Description

    Thomas Jefferson: Message From the President of the United States Accompanying Certain Documents..., a rare printed pamphlet discussing muskets and bayonets (Washington, D. C.: Department of War, 1802), 16 pages, disbound, 8vo (5.25" x 8.75"). Signed in type "TH: JEFFERSON". This is an extremely rare message from Thomas Jefferson to Congress detailing the muskets and bayonets manufactured at Springfield and Harpers Ferry since 1795, with returns of ordnance and estimates of expenses for fortifications. A rare imprint bearing a report of the President as well as letters and reports from Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, Levi Lincoln and others. Jefferson's message, dated February 2, 1802 reads, in part: "... Besides the permanent magazines established at Springfield, West-point, and Harper's ferry, it is thought one should be established in some point convenient for the estates of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; such a point will probably be found near the border of the Carolinas... We find the United States in possession of certain iron mines and works, in the county of Berkeley, and state of Virginia, purchased, as is presumable, on the idea of establishing works for the fabrication of cannon and other military articles, by the public. Whether this method of supplying what may be wanted will be most advisable, or that of purchasing at market, where competition brings every thing to its proper level of price and quality, is for the legislature to decide; and if the latter alternative is preferred, it will rest for their further consideration in what way the subjects of this purchase may be best employed or disposed of. The Attorney Generals opinion on the subject of the title accompanies this. There are, in various parts of the United States, small parcels of land which have been purchased, at different times, for cantonments and other military purposes. The loss of the records prevents a detailed statement of these, until they can be supplied by enquiry; in the meantime, one of them contained 88 acres, in the county of Essex, in New-Jersey, purchased in 1799, and sold the following year to Cornelius Vermule and Andrew Codmans, though its price has been received, cannot be conveyed without authority from the legislature. I inclose herewith a letter from the Secretary of War on the subject of the lands in the lakes and rivers of our Northern boundary, and of certain lands in the neighborhood of some of our military posts, on which it may be expedient for the legislature to make some provisions... " The Report includes the said "Return of ORDNANCE, ARMS &c... " noting the quantity and types of cannon, howitzers and mortars as well as ammunition and supporting equipment, as well as muskets and bayonets. Secretary of War Dearborn also reports on the costs of completing fortifications including Fort Constitution at Portsmouth, N.H., Fort Independence in Boston Harbor and Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia. An unusually detailed report providing a snapshot of the military strength of the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century. An extremely rare example of Shaw & Shoemaker 3346. We have found no sales records for this imprint in American Book Prices Current since 1975. Only five copies are known to reside in institutions, including the Library of Congress, Yale, Williams College, University of Virginia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Margins slightly ragged and chipped, detached from a larger volume, some pages loose, one light vertical crease and very light foxing, else in fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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