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  • Seller image for RESOLUTIONS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY for sale by William Reese Company - Americana

    Pennsylvania]: [Snyder Rebellion]

    Published by [Philadelphia], 1809

    Seller: William Reese Company - Americana, New Haven, CT, U.S.A.
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    Letterpress broadside, 10 x 8 inches, docketed in manuscript on verso. Minor wrinkling, old folds, some mathematical computations on verso. Very good. [with:] [AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM JOHN HEINER TO SAMUEL JOHNSON OF NEWTON, NEW JERSEY, COMMENTING ON THE SNYDER REBELLION]. Indiana, Pa. May 8, 1809. [2]pp. on a folded folio sheet. Docketed in manuscript on verso. Old folds, minor foxing, small chip to lower edge. Very good. An interesting pair of documents relating to the "Snyder Rebellion" - a short-lived, controversial, early American "States' Rights" challenge to a prolonged legal dispute that pitted federal authority against Pennsylvania claims from 1778 to 1809. The rebellion - which manifested itself as a brief period of political resistance - was an attempt by the governor of Pennsylvania, Simon Snyder, to prevent enforcement of the final judgement by the Supreme Court in the Gideon Olmstead case. "Republicans anxious to demonstrate that the federal government in their hands would respect the rights of states found the case embarrassing; Federalist newspapers gleefully pounced upon it as an example of their opponents' hypocrisy. The issue split Pennsylvania Republicans" - Founders Online. Beyond the political embarrassment the case caused President Madison, it was also an example of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall's expanding view of federal power as opposed to state prerogatives. The situation began in 1778, when Gideon Olmstead, a Connecticut resident who had been impressed into the British Navy, and three compatriots mutinied and took over a British vessel, the Active, during the American Revolution. When the Active sailed into American waters, it was captured by a Pennsylvania-owned ship, the Convention. A dispute arose over the maritime prize for the captured vessel. Pennsylvania courts awarded the prize to several interested parties, including the state of Pennsylvania, while the United States Supreme Court awarded the entirety of the prize to Olmstead and his fellow mutineers. Pennsylvania did not concur, and the case dragged on for the next thirty years. In 1803 federal courts awarded the entirety of the prize to Olmstead; Pennsylvania did not comply. Finally, in February 1809, Chief Justice John Marshall ordered that payment of the full maritime prize be made to Olmstead, issuing a legal opinion that state courts and legislatures do not have the right to annul federal court decisions. One week later federal marshals showed up to serve papers to the surviving daughters of former Pennsylvania state treasurer David Rittenhouse, who had become legally responsible for paying Pennsylvania's share of the maritime prize to Olmstead after Rittenhouse failed to secure a bond to indemnify himself should the state judgement be reversed. When they arrived, the marshals found the daughters' house surrounded by state militiamen at the order of Governor Snyder. The marshals were able to gain entry to the house and arrest one of Rittenhouse's daughters. At a writ hearing for Rittenhouse's daughter, William Tilghman of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with federal authorities and ruled that the federal government held jurisdiction in the original Olmstead dispute. During the events of the spring of 1809, Governor Snyder wrote a letter to President James Madison, calling on the author of the Virginia Resolutions to side with state authority. Snyder expected sympathy, which he did not receive. Madison sided with the federal government, pointing out to Snyder that he was duty-bound not only to agree with the decisions of the Supreme Court, but actively enforce them as the executive power in the country. Seeing no way out, Governor Snyder backed down and paid the $18,000 owed to Olmstead and his fellow petitioners. The case stands as an early example of the tensions between state and federal authority in the United States. The first document here is entitled, RESOLUTIONS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY and was produced by Snyder in concert with the Pennsylvania state legislature in the midst of the Snyder Rebellion. It prints a series of resolutions railing against the "unconstitutional exercise of power in the United States' courts." Snyder and the Pennsylvania Assembly argue that the Constitution does not satisfactorily address disputes between state and federal authorities. The document ultimately calls on the "Senators in Congress.to use their influence to procure an amendment to the constitution of the United States, that an impartial tribunal may be established, to determine disputes between the general and state governments." The document is signed in type by the speakers of both houses of the Pennsylvania Assembly and Governor Snyder. No copies of the broadside appear in OCLC, and no copies appear in auction records; it is a unique example, as far as we can tell. The second document is an autograph letter, signed, written in 1809 by a Pennsylvania man named John Heiner, writing from Indiana, Pennsylvania. The letter is posted from nearby New Alexandria. Heiner's letter regarding the Snyder Rebellion reads, in part: "what do you think of Snyders army Since they are all taken prisoners = god send they all will be hung, and Snyder be the hang man and after they are all hung = then Gen. Laycock is to Hang Snyder = and so in Rotation until every Snyder write [Snyderite] is hung." Heiner also addresses the Embargo Act, as his letter continues "let me know how you New Jersey people or French lads feel since the Embargo is taken [care] of - we all feel here as free and Independent people but before we cood [sic] not." Clearly, Heiner was no fan of the Embargo Act, and he was not alone. Many northeastern shipping concerns bitterly opposed President Jefferson's policy, which effectively ended all trade with Europe during the current war between France and England. The Embargo Act had just been superceded by the Non- Intercourse Act, which went into effect on March 1, 1809, and a.