Benjamin Franklin Supports the Abolition of Slavery, Washington Addresses the Reformed Dutch Church and Offers Thanksgiving Thoughts
On October, 9, 1789, Address from the Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church of New York to President George Washington, with Washington’s humble reply To the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America discussing his gratitude for their support, thanks for the nation weathering the revolution and peacefully establishing constitutional goverment and ensuring religious freedom. (p.1, col. 3)
LOT SOLD: $4,375
A printing of Benjamin Franklin’s “Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage.”
Franklin’s Address, Excerpt
“Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature that its very extirpation if not performed with solicitous care may sometimes open a source of serious evils…..The unhappy man who has long been treated as a brute animal too frequently sinks beneath the common standard of the human species. The galling chains that bind his bode do also fetter his intellectual faculties and impair the social affections of the heart.”
I receive with a grateful heart your pious and affectionate address, and with truth declare to you that no circumstance of my life has affected me more sensibly or produced more pleasing emotions than the friendly congratulations, and strong assurances of support which I have received from my fellow-citizens of all descriptions upon my election to the Presidency of these United States.
I fear, Gentlemen, your goodness has led you to form too exalted an opinion of my virtues and merits—If such talents as I possess have been called into action by great events, and those events have terminated happily for our country, the glory should be ascribed to the manifest interposition of an over-ruling Providence. My military services have been abundantly recompensed by the flattering approbation of a grateful people; and, if a faithful discharge of my civil duties can ensure a like reward, I shall feel myself richly compensated for any personal sacrifice I may have made by engaging again in public life.
The Citizens of the United States of America have given as signal a proof of their wisdom and virtue in framing and adopting a constitution of government, without bloodshed or the intervention of force, as they, upon a former occasion, exhibited to the world of their valor, fortitude, and perseverance; and it must be a pleasing circumstance to every friend of good order and social happiness to find that our new government is gaining strength and respectability among the citizens of this country in proportion as it’s operations are known, and its effects felt.
You, Gentlemen, act the part of pious Christians and good citizens by your prayers and exertions to preserve that harmony and good will towards men which must be the basis of every political establishment; and I readily join with you that “while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.”
I am deeply impressed with your good wishes for my present and future happiness—and I beseech the Almighty to take you and yours under his special care.
With some reflections for Thanksgiving, including an excerpt from Washington’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation under the new constitution:
“that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, for his kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of union, tranquility, , and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.” (p. 3, col. 3).
With a report from Revolutionary Paris about the Women’s march on Versailles, with Lafayette in command of “50 Parisian troops and mob were killed and thirty of the King’s guards were cut to pieces”…“For the last 24 hours the King has not eaten an ounce of food.”
(p. 2, col. 3-p. 3, col. 1).
A few pithy remarks on taxation (p. 3, col. 1).
And parts of the plan for assuming state debts, a list of past payments by the Treasury, and numerous acts of Congress.