Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904)
[fam. Fà;] b. Co. Kildare; dg. of Charles Cobbe; read at Marshs Library; travelled in Italy and Asia after her fathers death in 1857; became a leader-writer addressing public issues for the London newspaper The Echo in 1868; met the reformer Mary Carpenter, and settled in Bristol; est. Industrial Schools; worked for womens suffrage; her campaign against vivisection resulting in the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act (1876), a watered-down version of the legislation she sought; gave a paper on The Limits of Obedience in Daughters to the Kensington Discussion Soc., 1865;
held theistic views combining a belief in God with with Kants conception of freedom of the will locating the moral imperative for an individuals actions in a higher authority outside the self; issued anon. An Essay on Intuitive Morals, 2 vols. (1855-57); ed. The Zoophilist; Friendless Girls (1861); The Red Flag in John Bulls Eyes (1863); Travels in Italy and the East in Italics (1864); Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors (1869); Broken Lights (1864); Our Policy: An Address to Women Concerning Suffrage (?1870); Darwinism and Morals (1872); Why Women Desire the Franchise (1877);
also The ies of Women (1881) - incl. Celibcay v. Marriage; Cities of the Past (1864), and The Flying chman and Other Poems (1881); remained unmarried; accompanied by a faithful friend Mary Lloyd (d.1898); an autobiography appeared in 1894 (rev. 1904); Frances Cobbe believed in a rational and righteous God and in the purpose of life as the perfecting of human souls (Essay on the Pursuits of Women, 1865);purportedly she had written as many as 320 anti-vivisection books and pamphlets by 1892; Emma Donoghue's story The Fox on the Line is about Cobbe - see The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002). PI JMC DIW OCEL OCIL
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- An Essay on Intuitive Morals Being an Attempt to Popularize Ethical Science, 2 vols. (1855-57); and do. [rep. edn.] (Cambridge UP 2010),
- Friendless Girls and How To Help Them: being an account of the preventative mission at Bristol [Paper read at the Social Science Congress in Dublin] (1861);
- Female Education, and How It Would be Affected by University Examinations [paper read at the Social Science Congress, London] (1862);
- The Studies [in] New and Old of Ethical and Social Subjects (1865);
- The Hopes of the Human Race, Hereafter and Here (1874);
- Science in Excelsis: A Satire on the Defenders of Vivisection (1875);
- The Moral Aspects of Vivisection (1875);
- Why Women Desire the Franchise (1877);
- The Peak in Darien: with Some Other Inquiries Touching Concerns of the Soul and the Body (1882);
- The ies of Women (1894);
- The Modern Rack Papers on Vivisection (1889);
- Vivisection in America [4th Edn.] (London: Swan Sonnenschein 1890), 54pp.
See also The Final Cause of Women, in Womens Work, Womens Culture, ed. Josephine Butler (1869).
- ed., The Collected Works of Theodore Parker, containing his theological, polemical, and critical writings, sermons, speeches, and addresses, and literary miscellanies (1863);
- intro. to Theodore Stanton, ed., The Woman Question in Europe: A Series of Original Essays (1884);
- Preface to Benjamin Bryan, ed., The Vivisectors Directory; being a list of the licensed vivisectors in the United Kingdom, together with the leading physiologists in foreign laboratories: compiled from authentic sources (1884).
- Sandra J. Peacock, ed., The Theological and Ethical Writings of Frances Power Cobbe (2002).
See extract from visit to Newgate prison in The Literature of the Irish in Britain: Autobiography and Memoir, 1725-2001, ed., Liam Harte (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2009) [reviewed by Fintan OToole in The Irish Times, 25 April 2009, Weekend].
An Essay on Intuitive Morals Being an Attempt to Popularize Ethical Science, 2 vols. (Cambridge UP 2010),
255pp. CONTENTS. Volume 1: Preface; 1. What is the moral law?; 2. Where the moral law is found; 3. That the moral law can be obeyed; 4. Why the moral law should be obeyed. Volume 2: Preface; Introduction; 1. The canon of religious duty; 2. Religious offences; 3. Religious faults; 4. Religious obligations. (See Publisher's notice [online; accessed 24.06.2010] or copy [as infra.])
- Walter [Lavin], A Life of Frances Power Cobbe, in Academy, 46 (1824), p.321.
- Life of Frances Power Cobbe by Herself, 2 vols. (London: R. Bentley, 1894; Boston: Mifflin 1895), and Do., […] As Told by Herself, with additions by the author and introduction by Blanche Atkinson (London: Swan Sonnenschein 1904), 722p: 6 ills.;
- Jennie Chappell, Women of Worth: Sketches of the Lives of Carmen Sylva, Isabella Bird Bishop, Frances Power Cobbe, and Mrs. Bramwell Booth (1908), ports. & ills.;
- Helen C. Caskie, Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist (Bristol Univ. 1981), 54 lvs. [BA Thesis];
- Barbara Caine,Francis Power Cobbe, in Victorian Feminists (OUP 1992) [Chap.], pp.103-48 [with port.];
- Mary Cullen & Maria Luddy, eds., Women, Power and Consciousness in 19th-century Ireland (Dublin: Attic Press 1995),
304pp. [incls. life of Cobb with 7 others];
- Lori Williamson, Power and Protest: Frances Power Cobbe and Victorian Society (Rivers Oram Press 2003), q.pp.;
- Sally Mitchell, Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist Reformer (Virginia UP ), xiii, 463pp.;
- Susan Hamilton, ed., Animal Welfare & Anti-vivisection 1870-1910: Nineteenth-century Womans Mission [History of feminism], 3 vols. (NY: Routledge 2004).
- Maureen OConnor, Frances Power Cobbe and the patriarchs, in Evangelicals and Catholics in Nineteenth-century Ireland, ed. James H. Murphy (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2005), Chap. 15 [p.187ff.]
- Annie Besant, A World Without God: A Reply to Miss Frances Power Cobbe (1885);
- Hon. Stephen William Buchanan Coleridge, Step by Step … Being a reply to a pamphlet by Miss Frances Power Cobbe, entitled Why we have founded the British Union for Abolition of Vivisection(1898)
Desmond Guinness & William Ryan, Irish Houses and
Castles (London: Thames & Hudson 1971), gives an account of Frances
Power Cobbe, grand-daughter of the MP [Charles Cobbe], son of Archbishop
Thomas Cobbe, MP for Swords at the time of the Union who was almost
the only one among the Members of Irish Parliament who voted for the Union
and yet refused either a peerage or money compensation for his seat.
Grew up at Newbridge House [Richard Castle, arch]. in the 1830 and 1840s.
Although prominent in English suffragette movement in old age, and kindly
disposed to those in want (in advance of her time too concerning cruelty
to animals) it does not seem to have occurred to her that Ireland deserved
the right to self-government. She describes a wicked speech
of Daniel OConnells, and her friend Miss Evans, the aunt of
Charles Stewart Parnell, tells her, There is mischief brewing! I
am troubled at what is going on at Avondale. According to Miss Cobbe,
the society which existed in Ireland at the end of the eighteenth
century combined a considerable amount of aesthetic taste with traits
of genuine barbarism; and high religious pretension with a disregard of
everyday ies and a penchant for gambling and drinking which would now
place the most worldly persons under a cloud of opproprium, She
adds, A fuddled condition after dinner was accepted as the normal
one of a gentleman, and entailed no sort of disgrace. Her recollections
of the day the famine blight struck is well known, I happen
to be able to recall precisely the day, almost the hour, when the blight
fell on the potatoes and caused the great calamity. A party of us were
driving to a seven oclock dinner at the house of a neighbour, Mrs
Evans, of Portrane. As we passed a remarkably fine field of potatoes in
blossom, the scent came through the open windows of the carriage and we
remarked to each other how splendid was the crop. Three or four hours
later, as we returned home in the dark, a dreadful smell came from the
same field, and we exclaimed, Something has happened to those potatoes;
they do not smell at all as they did when we passed them on our way out. Next morning there was a wail from one end of Ireland to the other. Her Anglo-Irish heart was warmed by the generosity of the English
public. In her view, the agitators were afraid it would promote
too much good feeling between the nations, which would not have suited
their game. A speech she heard by Daniel OConnell in which
he endeavoured to belittle English liberality she could as
wicked … as man ever made She regarded the whole odious
system of battues [as] unmanly as well as cruel.
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Poor creatures: Happily circumstanced women would have been poor creatures had we not felt bitterly the [wrong] of our less fortunate sisters, the robbed and trampled wives, the mothers whose children were torn from them at the bidding of a dad or living father, the daughters kep in poverty and ignorance while their brothers were educated in costly schools and fitted for honourable professions. (Quoted in Helen Blackburne, Women's Suffrage, London 1902; rep. NY 1971, p.4; cited in Barbara Caine, Victorian Feminists, OUP 1992, p.107.)
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Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington:
University of America 1904); gives The Contagion of Love, from Essay
on The Emotions; The Flying chman and Other Poems (London 1881).
Richard D. French, Antivivisectionism and Medical Science in Victorian England (Princeton 1975), calls her the personification of anti-vivisectionism' (p.62; quoted in Barbara Caine, op. cit. supra, 1992).
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Elaine Showalter, A Literature
of their Own (1984): only dg. of Charles Cobbe of Dublin; interested
in ragged schools, anti-vivisection, womens employment; edited the Zoophilist. [A] high-powered feminist reformer who never married,
insisted that mother should not try to work outside the domestic sphere
until their families were grown, So immense are the claims
of a mother, physical claims on her bodily and brainly vigour, and moral
claims on her heart and thoughts, that she cannot, I believe, meet them
all and find any large margin beyond for other cares and work. (The Duties of Woman, London 1881, p.68.)
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Cambridge Univ. Press, book notice - An Essay on Intuitive Morals Being an Attempt to Popularize Ethical Science, 2 vols. (Cambridge UP 2010), 255pp. Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904) was an Irish writer, social reformer and activist best known for her contributions to Victorian feminism and womens suffrage. After the death of her father in 1857, Cobbe travelled extensively across Europe before becoming a leader-writer addressing public issues for the London newspaper The Echo in 1868. She continued to publish on the topics of feminism, social problems and theology for the rest of her life. These volumes, first published anonymously in 1855, introduced Cobbes theistic religious beliefs, which blend a belief in Divinity with Immanuel Kant's idea of freedom of will, in which a persons moral imperative is independent of outside authority and provides proof of the existence of God. Cobbe discusses Kants moral philosophy, explaining the religious beliefs which formed the basis for her later discussions of Christianity.
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Emma Donoghue, The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits (London:
Virago, 2002), contains The Fox on the Line, a story about
Frances Power Cobbe pursuing animal rights legislation England, attended
by her loyal friend Mary Lloyd (d.1898). Lloyd specifically chose not
to be commemorated by any written record in her will but is briefly
mentioned in Rev. T. Mardy Rees, Welsh Painters, Engravers, Sculptors
(1912). See note, Donoghue, op. cit., p.40.
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