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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection, which throws light on the intellectual history of Western New York and on the anti-slavery movement in the North (1822-36), includes letters to Spalding relating to his mercantile business in Canandaigua, Ontario County (1817-23) and in Lockport, Niagara County (1823-50); to his manufacture of agricultural implements in Lockport (1840s); to merchandising in New York and the Midwest (1820-40); to banking in Rochester and New York (1819-24); and to labor, land, and lumbering in Michigan Territory (1817-35). Included are letters from Thomas B. Barnum of Canandaigua (1823-24), editor of the Ontario Freeman (a Canandaigua, N.Y. newspaper) and co-editor with Spalding of Plain Truth; letters from Elisha Dean of Rochester (1829-30) on local affairs, court cases, and the election of 1830; letters from Holmes Hutchinson, surveyor, on personal affairs, and on surveys in New England on the Erie and other canals; letters from Elihu Francis Marshall, who was the city treasurer of Rochester, a reformer, journalist, printer, and publisher, on personal affairs, business, banking, politics, and churches in Rochester, and satirizing the "Missionary spirit"; a letter (1826) describing missionary activities in the Society Islands; letters from Harvey Newcomb of Rochester (1820s) on politics, business, and the press. Many of the letters of the 1820s comment on the political and economic agitation over the construction and functioning of the Erie and other canals.

Also included are letters relating to the establishment by Spalding of the newspaper Priestcraft Exposed and Primitive Christianity Defended, the manuscript editorials and articles for the first issue, and other letters concerning its relationship to the Plain Truth; three letters to Spalding from Benjamin Lundy (1835-36) relating to his plan to establish a colony in Mexico, to the "Mexican Insurrection" and to the intention of Lydia Maria Francis Child to settle in the colony, and mentioning John Quincy Adams's purchase for distribution of 150 Texas pamphlets; a plea by Oliver Wetmore of Utica, secretary of the NYSSAS, to the presidents of local abolitionist groups (of which Spalding was one) to subsidize the Standard Democrat of Utica as an abolitionist newspaper; and copies of the Plain Truth.

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