Letter from William Lloyd Garrision to Laroy Sutherland
September 8, 1831
I labor under very signal obligations to you for your disclosures, relative to my personal safety. Tehse do not move me from my purpose the breadth of a hair. Desperate wretches exist at the south, no doubt, who would assassinate me for a sixpence. Still, I was aware of this peril when I began my advocacy of African rights. Slaveholders deem me their enemy; but my aim is simply to benefit and save them, and not to injure them. I value their bodies and soul, at a high price, though I abominate their crimes. Moreover, I do not justify the slaves in their rebellion; yet I do not condemn them, and applaud similar conduct in white men. I deny the right of any people to fight for liberty, and so far am a Quaker in principle. Of all men living, however, our slaves have the best reason to assert their rights by violent measures, inasmuch as they are more oppressed than others.
My duty is plain—my path without embarrassment. I shall still continue to expose the criminality and danger of slavery, be the consequences what they may to myself. I hold my life at a cheap rate: I know it is in imminent danger: but if the assassin take it away, the Lord will raise up another and better advocate in my stead.
Again thanking you for your friendly letter, I remain, in haste,
Yours, in the best of bond,
Wm. Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison Papers, Boston Public Library, reprinted in Eric Foner, ed., Nat Turner (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1971), 83.