On July 21, 1834, Charlotte Cowles wrote to her brother Samuel what she called a “very mean letter.” Evidently it was not as well composed as she would have liked. What I find fascinating is that at the age of 14, Charlotte was already attending anti-slavery meetings.
And first, I will give you an account of the Anti Slavery meetings which have been held here. The first was on the evening of Monday June 30. An address was delivered by Mr. Amos Phelps of Boston, who, as you probably know, is the Agent of the Anti Slavery Society. Esq. Pitkin gave notice that he should make some remarks at the next meeting, and the assembly retired without meeting with any disturbance.
The last comment is interesting, because Charlotte knew that vandalism and violence sometimes followed similar lectures and meetings. Amos Phelps (1804-1847) was a well-known anti-slavery advocate who is perhaps best known for his book Lectures on Slavery, and Its Remedy, published by the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1834. You can read the text here. Knowing Charlotte’s reading interests, I would not be surprised if she obtained and read a copy as soon as it was available.
She reports on another meeting:
Friday, July 6th was a most beautiful day. At two o’clock we had an address from Mr. Holley which was very good of course. There were a great many strangers, but most of the Farmington people went to Unionville, to hear an address from Mr. Asahel Lewis, after which they had a supper
under the trees, and all came home about five o’clock.
These meetings appear to have been as social as they were political, at least based on this description. I wonder why most of Farmington went to hear Mr. Lewis instead of staying closer to home? Sounds like a research project to me!