Lot 13 of 613:
1857 Alabama clergyman’s proposal for a pro-slavery magazine  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$480
$500 - $800

Reactionary Alabama clergyman’s printed prospectus, with handwritten letter, for a pro-slavery magazine

Williams, Rev. J.V.





Printed 1 pg. Prospectus [erroneously signed “J. D. Williams”in type]. for an Alabama newspaper, “African Advocate and Southern Expositor of American Slavery”, with a 3pp. Autograph Letter Signed by Williams + stampless address leaf. Postmarked Wetumpka, Alabama, May 14, 1857.To “my strange brother”, Rev. W. R. Williams, New York.

Williams proposed to publish a pro-slavery magazine, ironically “devoted to the good of the African race, and true interests of master and servant,” pledging to enlist “writers of the highest character” to set forth religious and other justifications for “our southern institution of American Slavery”, thus promoting “the cause of humanity and the future triumph of pure Christianity” and to counter all the Northern anti-slavery “sheets, scattered far and wide”, with “their one-sided views of” the subject.

Williams’ letter, asking his northern colleague to write for the magazine, adds an illuminating exposition of his motivations – countering northern “Christian philosophy” which had lost “its balance and become heretical, fanatical and…crazy”, with the “evil work” of Abolitionist clergymen being “a war against the Bible”, weaving together “Socialism, free-loveism and every heretical and unholy ism…under the cry of ‘down with slavery’…”

Six months later, Williams did inaugurate his monthly magazine, under the more ambiguous title, “Southern Dial and African Monitor”, devoted to “the institutions and family literature of the South and good of the American African race.” It was short-lived and issues are now rare, held only by the Huntington Library. Williams himself made no other mark on history, but his “strange brother” was long-time Pastor of a Baptist Church in New York City who assembled a notable private library of rare books on theological history, together with many other volumes -  including a dozen antebellum imprints opposing slavery.

Lot Amendments

Very good.

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