To Gerrit Smith

22 July 1840


[MS in Gerrit Smith Papers, Syracuse University Library]


Oberlin 22nd. July 1840.

Beloved Br. Smith.

I have just recd the "Friend of man

Extra", containing your letter to Br. Blanchard & have

read & heartily approve the sentiments of that letter.

I have from the first taken this ground, & when

the question of a third party in politics was

brought forward at the meeting of the A. A. S.

at Cleveland last fall, I was ready to defend

in substance the resolutions to that effect, but

was obliged to leave before the discussion of

that subject came up. I was not at the meeting

of the State A. S. at Massiolon & one of my

principle reasons for not attending was that

I understood, from report, the ground which the

leading Abolitionists of the state intended

to occupy & was advised that if I went &

advocated my views I should meet with

much opposition. As I am no politician &

love peace, & as I can not consistently enter

the lists of controversy upon the subject, I declined

going. I can not vote for an enemy of God

& man to legislate for any people. Prehaps I

have ered [sic], but hitherto my disgust at the

course which the politics of this nation have

take has prevented my voting altogether.

If a party shall arise who will take consistent


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ground I shall go to the polls, but if not I shall

leave the political aspirants to get votes

as they can.

I am happy to hear that you are about again.

My Br. how is it that we are not acquainted

with each other? I desire exceedingly to see you

& your Dr. Wife & hear what the Lord has done

for your souls. Shall we not have the pleasure

of seeing you at Oberlin this summer or

Autumn? My Wife & self have desired to see

you so much that we have sometimes been

almost pursuaded to make you a short visit.

We should rejoice greatly to see you at our house.

My precious Br. You will not take it amiss

if I touch your elbow & say, "guard your spirit

when your feelings are greatly tried & when you

take your pen to reprove or rebuke a brother".

Your rebuke was merited by Br. Blanchard in

my apprehension, but I almost feared as I read

that Br. Smiths spirit was a little caustic.

Prehaps however I am entirely mistaken in this

respect, if so you will pardon the suggestion as

I am sure it [is]the jealousy of fervant love that

has prompted it.

I have been almost sorry that I did not attend

the meeting at Massilon as perhaps I might have

done more good than by staying away. But I say again

that I am no politician & have for a long time been

too deeply disgusted with the political course of things

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in the U.S. to have any connection whatever

with either of the political parties.


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Addressed: Gerrit Smi[

Peter[ sheet cut away]



Postmarked: OBERLIN O. JUL 22