May 1, 2024 10:00 EST

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

 
Lot 243
 

243

The arguments of Adams and Baldwin in the Amistad case

Estate / Collection: Property from the Rotondaro Collection

ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY

Argument of John Quincy Adams, Before the Supreme Court of the United States, In the Case of United States, Appellants, vs. Cinque, and Others, Africans, Captured in the Schooner Amistad, by Lieut. Gedney, Delivered on the 24th of February and 1st of March, 1841. With a Review of the Case of the Antelope. New York: S.W. Benedict, 1841. First edition. Modern half brown morocco gilt, raised bands, blue cloth sides. 8 3/3 x 5 3/8 inches (21 x 13.5 cm); 135 [1] pp.; boxed with BALDWIN, ROGER S. Argument of Roger S. Baldwin, of New Haven, Before the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Case of the United States, Appellants, vs. Cinque and Others, Africans of the Amistad. New York: S.W. Benedict, 1841. First edition. Original self-wrappers, stitched as issued. 8 7/8 x 5 5/8 inches (22.5 x 14 cm); 32 pp. The two volumes housed in chemises in a brown half-morocco clamshell case. The Adams with very faint traces of a mailing fold, minor stain to the title, light scattered foxing; Baldwin's Argument with two small tears to corners of front wrapper.

First editions of Roger Baldwin’s and John Quincy Adams’ eloquent Arguments in the landmark Amistad Case presented before the Supreme Court in 1841, "an astounding saga for the case that truth is more powerful than anything the imagination could invent” (Blockson), these two seminal works are rarely found together.

In 1839 53 Africans were abducted (against treaty provisions) from Sierra Leone, and were shipped as slaves to Havana on board the Spanish slave ship Amistad. Led by Joseph Cinqué, they seized command of the vessel on the Cuban coast, and they directed that the vessel should be sailed back to Africa. However, without their knowledge, it was steered northwards into American waters. The Amistad grounded near Montauk Point in Long Island Sound, was boarded, and the ship's 39 Africans were classified as salvage property and jailed for murder, mutiny and piracy. The resulting legal case proceeded through the legal system for two years and was a national and international cause célèbre. In the final appeal before the Supreme Court, the case for the defense was led by the New Haven lawyer Roger S. Baldwin, assisted by the 74-year-old John Quincy Adams, the nation's sixth president and a noted opponent of slavery. Baldwin's Argument was "one of the most illustrious arguments ever offered" to the Supreme Court (Dutton, 12), and Adams' powerful Argument stands as "one of his most eloquent public statements" (Nagel, 380).

The case United States v. Schooner Amistad presented "living proof of the horrors of the African slave state... As a legal case it involved three levels of the federal courts, the president of the United States, the secretary of state, the attorney general, a former president, the governments of Spain and Great Britain... and a host of lawyers" (Finkelman, 228). When the district court judge in the U.S. District Court for Connecticut ruled that the Africans were not Spanish slaves, being captured as free men in Africa, ordering the U.S. to release them from prison and transport them back to Africa, the United States Government appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court. Pleadings there began in February 1841 and after a brief hiatus caused by the death of Justice Philip Barbour, resumed March 1. In his Argument in United States v. The Amistad, Baldwin was the first attorney to speak before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Amistad Africans, and he outlined the legal reasoning in favor of the Amistad captives. He was succeeded by Adams, who in nine hours of powerful rhetorical argument, reinforced his colleague's case. The Supreme Court ruled for the Africans 7-1, accepting the argument that they were never citizens of Spain and were illegally taken from Africa. Ultimately the 35 who survived were returned there.

Sold for $6,400
Estimated at $4,000 - $6,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


 

Estate / Collection: Property from the Rotondaro Collection

ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY

Argument of John Quincy Adams, Before the Supreme Court of the United States, In the Case of United States, Appellants, vs. Cinque, and Others, Africans, Captured in the Schooner Amistad, by Lieut. Gedney, Delivered on the 24th of February and 1st of March, 1841. With a Review of the Case of the Antelope. New York: S.W. Benedict, 1841. First edition. Modern half brown morocco gilt, raised bands, blue cloth sides. 8 3/3 x 5 3/8 inches (21 x 13.5 cm); 135 [1] pp.; boxed with BALDWIN, ROGER S. Argument of Roger S. Baldwin, of New Haven, Before the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Case of the United States, Appellants, vs. Cinque and Others, Africans of the Amistad. New York: S.W. Benedict, 1841. First edition. Original self-wrappers, stitched as issued. 8 7/8 x 5 5/8 inches (22.5 x 14 cm); 32 pp. The two volumes housed in chemises in a brown half-morocco clamshell case. The Adams with very faint traces of a mailing fold, minor stain to the title, light scattered foxing; Baldwin's Argument with two small tears to corners of front wrapper.

First editions of Roger Baldwin’s and John Quincy Adams’ eloquent Arguments in the landmark Amistad Case presented before the Supreme Court in 1841, "an astounding saga for the case that truth is more powerful than anything the imagination could invent” (Blockson), these two seminal works are rarely found together.

In 1839 53 Africans were abducted (against treaty provisions) from Sierra Leone, and were shipped as slaves to Havana on board the Spanish slave ship Amistad. Led by Joseph Cinqué, they seized command of the vessel on the Cuban coast, and they directed that the vessel should be sailed back to Africa. However, without their knowledge, it was steered northwards into American waters. The Amistad grounded near Montauk Point in Long Island Sound, was boarded, and the ship's 39 Africans were classified as salvage property and jailed for murder, mutiny and piracy. The resulting legal case proceeded through the legal system for two years and was a national and international cause célèbre. In the final appeal before the Supreme Court, the case for the defense was led by the New Haven lawyer Roger S. Baldwin, assisted by the 74-year-old John Quincy Adams, the nation's sixth president and a noted opponent of slavery. Baldwin's Argument was "one of the most illustrious arguments ever offered" to the Supreme Court (Dutton, 12), and Adams' powerful Argument stands as "one of his most eloquent public statements" (Nagel, 380).

The case United States v. Schooner Amistad presented "living proof of the horrors of the African slave state... As a legal case it involved three levels of the federal courts, the president of the United States, the secretary of state, the attorney general, a former president, the governments of Spain and Great Britain... and a host of lawyers" (Finkelman, 228). When the district court judge in the U.S. District Court for Connecticut ruled that the Africans were not Spanish slaves, being captured as free men in Africa, ordering the U.S. to release them from prison and transport them back to Africa, the United States Government appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court. Pleadings there began in February 1841 and after a brief hiatus caused by the death of Justice Philip Barbour, resumed March 1. In his Argument in United States v. The Amistad, Baldwin was the first attorney to speak before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Amistad Africans, and he outlined the legal reasoning in favor of the Amistad captives. He was succeeded by Adams, who in nine hours of powerful rhetorical argument, reinforced his colleague's case. The Supreme Court ruled for the Africans 7-1, accepting the argument that they were never citizens of Spain and were illegally taken from Africa. Ultimately the 35 who survived were returned there.

Auction: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps, May 1, 2024

  • Auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on May 1, 2024 Totals $1.2 Million

  • A Medieval Manuscript Rules of St. Augustine Achieves $102k

  • Consignments Are Currently Being Accepted for Future Auctions


NEW YORK, NY -- Competitive bidding at Doyle’s May 1, 2024 auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps drove strong prices and a sale total that topped $1.2 million, surpassing expectations.

Featured in the sale was a fascinating selection of early manuscripts that achieved exceptional results. Highlighting the group was a 14th century manuscript of the Rules of St. Augustine from an English priory that soared over its $8,000-12,000 estimate to realize a stunning $102,100. The Rule of St. Augustine is among the earliest of all monastic rules, created about 400, and it was an influence on all that succeeded it. Other notable results included a 14th century Etymologiae of St. Isidore estimated at $5,000-8,000 that achieved $51,200 and a 15th century Prayer Book of Jehan Bernachier estimated at $10,000-15,000 that sold for $28,800.

A first edition of John James Audubon's octavo Birds of America sold for $41,600, far over its $25,000-35,000 estimate. Published in 1840-1844 in seven volumes, the first octavo edition was the final Birds of America publication overseen by Audubon in his lifetime.

The Fred Rotondaro Collection offered rare books and manuscripts on a range of subjects touching the African American experience in the United States over three centuries. A first edition copy of Frederick Douglass’ 1876 speech at the unveiling of the Freedman's Monument in Washington realized $12,800, far exceeding its $3,000-5,000 estimate. A first edition of the first issue of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin from 1852 also achieved $12,800.

Highlighting the range of offerings from the Ken Harte Collection of Natural History was a first edition Richard Bowdler Sharpe’s beautifully illustrated monograph of Kingfishers, 1868-71, that sold for $14,080, doubling its $6,000-8,000 estimate. It was accompanied by an inscribed copy of the rare unfinished chapter on the anatomy of the kingfisher by James Murie.


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Consignments are currently being accepted for future auctions. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our Specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

For information, please contact Peter Costanzo at 212-427-4141 ext 248, Edward Ripley-Duggan at ext 234, or Noah Goldrach at ext 226, or email Books@Doyle.com

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