Tag Archives: abolitionists
Practical illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law

Aryannah Pendleton: A Fugitive Slave Case

This article about Miss Pendleton’s case was published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard on October 15, 1840.

A trial which excited much interest, was held in this town on Thursday last, before Hon. Joseph Eaton, Judge of the County Court, for the purpose of recovering a colored girl, by the name of Aryannah Pendleton, claimed to be a fugitive slave belonging to a Mrs. Price, of Richmond, Virginia.

The girl, it seems, came to New-York with Mrs. Price, and although strictly guarded, found means, prompted by the love of Liberty, of escaping to Hartford, and from there to Hampton, where she has resided for about three years past, and until arrested at the instigation of Doctor Price, son of the above named Mrs. Price, on a writ of Habeas Corpus and brought before Judge Eaton for trial.

The residence of this girl, it appears from what information we can collect, was made known to Doctor Price, by a contemptible fellow named Fuller, formerly a resident of Hampton, but now of the South, to whom, it is said, Doctor Price is indebted, and that the girl was, if found a slave, to be sold to satisfy such demand.


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.’ ”



The First Chapter of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published on June 5, 1851

On June 5, 1851, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly began to appear in serial form in The National Era — an abolitionist weekly.  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery story was released in forty installments over the next ten months. Mrs. Stowe was paid $300 for the rights to publish the story.

In 1951 The National Era had a fairly limited circulation, but readership increased rapidly as reader after reader passed their copies along to friends and family. In 1852 a Boston publisher decided to issue Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a book and it became an instant best seller. Three hundred thousand copies were sold the first year. Folks all over America debated the book and discussed the most pressing issue of the day dramatized in its narrative and brought the debate over slavery into many new homes.

Because Uncle Tom’s Cabin so polarized the abolitionist and anti-abolitionist debate, some claim that it is one of the causes of the Civil War. Indeed, when President Lincoln received its author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, at the White House in 1862, legend has it he exclaimed, “So this is the little lady who made this big war?”

The National Era can be found in our African American Newspapers Collection.  

Copyright Secured by the Author for the National Era.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly by Mrs. H.B. Stowe

CHAPTER I. In which the Reader is introduced to a Man of Humanity

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P—–, in Kentucky. There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentleman. One of the parties, however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which makes a low man who is trying to elbow his way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed in a gaudy vest of many colors, a blue neckerchief, be dropped gaily with yellow spots, and arranged with a flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings, and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain with a bundle of seals of portentous size and a great variety of colors attached to it which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray’s grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account shall induce us to transcribe.



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.


The Man Behind The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in December, 1805. At thirteen years of age he began his newspaper career with the Newburyport Herald, where he acquired great skills in both accuracy and speed in the art of setting type. He also wrote anonymous articles for the paper.

He began writing for and eventually became co-editor of the Quaker Genius of Universal Emancipation newspaper in Baltimore. Garrison’s experience as a printer and newspaper editor allowed him to revamp the layout of the paper and freed Ben Lundy, his co-editor, to spend more time traveling as an anti-slavery speaker. While working for the Genius, Garrison became convinced of the need to demand immediate and complete emancipation and rejected Lundy’s differing view that emancipation could come about gradually. Rather than leaving the paper, both editors continued to espouse their views and started signin their editorials to make it clear to readers.

Garrison introduced a regular feature to the Genius that he called “The Black List”. This column was devoted to short reports of “the barbarities of slavery — kidnappings, whippings, and murders.” One of Garrison’s “Black List” columns landed him in legal trouble when he reported that a shipper, Francis Todd, from Garrison’s home town of Newburyport, Massachusetts was involved in the slave trade, and that he had recently had slaves shipped from Baltimore to New Orleans on his ship Francis. Todd filed a libel suit against both Garrison and Lundy.

Francis filed in Maryland in hopes of securing a favorable verdict in that state’s pro-slavery courts. The state of Maryland also brought criminal charges against Garrison, finding him guilty and ordering him to pay a fine of $50 and court costs. Garrison, unable to pay the fine, was sentenced to a jail for six months. After serving seven weeks of his sentencer the antislavery philanthropist Arthur Tappan paid his fine. During his time in jail Garrison had decided to leave Baltimore for Boston and he parted ways with The Genius.

On January 1, 1831 the first issue of The Liberator appeared with the motto: “Our country is the world—our countrymen are mankind.” Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated 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.”

Subscribers to Accessible Archives can search the full text of his thirty four years of work that only ended when the Union won the Civil War in 1865.

His first issue opened with this, The Salutation.

To date my being from the opening year,
I come, a stranger in this busy sphere,
Where some I meet perchance may pause and ask,
What is my name, my purpose, or my task?My names is ‘LIBERATOR’! I propose
To hurl my shafts at freedom’s deadliest foes!
My task is hard–for I am charged to save
Man from his brother!–to redeem the slave!Ye who may hear, and yet condemn my cause,
Say, shall the best of Nature’s holy laws
Be trodden down? And shall her open veins
Flow but for cement to her offspring’s chains?

Art thou a parent? Shall thy children be
Rent from thy breast, like branches from the tree,
And doom’s to servitude, in helplessness,
On other shores, and thou ask no redress?

Thou, in whose bosom glows the sacred flame
Of filial love, say, if the tyrant came,
To force thy parent shrieking from thy sight,
Would thy heart bleed- because thy face is white?

Art thou a brother? Shall thy sister twine
Her feeble arm in agony on thine,
And thou not lift the heel, nor aim the blow
At him who bears her off to life-ling wo?

Art thou a sister? Will no desp’rate cry
Awake thy sleeping brother, while thine eye
Beholds the fetters locking on the limb
Stretched out in rest, which hence, must end for him?

Art thou a lover?–no! naught e’er was found
In lover’s breast, save cords of love, that bound
Man to his kind! Then, thy professions save!
Forswear affection, or release thy slave!

Thou who art kneeling at thy Maker’s shrine,
Ask if Heaven takes such offerings as thine!
If in thy bonds the son of Africa signs,
Far higher than thy prayer his groan will rise!

God is a God of mercy, and would see
The prison-doors unbarr’d–the bondmen free!
He is a God of truth, with purer eyes
Than to behold the oppressor’s sacrifice!

Avarice, thy cry and thine insatiate thirst
Make man consent to see his brother cursed!
Tears, sweat and blood thou drink’st, but in their turn,
They shall cry ‘more!’ while vengeance bids thee burn.

The Lord hath said it! — who shall him gainsay?
He says. ‘the wicked, they shall go away’
Who are the wicked?- Contradict who can,
They are the oppressors of their fellow man!

Aid me, New England! ’tis my hope in you
Which gives me strength my purpose to pursue!
Do you not hear your sister States resound
With Africa’s cries to have her sons unbound?

After the end of the Civil War in December, 1865, Garrison published his last issue of The Liberator, announcing “my vocation as an abolitionist is ended.” After thirty-five years and 1,820 issues, Garrison had not failed to publish a single issue. He spent the final 14 years of his life campaigning for woman’s suffrage, pacifism and temperance. He died in New York City on May 24, 1879.

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