Frances Wright’s Writings

Frances Wright’s Views of Society and Manners in America

The history of African slavery is at once the disgrace and honour of America; the disgrace she shares in common with the whole civilized world-the honour is all her own. Surrounded by every temptation which could seduce her to the crime, at first courted and then awed into compliance, she openly reprobated it when all the nations of the earth wre silent, and dared, even in her weak infancy, to brave the anger of a powerful empire in behalf of the wretched slave who was thrown upon her shores. She was the first country to abolish the trade; first by the laws of her separate states, among which Virginia led the way, and secondly by the law of her federal government. More than a dozen years before the abolition of the trade by the British parliament, it was abolished in America by act of congress. There is surely something to admire-something grand, as well as beautiful, in the effect of liberty on the human heart.

Frances Wright, Views of Society and Manners in America (New York, 1821) , 47-48

Frances Wright to William Lee, September 12, 1825


Letter from Frances Wright to William Lee in Washington, DC, September 12, 1825, written from New Harmony, Indiana, where she had gone to study Robert Owen’s utopian experiment and to lay plans for her own, which she alludes to in the letter. The postscript refers to Lafayette: “I enclose a letter … for our old friend the General, now, according to his last letter, launched on the dreary Atlantic. May he find peace and rest at his fire side!”