Moses Levy's tract, originally published in London in 1828, is the earliest and most important anti-slavery document by an American Jew. Though the work was published anonymously, due to Levy's vulnerability as a sugar planter and investor in Florida, its authorship was well known in anti-slavery circles in London at the time. British abolitionists had the highest regard for the American visitor, whom they compared to their own William Wilberforce. Levy's fame as an abolitionist did not accompany him on his return to Florida, where such ideas were anathema. His situation was complicated by the pro-slavery position taken by his politically ambitious son, David Levy Yulee, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1845. Yulee's efforts to distance himself from his father's Judaism and progressive social beliefs led to their permanent estrangement.
When Levy died in 1854 his abolitionism was unknown in America and forgotten in Britain. Nearly a century and a half later, Chris Monaco, researching Levy's plan to settle European Jews in Florida, followed the trail to London and discovered the abolitionist connection. He came across the anonymous "A Plan for the Abolition of Slavery" in the British National Library and recognized Moses Levy as its author. In his Introduction to this reprinting of the tract, Monaco expertly places Levy and his work in historical context, highlighting the uniqueness of the document and the extraordinary vision of its author.
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