Letter from A. D. Wheeler to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

Manuscript letter, in which Wheeler tells of reading for a second time The System of Nature by D'Holbach and Diderot; she believes it provides evidence that man has been taught nothing but "pernicious errors".

Wheeler is vexed by the "Eastern Philosopher" who, she believes, "intends to make himself the zealous and blind advocate of mischievous dogma from some narrow mind", adding that patriotism has always appeared to her as "an ignorant mother whose partiality strain heaven and earth for oneChild".

The letter continues with Wheeler writing passionately on the position of women in society. She believes it true that "apathy is the last state of reprobate being amongst men[,] as to women it has always been deemed their highest merit to have no feeling of any kind but to pretend to an overwhelming degree to their respective masters - whether wise or foolish cruel or kind". She adds that "men could not yet afford to suffer women to have a judgement" and closes by responding to the question posed by [the poet] Shelly "Shall man be free & women be a slave & exist" - never she says.

Note

Stamped number: 426