Archive for the 'Individual Persons' Category

Violence toward Douglass

Aug. 9, 1847

Garrison writes to Helen, from Harrisburg, where he and Douglass spoke at the Court House.  “I first addressed the meeting, and was listened to, not only without molestation, but with marked attention and respect … as Douglass rose to speak, the spirit of rowdyism began to show itself outside of the building, around the door and windows.  It was the first time that a ‘nigger’ had attempted to address the people in Harrisburg in public, and it was regarded by the mob as an act of unparalleled audacity.  They knew nothing at all of Douglass, except that he was a nigger.  They came equipped with rotten eggs and brickbats, fire-crackers and other missiles, and made use of them somewhat freely — breaking panes of glass, and soiling the clothes of some who were struck by the eggs. …I was enabled to obtain a silent hearing for a few moments, when I told the meeting that if this was a specimen of Harrisburg decorum and love of liberty, instead of wasting our breath upon the place, we should turn our back upon it, shaking off the dust of our feet — &c. &c    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Death of O’Connell, Irish Repeal movement

July 1, 1847

Acknowledging the death of O’Connell, Garrison writes to Richard Webb.   “Well, O’Connell has left his wide field of popular agitation, and removed to a new and mysterious sphere of existence.  Though he had many faults and failings, (Heaven be merciful to us all!) I honor his memory, and regard him with feelings of gratitude and respect.  His death, at such a time, in the awful state into which his suffering country is plunged, is truly affecting.  Of course, the Repeal movement may be regarded a virtually at an end, I suppose.”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Thomas Clarkson

Aug. 19, 1846

Writing to Clarkson, from London.  Garrison informs Clarkson that he, Thompson, and Douglass hope to visit in Ipswich.  “We trust the state of your health will be such as to permit you to see us, at least for a few moments … no name is more highly venerated by the truly good and philanthropic in America, than your own — and trusting that a gracious Providence will permit you to see the entire overthrow of American slavery, before you are called to your heavenly home — I remain, with profound esteem, Your humble coadjutor.    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Lewis Hayden

Mar 31, 1846

“Lewis Hayden has just informed me that he intends leaving for Detroit this afternoon… Lewis Hayen has won the esteem and friendship of all with whom he has become acquainted, and is a rare young man.  Should he conclude to return, and take up his abide in New Bedford, I think he can be made very serviceable to our cause.  He needs to be more with us, fully to understand the position that we occupy, in regard to Church and State; but he is an apt scholar, and has made very good progress in a very short time.  I have not had a good opportunity to hear him speak in public; but I believe he has generally acquitted himself to good acceptance.  His chief embarrassment seems to be, to find language to express the facts of his history, and the thoughts and emotions of his mind. ”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Charles Sumner

Aug. 23, 1845

Garrison writes to praise Sumner for his “The True Grandeur of Nations” address, his first public appearance in Boston, in which he said there is no justifiable war and no dishonorable peace.   He promises Sumner that he will “receive the fervent benedictions of all the true friends of the human race.  In view of the war clouds which now hang over our guilty country, your oration is singularly timely…”     1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Levi Woodbury, vote to annex Texas

Mar. 14, 1845

“… I shall tell you what I think of your political character, in plain language and with great brevity.  You are one of those political demagogues, who are more injurious to a nation than pestilence or famine; whose selfishness is the only god whom they recognize or adore; whose ambition must be gratified, at whatever sacrifice of moral principle, and though hecatombs of innocent victims perish to effect its object.  You profess to be a democrat — Then is Satan, when disguised as an angel of light, no devil!    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

The Constitution, Smith, and Whittier, Birney

Oct 1, 1844

Responding to Gerrit Smith and John Greenleaf Whittier, and  their assertions that the Constitution is an antislavery document:   “Even Gerrit Smith has stultified himself so far as to have written a long letter to John G. Whittier, maintaining the same absurd doctrine.  Nay, he has gone so far as to eulogize those diabolical provisions respecting the prosecution of slave trade for twenty years — the putting down of slave insurrections by the government — the three-fifths representation of the slaves through their masters –as decidedly anti-slavery in their character and tendency! He is now completely absorbed in electioneering in behalf of James G. Birney and the Liberty party…  Still, I mean to let charity and patience have their perfect work in regard to him; for, after all, he seems to be a noble-hearted and benevolent man, but his head is often sadly at fault…   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Flight of a “fugitive”, to Garrison

June 7, 1842

Here is the story of a “young lad”, a “fugitive” from slavery, who has appeared in Concord, New Hampshire (the letter is written to Nathaniel P. Rogers).  A strange, involved, story; and so far as known, the lad was never identified.  According to this letter, Garrison says, “this unfortunate lad will remain with us…”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Reception by colored citizens of Boston

August 19, 1840

Writing to James Barbadoes, Thomas Cole, and J. T. Hilton, Garrison acknowledges receipt of an “affectionate and heart-melting letter congratulating me on my return in safety to the land of my nativity, and inviting me, in behalf of the colored citizens of Boston, to attend a public-meeting tomorrow evening, for the purpose of receiving their hearty welcome, and the assurance of their continued attachment and unshaken confidence…. there are none among the whole human race so dear to me as my colored friends in this city; because they were the first to give me the right hand of fellowship, and to bid me God speed in my warfare against the monster of monsters, American slavery…”


1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

International cotton trade

August 3, 1840

From Liverpool, Garrison writes to Joseph Pease,   In commenting on the status of the abolition movement, he contends  “That if England would supply herself with free trade cotton from some other part of the world, to the exclusion of all slave grown cotton, it is quite certain that, within seven years, American slavery would be peaceably abolished, from absolute necessity, as well as from the moral change which will by that time have been wrought in the free States of America…. it now seems to be placed beyond all doubt, that cotton can be grown by free labor at a much less expense, and in far greater abundance, in British India, than it is now done by slave labor in the United States; hence, that England, as a matter of self-interest, as well as on the score of humanity, should without delay redress the wrongs of India, give protection and encouragement to its oppressed and suffering population, and thus obtain a  cheap, permanent and abundant supply of free cotton from her own vast and fertile possessions in the East…”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI