Frances Power Cobbe

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Frances Power Cobbe
Portrait of Frances Power Cobbe.jpg
Photograph from Life of Frances Power Cobbe, 1894
Born (1822-12-04)4 December 1822
Newbridge House, Donabate, Co. Dublin
Died 5 April 1904(1904-04-05) (aged 81)
Nationality Irish
Occupation Writer, social reformer
Known for Founder of the Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection (1875); British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (1898); member of the executive council of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage

Frances Power Cobbe (4 December 1822 – 5 April 1904) was an Irish writer, social reformer, anti-vivisection activist, and leading women's suffrage campaigner. She founded a number of animal advocacy groups, including the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in 1875, and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in 1898, and was a member of the executive council of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage.

She was the author of a number of books and essays, including The Intuitive Theory of Morals (1855), On the Pursuits of Women (1863), Cities of the Past (1864), Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors (1869), Darwinism in Morals (1871), and Scientific Spirit of the Age (1888).

Life[edit]

Cobbe was a member of the prominent Cobbe family, descended from Archbishop Charles Cobbe, Primate of Ireland. She was born in Newbridge House in the family estate in what is now Donabate, Co. Dublin.[1]

She formed a marriage with sculptor Mary Lloyd (b. 1819), whom she met in Rome in 1861 and lived with from 1864 until Lloyd's death.[2] In letters and published writing, Cobbe referred to Lloyd alternately as "husband," wife," and "dear friend."[3] Cobbe founded the Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection (SPALV) in 1875, the world's first organisation campaigning against animal experiments, and in 1898 the BUAV, two groups that remain active. Cobbe was a member of the executive council of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage and writer of editorial columns for London newspapers on suffrage, property rights for women, and opposition to vivisection.

Cobbe met the Darwin family during 1868. Emma Darwin liked her, "Miss Cobbe was very agreeable." Cobbe persuaded Charles Darwin to read Immanuel Kant's Metaphysics of Ethics.[4] She met him again during 1869 in Wales, and apparently interrupted him when he was quite ill,[5] and tried to persuade him to read John Stuart Mill—and indeed Darwin had read Cobbe's review of Mill's book, The Subjection of Women.[6] She then lost his trust when without permission she edited and published a letter he'd written to her.[5] Her critique of Darwin's Descent of Man, Darwinism in Morals was published in The Theological Review in April 1871.[7][8]

Her name is listed on the south face of the Reformers Memorial in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

Power Cobbe's name on the lower section of the Reformers memorial, Kensal Green Cemetery

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cobbe, Frances Power, with Blanche Atkinson (1904). Life of Frances Power Cobbe as told by herself,. London: S. Sonnenschein & co. p. 74. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Sally (2004). Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer. University of Virginia Press. pp. 139–147. 
  3. ^ Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England – Sharon Marcus – Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Browne, Janet (2002). Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 296–297. ISBN 0-679-42932-8. 
  5. ^ a b Browne, Janet (2002). Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 332. ISBN 0-679-42932-8. 
  6. ^ Adrian Desmond and James Moore, "Introduction", in (2004). The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (2 ed.). London: Penguin Classics. pp. xivii. ISBN 978-0-14-043631-0. 
  7. ^ Cobbe, Frances Power (April 1871), "Darwinism in Morals", The Theological Review Volume 8 (Williams & Norgate): 167–192 
  8. ^ Internet Archive

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]