c. 1835. A seven-page manuscript entitled "Colloquy "The Rights of Women". The structure is a discussion between two men, named "N" and "M". It's written in a competent hand by an educated person. It's not clear whether it is the work of a woman or a man, but it is certainly an early dialogue from a pro-women's rights point of view.
It is not dated, but certain references lead us think it is after 1835. The opening paragraph references the slogan "free trade and sailors rights". This appears to be a rallying cry of the pro-war faction in the US before the War of 1812. The paragraph on famous women includes Mrs. Trollope and her book on travels in America, which was published in 1832, so sometime after that date. Other women mentioned include Sappho (!), Moll Starke (Revolutionary War general wife), Ann Lee (Shaker).
Most prominent is Fanny Wright, who is described in these terms- "...Boadicea had a right to rule an army - the Amazons had a right to fight - and Fanny Wright (one of the dearest 'Wrights" of women) had a right to speak, to preach, and to persuade." Wright spoke publicly for reforms to marriage and property laws in the late 1820s and early 1830s. From 1833 to 1836, her lectures on slavery and other social institutions attracted large and enthusiastic audiences of men and women in the eastern United States and the Midwest, leading to the establishment of what were called Fanny Wright societies. (Wikipedia).
Perhaps this writer was inspired by one of Wright's lectures?
Possibly, this is an example of a club such as the "Semi-Colon Club" in Cincinnati, formed by educated men and women who were among the early settlers of the place. In a memoir "Owl's Nest: A Tribute to Sarah Elliott Perkins by her granddaughter, Edith Perkins Cunningham", Cunningham writes (pp.73-75), "To Mrs. Trollope, the atmosphere of 'the triste little town' was depressing. . . She wrote that she had never seen any people who lived so entirely without amusement. .. There were, however, quiet pleasures of which Mrs. Trollope perhaps knew nothing. A literary club called the Semi-Colon met once a fortnight during the winter at the house of either Mr. Foote, Mr. Greene, or Mr. Stetson. Aunt Mary Elliott, who had heard much about the club from Uncle Charles and from her brother-in-law Dr. Estes Howe, says she doubts if there could be found anywhere to-day a brighter or more interesting set of people than those who met in its simple gatherings. 'The members,' Mr. Richards writes, 'were young lawyers, doctors, parsons, and teachers and their families. A sandwich, a bit of cake, a cup of tea and a glass of wine were the only refreshments. . . It was the simplest gathering of a few intimate friends, who wrote and chatted for their own amusement, and one another's pleasure. It was composed almost wholly of New England people, young poor, merry, kindly, hopeful; money, position, even brains had no authority among them. Only pleasantness, geniality, courtesy, counted, It was a gentle democracy.' . . Members sent in contributions of verse or prose to the person chosen as reader . . The reading lasted about an hour:--some of the papers were dull, some were bright. . . I have been told that in those meetings many of the questions which later occupied the public mind were talked over with an ability and a fullness of information often not possessed by larger and more authoritative bodies."
A Google search on the text does not turn up a match, which would lead us to believe that it was not copied from something published. The writer uses the long s, which our research says was abruptly dropped in English printing around 1800 but "lingered a little longer in the U.S." It also appears to have lingered in hand writing in England. (We have an 1813 British document in which the text continues to use the long s.)
Foolscap folio, 7pp manuscript, 13.5x8", on two bifolds, written in brown ink, with some underlining for emphasis, paper lightly tanned. The second of the sheets of 4 has a long split along the fold, not affecting the text. Very good condition. Item #27094