GERRIT SMITH (March 6, 1797-December 28, 1874) was a leading social reformer, abolitionist, politician and philanthropist. He was a candidate for President of the United States in 1848, 1856 and 1860. He won election to a single term in the House of Representatives, 1853-1854. Smith was regarded as the richest man in New York state and one of the wealthiest men in the country. Most notably, he was one of the famous Secret Six who financially supported John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. After Brown was hanged, an intensive investigation revealed the names of the Secret Six. Smith’s family quickly committed him to an insane asylum to protect him. He was released after fervor for an investigation died down. Brown’s farm in North Elba was on land he bought from Smith.
3 pp, 3 columns, 8 3/4 x 12, broadside speech by Smith “To His Neighbors, In Peterboro, NY, June 22d, 1872, containing powerfully detailed politically language, beginning with an attack on the Democratic party, which, at the time, was more like the Republican party today. “The Democratic party is my dread. The Republican party is my hope...a party for human rights and human hope...The Democratic party this degenerate Democratic party...had, for many years become our accursed rebellion, sympathized with and served the slave power of our land...But for the well-known proslavery spirit of that party, the rebellion would not have been...Despairing of the literal re-enslavement of the negro, it went for heaping upon him as much of other injustice and cruelty as was possible. It refused him his full measure of civil rights and equality before the law.
“...It is true that thirty-six persons, convicted of Ku-Kluxism crimes, were sent a few days ago to the Albany penitentiary, and that hundreds and more nearly thousands of others are now under indictment for such crimes; but the spirit of Ku-Kluxism will not die out so long as the Democratic party exists to sympathize with that spirit...No small proof of this is that not a few of them fled the country as soon as President Grant undertook to enforce the laws against the murderous scoundrels.
“...As that generation of Israelites which rebelled against Heaven, was shut out from the promised land, so must this generation of Democrats, of rebellion-favoring Democrats, of negro-hating, negro-whipping, negro-hanging Democrats be forever shut out of power...
“Mr. [Charles] Sumner speaks of President Grant’s insult to Frederick Douglass, and through him to the colored race. The insult exists but in Mr. Sumner’s imagination...Mr. Sumner says that the President, in inviting the San Domingo Commissioners to dine with him, forgot Mr. Douglass. But Mr. Douglass, though Mr. Sumner speaks of him as one of the Commissioners, was not one of them...
“Will not William Lloyd Garrison and his fellow laborers have lived in vain, if now, at the last, the black man for whom they have lived, shall turn against them and go over to their and the black man’s enemy?”
Light toning. A couple of minute ink burns. Quite readable and an important speech from a man who helped finance John Brown’s raid on the U.S. arsenal.
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