A Pioneer Abolitionist in Search of a Colony in Texas for Freed Slaves

With Map Focusing on the Disputed Texas-Mexico Border

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

228. [LUNDY, Benjamin]. The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy, Including His Journeys to Texas and Mexico; with a Sketch of Cotemporary [sic] Events, and a Notice of the Revolution in Hayti. Compiled [by Thomas Earle] under the Direction and on Behalf of His Children. Philadelphia: Published by William D. Parrish, No. 4 North Fifth Street, 1847 [title verso: Merrihew & Thompson, Printers, 7 Carter’s Alley, Philada.]. [4, blank] [5-9] 10-316 pp. (title mounted on stub), frontispiece portrait of Lundy, copper-engraved map on bank note paper with original hand coloring (see below). 12mo (19.6 x 12 cm), original brown blind-stamped cloth, spine gilt-lettered. Binding slightly worn at extremities, mild discoloration to cloth which has a few spots and stains, front hinge starting, lacking front free endpaper. Slight to moderate foxing to text, overall a very good copy, the map fine. Front free endpaper with contemporary ink note: “The Property of the Hickory Grove Female Academy[?] & Society” and bookplate of noted bibliophile “Charles F. Heartman Collection of Material relating to Negro Culture.” Collector William Morrow purchased this copy directly from Heartman.

Frontispiece Portrait

[Facsimile signature below portrait and imprint] Benjamin Lundy [below portrait] Painted by A. Dickinson | Engd. by W. Warner. Mezzotint bust portrait of Lundy with pen in one hand and the other on a book; portrait only: 9 x 7.5 cm; portrait with imprint and facsimile signature: 11.5 x 7.5 cm; overall sheet size: 18.6 x 11.3 cm. Mild foxing to blank margins, else fine. The image is after the original painting by Anson Dickinson (1779-1852), portrait painter in miniature and oils (see DAB and Dictionary of American Portraits, p. 395). Engraver William Warner (1813-1848) was a portrait painter and self-taught engraver in mezzotint. “He made comparatively few plates, but the larger of these are admirable examples of mezzotint work” (Stauffer, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel, Vol. I, p. 284).


California, Texas, Mexico, and part of the United States. Compiled from the latest and best Authorities. [text in Gulf of Mexico] Explanation. The part left uncolored between the Rio Grande and Nueces &c. shows the old and new boundaries of Texas, forming the territory in dispute between the U. States and Mexico. Engraved map on banknote paper, with full original hand coloring; neat line to neat line: 21.6 x 25.4 cm; overall sheet size: 25 x 27.1 cm. Folded into book at end, mostly free of the usual foxing; color bleed-through on map verso. Much better condition than usually found. Not in Day, Phillips (America), or Wheat. The map proper extends from northern Guatemala to as far north as St. Louis, Missouri, Spanish Peaks, and north of San Francisco, California. Texas is depicted without the Panhandle; the western boundary stops at the Nueces River; Austin’s Grants are shown; the boundary of New Mexico is northward toward the Arkansas River; various archaic spellings for place names include Fort Tubson for Tucson, Arizona. See last paragraph of this description for more on this map.

     First edition. Clark, Old South III:66: “Contains Lundy’s journal kept on his second and third journeys to Texas, 1833-34 and 1834-35, in search of suitable places for the colonization of freed slaves. On the second trip his route was by steamboat from Cincinnati to Nashville, thence to Memphis and New Orleans, and by sea to Brazoria; on foot to San Felipe; to San Antonio de Bexar, where he worked at his trade of saddler while planning a colonization scheme, August-October 1833, and to Monclova, where he remained until January 1834. The third journey began at Nashville, from which he went by steamboat to New Orleans, back up the Mississippi and Red River to Natchitoches.... On each of these tours he kept day-to-day accounts of his itinerary and activities.” Eberstadt, Texas 162:505: “Contains much on the country and its products, local manners, etc.” Graff 1195. Howes E10. Matthews, pp. 255-256: “The most traveled of the abolitionists was Lundy, who said he had walked 5,000 miles and had rode another 20,000. He went to nineteen states, Haiti, Canada, Texas, and Mexico.” Rader 2264. Sabin 42693. Sibley, Travelers in Texas, pp. 213 & 179: “Lundy visited all the settled parts of Texas, and his observations are basic to any study of the Texas Negro during the Mexican era.” Not in Raines, who tersely comments on Lundy’s 1837 The War in Texas: “Anything but favorable to Texas” (p. 141). Compiler Thomas Earle (1796-1849), merchant, journalist, attorney, politician, and vice-presidential candidate in 1840, lost popularity with the Democratic Party by advocating extension of the right of suffrage to African Americans.

     Diminutive, slender, and gentle Benjamin Lundy (1789-1839) was a towering powerhouse in the fight against slavery in the United States. “Not a commonplace adventurer, [Lundy] was a major representative of the gathering forces that were ultimately to extinguish slavery in the United States.... Lundy’s trip to Texas, which so long as he lived he must have considered failures, contributed their share to the developing sectional controversy that was to lead to disunion and Civil War” (Merton L. Dillon, “Benjamin Lundy in Texas” in Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1, July 1959, pp. 46-62). Lundy was converted to the abolition cause in 1816 when he witnessed the cruel treatment of a chain gang of slaves in Ohio and immediately established a Humane Society on their behalf. Lundy held that slavery was an institution so at variance with the principles of Christianity and the Declaration of Independence as to be totally out of place in nineteenth-century United States. When Lundy crossed the Sabine toward Nacogdoches in June 1832, he did not seek fortune, adventure, or the easy exit strategy of G.T.T. His mission was the humanitarian principle of the abolishment of slavery. A Quaker and publisher of the first abolitionist periodical (Genius of Universal Emancipation, 1828-1837, co-edited with William Lloyd Garrison; Sabin 26941), he devised the most ambitious plan for resettlement of ex-slaves and free Blacks from the United States to a colony in Mexico, of which Texas was still a part. In this work Lundy recounts numerous such Blacks already living in Mexico, and describes many others who wanted to join the colony, such as persons in mixed marriages.

     Due to the Texas uprising, Lundy’s project was not realized. Slave holders in Texas so thoroughly detested Lundy that he occasionally used an alias when in Texas. He became convinced that Anglo agitation in Texas was a plot to separate Texas from Mexico in order to create another slave state. He lobbied furiously against the annexation of Texas as a slave state and fired up John Quincy Adams, which delayed annexation of Texas for nine years. Lundy’s travels in Texas included Nacogdoches, San Antonio, San Felipe de Austin, Laredo, and other towns in the Brazos and Rio Grande areas. Lundy’s account is one of the few that provides a look at everyday life of free Blacks living in Texas in the 1830s. Among the places Lundy visited in Northern Mexico were Monclova, Matamoras, Reynosa, Victoria, Tamaulipas, etc. Some idea of Lundy’s atypical view compared to other Texas travellers at the time may be inferred by his determination to witness and record all he saw, including such non-Quaker activities as gambling, fandangos, and bullfights (the latter of which made him long for rain so that the barbarous amusement would cease).

     During his 1834 trip to Texas, in San Antonio Lundy met that affable Mexican spy, Juan N. Almonte. The two had an immediate meeting of minds regarding colonization and the motives of the Anglo Texans. Lundy hurriedly left San Antonio when it was rumored that some leading citizens of San Antonio wanted to tar and feather him. Lundy’s travelling companions on the journey from San Antonio to Monclova were dissonant, to say the least, including the disingenuous Almonte, and the two Anglo attorneys, Spencer H. Jack (the first Anglo colonist in Texas to draw Mexican blood in resistance to Mexican authority) and Peter W. Grayson (who recovered from serious mental illness in 1830 when he received a league of land from Stephen F. Austin, established a large plantation with many slaves, and became Austin’s aide-de-camp during the early phase of the Texas Revolution). Lundy and Almonte left San Antonio with Jack and Grayson, who were on their way to Mexico City to obtain the release of Stephen F. Austin from prison. Lundy archly remarks of the Anglo Texans: “There is many a wolf in Mexico, from our country in the guise of sheep.” Despite all his efforts and the assistance of Almonte and Samuel Bangs, Lundy’s colony came to naught, and he died disheartened a few years later. One hundred years after his death, a bronze plaque was dedicated to the pioneer abolitionist and placed at his gravesite. The tribute reads, “It was his lot to struggle, for years almost alone, a solitary voice crying in the wilderness, and, amidst all, faithful to his one great purpose, the emancipation of the slaves.” For more on Lundy, see DAB; William C. Armstrong, The Lundy Family (New Brunswick, 1902); Carleton Mabee, Black Freedom: Non-Violent Abolitionists from 1830 through the Civil War (New York & London, 1970); and Jane H. Pease and William H. Pease, Bound with Them in Chains: A Biographical History of the Anti-Slavery Movement (Westport, 1972).

     Regarding the map in the present work, Lundy certainly had a vested interest in the proper mapping of the Texas-Mexico border. Streeter comments on Lundy and his Texas connection and concern about proper boundaries in the note to entry 1169 in his bibliography of Texas (1835 broadside printed at Nashville, Mexican Colonization; and Sugar, Cotton, and Rice Cultivation, by Free Labor promoting a colony in Tamaulipas):

This broadside gives a favorable but temperate prospectus for a colony Lundy proposed to establish on a grant made to him by the Governor of the State of Tamaulipas on March 10, 1835. The boundaries of Tamaulipas then extended as far north as the Nueces and this grant was almost certainly located between the Nueces and the Rio Grande.... In the Nashville address Lundy expatiates on the fine land available in his colony, but without, however, stating its location, and says that his principal motive in establishing the colony is ‘to test the advantages of Free Labor, on this continent, in the culture of sugar, rice, cotton, etc.’ It is quite evident that he would welcome Negroes as colonists. LeRoy P. Graf has a good account of Lundy’s colonization scheme in ‘Colonizing Projects in Texas South of the Nueces, 1820-1845’ in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly for April 1947, Volume L, at pages 440-444. The Life, Travels and Opinions of a most interesting Texas book because of Lundy’s three journeys to Texas in 1832, 1833, and 1834 to secure a colonization grant. Lundy was a keen observer and in his journeys refers to many of the prominent Texans. When in Tamaulipas in 1835, Lundy saw much of Samuel Bangs. According to the 1847 Life, Lundy was born in Sussex County, New Jersey, January 4, 1789, and died at Lowell, Illinois, on August 22, 1839.

     The map apparently exists in three variants, all printed from basically the same plate, with minor modifications as necessary. The map is found with various color schemes that indicate political and geographical distinctions.

     Map in Atkinson’s Casket: Texas, Mexico, and part of the United States. Compiled from the latest and best Authorities. Engraved for Atkinson’s Casket by J. Yeager. This version first appeared in Vol. 11, No. 3, of the March 1836 issue of Atkinson’s Casket, Gems of Literature, Wit and Sentiment (Sabin 11335). The map accompanies two articles, “Sketch of Mexico” and “Sketch of Texas”; also included is notice of the publication of Mary Austin Holley’s Texas. For a discussion of the map in Atkinson’s Casket as “the first map to show the newly-independent Republic of Texas,” see Matt Walter, “Texas, Mexico and Part of the United States” in The Neatline (February, 2011), p. 5. The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on March 2, 1836.

     Pocket map version: California, Texas, Mexico, and part of the United States. Compiled from the latest and best Authorities. In this variant the title has been changed by adding the word “California” and the reference to Atkinson’s Casket has been removed. We located five copies of the pocket map version with printed wrappers, usually with wrapper title: Map of Mexico, Texas, and Part of the United States, including California, and Santa Fe, Showing the Relative Positions of those Countries to the United States, the Seat of War, and the Different Points of Attack. Much of the dating of the pocket map issue is conjectural, although copies that mention the Mexican-American War make it obvious that the map was being published during that time. The pocket map was published by various firms in Philadelphia. The H.V. Jones-Thomas W. Streeter copy at Yale (Streeter Sale 286) was published by Samuel C. Hayes (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. II, p. 296). Yale has another pocket map version with imprint of Brower, Hayes & Co., printed by Grattan (possibly William Grattan who drew a manuscript map of San Antonio in 1836; now at Newberry). Another publisher of the pocket map version was Zieber & Co., engraved by James Young (Eberstadt 113:427; Graff 4797; High Ridge 57:107; Siebert Sale 903). The mentioned Jas. Young most likely is engraver James H. Young, who successfully practiced engraving in Philadelphia from 1817 to 1866 (see Ristow).

     Map in Lundy: California, Texas, Mexico, and part of the United States. Compiled from the latest and best Authorities. [text in Gulf of Mexico] Explanation. The part left uncolored between the Rio Grande and Nueces &c. shows the old and new boundaries of Texas, forming the territory in dispute between the U. States and Mexico. This version (which is the one offered in this lot) is the same as that found in the pocket map versions except for the addition of the “Explanation” in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of Lundy’s colonization schemes, compiler Thomas Earle seems to have gone to some pains to indicate the disputed Texas-Mexico boundary area between the Nueces and Rio Grande by leaving the area uncolored and pointing out that fact in the “Explanation.” The color scheme is different than that used on the Atkinson variant, which included full color of all the United States shown on the map. Streeter remarked on the pocket map version in his sale catalogue (entry 286): “On the inside of the front cover is a printed slip regarding the imperfect knowledge of the geography of Mexico and citing Benjamin Lundy as the best authority for the location of the city of Victoria in Tamaulipas as Lundy had visited the city twice.”


Sold. Hammer: $1,200.00; Price Realized: $1,470.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.
 Courtesy of Fred Baron, High Ridge Books, Catalogue 57, Item 107. This map is not for sale in this auction and is for illustrative purposes only, to show another variant of our map.

DSRB Home | e-mail: