SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF JOHN BROWN’S LIFE AND LETTERS, 1861, WITH THE ORIGINAL MOUNTED VINTAGE ALBUMEN FRONTISPIECE PORTRAIT OF JOHN BROWN

  • The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown, Who Was Executed at Charlestown, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1859, For an Armed Attack upon American Slavery; With Notices of Some of His Confederates.
  • The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown, Who Was Executed at Charlestown, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1859, For an Armed Attack upon American Slavery; With Notices of Some of His Confederates.
  • The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown, Who Was Executed at Charlestown, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1859, For an Armed Attack upon American Slavery; With Notices of Some of His Confederates.
  • The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown, Who Was Executed at Charlestown, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1859, For an Armed Attack upon American Slavery; With Notices of Some of His Confederates.

The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown, Who Was Executed at Charlestown, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1859, For an Armed Attack upon American Slavery; With Notices of Some of His Confederates.

$3,800.00

Item Number: 86864

London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1861.

First edition of one of the earliest biographies of profoundly influential American abolitionist, John Brown; published in the first year of the American Civil War. Octavo, original blind-stamped cloth, gilt titles to the spine, original mounted albumen photograph frontispiece portrait of brown with facsimile inscription. From the collection of Hookham’s circulating library, one of the two largest libraries in 19th century London, bearing the original library label, “Hookhams Library Old Bond Street: Bookselling & Stationary.” In very good condition with light rubbing to the crown and foot of the spine. An exceptional rarity with noted provenance.

American abolitionist John Brown escalated the tensions that led to the American Civil War "to a degree that no other American did… he had an impact on the course of national events matched by few in American history" (Reynolds, ix-x). Dissatisfied with the pacifism of the organized abolitionist movement, Brown advocated armed insurrection as the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. The 1859, Brown led the historic raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia with the intention of arming slaves with weapons from the arsenal. The attack ultimately failed; Brown was imprisoned and found guilty of treason and executed after a two week trial, however, its impact on the course of American history were significant. "{The Harpers Ferry raid] sent tremors of horror throughout the South and gave secessionists a persuasive symbol of northern hostility. It hardened positions over slavery everywhere. It helped to discredit Stephen A. Douglas' compromise policy of popular sovereignty and to divide the Democratic party, thus ensuring the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860" (ANB). W.E.B Du Bois, in his 1909 book, John Brown, simply declared that above all: "John Brown was right" (338). Edited by Irish abolitionist Richard D. Webb, The Life and Letters of Captain John Brown contains an appendix with an excerpt from Emerson's November 18, 1859 speech at Tremont Temple in addition to writings by William Lloyd Garrison and other leading abolitionists, and correspondence between Brown and his family.

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