May 07, 2020 - Sale 2534

Sale 2534 - Lot 380

Price Realized: $ 625
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(RECONSTRUCTION.) Nesbit, William; et al. Circular letter "on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League." 7 printed pages. 8vo, unbound; uneven toning to first page, numerous editing marks and extensive contemporary manuscript note on final leaf. Np, [20 February 1866]

Additional Details

This open letter to the United States Congress was written 'on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League' by African-American civic leaders William Nesbit (1822-1895), Joseph Cassey Bustill (1822-1895), and William D. Forten. They argue for full enfranchisement, an effort that eventually culminated in the 15th Amendment in 1870. It is full of powerful rhetoric. For example, the writers point out that "This color which mantles our cheeks and of which we may justly feel proud, has subjected us to every species of outrage, persecution and disenfranchisement, but has never been sullied by covering the brow of a single traitor." We trace no copies at auction.
The manuscript note appears to be a draft of a letter to accompany a copy of the circular. It explains that the circular was published in a recent issue of the Washington Chronicle, and asks "Will you, sir, send this abroad if you think it worthy of the space? This League contemplates working in your enterprise just as soon as some local matters are adjusted. Hon. Chas. Sumner presented this to the Senate & read some of the strongest points. It was referred to the Reconstructing Com'te, and in the House it was presented by Hon. Thaddeus Stevens."