Item #7847 To the Inhabitants of Rochester, &c. Anti-Slavery Society, printer Caddel, Samuel.

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Anti-Slavery Society; Caddel, [Samuel], printer.

To the Inhabitants of Rochester, &c.

Rochester, [England], 25 July 1832. Broadside, 13.2” x 8.15”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear at upper and lower margins.

An unrecorded anti-slavery broadside responding to a local newspaper’s fearmongering by eloquently explaining the real “object and motives of the Anti-Slavery Society.”

Abolitionism, as this broadside explains, is motivated by “humanity and justice,” and the aims of the Anti-Slavery Society are not, as the Rochester Gazette article evidently suggested, “to injure the interests of any individual, but simply to restore the Negro population of our Colonies, their natural rights.” It goes on to address fears about the emancipated slaves living beyond rule of law (“Emancipation is not the liberation of the Slave from the restraints of the law,” but simply gives all workers “the power to choose their own employer”); potentially violent upheavals following emancipation (citing previous instances of state emancipation “where large bodies of of slaves…have suddenly been put in possession of their natural rights,” reassurance is offered that “no injurious effects have followed”); and paternalistic and misplaced worries about who actually cares for “children, the aged and the infirm” on slave plantations (these people already “derive their support, not from their masters, but from their immediate relatives. The means of continuing that support would evidently not be lessened by emancipation”). The text closes with an invitation to readers to “inform themselves on this momentous question,” and an expression of confidence that “the result will be the conviction that the cause of Immediate Emancipation is equally that of Religion, Justice and Sound Policy.” It also includes two footnotes with additional evidence and references to other Anti-Slavery Society publications.

Rochester lies just twelve miles north of Teston, an early hotbed of British abolitionism whose prominent reform circle included author and poet Hannah More and the young William Wilberforce. The year after this broadside was published, Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act. It took effect in 1834, outlawing slavery in most British colonies—though not immediately, as this broadside advocates. The act primarily affected colonies in the tropics, slowly emancipating more than 800,000 individuals. Its impact was felt in North America as well: Canada became a free territory for African Americans, and attracted thousands of escaped and free Black Americans until the end of the American Civil War.

Samuel Caddel (1778–1868) apprenticed as a printer in Canterbury before establishing himself in Rochester as a master printer in 1805. He was also a stationer, bookseller, and, for a time, proprietor of a circulating library. In 1821 he founded the Rochester Gazette, the very paper to which this broadside responds. According to the Newspaper Press Directory, the Gazette “advocates and is devoted to the agricultural, commercial, and shipping interests.” At the height of his career, Caddel had fifteen apprentices working for him. Several of his sons later partnered with him, and continued the business after his death.

No copies recorded in OCLC, nor do we locate any elsewhere.

A persuasive articulation of the abolitionist case, printed a year before the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act.

REFERENCES: Goulden, R. J. A Biographical Dictionary of Those Engaged in the Book Trade in Kent, 1750-1900, Vol. I: A–L (Croydon, 2014); Mitchell, Charles. The Newspaper Press Directory: containing full particulars relative to each journal published in the United Kingdom and the British Isles (London, 1847), p. 231.

Item #7847

Price: $950.00

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