Revelations of a Slave Smuggler: Being the Autobiography of Capt. Rich'd Drake, an African Trader for Fifty Years. Richard Drake.
Revelations of a Slave Smuggler: Being the Autobiography of Capt. Rich'd Drake, an African Trader for Fifty Years...

Revelations of a Slave Smuggler: Being the Autobiography of Capt. Rich'd Drake, an African Trader for Fifty Years...

New York: Robert DeWitt, [1860]. 100pp., plus three folding plates. Original pictorial wrappers. Spine ends slightly chipped; very short closed tears at wrapper edges; minor dampstaining and foxing to wraps. Very good. Item #1370

Likely a second issue of this fictionalized saga of the illegal slave trade, with an additional leaf of statistical information at the rear. The account is presented as a confession taken by a Reverend of the Protestant Home Mission who happens upon Captain Richard (or Philip) Drake in extremis in a dilapidated New York tenement, eager to share his experiences in the Atlantic slave trade in order to show his remorse and to warn of its dangers. Drake's ensuing narrative begins with his emigration as a teenager from England to the United States in 1803 and his entrance into the slave trade soon after, and contains numerous lurid and horrific episodes that take place across West Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean, mostly during the first two decades of the 19th century.

The work is illustrated by three large folding plates. The frontispiece comprises a striking engraving of the popular 1835 painting by François-Auguste Biard, here titled "Slave Market Scene on the Kambia River, Coast of Africa." The second plate is titled "Scene in the Hold of the Blood-Stained Gloria (Middle Passage)" and the third is an adaptation of the plan of the slave ship Brookes. The inside rear wrapper has an illustrated advertisement for a new edition of "the Life, Trial and Execution of Capt. John Brown." The additional, final leaf of this issue contains an enumeration of the cost of the slave trade in both lives and money, as well as a listing of ships from New York recently captured while engaged in the slave trade. Scarce in any form, with only one copy of either issue appearing in available auction records.

Howes D474. Sabin 20865. Wright, American Fiction 792.

Price: $1,875.00