Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Birney, James Gillespie (1792-1857) to Joshua Leavitt

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02448.02 Author/Creator: Birney, James Gillespie (1792-1857) Place Written: Cincinnati, Ohio Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 26 June 1847 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 25.1 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Birney, an abolitionist, writes to Leavitt, a reformer and minister in Boston. Has been asked to write columns for the Herald, a newspaper, and is allowed by the editor to freely express his opinions. Notes that Dr. Bailey (possibly Gamaliel Bailey) will not agree with what he has written. Writes, "I have but little faith in the constancy of some who stand prominent in this vicinity as abolitionists. I would not be surprised if some went off to the Democratic party before long." Remarks that Mr. Chase also contributes to the Herald (possibly referring to Salmon Portland Chase). In a post script on page two, notes, "I mention these things merely that you may... account for the different influences that are at work to affect the interests of the Liberty Party." Marked "Private." Contains a note on top of page one: "James Birney, candidate of abolitionists for President."

Background Information: Joshua Leavitt (1794–1873) was a Congregationalist minister, reformer, abolitionist, and supporter of the Liberty Party in the Northeast. Gamaliel Bailey (1807-1859) had succeeded Birney as editor and publisher of the "Philanthropist" ...newspaper in Cincinnati in 1837. Birney ran for President as a member of the Liberty Party, an abolitionist party, in 1840 and 1844, losing both times. In 1848 members of the Liberty Party would join with members of other small parties to form the Free Soil Party. Salmon P. Chase was a politician from Ohio who identified with Birney's anti-slavery platform and Liberty Party. He became Senator from Ohio as a candidate from the Free Soil Party in 1849, and became Governor of that state in 1855.See More

People: Birney, James Gillespie, 1792-1857
Leavitt, Joshua, 1794-1873
Bailey, Gamaliel, 1807-1859
Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: African American HistorySlaveryReligionJournalismAbolitionReform MovementDemocratic PartyPoliticsPresidentElectionGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources