# 40322


[ABOLITIONISM] An illustrated Anti-slavery propaganda envelope.

$750.00 AUD

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Dundee : Designed & engraved by J. Valentine, [ca. 1853]. Postal envelope, 76 x 125 mm, the verso engraved with six vignette illustrations depicting scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and two main legends in capitals, the first around the upper flap: ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO UNTO YOU DO YOU SO UNTO THEM  (Matthew 7:12), and the second below it: YE WHO TAKE FREEDOM FROM MEN HOW WILL YOU ANSWER IT TO GOD (a paraphrase of a line in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Chapter 37); with two legends in smaller lettering, one at the top of the flap: THE EYE OF THE LORD GOD IS UPON YOU, and one at the bottom edge: FEAR NOT! For I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name thou art mine (Isaiah 43:1); in the right-hand margin is Valentine’s imprint, followed by the notice ‘30 Sent free for 12, 50 for 16, 100 for 24 or 250 for 48 Pennypost Stamps‘; in the left-hand margin is the imprint of ‘ABEL MORRALL, NEEDLE MANUFr. / Agent / 7 High St. Manchester & 40 Gresham St. (West) London.‘; recto blank (designated for mailing address); a few very minor stains, but an extremely well preserved unused example of this attractive and scarce envelope.

In the 1850s the Dundee printer James Valentine was inspired by Elihu Burritt, an American radical pacifist who had moved to England,  to design, engrave and print envelopes for various causes, including Anti-Slavery, Temperance, Universal Brotherhood, and Peace.

This particular Anti-slavery envelope is based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), a publishing phenomenon which sold more than one million copies in Great Britain within its first year in print. According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, the six vignettes on the back of the envelope depict the following scenes from the novel: Uncle Tom is sold away from Aunt Chloe and his children because of his owner’s bankruptcy / The overseers Sambo and Quimbo flog Uncle Tom / Simon Legree whips Uncle Tom / Uncle Tom reads his Bible atop cotton bales on a Mississippi River steamboat / Pursued by slave catchers, Eliza escapes north with her five year old son Harry / Emmeline is sold away from her grieving mother, Susan.

Note: this is not a Deraedemaeker reprint from around 1890.