FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New
: Dante vivo || White Silence



LABOUR DONE, BATTLE WON, REQUIESCANT IN PACE:

FANNY TROLLOPE, RICHARD HILDRETH, THEODORE PARKER,

HIRAM POWERS, ELIZABETH, BARRETT BROWNING

BRENDA AYRES, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY


 

The English Cemetery in Florence is the final resting home for five very important abolitionists. It is appropriate that they lie there together in death as if by design, for also seemingly by design, in life their paths had often intersected, and because of those intersections, their work in abolition took dramatic turns.

   

Frances Trollope (1779-1863), or Fanny as she liked to be called, was persuaded by her friend, Frances Wright, to pursue a dream of racial, class, and gender equality among God's people in the wilds of Tennessee in a community called Nashoba, populated mostly by emancipated slaves. So Fanny left her husband and England for a great adventure in America, but the anticipated utopia proved a delusion, not only in Nashoba but everywhere she went in the "land of the free." Later financially stranded in Cincinnati, Ohio, she heard stories of the cruelty of slavery from fugitives crossing the Ohio River from the slave state of Kentucky. Her own travels through the South convinced her to write a novel that would expose the demoralizing effects of slavery, not just on slaves, but on whites -  as  individuals and as a society. She published The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw in 1836. It was an instant bestseller, going through three editions in the first year alone, fanning the flames of popular sentiment to compel Parliament to pass the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1838 which prohibited slavery throughout its colonies. The following year, the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society was formed, mainly to put pressure on America to abolish slavery. 

Although Harriet Beecher Stowe lived some time also in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was not there at the same time as was Fanny; however, she did read Fanny's novel, did correspond with her, and visited her on trips to Florence in 1856 and 1860. She saw the powerful effect of an anti-slavery novel on a nation and surely must have been inspired to follow in Fanny's steps. There are many parallels between Uncle Tom's Cabin and Fanny's Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw as well as Richard Hildreth's novel which came out six months after Fanny's.

   

Richard Hildreth (1807-1865) was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts to a Congregational minister. After graduating from Harvard and traveling through the southern part of the United States, he wrote his first anti-slavery work, The Slave: or Memoirs of Archy Moore. Published anonymously, it so realistically depicted the violence of masters on slaves, and slaves' retaliation, that most people believed it to be a slave narrative. Even though The Slave went through seven editions over the next couple of decades, it did not sell well. Hildreth later revised it, adding more chapters that end with the burning alive of a slave who had killed his master. The novel came out as The White Slave in 1852 after Uncle Tom's Cabin first appeared in serialized form in the June 1851 issue of National Era. In 1840 he published another anti-slavery book, Despotism in America. Between 1857 and 1860 he wrote several anti-slavery tracts. Although his works were not popular or politically provocative as were Fanny's, he did come under a lot of critical attack, as did Fanny, for writing with a perspective that tended to alienate instead of ingratiate. While his wife supported him and their family (as Fanny worked to support her husband and family), he spent eight years writing his six-volume History of the United States, published between 1849 and 1852. It was not received well because he attacked the puritanical elements of America, and unlike other American histories, his did not promote nationalism. He was as vinegary as Trollope in all that he penned, avoiding the "tinsel and gingerbread work" that characterized much of the writing of his day. As Martha Pingel put it, he "was one of the earliest American thinkers to treat history as a scientific account of man's actual achievements rather than as an embellishment of his hopes." Hildreth suffered many disappointments as did Fanny Trollope, in his personal and professional life, such as failing to secure a history appointment at Harvard, which he had wanted. Abraham Lincoln sent him as consul to Trieste, Italy, during the Civil War. There he became ill and had to resign the post. He died in poverty on July 11, 1865, in Florence. His tombstone was erected by the publishing house of Harper Brothers who had handled many of his works.

           Later tombstone by Joel T. Hart


Not far from Hildreth's grave lies Theodore Parker (1810-1860), who had been a Unitarian minister in Boston. He not only preached against slavery, he encouraged, justified, and openly practiced defiance of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act by abetting runaways on their way to Canada; he would often preach with a gun next to him in the pulpit. Parker and Hildreth held much mutual respect for each other and worked together in Massachusetts to legally challenge the Fugitive Slave Law. Both of them attended Harvard (but not at the same time), and both suffered from much social criticism for their controversial views. Parker had a sizable following, though, with a congregation that included fellow abolitionists Louisa May Alcott, William Lloyd Garrison, Julia Ward Howe, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, plus enough followers during his services to fill the Boston Music Hall. He was the first to use the phrase "of all the people, by all the people, for all the people," which Abraham Lincoln later appropriated and adapted for his famous Gettysburg Address. Parker wrote To a Southern Slaveholder in 1848, and he was also one of the infamous "Secret Six," who helped finance John Brown's raid. When stricken with tuberculosis, he went to milder climates for his health which ended in Florence where he was laid to rest before the firing on Ft. Sumter. On his tomb reads:

THEODORE PARKER

THE GREAT AMERICAN PREACHER

BORN AT LEXINGTON MASSACHUSETTS

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AUGUST 24 1810

DIED AT FLORENCE ITALY

MAY 10 1860

 

HIS NAME IS ENGRAVED IN MARBLE

HIS VIRTUES IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE HE

HELPED TO FREE FROM SLAVERY

AND SUPERSTITION



  Douglass at Lloyd Garrison's Tomb

Frederick Douglass came to the gravesite to pay his respects.



     


Hiram Powers
(1805-1873) crossed paths with Frances Trollope in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he spent many of his years growing up and learning to become a sculptor from Frederick Eckstein, a German immigrant who opened the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts in 1826. Powers soon began working in the Western Museum of Cincinnati, creating statues of wax. That's when Fanny met him and enlisted his engineering and wax working skills to create scenes for shows that she put on, to increase culture what she believed to be a backward town and to raise money for her family. He created and worked all of the characters in a recreation of Dante's Commedia, a great success that continued thirty-three years later, long after Fanny had given up on America. Their friendship would continue after he moved to Florence in 1837. Three years later he sculpted a statue, "The Greek Slave," that made him famous. It toured throughout America from 1847-48, with over one hundred thousand people paying to see it. Then it was exhibited at the center of the Crystal Palace in 1851 in London and then in the New York City Crystal Palace in 1853. It became the icon for abolition with copies appearing in most of the government buildings in the North.

       
EBB Portrait, Michele Gordigiani            Tomb, Designed by Lord Leighton with Harp with Broken Slave Shackle

Powers was not the most sociable of men, but he did invite writers and other artists to his home on Thursday nights, who included Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Trollopes. He and Barrett Browning often attended sťances together as well (which included visits to Villino Trollope because of mediums that Fanny often brought there in her old age). Inspired by Powers' statue and motivated by her own guilt from being a part of a family that had a long involvement in the slave trade, Barrett Browning wrote two abolition poems. The first was widely distributed by abolitionists in America in 1847 and then was published in the 1848 edition of The Liberty Bell, by the Friends of Freedom, followed by a reprint in a Florence newspaper in 1849 and as a book titled The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point. The second is her sonnet to Hiram Powers' 'Greek Slave'. She had already made her home in Florence with her husband when she wrote the second poem. In Florence, she was a frequent visitor to Fanny's regular Friday receptions, and Barrett Browning, too, now lies in the same cemetery.

    

Also inspired by "The Greek Slave," Mary Irving wrote a poem that appeared in The Independent (11 September 1851). The last two stanzas are

Calm in the "Crystal Hall" it stands
To crown a nation's fame;
'Tis well the world should read the type
That tells a nation's shame.

Messenger to her mother-land
Gem for her gorgeous nave
What hath the home of Slavery
More fitting than a slave?

She ended with this note: "You are aware that it is the chief ornament of the American exhibit in the "Palace of Industry." Likewise, Henry T. Tuckerman published his "A Greek Slave" in the New York Daily Tribune (9 September 1847), which includes these prophetic lines:

Light as air may be the fetter
That Earth's tyranny doth weave,
And her slaves by wisest courage
Shall their destiny retrieve.

Besides these and several other poems as well as essays and laudatory reviews, the National Era articulated the statue's message to America:  "As this eloquent statue traverses the land, may many a mother and daughter of the Republic be awakened to a sense of the enormity of slavery, as it exists in our midst! Thus may Art, indeed, fulfill its high and holy mission! Let the solemn lesson sink deep into the hearts of the fair women of the North and of the South! Waste not your sympathies on the senseless marble, but reserve some tears for the helpless humanity which lies quivering beneath the lash of American freemen" (2 Sept. 1847).


Richard Hildreth, White Slave, A Freeholders' Court

All five abolitionists - American and English, women and men - left their home countries after they did what they could to stop the lash. They came to Florence for peace, and so now there they lie under the marble, memorialized forever for the battles they so bravely fought.

 

Bibliography

Ayres, Brenda. Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Greenwood P, 2001.

Emerson, Donald E. Richard Hildreth. Baltimore, MD:  Johns Hopkins U. 1946.

Heinman, Helen. Mrs. Trollope: The Triumphant Feminine in the Nineteenth Century. Athens: Ohio UP, 1979.

Hildreth, Richard. The Slave; or, Memoirs of Archy Moore. Boston: J. H. Eastburn, 1836.

_____. The White Slave; or, Memoirs of a Fugitive. Boston: Tappan and Whittemore, 1852.

Neville-Sington, Pamela. Fanny Trollope:  The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman. New York: Viking, 1997.

Pingel, Martha. An American Utilitarian: Richard Hildreth as a Philosopher. New York: Columbia UP, 1948.

Railton, Stephen. "The Greek Slave." Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture. 22 June 2007.

    http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/sentimnt/grslvhp.html


Ransom, Teresa. Fanny Trollope: A Remarkable Life. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Trollope
, Frances
. The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw: or Scenes on the Mississippi. Illust. Auguste Hervieu. 3 vols. London: Bentley, 1836 (republished London: Pickering and Chatto, ed. Brenda Ayres, 2008).


Wunder, Richard P. Hiram Powers: Vermont Sculptor, 1805-1873. Taftsville, VT: Countryman P, 1974.

FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New
: Dante vivo || White Silence