Archive for the 'Individual Persons' Category

Testimonial by colored citizens of Boston, & Cooper Nell

Writing to Cooper Nell, he indicates that he will attend a testimonial in the coming days.  “I shall be happy to see the delegation of my colored friends on Friday evening next, as designated in your letter just received.  Primarily I have no doubt that I am indebted to your strong friendship and warm appreciation of my anti-slavery labors for the presentation that will be made on that occasion. It will be all the more valued on that account; though I shall feel none the less obliged to every one contributing to the testimonial.”     11 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Impeach Andrew Johnson

April 13, 1866

Writing to Edwin Studwell, he reflects on events after Lincoln’s assassination of the previous year.  “What high hopes were entertained of the patriotism, loyalty, and executive trustworthiness of his successor!  Yet how have these been blasted!  Andrew Johnson might have placed his name high of the roll of the illustrious and world-renowned benefactors of the human race; but by his treacherous and evil course. his usurping and despotic policy in the interest of those who are still rebels in spirit and purpose, perfidy as their soi-disant Moses toward the liberated bondmen of the South, he seems bent on sending his name down to posterity along with those of Benedict Arnold and Judas Iscariot.  For what is the meaning of the jubilant shouts heard through Rebeldom, and vociferously responded to be the entire body of Northern Copperheads, in view of his liberty-crushing vetoes, but that he is on their side and acting in accordance with their wishes, and therefore false to his oath of office, and recreant to all that is sacred in justice and precious in liberty? Allow me, therefore, to offer you the following cold water sentiment:  The speedy impeachment and removal of Andrew Johnson from the office he dishonors and betrays!  Yours, in the execution of justice…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

To Wendell Phillips

Jan. 1, 1866

Thanking Phillips for the help he has given to his Garrison namesake, “covering his entire collegiate course”, then he comments on their disagreements.  “Though, my dear P., you and I have differed somewhat in our judgment of the bearing of events and the action of public men upon that cause which has been equally dear to our hearts, yet it is my comfort and solace to know that in our principles, our desires, and our claims for equal and exact justice to the colored race as to the white, we blend together as fully now as ever. May our friendship be as perpetual as sun, moon and stars, but without their occasional obscurantism!”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Maria Weston Chapman

Oct. 31, 1865

Garrison expresses thanks to Maria for a two hundred dollar gift to the Liberator, and for her constant support in the work.  “It is to you, my dear and faithful friend, and to such as you, that I owe, under a gracious Providence, the continuance of my labors to ‘undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free’.  Now it is given to us to rejoice together in the fruition of our hopes and the fulfillment of our desires.  It is not a triumph of  persons but of principles, and we rejoice and give thanks, not as partisans or victors, but for our dear country’s sake, and the cause of freedom and humanity throughout the world. ”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Massachusetts should sustain Emancipation

April 6, 1863

Writing to Governor John A. Andrew, regretting that, though it has been in session since the first week of January, the State Legislature has not yet acted in support of the Emancipation Proclamation.   “What should have been done early had better be done late, than not done at all…. As the Legislature will very shortly adjourn, there is no time to be lost … Massachusetts ought to put upon the historic page her most emphatic approval of his course.”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

John Brown, Harpers Ferry

Nov. 1, 1859

“What Capt. Brown expected to accomplish with only a score of abettors is to me, up to this hour, quite enigmatical.  Upon the face of it, his raid into Virginia looks utterly lacking in common sense  — a desperate self-sacrifice for the purpose of giving an earthquake shock to the slave system, and thus hastening the day for a universal catastrophe.  But, whatever may have been his errors of judgement or calculation, his bearing since his capture and during his trial has been truly sublime, and challenges for him all of human sympathy and respect.  O course, he will be hung, and quite as speedily as decency will allow.  In Boston  we have thought it would be a master-stroke of policy to urge  the day of his execution as the day for  a general public expression of sentiment with reference to the guilt and danger of slavery… ”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Samuel Houston in Boston

Feb. 23, 1855

Writing to Oliver Johnson, Garrison mentions a lecture by Gen. Samuel Houston, from Texas.  “Last evening, Gen. Houston gave his lecture on slavery, to a crowded auditory.  In every point of view, it was a feeble effort, and went for slavery eternally, by a law of ‘necessity’.  He has furnished me with some nuts to crack in my lecture at the Tabernacle on Tuesday evening…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI


Sept. 23, 1853

To Samuel J. May:  a single sentence refers to the division with Douglass:  “With Douglass, the die seems to be cast.  I lament the schism, but it is unavoidable.”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Henry Clay

Mar. 16, 1849

“You say that ‘a vast majority of the people of the United States deplore the necessity of the continuance of slavery in the United States’.  This assertion is not true; a ‘vast majority of the people’ really care nothing about it; they are agreed  in nothing so well as in despising and proscribing the colored race, whether bond or free.  Besides, if the immediate abolition of slavery would prove disastrous, then why should its continuance be deplored?  To deplore that which is essential to good order, the public safety, and the welfare of all classes, pro tempore,  is not to talk sensibly.  Sir, slavery is ‘the sum of all villanies’ — it is pollution, concubinage, adultery — it is theft, robbery, kidnapping — it is ignorance, degradation, and woe — it is suffering, cruelty, and horrid injustice — it is the exaltation of master above all that is called God — it smites the most fertile soil with barrenness, and depraves the manners and morals of all who are infected by it!  This you know; and yet you dare to affirm that its continuance is a matter of necessity!  Ah! this is ever ‘the tyrant’s plea’, and  you are a tyrant…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Douglass, the North Star

Oct. 20, 1847

Writing to Helen, from Cleveland, severely ill, Garrison wonders about Douglass.  “Is it not strange that Douglass has not written a single line to me, or to any one, in this place, inquiring after my health, since he left me on a bed of illness?  It will also greatly surprise our friends in Boston to hear, that, in regard to his project for establishing a paper here, to be called ‘The North Star’, he never opened to me his lips on the subject, nor asked my advice in any particular whatever.  Such conduct grieves me to the heart. …”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI