Description

    [Moses Austin] A Summary Description of the Lead Mines in Upper Louisiana [...] bound with Thomas Jefferson's Message to Congress, 1804 . [Thomas Jefferson]. Message From the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress. 8th November, 1804. Read, and ordered to be referred to the Committee of the whole House on the state of the Union. Plus, other documents and reports. Washington City: William Duane & Son, 1804. First edition. Small 8vo. 32pp.

    Jefferson's Message and the accompanying reports are bound together into a simple notebook of uncovered boards and cloth spine, measuring 5.25" x 8.25". The front cover contains a (possibly contemporary) handwritten title: "1804 -- President Thomas Jefferson's Message to Congress including Moses Austin's Report of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and a Report by him of the Lead Mines of Missouri." Small spot to front cover. There is foxing on several pages and an ink spot on last (blank) page, not affecting text. There is a 3/4 inch closed tear to one page. Inked signature of the owner (Samuel Dana, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives at this time) on title page. There are several notes in the margin throughout Jefferson's Message, in the same hand as the ownership signature -- ink has bled through pages and caused offsetting to facing pages. Booklet has been overopened, but binding is still sturdy, and no pages are detached. These reports seem to have been collected and then bound together: all text appears to be present, but there are a couple of instances of pagination not being completely continuous (two pages seem to be "missing" but there is no interruption in the flow of information). Also, pages have been cut at fore-edge to fit the binding -- the result is that a tiny amount of the handwritten marginalia is missing at the very edge. Overall, this item is in very good condition.

    Jefferson's Fourth Annual Message to Congress centers on the recent acquisition of the former "country of Louisiana." Following the text of Jefferson's message are these documents:

    Document No. 1, Accompanying Jefferson's Message of November 8: "Extract of a letter from Don Pedro Cevallos, minister of state of his Catholic Majesty to Charles Pinckney, esquire, dated February 10, 1804." Also a copy of a letter from the Marquis of Casa Yrujo to James Madison.

    Document No. II: Jefferson's declaration (dated May 30, 1804) that a separate district to be formed and denominated "The District of Mobile."

    Document No. III: "A Summary Description of the Lead Mines in Upper Louisiana; also, An Estimate of Their Produce for Three Years Past" by Amos Stoddard, dated June 16, 1804. Followed by the actual "Summary Description of the Lead Mines in Upper Louisiana [...] also, A Table Shewing the Increase of Population in Their Vicinity Since the Year 1799. Hastily Drawn at the Request of Captain Amos Stoddard, First Civil Commandant of Upper Louisiana, To Whom It Is Most Respectfully Submitted by His Very Humble Servant, Moses Austin."

    Austin's report, dated February 13, 1804, runs 22 pages, and is preceded by an introduction by Captain Amos Stoddard, first civil commandant of Upper Louisiana, which reads: "[...] I now do myself the honor of enclosing you a copy of a dissertation on the Lead Mines in Upper Louisiana, furnished me by Moses Austin, Esq. This gentleman owns an extensive mine, situated about thirty-eight miles back of St. Genevieve, which he has worked for some years past; and from his education and experience, I conceive him to be better calculated to give correct information on the subject than any other man in this quarter." [June 16, 1804]

    Moses Austin (1761-1821) is known primarily as the first man to be granted permission to bring his colony of Anglo-American settlers to Spanish Texas (in 1820) and as the father of Stephen F. Austin, but at the time of this report he was considered one of the leading lead industrialists in the country -- he had been in the lead business in Virginia for fifteen years but was only fairly recently established in the Louisiana Territory (now Missouri). His contributions were a major influence on the growth of the lead industry in the United States, and until heavy machinery was introduced after the Civil War, this period of lead mining and smelting was known as "The Moses Austin Period."

    Reference: Howes A401. Sabin 2419.


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    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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