Lot 231: 1791 Important Pair of Historical Documents regarding Opening the U.S. Congress
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1791 Opening of the United States Congress Historical Documents Ordering Guns & Powder for the First Salute!
1791-Dated Federal Period, Pair of Historical Documents, regarding the Opening of the United States Congress, Ordering Guns & Powder for the official First Salute, both Choice Very Fine.
This exceptional Pair of early Federal period historic Official Documents pertains to the formal opening of the United States Congress, as well as revealing a plan to suitably honor the event. Both Documents show typical light folds and slight edge wear and are clean, with nice eye appeal for display. These two highly significant items include:
1. March 2, 1791-Dated Federal Period, Printed Document titled, "An Act fixing the date for the next Annual Meeting of Congress," Signed in print by Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Adams as Vice-President of the United States and President of the Senate, and George Washington as President of the United States. This important Printed Act reads:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That after The third day of March next, the first annual meeting of Congress Shall be on the fourth Monday of October next." As this Act was established during the third session of the First U.S. Congress, it fixes for the first time under that body's authority the opening of a new Congress. Enacted on the beginning day of that particular session, after the two earlier meetings were held in New York, it also marks one of Congress's first acts of legislation in the temporary capitol at Philadelphia.
2. October 24, 1791-Dated, nicely Handwritten Autograph Letter Signed, "Jno. Stagg Jun [John Stagg Jr.]," as a clerk in the War Department, to William Knox, ordering guns and powder for a salute to start the ceremonies commemorating the new, annual date of the U.S. Congress's opening. This Letter's text reads: "The Secretary of War requests that you will furnish Captain Jeremiah Fisher of the city artillery, in order to fire a salute on tomorrow, at the opening of Congress: One hundred and eighty pounds of Cannon powder - One hundred Tubes - Forty six Flannel Cartridges for 12 pounders - Eight Portfires. -- (Signed) "Jno. Stagg Jun."
Major Stagg and Captain Fisher were both veterans of the Revolution, the latter having served with Col. Thomas Proctor's celebrated 1st Pennsylvania artillery regiment. These two related and extremely rare examples document a supremely important event in American history: the day the United States Congress fixed a permanent date for its own opening! (2 Items)