EXCEPTIONALLY RARE ASSOCIATION COPY OF THE FINAL SESSION OF THE FIRST CONGRESS, 1791, FROM THE LIBRARY OF KEY VERMONT SENATOR STEPHEN ROW BRADLEY, ONE OF ONLY 700 COPIES PRINTED
(UNITED STATES CONGRESS). Journal of the Third Session of the Senate of the United States of Ameirca, Begun and Held at the City of Philadelphia, December 6th, 1790. And in the Fifteenth Year of the Sovereignty of the Said United States. Philadelphia: Printed by John Fenno, 1791. Folio, contemporary full blind-stamped brown sheep, raised bands, brown morocco spine label. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $7500.
Scarce first edition of the official record of the Third Session of the First United States Senate, with Washington’s State of the Union Address and the text of the 1791 excise law that ultimately triggered the Whiskey Rebellion, this copy a rare association copy from the library of influential Vermont Senator Stephen Row Bradley and signed by him on the front board, notably featuring the act he promoted on Vermont’s admittance to the Union. One of only 700 copies printed, intended only for use by members of government.
This scarce Journal of the final Session of the First Senate provides the first official record of Congressional action on bills, resolutions, the budget and presidential communications in its coverage of the Senate from December 6, 1790 to March 3, 1791. This Session was the first held in Philadelphia following the federal government’s temporary move from New York, and its Journal contains Washington’s State of the Union Address, in which the President speaks to the public debt, relations with Indians, and “the disturbed situation of Europe,” and praises Congress for passing laws on the Mint, the Post Office and the judiciary.
Also recorded here is passage of the excise law on March 3, 1791, whose text is earlier detailed in the Journal entry for February 10. “Intended as part of the revenue structure which was to sustain the Treasury’s funding system, this law was denounced in the Pennsylvania legislature and… meetings of protest were held in several places during the summer of 1791” (Elkins & McKitrick, 462). Popular fury over the law finally climaxed in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion: the “climactic event in the process of political and social change that provoked and sustained the War for Independence” (Slaughter, 4). One of only 700 copies printed, for in May 1789, Congress passed a resolution directing that “600 copies of the Acts of each session, [and] 700 copies of the Journals of each house,… [be printed and] distributed to the members and to the executive, judiciary, and heads of the departments of the United States government, as well as the executive, legislative and judicial branches of every state. This would practically exhaust the 600 and 700 copies, you will note, in official distribution, and leave none for public purchase” (Powell, Books of a New Nation, 87). Evans 23901. This exceptional association copy is signed by Stephen Row Bradley, the leading United States senator from Vermont (1791-94, 1801-13) who was “an active member of the commission [that] made possible Vermont’s admission as the first state to come into the Union after the original 13” (DAB)—an event detailed in text of the Senate “Act for the admission of the State of Vermont into this union,” featured within (58).
Light scattered foxing, mild rubbing to contemporary boards. An especially memorable association copy in near-fine condition.