Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Jefferson sends Hancock the Acts of First Congress Third Session - including the first federal budget and infamous Whiskey Tax

    Thomas Jefferson Circular Letter Signed "Th: Jefferson." One page, 7.75" x 9", Philadelphia; March 30, 1791. Circular letter signed by Jefferson as Secretary of State, to Governor John Hancock of Massachusetts; sending copies of the legislation passed during the third session of the first Federal Congress (December 6, 1790 - March 3, 1791).

    "Sir / I have the honor to send you herein enclosed, a collection of the Acts passed at the third Session of the Congress of the United States of America, and of being with sentiments of the most perfect respect.

    Your Excellency's Most obedient and Most humble Servant
    Th: Jefferson

    [To:] His Excellency The Governor of Massachusetts"

    The first Federal Congress met in New York for its first two sessions, and then moved to Philadelphia for its final (third) session, where it passed revenue measures including the infamous Whiskey Tax, the federal budget ($1,526,700.20), and, ironically, a duty on tea. This was also the first session dealing with the admission of the first new states, Kentucky and Vermont.

    Congress established the Bank of the United States, authorizing it for twenty years, and allowing it to raise $10,000,000 in capital, and issue currency up to that amount. Refusing to accept state bank notes that were not redeemable in hard currency, the Bank started to create a national banking system.

    The famous compromise brokered by Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the previous session was enacted in the third session. (The Southerners agreed to allow Hamilton's Assumption Plan-for the federal government to take over states' Revolutionary War debts in order to bolster the credit of the new national government-while Northerners agreed to move the capital, first from New York to Philadelphia, and then to the new capital on the banks of the Potomac, once it was built.)

    The Whiskey tax imposed duties not only on imported spirits, but also on those produced domestically. Whiskey provided the most efficient means for Westerners to process their crops into an easily transportable commodity. The tax was formally opposed by Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. Three years after it passed, open rebellion broke out in western Pennsylvania. In 1794, President Washington called out 12,000 troops, whose presence caused the rebels to disband without a fight. The defeat of the rebellion strengthened the political power of Hamilton and the Federalists and encouraged more investment in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Whiskey tax was adjusted, and eventually overturned.

    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), U.S. minister to France (1785-93), Secretary of State (1785), Vice-President (1797-1801), and third President of the U.S. (1801-09). Jefferson's administration is credited with the Louisiana Purchase that doubled the size of the United States. Other events during his tenure in office included the war with Tripoli, the prohibition of slave importation into the U.S., and the ill-fated embargo (1807-09), which Jefferson thought necessary to prevent the country from being drawn into the war between England and France. Jefferson's Virginia statute of religious freedom, of which he was an enthusiastic advocate, became the basis of the first amendment to the Constitution.

    Condition: Flattened mail folds. Minor toning at the edges, with light foxing throughout. A small area of chipping at the left edge has been repaired with archival material. Very minor additional chipping at edges. Bold signature by Jefferson.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 470

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 29 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $917,493