THE SHELL POINT MEETING. / In pursuance of public notice, a very large / meeting of the citizens of Shell Point took / place on the 19th inst. To express themselves / upon the question which has created such uni- / versal excitement throughout the slave holding / States. / … [followed by a long printed text in three columns]. Signed at the end in type “N.W. Walker, Chair’n. / Wm. C. Campbell, Josh Gavin, Secretaries.”
[Tallahassee, Florida Territory?]: nd . Printed broadside, 19 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches, three contemporary manuscript corrections or additions. Not in Servies’s exhaustive Bibliography of Florida, Hummel, Sabin, or American Imprints. Not recorded on OCLC. However, we sold another copy in 2003 and know of one other that has passed through the trade. Folded, chip in blank margin, some foxing, but very good copy of a rare Florida Territory pro-slavery broadside. Item #64879
A passionate statement by the pro-slavery, anti-abolitionist populace of Shell Point, a fishing village on the Gulf Coast south of Tallahassee in the Florida Territory, printing the text of the resolutions passed at the meeting, as well as extracts from an address by Thomas Jefferson Green prior to his relocation to Texas, all made in reaction to the mailing of “thousands of copies of tracts issued by the American Anti-Slavery Society to individuals in the Southern states. After an indignant mob removed a mass of these papers from the post office at Charleston, S.C., in July, 1835, and burned them, Postmaster-General Amos Kendall wrote postmasters in the south sanctioning their removal of such literature. Feelings grew bitter throughout the country and violent means were used to silence unwelcome opinions” (Dictionary of American History). The resolutions passed at the Shell Point meeting are indicative of the bitter feelings, foreshadowing the secession movement a quarter-century later and calling for legislative protection of slaveholder interests, Congressional prohibition of the circulation of abolitionist material in the mails and enforcement of travel restrictions on free African Americans, and attacking looming amalgamation of the races. The resolutions conclude with a call for distribution of an account of this meeting to newspapers nation-wide. In part: “Resolved, that we ever look upon this as the great Splitting question among the States; that most political questions are subordinate, and many others owe their existence to it; all of which has ever appeared to us a political absurdity. For, why should this interest create opposition from any quarter, when it is known the products of the ‘slave labor’ balances the trade of the whole Republic, and squares accounts with all other nations.” The prime target of the citizens of Shell Point was Arthur Tappan (1786-1865), one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society and a leading abolitionist (see DAB). Referring to a Louisiana law making a capital offense of aiding or abetting the circulation of incendiary abolition papers, the resolves call for the governor of New York to give up “such conspicuous person or persons as are known to be foremost in this work of crime and sedition, so that the question may be fairly tried as to their liability under the law … such is our pity, scorn, and contempt of Arthur Tappan and his coadjutors … that we heartily approve of the conduct of the citizens of New Orleans, Charleston, Macon, and elsewhere, in offering a premium for said Tappan, and we will be pleased to pay a pro-rato amount for his delivery.”.