"ONE OF THE MOST VIGOROUS OF THE WRITINGS TO APPEAR IN THAT CONTROVERSY": LUNDY'S ANTI-SLAVERY, ANTI-TEXAS PAMPHLET, THE WAR IN TEXAS, SCARCE 1836 FIRST EDITION
(TEXAS) (SLAVERY) [LUNDY, Benjamin]. The War in Texas; a Review of Facts and Circumstances, Showing that this Contest is a Crusade Against Mexico… Philadelphia: for the Author, by Merrihew and Gunn, 1836. Slim octavo, later green buckram; pp. 56, . $2200.
First edition of Quaker abolitionist Benjamin Lundy's spirited anti-slavery argument protesting Texas' aggression against Mexico, "showing that this contest is a crusade against Mexico set on foot and supported by slaveholders, land speculators, etc., in order to re-establish, extend and perpetuate the system of slavery and the slave trade."
Lundy was "a pioneer in the organization of anti-slavery societies and in the publication of an anti-slavery newspaper [Genius of Universal Emancipation], and was the most active figure in the whole movement during the 20s" (ANB). Lundy spent years seeking a place for freed slaves to settle, including areas of Texas then under control of Mexico. With President Andrew Jackson viewing Texas annexation as "an essential element of American expansion" (Wilentz, Rise of American Democracy, 435), Lundy led the opposition. War in Texas, "fortified with careful personal observations gleaned from three trips to Texas in 1832, 1833, and 1834… was one of the most vigorous of the writings to appear in that controversy" (Eberstadt). Certain the annexation cause was led by pro-slavery forces, Lundy "doubtless supplied John Quincy Adams with much of the information concerning the Texas situation which he used so effectively in his speeches to Congress" (Raines, 141). The "first to ascribe this war to a slave-holding conspiracy" (Howes), abolitionists, who were "riveted by Lundy's account of the Texas revolution as a slaveholders' uprising, saw annexation as the latest southern subterfuge to augment slavery's control of the federal government" (Wilentz, 560). While Howes calls this an "enlarged edition" of Lundy's pamphlet The Origin and True Causes of the Texas Insurrection, also published in 1836, that 32-page pamphlet was a reprinting of eight articles written by Lundy under the pseudonym Columbus and published in the Philadelphia National Gazette. This 56-page pamphlet, while similar in its aims, is a different text. (A second edition of The War in Texas, enlarged to 64 pages, appeared in 1837.). Sabin 95134. Streeter Texas 1217. Howes L569. Eberstadt 162:504. Bookplate of New Hampshire Historical Society; accession number in blank upper margin of first text leaf.
Errata leaf at rear trimmed along the outer margin, affecting a letter or two on each line. Text clean, binding fine. An exceptionally good copy of this scarce first edition.