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Sale 74: The Westpex Auction

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State Postmarks - Florida: Quincy to Woodstock Mills

Lot 1039    

"Shell Point Florida, Septr. 30th 1835", dateline on folded letter with "Tallahassee, Flo, Tco 7" oval datestamp (Oct month slug wrong letter order) and manuscript "50" rating addressed to The Governor of New Jersey, Trenton, original broadside enclosure 19.5"x11.5" accompanies headed The Shell Point Meeting starting, "In pursuance of public notice, a very large meeting of the citizens of Shell Point took place on the 19th inst. to express themselves upon the question which has created such universal excitement throughout the slave holding States."; letter tape stained and separated folds, broadside split at center and fold separations, Fine.
Estimate    $2,000 - 3,000.


The Shell Point Meeting broadside is apparently a statement by the pro-slavery populace of Shell Point, residents of a village near Tallahassee in the Florida Territory. The impetus for the meeting was probably a reaction to the mailing of thousands of copies of tracts issued by the American Anti-Slavery Society to individuals in the Southern states. After an indignant mob removed a mass of these papers from the post office at Charleston, S.C., in July, 1835, and burned them, Postmaster-General Amos Kendall wrote postmasters in the South sanctioning their removal of such literature. Feelings grew bitter throughout the country and violent means were used to silence unwelcome opinions.

The resolutions passed at the Shell Point, Florida Territory meeting are indicative of the bitter fears that the federal government was not going to entirely protect the Southern states' slave-holding rights. In part: "Resolved, that we ever look upon this as the GREAT SPLITTING QUESTION among the States; that most political questions are subordinate, and many others owe their existence to it; all of which has ever appeared to us a political absurdity. For, why should this interest create opposition from any quarter, when it is known that products of the 'slave labor' balances the trade of the whole republic, and squares accounts with all other nations."

The immediate target of the wrath of the citizens of Shell point was Arthur Tappan, a leading founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Referring to a Louisiana law making a capital offense of aiding or abetting the circulation of incendiary abolition papers, the resolves call for the governor of New York to give up "such conspicuous person or persons as are known to be foremost in this work of crime and sedition, so that the question may be fairly tried as to their liability under the law …such is our pity, scorn, and contempt of Arthur Tappan and his coadjutors…that we heartily approve of the conduct of the citizens of New Orleans, Charleston, Macon, and elsewhere, in offering a premium for said Tappan, and we will be pleased to pay a pro-rato amount for his delivery." The proceedings of the meeting were to be published in all newspapers in the U. S. Especially mentioned are particular papers in Florida, Washington, Richmond, Charleston, Nashville, New Orleans and Mississippi.

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