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Reviews207 sea, before the fairytale reappearance of Mr. Weston and her dog Snap (who is surely a soulmate for Flossy). This full collection of the art of the Brontes opens up many such opportunities for the exploration of their vision, in both its visual and verbal manifestations. Charlotte wrote sadly to W.S. Williams in 1848, "When I examine the contents of my portfolio now, it seems as if during the years it has been lying closed some fairy has changed what I once thought sterling coin into dry leaves, and I feel much inclined to consign the whole collection of drawings into the fire" (36). Fortunately for us, she abstained from such a conflagration. This volume does much to change diose dry leaves back to sterling coin. JULIET McMASTER University of Alberta Clare Midgley. Women Against Slavery: The British Campaigns 17801870 . New York: Routledge P, 1992. xii +281. $79.95 US (cloth); $18.95 US (paper). In 1787 Josiah Wedgwood's potteries in die Midlands produced and distributed anti-slavery medallions emblazoned with the well-known abolitionist slogan 'am I not a man and a brodier'. The medallions, made out ofjasper, were issued to coincide widi, and commemorate, die first parliamentary investigation of the human trade. A modified version of the roundels depicting a woman and inscribed 'am I not a woman and a sister' was similarly produced in 1828 and drew particular attention to the plight of female slaves. Not only an astute entrepreneur, Wedgwood was also an energetic campaigner against die slave trade. Ever sensitive to the vagaries of the market-place and the moral conscience of his Georgian customers, Wedgwood's medallions proved immensely popular. And popular they were with both women and men for recent research by such scholars as John Brewer, Neil McKendrick and Amanda Vickery has shown the pervasiveness of the 'consumer revolution* within late eighteenth-century British society. But what of the slave trade? It is well known, particularly by readers of this journal, that in 1807 Britain abotished its trade in slaves — before its European competitors — and in 1833 it declared the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire — again before others did. Less understood is the contribution of women within the anti-slavery movement itself. 208Victorian Review Clare Midgley's Women Against Slavery: The British Campaigns 1780-1870 skilfully redresses this historiographical imbalance by providing a much needed narrative of the impact of women upon British abolitionism. Women Against Slavery is a detailed analysis of the specific ways in which gender conditioned and circumscribed women's participation in opposition to the slave trade and to slavery in the British Empire. The volume is based upon standard sources for antislavery history (parliamentary and national society records), and 'neglected sources which specifically relate to women campaigners . . . [and] . . . surviving records and published reports and pamphlets of local ladies' anti-slavery associations . . . [and] memoirs and other sources of biographical information on women activists' (3). Midgley's research concentrates upon both the 'sexual division of anti-slavery labor and the 'gendered' nature of anti-slavery politics' (4). To comprehend the anti-slavery movement within Britain, Midgley contends, we must not only appreciate that women contributed their time, their energies and their wealth to the movement, but that they did so with gender specific aims. Well connected local and national women's associations became increasingly disillusioned with male dominated parliamentary initiatives to staunch the slave trade and instead developed distinctive female approaches to anti-slavery campaigning and formulated 'feminine perspectives on matters of antislavery policy and ideology' (3). While aboHtionist men focussed upon the negative economic implications of slavery, the women who inhabit the pages of Midgley's book seized upon concepts of personal obligation and morality. Driven by moral fervour, women demanded the immediate abolition of the slave trade rather than its gradual elimination as advocated by most male abolitionists. Since men had abdicated their responsibility for black women, other women had an obligation to protect them. At the height of women's activism — from 1825 to 1838 — and with Birmingham at the centre of this extra-parliamentary abolitionist movement, a multitude of women's associations labored and lobbied, and patronized and petitioned on behalf...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 207-209
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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