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      Sale 2273 | Lot 143
      Price Realized: $31,200With Buyer's Premium
      Show Hammer Price
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      • Sale 2273 Lot 143

        "FIRST PRINTING IN ANY FORM OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS" (CONSTITUTION.) Gazette of the United States. 4 pages, 17 x 10 1/2 inches, on one sheet; toned at edges, minor dampstaining. New York, 13 June 1789

        Estimate $12,000 - 18,000

        The United States Constitution had only been in effect for just over three months, but was widely criticized as providing insufficient protection to the rights of its citizens. To advance the discussion, James Madison synthesized numerous proposals into a list of nine possible amendments, introducing them in his 8 June speech to Congress. These proposed amendments were later expanded to seventeen, and then winnowed down to twelve, of which ten were ratified by the states by 1791. We know them as the Bill of Rights.
        The bi-weekly Gazette of the United States was a semi-official organ of the young nation's ruling Federalist Party, and was generally the first to press with news from the First Congress then meeting in New York. They reported on Madison's speech in the 10 June issue, but this 13 June issue was the first printing of his proposed amendments. The report appears on page three, under the title "The following are the Amendments to the New Constitution, proposed by the Hon. Mr. Maddison [sic]--as mentioned in our last." The amendments, with months of revisions ahead of them, bore only a vague structural resemblance to the Bill of Rights as we know them. Madison framed them as revisions to the actual text of the Constitution, rather than as freestanding clauses. But the key points are all there, most of them as part of his long proposed fourth amendment:
        "The benefit of the people . . . consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
        "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established."
        "The people shall not be deprived or abridged of the right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments."
        "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
        "Excessive bail shall not be required . . . nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
        "The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."
        If any of these rights are dear to your heart, here is your chance to own their first printed expression. "First printing in any form of the Bill of Rights"--Jenkins, Early American Imprints, Catalogue 110:158.


        Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $31,200

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