Feb 25, 2010 - Sale 2204

Sale 2204 - Lot 46

Price Realized: $ 4,800
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 8,000
BLACK ABOLITIONIST & GRANDFATHER OF LANGSTON HUGHES (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) LANGSTON, CHARLES HENRY. Autograph Letter Signed from an African-American Abolitionist to Benjamin Coates, a Philadelphia Quaker, discussing their parts in the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue and their anti-slavery objectives. Single 4to sheet, folded to form four pages, written on all sides and continuing into the margins of page one. Oberlin, Ohio, 8 June 1859

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Charles Henry Langston (1817-1892) discusses his recent imprisonment and trial for aiding in the Oberlin-Wellington Fugitive Slave Rescue, and analyzes the dedication that he and Coates have to ending slavery, pointing out a difference in geographic focus: "I will not admit that my anti-slavery is less ardent[,] less extensive or less comprehensive than your own. I feel as much and am willing to do as much for the slave in Africa as for the slave in the United States[.] I am as ready to labor for the overthrow of despotism in the Eastern hemisphere as in the western. Liberty and humanity to me have no particular location[,] no Color[,] no Country. Your attention has in the Providence of God been called more particularly to Africa[;] mine to the United States. . . . Our object is the same[.] We will not disagree."
"Please accept my thanks for the timely donation. I am happy to learn that you approved my course before the United States Court when about to receive my sentence for aiding to brake the bonds of oppression and letting a brother go free. . . . Many are desirous of having my speech . . . published . . . and as you are pleased to think, that a more extensive circulation of the speech would promote the cause of humanity, I . . . would use your generous donation in that way - I think that those of our party who are still in jail and who have not been tryed, have received sufficient means . . . saying nothing about their loss of time and suffering in confinement. . . . You speak of Circulating the speech at the south how shall that be done? . . . I have served out my twenty days in Cuyahoga County jail and is now at Liberty, but have not paid my fine which with the cost of the court amounts to about a thousand dollars. I shall return to Cleveland . . . and resume my duties as secretary and business agent of the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society."
Charles and his siblings were the children of Ralph Quarles, a white planter, and Lucy Langston, an emancipated slave. Both parents died in 1834, leaving the Langston children a sizable inheritance. Charles and his brother, John Mercer Langston, attended Oberlin College, and before Charles was 16, he was already teaching; he subsequently became a dentist. Involved in the September 1858 "Oberlin Wellington Rescue" of John Price, an apprehended fugitive slave, Charles was jailed and subsequently convicted and sentenced in April 1859; while in jail, he was visited by John Brown on his way to Harpers Ferry (Brown's raid took place in October 1859). Benjamin Coates was a Quaker businessman, officer of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and one of the best-known white supporters of African colonization in nineteenth-century America.