The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

72.
William P. Powell to Maria Weston Chapman 10 December 1858

William P. Powell was one of the few black antislavery lecturers who failed to observe at least the semblance of ideological neutrality in the debate between Garrisonian and non-Garrisonian groups in Britain. Powell was an invaluable agent in the development of Anglo-American Garrisonianism. He successfully promoted British contributions to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar and the National Anti-Slavery Subscription Anniversary, two primary sources of revenue for the American Anti- Slavery Society. Powell's 10 December 1858 note to Maria Weston Chapman, president of the Subscription Anniversary (the international Garrisonian fund-raising mechanism that replaced the bazaar in 1858) discusses some of his activities as a Liverpool agent for the subscription. His letter to Chapman also reveals that eight years of self-imposed exile abroad had left unchallenged the purity of his commitment to Garrisonian antislavery tactics and philosophy. ASA, February, April, July 1858, March 1859; Merrill and Ruchames, Letters of William Lloyd Garrison, 1: 591-92n.; Pease and Pease, They Who Would Be Free, 286-87.

LIVERPOOL, [ England] Dec[ember] 10, 1858

To The President of the National Anti-Slavery Subscription Anniversary Boston, Massachusetts

If there is one thing that encourages and strengthens us, in our ceaseless demands for the unconditional emancipation of the slave, more than another, it is the fidelity of the American Anti-Slavery Society and its friends. They have always religiously and faithfully resisted the damnable heresies of the so-called American Christian Church, which teaches that the Bible and its Divine Author sanction negro slavery. Therefore we deny the stereotyped imputation that the Garrisonian Abolitionists are Infidels and Atheists. Who, then, we ask, are the Infidels and Atheists, if not the American Evangelical Church and false prophets who, like Balaam, 1 are hired by the American Baals2 to curse, reduce and hold God's poor in worse than Egyptian bondage? In our humble opinion, after thirty years of anti-slavery experience, we have proved to the world that the cause of vital Christianity and humanity is indebted to that noble band of men and women for their unswerving devotion to the truths contained in that blessed book.

Courage, friends! We have driven the enemy from one post of defence

-433-

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