Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury [re: slaves as property]

Alexander James DALLAS

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Item#: 44979 price:$1,350.00

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FEDERAL PROPERTY TAX AFFECTING SLAVE-HOLDING STATES, 1816

DALLAS, Alexander James. Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, Transmitting a Statement of the Valuations of Lands, Lots, and Dwelling Houses, and of Slaves. Washington: William A. Davis, 1816. Folio, three leaves unbound (printed on rectos only). $1350.

First edition of Dallas’ statement of property values state-by-state, pursuant to the 1813 Act that ruled slaves as directly taxable property.

The Congressional Act of July 22, 1813 stipulated a tax lien on lands and chattels, ruling that an ad valorem tax on slaves was a direct tax, and providing for the valuation of all slaves with a view to “having them taxed whenever a direct tax should be laid.” This is a calculation by the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Dallas, of values for those 11 states that had not already paid their quotas of taxes (with the value of slaves reported in a separate column). “Dallas became treasury secretary in October 1814 when the nation was virtually bankrupt… [and] under his leadership the federal debt was lowered, a surplus was created, and the nation moved back to a specie payment system” (ANB). Shaw & Shoemaker 39523. Contemporary manuscript notation regarding land values in Virginia.

Chipping to fragile margins affecting one word. A very telling document on slave-holding.

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