Archive for the 'Garrison Family' Category

Birth of grandson

Sept. 29, 1869

To Wendell and Lucy:  “While we were all at the tea-table, last evening, William came in with a telegram, announcing that to you was born another son … the grandparents were especially jubilant, and felt that they had reached another stage of exaltation …”  (Then he wonders why some parents are concerned about the sex of a baby). and concludes with: … “whether boy or girl, it is all the same in the matter of thankfulness; and one is to be prized precisely as much as the other. ..”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Helen’s health

Nov. 4, 1868

Writing to Wendell Phillips Garrison:  “… for a week past your mother has been seriously ill.  She had for several weeks previous a persistent cough, which troubled her a good deal day and night, … causing a congestion of the lungs and so affected the action of the heart as really to imperil her life. …She is, however, really more comfortable today … Dr. Geist thinks she has passed the crisis, and we may hope for her convalescence.   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Sixtieth Birthday

Dec. 14, 1865 

Writing to Wendell Phillips Garrison:  “Accept my grateful acknowledgments for your filial epistle on my becoming a ‘sexagenarian’, in the completion of my sixtieth year … It gives me joy to receive this tribute of your affection and gratitude, because it emanates from a heart that was never guilty of insincerity.  As, in the order of time and in the course of nature, I must decrease and you increase, my prayer is that you may exceed me in all things wherein I may have been of any benefit to my fellow-men, especially to the sacred cause of liberty, which, in its utmost scope, comprehends all things concerning human destiny… ”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

William’s engagement

Feb. 19, 1864

Garrison writes to Ellen Wright, upon announcement of her engagement to William Lloyd Garrison, Jr.   “William has very agreeably surprised me by the announcement that an ‘engagement‘ has been entered into between you and him, whereby mutual love has been plighted, and whereof a matrimonial alliance may be expected to follow in due time.  Though my personal acquaintance with you is comparatively slight, yet, from what I have seen and from all I hear of you, I have no doubt he has made a very fortunate choice.  May yours prove equally fortunate!…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

To George, after enlistment

August 6, 1863

“… I have nothing but praise to give you that you have been faithful to your highest convictions, and taking your life in your hands, are willing to lay it down, even like the brave Col. Shaw and his associates, if need be, in the cause of freedom, and for the suppression of slavery and the rebellion.  True, I could have wished you could ascend to what I believe a higher plane of moral heroism and a nobler method of self-sacrifice; but as you are true to yourself, I am glad of your fidelity, and proud of your willingness to run any risk in a cause that is undeniably just and good.  I have no  fear that you will be found wanting at any time in the trial-hour, or in the discharge of your official duties…”1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Son George enlists in Union army

June 11, 1863

“Though I could have wished that you had been able understandingly and truly to adopt those principles of peace which are so sacred and divine to my own soul, yet you will bear witness that I have not laid a straw in your way to prevent your acting up to your own highest convictions of duty; for nothing would be gained, but much lost, to have you violate these.  Still, I tenderly hope that you will once more seriously review the whole matter before making the irrevocable decision. … Personally, as my son, you will incur some risks at the hands of the rebels that others will not, if it is known that you are my son… ”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Conscience and non-resistance

Aug. 7,  1863

Garrison writes to a friend relative to his sons intentions, the war and the draft.  “I have three sons of the requisite age — George,William and Wendell. Wendell is in principle opposed to all fighting with carnal weapons.  So is William. In any case they will not go to the tented field but will abide the consequences.  George is inclined to think he shall go,  if drafted, as he does not claim to be a non-resistant. … I do not object to my children suffering any hardships, or running any risks, in the cause of liberty and the support of great principles, if duty requires it, but I wish them to know themselves, to act from the highest and noblest motives, and to be true to their conscientious convictions.”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Garrison is 56

Dec. 10, 1861

Upon presentation of a broacloth suit, Garrison writes to Helen and the children.  ” ..thanks to their affectionate remembrance, never has he had a birthday in which he was so well suited before. There are many, he is aware, out of his family, — and especially in the land of Secession, — who would like to give him, on any day, ‘a good dressing,” but not in the same sense, nor according to the same pattern. For example — they would be pleased to see him wearing a ‘coat of tar and feathers’; but this fine broadcloth one, he thinks, is much to be preferred as a matter of fitness and comfort.  Come what may, however, he does not mean to play the ‘turn-coat’, even though somebody has discovered that ‘one good turn deserves another’.  He cannot find words to express his love for his wife and children, and the amount of blessedness they have afforded him …”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Helen’s Birthday

Feb. 23, 1861

“My Beloved Wife:  Your feet stand upon the summit-level of half a century. Today completes your fiftieth year!  Our dear children and I most lovingly congratulate you on the auspicious event, not on account of increasing age, but because of the prolongation of your life to this hour, in good health … therefore wish you to accept the accompanying gold watch, which will mark the hours as they fly till time with you shall be no longer, and you shall enter that heavenly sphere where there shall be neither death nor decay … with its every tick will beat in unision our hearts…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Aunt Charlotte’s death

Oct. 3, 1857

Garrison writes to Theodore Parker, asking that he assist at the funeral of his mother’s sister.  Also in the same time period there are notices of the death to several family members.   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI