Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

Slavery from the William Reese Company

Reeseslavery

Slavery from the William Reese Company.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued a list on a most unhappy, but historically important topic: Slavery. Americans tend to think of slavery as a peculiarly American problem, but that was hardly so. It continued to be an issue in America longer than other parts of the western world, but much of the material Reese is offering pertains to slavery and its aftermath in the Caribbean. This was very much a British problem, though the British, who created the problem for America, did have the sense to remove it much sooner. Here are a few of the items related to slavery Reese is offering.

There weren't any U.S. presidents opposing slavery, at least not until Lincoln, though two former presidents did become active in the movement. One was Martin Van Buren, the other John Quincy Adams. Item 2 is a printed 1843 letter from Adams, in which he wrote, "The extinction of SLAVERY from the face of the earth is a problem moral, political, religious, which at this moment rocks the foundations of human society throughout the regions of civilized man." This copy of the letter was printed in Chicago circa 1846. Priced at $1,750.

If Adams was ahead of his time, Col. Curtis Jacobs was behind it. Item 25 is the Speech of Col. Curtis M. Jacobs, on the Free Colored Population of Maryland, Delivered in the House of Delegates. Delivered in 1860, Jacobs argues that the solution to Maryland's "free negro problem" is the enslavement of the entire black population of the state. Evidently, this would solve the issue of determining who was slave and who free. Jacobs, of course, was motivated only by goodwill toward Maryland's black population. "My religion, my humanity, partakes of a higher order of friendship for the negro..." he explains. For, "...to emancipate them is equivalent to their extermination." With friends like these... Item 25. $375.

Perhaps nothing is more demonstrative of the evil of slavery than the slave sale, where families were permanently torn apart. Item 36 is a broadside announcing an auction north of Versailles, Kentucky, in 1827. The sale was settling the estate of one John Coleman, and among the items on the block were all of Coleman's slaves, "consisting of about 20 valuable slaves, men, women, and children," along with his furniture, farming utensils, a cart and ox, and "all the stock of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs..." The broadside was printed by Albert Gallatin Hodges, one of Kentucky's early and notable printers, later a strong Union supporter and friend of Lincoln. $4,000.

Those who purchased slaves at the Coleman sale undoubtedly got their money's worth of free labor, but those who made such a purchase at the estate sale of Brian Greer were taking a much greater chance. This sale took place in Calhoun, Georgia, and Greer's land, slaves, and slave cabins were all up for sale. What made a purchase risky was the date: December 2, 1862. Lincoln had already proclaimed the freeing of the slaves, which would take place one month from this date. A buyer would have had to have great confidence in a Confederate victory to purchase slaves at this juncture. Item 38. $4,750.

Item 31 is a Special Number of 'The Popular Magazine of Anthropology." The Negro and Jamaica... This was a speech delivered before the Anthropological Society of London on February 1, 1866, given by Commander Bedford Pim. Slavery was long abolished in all British colonies by this time, but black Jamaicans were hardly treated as equals. They attempted to rebel, but were brutally put down. This action horrified many in Britain. In his speech, Commander Pim employs a pseudo-scientific argument to demonstrate the racial inferiority of blacks, and the consequent need to keep them in their present condition. $300.

You may reach the William Reese Company at 203-789-8081 or coreese@reeseco.com. Their website is www.reeseco.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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