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Victor Hugo on John Brown: NYABF Highlight

Victor Hugo on John Brown: NYABF HighlightVictor Hugo on John Brown: NYABF Highlight
Victor Hugo on John Brown: NYABF Highlight.
Article by Fine Books Magazine



Victor Hugo was, it seems, a supporter of American abolitionist John Brown. A rare first edition of a pamphlet written by Hugo and retaining its original photograph of Hugo's striking line drawing of the 1859 hanging of Brown, is one of the highlights at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, which opens tonight at 5 pm

Prior to Brown's execution, Hugo sent a letter to the London Evening News. He wrote:

"... When we reflect on what is the liberator, the champion of Christ, has striven to effect, and when we remember that he is about to die, slaughtered by the American Republic, that crime assumes importance co-extensive with that of the nation which commits it - and when we say to ourselves that this nation is one of the glories of the human race; that, like France, like England, like Germany, she is one of the great agents of civilization; that she sometimes even leaves Europe in the rear by the sublime audacity of some of her progressive movements; that she is the Queen of an entire world, and that she is irradiated with a glorious halo of freedom, we declare our belief that John Brown will not die; for we recoil horror-struck from the idea of ​​so much a crime committed by so great a people ...

For - yes, let America know it, and it 's more awful than Cain slaying Abel: It' s Washington slaying Spartacus!

These feelings and others that were widely reprinted and then collected in this 1861 pamphlet, published in Paris. The Feu Follet for $ 3,000.


Images courtesy of the NYABF and Librairie Le Feu Follet
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