Mar 21, 2013 - Sale 2308

Sale 2308 - Lot 40

Price Realized: $ 510
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) GREEN, DUFF. Autograph Manuscript Receipt of $300 from John Brown [?difficult to decipher] "being the sum for which I have agreed to manumit his wife, my servant girl Jane, and I promise to execute the proper deed of manumission at my earliest convenience." Signed "Duff Green." Small sheet of paper (5 x 8 inches), written on both sides, with a receipt dated a day later for the sale of the slave to someone else. [Washington?], 10th and 11th December, 1838

Additional Details

Duff Green (1791-1875) military leader, politician, journalist and printer. In 1825, in Washington, D.C., he bought and later edited, The United States Telegraph, which became the principal organ of Andrew Jackson's backers, helping him defeat John Quincy Adams in the presidential election of 1828. With this unusual document, Duff Green accepted $300 and promised to execute a "proper deed of manumission" for Jane, this man's wife at his "earliest convenience." However what follows on the reverse of Green's receipt and promise hints at either a betrayal-or a convoluted process of manumission. Because, on the day after, an agent of Green's acknowledges receipt of $300 for the sale of a slave to a Mr. J.G. Rives, "on condition that the bill of sale shall be made out to such person as said Rives shall approve." Did Green renege on his promise to manumit the man's wife, or did a third party have to buy the man's wife for him? Very unusual.