Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2006 Issue

The South, Slavery, and More from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Cass

Popular sovereignty was not a winning ticket for Lewis Cass in 1848.


Montgomery Blair was a different sort of Republican during the era of Lincoln. From the border state of Maryland, he joined the Republicans as an opponent to the extension of slavery into the new territories. However, his concern was not the interests of the slaves. He just wanted to keep the African race out of the territories, reserving them for Whites, while removing Blacks to some overseas location. In his Address of Montgomery Blair Before the Maryland State Republican Convention, at Baltimore, April 26, 1860, he states that the Republicans must become "pre-eminently the white man's party." It took awhile, but eventually the party to a large degree adopted Blair's advice during the Nixon era. Item 23. $350.

The support slave owners received from average, poor Southerners in their cause is in many ways surprising. So many gave so much in defense of an institution that in no way benefited them personally. Perhaps this phenomenon can be best understood in terms of the fears that were encouraged by those who favored slavery. An example of those fears of black people can be seen in these Addresses Delivered Before the Virginia State Convention in 1861. A delegate from Georgia tells the assembly that if the slaves are freed, "The consequence will be that our men will be exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy." Of course none of it was true, but the fear led many men who could never own a slave to go off to war and die to preserve that institution. Item 4. $375.

Here is a touching, if perhaps less than major addition to the war effort. From Baltimore, it is the By-laws of the Aged Guard of 1862. These were a bunch of old men, knowing they were too old to be soldiers, who still wanted to help the Union effort. They were over the age of 45, which might not sound that "aged" today, but this was a time when the average life span was less than 45. Item 11. $350.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books can be reached online at www.lesserbooks.com,
phone number 203-389-8111.

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