• Important New England Abolitionist Parker Pillsbury Wrote of His Memoir Acts Of the Anti-Slavery Apostles, Henry Wright

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    PARKER PILLSBURY (September 22, 1809 – July 7, 1898) was an American minister, an abolitionist and an advocate for women’s rights.  He studied at Gilmanton Theological Seminary in 1835, graduated in 1839, and studied an additional year at Andover. His work in the ministry suffered after he made sharp attacks on churches’ complicity with slavery. His Congregational license to preach was revoked in 1840.  Pillsbury later became active in the ecumenical Free Religious Association and preached to its societies in New York, Ohio and Michigan. Pillsbury’s distain for slavery led him to write and lecture for the abolitionist movement and other progressive social reform issues.  He edited the Concord (NH) Herald of Freedom and served as an emissary for the American Anti-Slavery Society to Great Britain. Pillsbury earned a reputation for dealing with hostile crowds through non-resistance tactics. He didn’t support the Union war effort but applauded Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and defended the actions of John Brown after the Harpers Ferry raid. Pillsbury helped draft the constitution of the feminist American Equal Rights Association in 1865 and served as vice-president of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association.  He served as co-editor of the women’s rights newsletter, The Revolution, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

    Pillsbury completed his abolition memoirs, Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles, in 1883, and references them along with his radical abolitionist friend HENRY C. WRIGHT in one of the two ALSs to his friend Price.  WRIGHT (August 29, 1797 – August 16, 1870) was an abolitionist, pacifist, anarchist and feminist. Wright argued for the arming of slaves and was in complete support of John Brown.

    Offering two ALSs, 4 pp total, 8 x 10 and 8 x 10 1/2, from Pillsbury to a friend, Concord, NH, September 11, 1890. “Many thanks for your letter and the Mt. Union situation. Together they bring the information wanted. The College Monthly is certainly quite credible to the Institution. The Catalogues too are capitally well gotten up and make me wish I had taken time at my last visit to Mrs. Walton to visit the establishment. No other such opportunity may ever be offered. Certainly none such will be so mission proved.

    “Let me assure you I never explored a College in all my long life. Not in either hemisphere. The most college I ever got or saw you will find reported at pages 204 to 217 of Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles.

    “I thank you too for your mention of and proposal about the books of my glorious old friends and Mrs. Walton’s friend, also, Henry C. Wright.

    “She once kindly offered me the Belknap History; and if she is still willing to so dispose of it, certainly it would gratify me highly to become the custodian. And I would certainly also try to make such final use of it as would be satisfactory to both her and our mutual friend Henry C. Wright...”

    Nov.  10, 1893.  “...I am glad to [know] that my printed discourse gave some satisfaction. It would please me to have you point out the parts or passages which did not meet your full approval. For I certainly know no reason why your own views are not quite as likely to be true and right as mine....Criticisms from such as you are always joyfully received and carefully considered and gladly accepted too if found to be sound and fresh.  Your word about Mrs. Walton startled and saddened me not a little. I have known her well about half a century...”

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