“A Crime of the Deepest Dye”: Speeches from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

The October release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes speeches illustrating the growing controversy surrounding America’s peculiar institution in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Highlighted here are speeches from the floor of the House of Representatives, the floor of the Senate of Massachusetts, and a street corner in Alton, Illinois.

Ohio congressman Joshua Reed GiddingsPayment for Slaves (1849)

Speech of Representative Joshua Reed Giddings

In dissenting to legislation before the U.S. House of Representatives—the “Bill To Pay the Heirs of Antonio Pacheco for a Slave Sent West of the Mississippi with the Seminole Indians in 1838”—Ohio congressman Joshua Reed Giddings makes both an emotional and technical argument after giving a brief background of the case.

The claimant, in 1835, residing in Florida, professed to own a negro man named Lewis….The master hired him to an officer of the United States, to act as a guide to the troops under the command of Major Dade, for which he was to receive twenty-five dollars per month.

It is unclear whether Lewis deserted the army or was captured by the enemy when Dade was defeated, but Lewis was recaptured in 1837 by U.S. General Jesup who…

“A Crime of the Deepest Dye”: Speeches from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

“Sunshine for the youthful mind”: Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints, Series II

Picture books for children, games and riddles for the whole family, and a poem about the Devil disturbing the good citizens of Hardwick, Massachusetts, are among the documents found in the September release of Early American Imprints, Series II, Supplement from the American Antiquarian Society, 1801-1819. The picture book highlighted here includes ten leaves of beautiful color plates, many of which are shown below.

The Devil in Hardwick (1803)

By John Bunyan, Jun.

Reading between the lines of Mr. Bunyan’s verse, it seems possible that the citizens of Hardwick had purchased a bell for their church tower, and that some townsfolk, or at least the poet, did not fully appreciate this innovation.

From Early American Imprints: Supplements from the American Antiquarian SocietyA Hardwick bard, not long ago,

Did publicly declare,

“The Devil soon will be about,

“He cannot live in Ware!”


Tho’ poets oft in fiction deal,

They sometimes prophets are;

As ev’ry one must know full well,

In Hardwick, and in Ware.


This town so fam’d in ancient times,

As can our fathers tell;

Has rais’d its reputation much,

By purchasing a BELL.

No sooner had the bell been installed than it began to ring at unaccountable hours of the night distressing the neighborhood:

“Sunshine for the youthful mind”: Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints, Series II

“Are the souls of your children of no Value?”: Early American Instructions for Parents and Their Children

Within the most recent release of new material from Early American Imprints, Series I, Supplement from the American Antiquarian Society, 1652-1800, are several books meant to be instructive to children and, in some instances, their parents.

A token for children: being an exact account of the conversion, holy and exemplary lives and joyful deaths of several young children. By James Janeway, Minister of the Gospel; To which is added, A token for the children of New-England. Or, Some examples of children, in whom fear of God was remarkably budding before they died; in several parts of New-England. Preserved and published for the encouragement of piety in other children. With new additions (1752)

The title of this work, first published in 1700, is substantial, and oddly punctuated, but the message seems clear: pious children meet happy deaths. Finding joy in a child’s death may be a formidable challenge for contemporary society, but the Reverend Janeway (1636?-1674) is insistent upon it and upon instilling in children this hard lesson.

In his preface, Janeway addresses parents, asking “Are the souls of your children of no Value? Are you willing that they should be Brands of Hell?” He instructs that children “are not too Little to die; they are not too Little to go to Hell…” and he continues with general advice for children who would be saved:

I. Take heed of what you know is naught: As Lying; O that is a grievous Fault indeed, and naughty Words, and taking the Lord’s Name in vain, and playing upon the Lord’s Day, and keeping bad Company, and playing with ungodly Children: But if you go to school with such, tell them, that God will not love them, but the devil will have them, if they continue to be so naught.

“Are the souls of your children of no Value?”: Early American Instructions for Parents and Their Children

Toddies Innumerable and Punches Without Limit

19th-Century Cocktail from The Cocktail Explorer.comOne joy of 19th-century American newspapers is reading the columns devoted to non-news things. The example seen below—published on page three of the Indiana State Journal on August 11, 1897—is entitled “Drinks and Drinkers: What People of Various Lands Exhilarate Themselves With.”

After a quick whip-around describing the drinking styles in various parts of the United States—the Easterner is quick, the Southerner courtly and discursive in conversation, and military men say “How” and down it goes—the unnamed author declares:

It is a world of strange drinks. Americans are supposed to be past masters in the art of mixing singular decoctions. The very names of them give the untraveled Englishman a sense of wonder extreme. We have the cocktail of various kinds, the rickey, the ginsling, the julep, the stone fence, the eye opener, the brain duster, the silver fizz, the golden fizz, the smash, the pick-me-up, the Remsen cooler, toddies innumerable and punches without limit. One barkeeper of New York city, known to newspaper men affectionately as “the only William,” has published a book containing recipes for the making of more than five thousand drinks. Many of them are of his own invention, but they may be had as far west as the Pacific.

Further in, the author explores beyond the U.S.:

Toddies Innumerable and Punches Without Limit

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

Today, Readex distributed this news release:

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

African American Newspapers, Series 2, will dramatically expand Series 1 with newly available titles

September 30, 2015 (NAPLES, FL) — The world’s most comprehensive collection of African American newspapers will be dramatically expanded by Readex in January 2016. African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956, will offer more than 60 newly available newspapers written for or by African Americans, enabling students and scholars to make new discoveries regarding the lives of African Americans as individuals, an ethnic group and Americans. Spanning more than a century of the African American experience, these rare titles form the single essential complement to African American Newspapers, 1827-1998.

“The expansion of African American Newspapers comes at a time when scholars are rediscovering the richness of this rare primary source material,” says Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “The historical span of the collection, its broad geographic scope, and the inclusion of non-English language papers will prove immensely helpful for scholarship and teaching in African American history, culture, literature, and related fields.”

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

“Mingled Puerility and Brutality”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

The September release of African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes several multi-volume works detailing various regions and peoples of Africa.

Maritime Geography and Statistics: A Description of the Ocean and its Coasts, Maritime Commerce, Navigation, &c. &c. &c. (1815)

By James Hingston Tuckey, a commander in the Royal Navy

James Hingston Tuckey’s four-volume work is a tour de force describing the world’s oceans and coasts. Tuckey, born in 1776, joined the Royal Navy in 1793 and by the turn of the century was assisting in the expansion of the British colony of New South Wales in Australia. In 1805, after having returned briefly to England, Tuckey was captured by the French near St. Helena in the South Atlantic and held prisoner for nearly nine years. If not for his imprisonment, it is unlikely that Tuckey’s Maritime Geography and Statistics would have been written:

If it should be asked how a naval officer could, during the activity of war, find leisure to compile a work requiring the perusal of many thousand volumes, the answer is unfortunately too ready: it was undertaken to pass away the tedious hours of a hopeless captivity, alike destructive of present happiness and future prospects.

In Volume II, Tuckey turns his attention to the coast of West Africa, writing:

After passing the limits of Morocco, the first nation met with is the Moors of the Desert, who inhabit the coast from Cape Agulon to the Senegal, and form three tribes. Though they acknowledge the Emperor of Morocco as their sovereign, they are in every respect independent of his government or power. They lead an erratic life, their habitations being conical tents of cloth manufactured of camel’s hair, which they move about in search of pasture for their cattle.

“Mingled Puerility and Brutality”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

Constitutions and Constituents: Syria, the Soviet Union, and Security

Dmitry Medvedev with Bashar al-Asaad in 2008. Source: www.kremlin.ru. An interesting dynamic is playing out on the world stage between Syria, Germany, and Russia. In a dramatic historical turn, a unified and economically resurgent Germany is welcoming Syrian refugees even as post-Soviet Russia redoubles its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal suppression of the fruits of the “Damascus Spring.”

To provide some context to current events, in this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we offer West German and Soviet political commentaries on state power, and a core document, the 1962 Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.

From JPRS ReportsSoviet Press Parallels Chinese Communist and Western Militarists
Izvestiya (News), Moscow – 25 September 1963

Constitutions and Constituents: Syria, the Soviet Union, and Security

“Into the inner life of the Negro Race”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

Louis Hughes (1832-1913). From Black AuthorsThe September release of Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes Louis Hughes’ heart-pounding and heart-wrenching autobiography as well as several works of fiction by prolific author Sutton Elbert Griggs.

Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom: The Institution of Slavery as Seen on the Plantation and in the Home of the Planter (1897)

By Louis Hughes

In 1832, Louis Hughes was born a slave on a plantation near Charlottesville, Virginia. Writing of his early life, Hughes quickly captures his readers’ attention:

My father was a white man and my mother a negress, the slave of one John Martin. I was a mere child, probably not more than six years of age, as I remember, when my mother, two brothers and myself were sold to Dr. Louis, a practicing physician in the village of Scottsville.

After the doctor’s death, the family is again sold and eventually separated. Hughes writes movingly about the last time he saw his mother:

…she bade me good-bye with tears in her eyes, saying: “My son, be a good boy; be polite to every one, and always behave yourself properly.” It was sad to her to part with me, though she did not know that she was never to see me again, for my master had said nothing to her regarding his purpose and she only thought, as I did, that I was hired to work on the canal-boat, and that she should see me occasionally. But alas! We never met again. I can see her form still as when she bade me good-bye. That parting I can never forget.

“Into the inner life of the Negro Race”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

Just published—The Readex Report: September 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: The curious history of notorious nicknames; the oratory impact of a renowned black author; how the great White North offered welcome and often-overlooked refuge to North American slaves.

War Hawks, Uncle Sam, and The White House: Tracing the Use of Three Phrases in Early American Newspapers

By Donald R. Hickey, Professor, Department of History, Wayne State College

As a student of the early American republic, I’ve always had a fondness for the period’s newspapers.  Newspapers have been published in America since the seventeenth century, and their number steadily rose in the eighteenth century.  By 1775 there were 42 newspapers, and by 1789 there were 92.  Newspapers continued to proliferate in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, so that by the time of the War of 1812 there were nearly 350.  Most were weeklies, but 49 were published two or three times a week, and another 25 were dailies published in... > Full Story

 W. E. B. Du Bois’s Lectures and Speeches: A Brief History

By Phillip Luke Sinitiere, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Sam Houston State University

Just published—The Readex Report: September 2015

Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900

Today, Readex distributed this news release:

 Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900 

Hundreds of rare short-lived U.S. papers, available online for the first time 

September 22, 2015 (NAPLES, FL) — Featuring more than 1,200 19th-century titles collected by the American Antiquarian Society, Early American Newspapers, Series 12, 1821-1900, will be launched in January 2016 by Readex, a division of NewsBank. This searchable chronicle of 19th-century America is by far the largest selection of early U.S. newspapers offered to date, dramatically extending the political, geographical and subject-matter breadth and depth of the Early American Newspapers series.

Designed to meet multidisciplinary research and teaching needs, Series 12 contains journalistic accounts and commentary rich in topics essential to the humanities and social sciences. It also offers an especially rich trove of titles in specific disciplines. For the study of economic and industrial history a large number of agricultural and mercantile titles are included. Campaign newspapers are represented by titles covering all presidential and many important regional campaigns from the Early National Era to Reconstruction. Denominational newspapers provide new insight into religion—the epicenter of nearly everything in the 19th century—and offer unique commentary on such divisive issues as slavery, women’s suffrage and prohibition. In addition, gazettes—known as newspapers of record—are replete with prized statistical data.

Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900


Monthly Archives

Twitter @Readex

Back to top