Item #660 Autograph Letter Signed to Mr. Ira Button. Brandon, Vermont. Curtis Rev, arvey.
Autograph Letter Signed to Mr. Ira Button. Brandon, Vermont.
“I have been living two months within sight, just across the river, of a slave state.”

Autograph Letter Signed to Mr. Ira Button. Brandon, Vermont.

Cincinnati, March 17, 1841. Item #660

4to.  250 x 200 mm., [9 ¾ x 7 ¾ inches].  4 pp.  Manuscript in ink, previously folded with address and postmark on page 4. A few minor tears at folds, otherwise a very legible letter in very good condition.


A very informative letter, written by the Rev. Harvey Curtis to his friend from his home town in Vermont.  Rev. Curtis had a few months earlier moved from Vermont to Cincinnati and explains that he has spent most of his time learning about the City and the border states on the Ohio River.  After he and his wife fought off “a slight bilious attack” he was preparing for two months travel up the Mississippi to Iowa and Wisconsin and the territories around Illinois.  He had recently delivered a sermon and raised some money for the American Home Missionary Society, of which he was a member.


Much of the letter is devoted to his observation about slavery in Kentucky and the local population that supported it or lived with it as a necessary evil.  He writes in part,  “I have been living two months insight, just across the river, of a slave state.  The more I learn of slavery the more I loathe it as a state of society hateful to God & injurious to man – master as well as slave.” 


After describing how Christians in the North must in “conversation, correspondence, and by actions of public bodies so speak as to quicken the consciences of Southern Christians . . . but the manner in which they have been addressed and spoken of at the North has completely closed their minds against conviction from the North.”


“The first thing necessary in order to get a slaveholder to talk calmly with you is to say, ‘I am not an Abolitionist’ and not till then will many of them reason with you.”  He states many of the people of Louisville see that slavery is a curse and that without it the city would have been “ahead of Cincinnati and the people know it."


Curtis was a member of the American Home Missionary Society which was formed in 1826 with the mission of financially assisting congregations on the American frontier until they could become self-sufficient.  Much of the early funding of the Society came from the South and so it took  incremental steps in its position on slavery until 1857 when it officially renounce it and became part of the abolitionist’s movement.


See the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University in for information on the American Home Missionary Society.

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Price: $300.00

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