Garrison, William Lloyd (1805-1879) to Henry Wilson
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC08888 Author/Creator: Garrison, William Lloyd (1805-1879) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 11 February 1866 Pagination: 4 p. ; 18.4 x 22.5 cm.
Replies to a letter Wilson wrote when Garrison discontinued publication of the Liberator, his anti-slavery newspaper. Writes that he so values Wilson's letter, he will ask his children to preserve it with other valuable autographs and memorials. Declares "I have certainly lived to see the most astonishing revolution in the feelings and sentiment of a people, of which history makes any record; breaking the yokes and fetters of millions... abolishing a system of oppression as seemingly impregnable as it was fiendishly cruel, abasing the proud and lifting up the lowly... For the humble share I have had, under God, in bringing it about, you are pleased to congratulate me... Let me reciprocate your heartfelt recognition..." Praises Wilson's support of anti-slavery.
Wilson served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts 1853-1872 and as Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant 1873-1875.
Boston, Feb. 11, 1866.
Hon. Henry Wilson:
My Dear Friend - Your kind, congratulatory, and approving letter, in regard to my Anti-Slavery career, in connection with the discontinuance of the Liberator, was duly received, and most gratefully appreciated. I am deeply mortified, however, in looking at its date, to see how many days have passed without your getting a reply. Enough that the delay has been wholly unintentional, and that I so value your letter that I shall commit it to the hands of my children to be carefully preserved among valued autographs and cherished memorials. I am sure you wrote it from a full heart.
 I have certainly lived to see the most astonishing revolution in the feelings and sentiments of a people, of which history makes any record; breaking the yokes and fetters of millions of hitherto domed race, abolishing a system of oppression as seemingly impregnable as it was fiendishly cruel, abasing the proud and lifting up the lowly, and allowing freedom to "have free course, now, and the glorified." For the humble share I have had, under God, in bringing it about, you are pleased to congratulate me. Let me reciprocate your heartfelt recognition. It has been your good fortune to have seen all that I have seen as to the almost miraculous change alluded to, and to have taken a most active and important part in causing "liberty to the proclaimed throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof."  For more than a quarter of century you have stood forth, in the political arena and in the halls of legislation, - indeed, whenever and wherever an opportunity presented, - disinterestedly and courageously to plead the cause of "the suffering and the dumb," to grapple with a haughty and implacable slave oligarchy, to make (in no equivocal sense) "Liberty and Union, one and inseperable, now and forever." I believe this has always been the "bright particular star" of your hopes and aspirations, above all the wiles of politics and the claims of party. What changes you have seen in Washington, and at the Capitol! What perils awaited you [struck: there] [inserted: once] - what honors crown you now! The fiat of the nation has decreed the total extinction of slavery, and the year of jubilee has come. Alleluia!  Your expressions of regret at parting with the Liberator are such as very many others have conveyed to me. I feel inexpressibly thankful that the testimony of its patrons and readers runs in on direction - to wit, that its influence upon their minds was always of an elevating and inspiring tendency, giving them higher views of duty and a clearer perception of right, and strengthening them to meet successfully the enemies of God and man.
Thanks for your recent manly and eloquent utterances in the floor of the Senate, in furtherance of the claims of the emancipated to complete justice.
You need not trouble yourself to answer this note, as I expect to be in Washington on Saturday next.
Yours, early and late,
Wm. Lloyd Garrison.
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.