William G. Allen to William Lloyd Garrison 20 June 1853
Black professor William G. Allen and his wife, Mary G. King Allen, were driven from the United States by opposition to their interracial marriage. They sailed from Boston for Liverpool on 9 April 1853 aboard the Daniel Webster. After establishing a residence in London, Allen began preparing antislavery lectures and writing The American Prejudice against Colour about the incidents surrounding his marriage. Allen responded to his first months in British society in a 20 June 1853 letter to William Lloyd Garrison. Allen shared an enthusiasm with other black American visitors, who were struck by the contrasting societies they found in Britain and America. Blackett, "William G. Allen," 46-47; William G. Allen to Gerrit Smith, 9 April 1853, Gerrit Smith Papers, NSYU [8:0204]; Sarah Pugh to Mary [A. Estlin], 25 June 1853, John B. and Mary A. Estlin Papers, UKLW; ASA, 1 July 1853; PtL, 8 August 1853 [ 8:0395].
26 Swinton Street LONDON, Eng[land] June 20, 1853
W[ILLIA]M LLOYD GARRISON, Esq.
I 1 cannot resist the temptation to address you a few lines; if for no other purpose, certainly to thank you for the very kind letter which I found at Joseph Sturge's. That letter was an introduction to one of the dearest men ( GEORGE THOMPSON) with whom it has ever been my lot to become acquainted. We have visited Mr. Thompson several times, and though I had heard him on the platform, and was filled (as who has not been?) with admiration of his genius and efforts in behalf of the oppressed of both hemispheres, yet it was not until I had enjoyed his home circle that I had full appreciation of the loftiness of his character, as it is evinced in his child-like simplicity. Mr. Thompson is hardly less eloquent in conversation than in public speaking, and one cannot leave his house, after spending a day or an evening with him, without feeling himself invigorated in mind and heart, and in better love with whatsoever things are beautiful and true.
"Old England" is a wonderful country. There is grandeur in the looks of it. There is poetry, too--the ride from Liverpool to London taking one through a region of country all the way blossoming as the rose. The English people, too--I am in love with them. There is nobility in their hearts and dignity in their bearing. They have also a quiet repose of