Sara T. Smith


The Burning of Pennsylvania Hall, 1838 Image Ownership: Public Domain

Source: Pennsylvania Hall Association, History of Pennsylvania Hall, Which Was Destroyed By a Mob on the 17th of May, 1838 (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn), 1838, p. 131-134.


On May 17, 1838, abolitionist Sara T. Smith addresses the second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women which was originally scheduled to be held in Pennsylvania Hall. The meeting however was moved when anti-abolitionist mobs, upon learning of the Convention, burned the hall to the ground. The convention was moved to a large private home. Below is the beginning of Smith’s address.




In that love for our cause which knows not the fear of man, we address you, in confidence that our motives will be understood and regarded ….

We are told that it is not within the “province of woman,” to discuss the subject of slavery; that it is a “political question,” and we are “stepping out of our sphere,” when we take part in its discussion. It is not true that it is merely a political question, it is likewise a question of justice, of humanity, of morality, of religion; a question which, while it involves considerations of immense importance to the welfare and prosperity of our country, enters deeply into the home-concerns, the every-day feelings of millions of our fellow beings.


Bartleby Research Analysis of Smith’s speech

Her tone is also stern because she is unrelenting in her topic because she wants to stress how important it is. She is also passionate about the topic because it affects her personally because she is a woman and her rights hold her back from doing anything to affect the anti-slavery movement. The author’s tone serves the purpose because the seriousness shows the importance of the topics that are talked about in the speech such as the anti-slavery movement, and women’s rights.

“Though you are now only as glimmering lights on the hilltops, few and far between, yet if with all diligence these fires be kept burning, the surrounding country hall catch into flame.”

This quote, to me at least, is the most important quote in the speech because it shows how if we can all agree on things in this country our fire will burn bigger and we will be able to affect other countries with the actions we took to make our own country better.

Analysis Of Sara T. Smith’s Speech – 1559 Words