London: Emily Faithfull, 1863. First edition. Original printed wraps containing 11 pages. Measures 102 x 178 mm. Contemporary ownership signature of Mrs. Wisler to title page, with additional note "by Frances Power Cobbe." Wrappers holding well, with small chip to front right edge and paper loss to upper right corner of rear wrapper causing minor text loss on page 11. Small closed 1/2' tear to right margin throughout, without text loss. Some mild soiling and scattered foxing, as expected for a chapbook of this period. The only copy on the market, Cobbe's abolitionist pamphlet is scarce in trade and at institutions, making this an important surviving example of women's transcontinental abolitionist efforts.
Frances Power Cobbe was an important and outspoken advocate for racial and gendered equality. Working alongside illustrious activists like Barbara Bodichon, Mary Carpenter, and Emily Faithfull, she spoke and published work urging abolition, suffrage, and anti-vivisection. While her earlier efforts focused on suffrage and employment, the year of this pamphlet marked a shift in her energies. "In the spring of 1863, Cobbe became, like [Lucretia] Mott and [Lydia] Child, and of course [Bessie] Parkes, an active abolitionist" because, following a series of incendiary pro-slavery pieces published against Lincoln in European newspapers, "the January 1863 issue of the Atlantic Monthly carried a letter from Harriet Beecher Stowe to the women of England pleading for support" (Mitchell). Her arguments against slavery spoke to Englishwomen involved in similar causes of equality. And as women had been denied membership to the Anti-Slavery Society due to their sex, they founded their own Ladies' London Emancipation Society. "For its first effort, Cobbe write a Rejoinder to Mrs. Stowe's Reply" (Mitchell). Cobbe herself had met Stowe and had been energized by her ardent beliefs in liberty; and thus, Cobbe began to move into a more liberal and widely radical circle of intersectional reformers. In this way, she and women like her began to place emphasis on similarity over difference, and on the power that unity could give such causes. "A common origin, a common faith, and we sincerely believe a common cause urge us at the present moment to address you on the subject of the fearful encouragement and support which is being afforded by England to a slave-holding Confederacy. We appeal to you as sisters, as wives, as mothers, to raise your voices to your fellow citizens and your prayers to God, for the removal of this affliction and disgrace from the Christian world." Only by speaking out, Cobbe asserts, can women support each other and push for a more free world. An important work in the history of transcontinental activism and intersectional feminism.
ODNB. Mitchell 131-132. (Item #2660)