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Domestic Manners

Frances Milton Trollope. Domestic Manners of the Americans. London: Printed for Whittaker, Treacher & Co., 1832.

Frances Trollope, two of her children, and a tag-along French artist were persuaded by Wright to join her at Nashoba. What had seemed like a splendid place to raise her children astonished and horrified her, although she greatly admired Wright’s spirit. After some weeks, the Trollope party moved on to Cincinnati.

I shared her bedroom; it had no ceiling, . . . The rain had access through the wooden roof, and the chimney, which was of logs, slightly plaistered with mud, caught fire, at least a dozen times in a day; but Frances Wright stood in the midst of all this desolation, with the air of a conqueror . . . .

I never saw, I never heard or read, of any enthusiasm approaching hers, except in some few instances, in ages past, of religious fanaticism. When we arrived at Nashoba, they were without milk, without beverage of any kind except rain water; the river Wolf being too distant to send to constantly.

Wheat bread they used but sparingly, and to us the Indian corn bread was uneatable. . . . She herself made her meals on a bit of Indian corn bread, and a cup of very indifferent cold water, and while doing so, smiled with the sort of complacency that we may conceive Peter the Hermit felt when eating his acorns in the wilderness.




A well-born English woman and close friend of General Lafayette, Frances Wright founded Nashoba in Shelby County, Tennessee, in 1825 to form a community in which slaves would be prepared for freedom through education in letters and farming. Wright enjoyed the friendship of Robert Owen and modeled her commune on New Harmony. When it failed, she arranged for the thirty-one Negroes still at Nashoba to move to Haiti and, with Lafayette’s assistance, to be assured of their freedom.

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