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LETTER FROM MRS. L. M. CHILD.

WAYLAND, March 15, 1865.

FRIEND GARRISON: Enclosed is $25 from Mr. Child and myself, for the support of the Liberator. It is but little toward paying what we owe you for being the medium of Divine Providence to bring into action the anti-slavery that was born in us.

The work for which we originally organized seems to be well nigh accomplished. But when you are no longer needed as a Liberator, you will be needed as a Protector. The slaveholders here will doubtless behave as they did in Jamaica. They will do their utmost to make the system of free labor a failure. They will omit no opportunity to irritate, discourage, and cheat their emancipated laborers; nor will the pro-slavery portion of the North manifest a spirit more just and humane. Even those who profess to have been converted by the events of the war are many of them but half converted. They despise the coloured people, and would still have them slaves, if they could. Aristocracy inevitably sympathizes with slavery, because they are "birds of the same feather," and the same claws; and the most ferocious of all birds of prey is that aristocracy which calls itself democracy. Whatever professions are made, the fact is that the colored people will need friends and protectors to help them through this transition state more than they have needed them at any previous period. Therefore, I would have the disbanded Anti-Slavery Societies organize as Protector Societies; and I am glad to see the suggestion that protection should be extended to the Red man, as well as the Black. The wrongs we have done, and are doing, to the Indians are equalled only by the wrongs we have inflicted on the defenceless negroes.

There ought to be a moral sentiment excited throughout the land that will compel politicians to inquire into the ruthless massacres of these much abused people. When they do inquire, facts will come to light that will shock all honest and good people, as they have been shocked to discover what has been permitted and done under the infernal system of slavery.

I agree with most of your views, friend Garrison; but I cannot accept your apology for Gen. Banks's system in Louisiana. Doubtless, there is such a thing as a wise expediency; but I deem no expediency wise which violates principles; and I cannot make the system of things introduced in Louisiana appear to my mind in any other light than a violation of principles. Toussaint resorted to similar expedients in Hayti, and therein I think he made a mistake; but at that time the capacity of the negro and his readiness to work for wages had not been tested and proved as they now are. We have no excuse for half unfettering his soul. Very likely Gen. Banks sincerely thought he was pursuing the wisest policy, under the circumstances; but, apparently, he has never learned that "a straight line is the shortest, in morals as well as in mathematics." People with whom it is not an inborn intuition rarely do learn it. That system in Louisiana is odious to my mind. I regard it as inherently wrong, and, consequently, as a dangerous precedent. The framers of the Constitution of the United States have taught us a lesson to be remembered concerning permitting wrong to be done for a time, with the hope that it will come right in the end.

I have never seen a public document that pleased me so entirely as the President's last Inaugural. I have never seen so much truth, humane sentiment, and religious trust expressed in so few words.

Compare the last Inaugural with the first, and reverently thank God for the wonderful progress that has been made in four years!

Ever respectfully and truly your friend,

L.M.C.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was an ardent abolitionist born in Massachusetts. In this letter written to William Lloyd Garrison and published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard, an abolitionist newspaper, Child feels that now that slaves are freed, they will need protection and advocates and that Anti-Slavery Societies should become Protection Societies. She also feels this protection should be extended to Native Americans. She disagrees with Garrison's views on how the freed slaves were being treated in Louisiana, feeling that General Nathanial Banks' system made the slaves only partially free. The National Anti-Slavery Standard was the American Anti-Slavery Society's official newspaper. It was published from 1840 to 1870.

 

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"Letter from Mrs. L. M. Child" to Friend Garrison published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard newspaper

publisher   National Anti-Slavery Standard
author   Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880)
date   Apr 1, 1865
location   New York, New York
height   9.25"
width   2.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.094


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See Also...

Excerpt "On the Condition of Women in the United States" article from The Liberator newspaper

"Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child and Gov. Wise and Mrs. Mason, of Viriginia"

"Miss Harriet Martineau" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper


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