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    Rare Thomas Jefferson 1802 State of the Union Broadside re: Louisiana imprinted at the conclusion in script-like type "Th: Jefferson," one page, 10.5" x 17.25". Printed at the Courier Office, Concord [New Hampshire]. Headed "The President's Message/To Both Houses of Congress." On December 15, 1802, the journals of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reported that a "message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Lewis, his Secretary." Lewis was President Jefferson's private secretary, Meriwether Lewis. Jefferson reports, in the first column of this printing, that "The cession of the Spanish province of Louisiana to France, which took place in the course of the late war, will, if carried into effect, make a change in the aspect of our foreign relations, which will doubtless have just weight in any deliberations of the legislature connected with that subject." Most of the discussion in Congress following Jefferson's second State of the Union address centered upon Louisiana. Spain had recently closed the port of New Orleans to U.S. ships. On January 11, 1803, Jefferson nominated Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe to be ministers with full powers to enter into a treaty with Napoleon "for the purpose of enlarging, and more effectually securing, our rights and interests in the river Mississippi, and in the territories eastward thereof" and Charles Pinckney and James Monroe to be ministers with full powers to enter into a treaty with King of Spain "to be used only in the event of its being necessary," if there should be a delay in the cession to France. President Jefferson told Monroe and Livingston to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans and all or part of Florida from France for $10 million. Jefferson's information that Florida had been ceded by Spain to France was incorrect. In need of money to fight a renewed war with England and eager to rid himself of faraway lands, Napoleon offered the ministers the entire Louisiana territory, approximately 530 million acres, for $15 million and, exceeding their authority, they agreed. The April 30, 1803 treaty doubled the size of the United States. On June 20, 1803, in a long letter with detailed instructions, Jefferson told his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, that he had assigned to him a "mission to explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean." Lewis chose William Clark, whom he had met in the Army, to share command of the expedition.

    An identical Concord printing of this message is in the Printed Ephemera Collection of the Library of Congress which presents this address as the first entry in its "American Memory - The Louisiana Purchase Legislative Timeline 1802-1803." American Imprints records just two other contemporary broadside printings of Jefferson's December 15, 1802 message, one at Salem, Massachusetts, and the other at Frederick-Town, Maryland.

    This broadside printing, on laid paper, has been de-acidified by a conservator. Tears have been expertly repaired and folds expertly strengthened on verso slightly affecting the appearance, but not the legibility, of three lines of text. Chipped at blank edges with a small portion missing at the upper right corner which matting would eliminate. Overall, in good condition.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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