Lot 555

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(1805-1879) Prominent American abolitionist during the years before the Civil War, founder and publisher of the famous Boston anti-slavery newspaper 'The Liberator'. Extraordinary, historic content and apparently unpublished A.Ms.S. signed ‘Representative of the New England Anti-Slavery Society', 7pp. 4to., London, Aug. 10. 1833. Titled ‘An Appeal to Friends of the Abolition in England', Garrison exhorts his compatriots on the other side of the Atlantic to raise funds to bring George Thompson, a lecturer for the London Anti-Slavery Society who emphasized America's role in the perpetuation of slavery, to the United States. Collectively, Garrison and Thompson worked toward the abolition of slavery through lecture tours and by introducing legislation that British parliament passed as the Slavery Abolition Act in August of 1833. In part: ‘…There are now in the United States, writhing in bondage, 2,200,000 slaves! The laws which are enacted for their subjection are even more atrocious than any to be found in the West Indian Code. — Imprisonment, fines, stripes, and even death are threatened if they should attempt to learn the alphabet, or get instruction in a Sabbath School! Tens of thousands are annually sold at public auction on speculation, or to discharge the debts of their masters. Females are often put on scales, and sold like meat by the pound, or exchanged for horses and sheep. The domestic slave trade is also carried on to a horrible extent. In the District of Columbia…there are many public and private prisons, in which the victims of the infamous slave speculators are incarcerated, until a number sufficient for a drive is purchased in the adjoining States…From these two states alone, it is believed that at least 15,000 slaves are sold every year for exportation to Louisiana, Georgia, and etc. Babes are taken from the breasts of their mothers—parents from children—brothers from sisters—never to meet again "till the heavens be no more." In addition to all these crimes and horrors, it is calculated that as many new victims…are added every year by birth to the immense number already in bondage, as are taken from Africa by the slave traders of all nations! - There are also more than 300,000 free people of color, in the United States, who are subjected to great contempt, ignominy and wretchedness… Although the United States boasts of liberty and equality…so malignant is prejudice, so strong is selfishness, and so insatiate is cruelty in the breasts of the people to-wards the free colored and slave population, that they who plead for their immediate emancipation from the thraldom which crushes them to the earth, and for their improvement and elevation in the United States, are persecuted and calumniated, and large rewards are offered for their destruction! Yet more. A combination, styling it-self the American Colonization Society, was formed principally by slaveholders at Washington city in 1816 and has been vigorously maintained up to the present moment, whose grand object is the banishment of the free people of color from the country…and consequently, that the slaves may be held more securely in bondage. It proposes also to remain, ‘the excess of increase of the slave population, beyond the occasions of profitable employment' so that the slave system may suffer no deterioration in value by a redundance in the market. This Society wears the mask of philanthropy…Let me assure the friends of emancipation in this country, for their encouragement, that all is not dark or hopeless in the United States. Thousands have caught a portion of the zeal…abolition societies are formed, and multiplying in every free section of our territory…The American Colonization Society is falling, like Lucifer, never to rise again, And, on the termination of this year, I trust a National Anti-Slavery Society will be formed in the United States…Two millions of slaves have already perished in my guilty country; but I plead not for the dead—they are at rest—but for the two millions who are now living. Living, did I say? O! it is not life—it is something more than death. But I bring them before you, in their rags and fetters, weeping in the bitterness of despair, gory with blood, and sinking under the weight of their sorrows…I place at your feet the two hundred infants, who are daily born in the United States, and doomed for life to the horrors of bondage. I place at your feet a hundred thousand babes…and their unhappy mothers prostrate on their knees before you, venturing to touch the hem of your garments, and imploring you, by all the love you bear to your own offspring, and by all that makes life desirable, to use your exertions for their delivery—once from pollution and bondage…'save them, if you can-not save us—and the light of heaven shall illumine your path, and the blessings of many ready to perish be showered upon your heads!...It is impossible that the British people, proudly standing, as they now are, upon the neck of Colonial Slavery—it is impossible for them to consider their work at the end, while there remains a human being held as chattel under the whole heavens…And now, beloved friends, you will naturally inquire—‘How can we most efficiently advance the cause of emancipation in the United States?' In sincerity of soul, I answer ‘By sending over to us, at your expense, George Thompson, Esq. your eloquent, devoted and talented anti-slavery Lecturer'. Let him be unremittingly and exclusively employed among us, as our agent, in rousing up the nation to a sense of its danger, guilt and duty—in forming anti-slavery societies—and in overthrowing the great Babel of oppression. So persuasive is his eloquence, so powerful his appeals, and so uncompromising his principles, that I have no hesitation in declaring as my belief, that, by one year's effort, (under Providence,) he will be instrumental in breaking many thousand fetters, by the impetus which he will give the abolition cause…Friends of the bleeding slave! Surely you will make this generous sacrifice, promising, as it does, to produce, like good seed sown in good ground, at least a hundred fold. Thompson arrived in America in early 1834 and was a powerful voice for emancipation. He served as an anti-slavery lecturer, inspired many to join the abolitionist cause, and was credited with the formation of over 150 anti-slavery societies around the U.S. Thompson's anti-slavery mission and his sarcastic oratorical style caused a major commotion in both the pro-slavery and abolitionist American press. His visit lasted from 1834-1835 and during that time he was denounced by President Jackson, his life was frequently in danger, and he was forced to flee a mob-ridden Boston at the end of 1835. Despite the risks, Thompson returned to America in 1850, following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, and again from 1864-67, working alongside Garrison and President Abraham Lincoln. Together, Thompson and Garrison galvanized the worldwide abolitionist movement, taking unprecedented steps to free enslaved peoples around the world. They were bound together by their cause and became life-long friends, each man naming a child after the other. After the Civil War ended in 1865 and the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, Garrison closed the Liberator and retired from the American Anti-Slavery Society. Garrison and Thompson saw their dreams come to fruition and celebrated with the knowledge that they played an integral role in the emancipation of enslaved Africans. Folded to make a booklet, with stitches still at folds, but sheets separable. Some light staining, usual folds. Excellent condition with text entirely legible.

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January 18, 2024 10:00 AM EST
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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