William Craft to Samuel May, Jr. 17 July 1860
The tempo of British antislavery activity quickened in the years before the Civil War, particularly among Garrisonians living in the London area. William and Ellen Craft were at the center of this renewal. They entertained visiting American abolitionists at their Hammersmith, west London, home, served on the executive board of the London Emancipation Committee ( 1859), and published their narrative ( 1860). In 1861 William Craft became a member of the John Anderson Committee, which supervised the education and lecture tour of the famous Canadian fugitive. On 17 July 1860, William wrote to his Boston antislavery friend Samuel May, Jr., with news of their efforts. Craft also sought a formal arrangement between himself and the American Anti-Slavery Society, realizing, as did many of his astute black colleagues, that, whatever one's individual reputation, reform efforts in Britain were often well served by an American institutional affiliation. Blackett, "Fugitive Slaves in Britain,"53.
12 Cambridge Road
London, [ England]
July 17, 1860
My dear Mr. May
I was much pleased to receive your kind note this morning. But was very sorry to hear that you were so poorly. I hope this will find you better. I often wonder how you A. S. friends in America can ware so well in the midst of such constant excitement & shameful misrepresentation. You could not live under it were your cause not a just one, & you sustained by a great & good God to do his work.
As there are always so many proslavery Americans in this country; also as there are frequently books & newspaper articles being published here to poison & mislead the public--I feel that labours are very much needed to counteract this evil & wicked influence.
I have ever regreted not being able to devote more time to the A. S. cause. But of coures, it was my first duty to provide for my wife & family 1 & to try to obtain a little education. This I have done to some extent. And as I can now arrange my affairs so as not to require any of my attention--I should like very much to devote all my time to the Cause. In fact, I feel it to be my duty to do so. And nothing could give me more pleasure than to work in connection with the A. A. S. Society2 provided I can make it to the Societies [word crossed out] interest to employ my services.