Presented is a highly collectible collage featuring the autograph of Alexander Hamilton. The collage features an original signed Treasury Department circular letter, dated June 17th, 1794, related to the recently passed Neutrality Act. Sent to state representatives, Hamilton stresses the importance of their vigilance in protecting the “National Peace.” This printed Treasury Department circular includes Hamilton's signature at bottom. The letter is boldly signed "A. Hamilton" in black ink. The circular has been artfully framed with a pencil-signed Jacques Reich etched portrait of Hamilton. The etching is a remarqued proof, numbered 12 of 12, and printed in 1903.
The printed Treasury Department circular reads, in full:
In this circular, Hamilton refers to “An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States,” referring to the Neutrality Act of 1794. The Neutrality Act of 1794 made it illegal for an American to wage war against any country at peace with the United States. The Act also forbid foreign war vessels to outfit in American waters and set a three mile territorial limit at sea.
The Act was a formal commitment to neutrality and a necessary statement once the French Republic declared war against Great Britain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Not three months after the declaration of war, several privateers had been procured, equipped, armed, and commissioned in ports of the United States to cruise under the French flag against the commerce of Great Britain, with which the United States were at peace. The ships were not only fitted out in American ports, but were owned, officered, and manned, in large proportion, by American citizens.
The measures adopted by Congress were in effort to restrain these enterprises. “The duty and interest of the United States require,” the Proclamation stated, “that they [the United States] should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent Powers.” The Proclamation warned Americans that the federal government would prosecute any violations of this policy by its citizens and would not protect them should they be tried by a belligerent nation.
A section of the Act also concerned “the furnishing, fitting out or arming of any ship or vessel with the intent that such ship or vessel shall be employed in the service of any foreign prince or state to cruise or commit hostilities upon the subjects, citizens or property of another foreign prince or state with whom the United States are at peace.” This section was a crucial addition because just three months prior, the United States government authorized and financed the building of the first United States Navy vessels.
The initial measures adopted by the Executive of the United States to curtail American involvement proved inadequate; the Americans who took part in them were not punished. As such, on June 5th, 1794, an act of Congress entitled “An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States” was passed to amend the law in that respect.
As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and an author of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton's legacy lives on even centuries after his death. Hamilton was an American statesman, politician, scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker and economist who held a very important role in the founding of the United States. He acted as the country's very first Secretary of the Treasury and authored countless policies under George Washington's administration. Hamilton was also instrumental in the founding of the first national bank, the country's first tariff system, and established commercial economic policy for the newly formed nation.
Overall good to very good condition for age. 1 page, typed Secretary of the Treasury letter, signed "A Hamilton" in black ink at bottom. Light creases along old fold lines, a few small paper separations along outer margins at folds. Center horizontal fold is a little discolored. Some faint staining. Small paper loss to the upper left paper margin. Dark, strong Hamilton signature, light vertical crease through the "m" in "Hamilton." Letter measures 9” H x 7” W.
The Treasury Department circular is artfully framed with an original Jacques Reich engraved portrait, which is pencil-signed by the artist at bottom left. The etching is a “Remarque Proof No. 12 of 12 impressions on Japanese paper” as indicated in pencil at bottom left. At center bottom margin is a remarque of The Grange, the home Hamilton built on a country estate in uptown Manhattan. The etching was published in New York in 1903.
The entire collage has been framed according to the highest conservation standards in a custom-made black and gold frame. Framed dimensions: 49" H x 30.5" W x 4" D.