The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 30 December 1852


  We find in our exchanges the following admirable address from women of the highest rank in Great Britain, to the women of this country. It is modest, affectionate, courteous, free from self-righteousness and self-complacency. Emanating from women eminent by their station or talents, it will be received, we doubt not, by the women of America, in the same spirit which dictated the appeal to their sympathies. It is important, too, as showing them a way in which they may bring their influence to bear with the women of Great Britain, in relation to the great social wrongs in that empire.

  "On Friday, the 26th ult, a meeting of ladies was convinced at Stafford House, to consider the expediency of addressing a memorial from the women of England to the women of the United States, on the subject of slavery. The ladies being assembled,

  "The Duchess of Sutherland read the following paper: 'Perhaps I may be allowed to state the object for which this meeting has been called together; but very few words will be required, as all, I am sure, assembled here, must have heard and read much of the moral and physical suffering inflicted on the race of the negroes and their descendants by the system of slavery prevalent in many of the United States of America. Founded on such information, a proposition appeared a short time ago in several of the newspapers, that the women of England should express to the women of America the strong feeling they entertained on the question, and earnestly request their aid to abolish, or at least to mitigate, so enormous an evil. The draught of an address accompanied the proposition, and, as it is intended to offer that address for your adoption, I will now read it to you:

  "'The Affectionate and Christian Address of many Thousands of Women of England to their Sisters, the Women of the United States of America.

  "'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 that system of negro slavery, which still prevails so extensively, and with such frightful results, in many of the vast regions of the Western world.

  "'We will not dwell on the ordinary topics, on the progress of civilization, on the advance of freedom everywhere, on the rights and requirements of the nineteenth century, but we appeal to you very seriously to reflect, and to ask counsel of God, how far such a state of things in accordance with His Holy Word, the inalienable rights of immortal souls, and the pure and merciful spirit of the Christian religion.

  "'We do not shut our eyes to the difficulties, nay, the dangers, that would beset the immediate abolition of that long-established system; we see and admit the necessity of preparation for so great an event; but in speaking of indispensable preliminaries, we cannot be silent on that law of your country which, in direct contravention of God's own law, "instituted in the time of man's innocency," denies to the slave the sanctity of marriage, with all its joys, rights, and obligations; which separates, at the will of the master, the wife from the husband, and the children from the parents. Nor can we be silent on that awful system, which either by statute or by custom, interdicts to any race of man, or any portion of the human family, education in the truth of the Gospel and the ordinances of Christianity.

  "'A remedy applied to these two evils alone would commence the amelioration of their sad condition. We appeal, then, to you, as sisters, as wives, and as mothers, to raise your voices to your fellow-citizens, and your prayers to God, for the removal of this affliction from the Christian world. We do not say these things in a spirit of self-complacency, as though our nation were free from the guilt it perceives in others. We acknowledge with grief and shame our heavy share in this great sin, we acknowledge that our forefathers introduced, nay, compelled, the adoption of slavery in those mighty colonies. We humbly confess it before Almighty God; and it is because we so deeply feel, and so unfeignedly avow, our own complicity, that we now venture to implore your aid to wipe away our common guilt and our common dishonor.'

  "There are many reasons why this address should be presented rather by the women than by the men of England. We shall not be suspected of any political motives; all will readily admit that the state of things to which we allude is one peculiarly distressing to our sex; and thus our friendly and earnest interposition will be ascribed altogether to domestic, and in no respect to national feelings.

  "We shall propose to form a committee for the purpose of collecting signatures to the address, and of transmitting it, when complete, to the United States. As a general committee would be too large for the transaction of the daily business, we shall propose a sub-committee, to report, from time to time, to the general committee; but there is every reason to hope that the whole matter may be terminated in a short space of time.

  "It only remains for me to acknowledge the kindness with which you have acceded to my request in attending here this day. I hope and believe that our efforts, under God's blessing, will not be without some happy results; but, whether it succeed or whether it fail, no one will deny that we shall have made an attempt which had, both for its beginning and for its end, 'Glory to God in the highest—on earth peace-good will towards men.'

  "The memorial was then agreed to, and a sub-committee appointed.

  "The ladies present were the Duchesses of Sutherland, Bedford, and Argyll; the Countess of Shaftesbury, Lady Constance Grosvenor, Viscountess Palmerston, Lady Dover, Lady Cowley, Lady Ruthven, Lady Bellhaven, Hon. Mrs. Montague Villiers, Hon. Mrs. Kinnaird, the lady Mayoress, Lady Trevelyan, Lady Parke, Miss Parke, Mrs. Owen, Mrs. Carpenter, Mrs. Buxton, Miss Buxton, Mrs. John Simon, Mrs. Proctor, Mrs. Binney, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Steane, Mrs. John Buller, Mrs. R.D. Grainger, Mrs. Hawes, Mrs. Sutherland, Mrs. Mary Howitt, Mrs. Dicey, Miss Trevelyan, Mrs. Milman, Miss Taylor, Mrs. Robson, and Mrs. Macaulay.

  "The ladies whose names follow signified their concurrence: The Duchess Dowager of Beaufort, the Marchioness of Stafford, the Countess of Derby, the Countess of Carlisle, Lady John Russell, the Countess of Lichfield, Viscountess Ebrington, the Countess of Cavan, Viscountess Melbourne, Lady Hatherton, Lady Blantyre, Lady Dufferin, Lady Easthope, Mrs. Josiah Conder, the Hon. Mrs. Cowper, Lady Clark, Lady Paxton, Lady Kaye Shuttleworth, Lady Buxton, Lady Inglis, Mrs. Malcolm, Mrs. Seeley, Mrs. Alfred Tennyson, Mrs. Lyon Playfair, Mrs. Charles Dickens, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Charles Knight, Mrs. Marsh, Mrs. Champneys, and Mrs. Rowland Hill."