London: Thomas Hatchard, 1856-1857. Original Wrappers. Good binding. Item #6171
Octavo. Numbers are through paginated each with 4-14 preliminary pages of advertising (including wrappers) and concluding with 8 pages of "Monthly Extracts" which bears its own through pagination sequence. Some numbers have additional promotional material after the Monthly Extracts, paginated independently. Pagination available upon request, but it will be overly complicated--the body of most issues are about 72 pages. As issued, stitched into printed wrappers. The Christian Observer was started and edited by William Hey in 1802 until his death in 1819. The periodical ran the better part of the 19th century under various editors. Despite more than 70 years of publication, issues are relatively uncommon in the trade; and issued in their original wrappers are much more so. Wrappers are rubbed and some are detached--No. 229 is particularly soiled and worn; contents are fairly clean, some portions of some issues are unopened. In addition to few articles on various topics, each issue contains lengthy reviews of new publications and books. Global in scope, there is a section of "View of Public Affairs." There is a paragraph on the United States in every issue, many with a similar refrain: "In America things seem to sink from bad to worse, and to find, 'in the lowest depth, a lower still.' Nothing is more remarkable in the history of States or individuals, than the degree in which one capital error diffuses itself, and spreads the gangrene over other qualities and objects around it. Such is the deleterious influence of Slavery. It has just prompted one of its Southern States champions to an act of brutal violence against a member of the Legislature; and these States, instead of repudiation the act, appear to cheer on the blood-hounds, as though heaven and earth may sink together, if only chains and whips can be secured in full operation" (No. 223, p. 506). This is clearly referring to the caning of Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks in the Senate chamber in May of 1856. Though brief, each issue offers an interesting glimpse from across the Atlantic into the deep discord in the United States over slavery and also speculation over the incoming Buchanan administration. DNB.