Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2019 Issue

The Slave Trade from Maggs Bros.

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The Slave Trade.

Maggs Bros. Ltd. is offering a catalogue on The Slave Trade. It was ugly, Europeans forcibly taking people from their homeland to be overworked and brutalized, justified by their need for sugar and the claim that this was appropriate for people not "civilized" like themselves. While the system was created by European nations, the legacy mostly still haunts America. America did not create slavery, but continued to permit it long after its founders, Britain, France, Spain, outlawed it. Whereas the Europeans ended it peaceably, it took America going to war with itself to end the abomination. Here are some of the items concerning this horrible trade and institution, including those from some of the people who took the moral stand against it.

 

The British are generally held accountable for the existence of slavery in America, but the French permitted it in their possessions as well. Item 3 is Le Code Noir ou Edit du Roy... dans la Province & Colonie de la Louisianne. This is the French Black Code, which regulated slavery in French colonies. It was first issued in 1685, but applied only to the Caribbean. This version, enacted in 1724, applied the code to Louisiana. In those days, Louisiana reached all the way to the Canadian border and the American Northwest, but slavery was only present in its southern reaches, including today's Louisiana and Mississippi. It states that slaves cannot gather in crowds, carry weapons, or own property. Slaves who struck their masters and drew blood were to be executed. Owners would be compensated from a slave tax. On the other hand, masters who tortured or mutilated their slaves were only punished by having their slaves confiscated. They were also subjected to fines if they kept their slaves as concubines, unless they married them. Runaway slaves were to have their ears cut off and be branded on the shoulder. The code noir also had punitive clauses for other groups. All Jews were to be expelled from the colonies and slaves of non-Catholic (Protestant) masters could be confiscated. The first African slaves were brought to Louisiana in 1719. This printing, the first separately published code noir and the first applied specifically to Louisiana, was published in 1727. Priced at £12,500 (British pounds, or approximately $15,993 in U.S. currency).

 

Next we have a first edition of a work described as "among the best and most successful examples of abolitionist rhetoric produced in the years leading up to the establishment of a formal abolition movement." The author was Ignatius Sancho, sort of an earlier, British version of Frederick Douglass. Sancho was born a slave, born on a slave ship. He was taken to New Granada, today northern South America. After his mother died and his father killed himself rather than be a slave, Sancho was taken to England at the age of two. He worked for three sisters, but the Duke of Montagu was impressed by his intellect and provided the young man with books. Sancho later escaped the sisters and settled with the Duke's family. Sancho became a literary critic and correspondent, his opinions highly valued. Sancho would later become a successful grocer while corresponding with some of the great artists and writers of the day. While he was not out giving speeches and agitating like Douglass, his letters revealed his support for his enslaved fellow Africans and belief that all persons should be honored and treated equally, regardless of race or religion. After his death, his friends collected Sancho's letters, and in 1782 published the Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African. This book would become an inspiration for the budding abolitionist movement as it showed that Africans had the same capacity for intellectual accomplishment as whites if given the same opportunities, rather than treated as less-than-human property. Item 7. £4,000 (US $5,103).

 

Item 11 is a hand-colored engraving titled British Humanity or African Felicity in the West Indies. The title is meant to be ironic. It is followed by the explanation, "This Plate being a slight Sketch of the Inhuman Punishments inflicted on the Miserable Slaves is taken from an original drawing of a Wipping in the Market Place in the Island of Grenada done upon the spot by the late H. Smeathman Esq." Henry Smeathman was a naturalist who spent several years in the 1770s collecting specimens, primarily on the Banana Islands, just off the coast of Sierra Leone. On his way home, his ship was waylaid by an American vessel during the revolution. He instead ended up spending four years in the Caribbean, whose climate he found similar to Sierra Leone. It was there that Smeathman observed the reality of slavery. Interestingly, though sent on his naturalist studies by anti-slavery Quakers, Smeathman befriended and relied on people in the slave trade for assistance in Africa. Nonetheless, this image shows that he was affected by what he saw. On returning to England, Smeathman was involved in setting up a colony for British Africans in Sierra Leone, to be a place where they could live better than in England. Britain was a less than welcoming host to loyalist American slaves who accompanied British troops out of the country when they lost the war. However, Smeathman died before the colony was established. The caption below Smeathman's image reads, "The Slaves both Male & Female are fastened to four Stake's in the Ground, and lashed till they are hardly able to walk without Assistance. This shocking sight is so common that although it is executed in the Public Market Place, the People buy & sell as though nothing was doing." £5,000 (US $6,385).

 

Slavery was abandoned in Britain in the 18th century, and the nation outlawed the slave trade in 1807. However, slavery continued in the colonies, primarily those in the Caribbean, until finally outlawed in 1833. Item 56 is a copy of the debates in the House of Lords, the most reluctant of bodies to accept that abolition was at hand - West India Colonies. Debate in the House of Lords, April 17th, 1832. The Lords recognized the strong abolitionist sentiments in the nation, but some members expressed concern for merchants and colonists who made their living off the labor of the slaves. Lord Suffield spoke clearly of the appalling cruelty of slavery, and notes, "Is it not an indisputable position that every system, founded on cruelty and injustice, must fail?" £375 (US $477).

 

Item 74 is an apparently unrecorded song sheet concerning the only American execution of a slave trader under the Piracy Law of 1820. It came in 1862. The one and only was Nathaniel Gordon, who filled his ship with almost 900 slaves, mostly children, in 1860. He was captured by an American ship off the African coast and taken to New York for trial. After a first trial ended in a hung jury, Gordon was convicted in the second and sentenced to be hanged. His friends appealed to President Lincoln for a pardon, but all the President would give him was a two-week stay to get his things in order. Lincoln was noted for his mercy in pardoning people, but the monumental cruelty of Gordon's crime was more than he could take. This song sheet is headed The Slaver Gordon, His Dying Soliloquy. This soliloquy probably paints Gordon in a more favorable light than he deserves. It makes him out as a greedy person, but also one consumed by guilt. His conscience should have kicked in a little earlier. £500 (US $635).

 

Maggs Bros. Ltd. may be reached at ++44 (0)20 7493 7160 or travel@maggs.com. Their website is www.maggs.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>New York | June 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Faulkner, William. <i>The Sound and the Fury.</i> New York: Jonathan Cape, [1929]. First edition in dust jacket. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Trautz-Bauzonnet bindery. Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Thompson, Kay. <i>Eloise at Christmastime.</i> New York: Random House, [1958]. First edition. In custom binding by Asprey. $2,000 to $3,000
    <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>New York | June 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. $2,000 to $3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Taylor, Deems. <i>Walt Disney’s Fantasia.</i> New York: 1940. In custom binding by Asprey. $2,500 to $3,500
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Shakespeare’s Sonnets, In Two Parts,</i> limited Saint Dunstan edition, Oxford University Press, 1901. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. $18,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b><br>Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b><br>Ian Fleming, <i>The Man with the Golden Gun,</i> first edition, first state with the dust jacket, London, 1965. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>The Voyage Out,</i> first American edition of the author’s first book, in rare dust jacket, NY, 1920. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Gabriel García Márquez, <i>Cien años de soledad,</i> Buenos Aires, 1967. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Mary Mapes Dodge, <i>Along the Way,</i> first edition, author’s copy, annotated in her hand, NY, 1879. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> <i>The Dial: A Monthly Magazine for Literature, Philosophy and Religion,</i> first edition, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy, Cincinnati, 1860. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Gaston Leroux, <i>The Phantom of the Opera,</i> first American edition, first printing, New York, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Walt Whitman, <i>Leaves of Grass,</i> signed, Camden, 1876. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: Fine Books and Manuscripts. May 1, 2019</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> WRIGHT, Wilbur -- WRIGHT, Orville. Photograph signed. 128 x 177 mm, black and white. Taken for Collier's Weekly by James H. ("Jimmy") Hare. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> WRIGHT, Wilbur -- WRIGHT, Orville. Typed document signed, New York, NY, 18 November 1909. A founding document in the history of aviation: the certificate of incorporation for the Wright Company. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> LINCOLN, Mary Todd. Personal monogrammed handkerchief. Square linen handkerchief, silk border, "ML" monogram to one corner, 11 1/8 x 11 1/4 in. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: Fine Books and Manuscripts. May 1, 2019</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> TRUMAN, Harry S. Broadside signed, as President, 8 May 1945. Truman's V-E Day proclamation. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> WASHINGTON, Martha Dandridge Custis, First Lady. Autograph free frank signed on integral cover sheet. One of four surviving free franks by Martha Washington. $30,000 to $40,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> DALI, Salvador, illustrator. -- DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge. <i>Alice in Wonderland.</i> New York: W.U.C.U.A. and Maecenas Press - Random House, 1969. Limited edition, signed by Dali. $3,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: Fine Books and Manuscripts. May 1, 2019</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> CHURCHILL, Winston Spencer. <i>Lord Randolph Churchill.</i> London: Macmillan and Co., 1906. First edition, presentation copy to his valet, inscribed. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> DICKENS, Charles. <i>Great Expectations.</i> London: Chapman and Hall, 1861. First edition, 3 vols. Vol. I second issue, vol. II first issue, vol. III third issue. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ("Lewis Carroll"). <i>Sylvie and Bruno. -Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.</i> London: Macmillan, 1889, 1893. First editions, inscribed presentation copies. 2 works in 2 vols. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: Fine Books and Manuscripts. May 1, 2019</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> KEULEN, Gerard van. <i>Nieuwe Wassende Graaden Paskaart Vertoonende alle de Bekende Zeekusten en…</i> [Amsterdam, ca 1720]. Important 18th century world map depicting California as an island. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> ALHAZEN [Abu 'Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham]. <i>Opticae thesaurus.</i> Translated from Arabic into Latin. First edition of Alhazen’s classic work on optics and vision. $18,000 to $25,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, May 1:</b> GALILEI, Galileo. <i>Systema cosmicum... in quo quatuor dialogis…</i> Translated from Italian by Matthias Bernegger. Strasbourg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevirs [at Leiden], 1635. First Latin edition. $6,000 to $8,000

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