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 the Boston abolitionist movement.


October 9, 1852

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(Page 1)

Please say to Mrs Douglass that I. fulfilled my promise
to her by calling upon the Rodman Girls in Lynn
       they were pleased to make many friendly enquiries
Saturday 4. P.M.             Boston October 9. 1852
at the antislavery [sic] office            Tuesday 12th
                                                        This Evening I am invited
                                                            to Mr Mays Father =
                                                           Mr. Bishop an English
                                                                abolitionist will be
Esteemed Friend Amy Post -
                                                   I. feel moved to
pen thee a few lines hoping they will be
acKnowledged in time for my reading before
I leave here for 36 Sophia St –
  I have Just Survived a struggle = whether
to go or not to Salem and hear Sallie
Holley tomorrow evening =- but other
engagements prevent my making the last
Salem visit for several days        Yet-
   I had the good luck of meeting her in the

office a day or two since and enjoying some
reminiscenses [sic] of Rochester-

I have Just been helping Friends Garrison
and Walcutt. fit out a Fugitive Slave
Just from Virginia = his narration of
Scenes in the Dismal swamp and
his own experience =-toils and privations were
very affecting -    his was no fancy.
SKetch =
      A. few days since I had a
conversation with Deborah Weston at the
office = She seemed pleased to hear of the
anti slavery [sic] women of Rochester and hoped
they will not be discouraged in well

(Page 2)

doing =even though thier [sic] highest hopes
might not be realised = every effort of
thiers [sic] was most gratefully appreciated by
the Ladies of the Boston Bazaar
   She feels quite hopeful of the cause
in England = despite the wire pulling of
disaffected = and sectarian enemies—

When I. was last at Salem I enjoyed a
pleasant hour with Eliza J. Kenny
She wished me to tell Amy Post
how much She remembered of her
sojourn at Rochester and the choice
circle of antislavery [sic] friends and how
highly she valued Your friendship
and how much She loved You. –
   She has learned that Miss Vinegar
who was with her from        Syracuse has
got married (I don't blame her for wishing
to change her             original name.)

Miss Kenny is Yet a talking medium –
her Sister is also a writing medium

                                     Monday Oct 11th
Last Saturday by invitation of John M. Spear
I attended a spiritual sitting at his
house 2 there were present but 4 besides
him and myself - at 3. oclock Mr Spear
entered and       soon after taking his
Seat was in a [obliterated] state
apparently like a trance =

(Page 3)

and commenced as had been promised
him preaching a Sermon = purporting
to be from a distinguished Universalist
Clergyman long since deceased
John Murray the Subject was the
                  The Manly One –
It was a gloring tribute to the character
of Jesus = and was a perfect production
of one hours length =     when he awaked
and heard it read by the skillful
reporter present He was but little less
surprised than the rest of us = L.C. Hewett was
there and told me his intention of soon issuing a
paper = devoted to spiritual matters.-

I find myself wonderfully improved in
health and strength. but not Yet
well = I. firmly believe that my daily use
of Cold Water is bringing me up
but this coming winter I suppose will
give me a        shaking =I hope that
I shall not soon have a Second
edition of last Winters –
[obliterated] Chills and Coughs-

There are a hundred questions that
 I want to ask you about the inmates of
36 Sophia St. and the association of
friends = whose countenances are so
often greeted there = but I have not
the room on this sheet and moreover

(Page 4)

am now hoping to visit
Rochester before this month closes
when I shall be privileged to see and
hear for myself
aside from some matters of business
detaining me = Louisa is anxiously waiting
to hear from Frank = which will decide
her leaving here = these matters fixed I shall
Wend my way = I rely on Your promotion
of my independent lecturing tour.
These two last Sundays I have heard
Theodore Parker =in the spacious Melodeon
he soon removes to a new and larger Building
the Musical Hall = I shall have much to
tell You of radicalism here in Boston
This evening I attend a meeting of Colored Free
Soilers == stirring times here among them.
a friend of mine has Just returned from
New York he met Gilliard there and learned that
he soon expects to leave for Australia –
Helen must be patient = should he conclude to
leave on a golden mission
Mrs. Garrison with her Youngest Boy is now
seated here waiting for the Husband and Father
from the printing office-

Please distribute my love to every member of the
Household = I am very eager to see You and
all once more =    I have obtained the Book
requested = Worcester Womans Convention = and the
Pamphlets also for my Friend Wm. R. Hallowell
If you send me a line soon I will recieve [sic] it before leaving

[Text written horitzontally along right margin Page 4]

I am Sincerely Yours Wm C. Nell


William Cooper Nell, an abolitionist and former slave, is writing from Boston to fellow activist, Amy Post.

Anna Murray Douglass was the wife of abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass. Mr. May's father could refer to Samuel J. May’s father, Colonel Joseph May. Nell refers to the Post family home at 36 Sophia Street, in Rochester.

Sallie Holley traveled as an anti-slavery lecturer with fellow activist leaders: Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Sarah Remond, and members of the American Anti-Slavery Society. William Lloyd Garrison was a radical abolitionist and the editor of the Liberator. R. F. Walcutt was an abolitionist and published anti-slavery pamphlets.

Deborah Weston was one of the founding members of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. Nell refers to the growing Spiritualist movement, whose followers believed that through mediums they could communicate with the dead. John M. Spear was an American Spiritualist clergyman and abolitionist.

Louisa was Nell's sister. Frank refers to another of Nell's sisters- Frances. Theodore Parker was an abolitionist and an American Transcendentalist and a reform minister of the Unitarian Church. The Colored Free Soilers were a faction within the Free Soil Party. Their supporters opposed the expansion of slavery into the Western territories. Helen Eliza Benson Garrison was married to William Lloyd Garrison.

Nell refers to the first national woman's suffrage convention, held in 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts. William R. Hallowell was married to Mary Hallowell- Post's step-daughter.


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,