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David M. Lesser

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JOURNAL OF THE CONVENTION TO FORM A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA. [OFFICIAL.]

Louisiana] 100pp. Toned with some foxing, light rubberstamp on title page. Upper blank corners of last two leaves renewed, couple of small holes in last leaf affecting about five letters. Good+ in modern boards. The new Constitution mandated that "the Legislature shall apportion the representation among the several parishes and election districts on the basis of the total population. A representative number shall be fixed, and each parish and election district shall have as many Representatives as its aggregate population shall entitle it to." This meant that , in apportioning representatives, slaves would be counted in determining the "total population," even though the franchise was limited to adult white males. The legislative deck was thus stacked in favor of election districts with large slaveholding plantations; and the interests of that segment of the State would dominate governmental councils. This provision created significant opposition to the proposed Constitution, which was adopted by the narrowest of margins. Many called it "anti-republican," arguing that it reflected "a calculated effort to reduce the political power of regions where the black population remained sparse" [Hyde, Pistols and Politics 70 (LSU Press: 1996)]. The Journal records the Convention's daily proceedings, during July 1852, and prints the proposed Constitution. Jumonville 2151. Thompson 1300. Cohen 3106. Not in Harv. Law Cat. or Marke.
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PROF. HEDRICK’S DEFENCE. [FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA STANDARD OF OCT. 8, 1856.]

Hedrick, B.S. Folio Broadside, 19-7/8" x 11-3/4". Text printed in three columns beneath title. Old folds, light soil, couple of short closed tears along folds expertly repaired without loss. Very Good. Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick [1827-1886], born and raised in North Carolina and a chemistry professor at its University, stuck out like a sore thumb in the 1856 presidential election. Writing from Chapel Hill on October 1, 1856, he boldly declares for Fremont-- "I like the man." In this rare broadside he contends that "Fremont is on the right side of the great question which now disturbs the public peace. Opposition to slavery extension is neither a Northern nor a sectional ism. It originated with the great Southern statesmen of the Revolution. Washington, Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Madison and Randolph were all opposed to slavery in the abstract, and were all opposed to admitting it into new territory." He agrees with those early Southerners "that slavery exerts an evil influence both upon the whites and the blacks." Like Jefferson, he also opposes "the abolition policy, by which the slaves would be turned loose upon the whites." Opposing its spread, as Fremont advocates, is the best that can be done. For once Slavery appears in a territory "it is almost impossible to get rid of the system." Hedrick closes by urging his fellow Carolinians, "Holding as I do the doctrines once advocated by Washington and Jefferson, I think I should be met by argument and not by denunciation." Nevertheless, popular outrage resulted in his dismissal from his position. Not in Sabin, Thornton, Hummel, Eberstadt. OCLC 60984129 [5- Peabody-Essex, NYHS (defective), Cornell, AAS, NYHS] as of November 2019.
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SECESSION- A PLOT WITHIN A PLOT. NO NORTHERN DEMOCRAT ADMITTED INTO THE INSIDE PLOT

Secession] [L., E.H.] Broadside, 17-1/2" x 6". Tide mark along inner margin, closed tears expertly repaired [no text affected]. Else Very Good. This rare broadside is an incisive analysis of the political dynamics of Secession in the South. The author, identified only by his initials "E.H.L." at the end, "was born and bred in the South" and "resided in the Gulf States for fifteen years," including the years of Buchanan's presidency "and the first few months of Mr. Lincoln's." He identifies two types of secessionists: the first viewed Secession merely as a means to achieve a reconstruction of the Union with "additional guaranties to the Slave Power." For them, "Secession was merely a sectional and party manoeuvre by which the Republicans were to be bluffed from the fruits of their victory and intimidated into concessions to the Slave Power and the Democracy." A second and far more culpable class of Southern politicians sought Secession, not as a political tactic, but as a permanent separation in order to achieve "a change from a democratic to an aristocratic form of government." The goal of this cabal was "a Confederacy of Slave States," a "pure slave Confederacy." It would enhance its power by "the acquisition of Mexico." Originally an early "secret conclave of South Carolina and Virginia politicians," it bided its time until, having rapidly acquired power during Buchanan's administration, it deliberately disrupted the Democratic Party in 1860 "and secured the election of a Republican president." Democrats of the first group, unaware of these "ulterior designs," have been "grossly deceived, and have been betrayed and deserted by their supposed Southern allies." Thus, "I neither accuse nor suspect any Northern or Western Democrat of the design to aid in the permanent dissolution of the Union." A printed note at the end-- from the Cincinnati Gazette, February 25, 1863-- explains that "the writer resided in the midst of the plotters, and what he states are his personal observations. He is now sojourning in Kentucky." Not in Sabin, Blockson, LCP, Bartlett, Eberstadt, Thompson. OCLC 60951730 [1- NYHS] as of November 2019.
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AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED, SEPTEMBER 13, 1860, AT UPPERVILLE, VIRGINIA, TO HAMILTON GIBSON OF NEWTOWN, VIRGINIA, REGARDING POSSIBLE SLAVE PURCHASE: “DEAR SIR, YOURS OF THE 11TH WAS RECEIVED YESTERDAY AND IN REPLY WILL SAY THAT IT IS USELESS FOR ME TO COME UP, AS I AM NOT WILLING TO PAY $500 FOR SUSAN, ALTHOUGH I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH ON BILL’S ACCOUNT TO PURCHASE HER; I SUPPOSED YOU CAN OBTAIN THAT PRICE FROM THE GENTLEMEN YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER AND THEREFORE CANNOT EXPECT YOU TO TAKE LESS FROM ME, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I AM NOT WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE. YOURS RESPECTFULLY, JOHN FLETCHER.”

Fletcher, John 6-1/4" x 7-1/2". Completely in ink manuscript on white lined paper. Bottom blank edge torn across instead of trimmed. Old folds. Accompanied by small yellow envelope addressed to "Mr. Hamilton L. Gibson, Newtown, Frederick Co., Va." Three cent Franklin stamp at top right corner, rubberstamp postmark of Upperville, Va., dated Sep. 14. Right edge of envelope torn from opening, Very Good. John Fletcher [1836-1862], son of Joshua Fletcher, of Upperville, Virginia, entered the Virginia Military Institute in 1856 and attended for one session. He returned to Upperville as a farmer. He became of a member of Turner Ashby's Cavalry Company and was elected 3rd Lieutenant. After John Brown's raid in 1859, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant; and to Captain at the beginning of the Civil War. He was killed on May 23, 1862, during a battle at Bucktown Station. Stonewall Jackson called Fletcher one of the most valuable officers of his cavalry. [Walker: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE GRADUATES AND ELEVES OF THE VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE WHO FELL DURING THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES. 1875, accessed at website of Internet Archive on Oct. 7, 2019; "John Fletcher, Roster ID 933", accessed at the website of the Virginia Military Institute Website on Oct. 7, 2019.] Hamilton L. Gibson [1816-1881] was a master wagon maker in Newtown, Virginia. He was at the top of his trade in the 1850s and 1860s, selling his wagons locally and in neighboring southern states. The War, its aftermath, and manufacturing advances caused his business to fail. An 1874 notice in the 'Valley Virginian' announces his bankruptcy. [The Valley Virginian, Staunton, Virginia, July 2, 1874, Page 4.].
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ACCOUNTING OF THE ESTATE OF LEVI H. SELTZER , WILCOX COUNTY, ALABAMA, BY ADMINISTRATORS J.S. AND MARY C. ABBOTT, FEBRUARY 16, 1859, INCLUDING AMOUNTS FOR HIRE OF NEGRO SLAVES

Alabama Slave Hire] Folio, 15-1/2" x 12-1/2", folded to 7-3/4" x 12-1/2". Completely in manuscript on blue paper with lined columns. A full accounting: credits on the left side of the ledger sheet, debits on the right. Docketed on verso: "Estate of Levi H. Seltzer, Dec'd, Acct. Current, Partial Settlement, 1859." Two small holes along the center fold [loss of a few numbers and letters], else Very Good. The account includes funds for hiring out Negro slaves: "NEGRO HIRE FOR 1854. . . 370.00 . . . NEGRO HIRE FOR 1855. . .371. . . NEGRO HIRE FOR 1856. . . 452.50 . . . NEGRO HIRE FOR 1857. . . 76.90. The accounting concludes: "STATE OF ALABAMA, WILCOX COUNTY, PERSONALLY APPEARED BEFORE ME ZO. S. COOK JUDGE OF PROBATE IN AND FOR SAID COUNTY AND STATE, MARY C. ABBOTT ADMX AND J.S. ABBOTT AS ADMR OF THE ESTATE OF LEVI H. SELTZER DECD. . . [signed] 14 JULY 1859, ZO. S. COOK, JUDGE. Levi H. Seltzer [1833-1853] was the first husband of Administratrix Mary Calloway Parks [Seltzer] Abbot [1834-1905]. He died in Wilcox County at age 20. Mary then married James S. Abbott [1825-1892], the Administrator, a Wilcox County Baptist preacher, in 1858. Between 1860-1862 they moved to Texas. Judge Zo[roaster] S[elman] Cook [1827-1893] was a veteran of the Mexican War and served as Judge of Probate for Wilcox County for about sixteen years. He received a military pension due to his war-related disabilities. See, 50th Cong. 2d Session, HR Rep. 3747 [1888], reporting on a pension increase for Cook.
ARREST WARRANT FOR TRADING WITH SLAVE: "THE STATE OF ALABAMA

ARREST WARRANT FOR TRADING WITH SLAVE: “THE STATE OF ALABAMA, LAWRENCE COUNTY, SS. TO ANY SHERIFF OF THE STATE. AN INDICTMENT HAVING BEEN FOUND, AT THE SEPT TERM, 1859, OF THE CIRCUIT COURT, OF LAWRENCE COUNTY, AGAINST CHARLES SPIARS FOR THE OFFENCE OF TRADING WITH SLAVE. YOU ARE THEREFORE COMMANDED FORTHWITH TO ARREST THE SAID DEFENDANT, AND COMMIT HIM TO JAIL, UNLESS HE GIVE BAIL TO ANSWER SUCH INDICTMENT, AND THAT YOU RETURN THIS WRIT ACCORDING TO LAW. DATED THIS 7 DAY OF JUNE 1860. D.J. GOODLETT, CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAWRENCE COUNTY. [On verso: “2267/ THE STATE VS. ALA: CAP. C. SPIARS. NOT FOUND SEPT. 20’/60 H.A. MCGHEE SHFF BY JOHN WADE HIS SPECIAL DEPTY.”

Alabama] Spiars, Charles 6-1/4" x 8". Partly printed document on lined paper, completed in ink manuscript. Docketed on verso. Minor wear, old folds. Signature of D.J. Goodlett. Light toning, minor wear. Very Good. We have been unable to locate information on the defendant in the usual places. A few legal documents related to this case show his 1859 indictment. Major David Johnson Goodlett [1804-1878], born in South Carolina, later settled in Moulton, Alabama. He was a farmer and merchant, and Clerk of the Lawrence County Circuit Court 1850-1864, and mayor of the County. [Saunders: EARLY SETTLERS OF ALABAMA, New Orleans: 1899, p.58.] John Wade was a teacher living in Township 6, Lawrence County at the time of the 1860 federal census. Henry A. McGhee [1810-1901] held many offices in Lawrence County: Constable 1840-1843, Tax Collector 1843-1846, Sheriff 1846-1849 and 1858-1861, member of the State Legislature in 1857 and Probate Judge 1850-1857.
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A LETTER TO SCRIPTURISTA; CONTAINING SOME REMARKS ON HIS ANSWER TO PAULINUS’S THREE QUESTIONS: WHEREIN THE NATURE OF A TEST OF ORTHODOXY IS EXACTLY STATED; THE CHURCH’S RIGHT TO KNOW AND JUDGE OF THE RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES OF THOSE WHO ARE ADMITTED TO SEALING ORDINANCES, AND REJECT THE ERRONEOUS, IS ASSERTED; AND THE PRACTICE OF OUR CHURCHES IN NEW-ENGLAND, FROM THEIR FIRST SETTLEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY, VINDICATED, AND ALSO THREE QUESTIONS MORE, RELATIVE TO THE NEW WAY OF TAKING PERSONS INTO THE CHURCH, LATELY INTRODUCED AT WALLINGFORD, BY MR. DANA, STATED: WITH A DESIRE THEY MAY BE ANSWERED BY SCRIPTURISTA, IN HIS NEXT LETTER TO HIS FRIEND PAULINUS

Bellamy, Joseph] 24pp. Untrimmed, loose. Toned, some blank extremity chips, closed tear to title page [no text loss]. Occasional contemporary marginalia. Signed in type on p.24, 'Paulinus.' Good+. This piece originally appeared under the pseudonym 'Paulinus' in the Connecticut Gazette, February 11, 1758. It was written in response to a tract by Benjamin Gale, a liberal physician from Killingworth. [Valeri: LAW AND PROVIDENCE IN JOSEPH BELLAMY'S NEW ENGLAND. . . Oxford University Press: 1994. p.73.] "The following remarks on Creeds, in the form of a Letter from Paulinus to Scripturista, are from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Bellamy, whose vigorous talents and ardent piety are so extensively known, and whose memory is cherished with so much veneration both in and out of New England. . . the views of a man of powerful mind, and who had no Presbyterian ties or prejudices, on the important subject of which it treats. And although the good Doctor has been dead more than forty years, it will not escape notice how strikingly some of his remarks apply to present times and tendencies." [Miller: THE SPRUCE STREET LECTURES, DELIVERED BY SEVERAL CLERGYMEN. . . 1831-32. Appendix.] Evans 8794. NAIP w013503.