London: British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1842. Printed circular, 8 x 9 ⅞ inches, four pages, with autograph lettter on blank page. Tear with loss at margin of circular from original opening of the folded circular, with the remainder present under the wax seal, else fine, exceptionally well preserved. Fine. Item #List2217
An important and very scarce circular announcing the World Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840, a significant event in the global abolition movement and the history of the Women’s Movement, particularly notable for the inclusion of many women speakers including the Americans Lucrecia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This circular was sent to Gerrit Smith - who was Stanton’s cousin - by the secretary of the BFASS, John Scoble, with an autograph letter inviting him as a delegate to a convention planned for 1843 on the blank pages preceding the printed portion.
The World Anti-Slavery Convention was organized by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society - an organization which still exists today under the name Anti-Slavery International. “In 1839 the newly formed British and Foreign ASS invited delegates to the first international convention of abolition societies the following year… the idea originated with the Emancipator. Garrisonians called it the World’s Convention, popularized by Whittier a poem bearing that title. After the formal organziational split of 1840, both factions of American abolitionists sent competing delegates to it… Birney was elected as one of the vice presidents, and Philips, who was touring and Stanton were made secretaries… accompanying Stanton was his wife Elizabeth, who became the leading thinker on women’s rights… In the massive history fot the woman suffrage movement, Stanton and her coauthors emphatically believed that ‘above all other causes of the ‘Woman Suffrage Movement’ as the Anti-Slavery struggle in this country’ and dated the start of their movement to the convemtion.” - Ginha, p. 289.
This circular was sent to Gerrit Smith, who was a delegate in the 1840 convention along with his cousin, asking him to be a delegate at the 1843 convention. “As secretary of the BFASS from 1842 until 1852, Scoble was involved in world anti-slavery and peace congresses in 1843, 1849, and 1850. He successfully reorganized the anti-slavery movement in France by creating permanent and decentralized associations which were not exclusively tied to legislative lobbying. His feud with the Garrisonians was, however, a factor in his resignation as secretary of the BFASS in September 1852.” - Dictionary of Canadian Biography. The BFASS would eventually send Scoble, “cordially despised by Garrisonians for his conservatism,” to the African-American settlement in Colchester, Canada West, where “he probed to be a self-aggrandizing administrator who alienated the black residents.” Ginha, p. 331.
The text of Scoble’s letter to Smith is as follows:
27 New Broad Street, London
30th December 1842
At a meeting of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, held at their offices on the 6th just, it was unanimously resolved that an invitation should be specially forwarded to you, inviting you to become one of the delegates of the Anti-Slavery convention, to be held in London in 1843. I have, therefore, great pleasure, as their organ, in forwardingf to you their cordial invitation, and, allow me to add the hope, that, looking to the great importance of the proposed Convention of Abolitionists from all parts of the World, and the ojects it is expected, under the Diving blessing, may be achieved by it, you will feel it to be within your power to comply with the same.
Allow me to call your attention to the circular which accompanies this communication, and to say that all Anti-Slavery organizations, can and are earnestly invited to appoint delegates, in accordance with the terms of the call, to represent them at the convention.
I am, Dear Sir, Yours faithfully, Jno. Scoble, Sec.
Gerrit Smith, Esq, Peterboro, N.Y.
OCLC locates two copies, at the Library of Congress and the Clements Library.