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WASHINGTON, GEORGE, President. President Washington's personal copy of the official Acts of the First Congress (Sessions 1 through 3, 4 March 1789 - 3 March 1791), bound by
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WASHINGTON, GEORGE, President. President Washington's personal copy of the official Acts of the First Congress (Sessions 1 through 3, 4 March 1789 - 3 March 1791), bound by the Philadelphia binder James Muir, containing the full texts of the Federal Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Acts creating the Supreme Court, Treasury, State and War Departments, Post-Office, National Bank, the First Census and and other crucial legislation (see partial table of contents below), establishing the essential structure of American government, and including the text of key treaties (the Treaty of Paris, Fort Stanwix) as ratified by Congress.\n\nGEORGE WASHINGTON'S COPY OF THE COMPLETE ACTS OF THE FIRST CONGRESS (1789-1791), CONTAINING THE CONSTITUTION, BILL OF RIGHTS, THE TREATY OF PARIS AND MANY OTHER FUNDAMENTAL LEGISLATIVE ACTS, IN AN IMPORTANT CONTEMPORARY PHILADELPHIA BINDING BY JAMES MUIR\n\nBINDING\n3 parts in one volume, folio (for bibliographical description and partial table of contents, see below). 306 by 197mm. (12 x 7 3/4 in.) A CONTEMPORARY PHILADELPHIA BINDING BY JAMES MUIR: mottled tree calf over pasteboard, outer edges of covers ruled with gilt Greek key roll borders, front cover with central onlaid green morocco label (42 x 87mm., 1 5/8 x 3 3/8 in.), ruled in gilt and with floral and hatched roll borders, gilt-lettered "PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES"; spine gilt in seven compartments with floral, leaf and hatched rolls, five compartments containing gilt American eagles holding a shield (two different tools: one facing right, the other facing left with a flourish beneath), second compartment with red morocco label gilt-lettered "LAWS OF THE U. STATES," fifth compartment with black morocco label with red morocco onlaid roundel gilt-lettered "1"; board edges and turn-ins with double gilt hatched roll, marbled endpapers, plain fore-edges, upper hinge with 3-inch crack at top and tender, light rubbing to head and base of spine and board edges, three corners worn, light and even foxing (mainly to part 2), cloth folding protective case. Despite these minor defects, IN FINE CONDITION.\n\nLittle is known of the binder James Muir, but he was employed in the shop of Robert Aitken in 1775 and from 1786 to 1796 maintained his own shop in Philadelphia. None of his bindings are signed, but the Greek-key roll on the present binding is identical to one Muir used on a 1791 Bible in the Papantonio collection at the American Antiquarian Society (see Early American Bookbindings From the Collection of Michael Papantonio, 2nd edn., Worcester, Mass., 1985, no. 21, illustrated); one of the eagle tools, a wide floral roll and a hatched roll all appear on a 1790 Book of Common Prayer bound by Muir (ibid., no. 18); while the wide floral roll, hatched roll and two floral cornerpieces were employed by Muir on a 1790 edition of Churchill's Poems (ibid., no. 17). The style of the present binding is so close to that of Jefferson's and John Jay's copies of the First Session Acts (Evans 22189) as to suggest that Washington himself may have specified their design. Jefferson's and Jay's copies were bound in New York by Thomas Allen, but are closely similar in the choice of leather, the use of the Greek-key roll at the edges and the presence of the gilt-lettered morocco panel on the upper covers. (Thomas Jefferson's copy is at the Huntington Library, John Jay's copy was formerly in the Doheny Library, sold Christie's, 22 February 1989, lot 2026, $150,000, later in the Richard Manney collection, sold Sotheby's, 11 October 1991, lot 181, $210,000). Two other copies of the Acts (Evans 22189) which also belonged to Washington bear similar morocco labels on their upper covers (see details below).\n\nBIBLIOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION\nPart 1: U.S. CONGRESS, FIRST CONGRESS. Acts Passed at a Congress [First Session] ...Published by Authority. Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine [1791]. Folio, pp. 93 (1), (1), with errata page, text of pages 21-22 (F1r and F1v) duplicated by the printer, text of pp. 23-24 (F2r and F2v) therefore omitted. Third Edition, First Philadelphia printing. Evans 23842; Grolier/American, p. 57 (1789 issue). Part 2: U.S. CONGRESS, FIRST CONGRESS. Acts Passed at a Second Session..., New York: Childs and Swaine, Printers to Congress [1790]. Folio, pp. (2), [226], ([-cxxviii]). F2 with small marginal defect. FIRST EDITION. Evans 22952. Part 3: U.S. CONGRESS. Acts Passed at a Third Session..., Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine [1790]. Folio, pp. (2), [227]-286, (28), (1). Evans 23845.\n\nTHE MOUNT VERNON LIBRARY\nAfter Washington's death, an inventory of Mount Vernon's sizeable library was prepared by Tobias Lear, Washington's private secretary, with a team of Virginia appraisers. (That original document, filed with the will at Fairfax County Courthouse, has been missing since the Civil War, but is known from published sources: E. Everett, Life of George Washington, 1860; B. Lossing, Home of Washington, 1870, and E.N. Potter, George Washington: A Model in His Library and Life, 1893.) Lear's inventory recorded (no.254) seven folio volumes under the title "Laws of the United States," valued at $28.00, and six octavo-format volumes, under the identical rubric (nos.267, 272 and 277), which were appraised for a total of $10.75. While the books subsumed in these cryptic entries may never be precisely identified, William Coolidge Lane, Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, in a remarkable appendix to the 1897 catalogue of the Athenaeum's Washington collections, attempted to reconcile these listings and to trace the volumes in question (Appleton P.C. Griffin, The Washington Collection in the Boston Athenaeum...With An Appendix...by William Coolidge Lane, Boston, 1897, pp.533-534). Lane was able to identify three different copies of various folio-format editions of the Acts of the First Congress which belonged to Washington, plus three small-format reprints. All were offered in the 1876 Lawrence Washington auction. The folios Lane identified are as follows:\n\nLane, no. 1: (First Session only) Evans 22189. Binding: contemporary calf gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label on upper cover. Provenance: George Washington -- Lawrence A. Washington (sale, Thomas & Sons, Philadelphia, 28 November 1876, lot 114, $13.000) -- C.H. Hart (sale, Birch's, Philadelphia, April 1892, lot 842, $1150.00) -- The Heritage Foundation, Deerfield, Massachusetts (sale, Parke-Bernet, 17 November 1864, lot 148, $27,000) -- H. Richard Dietrich, Jr.\n\nLane, no. 2: (First Session only) Evans 23842. Binding: calf gilt, upper cover with morocco label. Provenance: George Washington -- Bushrod Washington -- Lawrence A. Washington (sale, Thomas & Sons, 28 November 1876, lot 100, $6.50) -- John R. Baker (sale, Philadelphia, February 1891, lot 38, $160) -- W.F. Havemeyer -- The Chapin Library, Williams College.\n\nLane, no.3 [The present copy]: (First, Second and Third Sessions), Evans 23842, 22952, 23845. Provenance: George Washington -- Bushrod Washington -- Lawrence A. Washington (sale, Thomas & Sons, 1876, lot 118) -- Senator Joseph Roswell Hawley -- Michael Papantonio -- The present owner (for additional details, see below).\n\nPARTIAL TABLE OF CONTENTS\nPart 1:\n-Constitution of the United States, (pp. v-xii)\n-Resolution of ratification (17 September 1787), (pp. xiii-xiv)\n-[Oath of allegiance] Act to regulate the Time and Manner of administering certain Oaths (the Presidential, Vice-Presidential and other oaths), (pp. 15-16)\n-An Act for establishing an Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs [renamed State Department in late 1789], (p. 21)\n-An Act to establish an Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of War (p. 46)\n-An Act to provide for the Government of the Territory North-West of the River Ohio (p. 47)\n-[Treasury Act] An Act to Establish the Treasury Department (pp. 62-64) -An Act to provide for the safe-keeping of the Acts, Records and Seal of the United States (pp. 65-67)\n-[Post-Office Act] An Act for the temporary Establishment of the Post-Office (p. 68)\n-[Congressional Salary Act] An Act for allowing Compensation to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives (pp. 68-70)\n-An Act for allowing a Compensation to the President and Vice-President (p. 71)\n-[Supreme Court Judiciary Act] An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States (pp. 72-85)\n-[Bill of Rights] Articles in Addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution...ratified by the Legislatures of the Several States...[12 articles], pp. 92-93\n\nPart 2:\n-[First Census] An Act providing for the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States (pp. 5-8)\n-[Patent Act] An Act to promote the Progress of the Useful Arts (p. 16-19)\n-An Act for Regulating the Military Establishment (pp. 26-29)\n-[Copyright Act] An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors... (pp. 32-34)\n-[Hamilton's plan for debt service] An Act making Provision for the Debt of the United States (pp. 53-61)\n-[Treaty of Alliance with France, 1778], signed in type by B. Franklin, A. Lee and J. Adams (pp. 121-125)\n-Treaty of Alliance and Commerce [with France, 1778], (pp. 125-142, text in French and English)\n-[Preliminary Peace Treaty with Great Britain] Provisional Articles, between the United States...and His Britannic Majesty, 30 November 1782 (pp. 161-164)\n-[Treaty of Paris, 1783] Definitive Treaty of Peace Between the United States...and His Britannic Majesty, signed in type by David Hartley, Franklin, Adams and John Jay ((pp. 180-183)\n-[Treaty of Fort Stanwix] Articles of a Treaty...[with] the Sachems and Warriors of the Six Nations (p. 184)\n-[Hopewell Treaty, 1785] Articles of a Treaty...[with] the Head-Men and Warriors of all the Cherokees (pp. 200-204)\n\nPart 3:\n-An Act for the Admission of Vermont into this Union (pp. 231-232)\n-[Hamilton's National Bank Act] An Act...to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States (pp. 232-238)\n-General Index to the three sessions (28 pp.).\n\nProvenance:\n1. President George Washington, gilt morocco label.\n2. Bushrod Washington (1762-1829), nephew of the above, who inherited Mount Vernon, its library and Washington's papers.\n3. Lawrence A. Washington, son of the above, by descent (sale, M.\nThomas & Sons, Auctioneers, Philadelphia, 28 November 1876, lot\n118).\n4. Joseph Roswell Hawley (1826-1905), Senator for Connecticut,\nabolitionist, editor of the Hartford Evening Press, president\nof the United States Centennial Commission in 1876; front flyleaf with Hawley's bold inscription: "Joseph R. Hawley, Conn. Bought in Philadelphia, in November 1876, of M. Thomas & Sons...representing Lawrence Washington...More than two hundred volumes, the remnants\nof Gen. W.'s library were sold at the time..."; a retained copy of Hawley's letter to Thomas & Sons, dated November 1876, included with the volume.\n5. Michael Papantonio, pioneering collector of American bookbindings.\n6. The present owner.
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