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Letters of James Gillespie Birney 1831-1857. [2 volumes]
Letters of James Gillespie Birney 1831-1857. [2 volumes]

Letters of James Gillespie Birney 1831-1857. [2 volumes]

Collected letters of southern attorney, planter, and slaveholder, James Gillespie Birney, who was active in the African American colonization movement before becoming an ardent abolitionist. Birney’s correspondents include abolitionists Theodore Dwight Weld, Gerrit Smith (his wife’s uncle), Lewis Tappan, and Theodore Parker.

A Kentucky native and Princeton graduate, Birney advocated in the 1810s for some legal reforms in Alabama in favor of African Americans and later turned away from colonization efforts before embracing antislavery principles in his Cincinnati newspaper, the Philanthropist. Birney subsequently served as a delegate to the World Anti-Slavery Convention (London), authored the pamphlet The American Churches: The Bulwarks of American Slavery and entered national politics as the presidential candidate of the Liberty Party.

“As a former slaveholder Birney spoke with the voice of authority on race and slavery; as a lawyer he spoke as a moderate on constitutional issues. For him politics was a means to an end, never an end in itself. He died realizing that moderation on the race issue would not prevail but that civil war would tear the nation apart before emancipation could be proclaimed.” (ANB)

The First Edition is very scarce to commerce.

Description: Letters of James Gillespie Birney 1831-1857. [2 volumes]

New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., (1938). Two Volumes. First Edition. Frontis., xxxvi, [1], 582 + [1] plate ; Frontis., xiii, 583–1189pp + [1] plate. 8vos. Hardcovers in blue cloth. Top-edges of each book foxed; spine panels of dustwrappers sunned and with some wear. A very good set.


Price: $250.00