London: H. Lea, . First edition. Original publisher's cloth binding with gilt title to spine. Light shelfwear to spine and extremities; some rippling to the cloth of boards and small white spot on spine. Measures 241 x 152 mm. Collating , 318 pages: complete. Internally a pleasing copy, with none of the toning associated with American imprints of this period. Scarce in trade and in libraries, this is the only copy on the market and OCLC reports only 1 institutionally held copy.
Originally appearing serialized in the London Journal under the title Quadroona, The Slave Mother was the most successful work produced by journalist Percy Bolingbroke St. John. Influenced by his childhood travels accompanying his father to Spain and America, St. John would become a foreign correspondent covering the French Revolution in 1848 and later the editor of The London Herald (ODNB). Across these experiences, he witnessed the highs and lows of human behavior. He was particularly fascinated by the contradictions in American culture, returning to it in his writing. "Miserable and wretched you may be, poor, oppressed, and wronged in England, but no man or woman can feel as does the slave, without protector, without government, without country or law." An extended and somewhat sensational critique of racism, slavery, and lynching, The Slave Mother focuses on the precarious position of a biracial woman and on the tragic lynching of a young black man, who is accused of murdering a white man attempting to kidnap his sister. Part of a wider trend of English writers exposing the evils of slavery and promoting American abolition, The Slave Mother brought racial injustice to the popular imagination and suggested the white Southerners bent on upholding racist systems harm every member of society. Very Good + (Item #2484)