"A BATTLE IS IN PROGRESS BETWEEN LIBERTY AND SLAVERY": FIRST EDITION OF RUFUS CLARK'S AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE, 1860
CLARK, Rufus W., Rev. The African Slave Trade. Boston: American Tract Society, (1860). Small octavo (4-1/2 by 7 inches), original blind-stamped brown cloth rebacked with original spine laid down. $2200.
First edition of the American abolitionist's passionate argument against slavery and attempts to reopen the African slave trade, published in Boston shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, in original cloth with covers displaying the initials of the American Tract Society.
In 1860 Reverend Clark published this "influential book against the movement to revive the African slave trade. Clark recounted the evils of the transatlantic slave trade and its devastating effects on African nations… Americans, he wrote, had 'retrograded' from the revolutionary generation's desire to end slavery by tolerating and encouraging the system of southern servitude" (Sinha, Counterrevolution of Slavery, 180). Clark passionately warns that with the restoration of the transatlantic slave trade, "the flames of animosity would be kindled over the whole country… No greater calamity could befall us." Calling on Founding Fathers such as Franklin, the works of abolitionists such as Wilberforce, Granville Sharp, Clarkson and George Fox, and citing newspaper reports of the day, his book covers a broad sweep of economic, political and moral consequences. In addition to perpetuating the brutality of slavery, a reopening of the slave trade would "end all hope of future emancipation, and—prophetically—divide and dissolve the nation. Clark's book was published, in fact, just prior to establishment of the Confederacy and the outbreak of the Civil War" (Conrad, In the Hands of Strangers, 455). First edition: in brown cloth (this copy) and blue cloth, no priority established. Sabin 13357. Hogg, African Slave Trade 90.
Text quite fresh, expert restoration to original cloth. A desirable near-fine copy of a very elusive anti-slavery work.