Foster, Rev. Stephen Symonds (1809-1881) The Brotherhood of Thieves; Or, A True Picture of the American Church and Clergy: A Letter to Nathaniel Barney, of Nantucket. By Stephen S. Foster. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 25 Cornhill,  17 cm, 72 pages, disbound, wrapper missing. Trimmed unevenly across the bottom, not affecting the text. Otherwise, the condition is good.
A letter written to Nathaniel Barney in defense of the way Rev. Foster spoke against slavery at an anti-slavery convention held on Nantucket Island. During his speech, a mob erupted at the strong language Foster used, denouncing the complicity of American clergymen in the institution of slavery: “I said at your meeting, among other things, that the American church and clergy, as a body, were thieves, adulterers, man-stealers, pirates, and murderers; that the Methodist Episcopal church was more corrupt and profligate than any house of ill-fame in the city of New York; that the Southern ministers of that body were desirous of perpetuating slavery for the purpose of supplying themselves with concubines from among its hapless victims; and that many of our clergymen were guilty of enormities that would disgrace an Algerine [sic] pirate!!” Language like this caused Foster to be pelted with rotten eggs and stones. His life was threatened, as was his right to free speech. Foster defended both in this pamphlet, as he exposed members of the Methodist Episcopal Church actively involved in the buying and selling of slaves. Foster drives home the point that “… slavery is an American and not a Southern institution, and that the North and South are leagued together politically in its support.” (p. 27). A powerful and spirited pamphlet that addressed both the economic and theological roots of slavery.