Rare Anti-Slavery broadside protesting the US House of Representatives vote for the so-called "gag bill".
Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, the broadside was a response to legislation passed by the House preventing even the discussion of the passage of any bill to put an end to slavery in general, and in the District of Columbia in particular. After repeated petitions and attempts to legislate against slavery in the nation's capital, "A special committee of the House of Representatives, appointed on February 8, 1836, under the chairmanship of Henry L. Pinckney of South Carolina, recommended the following resolution: "That all petitions, memorials, propositions, or papers relating in any way, or extent whatever, to the subject of slavery, or the abolition of slavery, shall without being either printed or referred, be laid on the table, and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon." The resolution passed by a vote of 177 to 68. Printed at the bottom of the broadside are the names of those who voted for Pinckney's resolution. See Dumond, pages 236-37.
The Library of Congress provides the following description:
“The work was issued during the 1835-36 petition campaign, waged by moderate abolitionists led by Theodore Dwight Weld and buttressed by Quaker organizations, to have Congress abolish slavery in the capital. The text contains arguments for abolition and an accounting of atrocities of the system. At the top are two contrasting scenes: a view of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, captioned “The Land of the Free,” with a scene of slaves being led past the capitol by an overseer, entitled “The Home of the Oppressed.” Between them is a plan of Washington with insets of a suppliant slave … and a fleeing slave with the legend “$200 Reward” and implements of slavery. On the next line are views of the jail in Alexandria, the jail in Washington with the “sale of a free citizen to pay his jail fees,” and an interior of the Washington jail with imprisoned slave mother Fanny Jackson and her children. On the bottom level are an illustration of slaves in chains emerging from the slave house of J.W. Neal & Co. (left), a view of the Alexandria waterfront with a ship loading slaves (center), and a view of the slave establishment of Franklin & Armfield in Alexandria.”
An excellent example of this broadside sold for $6240 at Swann in 2007 and another (with “archival repairs on verso”) in 2000 for $5290, also at Swann.
American Anti-Slavery Society
The American Anti-Slavery Society was an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, was a key leader of this society who often spoke at its meetings. William Wells Brown was also a freed slave who often spoke at meetings. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members.