Philadelphia: Joseph Cruikshank, 1771. Item #04905
Scarce First Edition of this Important Anti-Slavery Work.
BENEZET, Anthony. SHARP, Granville. Some Historical Account of Guinea, Its Situation, Produce and the general Disposition of its Inhabitants. With an inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave-Trade, its Nature and lamentable Effects. Also a Re-publication of the Sentiments of several Authors of Note, on this interesting Subject; particularly an Extract of a Treatise, by Granville Sharp. Philadelphia: Joseph Cruikshank, 1771.
First edition of this important anti-slavery work.
Small octavo ( 6 7/16 x 4 inches; 164 x 100 mm). [v], [1 blank], -4. -144, [1-3], -44, -53, [6, index] pp.
Contemporary calf, spine with four raised bands. Binding a little rubbed but quite sound. Housed in a brown buckram slipcase.
First edition of the Benezet and first American edition of the Sharp. An important early American publication against the slave trade. Benezet (1713-1784) became a Quaker convert and moved to Philadelphia in 1731. He is described in the Library Company Afro-Americana catalogue (Item 44) as "the colonial anchor-man of the Anglo-American anti-slavery axis." Benezet worked ceaselessly to have slavery abolished by the colonial legislatures, and corresponded with Granville Sharp, one of the most important English abolitionists. When Pennsylvania passed an abolition law in 1780 that granted freedom to children of slaves upon reaching the age of twenty-eight (until then they would enjoy the same rights as indentured servants and apprentices), other states did not immediately follow. Benezet told Benjamin Franklin he found it "sorrowfully astonishing that after the declaration so strongly and clearly made of the value & right of liberty on this continent, no state but that of Pennsylvania & that imperfectly, have yet taken a step towards the total abolition of slavery." On his return to Philadelphia in 1785, Franklin became president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Among the works the society distributed were those of the London abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. Benezet had influenced Clarkson's anti-slavery views. In The History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Clarkson states: "Benezet's account of Guinea became instrumental beyond any other book ever before published, in disseminating a proper knowledge of the slave trade." A very scarce title, containing two titlepages.