouse Bakewell (1759-1821) immigrated from England to the United States in 1801 with his family. He purchased 300 acres of land on the Schuylkill River across from Valley Forge, renamed the estate “Fatland Ford,” and settled there with his wife and six children in January 1804. His daughter Lucy Bakewell (17871874) married naturalist and painter John James Audubon at Fatland Ford in 1808.
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Cadwalader and Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel began the discussions that would eventually establish the society. George Washington was an honorary member, and George Clymer and Benjamin Rush were among the founding members. The society’s goals were to improve conditions and output on American farms and establish scientific methods of agricultural production such as fertilizer use, crop rotation, and improved husbandry. As is clear from this letter, technological advances were especially important. The society suffered from a number of deficiencies, including lack of funds, the inability to dispense the information and improvements they advocated, as well as the reluctance of many farmers to abandon custom in favor of the new ways. After Powel’s death in 1793, the society fell apart. Members ended regular meetings in 1793. According to John Beale Bordley’s daughter, informal meetings were held at his home from 1795 to 1804. In 1805, the society was revived, and Mease was indeed named secretary. George Clymer (1739-1813) a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress (1776-1777, 1780-1782). He was born in Philadelphia, became a prosperous merchant, and was an early supporter of independence. He helped underwrite the war effort by exchanging his hard currency for the much less stable Continental paper money. He was a volunteer captain and served on the Committee of Public Safety. While in the Continental Congress, he sat on the Board of War and Treasury Board. After the war, he served in the Pennsylvania legislature and argued for a bicameral legislature. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and later served in the House of Representatives of the First Congress. In 1791, Washington named him Supervisor of Internal Revenue for Pennsylvania, but he resigned as collector of excise duties in 1794 at the start of the Whiskey Rebellion. In 1796, he helped negotiate a treaty with the Cherokees and the Creeks. Upon retirement, he was the first president of both the Bank of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the vice president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society. Henry Clymer (1767-1830) was the oldest surviving son of George Clymer. In July 1794, Henry Clymer married Mary Willing, the daughter of first Bank of the United States President Thomas Willing. She was a noted Philadelphia socialite when the city was the nation’s capital (1790-1800), and Henry and Mary Clymer had eight children James Mease (1771-1846) studied medicine under Benjamin Rush and was a prominent Philadelphia doctor and scientific thinker. He helped develop a scientific vineyard, was a member and curator of the American Philosophical Society, and was a founder and the first vice president of the Philadelphia Athenaeum. He served as surgeon during the War of 1812. He devoted considerable time to correspondence among other scientifically minded individuals around the United States and the world on subjects of horticulture, geology, penal and criminal reform, technology, and medicine. He wrote a book, The Picture of Philadelphia, Giving an Account of its Origin, Increase, and Improvements in Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, Commerce and Revenue (1811), that charted the city and its inhabitants’ rise to prominence in American life. GEORGE CLYMER. Autograph Letter Signed to Harry Clymer, January 5, 1805. 3 pp., 6½ x 8 in. #22748 $2,350
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Jefferson’s Attempted Seduction of His Friend’s Wife - the Alleged Affair A piece in the Boston Gazette criticizing a passage in the Richmond Enquirer, “a partisan paper of Mr. Jefferson” that defended his attempt to “seduce the wife of his friend.” They ask “has the spirit of party, then, so far subdued the sense of moral right in our country…to rescue a vile Letcher from the merited reproach.” Excerpt (p.2 col.1) “An Appeal To Uncorrupted Minds “It was not my intention to have noticed Mr. Jefferson’s amours.- Respect and tenderness to the injured and unoffending forbad the discussion. But when an attempt is made to demoralize the nation by a bold and unqualified avowal and justification of crimes, it ceases to be a question of delicacy, whether the attempt shall be repelled, and the people be roused to a sense of the insult that is offered to their virtue and understanding. “The abandoned profligacy of the following article, copied from ‘the Richmond Enquirer,’ a partisan paper of Mr. Jefferson, is worthy of the man and the cause which it espouses : ‘If the Tale of Mrs. Walker was rehearsed to a nation of anchorites they would smile at its absurdity; that an individual should be abused censured and threatened with exposure in the public prints, for having, forty years since, felt an improper passion. At a time, when from youth, exemption from matrimonial obligations, the force of feeling might be pleaded with justice.’ “As an introductory to a system of ethics, founded on the precepts and practice of our amiable Philosopher and rigid Moralist, this essay, at the subversion of all that is dear to man in the most interesting relations of life, will no doubt be peculiarly acceptable to the disciples of the new philosophy – In minds, however, not yet tainted with these detestable doctrines (and as such I trust the great majority is composed) it cannot fail to excite every sentiment of virtuous indignation, or to produce a correspondent expression of abhorrence and disgust. “I entreat the Father of every family in the United States – I conjure every husband , Son, and Brother, to peruse the above recited article with attention – if possible, with dispassionate attention – and to say, whether the annals of the most depraved people have in any age exhibited a fouler and more scandalous attempt at national corruption and dishonor. Gracious Heaven! has the spirit of party, then so far subdued the sense of moral right in our country, that, to rescue a vile Letcher from the merited reproach, which his guilt has incurred, we are content that our national character should be branded with infamy, our morals be poisoned in their source, and proclamation made throughout the world, that the people of the united States consider a deliberate system of seduction, persisted in for years, under every aggravation of circumstances, as an affair to be justified, and even smiled at! “The base idea set forth in the recited article that Mr. Jefferson, being under no matrimonial restraints, was at liberty to peruse his debauchery to any extent, that his libidinous wishes might suggest, is a false in fact as it is flagitious in sentiment.
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“Mr. Jefferson (see Mr. Turner’s letter) was the husband of an amiable and virtuous woman at the time when he sought to seduce the wife of his friend. His obligations to that friend were of a nature not merely to have controuled his passions, but to have commanded his gratitude. His attempt, therefore, was not only an infraction of the divine and moral law; but a violation of the confidence, which a friend and benefactor had reposed in his honor. “Mr. Jefferson, under any plea that he, or his minions can devise, will try in vain to invalidate this statement—even the affectation of being ‘conscious of no passion that could seduce him from his duty’ will not avail. “Unimpassioned lust, and smiling vengeance were the attributes of an execrable Tyrant, not less distinguished by his folly than his crimes. “Probus.” Historical Background At age 25, Jefferson was asked by his childhood friend John Walker to stay at his home and watch his young wife and daughter while he was away on a business trip. During the four month period Jefferson stayed with the family it is rumored that an affair or attempts at an affair by Jefferson occurred. Another rumored incident a few years later occurred when John Walker, who was still unaware of any of Jefferson’s previous attempts at his wife, and his wife came to visit Jefferson. Jefferson allegedly sought out Mrs. Walker in private and made attempts to seduce her, leaving only when Mrs. Walker threatened to scream. Also includes a report of the duel between Brigadier General Benjamin Smith and Captain Maurice Moore (p2) and a section on the effects of lightning in Hillsborough, N.H. (p2). Another section offers a “Complete list of the Consuls and American Agents of the United States” (p2/c3). Reference A.J. Langguth, Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988) pp. 348-49. [THOMAS JEFFERSON]. Newspaper. Boston Gazette, July 18, 1805. 4 pp., 13½ x 20 in. #30004.014 $950
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Monroe, Talleyrand, and Jefferson’s “Crimes” and “back door pimps” in Negotiations to Buy Florida From Spain “Randolphs charges agt Jefferson are that he recommended one thing in his private message, which he counteracted by his ‘back door pimps’ and obtained 2 Millions of Dollars to give Talleyrand, to open the door with Spain for Negotiation &c. Also, for having nominated Genl Wilkinson Governor of uper Louisiana (blending the military with the civil).” Complete Transcript April 2. 1806 Gentlemen Randolphs charges agt Jefferson are that he recommended one thing in his private message, which he counteracted by his “back door pimps” and obtained 2 Millions of Dollars to give Talleyrand, to open the door with Spain for Negotiation &c. Also, for having nominated Genl Wilkinson Governor of uper Louisiana (blending the military with the civil). Also for having withheld the most important dispatches from Monroe until after the < 2> Secret Bill had passed, which if the house of Repres had, had before, the 2 Million Bill would not have been enacted into a Law. Against Madison, for making interest in favor of a douceur for Talleyrand and making the attempt to obtain the Money from the Treasury without an appropriation. Against Secy [of the Navy Robert] Smith for calling on merchants for their Notes which were discounted at Banks (on the good faith of Govert) and the Monies appropriated without a Law. <3> In a debate about taking of the injunction of secrecy, Randolph drove [Massachusetts representative Barnabas] Bidwell, [Massachusetts representative Jacob] Crownenshield, [Pennsylvania representative John] Smilie, [Pennsylvania representative William] Findley, [New York Representative David] Thomas [Virginia Representative John W.] Eppes off the floor, by his usual irony & sarcasm. Bidwell is down, and cannot be brot up to face Randolph in any thing, since R. remarked in a reply to B. that he considered the “half formed opinion, from the half bred Attorney, as not worthy an answer, unless it was to tell him, that he was like the rest of the political wood cocks, with which he (Bidwell) associated, that had <4> run their Bills in the mud, and therefore wished not to see, nor to be seen.” The inclosed paper contains our Minutes of the secret sittings. Randolph has said in his place, that the Minutes are garbled and incorrect, and has called on the state printer for a fair statement. If I can obtain an extra copy, I shall forward a true Bill. Thus you see, all is ready to be hove down. Jefferson is down, and the only question now is, who is to be next president! Yours in haste &c K K V Rensselaer Historical Background On December 3, 1805, Thomas Jefferson sent his fifth annual message to Congress. In that document, he proposed strengthening the militia and the Navy in response to the actions of European powers, including Spanish activities along the Florida-U.S. border. Three days later, Jefferson sent a confidential message to Congress recounting troubles with Spain arising from the Louisiana Purchase and suggesting that France could arbitrate a boundary settlement with Spanish-held Florida. The House referred the president’s secret message to a select committee chaired by John Randolph, whom the administration had unsuccessfully tried to oust as Ways and Means Committee chairman just a few days earlier. Meanwhile, Jefferson confided to Congressman Barnabas Bidwell and Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin that he wanted Congress to pass a series of resolutions regarding Spanish offenses against the United States, after which Congress would secretly appropriate two million dollars to purchase Florida. Part II 91
Randolph convened the select committee on December 7, 1805, and Bidwell introduced a resolution authorizing the appropriation. Randolph believed that this reeked of intrigue and was thus a betrayal of Republican party principles; he quickly adjourned the committee. In subsequent meetings with Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, and Gallatin, Randolph stated that he would never support the secret appropriation. On January 11, 1806, the House voted down Randolph’s report and three days later approved Bidwell’s resolution, making permanent Randolph’s split with the Jeffersonian Republicans. On January 27, 1806, the U.S. Senate confirmed by a vote of 17 to 14 the appointment of the controversial General James Wilkinson as governor of the Louisiana Territory. Wilkinson would soon be implicated in the Burr conspiracy, in which former Vice President Aaron Burr apparently plotted the creation of an independent republic from lands of the Louisiana Territory, with himself to serve as president. Burr also may have planned to launch a military expedition against Spanish-held Mexico and incorporate that land within his empire. Jefferson’s Secretary of State James Madison became the next president in 1809, and the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821 through the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. John Randolph (1773-1833) was known as John Randolph of Roanoke to distinguish him from kinsmen. A diminutive man of mercurial temperament, he engaged in several duels, including one with Henry Clay that arose out of Randolph calling the Kentuckian a “blackleg” for his role in the controversial 1824 presidential election. From 1799 Randolph served intermittently in Congress until his death, including as a manager of impeachment proceedings against Judge John Pickering and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. In 1806, Randolph broke with Jefferson and James Madison and headed an arch-conservative Congressional faction called “Tertium Quids,” Latin for “The Third Somethings.” The Quids insisted on strict adherence to the Constitution and other “Old Republican” principles, and supported James Monroe over Madison in the 1808 presidential election. Randolph summarized Old Republican principles as “love of peace, hatred of offensive war, jealousy of the state governments toward the general government; a dread of standing armies; a loathing of public debts, taxes, and excises; tenderness for the liberty of the citizen; jealousy, [and] Argus-eyed jealousy of the patronage of the President.” Randolph was a member of the Virginia constitutional convention at Richmond in 1829, and he briefly served as Minister to Russia the following year. KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER. Autograph Letter Signed, April 2, 1806. 4 pp. #22274 $2,750
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Detailed Reporting of Early Stages of Aaron Burr’s Treason Trial This issue contains more than two full pages of the debate over evidence to be submitted to the grand jury in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason from May 25 to 28. After the grand jury indicted Burr, Chief Justice John Marshall presided over the trial, which occurred between August 3 and September 1, 1807. President Thomas Jefferson marshalled all of his resources to gain a conviction, but Federalist Chief Justice John Marshall insisted that treason required an overt act of war against the nation and had to be supported by the testimony of two witnesses. Although Burr may have planned, he never undertook an overt act against the United States, and the prosecution failed to produce two witnesses to any such act. Marshall’s handling of the trial reaffirmed the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary against a president and Congress bent on revenge. Excerpts [U.S. Attorney George Hay:] “I now move you, sir, that Aaron Burr, at present before the court, stand committed on the charge of high treason against the U.S. on the evidence to be exhibited before you. This evidence is partly the same with that which was exhibited at a former examination of the prisoner; but a considerable part of it is new and has not been laid before you.” (p1/c1) [Defense attorney William Wirt:] “The attorney for the United States believing himself possessed of sufficient evidence to justify the commitment of A. Burr, for high treason, has moved the court to that effect. In making this motion he has merely done his duty; it would be unpardonable in him to omit it. Yet the counsel in the defence complain of the motion and of the want of notice.” (p1/c5) “we propose that the whole evidence exculpatory as well as accusative shall come before you— instead of exciting, this is the true mode of correcting prejudices; the world which it is said has been misled and inflamed by falsehood, will now hear the truth; let the case come out—let us know how much of what we have heard is false, how much of it true—how much of what we fell is prejudice; how much of it is justified by fact; whoever before heard of such an apprehension as that which is professed on the other side? Prejudice excited by evidence! Evidence, sir, is the great corrector of prejudice. When then does Aaron Burr shrink from it? It is strange to me that a man who complains so much of being without cause illegally seized and transported by a military officer, should be afraid to confront this evidence.” (p2/c1) [Chief Justice John Marshall:] “The Court is of opinion that the paper purporting to be an affidavit of Dumbaugh, cannot be read, because it does not appear to be an oath.” (p3/c1) [Hay:] “It is extremely uncertain how long this examination will continue; whether it may occupy ten hours or ten days; And if gentlemen continue to make the same captious objections which they have already done at every stage of the enquiry, it is impossible to foresee any termination to it.” (p3/c1) [AARON BURR]. National Intelligencer, and Washington Advertiser (Washington, DC), June 5, 1807. 4 pp. #24695 $250
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King George III Approves Appointments and Promotions for Senior Military Officers Administering and protecting the far-flung British Empire, the British army was posted throughout the world. Having shrunk to a poorly administered force of some 40,000 men by 1793, the army grew rapidly during the period of the Napoleonic Wars with France, numbering more than 250,000 men in 1813. This list, approved by King George III, posts senior officers in Great Britain, the Caribbean Islands, Malta, and Canada. Many of these men had served in the American Revolutionary War as junior officers and gained promotion for their service there and in Egypt, India, the Netherlands, Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. Complete Transcript Most Humbly submitted to His Majesty That Lieut. Generals Sir George J. Ludlow KB., Sir John Moore K.B.[,] Earl of Cavan and John Whitelocke, be placed on the Staff of the army serving in Great Britain. That Colonel Henry Clinton be appointed a Brigadier General. That Lieut. General George Beckwith, Major Generals Dalrymple and Maitland be placed on the Staff of the army serving in the <2> Windward and Leeward Charibbea Islands. [added in pencil to left margin:] to be notd to L Genl B. [“O H. C” written over “L Genl B.”] That Lieut. General Sir David Baird be placed on the Staff. The Lieut General W. A. Villettes be placed on the staff of the Army serving in the Island of Malta. [added in pencil:] to be notd to Genl Sir J H Craig That Major General Martin Hunter be placed on the Staff of the army serving in Nova Scotia. [added in pencil:] to be notd to L Gnl Gardiner Approved G R 55 George III (1738-1820) was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (united in 1801) from 1760 until his death. Born in London as the grandson of King George II of the House of Hanover, George III was educated by private tutors. His reign included a series of wars with other nations and colonies, from the Seven Years’ War early in his reign through the American Revolutionary War to the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. In 1761, he married Princess Charlotte, whom he met on their wedding day, and they had fifteen children. Very popular at the beginning of his reign, he lost the loyalty of many American colonists by the 1770s. Deeply religious, George was appalled by the lack of morals displayed by his brothers. His mental illness became so severe that his son and successor ruled as a regent from 1810 until George III’s death. He was the longest reigning British monarch before Victoria and Elizabeth II. GEORGE III, Document Signed “GR” [George Rex], Assignments of Senior Military Officers, ca. 1808. 1 p. #24659 $2,500 55
For “George Rex (King)”
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Supreme Court Justice Brockholst Livingston (who ten years earlier killed a Federalist who tweaked his nose) Introduces Hamilton’s Nephew to President-Elect James Madison Justice Livingston writes a letter of recommendation to President-elect James Madison for Peter Cruger, the son of an influential New York City merchant. Complete Transcript New York 30th Novr 1808 Sir, Mr Peter Cruger, a son in law of Mr Church, with whom you are acquainted, being on a visit to Washington, I take the liberty of recommending him to your attentions & civilities, & have the honor to be, with great respect, your very obed sert Brockholst Livingston The honble / Jas. Madison Livingston was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Thomas Jefferson in 1806. At the date of this letter, Secretary of State Madison had just won the presidential election of 1808 over Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Though Cruger was related by marriage to Alexander Hamilton and Philip Schuyler, those deceased relations did not necessarily preclude a friendly visit to Madison. Henry Brockholst Livingston (1757-1823) was a member of the powerful Livingston family of New York and New Jersey. The future U.S. Supreme Court Justice dropped his first name to distinguish himself from other relatives. He attended the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) with James Madison. In the early years of the Revolution, Livingston was a captain of the New York line and served on the staffs of Benedict Arnold and Philip Schuyler, falling into disfavor when Horatio Gates assumed command of the Northern Army. He served his brother-in-law, John Jay, as secretary in 1782, and was captured by the British. After his release, he returned to New York City and studied law, becoming active in New York politics as a Jeffersonian Republican. He also served as a treasurer and trustee of Columbia University. After surviving an assassination attempt in 1785, Livingston killed Federalist James Jones in a duel in 1798. Jones had assaulted Livingston in front of his wife and children and grabbed Livingston’s prominent nose. Livingston challenged Jones to a duel. Livingston helped Jefferson and Burr win New York in 1800. From 1802 to 1807, he served on the New York Supreme Court. Late in 1806, Jefferson nominated him to replace William Paterson on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served until his death. Though many expected him to be a spokesman for the Jeffersonian party on the Marshall Court, Livingston fell under the sway of the affable Federalist Chief Justice, John Marshall, and produced only eight dissents in sixteen years on the court. He was an expert in commercial and prize law and generally favored using the law to promote capitalist development. Bertram Peter Cruger (1774-1854) was born in St. Croix, Dutch West Indies. (His father, Nicholas Cruger (1743-1800), was by 1770 the largest merchant in New York City. Active in the West Indian trade with a hub at St. Croix, he became the guardian, employer and patron of young orphan Alexander Hamilton.) Cruger became a merchant like his father. In 1779, he married Catherine Church (1779-1839), daughter of John B. Church and Angelica Schuyler. She attended boarding school in Paris with Thomas Jefferson’s daughters. They had nine children. BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to James Madison, November 30, 1808, New York. 1 p. #21466.05 $750
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Self-Exiled Burr Ordered Out of the United Kingdom “Extract of a letter from London, dated October 28, 1809. “I now assure you that Aaron Burr was ordered out of the Kingdom; but the circumstance of coupling General Miranda with him has been, no doubt, with a malicious intent to injure the honest fame of that worthy patriot. Instead of being sent out of the country, the General resides there is superb style, the friend and companion of the best men in the ministry.” (p2/c2) After killing Alexander Hamilton in 1804 and being tried (though acquitted) for treason in 1807, Burr traveled to England under a pseudonym in the summer of 1808. The British government declared Burr persona non grata, arrested him in April 1809, and offered him a passport to any country. In May 1809, he arrived in Sweden, from which he crossed to Denmark and spent time there and in Germany for the rest of 1809. He arrived in Paris in February 1810, where he lived for the next eighteen months before returning to the United States. When Burr was attempting to revolutionize Louisiana and the West, Francisco de Miranda was planning his own assaults on the Spanish empire in the Americas. They met in Philadelphia late in 1805 or early in 1806, and Burr wrote, “The bare suspicion of any connexion between him and me would have been injurious to my project and fatal to his….” Miranda found Burr “detestable” and “Mephistophelian” and was angered that Burr had killed Miranda’s friend Hamilton. 56 Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816) was born in Caracas in the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada into a wealthy merchant family. Educated at the finest private schools, he received a baccalaureate degree in 1767. From 1771 to 1780, he lived in Spain and became a captain in the military. From 1781 to 1784, he participated in actions against the British in North America, including the Battle of the Capes that forced the British surrender at Yorktown. Miranda met many influential Americans, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. From 1791 to 1797, he took an active part in the French Revolution and was arrested several times before leaving for England. From 1804 to 1808, he organized an expedition to liberate Venezuela from Spanish rule, but it failed soon after landing. After Venezuela achieved de facto independence in 1810, a delegation including Simón Bolívar traveled to Great Britain seeking British recognition and aid. They also urged Miranda, then in Great Britain, to return to his native land. He did so in 1811, but the new Venezuelan republic failed to conquer royalist areas, and in 1812, Miranda was arrested and taken to Spain. He died in prison four years later, awaiting the outcome of his case. This issue also includes a letter by James Madison to Congress regarding the militia (p2/c4); the conclusion of Congressman Laban Wheaton’s speech on resolutions to increase the army and the navy (p1/c2-3); and a variety of advertisements, including a young woman offering to serve as a wet nurse (p1/c1), German flute instruction (p3/c3), and a Savannah resident, seeking his brother missing for eight years and “fearing that he is in bondage on some British ship of war” (p4/c1). [AARON BURR]. Newspaper. New-England Palladium, January 9, 1810. Boston: Young and Minns. #30005.011 $400
Karen Racine, Francisco de Miranda: A Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003), 157.
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Lafayette Seeks a Position for a Friend The French hero of the American Revolution writes from his home to a customs official in Napoleonic France recommending his attorney friend Monsieur Gros for a position in a customs office in southern France. Complete Translation Lagrange 57 15 June 1811 My dear old colleague, you had suggested that I remind you of your good will toward M. Gros and to indicate any possible placement for him, especially in the customs offices. I just heard that the district attorney for the customs tribunal of St. Gaudens, Agen district, 58 has handed in his resignation. As you know, the law practice, the talent, and the work of M. Gros, a most distinguished lawyer in the affairs of the commune, put him in good position to fulfill the functions that come with the new tribunals that you have had the kindness to point out to me, as you voiced your regret that there was no fitting place. It would be superfluous to repeat here that you have been most kind to honor the obligations that my family and relatives have had toward M. Gros. Regarding the general esteem with which I write, and his and my gratitude for your favorable disposition toward him, I will limit myself to offering you the expression of my highest respect and my sincere attachment. Lafayette [Docketing:] 18 June 1811 / Customs Although he tried to steer a middle course during the French Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette found himself imprisoned by radicals in 1792. After Lafayette spent more than five years in Prussian and Austrian prisons, Napoleon Bonaparte obtained his release in 1797 and restored his French citizenship in 1800. Believing the monarchy needed to be reformed rather than eliminated, Lafayette did not support Napoleon’s rise to power but remained quiet at his country estate. In each year from 1802 to 1807, Napoleon commanded that a law be passed regarding customs. Customs tariffs were established in 1803 and 1806, making France much more protectionist. The restrictions of Napoleon’s Continental System in opposition to Great Britain opened many opportunities for smuggling. In response, Napoleon granted temporary licenses giving certain French shippers the right to import prohibited goods with payment of duties of 40 percent. By a decree 57
Château de la Grange-Bléneau is a fourteenth-century castle 30 miles southeast of Paris that Lafayette received from his wife Adrienne de La Fayette (1759-1807), who received it from her mother. Lafayette lived there from 1802 until his death. 58 Saint-Gaudens is a commune in southwestern France, facing the Pyrenees, and fewer than twenty miles from the Spanish border.
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issued October 18, 1810, Napoleon established Tribunaux ordinaires de douane (Customs Tribunals) to try cases of smuggling. Above these courts, the Cours prévôtales de douane, presided over by Grand Provosts, decided final judgments in cases of appeal. That in Agen had within its jurisdiction the four ordinary courts of the south-west: Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Saint-Gaudens, and Bayonne. Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was born in south central France into an aristocratic family. Commissioned an officer at age 13, he traveled to America to participate in the American Revolutionary War. Commissioned a major-general, he initially had no troops to command. He was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine but organized an orderly retreat of his soldiers. He returned to France to seek additional support for the Americans and returned in 1780. He was given a senior command in the Continental Army and delayed British General Cornwallis’ troops in Yorktown until other American and French forces could arrive for the climactic siege. He returned to France and was appointed to the Assembly of Notables in 1787 and elected to the EstatesGeneral in 1789. As commander-in-chief of the National Guard, he tried to steer a middle course through the French Revolution, but radicals had him arrested and imprisoned for more than five years. Napoleon Bonaparte obtained his release in 1797, but he did not participate in Napoleon’s government. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1814, he became a member of the Chamber of Deputies. In 1824, at the invitation of President James Monroe, Lafayette visited each of the twentyfour United States and received a hero’s welcome. Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gillbert du Motier, MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, to Unknown Recipient. June 15, 1811, La Grange. 1 p. #24153 $1,750
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Celebrating LaFayette’s Visit in Music When General Lafayette made a grand tour of the United States in 1824 and 1825, near the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, he visited Baltimore seven times. On one of those visits, he likely heard this march written by a local composer and church organist. When General Lafayette visited the United States from August 1824 to September 1825, he received a hero’s welcome as one of the last surviving connections to the American Revolutionary War. Invited by President James Monroe, Lafayette became the “Nation’s Guest.” Each city tried to outdo others in welcoming Lafayette, who traveled to all twenty-four states over thirteen months. Many towns and counties were named for him, and he laid the cornerstones of numerous buildings. He visited Thomas Jefferson and James Madison at Monticello and Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage. He was in Washington when the House of Representatives decided the contested election of 1824. He laid the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument after hearing an address by Daniel Webster and spent his sixty-eighth birthday at a reception with President John Quincy Adams at the White House. During Lafayette’s tour, nearly three million people, or about one-quarter of the nation’s population, saw him. On one stop in Baltimore for five days in October 1824, Lafayette visited Fort McHenry, where organizers had set up the tent General Washington had used at Dorchester Heights in 1777. Veterans of the War of 1812 and Governor Samuel Stevens Jr. welcomed Lafayette, and Col. John Eager Howard, a veteran of both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, greeted Lafayette on behalf of the Maryland Society of the Cincinnati. After a procession escorted Lafayette into the city, he sat on a review platform, where the militias of Maryland filed before him, as the military band played “The March of Lafayette,” which is likely this piece. At a ball later that evening, when the General appeared, gas lights “flashed like magic into a blaze almost equal to day . . . the band playing as he entered La Fayette march, a beautiful composition of Mr. Meineke’s.” 59 Composer Christopher Meineke dedicated his “General Lafayette’s Grand March and Quickstep” to “the surviving Officers and Soldiers of the Revolution.” Meineke composed the piece for a full military band and also arranged it for the piano forte, and John Cole published it in Baltimore. Christopher Meineke (1782-1850) was born in Germany and immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1800. He became a naturalized citizen in 1827. Some accounts say he visited Europe in 1817 and met Ludwig von Beethoven, who praised his concerto. He served as organist and choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 1819 until his death. Meineke was a prolific composer, who published piano variations, dances, marches, hymns, and other church music. [MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE], CHRISTOPHER MEINEKE. Printed Sheet Music. “General Lafayette’s Grand March and Quickstep,” Baltimore: John Cole, ca. 1824. 3 pp. #23905.02 $375 59
“The Nation’s Guest,” Nile’s Weekly Register (Baltimore), October 16, 1824, 108.
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John Marshall’s Life of George Washington and Companion Atlas with Hand-colored Maps Chief Justice John Marshall’s magisterial biography of George Washington was originally a fivevolume set. This 1840 publication, revised and issued in two volumes, also includes the 1832 companion atlas of maps relating to the Revolutionary War.
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 ed., 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. With: Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington, Philadelphia: J. Crissy, , 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. #22477 $1,250 (add a better set)
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Additional historically significant items to expand the depth of coverage beyond the core Alexander Hamilton Collection offering. Priced sep...
Published on Feb 8, 2018
Additional historically significant items to expand the depth of coverage beyond the core Alexander Hamilton Collection offering. Priced sep...