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Columbian Centinel Newspaper, Feb. 25, 1826
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Columbian Centinel Newspaper, Feb. 25, 1826

Benjamin Russell, Boston, 1826; Folio (15 1/2" x 21 1/2"), 4 pages. Benjamin Russell’s Columbian Centinel for Saturday Morning, Feb. 25, 1826, with much official news of the proceedings of both the Congress of The United States and of the Boston legislature, plus national and local news, together with numerous classified and box advertisements. Included among the stories are a report on a proposed Constitutional Amendment to change the way the President and Vice President of the United States are elected, with a lengthy dissent by Congressman Henry R. Storrs of New York; a Proclamation by Massachusetts governor Levi Lincoln for a "Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer," to take place throughout the Commonwealth on Thursday, April 6, requesting cooperation from the clergy and faithful of all religious faiths; a lengthy story on the proposal for a Cape Cod Canal between Massachusetts and Buzzard’s bays; an article on the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the destruction of Lancaster by the Indians; a substantial account of a bill in the Massachusetts legislature relating to usury; a report on the Boston celebration of the birthday of George Washington; and a notice of the death of General James Wilkinson in Mexico on Dec. 28, two months previous. Wilkinson, a distinguished Revolutionary War hero, was a complicated figure who, due to his involvement in a number of political scandals, was reviled by many. Many years later, President Theodore Roosevelt was reported to have said of him, "In all our history, there is no more despicable character." Distinguished publisher Benjamin Russell was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and has the interesting distinction of having been part of the military guard that escorted traitor John Andre, cohort of Benedict Arnold, to his place of hanging. In 1785, Russell became sole publisher of The Columbian Centinel, an unabashedly Federalist newspaper. He served Boston as an alderman, and in 1820 was a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention. Very Good, clean, paper supple, not brittle. Partial separation of the spine fold, tiny chip (3/8") along the spine crease about 5" up from the bottom left hand corner, quill pen signature in blank margin at top left. Housed in a special custom-made protective folder which, together with the newspaper, are from the library of James S. Copley (1916-1973), pre-eminent collector of Americana, and owner and C.E.O. of Copley News Service.

$110.00

National Intelligencer Newspaper, May 19, 1809 (John Adams)
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National Intelligencer Newspaper, May 19, 1809 (John Adams)

By John Adams

Samuel Harrison Smith, Washington, DC, 1809; Folio (12 1/2 " x 19"), two pages (single leaf printed front and back). Samuel Harrison Smith’s National Intelligencer newspaper for Friday, May 19, 1809, with a lengthy front page letter over three full columns in length by John Adams addressed to the publishers of the Boston Patriot News in apparent response to an unjust criticism. In the article Adams recounts in minute detail his reasoning and actions in the 1799 diplomatic mission to France undertaken by his team of representatives, which eventually resulted in the Convention of 1800, or "Treaty Of Mortefontaine," ending America’s Quasi-War with France, initiated in 1796 by an order from Talleyrand allowing for the seizure of American merchant ships. In the letter Adams reveals that his original choices for the diplomatic team were Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, Patrick Henry, and Williams Vans Murray, Minister to the Netherlands at the time. Justice Ellsworth’s and Patrick Henry’s nominations were approved by Congress, however Henry declined on account of age, and Governor William R. Davie of North Carolina was appointed in his place. Vans Murray was rejected by the Senate. Chagrined by what appears to be a political double-cross by his own cabinet, Adams relates how, in spite of having met at length with him and having agreed upon every article to be demanded in the proposed treaty by the diplomatic envoy, the drawing up of the documentation was delayed many days while Adams waited impatiently for their arrival for his signature at Quincy, where he had been forced to flee because of the Yellow Fever in Washington. The Cabinet had fled to Trenton. Adams says he was shocked to finally receive a letter signed by all five department heads earnestly entreating him to postpone the mission, and he set out for Trenton to meet them head on. He was, however, taken seriously ill and detained in Hartford for six weeks. Arriving at last, he found, incredulously, that the Cabinet, trusting in public rumor, believed that Napoleon was soon to be deposed and the monarchy returned to the French throne, and it was thus their opinion that the mission was no longer needed. Adams recounts his point-by-point refutation of their position, but his inability to dissuade them. Devastating for Adams, his own nominee, Justice Ellsworth, joined with the Cabinet. Here Adams was more successful, for after prolonged discussion, he was finally able to return Ellsworth to his camp. Adams seems to have felt the hand of Alexander Hamilton in all this. Hamilton too was in Trenton and visited Adams to remonstrate against the mission, and to remind him of the popularity with the American people of William Pitt’s determination to restore the monarchy to France. Adams derisively describes Hamilton’s excitableness and naivete, remarking on the "total ignorance he (Hamilton) had betrayed of everything in Europe, in France, England, and elsewhere." Adams was eventually proved right, and the diplomatic envoy departed for France, successfully resulting in the treaty of 1800. He was apparently still smarting from the 1799 rejection of his nomination of Williams Vans Murray, as he ends the letter stating that had Vans Murray been approved, "he would probably have finished the business long before, and obtained compensation for all spoliations." Of additional interest is a lengthy 2 1/2 column report on page two of the recent May 12th grand meeting of the Tammany Society Of Washington, with a verbatim account of the Long Talk given by Sachem Bernard Smith. Also of note is an advertisement, by a Thomas Richards of Orange County, Virginia, offering a reward of twenty dollars for the return of a 23 year old Negro man by the name of Osmond who was known to have a wife at Harper’s Ferry and was suspected of hiding in that vicinity, but was also reported to have been spotted in Georgetown posing as a freeman. Very Good condition, tanned ghost upper right (front only), old quill pen signature in blank margin at upper right, folded twice, no seam splits, no holes, no tears, paper supple, not brittle. There is a small chip of a portion of the blank margin at the upper left corner, unaffecting text on either side. Although not marked, this paper is from the library of James S. Copley (1917-1973), pre-eminent collector of Americana, and owner and C.E.O. of Copley News Service.

$450.00

Boston Morning Journal Newspaper, October 26, 1861 (Civil War)
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Boston Morning Journal Newspaper, October 26, 1861 (Civil War)

Charles O. Rogers, Boston, 1861; 20 1/2" x 26 1/2", 4 pages. The Boston Morning Journal for Saturday, October 26, 1861, with much news from the Civil War, begun just six months previous. Notable contents include a proclamation from Abraham Lincoln authorizing Gen. B.F. Butler to raise six regiments of volunteers for the War from the New England states, each soldier to be paid $13 a month and a $100 bounty at the end of the war; a recruiting ad from Brigadier General Wm. W. Bullock of the M.V.M. requesting enlistees for the infantry, sharpshooters, cavalry, and light brigade, with special appeals to the Germans and Irish of Massachusetts to form and fight in their own regiments (a Catholic priest to be provided for every Irish regiment); an extended account of a returned soldier, native of Boston, pvt. Richard Rowe, member of the first regiment of fusiliers, who was shot and captured at Bull Run, relating his experiences and describing the Confederate doctors at Richmond as kindly and able, so much so that a Dr. Gibson there refused to amputate the soldier’s wounded foot. Knowing the boy was from Boston, the rebel doctor assured him that a friend and colleague in that city, Dr. Warren, was expert in such cases and would surely save the soldier’s foot upon his return; a lengthy article on the effects of the Civil War on American relations with England; a report on a large Confederate force being concentrated at Leesburg, and a skirmish near the mouth of the Monocacy River; a lengthy account of the Battle at Ball’s Bluff, together with lists of the killed and wounded from both the California regiment and the Massachusetts 20th; an editorial piece on the War, citing monetary figures and total number of Union combatants, taking note of the fact that the force was composed entirely of volunteers; a substantial article on the culture and politics of cotton as it pertains to free white and slave labor; a report on 200 Rebels who escaped from Maryland to Virginia by seizing a schooner in the Patuxent River; an obituary for General W.H. Sumner; and more. Very Good Plus condition, partial split of the spine fold, 6" in length. Clean, crisp, bright, and supple. Inserted in a custom-made protective folder. Although not marked, both the paper and its folder are from the library of James S. Copley (1916-1973), pre-eminent collector of Americana who was owner and C.E.O. of Copley News Service.

$125.00

Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, November 15, 1856 (Springfield,Illinois)
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Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, November 15, 1856 (Springfield,Illinois)

Maturin Murray Ballou, Boston, 1856; 11"x 15", 16 pages. Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Companion for Saturday, November 15, 1856, with a two-page feature article on Springfield, Illinois. Beautifully illustrated with detailed wood engravings by Boston engraver Samuel Smith Killburn, showing the Springfield State House, Railroad Station, Courthouse and Bank, and a view of Washington Street. Other items of note include a richly illustrated two-page story on the newly erected Cosmopolitan Art Association Gallery in New York, with a lengthy description of the building’s features by its architect, Karl Gildemeister (1820-1869); a lyrical poem by noted Irish poet Felicia Hemans entitled "Bernardo del Carpio," illustrated with five engravings of dramatic scenes from the story; a report on early female explorer Ida Laura Pfeiffer (1797-1858), accompanied by an engraved portrait; and a large full page engraving on the back page picturing Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest dressed for five great character roles: Macbeth, Jack Cade, Sparticus, Virginius, and Metamora. Very Good condition, some transparent staining at three corners, single miniscule edge chip (3/16") on the last page in the blank right margin, not affecting text, paper supple, not brittle. From the library of James S. Copley (1916-1973), pre-eminent collector of Americana who was owner and C.E.O. of Copley News Service. Inserted in a special custom-made protective folder affixed with Copley’s bookplate.

$125.00

Aurora Beacon Newspaper Broadside Extra, Great Chicago Fire
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Aurora Beacon Newspaper Broadside Extra, Great Chicago Fire

Aurora Beacon, Aurora, Illinois, 1871; 6 1/4" x 9". Aurora, Illinois Beacon Extra from Monday, Oct. 9, 1871, reporting the Great Chicago Fire, which began the night previous. Relates how Beacon reporters, learning of the fire, rushed to Chicago early that morning to find the city in ruin, with over 5,000 acres already burned, masses of dead in the streets, and a frantic exodus of the city’s survivors trying to reach safety. Relates the devastation encountered upon reaching the courthouse square, an eyewitness account of the collapse of the west end of the courthouse, and how all city jail prisoners were released but for three murderers, who were secured. "No tongue can tell the horror of the scene, no pen can depict or imagination portray the misery and desolation caused by this great calamity. As we looked over the now flat and burning prairie, which, yesterday, was Chicago, we felt that no estimate of the great loss of property and life could definitely be made. Suffice it to say Chicago is in ashes." Attributes the source of the fire to a cow which kicked over a lantern while being milked by a woman at the corner of Dekovin (sic) and Jefferson streets -- first mention of the now legendary Mrs. O’Leary. The sheet makes call for a mass meeting to be held at Aurora City Hall at seven o’clock that evening to take action for the relief of the victims of the fire, reporting that a train has set out from Galesburg with boxcars to pick up contributions for relief of the sufferers, appealing to all those who can afford to do so to meet the train at 3:00 a.m. at Aurora station with provisions of cooked food. The Chicago fire ended Tuesday, the day following this report, after incinerating nearly 3.5 square miles, leaving over 300 dead, and a reported 100,000 people homeless. Very Good condition. A few fragile seam folds, all having been professionally restored with japan paper. Although not itself marked, this broadside is from the library of James S. Copley (1916-1973), owner of the powerful Copley News Service and pre-eminent collector of newspaper Americana. He was the son of I.C. Copley (1864-1947), Aurora industrialist who purchased the Beacon in 1905 and subsequently built the Copley newspaper empire. A rare item of both Chicago and American history.

$425.00