Letter from Charles Stearns, Boston, [Massachusetts], to William Lloyd Garrison, 1876 Dec[ember] 12th
Charles Stearns writes to William Lloyd Garrison agreeing with his "masterly reply to Mr. [James Freeman] Clark[e]s unjust attack of the Republican party." Stearns discusses the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, claiming that "Republicans unearth all the villany in the party, while the Democrats heaped fresh sods upon every rotten spot as soon as dissolved." He also describes past elections in Georgia, where he says, "It was no more safe for me to attempt to vote the Republican ticket than for my colored friends." While Stearns mentions the violence in past elections, he says that in the 1876 presidential election, "there was no force used .. but everyone who voted our ticket was threatened with loss of employment, & very many were turned out of employment for thus voting." He reports that his mission to the North in 1869 was to tell Northern Republicans of these injustices in the former slave states. Stearns also offers some ways to improve the position of former slaves in the South, and says that Southerners "hate to be condemned in Northern papers as barbarians" and "the details of these outrages published in all the Nothern papers by eye-witnesses would materially aid in defeating the Democratic party in the North." He especially advocates that "Northern men should go South in colonies .. to gradually roll back the wave of vice that spreads the whole Southern country." Stearns also details a society that was formed to send such missions to the South and asks if Garrison will serve "as president of our Society, which we propose calling now the 'National Southern Emancipation Society'." Stearns assures Garrison the position would not require "much extra labor" and already has the "indorsements of a large number of influential men, including the Mass. delegation in Congress in 1873", Henry Wilson, Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Gerrit Smith, and others. Stearns asks that if Garrison cannot accept the position, he send him "a list of names in your opinion suitable for this purpose."
Courtesy of Boston Public Library