Laws of the United States of America. Volume VIII. Acts Passed at the First... Second Session of the Ninth Congress

UNITED STATES CONGRESS   |   Meriwether LEWIS   |   Thomas JEFFERSON   |   William CLARK

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"AN ACT MAKING COMPENSATION TO MESSRS. LEWIS AND CLARK": SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF VOLUME VIII OF LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, FEATURING THE MARCH 3, 1807 ACT AUTHORIZING PAYMENT TO LEWIS & CLARK AND MEMBERS OF THE LEGENDARY EXPEDITION, ALONG WITH THE IMPORTANT MARCH 2, 1807 TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE ACT AND KEY LEGISLATION OF THE JEFFERSON ADMINISTRATION

(LEWIS AND CLARK) (JEFFERSON, Thomas) UNITED STATES CONGRESS. The Laws of the United States of America. Volume VIII. Acts Passed at the First Session of the Ninth Congress of the United States… Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Ninth Congress of the United States; pp. [iii], [1-3] 4-207, [208], vi, [215-219], 220-352, iv, 29. Washington City: Published by Authority, 1807. One Volume. Octavo, contemporary brown sheep rebacked in calf-gilt, red morocco spine label. $6800.

First edition of Volume VIII of Laws of the United States, "published by authority," containing the official Acts passed during the 5th and 6th years of Jefferson's presidency in the First and Second Sessions of the Ninth Congress, featuring the crucial March 3, 1807 Act authorizing compensation to Lewis & Clark and members of their expedition, and the landmark March 2, 1807 Transatlantic Slave Act.

In Jefferson's December 2, 1806 Sixth Annual Message to Congress, he highlighted the monumental success of the 1804-6 Lewis & Clark Expedition, which Jefferson initiated and which "has well been called the most perfect of its kind in the history of the world" (Lamar, 640). On January 2, 1807 the House of Representatives appointed a committee to report on compensation for the expedition. "Lewis, who was living at the President's House… worked on the accounts from the expedition, and talked with the politicians about compensation, seeking more money and land for his men, and justice for Clark." On January 23, Alston, the committee chairman, "presented his bill for compensation. It called for 1600 acres each to Lewis and Clark, 320 acres to each of the enlisted men, and double pay for all… The Alston bill was hotly debated in the House… One member declared, 'It was equivalent to taking more than $60,000 out of the Treasury'… It took the House over a month to pass the bill (by a vote of 62 to 23). On the same day they did so, February 28, the bill passed the Senate without amendment… when the final settlement was made the expedition was going to turn out costing a lot more than had been anticipated. Jefferson never complained… he regarded the expenditure as an investment in the future of the country" (Ambrose, 412-15). Featured in this volume's official Acts of the Second Session is the "final text of the act approved by both Houses of Congress and the President of the United States, March 3, 1807" (Literature of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, I:86).

Also included here is the official "Act to Prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States"—known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act. "From the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 to the final resolution of the Missouri Compromise in 1821, Congress enacted seven statutes on the slave trade. By far the most important was the act passed pursuant to Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 of the Constitution," which stated Congress could pass no law prohibiting the importation of slaves prior to 1808. "Such an act was approved on March 2, 1807, to go into effect on January 1, 1808" (Civil Rights and African Americans, 53). Complete as issued in one volume together with the official Acts of the First Session of the Ninth Congress. Containing laws addressing other pressing issues of Jefferson's administration, including the public debt, the judiciary, commerce, the completion of the Capitol building, and proclamations, along with an act providing for those wounded and disabled in the Revolution, the peace treaty that brought an end to the first Barbery War, and treaties with the Delaware, Ottawa, Cherokee and other nations. First edition: with general title page, index at rear, separate half titles, table of contents for each session. Occasional mispagination as issued. An edition of Volume VIII issued later the same year printed by Weightman for William Duane, Philadelphia. Select Acts individually issued, including the Act making compensation, and Act to prohibit the Importation of Slaves. Sabin 15558. Shaw and Shoemaker 13790. See Shaw and Shoemaker 13936, 13791, 13776, 13787.

Text generally fresh with light scattered foxing mainly to preliminaries, endpapers renewed from old paper stock. Expert restoration to sheep boards.

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