Nell, William Cooper. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.


Handwritten letter from William Cooper Nell to Amy Kirby Post. Nell writes to Post about recent events in his personal and public life.


January 20, 1854

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(Page 1)

Dear Friend                            Boston Jan 18 ^20th ^ 1854
                Amy Post.
                                              This is a dull morning
and here I am Seated at Mr Wallcutts Desk (his
substitute while indisposed ) and during a temporary
quiet =from Business will pen down a string of items
for my Rochester Friends whose nucleus is at the
  never to be forgotten Home 36 Sophia Street. -
  How I did wished to have been with You at the
Wedding Party of Elias De Garmos Daughters = especially to
have Joined in the Blindmans Buffs with You
Jacob  - Joseph  and the rest = I can fully appreciate
Your testimony to thier [sic] = agility and Wit =
for have I not many a time and oft “ been
a recipient of the blended contributions of
Your two Post Boys = You ought to see me
laugh as my memory recalls many pleasant
hours enjoyed indoors and out with both-
 But I meant to have expressed also my desire to
have seen Rev Antionette Brown= whom I do not
remember Yet to have met = I have always been
Sorry that I did not accompany the Rochester
friends to Henrietta one winter evening when
She lectured on Womans Rights = She was in
  Boston a few days since -= b and called here with
Dr Harriet K. Hunt but I was out =     looking at her
face in the Autographs for Freedom = I seem to recognize
it = and therefore want to maKe myself sure

(Page 2)

a Young man who has been assisting Mr Watkins in selling
Autographs = told me of several who had refused buying
because           Garrison had not contributed-
I confess to a Slight wish that I could have contributed
to the Autographs -= but when reflecting upon the
  the auspices under which it emanates and
  the Mill that most of the Grist is to be
^carried^ An Anti Garrison movement . I am thankful 
to have escaped the temptation-
   I have no doubt that F.D. with J.G S-
  contingent and other Funds will maKe money
by his present position ( and money is
quite an item now a days) but we all Know
  which Side will triumph at last
   Mr Garrison is not satisfied with the last
F.D. paper =  - I presume He is now lecturing
in New- Hampshire = but I hope He will not come
to Boston and Stir up a fresh the elements
of dissatisfaction -   W.j. WatKins is Yet here
selling Autographs  = and occasionally lecturing-
  He had a meeting here weeK before last
and gave a very good lecture on antislavery [sic]
generally =devoting quite a portion in eulogy
of Mr Garrison     = his only reference to Mr
   Douglass was that he (W. J. W.) loved
    Mr Garrison and also loved Mr Douglass
 and that the latter was too Generous
to expect him to swerve from his
  attachments to Mr Garrison V=
But. Watkins has a lesson to learn Yet
which will either bend or straighten
him = = I have many sympathies with
him = and we are good friends =-
He has a good talent for speaking and writing
   and loves the antislavery [sic] cause = Mr Douglass

(Page 3)

Knowing this = has appealed successfully to WatKins
in Cooperation in his Paper V=
   Rush Plumly was here a few days since = we got
talKing about Douglass without ^at first^ either of us Knowing
who we were talKing to = He spoke of You and Isaac
to him and others. I have submitted certain
facts Confidentially which Your letter furnished -
         Wendell Phillips told me he had a pleasant
time at William R Hallowells = and his reasons for
not lecturing on antislavery [sic] = He heard also from
Sallie Holleys lecture letter = mentioning his
invitation to the Tea Circle at Mrs Porters. -
  a number of anti-slavery friends Yesterday got
into a very warm and excited discussion on
Spiritualism = J.N. Buffum. Austin Became Negative
Robert Crosby aff- Incidentals R.F.W   W.C.N  J.C  [Clure?]
Several others were in the office = and Seemed much
interested = those opposed mainly resorted to the
mistakes and impositions as proof against the
truth of Spiritualism-
         Mr Garrison last weeK addressed the Ladies
Benevolent Firm and with H.C . Wright attended thier [sic] Levee
I had the honor of presiding = I love to be in the Pulpit
or on the Rostrum with – Wm Lloyd Garrison-
   The Howard family – buried thier [sic] Father on Wednesday-
I helped Superintend the Funeral = the attendance was
very large =                  On Christmas Eve I
As I was retiring = Smoke in the entry attracted my
notice = I searched all over the House = and finally
found the room opposite mine to be on fire 
I burst open the door = and was suffocated
  almost      before I could enter

(Page 4)

The Woman = inebriated = had set her room on fire
we dragged her into the entry = and had She not
been unconscious = her life would have been Saved
but in 2 hours She breathed her last.
                                    Saturday Eve 6. Oclock
So the Blossom House    was burned this morning -
I hope Morris will be       made whole
I am much obliged to Edmund P. Willis for his
Recipe = were I not now much better  I should give it
a trial == the time will come how ever [sic] for using it
I am glad he is so well = How I would liKe to see
my good friend Sarah L. Hallowell Willis
When are You and Mrs Coleman coming to
Boston = next May perhaps =
I am expecting to be at Salem ^Canttonsville^ on Monday Evening where we are
to have a Dramatic Circle == Lady of Lyons = Annie Woods
Sarah P. Remond  Caroline Putman  = Helen & Adelaide with several from
the families unKnown to You = Little Ira & myself all
participate = I wish You was [sic] to be there-
I recieved [sic] a few days Since a letter from Joseph H.
Putman, Australia = Health no worse than when he
left. Business good -   He gave some very interesting
accounts of the place and the people -
Gilliard ( Helens Beau) is Yet in California =

I hear much talK about my being engaged to this
or that one = but I have not Yet bought the
Wedding Ring Why has John C. Robinson stopped his
                                Wednesday Morning
Liberator.  Present = Joseph Barker Just from Philadelphia
Mr Garrison and others = Sunday = Douglass was in Boston
Friday and attended the Conven antislavery [sic] meeting = some of his
partisans Called him out his name at different times -
in the evening a member of the Society Asked if Mr
Douglass had been refused a hearing = the Chairman
Francis Jackson answered in the negative = Edmund
Quincy expressed surprise at the question when it was presented
              that on thier [sic] platform even slaveholders were admitted

[Text aligned vertically along right side of Page 4]

was a Drummer and I was an old Woman = =


William Cooper Nell, an abolitionist and former slave, is writing from Boston to fellow activist, Amy Post. R.F. Walcutt published an anti-slavery pamphlet containing a speech by Reverend Bleby. Nell refers to the Post family's home at 36 Sophia Street. Jacob and Joseph were two of Post's sons. Reverend Antoinette Brown was a woman's rights activist and the first female minister in the United States. Nell refers to Henrietta, New York- a town near Rochester. Dr. Harriet K. Hunt was one of the first female doctors and she fought against the government's ability to tax women without giving them the right to vote for who represented them. Autographs for Freedom was an anthology of anti-slavery literature. William J. Watkins worked with abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass. William Lloyd Garrison was the editor of the newspaper, the Liberator, and a radical abolitionist.

Nell refers to Douglass's newspaper, the North Star. Nell refers to the recent split in the anti-slavery movement between Douglass and Garrison. Douglass no longer believed that the United States Constitution was pro-slavery- unlike Garrison- he believed it was anti-slavery. Wendell Phillips was an abolitionist. William R. Hallowell was Post's son-in-law, married to her step- daughter Mary. Rush Plumby was a Quaker and an abolitionist. Sallie Holley traveled as an anti-slavery lecturer. The Porters lived in Rochester and were ardent abolitionists and friends of the Posts. J.N. Buffum was a member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

Spiritualists believed that through mediums they could communicate with the dead. The Posts and many of their friends shared this belief. Reverend H. C. Wright was a member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Captain Austin Bearse was a member of the Committee of Vigilance, whose members fought the Fugitive Slave Act. Edmund P. Willis was Post's brother-in-law. Sarah was his wife. Lucy Coleman was an activist. Nell refers to Lady of Lyons, a five act romantic melodrama written in 1838 by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Sarah P. Remond was an activist, and married to abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond. Caroline Putnam was Charles Remond’s sister, who was married to Joseph H. Putnam. Ira was Nell's nephew. Joseph Barker was a British preacher, who lived in the United States for a period of time and joined the abolitionist movement. Francis Jackson was an abolitionist from Boston, who was affiliated with the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Edmund Quincy was also a member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

About the Original Item

Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Internal Identifier
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874
Slavery, abolition, and emancipation
Rochester (New York)
Boston (Mass.)
Letters (Correspondence)
, ,
Post Collection
Item Type:
Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874, “Nell, William Cooper. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 11, 2018,