Maria's Diary chapters 23-24
British and Foreign Anti slavery Society
Day of joy! when all shall know—
Know, and see the Lord of Heaven—
Then, Oh, then, may hope appear,
Faith our fainting spirits cheer,
Love dry up the trembling tear,
Whispering sweetly, Sins forgiven.
Papa has been involved in trying to get slavery abolished for a long time. He went to a conference about it, recently, and I am quoting from a woman who was at the conference, who wrote it up anonymously for the newspapers. It was very pleasing to see that our house was mentioned in the article. But she got the details wrong about whom she met - I am 22, not 11. And my sister Edith is not the eldest girl.
The World's Convention - alias the “Conference of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society," with such guests as they chose to invite, assembled. We were kindly admitted behind the bar - politely conducted to our seats and introduced to many, whom we had not before met - Dr. Bowring - William Ashurst - a Mrs Thompson, grand-daughter of Lady Middleton who first suggested to Wilberforce some action in Parliament on Slavery. Samuel King also appeared - made kind inquiries after children & friends.
Dr. John Bowring of Exeter was a man of many parts - linguist, literary critic and anthologist, reformer of the British Exchequer, opponent of the Corn Laws, and world traveller. He had been a close friend of Jeremy Bentham and was executor of his estate.
William H. Ashurst was a London solicitor, influenced in his religious and political views by Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin; he was an agitator for postal reform, women's rights, and the abolition of capital punishment.
William Forster had travelled widely in the ministry among Friends. He presumably met Lucretia Mott at Baltimore Yearly Meeting in October, 1820. SLAVERY AND "THE WOMAN QUESTION" visit. E. Neall delighted with all she saw - particularly with meeting with Dr Bowring.
Meeting interesting. Charles L. Remond's speech most Henry Sparks is mentioned by George Bradburn as "a Quaker banker, who once swallowed a forged note on the witness-stand to save the criminal from conviction, and consequent death."
Zachary Macaulay, father of Charlotte Upscher, had been a pioneer English opponent of the slave trade. Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland was interested in many philanthropic causes. She struck George Bradburn as "perhaps the most beautiful woman I had ever seen," One of the nine children of Samuel Gurney , wealthy banker and brother of Elizabeth Fry.
Afternoon went to William Ball's to tea with large company and many more beside all our company - every thing in style - servants in livery - shewn up stairs by a plain Quaker servant - tea handed - much conversation - reading scripture - way opened by William Ball for any one to speak who had a wish to.
E. Fry asked if that included women - G. Stacey essayed to limit the license given - William replied "No, I cannot do it." He had been remarkably kind during the convention - said when he invited us " I wish you to understand, that tho' we differ materially on what I consider very important points, yet my heart goes out towards you in much affection." He gave a short address after reading a chapter - E. Fry followed in prayer - that our mission might be blessed in breaking the fetters of the poor captive, but above all blessed to ourselves, in bringing us to the unsearchable riches of Christ. William Adams made some remarks on Non-resistance. We were then invited into a room for refreshments.
E. Fry talked of her brother's visit to America - divisions &c. - she hoped to be excused from visiting our land as anything like dissensions were particularly unpleasant to her. Rode home in Omnibuses and other carriages.
Called on Lady Byron - talked with her of our views of woman - as we had been misrepresented - were pleased with her - She told us we were to have the company of the Duchess of Sutherland & daughter that day at Samuel Gurney's - hoped we would talk with her daughter as she was an uncommon girl only 16 - she invited us to take lunch with her - declined, having stopped at confectioners.
At two o'clock 7 carriages sent to take all our American company to S. Gurney's - pleasant ride 5 or 6 miles East or West Ham - called Ham House - beautiful park - grass mowed every two weeks - soft as velvet - swept clean as a floor - tent erected in case the house should overflow.
After all were coupled & ranged we paraded about the lawn awhile - Then stood in a group & heard S. Gurney read a letter from the Marquis of Westminster on the Convention - British India, the cotton trade &c. which elicited some remarks that were listened to with attention - tho' startling in the beginning - 50 sat down to the table - a cold collation except the fish & soups & vegetables - E. Fry asked a blessing - conversation free & pleasant during the meal .
Breakfasted at Dr. Bowrings In the house of Mills the historian - overlooking Milton's garden & the house of Jeremy Bentham - made us presents of ancient relics - Bentham's hair - took us into several rooms lined with books & curiosities - an Urn presented him with this Inscription “Presented to John Bowring L.L.D. By his friends in Kilmarnock, as a memorial of their gratitude, for his assiduous & faithful discharge of his duties when their Representative in Parliament and for his unwearied labors in promoting Knowledge, Peace, and Commercial Freedom as the basis James Mill. utilitarian philosopher and historian of India. The house, in which Mill had lived for a few months to be near his friend Bentham, had also been the home of William Hazlitt, the essayist.
Talk of Jewish wars - war in general - confession of man who shot at the king of France - J. Neall's visit to Bentham too long & too familiar. Dr. Bowring venerated the old man - his executor- his likeness & bust in his library. His wife was sensible. 9 children - eldest daughter eleven.
We went to Chelsea - visited Thomas Carlyle - conversation not very satisfactory – Anti-Abolition - or rather sympathies absorbed in poor at home & own poverty & slavery.
Westminster Review - acquainted with all the Editors - asked of our literary men - ashamed of ignorance. Dr. Bowring familiar with 20 languages - his speech in Convention very interesting, going to shew a nice sense of justice & religious principle existing in the East - remarking " When Christianity comes recommended by its benevolence as well as its creeds, it will commend itself to all."
My Uncle Samuel Hawtayne Lewin died, unexpectedly as he was only 39.
Samuel’s will gave to his wife, rents and interest from real estate. His brother Tom was given funds to use of providing for his children.
If his wife dies in that a case, his son gets all his share of the money at 21, his daughter gets money of day of her marriage, with confirmation of her guardian. I think it says maximum to £3500 to each child. Although the total amount listed is £18,400.
Because I think Samuel inherited his father's and then his mother's money, and he was quite rich, he felt it necessary to make provision for the 23 others in the family who should have a share. There were shares in the Steam Navigation Business, which probably belonged to his father, these were to be sold and shared between his brother Thomas, and sisters Alicia and Maria (my mother), and the children of sister Ann who had died. I presume their other sister Harriet had died childless. He added two codicils to his will about the time he died, and gave Mr. John Wainwright money for the 6 Clerk's Office, £1000 to be available for loans (to family) but not to be accountable.
God is love! His mercy brightens
All the path in which we rove;
Bliss He wakes, and woe He lightens:
God is wisdom! God is love!
Our baby, Gertrude, has died and she was only six. She got scarlet fever. We were so sad, and it took us a long time to recover. Papa is so cut up, and oppressed with grief. Moma bears it much better than he. It was so sudden and the child was the delight of all of us, and had never been ill, had never given any anxiety. She was an extraordinary little thing, our youngest and brightest.
Papa wrote this poem in her memory.
'Like morning dew
She sparkled; was exhaled, and went to heaven;'
That promise for the innocent was given,
And is divinely true.
All that is left on earth
Shall be a sacred, sainted memory,
For she is raised to an exalted birth,
And heaven her home shall be.
What could she know
Of all the mysteries of life and death?
She lightly drew her short and passing breath.
Poor child! departing so
She found her early rest:
Then mourn not, Mother! keep the recollection
Shrined in the inmost seat of thine affection,
Knowing that she is blest!