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    Connecticut Courant July 27, 1795: Jay Treaty between US and Great Britain. 4 pp., 11 1/2" x 18 1/2". This issue contains a long report beginning on the front page and headlined: "Town Meeting" in New York City. Following the headline is a 3-column long detailed account of the meeting called to discuss the recently negotiated JAY TREATY between the US and Great Britain. It goes into great detail about the arguments for and against the ratification of the JAY TREATY, and reports: "...3 stones being thrown at Mr. (Alexander) Hamilton, the second of which glanced his forehead, but without material injury..." Hamilton spoke in favor of the JAY TREATY and was thus subjected to an assault on him by its opponents.

    When the provisions of Jay's Treaty were made public in April of 1795, the public uproar was deafening. It seemed that Jay had not accomplished anything he had set out to do, and instead handed over what amounted to an affront to the national dignity. There were no provisions for compensation for wartime damages, illegal captures of ships and impressment of American sailors, or for the protracted Indian wars caused by the British occupation of the western posts. The British agreed to abandon the posts, but only after eighteen months. Especially insulting to the American people was a seventy ton limit on American ships trading in the British West Indies, effectively locking Americans out of the lucrative lumber trade.

    Such was the public rage that Jay was burned in effigy, and Hamilton was pelted with stones when he tried to speak in favor of the treaty outside of City Hall in New York. Although the senate approved the treaty, Washington was hesitant to sign it, and asked Hamilton for his opinion. Hamilton responded with an article by article defense of the treaty. Consistent with his general philosophy of treaties, Hamilton pointed out that signing would be in the interest of the United States by preventing a war which would "give a serious wound to our growth and prosperity." The contested points aside, Jay's treaty "closes and upon the whole as reasonably as could have been expected the controverted points between the two Countries," and signing the treaty, Hamilton added, would not be contrary to the national honor.

    Hamilton understood that the Jay Treaty was the best a new nation could expect from a world power, which was not obligated in the least to even consider its trading rights let alone treat with it like an equal. Hamilton's defense did not work its usual immediate magic: Washington thought on it for several weeks before signing the document and putting into effect what was essentially Hamilton's treaty.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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