Maria Weston (1806-1885) spent several years of her youth living with the family of an uncle in England, where she received a good education. From 1828 to 1830 she was principal of the Young Ladies’ High School in Boston. Her marriage in 1830 to Henry Grafton Chapman, a Boston merchant, brought her into abolitionist circles, and in 1832 with 12 other women she founded the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1835, as a violent mob was about to disrupt the group’s meeting, Maria Chapman uttered a statement long quoted by abolitionists: “If this is the last bulwark of freedom, we may as well die here as anywhere.”

Plaster bust of Maria Weston Chapman by Afro-Indian sculptor Edmonia Lewis, 1865


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852

[A transcription of the letter]

Warrington [UK] October 6th 1859

My dear Mrs Chapman.

It was my intention to send you a long letter by our friend Mr. May, who sails for home on the 22d of this month. but as usual I can only write a hurried note. On the 12th of this month I go to London, to attend the lectures at the Ladies College. I shall on every occasion that I can still continue to lecture and do all I can for our cause. I have lectured very frequently, in fact had more invitations recently than I could fill. Lectured on three successive evenings last week which was rather too much for me and I am now with my friends Mr & Mrs Robson for a little rest, then go to York, to lecture there. In response to Mr Thompson, I must say that I made one mistake in the beginning. I placed him in a wrong position. I thought he belonged to a class of men like Garrison, the two Mr Mays, Mr Wallcutt, etc. Men of the most reliable strength. But alas! I am satisfied he is not of them. I have not had time or inclination lately to think much about it, but I believe we both understood the most important facts in reference to the matter. I wish Rev S G May could remain longer in England and help forward our glorious cause. Very many thanks for your valuable letters. Please remember me most kindly to all my anti Slavery friends and with warmest regard for yourself, I am
Most truly yours
Sarah P Remond.

Can you give me Mrs H B Stow’s address, as I should like to see her when she is in London.

[Note: Because transatlantic postage was charged by weight, letters were often written on both sides of extremely thin paper. Many writers chose to forego paragraphs and some punctuation in order to save space. The absence of periods following honorifics such as Mrs was an acceptable convention.]

M.R.

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