COBB, Thomas R.R. (1823-1862). An Historical Sketch of Slavery from the Earliest Periods. Philadelphia and Savannah, GA: T. & J.W. Johnson & Co. and W. Thorne Williams, 1858.
8vo (156 x 244 mm). Half-title. (Some staining throughout.) Original publisher's dark brown pebbled cloth with blind stamped rules, gilt spine titles, dark brown end papers (some dark staining to boards, cloth partially separated from boards especially to rear).
FIRST EDITION of pro-slavery treatise by Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, a slave owner, lawyer, and politician who wrote extensively in defense of the abhorrent practice of slavery. His theory being that slavery was so pervasive throughout history that it must therefore be considered "natural." He also relied on arguments of economic necessity and pseudo-scientific "evidence" of white supremacy.
A zealous secessionist, he was a delegate to the Secession Convention and in 1861, he was commissioned as a colonel and organized Cobb's Legion. Despite heavy losses in the Maryland Campaign he was promoted to brigadier general in November 1862, though he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December before the promotion was confirmed.
The execrable theory was impactful to a contemporaneous reader as a penned note on p. cclxxviii and recapitulated on a facing tipped in sheet reads, "Property in a slave is a usufruct, the use of his laborer service obedience &c &c. Property in a beast is perfect extending to its consumption and destruction, the use can abuse the qualities and the peace." Howes C-513; Sabin 13861.
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