“Lodestar to Isabella’s Wanderings”: Bird’s West and her British Audience
Harriet Martineau observed with characteristic candor that there was a great deal to be said about the nineteenth century, and that she was one of those destined to say it. Her experiences traveling in America early established the ideological bases for a body of work driven by her desire to eradicate slavery in its various forms: racial slavery, seen in her abolition-themed writings; sexual slavery, illustrated by her focus on the global oppression of women. Harriet Martineau, The Martyr Age of the United States and her public declaration of support for abolitionism at a Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society meeting. Martineau's influence was evidenced by the intensity with which she was courted by both pro-slavers and anti-slavers. Although at the time her reputation rested solely on the Illustrations of Political Economy, particularly the anti-slavery tale "Demerara", America recognized the influential capacity of the "little, deaf woman from Norwich" and opened its doors to her accordingly.