"THE DEATH OF JOHN BROWN IS THE BEGINNING OF THE END": FIRST EDITION OF ECHOES OF HARPER’S FERRY, 1860, PUBLISHED THE YEAR AFTER THE RAID AND THE EXECUTION OF JOHN BROWN BY JOURNALIST JAMES REDPATH, ONE OF BROWN'S "SECRET SIX"
(BROWN, John) REDPATH, James. Echoes of Harper's Ferry. Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, 1860. Octavo, original brown cloth recased, original pale yellow endpapers retained. $2800.
First edition of one of the very first books on John Brown's Raid, edited and authored by controversial journalist James Redpath, one of Brown's "Secret Six," with major writings by Emerson and Thoreau, abolitionists Theodore Parker, Wendell Phillips, George Cheever and others, along with extensive Brown correspondence, together in book form for the first time, in original cloth.
Redpath, who emigrated from Scotland, early worked as a reporter for Greeley's New York Tribune. Traveling through the South in the mid-1850s, he became an outspoken abolitionist who also reported for Garrison's Liberator, as well as Missouri and Chicago newspapers. One of John Brown's "Secret Six," Redpath was "dedicated to helping Brown." After the raid and Brown's capture, Redpath also "became involved in an abortive plot to rescue him from the Charles Town, Virginia jail." In 1860, following Brown's execution, he published Echoes of Harper's Ferry and Public Life of John Brown. His journalism and close involvement in the events also offer a rare glimpse into "the intricacies of 19th-century American reform movements, the evolution of the press" and the "volatile relationship between politics and the press" (Boyd, James Redpath, 35-37). In his preface Redpath notes the research that generated Echoes, which contains Brown's wide-ranging prison correspondence, writings by Emerson and Thoreau, and by major abolitionists such as Theodore Parker, Lydia Maria Child and Garrison, along with George Cheever's account of Brown's trial and execution, which notes: "the death of John Brown is the beginning of the end." The book's Appendix, as well, contains Redpath's extensive reportage. First edition, first printing frontipiece of Brown with printed signature in facsimile, individual essays with printed signatures in facsimile, rear leaf of publisher's advertisement. Sabin 68524. Howes R119. Work, 350. Owner signatures. Tiny bit of marginalia to Contents.
Interior generally fresh with inner paper hinges expertly reinforced, expert restoration to original cloth. A very good copy, especially scarce.