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“The Slave Sale, or Come Who Bids?” Abolitionist Sheet Music
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“Planters! Here’s a chance, Here are limbs to work or dance…”

Scarce English abolitionist music signed in print by composer Henry Russell on the front page.

HENRY RUSSELL and ANGUS REACH. Sheet Music. The Slave Sale, or Come, Who Bids? 4 pp., with elaborate half-page vignette on the first page, showing various scenes of the slave trade. London: Musical Boquet Office. [Sheard, 1855]. “Composed by Henry Russell for his New Entertainment ‘Negro Life’ - Words by Angus B. Reach Esq.”

Inventory #24738       Price: $750

Henry Russell (1812 – 1900) was born into a prominent Jewish family, but a visit to a Presbyterian church with the pipe organ’s powerful sound interested him in Christian music. He was an active composer and champion of social causes, including the abolition of the slave trade. Some of his songs (and in all probability this one), were performed by the Hutchinsons, the noted American abolitionist musical family.

Russell’s “Negro Life” is “The slave chase: from the entertainment of negro life in freedom & in slavery,” 1855.  

Incredibly, we found a (more modern) performance recorded online:

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