&#147;Unusual&#148; American Imprints<br>from David Lesser

- by Michael Stillman

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Zebulon Vance of North Carolina was another southern unionist who held out until the end. Elected to Congress in 1860, this message To the Citizens of the Eighth Congressional District of North Carolina has Vance still holding out for the Union as late as February 1861. In it he says that the South “seized upon the election of Lincoln as the occasion, rather than the cause for breaking up the Union.” He claims there has been a vision in the South for thirty years to break up the Union and create an imperial South that would expand to other nations. However, Vance was also strongly opposed to the abolitionists, and as it became clear only a few weeks later that North Carolina would secede, he resigned his seat and joined the Confederacy. Vance would go on to be North Carolina’s Civil War governor and later serve three terms in the senate. Item 183. $350.

As not all Southerners were secessionists, not all Northerners were abolitionists. Actually, few were, but Two Letters to the Editor of the New Bedford Mercury by George Curtis offer a northern argument for upholding the Fugitive Slave Law by someone who disliked slavery. Curtis was a noted lawyer and his argument is that he is bound to obey the law regardless of how he personally feels about it. He rejected the “higher law” notion of the abolitionists. Item 58. $150.

One more look at the Civil War era: Democratic Protests Against the Lecompton Fraud by Tennessee Representative Frederick Stanton. Stanton started out as a supporter of the position that slaveowners had the right to bring their “property,” slaves, into the territories. This position earned him an appointment as territorial governor of Kansas by President Buchanan. However, voter fraud in approving the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution angered Stanton, and caused him to change his views. Those views are expressed in this piece. Stanton would be dismissed by Buchanan, and he would go on to be a supporter of Buchanan’s party rival Stephen Douglas, who favored voter choice on the slavery issue in the territories. Ultimately, southern Democrats would bolt from Douglas and the northern Democrats, enabling Lincoln to be elected, in turn leading to secession, war, and the end of slavery everywhere, including the South. Item 163. $150.

We have room for one more tragedy, so how about the great Chicago fire? We all know about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, but for those wishing more detail, here’s the Full Account of the Great Fire in Chicago. For Sale by all News Dealers, and on all Trains. This pamphlet was published shortly after the fire and described the tragic event in detail. But, contrary to the title, you’re not likely to find this item at your local newsstand or train station, so you will need to inquire of David Lesser if you would like a copy. Item 38. $375.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be found on the internet at www.lesserbooks.com or contacted by phone at 203-389-8111.