Picture of Slavery

SLAVERY   |   George BOURNE

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"SLAVERY EXTINGUISHES ALL THE RIGHTS OF MAN… THE GREATEST OF ALL TYRANNIES": FIRST BOSTON EDITION OF ABOLITIONIST BOURNE'S NOTORIOUS PICTURE OF SLAVERY, 1838, WITH ELEVEN WOODCUT-ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS, RARE IN ORIGINAL CLOTH

(BOURNE, George). Picture of Slavery. Boston: Isaac Knapp, 1838. Octavo, original green cloth, original printed paper spine label; pp. (1-4), 5-227, (228), (blank leaf).

First Boston edition, issued by famed abolitionist Isaac Knapp, of Bourne's provocative work, preceded only by the 1834 Middleton, CT. first edition, this incendiary antebellum work is by the controversial minister who was expelled from the church for verbally attacking ministers and slave-owners in his congregation--"one of the first radical abolitionists"--featuring eleven woodcut-engraved illustrations of slavery's “appalling and atrocious criminality," exceptional in unrestored original cloth.

"Bourne was a crucial figure in the history of the antislavery movement… One of the first radical abolitionists… he was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833) and a frequent contributor to Garrison's famous paper The Liberator" (ANB). Born in England, Bourne emigrated to the U.S. in 1804. Following a brief career as a journalist, the provocative white abolitionist moved Virginia, "where he became active as a Presbyterian pastor… Bourne was shocked by his encounter with slavery as it was actually practiced, and these personal experiences, combined with his familiarity with the contemporary British struggle against the slave trade, led him to a total rejection of slavery" (Murray, in American Presbyterians). "Between 1810 and 1815 he began excluding slave owners from his congregation… [and] charged ministers who owned slaves at the time of their ordination with violating church rules… In response to his attacks, the Lexington Presbytery dissolved his congregation and commenced a three-year campaign that resulted in Bourne's expulsion from the church. In 1816 he published Book and Slavery Irreconcilable, the first sustained examination of the relationship between slavery and the Bible in the U.S." (ANB).

"At the National Antislavery Society meeting in Philadelphia on December 4, 1833, Bourne was chosen as one of three delegates to prepare: 'a synopsis of Wesley's Thoughts on Slavery (1774)" (Princeton University) and, as a major leader in that "first decade of insurgent abolitionism," the following year he issued an extensively revised and expanded version of Book and Slavery in the first edition of Picture of Slavery in the United States" (Clark, in Journal of American History). "Bourne's attack on slavery was bold… but no one knew better than he the relentless fashion in which the slave power was silencing its critics, and he retaliated in kind" (Dumond, 93). Especially radical are this work's eleven woodcut-engraved illustrations that indict slavery's "appalling and atrocious criminality," and depict both men and women torturing and whipping enslaved people. Picture of Slavery particularly denounces the hypocrisy of Southern "ministers of the gospel, so called, of nearly all denominations." Bourne also records the torture and murder of the enslaved who fought back, and attacks the 1787 U.S. Constitution's Fugitive Slave Clause, writing: "Slavery extinguishes all the rights of man… the greatest of all tyrannies." First Boston edition, issued by famed abolitionist publisher Isaac Knapp, co-founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society and longtime printer of Garrison's newspaper, The Liberator. Second edition overall: preceded by the exceedingly rare 1834 Middletown, CT. first edition. With plate five present at page 100 (instead of page 95), as in the first edition; without half title. Including a lengthy Appendix, which features a printing of his 1833 "Declaration of the Anti Slavery Convention." Sabin 6921. See Blockson 9466.

Interior generally fresh with faint occasional marginal dampstaining. A very elusive near-fine copy in original cloth.

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