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Wright, Frances.

Views of Society and Manners in America.


Wright, Frances D'Arusmont. Views of Society and Manners in America. In a series of letters from that country to a friend in England during the years 1818, 1819, and 1920. By an Englishwoman. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1921.
8vo.; heavily foxed throughout; hinge slightly cracked along rear endpapers; in original brown boards with new paper spine and hand-written label; minimal wear to extremities.
First edition of this scarce book; published in England in 1821, one year after her return from New York, where she and her younger sister, Camilla, emigrated in 1818.
Considered a sort of politicized travel memoir, Views of Society and Manners in America was compiled from her correspondence while abroad. In her letters home, she reported on issues of education, religion, condition of the working class, women and slavery in America. Ironically, Wright's initial intentions in New York were not write memoir, rather to establish herself as a dramatist. Frustrated by her lack of success, Wright returned to London in 1820, where she published her memoirs a year later.
Her publication of Views of Society and Manners in America resulted in a close friendship with General Lafayette. As his companion on his 1824 tour of America, Wright visited Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and "discussed with them the problem of Negro slavery." Upon her return to America, Wright became a pioneer in the women's suffrage movement and in the abolition of slavery. She began work on a plan for the gradual emancipation of the slaves, which she presented to Jefferson for his approval. Unlike many of the abolitionists, Wright actually put her experiment to the test by purchasing a tract of land in Tennessee, called Nashoba, on which she proposed that slaves could work for their freedom. She later purchased, in the fall of 1825, a small lot of slaves and colonized them in Haiti.
A rare and celebrated 19th-century memoir from a founding feminist and abolitionist.

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