The Connecticut Courant, Hartford
Wednesday, December 29, 1802
In a time of relative peace with European nations, the President notes the transfer of a huge territory that would have tremendous implications for the U.S. the following year: “The cession of the Spanish province of Louisiana to France, which took place in the course of the late war, will, if carried into effect, make a change in the aspect of our foreign relations, which will doubtless have just weight in any deliberations of the legislature connected with that subject.” In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase would be consumated in which America would gain the total area of the enormous territory,buying it from Napoleon, literally doubling its size with the stroke of a pen.
In regard to the Native American population in the East, Jefferson states: “In order to remove every ground of difference possible with our Indian neighbors, I have proceeded in the work of settling with them and marking the boundaries between us. That with Choctaw Nation is fixed in one part and will be through the whole within a short time. The country to which their title had been extinguished before the Revolution is sufficient to receive a very respectful population, which Congress will probably see the expediency of encouraging so soon as the limits shall be declared.”
THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION: Two reports from the beleagured island in the midst of the “Negro uprising” against the occupying European troops. The revolt would ultimately be successful under Toussaint Louverture and Henri Christophe.
Four pages, folio, and in very fine condition with original margins (deckled edges). A superb original newspaper with “THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE” beginning smack on page one, rolling over to the 2nd page, and signed, in type, “THOMAS JEFFERSON.” These early State of the Union messages have become next to impossible to locate.
Norwich Packet, Norwich, Conn.
Thursday, January 2, 1800
We are proud to present one of the rarest and most historic newspapers in the entire Mitchell Archives–an issue reporting both the death and funeral of our nation’s first president, George Washington. President John Adams starts it out with a short message transmitting to the Congress the first reports from Mount Vernon written by Tobias Lear. The President writes: “The letter here with transmitted will inform you, that it has pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life, our excellent fellow citizen GEORGE WASHINGTON, by the purity of his character and a long series of services to his country, rendered illustrious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and Grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honor to his memory. JOHN ADAMS.” Lear’s letter then summarizes Washington’s illness, closing with: “Not a groan nor a complaint escaped him (Washington), in extreme distress. With perfect resignation and a full possession of his reason, he closed his well spent life.”
Page three is almost solely devoted to Washington’s passing including the headlines: “American News. GEORGE-TOWN, Dec. 20. FUNERAL OF GENERAL WASHINGTON,” with full details on the procession and ceremonies. Under another column, we read: “GENERAL WASHINGTON’S ILLNESS,” which is an in-depth report by the attending physicians of the circumstances of Washington’s being “attacked by an inflammatory affection of the upper part of the wind-pipe, called in the technical language Cynache Trachealis.” As was one of the “normal” procedures of the day, the doctors used leeches to bleed Washington, but to no effect (except as we now know to weaken him!). You’ll read this report probably a dozen times before you can even begin to put it down, I assure you! Please check out the scans of the various reports.
The issue is the complete 4-page newspaper, printed on heavy and durable rag stock, in very fine condition. There are thick black mourning rules on each page to signify the death of Washington. This date and title is one of but three documented issues! And, I’m sure you know that if this historic paper were a rare coin, stamp, or other type of popular collectible with this miniscule population, we’d be talking six to seven figures in value (I closely monitor the collectibles market). The fact is, we sold a similar title reporting Washington’s death, at a major NYC auction for $22,000 in spirited bidding. The Norwich Packet issue has nowhere to go in value but up, however you may not want to ever part with this gem, and choose to perhaps hand it down in your family instead. First call or email gets it!
S O L D
Niles’ Weekly Register, Baltimore, Maryland
March 20, 1819
Taking up more than eight pages in this historic issue you will find the full text of Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision in McCulloch v. Maryland upholding the constitutionality of a nationally chartered bank that states could not tax. The State of Maryland had imposed a tax on the Bank of the United States branch in that state. When the cashier, James McCulloch refused to pay the tax, Maryland brought suit in the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the tax was unconstitutional, setting the stage for further expansion of federal governmental powers. The front page also discusses the decision and its ramifications.
Other reports include two communications from General Andrew Jackson regarding operations in Florida during the Seminole War–very exciting reading!
Sixteen pages, octavo, very good condition, small cover spot and other light foxing. A great piece for an attorney, judge, or student of law.
February 18, 1815
General Andrew Jackson’s front page follow-up report on the last major battle of the War of 1812, fought after the Peace Treaty (of Ghent) was signed owing to the time it took to bring the news from Europe to America’s East Coast, and thence overland or by ship to New Orleans. The future 7th President says, in part, “His (British) loss on this ground….as stated by all the last prisoners and deserters, and as confirmed by many additional circumstances, must have exceeded four thousand.” Single column headings scream: “Total Failure of the British Expedition against New Orleans. FROM NEW-ORLEANS. Dates to the 20th-the enemy has abandoned his views on New-Orleans, in a disgraceul retreat, by which event his defeat on the 8th is consummated.” There are several key inside page reports as well.
4 pp., complete, and in fine condition, with normal staining and a little fold wear. Superb historical piece suitable for display. This early newspaper was hard to put down!
Federal Republican, Georgetown (DC)
Saturday, September 16,1815
We offer an exceedgingly scarce newspaper printed in Georgetown when it was still a port town, and just fifteen years after Washington, DC became the Nation’s Capital. Slavery was still quite legal and prolific in the Washington area, and this amazing issue contains no fewer than seven advertisements for runaway negro slaves from Maryland, Virginia and Georgetown (see scans). One was placed by Elizabeth Ann Bowie (of the famous Bowie Family in Maryland) for a man names Isaac who had broken out of the Prince Georges County Jail. Another ad offers “A FAMILY OF NEGROES” for sale in Frederick (Maryland) County, with the hope that the family will not be broken up and separated as in so many thousands of cases.
News includes a long article on Louis XVIII who came to power when Napoleon was defeated by Lord Wellington at Waterloo earlier in the year. The other news items and stories are quite fascinating, too.
But, the advertisements and notices for D.C. and Georgetown homes, plantations and other real estate coupled with numerous other notices for the sale of goods, Steamboat sailingsand even a “Camp Meeting” at Paint Branch in Montgomery County (MD), really bring the early days in Washington, DC and Georgetown to life! What an experience to devour this wonderful relic of history!
4 pages, complete as published in 1815, and in fine condition.
National Intelligencer, Washington, DC
Saturday, September 5, 1812
See scans for incredible eyewitness action told by an officer on board the frigate Constitution during the famous U.S. Naval victory in the War of 1812. The lead-in reads: “Brilliant Naval Victory! The United States frigate Constitution, Captain Hull, anchored yesterday in the outer harbor, from a short cruize, during which she fell in with the English frigate Guerrier, which she captured, after a short but severe action. The damage sustained by the fire of the Constitution was so great, that it was found impossible to tow her into port, and accordingly the crew were taken out, and the ship sunk. The brilliancy of this action….will still excite the liveliest emotions in every American bosom.”
SURRENDER OF DETROIT TO THE BRITISH. The disastrous capitulation of Detroit to the British is confirmed. The American Army surrendered to an inferior force without even a fight, evoking severe criticism in this and other newspapers (see scan).
4 pp., complete, and in fine condition. There are a few inside page archival tape repairs, but the paper itself is really nice. A major historic issue for the collector of U.S. Naval history (like myself)! Price is very reasonable, too!
The Universal Gazette, Washington, DC
Thursday, July 30, 1807
The inventor of the historic steamboat “Clermont” tests his latest creation in New York by placing explosives in the hull of a ship. The resulting explosions sank the 200-ton brig in just 20 seconds! The report is accompanied by Fulton’s letter to the Governor, Mayor, and corporation members of New York, in which he says his invention “will in a few years put a stop to maritime wars.” Fulton argues, “You have now seen the effect of the explosion of powder under the bottom of a vessel….for a right application of one torpedo will annihilate a ship of the line, nor leave a man to relate the dreadful catastrophe.” As a retired Naval officer myself, Fulton’s experiment represents an absolutely fascinating look into the future of naval warfare!
Latest bulletins from Napoleon’s army tell of an attempt to raise the siege of Dantsick by Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia. The French forces under Marshal Lefebvre, however, routed the enemy chasing them back to a fort. “The field of battle was covered with dead bodies. Our loss amounts to 25 killed and 200 wounded; that of the enemy is 180 killed, 1500 wounded; and 20 prisoners.” Action reports like these from Napoleon’s Army were one of the reasons I became so excited about original historic newspapers–the books I was reading just couldn’t match the “on the spot” battle reports such as this long one. It’ll keep you up nights!
4 pp., complete as published, and in fine condition on nice quality rag paper. This is a superb early Washington newspaper.
Gazette of the United States, Philadelphia
November 21, 22 & 23, 1803 (three newspapers)
Here is a set of three consecutive issues containing a very thorough and lengthy account of the immense amount of land recently purchased by the United States from France for just over $15, 000,000 – a deal that virtually doubled the size of the United States. Just a few of the portions include, “BOUNDARIES, New Orleans, The inhabitants and their origin, “Fortifications, Indians, Of lands and titles, The Church,” descriptions of the Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri Rivers, and much more. As Lewis and Clark had yet to explore the huge territory, knowledge of much of Louisiana was very limited indeed. I found one of the most interesting parts to be the early hurricanes that had struck the Louisiana Coast and New Orleans, eerily precursors to Hurricane Katrina! Column after column, page after page on some of the new U.S. lands makes for incredible reading. (I’ve put down a few books to read these three antique newspapers!)
Each issue four pages and in remarkably fine condition. The newspapers also contain a number of notices for “Runaway Slaves.”
Also, the citizens of the Indiana Territory petition Congress (via Governor William Henry Harrison) to “extinguish” the Indian lands in order to provide more territory for white settlement!! Full front page printing of the “LETTER FROM WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.”
National Intelligencer, Washington, DC
Monday, February 21, 1803
President Jefferson lays out the new building code for the District of Columbia proclaiming that all new houses should be built of brick or stone, and “….that the wall of no house shall be higher than 40 feet to the roof in any part of the City, nor shall any be lower than 35 feet on any of the Avenues.” Present day D.C. has changed little from this original code–there are no tall buildings in the city other than the Washington Monument. The President’s Proclamation appears on page one of the National Intelligencer, Washington’s premier newspaper.
4 pp., very fine condition. The early Washington advertisements and sales of houses alone give a real “feel” to life in the Nation’s Capital when it was but three years old!
Columbian Centinel, Boston
Wedesday, August 22, 1798
The Act establishing and organizing the Marine Corps takes up the entire first column on page one and is signed, in script type, “John Adams, President of the United States.” The officers and men chosen will be subject to the rules and regulations of the United States Navy. There are other front page Federal acts including: “An Act to augment the Army of the United States; and for other purposes.” The act sets the composition of an army regiment, and is really fascinating to read.
Also, inside page news that Admiral Horatio Nelson had chased Napoleon and his French fleet through the Mediterranean and had them bottled up in Corsica!
Four pages, fine condition overall. The first such issue we’ve handled. I would read the paper through and through and then have it professionally framed.