Tag Archives: The Liberator

Happy Birthday Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States and the last Whig President, was born January 7, 1800.

President Fillmore was a fascinating figure who does not get the attention his life and legacy deserves and there are plenty of people around who are still passionate about sharing information about him.  You can learn more at Happy birthday, Millard Fillmore! 214 today, not looking a day over 117.

On Fillmore’s retirement, William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator had this to say on December 24, 1852:

When Millard Fillmore is forgotten by the American people, we shall have fallen upon evil times. But he will never be forgotten by the brave, the patriotic, the true. The foundations of his fame are laid in honor, patriotism, and truth, and can never be shaken. As long as parity of purpose: self-sacrificing devotion to country, the whole Union, and nothing but the Union; enlarged and pendent statesmanship; and absorbing desire to vindicate the honor and interests of the country in all intercourse with foreign nations; sagacious and farseeing recommendations to Congress in regard to internal policy; the expression of an inflexible determination to maintain the compromises of the Constitution, and execute the laws under the same; a fervid anxiety to unite all sections in bonds of fraternal affection, and to draw closer the ties which bind us together cemented by and baptized in the blood of our revolutionary ancestors so long, we say, as such deeds have an abiding place in the hearts of the freeman of this glorious land, the name of Millard Fillmore will be held in affectionate, undying remembrance.


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The Amistad Goes on Sale

This famous schooner, and her cargo, are to be sold at New London on the 15th inst. by order of the U.S. Circuit Court for the district of Connecticut.

The cargo consists of dry goods, hardware, crockery, vermicilli, etc.. selected for a Spanish market. Also a mill for grinding sugar cane.

The negroes of the Amistad are still at (Westville) New Haven, in charge of Mr. Wilcox, the U.S. Marshal and are very comfortably situated. Their case is now in the hands of the Supreme Court of the U. States, who meet at Washington in January next.

If the court confirms the decision of the court below, the Africans will be immediately set at liberty.


Collection: The Liberator
Publication: The Liberator
Date: October 9, 1840
Title: The Amistad
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

About La Amistad

Amistad, a Spanish slave ship, left Havana, Cuba for Puerto Principe, Cuba. The ship carried 53 Mende captives (49 adults and 4 children), who had been captured from today’s Sierra Leone to be sold into slavery in Cuba. On July 2, Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué) led the captives in a revolt against their captors.

Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué)

Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué)

The Mende had been brought into Havana aboard the larger specialized vessel Tecora and were being taken to a smaller port closer to a sugar plantation. In the main hold below decks, the captives found a rusty file. Freeing themselves, they quickly went up on deck and, armed with machete-like cane knives, successfully gained control of the ship and killed the captain and other crew members.

When they demanded to be returned home, the ship’s navigator, Don Pedro Montez, deceived them about their course and sailed the ship north along the North American coast to the eastern tip of Long Island, New York. Discovered by the Revenue Cutter USRC Washington, La Amistad was taken into custody.

The Mende were interned at New Haven, Connecticut, while the courts settled their legal status and conflicting claims regarding La Amistad’s ownership.

The illustration below is from “A history of the Amistad captives – being a circumstantial account of the capture of the Spanish schooner Amistad by the Africans on board, their voyage and capture near Long Island, New York, with biographical sketches of each of the surviving Africans: also, an account of the trials had on their case, before the district and circuit courts of the United States for the district of Connecticut.”

Slave Holding Area in La Amistad

Slave Holding Area in La Amistad

This 34 page pamphlet was published in 1840 and can be read below:

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William Lloyd Garrison at National Portrait Gallery

William Lloyd Garrison on Non-Resistance

William Lloyd Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated for the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists. The Liberator denounced the Compromise of 1850, condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, damned the Dred Scott decision and hailed John Brown’s raid as “God’s method of dealing retribution upon the head of the tyrant.”

The slaveholders in the South demanded the end of the incendiary paper and the state of Georgia offered a $5,000 reward for Garrison’s capture. He died in New York City on May 24, 1879.

Accessible Archives subscribers have access to the complete run of The Liberator.

Almost thirty-five years after his death his daughter, Fanny Garrison Villard, published William Lloyd Garrison On Non-Resistance: Together With a Personal Sketch. The short volume includes her own memories of her father as well as chapters like What I Owe to Garrison, by Leo Tolstoi and William Lloyd Garrison as Seen by a Grandson.

The preface is included here in its entirety and the full volume can be read below.

From the Preface

I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. — William Lloyd Garrison

My inherited principles of Non-Resistance, which seem as essential to me as the breath of life and paramount to all others, and filial affection have made me yield to the urgent requests of many friends to state as best I may what part a belief in Non-Resistance played in the life of my father, William Lloyd Garrison. His undying faith in the invincible power of Non-Resistance, more than all else, in my estimation, entitles him to the gratitude of his fellowmen. “Doing evil that good may come,” he ever regarded as a false and pernicious doctrine. Therefore, his language had, he felt, to be “as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice.”

After one of Mr. Garrison’s impassioned utterances, a warm sympathizer said to him, “Oh my friend, do try to moderate your indignation and keep more cool; why you are all on fire.” Mr. Garrison replied, “I have need to be all on fire, for I have moun- tains of ice about me to melt.” This is perhaps more true of Non-Resistance than of almost any other cause.

It was early given to Mr. Garrison to put his Non-Resistant principles to the test in a way that left no question as to his sincerity or as to his readiness to face death for his beliefs. On October 21, 1835, a “broadcloth” mob consisting of “5000 gentlemen of property and standing” gathered in Boston to tar and feather the English Abolitionist, George Thompson.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

Unable to find Mr. Thompson, who had yielded to Mr. Garrison’s urgent request to leave the city, the mob surrounded the building in which Mr. Garrison was addressing the meeting of the “Female Anti-Slavery Society” although he had been warned in advance and urged to avoid danger. u In the middle of the uproar,” my father later wrote, “an Abolition brother whose mind had not been previously settled on the peace question, in his anguish and alarm for my safety, and in view of the helplessness of the civil authority, said: ‘I must henceforth repudiate the principle of non-resistance. When the civil arm is powerless, my own rights are trodden in the dust, and the lives of my friends are put in imminent peril by ruffians, I will hereafter prepare to defend myself and them at all hazards.’

Putting my hand upon his shoulder, I said, ‘Hold, my dear brother! You know not what spirit you are of. This is the trial of our faith, and the test of our endurance. Of what value or utility are the principles of peace and forgiveness, if we may repudiate them in the hour of peril and suffering? Do you wish to become like one of those violent and bloodthirsty men who are seeking my life? Shall we give blow for blow, and array sword against sword? God forbid! I will perish sooner than raise my hand against any man, even in self-defence, and let none of my friends resort to violence for my protection. If my life be taken, the cause of emancipation will not suffer. God reigns — his throne is undisturbed by this storm — he will make the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder he will restrain — his omnipotence will at length be victorious.’ ”


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Uncle Tom in Russia – Reported in The Liberator

A correspondent of the London Daily News writes from Moscow as follows:—

‘The celebrated ‘Uncle Tom,’ that remarkable negro who has already encountered so many strange adventures, continues his course through the world. In Russia he is becoming known through the medium of a very negligent translation of Mrs. Stowe’s book, and enjoys a great reputation. The police do not interfere, although the circulation of the work remains as yet unauthorized. In Russia, you are aware, enfranchisement is the order of the day; perhaps this has somewhat to do with the non-interference of the officials.

‘As soon as the first copies of the work arrived, there were so few of them that they made the tour of the town, being let out to hire for two hours at a time, and thus passing from one hand to another of the Muscovite aristocracy.

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Liberty – In God We Trust on Coins

On April 22, 1864 Congress passed The Coinage Act of 1864, a United States federal law, changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Director of the United States Mint was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary of the Treasury.

As a result of this law, the phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on American coinage.  The first appearance was on the 1864 two-cent coin.

When these new coins were circulated in Boston they were described this way in The Liberator.


A few of the two-cent pieces just coined are in circulation in this city. This new coin is a handsome one, a little less in size than the gold eagle and probably composed of the same material as the small cents. It bears on one side a shield, enclosed with an olive wreath, and two crossed arrows, behind it. Below the shield is the date, “1864,” and above it is a scroll, bearing the motto, “In God we trust.” The other side bears the denomination of the coin, “2 CENTS,” surrounded by a wreath of wheat, which again is surrounded by the inscription, “United States of America.

Our old cents used to bear the beautiful word “Liberty” upon them. When the first small cent was coined, (under the Presidency of Franklin Pierce, I believe,) that word was omitted from the coin, an eagle being substituted for head that bore it. Afterwards the eagle gave place to the head of an Indian queen, and the word “Liberty” was restored, though so small as to be nearly illegible. Now under the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, that significant word is again omited.


Liberty - The Liberator, June 24, 1864

Liberty – The Liberator, June 24, 1864


Collection: The Liberator
Publication: The Liberator
Date: June 24, 1864
Title: Liberty
Location: Boston

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