An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans

An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans

An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans

An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans

Synopsis

"The Appeal was one of the most important early manifestoes of the militant phase of Garrisonian abolitionism. It is also an important event in the history of feminism, because it helped launch women into the public sphere. Carolyn Karcher is the ideal scholar to write the introduction". -- James M. McPherson, Princeton University

Excerpt

Let me say, then, that -- taking her for all in all -- she is the first woman in the republic.

THIS encomium appeared in an article of 20 November 1829, headlined MRS. CHILD in bold capitals and featured prominently in the editorial column of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, an anti- slavery newspaper issued from Baltimore by the Quaker Benjamin Lundy. Its author was William Lloyd Garrison, who at age twenty- four had recently joined Lundy as coeditor of the Genius, having previously edited several ephemeral newspapers and worked briefly as a journeyman printer at the offices of David Lee Child Massachusetts Journal.

The commendation, prefacing an extract from Lydia Maria Child Hints to People of Moderate Fortune, was in fact Garrison's second tribute in three weeks to the wife of his quondam employer. On October 30 he had reprinted an article from the Massachuseets Journal, Comparative Strength of Male and Female Intellect, which he had ascribed to "Mrs. Child. (formerly Miss Francis.) a writer who is not surpassed, if equalled, by any other female in this country, and whose genius is as versatile as it is brilliant." Indeed, Garrison had asserted, Child's anonymous contributions to the Massachusetts Journal were "worthy of the strongest intellect of the most sagacious politician." Now he pronounced even his earlier "panegyric" inadequate. Not only did Child excel such rivals as Lydia Huntley Sigourney, Sarah Josepha Hale, and Catharine Maria Sedgwick in "depth and expansion of mind," Garrison judged, but she had shown that she could "impart useful hints to the government as well as to the family circle." Through her Hints to People of Moderate Fortune, published in the Massachusetts Journal and currently receiving "extensive circulation" in other newspapers, she was "doing more to reform the manners of the age" and to "restore the simplicity of the good old days of our fathers" than any other writer, "male or female," since Benjamin Franklin. The author of Poor Richard's Almanac would be proud to claim Child's "Hints," Garrison added, "for they embody his wisdom, his sagacity, and his wonderful knowledge of human nature." Exhorting Child to reissue these essays in book form, he went on to com-

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