1862 Autograph Letter Signed "Joshua R. Giddings" (5 1/4" x 8") two conjoined pages, separate sheets with postscript signed "J R G" -- folds, soiling, slight separation at two folds, on rare pictorial stationery of the UNITED STATES CONSULATE GENERAL, British North American Provinces...Montreal, December 8th 1862 -- written about 17 months before his death.
-- "My Dear Wife: I have just recd a dispatch from the State department on other business but no answer to my application for Leave of absence is yet received and I shall say nothing more on the subject short of one or two weeks and you must not expect me home before the last week of this month or short of two weeks. I feel very anxious about you & the girls and shall go home without leave pretty soon if I fail to obtain it. The weather is now cold and dry. The thermometer at Zero. The houses white with frost all day. Mens' beards filled with ice from their breath and the severe weather of a Montreal winter is on us. In the mean time, my ... pains have mostly ceased and at no time have I experienced any pain in the region of the heart and I am now in better health every way except those sciatic pains there I have been for years and should enjoy life well except for anxiety ... Tell Laura or Maria to write me all about things soon as you get this. Love to all affectionately, Joshua R Giddings -- PS I have directed Lysander to send you and Molly each a set of Tins. JRG"
BACKGROUND: Joshua R. Giddings of Ohio was elected as a Whig to the 25th Congress to fill a vacancy and was sworn in on December 3, 1838. In November 1841, the 135 enslaved African Americans on board the ship Creole overpowered the crew, murdering one man, while sailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to New Orleans, Louisiana. They sailed the vessel to Nassau, Bahamas, where the British declared most of them free. Congressman Giddings argued that once the ship was outside of U.S. territorial waters, the African Americans were entitled to their liberty and that any attempt to re-enslave them would be unconstitutional. A vote of censure was passed upon him by the House of Representatives in response to his motion in defense of the slave mutineers in the Creole case. Abolitionist Joshua R. Giddings resigned, but his constituents quickly reelected him and sent him back to Congress. Throughout his 20 years of service, Giddings used the floor of the U.S. Congress to debate the issues of slavery. The Giddings' home in Jefferson, Ohio served as a station on the Underground Railroad before and after his election to Congress. On March 25, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Giddings as the U.S. Consul General to the British North American Provinces [Canada]. This is where the above letter was written. He served until his death in Montreal on May 27, 1864.
-- Hard-to-find First Edition book by Joshua R. Giddings -- The Exiles of Florida: Or, The Crimes Committed By Our Government Against the Maroons, Who Fled From South Carolina and Other Slave States, Seeking protection Under Spanish Laws. Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company, 1858. Inscribed by W.T. Coggeshall. 338 pages. Brown cloth covers. The covers are soiled, rubbed, and worn. The contents are bright and complete.
BACKGROUND: During the early part of the nineteenth century, the United States conducted a brutal campaign to re-enslave Blacks who escaped slavery and found freedom in Native American settlements in Florida. Giddings told the truth as he documents the struggle waged by these brave Africans and their Native American hosts. An early indictment of slaveocracy, The Exiles of Florida is an account of the Florida Wars, which were waged by U.S. forces against an unoffending community of Blacks and Native Americans. Both groups were viewed as a threat to the status quo and the expansionist anthem of an emerging United States.
-- Scarce first edition copy of Correspondence Between Mr. Webster And Lord Ashburton: 1. On Mcleod's Case. 2.The Creole Case 3.The Subject Of Impressment. printed in Washington, DC 1842. 32 pages. Stitched. Interior remains tight, clean and compete.
BACKGROUND: The Creole case was the result of a slave rebellion in 1841 on board the Creole, a ship involved in the United States coastwise slave trade. The trade flourished for a half century or longer. In 1841, a brig named Creole (also known as USS Creole) was transporting 135 slaves between Hampton Roads, Virginia and New Orleans. Led by Madison Washington, nineteen slaves on board the Creole revolted, and directed the ship to be taken to Nassau on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, then a British colony. During the slave revolt a white slave trader, John Hewell, was killed, and a slave died later of heavy wounds. According to international law, the slave revolt on this ship was not piracy, but a mutiny, and fell under the jurisdiction of the local authority where the crime occurred. The Creole case generated diplomatic tension between Great Britain and the United States, and political rumblings within the United States itself. The Creole revolt ignited the attack on slavery by northern abolitionists in 1842. In a New York Evangelist newspaper story, “The Hero Mutineers,” Madison Washington was named the ‘romantic hero.’ This is so because Madison showed his empathy towards the white crew members on the Creole. He stopped his fellow slave mates from murdering them, and even dressed the sailors’ wounds after the revolt. Secretary of State Daniel Webster stated that the slaves were legal properties and demanded their return. By this time, Great Britain had ended slavery in its nation and its colonies, so the British ignored the US claim. Representative Joshua Reed Giddings of Ohio introduced a series of nine resolutions in the United States House of Representatives that argued that Virginia state law did not apply to slaves outside of Virginian waters, and that the US federal government should not act to protect the rights of the slaveholders in this case. The resolutions provoked strong emotions. The House censured Giddings, who promptly resigned. The voters of Ohio reelected him soon afterwards.
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