Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Victor Hugo Autograph Letter Signed. One page of a bifolium, 7.75" x 9.75", in French with an English translation written on the integral page, Hauteville House [the island of Guernsey, located in the English Channel], February 25, 1861. Addressed to George Francis Train (1829-1904), an American businessman who helped finance a portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the French novelist and poet gives his view of American slavery, in part:

    "Your opinion . . . is true upon the first phase of slavery but it is not at all so on the second. It is evident that slavery wrested its prey from the Eaters of human flesh, but it has only progressed in regard to Canabalism [sic]. Whenever it finds itself in the presence of Christianism and above all of human reason it must abdicate under penalty of becoming monstrous. The persistency of the Southern States in slavery is the greatest moral deformity of the Nineteenth Century."

    Train mentioned this letter in one of his Union Speeches which he delivered in England during the Civil War. In them, Train put forth the view that slavery had rescued the African from barbarism and, as a slave, he "goes to church, sings psalms, laughs, reads tracts, . . . and is the happiest laborer I have ever witnessed in my extensive travel." (Train's Union Speeches, pages 68-9)

    Condition: Folds. Affixed in the lower half to a backing sheet. A 2" tear near the lower left corner has been repaired on the verso with clear tape. Staining at the lower edge touches Hugo's signature. Ink burning on the integral page has caused some paper loss affecting the text (as indicated in the transcription.

    Reference: George Francis Train. Train's Union Speeches: "Second Series." Delivered in England During the Present American War. United States: T.B. Peterson, 1862.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 637

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 September 14 - 15 Americana & Political.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838