VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S DISTINCTIVE "B. FREE FRANKLIN" FREE FRANK.
Ex Stevens. With 1992 Charles Hamilton certificate
ROGER S. BALDWIN, ATTORNEY FOR THE IMPRISONED SLAVES FROM THE AMISTAD, DISCUSSES PREPARATIONS FOR ARGUING THEIR CASE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT AND DESCRIBES JOHN QUINCY ADAMS'S CONFIDENCE THAT THE PROSECUTION "CANNOT HOPE TO BE SUCCESSFUL."
The Amistad case, which was tried before the Supreme Court in 1840, established the important principle that the United States should treat any slave who escaped from illegal bondage as a free man. Ex-President John Quincy Adams, an anti-slavery advocate, eloquently presented the argument on behalf of the Amistad captives to the Supreme Court. At the time, the case attracted widespread national and international attention, but for many years it was lost to the history books. Its significance was recently revived with the production of a major motion picture, Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg.
This letter, written in November 1840, explicitly refers to the case. It reads, in part: "The facts which were principally in controversy on the trial in the District Court, are now distinctly admitted on the record viz the authenticity of the Decree of 1817, the treaties of 1817 & 1835, the Ordinance of Nov. 1838, & the fact that the negroes are native Africans recently imported into Cuba. Mr. Adams, who spent the day here on Tuesday, in consultation, thinks the Govt., when they see the record, may abandon their appeal without a hearing; as he is very confident they cannot hope to be successful. If it is argued, he will go very fully into it. By the way, if, as you suggest, our friends expect both of us to argue the case with the Ex president, they must I apprehend be disappointed, as it will not be in our power to gratify them, consistently with the rules of the Supreme Court, which only allow two counsel on a side."
An important letter, which has only recently come to light