Archive for the 'Garrison Persona' Category

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

From London Convention

June 29, 1840

From London, Garrison writes to Helen, with news of the Convention.  He indicates that, by the time of his late arrival, the Convention had voted not at admit the women delegates from the United States.  He recounts the attempt of Wendell Phillips to move the question during the Convention,  his disappointment with George Thompson’s weak response, and tells of the decision which he, Remond, Rogers, and Wm Adams  made, refusing to take seats in the Convention.   “I am quite certain, from all that has transpired, that, had we arrived a few days before the opening of the Convention, we could have carried out our point triumphantly.  As it is, we have not visited this country in vain.  The ‘woman question’ has been fairly started, and will be canvassed from the Land’s End to John O’Groat’s house.  Already, many excellent and noble minds are highly displeased at the decision of the Convention, and denounce it strongly…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Women at London Convention

May 22, 1840

In a letter to Oliver Johnson,  at last on ship bound for England, after delays, Garrison is concerned about the role of women.   “The object of the Convention is to promote the interest of Humanity.  It is, then, a common object, in which all who wear the human form have a right to participate, without regard to color, sex, or clime. With a young woman placed on the throne of Great Britain, will the philanthropists of that country presume to object to the female delegates from the United States, as members of the Convention, on the ground of their sex? … I cannot consent to have one human being excluded from the  World’s Platform, even for the sake of peace…”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Anti-Garrison mobocracy, and color prejudice

May 15, 1840

Telling Helen of the election of Abby Kelley to the Business Committee of the AASS, and the subsequent creation of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison says:  “The spirit of mobocracy has been roused, in consequence of so many of the ‘Garrison Party’ having come from Massachusetts; and our delegation have been driven out of the halls we had engaged, and had to go from pillar to post to find a place where to lay their heads. … What particularly excited these ‘lewd fellows of the baser sort’ was, the mixing of our white and colored friends on terms of equality…. it has not amounted to anything like a popular tumult.”    1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Right of Conscience

Feb. 10, 1840

“I will not stop to say what I think of the barbarism and tyranny of Connecticut, in trampling upon the rights of conscience, and consigning to prison such of her citizens as believe that they are forbidden by the gospel to do military duty.  After ages will look upon this matter with astonishment.  It is the opprobrium of the nineteenth century.”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

View of the Sabbath

June 18, 1838

“I hold to the sanctification of seven days in a week,  instead of one day in seven, as under the Jewish institution.  I discard all human creeds, and all ecclesiastical combinations, and all observances of times and seasons, and all rites, ceremonies, forms and ordinances, as constituting no part of christianity, and as being contrary to that liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free….”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Mob action at Pennsylvania Hall

May 19, 1838

“The meeting broke up about 10 o’clock, and we all got safely home.  The next day, the street was thronged with profane ruffians and curious spectators — the women, however, holding their meetings in the hall all day, till towards evening. It was given out by the mob, that the hall would be burnt to the ground that night. … that night the mob “had increased to several thousands, and soon got into the hall by dashing open the doors with their axes.  They then set fire to this huge building, and in the course of an hour it was a solid mass of flames.  The bells of the city were rung, and several engines rallied, but no water was permitted to be thrown upon the building …”Awful as is this occurrence in Philadelphia, it will do incalculable good to our cause; for the wrath of man worketh out the righteousness of God….”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

God will bring down the nation

Nov. 6, 1837

Writing to his English friend, Elizabeth Pease, Garrison comments on the “present state of anti-slavery” in the United States.  “Upon the slaveholding States, we make no perceptible impression.  No opponent of slavery can tread upon their soil, as an abolitionist, without the risk of martyrdom.  I have relinquished the expectation, that they will ever, by mere moral suasion, consent to emancipate their victims. I believe that nothing but the exterminating judgments of heaven can shatter the chain of the slave, and destroy the power of the oppressor. … Repentance, if it come at all, will come too late. Our sins have gone up over our heads, and our iniquities unto the clouds, and a just God means to dash us in pieces as a potter’s vessel is broken…  my hope of the peaceful and voluntary overthrow of slavery in the southern states of this nation is very feeble, my faith in the promises of God, that he will maintain the cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor, and he will deliver the oppressed out of the hand of the spoiler, is unfaltering, invincible. ”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Responding to “slandering” colored church, Samuel Snowden

Oct. 20, 1837

In a long letter to the New England Spectator,  Garrison responds to comments made about churches in the black community.  “..Nothing can be more unfair than your reference to the Belknap-street church.  When the eloquent Thomas Paul acted as pastor, it was the chief, I believe the only place provided exclusively for the worship of the colored population in this city: of course (and particularly on account of his extraordinary powers as a preacher), it was well attended.” Garrison then recognizes that disputes in that congregation have resulted in poor attendance, then proceeds.  “..Why are you so disingenuous as to hide the fact that, instead of one house, as formerly, there are now several houses exclusively appropriated to their religious worship — and all, more or less, numerously attended? Especially, why do you wilfully refuse to state, that the building so long, ably and successfully occupied by my beloved colored brother Samuel Snowden has been constantly thronged to such excess by our colored friends, that its dimensions have been enlarged to twice its original size?  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI