"THE SYSTEM, TOO, IS GETTING WORSE; THE CHAINS OF THE SLAVE ARE GETTING TIGHTER AND MORE GALLING": FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF LETTERS FROM THE SLAVES STATES, 1857
STIRLING, James. Letters from the Slave States. London: John W. Parker and Son, 1857. Octavo, 19th-century three-quarter green calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, red morocco spine label, marbled boards and edges. $1250.
First edition, presentation copy, of this travel narrative of Stirling's journey through the slave states, with frontispiece map featuring the author's route hand-drawn in red, inscribed: "To John Tennant Esq with the author's kind regards," handsomely bound.
Letters from the Slave States offers the observations of a 19th-century British man traveling through the slave states prior to the Civil War. Stirling offers "a critical and sometimes biased picture of the American way of life. While he made the traditional statement that the south was made up of rich planters and poor white trash, he acknowledged the presence of yeoman farmers and asserted that these middle-class people operated slavery in its mildest form" (Clark III:498). The work is notable for its descriptions of the horrifying treatment of slaves, including inexcusable acts of brutality. Sabin 91845. Howes S-1012. Work, 292. Bookplate of Lady Marguerite Tennant of Broadoaks, second wife of the wealth industrialist, Sir Charles Tennant, 1st Baronet. Notably, the bookplate features her famous Stradivarius, now known as the Lady Tennant Stradivarius. Armorial bookplate of John Tennant, possibly Marguerite Tennant's brother-in-law.
Inscription page trimmed closely touching top edge of inscription, light foxing mainly to endpapers and blanks, a bit of wear and toning to extremities of binding. Extremely good condition.