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Whittier, John Greenleaf (1807-1892) to Samuel J. May

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05720 Author/Creator: Whittier, John Greenleaf (1807-1892) Place Written: Haverhill, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 April 1834 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 24.6 x 19.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Whittier writes to May, an ardent abolitionist: "Until connected with the Cause of Anti-Slavery I never knew what friendship was... engaged in this holy cause of Truth & Love, I have found high & pure hearts beating in perfect unison... No matter what may be our creed- whether we follow Socinius or Fox, or Calvin,- we are all brethren." Discusses the engagement of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to Helen Eliza Benson: "It will quiet the fears of some of our good Colonisationists that our friend G. might some day or other practice upon the thing of Amalgamation- and, smitten by the mental charms of some dark-browed lady, 'mislike her not for her complexion, The shadowed livery of the burning sun' " (quote from Shakespeare). Asks May to remember him to the teachers of the Canterbury school and Andrew [T.] Judson (possibly Andrew Thompson Judson). A note written in the margin of page one asks May to recruit "Rev br. Channing" to the cause of abolition (possibly the theologian William Ellery Channing).

Background Information: Whittier was a famous Quaker poet and abolitionist.

Full Transcript: Haverhill 24th 4th Mo. 1834

My Dear Brother May.
Thine of the 15th is at hand - and I need not say was most welcome. Until connected with the Cause of ...Anti-Slavery I never knew what friendship was. Yet, I had hundreds of what the [inserted: world] calls friends. But engaged in this holy Cause of Truth & Love, I have found high & pure hearts beating in perfect unison - holy sympathies responding to each other, - a foretaste as it were of the blessed Communion of spirits [inserted: in] the better land. No matter what may be our creed - whether we follow Socinius or Fox, or Calvin, - we are all brethren - the holy principle of love is over all - names lose their authority - creeds are forgotten - the soul throws off its debasing fetters - & heart touches heart. Yes - my dear May, whatever the world may say of us, ours is a blessed privilege. In this cause, the holiest & purest enjoyments of which humanity is susceptible, go hand in hand with duty. -
I rejoice to hear of thy efforts. Oh, how much are we indebted to thee already. But, go on - the prayers - the sympathies - the love & gratitude of white [2] men redeemed from prejudice and the black man from Slavery & persecution will attend thee. -
Thy offer to visit Haverhill seems almost providential. Yes- we need thee here, - for the harvest is ripe & the laborers passing few. We are getting on well with the cause in this vicinity. Colonisationism has abandoned its outposts and taken refuge under the walls of Andover Theological Seminary. It is rapidly sinking into Ex Prest Adams's "receptacle of things lost upon Earth." After all its "repentance" and professed reformation, like the ghost of Sheridan it has been "improved the wrong way."
I am rejoiced to hear of friend Garrison's engagement. Twill quiet the fears of some of our good Colonisationists that our friend G. might some day or other practice upon the thing of Amalgamation - and, smitten by the mental charms of some dark- browed lady,
"Mistake her not for her complexion,
The shadowed livery of the burning sun."
Remember me affectionately to all our friends - to the Bensons - to William [Bunlyh] and [inserted: the] teachers of the Canterbury School and the nullifiers of Andrew T. Judson.
Tell William I will write him soon. - Let me hear from thee as soon as thee arrive in Boston.
Thine truly & affectionately,
John G. Whittier




[inserted into margin of first page: Pray devise some means for drawing out Rv. br. Channing He is said to be fully impresd with the truth of Anti-Slavery Doctrines. W.]


[docket]
John G. Whittier
April 26.1834

[address]
12 ½
Rev Sam.l J. May
Brooklyn. Ct.
J.G.W.
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People: Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892
May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph)., 1797-1871
Judson, Andrew Thompson, 1784-1853
Garrison, Helen Eliza, 1811-1876
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
Channing, William Ellery, 1780-1842

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: AbolitionSlaveryReform MovementReligionMarriageLiterature and Language ArtsPoetryAfrican American HistoryColonizationWomen's HistoryEducation

Sub Era:

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