Rare and Significant Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books
Criminal trials and forensics are certainly the rage these days. Here is a very early forensic book: Blood Stains in Criminal Trials by Dr. Andrew Fleming. This 1861 book discusses chemical analysis of bloodstains and its application to criminal trials. Item 35. $150.
Item 52 pertains to an obscure international situation that occurred during the Washington administration. Unrest on the French Island of Hispaniola, home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, plus a British invasion had sent French vessels scurrying for safety. Many pulled into American ports for shelter. However, these boats were then subject to normal duties meant for commercial shipping. Sparing the French vessels these fees required an act of Congress, which is what this is -- Third Congress of the United States...An Act for the Remission of the Duties Arising on the Tonnage of Sundry French Vessels which have Taken Refuge in the Ports of the United States. This act was passed and signed by President Washington in 1794. $500.
Item 45 is a masterful reply from Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson and his supporters were in a heated rivalry with Hamilton, and they thought they caught him in some questionable financial conduct. They believed they could embarrass him by showing funds he had borrowed as Treasury Secretary in Europe were not appropriated to pay off European debts as required. They had Jefferson supporter Representative William Branch Giles make a demand from Congress for a full accounting. Hamilton responded with this Communications from the Secretary of the Treasury to the House of Representatives. This response provided a detailed accounting, even more than requested. Hamilton then really sinks the dagger in his inquisitors by asking, "Is it not truly a matter of regret, that so formal an explanation on such a point, should have been made requisite? Could no personal enquiry have superseded the necessity of publicly calling the attention of the House of Representatives to an appearance, in truth, so little significant?" $4,500.
Item 46, published in the following year (1794), is the Report of the Committee Appointed to Examine into the State of the Treasury Department... This Congressional report exonerates Hamilton of any inappropriate actions. $2,500.
They had some very different ideas in the early days of the Republic as to who should pay taxes to support the government. Back then, they felt wealthy people should contribute more. In this 1800 Report of the Committee of Ways and Means, on the Subject of Further Revenue... various ideas are considered. The committee concludes the logical source is to place additional taxes on wines which "indeed are now highly taxed; but being a mere luxury, which is consumed solely by people in affluent or easy circumstances, they appear to be a very proper object of revenue." Item 132. $450.
David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be visited online at www.lesserbooks.com, telephone 203-389-8111.