Feb 25, 2010 - Sale 2204

Sale 2204 - Lot 25

Price Realized: $ 13,200
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 10,000
OF THE UTMOST RARITY (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) CAPITEIN, JACOBUS ELISA JOANNES, AYN MOOR UYT AFRICA. De Slaverny, als niet strydig tegen de Christelyke Vryheid, wek, Onder het Gehengen van den Algenoegzamen God, En de Voorzittinge van den Hoot-Eerwaaden en Wyd-Beroemden Heer Joan van den Honert. [1-7], 8-53, [1-19] pages. 4to, original speckled wrappers; edges tinted red.Enclosed in a custom-made cloth folder. Leiden: Philippus Bonk,1742

Additional Details

exceedingly rare pro-slavery treatise written by a slave. Born in Africa, Jacobus Elisa Joannes Capitein (1717-1747) was captured as a child on the Gold Coast. He was, in all likelihood, a Fante. He was sold to Arnold Steenhart, a ship's captain who brought him back to Holland as his servant, and gave him the name Jacobus Elisa Joannes. Apparently, Steenhart treated the young man well, and after 13 years of education he graduated from the University of Leyden in 1742, having studied a wide range of subjects. His academic achievement was crowned with a Latin dissertation, delivered on March 10, 1742, entitled "De Servitute Libertati Christianiae Non Contraria," defending the theme that slavery was not "contrary to Christian freedom." The dissertation was subsequently published simultaneously in Latin and in a Dutch translation, the present work. Following his ordination, Capitein was sent to the Dutch colony of Elmina on the Gold Coast. After a few years and a generally luke warm reception by the natives there, he returned home where he devoted his remaining years to the translation of a Fante catechism and grammar. He died in 1747, his appeals to the Church for aid to mission at Elmina ignored.
Capitein's apologia for slavery was of course exploited by those who defended the practice of slavery as a form of paternalism. Extremely scarce, OCLC locates only three copies in the United States. No copies at auction in the last twenty-five years. Not in the Blockson Collection; Schomburg copy, the Latin printing.