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Sherwood, Mary Martha. Emancipation. Wellington, Salop: Houlston & Son, 1829. 12mo (14 cm, 5.51"). Frontis., 150, 36 (adv.) pp. $375.00
First edition: a first-person account of a self-righteous apothecary who discards "old-fashioned" principles in favor of reason and liberality, only to discover that sparing the rod spoils two of his three children. The work opens with a wood-engraved frontispiece depicting a climactic moment in the story — conveniently set in the picturesque countryside — and closes with our protagonist concluding that "every ancient and sacred obligation" to the bonds of society should be upheld, rather than seeing "the wife . . . emancipated from the dominion of her husband, the child from that of the parent, the servant from that of his master, and the members of the Established Church from the authority of the legal ruler of the empire" (p. 150). Following the text is a lengthy publisher's catalogue, including many works by Mrs. Sherwood, Mrs. Cameron, and others.
Sherwood (1775–1851) was a prolific and much-beloved children's author, as well as an enthusiastic convert to evangelical Christianity. Despite the title here, this tale has nothing to do with slavery or abolition; rather, although the word Catholic never appears in the present text, the story begins with reference to "late events," i.e. the Catholic Emancipation Act — and much is made in the story of => the evils of allowing one's family to fall under the influence of false doctrine.
This moral tale is one of Sherwood's more uncommon works: a search of WorldCat found => only five U.S. institutions reporting hard copies.
Provenance: Student's prize copy: title-page verso with inked inscription reading "M.C. Blandford [/] The reward of attention to scholastic duties [/] Oct. 25th 1834."
Opie A 1006. Not in Gumuchian, not in Osborne Collection. Contemporary quarter red roan and marbled paper–covered sides, spine with gilt-stamped title; moderately rubbed overall, spine sunned with head chipped, front hinge (inside) tender. Front endpapers spotted, upper outer corner of front free endpaper and lower outer corner of back free endpaper torn away. Intermittent mild foxing; one leaf with short tear from lower edge, barely touching text without loss. => A solid example of an unusual entry in Sherwood's oeuvre, with apropos provenance and in a contemporary binding. (41144) Please RESHELVE This.
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