Garrison and Voting

August 4, 1843

Here is reference to Alvan Stewart’s advice that abolitionists not attend the many conventions which have been publicized.  He is “attached” to the Liberty Party, and the AAS Society, which sponsors the conventions, recognizes no such party.  Stewart, in particular attacks the ‘Massachusetts abolitionists’, charging that they are ‘No Human-Government Men’.    Then there follows an extract from Stewart’s letter:  “Last November, I told William Lloyd Garrison, in my own house, that he and his friends had no remedy for slavery except the one that I have just stated  — a sort of universal millennium. He admitted it.  He said that he, ‘would not petition or vote for the slave’s deliverance, if he knew that would accomplish it.’

‘Why’, said I.

‘Because that would be using our corrupt human government.’……He further said , he had no doubt, the time would come when voting would be regarded as infamous, and the same as visiting the gambling-table or the brothel….”

There is a printed response from Abby Kelley, in which she calls attention to the huge number of petitions recently filed in the state legislature by abolitionists in the state, and fundamentally says that Stewart’s complaint is only that they do not support the Liberty Party, or his candidacy.