Writing to Daniel O’Connell

Dec. 8, 1843

Here Garrison recalls his good experiences with O’Connell, and the importance of O’Connell  being clear as an abolitionist.  “But I have regretted to perceive in you, within a few months past, for reasons which, to me, are perfectly inexplicable, a disposition to travel widely and frequently out of your path, to attack me personally in the most contemptuous manner… You have seized the most extraordinary occasions to hold me up to derision and odiuim in Ireland — by stigmatizing me, while denouncing American slavery, as a ‘maniac in religion’, and referring to me as ‘a man called Lloyd Garrison,’ whose company as an abolitionist you rejected, and also that of all his anti-slavery associates!..”    He asks why O’Connell has “attempted to stain my religious character, and to cripple my labors in the abolition of slavery, by pointing a finger of reproach at me as a heretic? … Surely, I do not err,  when I hazard the assertion, that you have not been self-moved in this matter!”  Garrison goes on to claim that if he had spoken against the cause of Irish Repeal, then, criticism of him would have been justified, or if he had abandoned the anti-slavery cause, such rejection by O’Connell would “have been to the point”…”I think you have erred in attacking me as you have done in so gratuitous and offensive a manner.  Am I not right in this view of the case? … Hoping you will mightily foil all the machinations of your wily enemies, and be triumphant in your peaceful efforts for Repeal, and wishing a long life for yourself, and freedom and prosperity for oppressed and suffering Ireland, I remain, Yours, in every conflict for the right.”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI