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Impending Crisis

HELPER Hinton Rowan "HELPER, Hinton Rowan. The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It. New-York: A. B. Burdick, 1860. Octavo, modern half brown morocco gilt, raised bands. $1850.Enlarged edition of the controversial white Southerner's argument for the economic and political rights of nonslaveholding whites—arguably "the most important single book, in terms of its political impact, that has ever been published in the U.S."—more hated in the South than Uncle Tom's Cabin and a decisive factor in Lincoln's presidential campaign, inscribed, "Andreas Willmann, with the compliments of the author, H.R. Helper. New York, Jun 6, 1860."On the eve of the Civil War, probably only John Brown's name was more reviled by southerners than Hinton Rowan Helper's, and few would have shed tears if he had suffered the same fate" (Brown, Southern Outcast, 2). Yet Helper claimed Impending Crisis, his most famous work, was primarily an economic and political argument for the rights of nonslaveholding southern whites like himself. Unable to find a southern publisher, in 1857 he moved to New York, where he "offered to give it away. Since commercial publishers feared they would lose southern trade if they published such a book, he gave a bond protecting his publisher against loss. Finally, in June 1857, the first version of Impending Crisis appeared. It was a book that would eventually reach more Americans than any work of nonfiction at the time" (Hobson, Tell About the South, 51). The book quickly "caused a major furor so much so that George Fredrickson believes that 'it would not be difficult to make a case for Impending Crisis as the most important single book, in terms of its political impact, that has ever been published in the U.S.' Few scholars would dispute Hugh Lefler's verdict that it was 'probably the most caustic, scathing and vituperative criticism of slavery and slaveholders ever written'" (Brown, 2-3). Highlighting the book's extraordinary impact, "Stewart Holbrook stated, 'No one, so far as records show, was ever hanged for owning a copy of Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, or even arrested. Such was not the case with Impending Crisis: Men were hanged for possessing this book. Many more men were mobbed, and the legislature of the South passed laws specifically forbidding its sale, purchase and even its possession' [emphasis in original] Even though he shared the racism of the slave owners, his advocacy of ridding the South of slavery was not to be tolerated" (Bosmajian, Burning Books, 161). "Although Helper had envisaged that his book would convert southern nonslaveholders, it appears that his arguments hit home the hardest with the northern electorate" (Brown, 188). The book "confirmed many northerners in their belief that the introduction of slavery anywhere would deprive white workers and farmers of economic opportunities, but its impact on southern opinion was even greater [inflaming] class conflict among southern whites," and prompting Lincoln's Republican Party to use it in the presidential campaign to sway the white majority. "Although Helper was sometimes described as an abolitionist who had seen the error of his ways, his racist views of the Reconstruction era did not in fact contradict his earlier antislavery writings. He had attacked slavery for the harm it allegedly did to whites, not out of sympathy for blacks" (ANB). With final publisher's advertisement leaf. First published in 1857. Sabin 31271. Howes H400. Blockson 9545. Dumond, 353. A fine copy."
  • $1,850
  • $1,850
book (2)

Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden

THOREAU Henry David "THOREAU, Henry David. Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden. Concord, Massachusetts, 1854. One leaf, measuring eight by ten inches, writing in ink on recto and verso, window mounted housed in a custom portfolio. $39,000.A wonderful item: an original autograph manuscript leaf from Henry David Thoreau's masterpiece, Walden, including passages from the chapter "Higher Laws" where Thoreau discusses his moral ambivalence about fishing, and another from the "Baker's Farm" chapter that also features fishing.This autograph manuscript leaf contains passages from at least two chapters of Walden. The first paragraph can be found in the "Baker's Farm" chapter, where at one point Thoreau takes shelter from the weather with an Irish farmer, John Field. The passage reads: " I trust he does not hear this:—thinking to live by some derivative old-country mode in this primitive new country — to catch perch with shiners. With his horizon all his own, yet he a poor man, born to be poor, with his inherited Irish poverty or poor life, his Adam's grandmother and boggy ways, not to rise in this world, he nor his posterity, till their wading webbed bog-trotting feet get talaria to their heels." This is followed by the text from the beginning of the next chapter, "Higher Laws," contrasting physical and spiritual existence, and part of a later section that continues that same theme but with a focus on fishing: "As I came home through the woods with my string of fish, trailing my pole along, when the world had waxed dark, I glimpsed a woodchuck dark across my path, and felt a strange flush of savage delight and was strongly tempted to seize and devour it raw. The wildest most desolate scenes had become strangely fam[iliar] to me. Thus it is I find predominantly in me an instinct to a higher and more spiritual life than the common and also another inclining to a primitive and savage life, and I reverence them both alike. I find continually that I cannot fish without falling a little in my own respect. I have tried it again [and] again. I have skill at it—a certain instinct for it which revives from time to time, [but] always when I have done—I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. I think I am not mistaken. It is a faint intimation—yet so are the first streaks of morning. It tempts me because it's a means of having arguments with nature—not only with fishes, but with ___ and water and scenery. Which I should not otherwise see under the same aspects " Math equations in pencil. presumably in another hand, upside down at the bottom of the verso.Leaf with loss to some edges, just touching text at one point. A very rare leaf from an original Walden manuscript with exceptional content."
  • $39,000
  • $39,000
book (2)

Autograph letter signed

WHITMAN Walt "WHITMAN, Walt. Autograph letter signed "Walt." Camden (431 Stevens St.), May 2, (1875). Octavo, two pages on single sheet, to John Burroughs, with original envelope in Whitman's hand. $15,000.Fine autograph letter signed from Walt Whitman to naturalist John Burroughs, his close friend and protégé.The letter reads in full: "Dear John Burroughs, I send you a letter that I rec'd from Dowden [the Irish literary critic], as you are alluded to. I have written to Dowden, to-day, & sent it off, & have given him your address— so I suppose he will send you the books alluded to. Mine have arived— Dowden advances, expands, or rather penetrates— the first two chapters of his Shakespeare, (which I have read thoroughly) are very fine— (I have underlined passages on every page)— the Victor Hugo I have not yet read— Nothing very different with me— I am pretty strong yet, & go out— but head, stomach & liver, all in a bad way, & seems as if nothing could bring them round. Have rec'd a long & good letter from Rossetti which I will show you when you come. How are you getting along?— How is `Sula? Love to both— bright here to-day, but cold, & every thing frightfully backward. Walt. You may return Dowden's letter to me, when you write— but no hurry." With an autograph envelope addressed to Burroughs in Whitman's hand. This letter is printed in The Collected Writings of Walt Whitman, Miller, Volume 2, pp. 331-2. The young John Burroughs first met Whitman in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War and quickly became close to the poet, initially considering him something of a guru who could do no wrong; Burroughs' first book, in 1871, was the adoring Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person, the drafts of which Whitman read and commented on at every stage. In later years, Burroughs would build a cabin in the woods in West Park, New York, not far from Poughkeepsie, and took to referring to the land around it as "Whitman Land": "It was in these woods that he'd walked with Walt during the poet's frequent visits to West Park in the late 1870s," and Burroughs was in the habit of speaking "to his guests as much about Whitman as he did about birds and wildflowers Burroughs would stand on the steps of the cabin, a worn copy of Leaves of Grass in his hands, and recite 'Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking'" (Renehan, John Burroughs: American Naturalist, 183). Burroughs was also a frequent visitor at Whitman's house in Camden, and they remained close until the end of Whitman's life. "Rossetti" was William Michael Rossetti, the influential English editor and brother of the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and poet Christina Rossetti. Rossetti—and his 1868 edition of Leaves of Grass, which Whitman considered "a horrible dismemberment of my book"—was an essential force in encouraging appreciation for Whitman in England."
  • $15,000
  • $15,000
book (2)

Document signed

ADAMS John ADAMS, John. Document signed. Philadelphia, January 14, 1799. Folio, original vellum leaf (measures 13 by 14-1/2 inches), printed and completed in manuscript on the recto, docketed in manuscript hand on the verso. Handsomely matted and framed; entire piece measures 21 by 23 inches. $16,000.Rare original bounty land warrant, signed by President John Adams on January 14, 1799 alongside the affixed Seal of the United States, deeding ownership of 500 acres on the Ohio frontier to pioneer William Lytle: this impressive deed, printed on vellum and also signed by Timothy Pickering, Secretary of State, tracing a history back to acreage originally granted four men for military service—one a Virginia private in the Revolutionary War, and others "all soldiers for three years."Throughout the Revolutionary War, "the United States and several of the original states used land bounties to attract enlistments," essential to an army faced with scant financial resources and scores of untrained recruits (National Archives). Virginia, which raised 16 regiments for the Continental Army, was among the colonies that offered "large bounties to those who would enlist and serve for three years or during the war" (History of Union County). Revolutionary War soldiers were to receive 200 acres, and those with three years service, 100 acres. In general these warrants "could only be used in military districts, for lands now principally in Ohio and several other eastern and central public land states" (National Archives). As stated on this original deed, signed by President John Adams and dated January 14, 1799, Congress passed an Act on August 10, 1790 "to enable the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia Line on the Continental Establishment to obtain titles to certain lands lying north-west of the River Ohio, between the little Miami and Sciota; and another Act of the said Congress passed on the 9th day of June in the year 1794" to amend that Act. These deeds would fundamentally aid the new and rapidly expanding nation to "establish a record of military service or reveal that the claimant settled a location before it was annexed by the United States."Though "many of the earliest warrants were lost in fires in the War Department," this rare presidential document survived to trace the story of 500 acres in Ohio originally warranted to four soldiers: Jonathan Tinsley, a Revolutionary soldier awarded 200 acres for serving in Colonel Nathaniel Gist's Virginia Regiment, and three soldiers (each awarded 100 acres) for service of three years. History tells us that "most of the Revolutionary War bounty land warrants were sold or assigned by the soldiers or warranties to others" (National Archives), a practice evidenced in this document that details land passing through several hands and ultimately deeded to William Lytle, son of a Revolutionary war colonel. Lytle's family, "distinguished for its martial spirit," would include members of Andrew Jackson's administration and Congressional representatives, as well as Civil War soldier and poet William Haines Lytle (DAB). A portion of Lytle's land was sold to frontiersman Daniel Collier, who served in the War of 1812. Signed by John Adams on the lower right corner, affixed with the Seal of the United States. With inked notation in manuscript hand, dated 1798, and docketed on the verso. Signatures large and fine. Light soiling at edges, faint creasing along fold lines of this near-fine presidential document. A rare historical record of America's Revolutionary history, handsomely framed.
  • $16,000
  • $16,000
book (2)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

CARROLL Lewis "CARROLL, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan, 1866. Octavo, mid-20th century full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, all edges gilt. $14,500.First authorized English edition of Carroll’s cherished romp through the realm of nonsense, illustrated with 42 engravings by John Tenniel, handsomely bound by Riviere & Son, with original cloth-gilt at rear."More than a flare of genius," Alice's Adventures in Wonderland "was the spiritual volcano of children's books" (Darton, 260). "Historians of children's literature universally agree that [its] publication marks the liberation of children's books from the restraining hand of the moralists" (Carpenter & Prichard, 102). A mesmerizing masterpiece of comic nonsense, Alice also demonstrates Carroll's gift for recognizing "the child's inner fears, wishes, intelligence and imagination. He unleashed thousands of children's minds and invited them to laugh" (Silvey, 124). "It is, in a word, a book of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete" (Sir Walter Besant). First published and authorized English edition, preceded only by the extraordinarily rare suppressed 1865 London edition, of which only about 20 copies are known to exist, and the scarce New York edition of 1866. Lewis Carroll Handbook 46. Lewis Carroll at Texas 3. See PMM 354. Bookplate. Newspaper clipping laid in.A bit of foxing to front blank endpapers only. A beautifully bound copy with the original cloth bound in."
  • $14,500
  • $14,500
Yankee in Canada

Yankee in Canada

THOREAU Henry David THOREAU, Henry David. A Yankee in Canada, With Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866. Octavo, original gilt-stamped brown cloth. $3000.First edition, first printing, containing the first book appearance of Thoreau's widely influential essay "Civil Disobedience." One of only 1500 copies printed, in original cloth.In the summer of 1846, tax collector Samuel Staples arrested Thoreau for his refusal to pay the poll tax, interrupting Thoreau's tranquil residence at Walden Pond for a day (until Thoreau's aunt surreptitiously paid the amount due, freeing her nephew). Thoreau had not paid the tax for several years, as a form of protest against slavery and the government's recent declaration of war against Mexico, which Thoreau considered to be a land-grabbing scheme of Southern slaveholders. The townspeople were so curious about Thoreau's refusal and imprisonment that he felt compelled to explain his actions in a public lecture in January 1848. The text of this lecture first appeared in the journal Aesthetic Papers as "Resistance to Civil Government" in 1849; it is here collected for the first time in book form under its famous title "Civil Disobedience." Thoreau's idea of passive but firm resistance to government has had a profound influence on countless revolutionaries and reformers, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. among them. Many of the other essays and speeches in Yankee in Canada express Thoreau's increasingly strong support for the abolitionist cause, including "Slavery in Massachusetts," "A Plea for Captain John Brown," and "The Last Days of John Brown." This posthumously published anthology was edited by Transcendentalist poet William Ellery Channing and Thoreau's younger sister Sophia, who mistakenly included the piece "Prayers" (pp. 117-22), written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, with the verses beginning "Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf" (p. 120) being Thoreau's only contribution to the piece (Allen, 23). The first printing consisted of only 1500 copies. BAL binding A, no priority established. BAL 20117. Borst A7.1.a. Allen, 22-23. Downs, Books That Changed America 8. Bookplate.Very mild scattered foxing, expert repairs to text block and inner hinges, cloth with a bit of wear to spine extremities and light soiling. An extremely good copy.
  • $3,000
  • $3,000