Whittier encourages Garrison, after anti-abolition assault

LETTER FROM JOHN G. WHITTIER,  from  Amesbury, 13th 5th mo., 1850

Dear Friend Garrison: I have just laid down a New York paper, giving the disgraceful details of the outrage upon free speech at your late meeting in New York; and I cannot resist the inclination to drop a line to thee, expressive of my heart sympathy with thee in this matter. We have not always thought alike in respect to the best means of promoting the anti-slavery cause; and perhaps we differ as widely now as ever. But when the right to advocate emancipation in any shape is called in question, it is no time to split hairs, or to be fastidious in our exclusiveness. Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass and thyself were assailed, not because of any peculiarities of opinion which you may enterain on other subjects, but because you were abolitionists, and practical believers in the doctine of the Declaration of Independence. So understanding it, I thank you for your perseveanc and firmness in vindicating rights dear to us all.

The great battle for free speech and free assembling is to be fought over. The signal has been given at Washington, and commercial cupidity at the North is once more marshalling its mobs against us. The scandalous treachery of Webster, and the backing he has received from Andover and Harvard, show that we have nothing to hope for from the great political and religious sects. Let us be prepared for the worst, and may God give us strength, wisdom and ability to withstand it.

With esteem and sympathy, I am very truly thy friend.

John Greenleaf  Whittier                             (Liberator, May 17. 1850, pg 3)