Handbill ["It is a sentiment long felt, and often expressed, that something should be undertaken on behalf of Emigrants…"]

James MOFFITT

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Item#: 45339 price:$1,600.00

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SCARCE 1817 HANDBILL ADVOCATING A GRANT OF LAND IN ILLINOIS AS A “HABITATION” FOR IRISH IMMIGRANTS

(MOFFITT, James). Handbill ["It is a sentiment long felt, and often expressed, that something should be undertaken on behalf of Emigrants…"]. (New York: no printer, dated Nov. 18, 1817). Folded half-sheet, measuring 15-3/4 by 10-1/4 inches; pp. [2]. $1600.

First edition of this printed handbill advocating public support of a petition to Congress for a grant of land in the Illinois Territory, “where the Irish Emigrant might procure to himself immediate shelter and subsistence.”

In 19th-century America, "Irish immigrants presented a particular problem. They were often illiterate and impoverished" (Smith III:746-47). In response to the degradation of Irish immigrants in the port cities, this open letter (signed in type by James Moffitt and ten others) seeks public support for a petition to Congress aimed at establishing a safe haven in Illinois where Irish immigrants could settle—rather than "remain in the sea-ports, until becoming victims of bad counsel, and bad example, they lose the pure and honest energies with which they left their native land, and suffer worse than shipwreck in the ruin of their moral qualities." Ultimately, Illinois—without a safe haven—became one of the most Irish states in the country. As Irish immigrants flocked to Illinois, they made lasting contributions, even in the face of widespread discrimination, to the state's many industries through its stockyards, steel mills, and lumber yards. Not in Shaw & Shoemaker. Manuscript docketing in contemporary hand.

Only a few short marginal tears along folds. Scarce.

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