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Williams, Rev. J.V.
Printed 1 page Prospectus [erroneously signed “J. D. Williams” in type], for an Alabama magazine, “African Advocate and Southern Expositor of American Slavery”, with a 2 page Autograph Letter Signed by Williams, Postmarked Wetumpka, Alabama, May 14, 1857, to “my strange brother”, Rev. W. R. Williams, New York.

Wetumpka, Alabama: 1857, one page printed prospectus, on folding letter sheet, the remaining two pages carry a letter by Williams explaining his anti-slavery views and purpose in publishing his magazine, with address leaf, in very good, clean condition.

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Williams proposed to publish a pro-slavery magazine, to be published in Wetumpka, Alabama, ironically “devoted to the good of the African race, and true interests of master and servant,” pledging to enlist “writers of the highest character” to set forth religious and other justifications for “our southern institution of American Slavery”, thus promoting “the cause of humanity and the future triumph of pure Christianity” and to counter all the Northern anti-slavery “sheets, scattered far and wide”, with “their one-sided views of” the subject.

Williams’ letter, asking his northern colleague to write for the magazine, adds an illuminating exposition of his motivations – countering northern “Christian philosophy” which had lost “its balance and become heretical, fanatical and…crazy”, with the “evil work” of Abolitionist clergymen being “a war against the Bible”, weaving together “Socialism, free-loveism and every heretical and unholy ism…under the cry of ‘down with slavery’…”

Six months later, Williams did inaugurate his monthly magazine, under the more ambiguous title, “Southern Dial and African Monitor”, devoted to “the institutions and family literature of the South and good of the American African race.” It was short-lived and issues are now rare, held only by the Huntington Library. Williams himself made no other mark on history, but his “strange brother” was the long-time Pastor of a Baptist Church in New York City who assembled a notable private library of rare books on theological history, together with many other volumes -  including a dozen antebellum imprints opposing slavery.

 

“Rev. W R Williams

        My strange brother, you will see from the above, that I have started here in the South, an enterprize, which, while it is mainly for the south, is nevertheless, of great moment to the whole country. And not withstanding it looks chiefly to the writing talents of this section of our beloved country, its humanity, patriotism and benevolence, must call forth the sympathy, and move the heart, and pens, of ready writers, throughout this widespread land. For these, the inate elements of its constitutions are the basis of the moral influence, and Christian power, of the legitimately established and usefully conducted press. That even under their promptings, from the diferant standpoints of observation, wise and good men, may be differently affected, and be led to adopt contraray plans of operations is not wonderful But the Christian philosophy, should loose its balance and become heretical, fanatical, and even crazy, under such influences, is and must ever be lamentable. In deed sir, when the results mark the progress of any proposed changes, whether of a social, political, or religious character, there will certainly spring up envy, strife and confusion, and of consequence, every evil work, shewing to all, that earthly wisdom has usurped the empire of divine philosophy, whose fruit of righteousness is given in peace of them that make peace with my brother, it was not heavenly wisdom which severed the religious ties of the north & south  It is not heavenly wisdom which is now at work, to break their political bonds. The war has been waged ostensibly against African slavery but it is practically, a war against the Bible With Forianism, socialism, free love ism and every heretical and unholy ism, have wound themselves together into a ball of opposition, to the spirit and genius of its institutions and under the cry of down with slavery, or hem it in, and thus starve it out, they seek to enslave the principles, doctrines, institutions, which alone can emancipate and prepare men and women, either for, political, or, religious freedom. This enterprize is, for real good both to master and slave & the race through them first. Then against dreaded evil from the quarter indicated Can you not help us dear sir, with your able and polished pen? We have a new testament precedent for exposition and appeals, by an unnamed author. I am seeking two, one south and one north, to write in my magazine, the one as The Unknowing and the other as the Unnamed. I am to get the two, if I can, who are the very best writers in the two divisions mainly to exercise an influence which cannot be traced to either section as its fountain and others (reasons) such as you are better acquainted with than I am. Now I am not to be the principle Editor. I am Proprietor And want it understood, that I am responsible to the public for all I hand in for publication from these my own confidential guard to keep u for and in my magazine a high toned evangelical spirit & character, by their own model productions and Christian courtesy. The secret of name and locality must be profound, until the end aimed at, be accomplished. I do not mean they shall advocate sentiments they do not hold, or doctrines which would endanger their names for otherwise. It is alone for influence sake upon other writers and more on the public. Their communications should come to me individual address…”