June 22, 2018 10:00 AM EDT Cincinnati


Exceptionally Rare Anti-Slavery Broadside, A Crusade Against Slavery

Printed broadside, 15 x 22.75 in. A Crusade Against Slavery And Counterfeit Christianity, By A Spectator. No. 1. Printed by J. S. Potter & Co., Steam Job and Decorative Printers, 2 Spring Lane, Corner of Washington Street, Boston. Ca 1850. 

Beautifully printed two-tone broadside published in the wake of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The controversial Fugitive Slave Law required that all escaped slaves were to be returned to their masters upon capture and that citizens of free states were legally bound to cooperate with the law. Many in the North were outraged by the passage of the law, and soon abolitionists stepped up their efforts to highlight the evils of slavery.

This broadside demonstrates the passionate language and powerful emotions associated with the anti-slavery movement. "Slavery combines all the abominations which are known on the earth; it has turned men into monsters, christians into infidels, and human beings into beasts of burden. This seven-headed monster has destroyed the vitality of a vast majority of American churches. The Pulpit and Press are paralyzed or nearly dumb! The Fugitive Slave Law of September 18th, 1850, was the crowning point of all...." The author cautions that "This nation has been warned like the nations of old, still a vast majority slumber and sleep, as it were, over a volcanic fire. Slavery, with a mountain weight, in all its forms, is carrying the country down to destruction." The broadside goes on to explain that opportunities exist to avoid the destruction of the country and the curse of slavery, however, the author closes with a strikingly accurate prediction on the consequences should this fail to happen. "There are only two ways for slavery to be destroyed; one is to vote it down here at the North - this can be done peacably, and without expense; the other way, by Amalgamation. The time is not far distant when the system will go down in a cloud of blood mingled with fire, unless the wisdom of the North timely prevents."

A very rare broadside, as only one copy could be located, part of the Houghton Library Collection at Harvard University.


Scattered edge chipping. Some slight tears along the folds with a small portion of page missing near the very center. Overall toned with slight soil in some places.

Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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