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  • “Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends": First Edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

    DARWIN, Charles.

    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

    London: John Murray, 1859.

    First edition of “certainly the most important biological book ever written” (Freeman), one of 1250 copies. Octavo, bound in original cloth, half-title, one folding lithographed diagram, without advertisements. In fine condition with a touch of shelfwear. Housed in a custom clamshell box. An exceptional example of this landmark work, one of the nicest extant.

    Price: $400,000.00     Item Number: 116380

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  • "To Dr Karl Popper a fellow struggler for freedom": Rare First English Edition of The Road To Serfdom; Inscribed by F.A. Hayek to Karl Popper

    HAYEK, Friedrich August von [F.A.] [Karl Popper].

    The Road To Serfdom.

    London: Routledge & Sons, 1944.

    First edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism ever published. Octavo, original black cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Dr Karl Popper a fellow struggler for freedom with friendly greetings from F.H. Hayek.” Also included is a letter signed by Karl Popper to his assistant Melitta Mew, presenting her with this book as a birthday gift (“…It is the copy he sent me to New Zealand on publication of the book, with a beautiful dedication. And thank you for everything you are doing for my work (and me)… Karl”), on his stationery of 136 Welcomes Road, Kenley, Surrey, and dated 23 January 1994. While this book was very special to Popper, he had been diagnosed with cancer and passed away from complications in September. Ms. Mew helped to put together Popper’s lectures and essays in a book, which was published in 1996: “In search of a better world : lectures and essays from thirty years.”

    Easily the best association copy in existence, as the lives of both of these great economists – Fredrich von Hayek (1899-1992) and Karl Popper (1902-1994) greatly impacted the other and their lives were intertwined. They both experienced the destruction of their Bourgeois Viennese families’ savings by hyperinflation due to the fragility of the liberal society. While both men studied at the University of Vienna, they first met in London in 1935. Hayek was at that time employed at the London School of Economics and Popper was in the city on a visiting lectureship. While Popper accepted a position in New Zealand, where he was to remain until after World War II, he would also later assume a chair at the LSE, due to Hayek’s influence there.

    Near fine in a good dust jacket. The British edition (which this example is) was published in March of 1944, preceding its American counterpart, which was published later that same year in September. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $400,000.00     Item Number: 123960

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  • "The greatest and finest atlas ever published": Willem and Joan Blaeu's magnificent Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, or, Le Theatre du Monde

    BLAEU, Willem and Joan.

    Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. [Le Theatre du Monde].

    Amsterdam: Chez Jean Blaeu/Apud Guiljelmum et Johannem Blaeu, 1643-1645.

    One of the “greatest and finest atlas ever published” (Koeman). Folio, 4 volumes, original full vellum with gilt tooling to the spine in eight compartments within gilt bands, central gilt arabesques and fleuron corner pieces within double gilt ruling to the front and rear panels, all edges gilt. Gilt presentation inscription to the front panel of vol. I dated July 3, 1646 dedicating the set to Omer Talon, avocat-général to the French Parliament with the compliments of François du Monstier, rector of the University of Paris. Illustrated with 335 magnificent hand-colored engraved maps of the world and four continents including, in particular, sixty devoted to Great Britain (Volume IV), the map of the environs of Frankfurt (Volume I), a fine map of China and Japan (Volume III), and a series of thirteen maps of America (Volume III) that includes early and important maps of New England and the Chesapeake Bay. The set is comprised of: Volume I: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Sive Atlas Novus; in Quo Tabulae et Descriptiones omnium Regionum, Editae a Guiljel: et Joanne Blaeu. [Amsterdami: Apud Guiljelmum et Johannem Blaeu, 1643]. Folio, 120 engraved maps in two parts. Part I: World map, plus 83 maps of Germany, Scandinavia, the Arctic and eastern Europe, several oversized and folding. Part II: 36 maps of the Lowlands. Volume II: Le Theatre Du Monde, ou Novvel Altas, Mis en lumiere par Guillaume & Jean Blaeu. Second Partie [A Amsterdam: Chez Jean Blaeu, 1643-1644]. Folio, contains 92 engraved maps in two parts (one folding): Part I: 48 maps of France; Part II: 14 maps of Spain and Portugal, 12 maps of Asia, 5 maps of Africa, 13 maps of America, including the appendix of the British Isles, map number 15 entitled “Le Duche de Mantove” on recto of leaf and “Mantua Ducatus” on map, without leaf 22 as listed in Van der Krogt. Volume III: Le Theatre Du Monde, ou Novvel Atlas, Mis en lumiere par Guillaume & Jean Blaeu. Troiseme Partie [A Amsterdam: Chez Jean Blaeu, 1643]. Folio, contains 66 engraved maps: 58 maps of Italy and 4 maps of Greece, with maps 2 and 3 supplied from another copy. Volume IV: Le Theatre Du Monde, ou Novvel Altas, Mis en lumiere par Guillaume & Jean Blaeu. Quatriesme Partie. [Amsterdami: Apud Johannem Blaeu, 1645]. Folio, contains 57 engraved maps detailing the British Isles with the maps “Britannia prout divisa” and “Anglia Regnum” supplied. Lacking the map of Wales. [Van der Krogt 2:212.1F, 2:212.2F, 2:212.3F,  and 2:211.3C; Koeman BL 42A]. In near fine condition. Exceptionally clean internally with some maps numbered in a contemporary hand. Armorial bookplates. Exceptionally rare and desirable. Containing some of the most beautiful maps ever produced during the golden age of cartography.

    Price: $350,000.00     Item Number: 126307

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  • "Who is the most important person I've ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling": First Edition, First Printing of J.K. Rowling's Rare First Book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; Inscribed by Her to Bryony Evens

    ROWLING, J.K.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    London: Bloomsbury, 1997.

    First edition, first printing of the rarest book in the Harry Potter series with ‘Joanne Rowling’ for ‘J.K. Rowling’ and Thomas Taylor1997 on the copyright page and “1 wand” listed twice (as the first item and last item) on the ‘Other Equipment’ list on page 53. Octavo, original laminated pictorial boards, without a dust jacket as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page,  “to Bryony – who is the most important person I’ve ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling.” The recipient, Bryony Evens was one of the first people to read the opening chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, the first to recognize the work’s inherent value, and absolutely the most instrumental figure in getting the book published. Working at the time at Christopher Little Literary Agency in Scotland, Evens was the first point of contact in receiving and sorting unsolicited manuscripts. Evens read Rowling’s submission of the first three chapters of the book and passed it along to Little, who approved that she obtain the full manuscript and promote it to suitable publishers. Given a small budget, Evens was only able to print three manuscripts to pitch to publishing houses and, after twelve months and twelve rejections, was finally given the green light by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury in London. Bloomsbury published the book on June 26, 1997. A year later, Bryony attended a Rowling book signing event where Rowling warmly inscribed the present volume. In near fine condition with a touch of rubbing to the extremities. Only 500 copies of the first printing were published, with over half making being sent directly to libraries. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association and effusive inscription to the person who first recognized the value of Harry Potter.

    Price: $350,000.00     Item Number: 115640

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  • FIRST EDITION OF ANDREAS VESALIUS'S MAGNUM OPUS, THE MOST MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND "ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SCIENTIFIC BOOKS EVER PRINTED": DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA LIBRI SEPTUM; ON THE FABRIC OF THE HUMAN BODY IN SEVEN BOOKS

    VESALIUS, Andreas.

    De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem [On the Fabric of the Human Body in Seven Books].

    Basel: Ex Officina Joannis Oporini, 1543.

    First edition of the most important and influential book in the study of human anatomy and “one of the most beautiful scientific books ever printed”(Grolier). Folio, bound in full 18th century calf, woodcut title page with Vesalius performing a dissection, woodcut portrait of the author, over 200 woodcut anatomical illustrations, including 21 full page and 2 folding-sheet figural woodcuts of the skeletal, muscular, vascular and nervous systems. In very good condition with some light dampstaining to some page edges. Rare and desirable, especially in contemporary calf. A splendid example of Vesalius’ masterpiece, one of the most monumental achievements in the history of  both medical education and printing.

    Price: $300,000.00     Item Number: 30020

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  • "THE MOST FAMOUS AND INFLUENTIAL AMERICAN POLITICAL WORK”: VERY RARE AND IMPORTANT FIRST EDITION OF THE FEDERALIST

    HAMILTON, Alexander; James Madison; John Jay.

    The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, Agreed Upon By the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787.

    New York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. McLean, 1788.

    First edition of The Federalist, one of the rarest and most significant books in American political history, which “exerted a powerful influence in procuring the adoption of the Federal Constitution.” 12 mo, two volumes bound in one, bound in full contemporary calf, rebacked preserving most of original gilt-ruled spine with red morocco label. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example of this landmark book.

    Price: $275,000.00     Item Number: 125980

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  • "To Jack L. Warner - Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture - with my profound gratitude": First Edition of the Ayn Rand's Magnum Opus The Fountainhead; Inscribed by Her to Jack Warner

    RAND, Ayn.

    The Fountainhead.

    Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943.

    First edition, first issue with first edition stated on the copyright page of the author’s first major novel, as well as her first best-seller. Octavo, original red cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Jack L. Warner – Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture – with my profound gratitude – Ayn Rand. January 7, 1949.” The recipient, Jack Warner, was the co-founder, president, and driving force behind the Warner Bros. Studios. His career spanned some 45 years, its duration surpassing that of any other of the seminal Hollywood studio moguls. Rand sold the film rights to Warner several years earlier with the contractual proviso that she would provide the screenplay, which would be unalterable. In fact, the director wanted changes, but Warner supported the author and honored the contract. This book’s inscription, clearly referring to this, was presented about a half year prior to the film’s release. Of Rand’s fiction, The Fountainhead is generally conceded to be her most important and enduring work, a passionate portrait of uncompromising individualism. In the decades since its debut, the film has gained the critical acceptance, even the acclaim, that initially evaded it. Near fine in a near fine first-issue dust jacket with a touch of rubbing and no fading to the spine, which is endemic to this title. One of the finest association copies possible, linking the famed author with the legendary founder of Warner Brothers and producer of the iconic film.

    Price: $250,000.00     Item Number: 125425

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  • First Edition, First Printing of J.K. Rowling's Rare First Book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    ROWLING, J.K.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    London: Bloomsbury, 1997.

    First edition, first printing with all the prerequisite first issue points called for (including “wand” listed twice on page 53). Octavo, original illustrated boards, without a dust jacket as issued. In fine condition. Only 500 copies of the first printing were published, with over half making their way to libraries. An exceptional example, easily one of the nice examples extant.

    Price: $225,000.00     Item Number: 124950

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  • “The constancy of the laws of nature, or the certainty with which we may expect the same effects from the same causes, is the foundation of the faculty of reason”: Rare First Edition of Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population; With An autograph Note from Him

    MALTHUS, Thomas Robert.

    An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society.

    London: J. Johnson, 1798.

    First edition of this cornerstone text of modern economics. Octavo, bound in three quarters calf. Laid in is a clipping from an original manuscript signed by Malthus and entirely in his hand which reads in part, “If at one time such a given product would make an effectual demand for certain commodities the conditions of the supply of which are supposed to remain the same, it would immediately cease to make such effectual.” Signed by Malthus in the lower right corner, “Malthus.” The verso features two further partial lines of text relating to supply and demand. In near fine condition. First editions of Malthus’ magnum opus are exceptionally scarce.

    Price: $200,000.00     Item Number: 116955

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  • Exceptionally rare autograph letter signed by George Washington to revolutionary war ally Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau

    WASHINGTON, George. [Alexander Hamilton; Rochambeau].

    George Washington Autograph Letter Signed.

    April 10, 1781.

    Exceptionally rare autograph letter signed by George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army to French ally Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, whose military assistance in the Siege of Yorktown essentially ended the Revolutionary War. The body of the letter is entirely in the hand of Alexander Hamilton and dated 10 April 1781. In the spring of 1781, officials from Massachusetts approached Rochambeau with a proposal to attack the British post at the mouth of the Penobscot river which had been established in June 1779 to secure timber for shipyards in Halifax and to protect Nova Scotia from any American advance. On April 6, Rochambeau informed Washington that he was willing to send a detachment of troops and that Admiral Destouches would offer naval assistance, but observing that he was under Washington’s command, he would await his approval before approving the action (Rochambeau to Washington, 6 April 1781, Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress). Washington here responds offering his gratitude that Destouches, who had only recently lost a naval engagement with the British in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve Lafayette in Virginia, would be willing “to undertake the expedition to Penobscot and to you for your readiness to furnish a detachment of troops for the same purpose. The object is certainly worth attention and if it can be effected will be very agreeable to the States, particularly to those of the East.” He trusts that Destouches “can best judge from the situation of the enemy’s fleet how far it may be attempted with prudence, and Your Excellency from the information you have recently received what number of troops will be sufficient for the enterprise—I am persuaded it will be calculated how far it is probable the enemy may follow with a part of their fleet—whether the post can be carried by a coup de main, or may require so much time as to make it likely the operation will be interrupted before its conclusion—in case of a superior squadron being sent by the enemy what possibility there is of protection or a safe retreat for the ships and even for the land force (through an unsettled country in which numbers perished for want of provision in a former attempt)—All these are points too important not to have been well weighed, and your conversations with the Massachusetts deputies will have been able to enlighten you upon them.” Here, he is referencing the unsuccessful attempt by Massachusetts in 1779 to destroy the post, abandoned when British ships with reinforcements forced an arduous overland retreat by the Americans. Despite his assurances that Rochambeau and Destouches had matters well in hand, Washington took the “liberty to remark [on] two things—one that it appears to me frigates without any ships of the line will answer the purpose as well as with them and less will be risked than by dividing the body of the fleet. Frigates (especially the forty fours) will afford a safe escort to the troops against any thing now in those Seas, and with respect to a detachment from the enemy’s fleet, it would be always proportioned to the force we should send and if we have two sixty fours, they would even be an object for their whole fleet. The other observation I would make is, that dispatch being essential to success, it will in my opinion be adviseable not to depend on any cooperation of the Militia, but to send at once such a force from your army as you deem completely adequate to a speedy reduction of the post. The country in the neighbourhood of Penobscot is too thinly inhabited to afford any resource of Militia there, and to assemble and convey them from remote places would announce your design—retard your operations, and give leisure to the enemy to counteract you. Indeed I would recommend for the sake of secrecy to conceal your determination from the State itself.” On 15 April Rochambeau replied to Washington observing that while he had sufficient troops to spare, “your Excellency’s observations upon the Separation of our fleet, and upon the danger to be interrupted by superior forces, during the course of the Expedition, which Mr Destouches does not Look on as possible to be undertaken with his frigates only, are the motives which cause this project to be Laid aside for the present moment.” (Rochambeau to Washington, 15 April 1781, Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress). Soon Washington and Rochambeau‘s attention returned again to Virginia, and within months their combined forces would be closing in on Yorktown. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare and desirable, being the only communication between the storied commanders of the Yorktown campaign to appear at auction in more than a century.

    Price: $175,000.00     Item Number: 125872

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  • "Sail on O Ship of State! Sail on, o union, strong and great!" One of the two broadsides specially printed and carried by Churchill to the Atlantic Conference signed by both him and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    ROOSEVELT, Franklin Delano; Winston S. Churchill. [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow].

    Sail On, O Ship of State! The Longfellow Verse in Mr. Roosevelt’s Message to Mr. Churchill.

    Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd., [1941].

    Rare lithographic broadside signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the thirty-second President of the United States and Winston S. Churchill as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom at the Atlantic Conference; one of only two known examples of this broadside specially printed at Churchill’s direction and signed by both world leaders at their first wartime conference. One page, the lithograph features the famed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow verse first used by FDR in a letter of support to Churchill before the United States entered the war and a galleon at sea. The letter, sent the day before Roosevelt’s third inauguration on January 20, 1941 read in full, “Dear Churchill, Wendell Wilkie will give you this. He is truly helping to keep politics out over here. I think this verse applies to you people as it does to us: “Sail on, Oh Ship of State! Sail on, Oh Union strong and great. Humanity with all its fears, With all the hope of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate.” As ever yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.” “Roosevelt never made a more graceful or effective gesture than that” (R. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, 234). The letter and the verse were hand-carried by Wendell Wilkie to London and given by Hopkins to the Prime Minister. Churchill, desperate for American support, found the letter “an inspiration”, had it framed, and proudly displayed it at Chartwell for many years. In early August of 1941, Churchill had this decorative broadside printed, and when he arrived in Newfoundland for the conference with the President, he brought two copies to be signed “one for himself and one for the President” (Warren F. Kimball, Forged In War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War, 98). Signed by Roosevelt, “Franklin D. Roosevelt” and Churchill, “Winton S. Churchill.” Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 22 inches by 20.5 inches. The last known example achieved $96,000 in a 2008 auction. Scarce and desirable.

    Price: $150,000.00     Item Number: 125419

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  • Rare Isaac Newton Manuscript highlighting his controversial theological views, which were kept hidden for hundreds of years

    NEWTON, Isaac.

    Isaac Newton Original Manuscript.

    Rare full page folio autograph manuscript entirely in the hand of Isaac Newton, father of physics and modern science and author of important texts such as the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Opticks, and many more. One folio page with Newton’s handwriting and emendations on both the recto and verso. While Newton is mostly known for his scientific and mathematical pursuits and is considered to be one of the most influential scientists of all time, his controversial theological views, which were kept hidden for centuries, were as brilliant as his science and an extension of his search for truth. Many believe theology was actually his first love, as he wrote more about religion than he did about science. Of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, he stated, “When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beliefe of a Deity and nothing can rejoyce me more than to find it useful for that purpose.” He wrote in the Principa, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. . . . This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all. . . . The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.” While he believed in a supreme God, early in his career at Trinity College, his theological research of original texts led him to believe that authentic Christianity had been corrupted by the early church fathers and that the brand of religion that was now accepted as orthodox by the Roman Catholic Church, and to some extent by the Church of England, was not completely true. He discovered that the final phrases of 1 John 5:7  ‘and these three are one’ was not present in any Greek version that he studied and came to the conclusion that it was a deliberate addition to the text to provide justification for the doctrine of the Trinity. He concluded that the orthodox notion of the Trinity was a fictional story that was invented in the early fourth century. This document is very important, as its contents deal with these controversial issues. Written in English and some Latin, he writes concerning an Epistle of Emperor Constantine regarding the Arian debate and the Council of Nicea, which laid out the famous doctrinal statement, the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed was adopted to resolve the Arian controversy. The Arian leader, Arius, a clergyman of Alexandria, “objected to Alexander’s (the bishop of the time) apparent carelessness in blurring the distinction of nature between the Father and the Son by his emphasis on eternal generation.” In reply, Alexander accused Arius of denying the divinity of the Son and also of being too “Jewish” and “Greek” in his thought. Alexander and his supporters created the Nicene Creed to clarify the key tenets of the Christian faith in response to the widespread adoption of Arius’ doctrine, which was henceforth marked as heresy. Because of these views, Newton’s theological writings, were marked “Not fit to be printed.” They were placed in storage and were not made available to the public until the economist John Maynard Keynes and Jewish scholar and businessman, Abraham Yahuda, acquired many of them in 1936. There are very few of these original writings left in private hands, as the majority of the manuscripts are in the permanent collections of the Cambridge University Library, Kings College Library (a gift of John Maynard Keynes), Jewish National and University Library (now National Library of Israel), the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, the Foundation Martin Bodmer in Geneva, and the Grace K. Babson collection now housed in the Huntington Library in California. Matted and framed with both the recto and verso visible. The manuscript measures 11.75 inches by 7.5 inches. The entire piece measures 23.5 inches by 19.5 inches. A scarce piece of history; essential to the collector interested in both Newton’s scientific and theological endeavors.

    Price: $150,000.00     Item Number: 119750

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  • First edition of Alhazen's fundamental Book of Optics

    ALHAZEN (HASAN IBN AL-HAYTHAM),.

    Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni Arabis. [Alhazen’s Book of Optics].

    Basel: Eusebius Episcopius , 1572.

    First edition of Alhazen’s fundamental work on optics and vision, which influenced Galileo and Kepler and paved the way for the modern science of physical optics. Folio, bound in full contemporary Basel vellum with central arabesques blind-stamped to the front and rear panels, titles stamped in black and five raised bands to the spine, woodcut printer’s device to the title page, woodcut initials, diagrams and full page illustration to the verso of the title page. Translated from Arabic into Latin by Gerard of Cremona. In very good condition. From the library of American physician Chester Tilton Stone with his bookplate to the pastedown. A superior example of this significant work, rare and desirable in contemporary vellum.

    Price: $142,000.00     Item Number: 90395

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  • "The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable": Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty

    ADAMS, John.

    John Adams Autograph Letter Signed.

    1809.

    Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by and entirely in the hand of Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty and its precedence over international alliances. Sixteen pages, entirely in the hand of John Adams and written on both the recto and verso of each page, the letter is dated January 9, 1809 and addressed to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph Bradley Varnum. Although France and America shared a strong alliance which proved crucial to winning the Revolutionary War, at the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, Washington’s fear that American involvement would weaken the new nation before it had firmly established itself created tensions and a new war between England and France broke out in 1793. The British Navy soon began targeting French vessels and trading interests across the Atlantic, and although many Federalists thought that America should aid its ally, Washington proclaimed that the United States would be “friendly and impartial toward the belligerent parties.” The Neutrality Proclamation was ignored by Britain and angered France, which then allowed its navy and privateers to prey on American trade. To protect American sailors and merchants without provoking Britain, in March 1794, Congress passed a 30-day embargo, which it then extended. Britain, the strongest sea power, began to seize American ships suspected of trading with France, and stepped up its practice of impressment. From 1806-1807, the British navy, in desperate need of men to oppose Napoleon, forced roughly 5,000 American sailors into service on the pretense that they were deserters. In 1807, King George III proclaimed his right to call any British subjects into war service and claimed that Britain had full discretion to determine who was a British citizen. The crisis reached one peak for America in June of 1807 when the HMS Leopard attacked the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia. Three American sailors were killed, eighteen were wounded, and the Chesapeake surrendered after firing only one shot. The Leopard seized four American seaman, claimed as deserters from the British navy, and hanged one of them. Jefferson and Madison, his Secretary of State, responded with the Embargo of 1807, a ban on all American vessels sailing for foreign ports. Meanwhile, Russia allied with Napoleon and pressed Denmark to turn over her fleet. In September 1807, Britain preemptively bombarded Copenhagen and seized the Danish-Norwegian fleet. While Jefferson’s Republicans still generally favored France, a schism grew in the Federalist party. Men like Timothy Pickering downplayed impressments while focusing on trade and access to British manufacturing. On October 16, 1807, King George III aggravated already high tensions with American following the British attack of the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia by issuing a Royal Proclamation expanding the British right to impressment (the King’s right to call any British subjects into war service and determine their citizenship). News of the King’s Proclamation arrived in the United States in December 1807 and, lacking military options, President Jefferson proposed an embargo to ban all U.S. exports on American vessels in order to protect American sailors’ lives and liberties, despite its potential to cripple American trade. The Embargo Act was signed on December 22, 1807, causing immediate economic devastation. In protesting the Embargo, rather than wrestling with the difficulty of defending American sovereignty, some opponents chose to declare the legality of impressments as defined by King George’s Royal Proclamation. John Adams’ former Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering, took a leading role in fighting the embargo, arguing that Jefferson was using it to draw America closer to Napoleon’s France. Given the devastating economic effects of the embargo, Pickering’s message found a wide audience. Adams, on the other hand, recognized the dire threat the King’s Proclamation posed in denying America the right to determine its own rules for citizenship and in December, took his arguments to Speaker of the House Joseph Varnum. As he stated in the present letter, “He [Pickering] thinks that as every Nation has a Right to the Service of its Subjects, in time of War, the Proclamation of the King of Great Britain, commanding his Naval Officers to practice Such Impressments, on board, not the Vessells of his own Subjects, but of the United States, a foreign Nation could not furnish the Slightest ground for an Embargo! … But I Say with Confidence that it furnished a Sufficient ground for a Declaration of War. Not the Murder of Pierce nor all the Murders on board the Chesapeake, nor all the other Injuries and Insults We have received from foreign Nations, atrocious as they have been, can be of such dangerous, lasting, and pernicious Consequence to this Country, as this Proclamation, if We have Servility enough to Submit to it.” Adams suggested repealing and replacing the Embargo Act with one that allowed international trade with all but the belligerents, while building up the navy. Varnum asked to publish it. Before assenting, Adams completely reworked his argument, mustering all the reason and rhetoric at his disposal into a stirring defense of sovereignty and citizenship, resulting in the present letter. On March 1, 1809, Congress repealed the Embargo Act, following Adams’ suggestion to replace it with the Non-Intercourse Act which allowed trade with all nations except Britain and France. In fine condition. A remarkable piece of early American history illustrating the second President of the United States’ impassioned devotion to the pursuit of American liberty. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 121560

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  • "The most recognizable portrait of Lincoln": Rare original Anthony Berger carte-de-visite signed by Abraham Lincoln as President

    LINCOLN, Abraham.

    Abraham Lincoln Signed Carte-de-Visite.

    Rare original Anthony Berger carte-de-visite signed by Abraham Lincoln as President; the most recognizable portrait of Lincoln which was later used as the model for the Lincoln cent. Original mounted albumen photograph double ruled in gilt with “Brady’s National Photographic Portrait Galleries” stamp to the verso. Boldly signed by Abraham Lincoln, “A Lincoln.” With an additional inscription on the verso which reads, “Contributed for the benefit of the S.A.S. of Westford Mass. at their Levee Dec. 14th, 1864 by Mr. Lincoln.” Through the use of many paid assistants, renowned 19th century portraitist Mathew B. Brady produced thousands of photographs documenting the American Civil War, including portraits of Lincoln, Grant and both Union and Confederate soldiers in camps and battlefields. The body of work created by Brady’s photographers (including Anthony Berger, Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan) has become the most important visual documentation of the Civil War. Taken on February 9, 1864 by the manager of Brady’s Washington studio, Anthony Berger, this, the most recognizable portrait of the 16th president of the United States, was later used by Victor David Brenner to create the Lincoln cent. During this same sitting, Berger also took the photograph of Lincoln that would later appear on the five dollar bill. The present example was signed by Lincoln to help the Sanitary Association of Westford, Massachusetts raise funds for Unions soldiers toward the end Civil War. An example at Heritage Auction brought 175,000 in 2006. In near fine condition. An exceptional piece.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 124196

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