Mar 29, 2018 - Sale 2471

Sale 2471 - Lot 55

Price Realized: $ 1,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
INSCRIBED AND ENDORSED BY SAMUEL MORSE (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Jones, John Richter. Slavery Sanctioned by the Bible. 34 pages. 8vo, original printed wrappers, minor wear, 1-inch chip in upper corner; light vertical fold throughout, minor wear to contents; inscribed and initialed by Samuel Morse on front wrapper, with his manuscript notes on three pages. Philadelphia, 1861

Additional Details

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) was an artist and inventor who played a major role in the development of the telegraph and the Morse Code which bears his name. A Massachusetts native, he was also a bitter opponent of immigration and Catholicism, and became an outspoken supporter of slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. Offered here is his personal copy of one of the most virulent northern pro-slavery pamphlets of this period. Written by a Pennsylvania judge on the eve of war, it is billed on its front wrapper as "A Tract for Northern Christians." It accuses abolitionist clergymen of having "preached a political and moral crusade against slavery" without any reliance on the word of God: "If you had searched the Scriptures, you could not have been misled, and would not now have the responsibility of this terrible national crisis."
Samuel Morse owned this copy of the Jones tract, and inscribed it on the front wrapper: "With some slight exceptions, an excellent essay. S.F.B.M." Morse also jotted a few notes on pages 22 to 24 in pencil. At one point Jones argues that the moral standard set by Jesus is higher than we should set for ourselves, and that we should not force others to "Love your neighbor as yourselves." At this point, Morse sniffs "Objectionable--not argument, but excuse." Where Jones argues that the clergy themselves are reluctant to share their own possessions, Morse remarks "a little too sneering and unnecessary."
Both Morse and Jones remained with the north with the advent of war. Somewhat surprisingly, the pamphlet's author Jones served as a colonel with the Union army in the Civil War, and was shot dead by a Confederate sniper in 1863. Morse played no prominent role in the war--but his telegraph proved a great asset to the Union army.