[Liverpool: 1843]. English poet and hymnist Emily Taylor (1795-1872), was the author of more than twenty books, including the book-length anti-slavery poem The Vision of Las Casas (1825). Though best-known as an author of historical works for children, she was also a prolific hymnist, contributing more than a dozen works to various Unitarian hymnals in the first decades of the 19th century (possibly providing her connection to Follen, also a well-known hymnist). The present letter is addressed to the prominent abolitionist author Eliza Lee Follen of Boston, and opens: "My dear Madam, Our mutual friend Harriet Martineau assures me of a kind reception from you, and accordingly, I transcribe for you a few lines written immediately on reading your Liberty Bell for 1843. If you are to enroll my name among those which I hold so holy & dear as your contributors in the Abolition cause, please to accept them..." The substantial (67-line) poem which follows begins with the prologue: "To a friend, who asked the author's aid and prayers for the slave;" and continues: "Pity & prayers and pleading for the Slaves! / Them thou didst ask, and soon as ask'd, I gave..." The poem goes on to extend the by-then familiar argument that the institution of slavery makes slaves not only of its subjects but of its perpetrators as well. Taylor concludes as a postscript on the final leaf: "Would you, dear Mrs. Follen, forward the enclosed to Mrs. Chapman [Maria Weston Chapman, editor of The Liberty Bell ]...I am sorry, but do not know Mrs. C's address."
The poem was in fact published, without revisions, as "To A Friend," in the 1844 edition of Chapman's important anti-slavery gift annual The Liberty Bell; other contributors to this edition included James Russell Lowell, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Martineau, Amasa Walker, William Llloyd Garrison, and others. The recipient of the letter, Eliza Lee Cabot Follen, was herself a prominent and prolific abolitionist author, scion of the Cabots of Boston and part of the Boston social circle that included William Ellery Channing, Henry Ware, George Ticknor, and other patrician intellectuals of the period. An excellent and representative letter and manuscript, involving three key women figures in the abolitionist movement during a particularly heady period for the cause. Quarto sheet, folded once to make 4pp. Signed in three places "Emily Taylor"; marked "Private;" and "for Mrs. Chapman." Mild cover soil; small loss at right margin (from opening); slight fading to ink. Very Good. Includes brief introductory, followed by an anti-slavery poem of 67 lines, "For the Liberty Bell," submitted for publication in the American gift annual of that name. Numerous ink corrections to the text in the author's hand.