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Lot 155

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Significant Thomas Jefferson Document Signed, as Secretary of State, on printed Act of Second Congress, First Session. Weeks later, Alexander Hamilton used the need to pay for the new defensive force as an opportunity to get most of his proposals from his Report on Manufactures enacted.

Single page document signed, 9.5" x 15". Expected folds, with a pale rectangular stain to top margin not affecting text. Boldly signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State.

Significant Thomas Jefferson Document Signed, as Secretary of State, on printed Act of Second Congress, First Session, “begun and held” Philadelphia, Oct. 24, 1791, approved Mar. 28, 1792. 9½ x 16. Signed-in-type by Jonathan Trumbull, Speaker of the House, John Adams, Vice-Pres. of U.S. and Pres. of the Senate, and “Go: Washington,” Pres. “An Act supplemental to the Act for making farther and more effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontiers of the United States.” “...That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to appoint such number of Brigadier-Generals as may be conducive to the good of the public service. Provided the whole number appointed, or to be appointed shall not exceed four.”

Right after Congress passed this bill, President Washington turned to Alexander Hamilton for a plan to fund it. Five weeks later, on May 2, 1792, Congress passed “An Act for raising a farther sum of Money for the Protection of the Frontiers, and for other Purposes therein mentioned,” by which Hamilton used the Frontier crisis to implement most of his plans to foster an American manufacturing industry. Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures is now recognized as one of the greatest papers in economic history, but it was tabled upon delivery to Congress in December 1791. He had just won the hard-fought battle for his Assumption Plan, the foundation for America’s entire financial system, so he made no effort to push his manufactures proposal at the moment. But, four months later, Hamilton had nearly all of the tariffs called for by his Manufactures plan enacted without much of an opportunity for southern and agricultural interests to fight it.   

Boldly signed by Jefferson in rich brown. Interesting “Sandy Run” watermark. Embracing several firsts in America’s history – including the first-ever Congressional investigations, the beginning of the President’s Cabinet, and the first Brigadier Generals under the U.S. Constitution – this Act - signed by America’s first Secretary of State - was in response to Indian attacks and uprisings following the Revolution. In the previous decade, some 1,500 whites had been killed by Indians in Kentucky and in the Ohio River region. In 1791, Washington raised an Army regiment under the original Act “...for the protection of the frontiers.”

In a climactic battle in November, the American forces suffered an astounding 98% casualty rate, the most dramatic victory of Indians over Americans in any Indian war, colonial or Federal period. News of the defeat reached Pres. Washington in Jan. 1792, setting off a firestorm, and triggering the first-ever Congressional and Executive-branch investigations in American history. “The President summoned a meeting of all of his department heads - Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox, and Edmund Randolph - and many consider this meeting of all of these officials together as the beginning of the United States Cabinet. All were determined to prevent such a disaster from ever happening again, and that the solution would be a military one. As early as Jan., Sec. of War Knox wrote that papers and plans would be ‘laid immediately before Congress for their consideration and decision’ that would be adequate to the occasion. This would involve significantly increasing the size of the small U.S. Army and dispatching the units to the frontier...”--Credit: The Raab Collection. The outcome was the Act here signed by Jefferson. So compelling was the importance of this issue to George Washington that he referred to the underlying Act of Mar. 5 in his (draft) Annual Address to Congress, later in 1792: “I have reason to believe that every practicable exertion has been made to be prepared for the alternative of a continuance of the War in pursuance of the provision made by law...I cannot dismiss the subject of Indian affairs, without recalling to your attention, the necessity of more adequate provision, for giving energy to the laws throughout our Interior Frontier...”--Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress. This Act’s frontier legacy would be magnified many fold when Jefferson ascended to the Presidency. He would oversee the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, in all doubling the size of the United States. It is not as widely known that the undermining of Hamilton by Jefferson and Madison, led to the foundation of the “Democratic-Republican” Party - and to Jefferson’s resignation from the Cabinet. Washington was so displeased that he never spoke to Jefferson again! Several hairline vertical creases from printing press, three old parallel horizontal folds, several soft wrinkles at blank bottom, else uniform warm ivory patina, deckled three sides, clean, and very fine.

It is reported that a copy of each Act was supplied to the governors of the then-thirteen states. Only one other example of this Act is known to us. A handsome and important document, recalling America’s early contention with volatile border issues. The only other example we could find was recently offered at a reputable auction and estimated $28,000-$35,000 plus commission http://cohascodpc.com/auction-presidential.html

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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