Proceedings of the General Anti-Slavery Convention


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(SLAVERY). Proceedings of the General Anti-Slavery Convention, Called by the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, and Held in London, from Friday, June 12th, to Tuesday, June 23rd, 1840. London: British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841. Octavo, original cloth rebacked and recornered in modern brown calf gilt, raised bands, black morocco spine label. $2600.

First edition, presentation copy, of the proceedings of the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention, with a presentation bookplate from the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society to Abney House, a Wesleyan training college.

"The calling of a 'General Anti-Slavery Convention' to meet in London in June, 1840, represented an attempt to strengthen and enlarge the crusade against slavery by drawing together into one combined effort the abolitionist forces of the mid-19th century; and the meeting itself, commonly known… as the World's Anti-Slavery Convention, marked the beginning of the sustained movement toward international organization which had led to today's extensive network of world conferences and international agencies. The Convention is perhaps best known for its dispute over the admission of women delegates. Its decision to exclude female abolitionists dramatized the discrimination [they were eventually allowed to spectate from the balcony, but were denied participation] and caused Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to resolve to hold a woman's rights convention [Seneca Falls], thus making it the starting point for the woman suffrage movement. Of more immediate significance, however, was the role of the London Convention in the anti-slavery struggle of the day" (Maynard, "The World's Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840"). The convention was initiated by Joseph Sturge, a British Quaker whose 1837 fact-finding trip to the West Indian led to the emancipation of colonial slaves. The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society arranged the logistics. The convention, mainly attended by the British, was considered to be a huge success. The attendees presented letters to religious leaders and sovereigns of slave-trading nations, accusing them of condoning slavery. The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society thereafter explicitly devoted itself to "the universal extinction of slavery and the slave trade and the protection of the rights and interests of the enfranchised population in the British possessions and of all persons captured as slaves." A contemporary review wrote about this work: "Our heartiest commendation. Of the interest and importance of its contents, we cannot speak too highly. It is devoted to the purest of all objects, and breathes throughout every page the most generous and Christian-hearted sympathy with the children of oppression and wretchedness. The extensive circulation of such a work, while favourable to the immediate object of the convention, cannot fail to strength the benevolent affections of our nature, and to cherish a spirit of enlarged, single-minded, and active philanthropy. We tender our best thanks to the committee, under whose superintendence it has been produced" (Eclectic Review 11:75, 47). Kress 32407. This copy bears an engraved presentation bookplate from the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (with members including Pitt, Wilberforce, Buxton, Clarkson, etc.)—the main organizer of the World's Anti-Slavery Convention—to the library at Abney House, the first premises to be used as a Wesleyan training college (from 1838 to its destruction in 1843). The Quaker scientist and abolitionist William Allen helped to found a girls' academy at Fleetwood House, a property directly neighboring Abney House. The book appears to have been moved to the Wesleyan Theological Institution library at Richmond, where the Wesleyan college moved after its 1843 demolition, and bear the Wesleyan Theological Institution's bookplate, slightly overlapping the presentation bookplate. Library stamp of Richmond College Library on top of marginal edge of presentation bookplate.

A few spots of foxing mainly to text block edges, light wear to original boards. Near-fine condition.

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