Letter from Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893) to Reverend Orville Dewey (1794-1862)
The British actress Frances Anne “Fanny” Kemble left the stage in 1834 to marry a wealthy American plantation owner, Pierce Butler. Uncomfortable with the slavery she saw on her husband’s plantations in Georgia, she spills her thoughts on the subject to the Reverend Orville Dewey, a New York Unitarian minister. “Where evil is there must be remedy… I could literally & in fact free all these slaves… I could do what I speak of tomorrow – I would do it tomorrow were the property mine.” Kemble divorced her husband in 1849, but kept quiet about her abolitionist feelings until 1863. That year she published Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839 in England and New York.