“Martineau sailed for America on 9 August 1834. From New York she travelled through western Massachusetts to Albany and on to Niagara, then to a personal shrine in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, where Priestley had lived his last years and was buried. After extended stays in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Charleston, she travelled across the south to the Mississippi, sailed to Kentucky, where she saw Mammoth cave, and stayed for three weeks in Lexington before ten days in Cincinnati and a return up the Ohio and through Virginia to New York. she toured New England in the autumn of 1835, spent the winter in Boston, and headed west, again to Niagara and on to Detroit and Chicago, returning on the Great Lakes to Cleveland and thence to New York, where she sailed for England on 1 August 1836.
The rigours of the journey were compensated for by the intense but critical interest Harriet Martineau took in what she saw. Her already vocal opposition to slavery was strengthened by seeing the institution in practice. In Boston she aligned herself with the most radical wing of the abolitionists … No cause, in a life devoted to causes, so preoccupied her as opposition to slavery, not only in America but in the world at large.
Back in London, Martineau published Society in America (1837), a two-volume analysis that, other than Alexis, comte de Tocqueville’s, contemporaneous Democracy in America, may be regarded as the best book among the vast outpouring of travel writing on the great transatlantic experiment.” (ODNB).
2 volumes, 8vo., nineteenth century calf gilt, green morocco labels, spines faded, a fine set.
Provenance: Edward Nicholas Hurt (armorial bookplate).
Stock ID: 97450