Rare Book Monthly
Articles - November - 2003 Issue
America, America (and two more Americas)<br>Four new Americana Catalogues
There are a couple of ironic attacks on the intolerance of the Know Nothings from southerners. While intolerant of Catholics and foreigners, many Know Nothings were also opposed to slavery, creating an odd alliance of southerners and northerners in opposing them. Another individual who opposed the expansion of slavery and who at one point flirted with the Know Nothings was Sam Houston. A complex man who supported slavery in the south but who saw its expansion as destabilizing the Union, he was the one Texas leader of stature who opposed secession. It only succeeded in having the legislature secede him from his governorship when he refused to pledge loyalty to the Confederacy. Item 69 is a speech Houston gave in 1854 opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the repeal of the 1820 Missouri Compromise which limited the expansion of slavery. $125.
Speaking of secession, there was another one in the 1860s. The western part of Virginia, defying that state’s secession from the Union, formed the new State of West Virginia. Waitman T. Willey was a strong supporter of the Union who became one of the new state’s first senators. Item 171 is his address to the West Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1863, where he attacks the idea that they need approval of the now Confederate state of Virginia to secede, as well as condemning slavery. $500.
The antebellum period was noted for abolitionist sentiments, but who was interested in women’s rights so far back? E.P. Hurlbut was. In his 1845 Essays on Human Rights and their Political Guarantees,,,” Hurlbut argues for equality, saying “man was not ‘born to command’ nor woman ‘to obey.’” In his era, that was a wildly radical notion. Hurlbut was a New York City attorney. Lot 73. $750.
We remember John, John Q., and Sam Adams, but how about Zabdiel? He was never a president, and no one named a beer after him. He was a minister, a cousin of President John Adams, and an influential speaker. He argues for free elections and separation of powers in his 1782 A Sermon Preached before His Excellency John Hancock…, he of the famed signature. Item 1. $275.
What is a water shed? Identify the principal animals of the frigid zones and the races of man. Define a monarchy. Specify the number of degrees of longitude. What is the width in degrees of the temperate zones? What portion of the world’s population are pagans? You have 35 minutes. Can you do it? Well this is from a school exam from 1862. It’s for the fourth grade. Don’t feel bad. I never would have been elevated to fifth grade then either. Lot 21. $150.