United States Senate (Bill of Rights) | A discussion of the proposed Bill of Rights

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November 23, 05:04 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


United States Senate (Bill of Rights)

Journal of the First Session of the Senate of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New-York, March 4th, 1789. New York: Thomas Greenleaf, 1789

Folio (314 x 191 mm). Various degrees of staining along top margins throughout, as well as on bottom margins, most prevalent toward the end, especially in the index, light text browning in quires P, X, Hh–Ii, Mm, Oo–Pp. Contemporary sheep; old scrape on front cover, spine expertly restored. Brown cloth folding-case, black morocco label.

First edition of the acts of the first session of the United States Senate from 4 March to 29 September 1789. A number of important activities took place during this period including the tally of electoral votes in the first presidential election, President Washington's opening address to the new Senate and foremost among these, a discussion of the proposed Bill of Rights. On pages 103–106 appear the seventeen amendments originally proposed by the House which were revised and consolidated by the Senate (see preceding lot). The twelve amendments passed by Congress appear under the heading "Proposed Amendments" on pages 163–164, and were sent to the states for ratification. The first two were not ratified but the remaining ten became the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights appears in two 1789 printings, the present version and in the Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States (New York, Childs and Swaine). Both must have been printed at the close of business on 29 September and certainly before the end of the year. The Doheny copy of the Acts was inscribed to John Jay on 9 December 1789, suggesting that the Acts were not delivered by the printer until December. It seems likely that the Journal, printed by the first printer to the U.S. Senate would have been printed before that, although no absolute priority of printing can presently be established (see James B. Childs, "The Story of the United States Senate Documents, 1st Congress, 1st Session, New York, 1789" in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Vol. 56, No. 2 [Second Quarter, 1962], pp. 175-194).


Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions 15, see also 14; Evans 22207; Grolier American 100, 20; Sabin 15551