A letter from April 1870, written by Samuel May to Richard Davis Webb, mentioning Boston’s celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Samuel May was a white abolitionist and minister from Massachusetts. He worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison and his circle of abolitionists and as an agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society for many years. May’s cousin, Samuel J. May, and Wendell Phillips were also Garrisonian abolitionists. Richard Davis Webb was an Irish journalist and abolitionist.


27 Hollis St. Boston, April 14. [1870]

Dear friend Webb,
I am indeed delinquent in my correspondence, not with you alone, but (I fear) many - certainly, some others. And, even now, I have not the time to explain or apologize, -- of which you will doubtless be glad! To-day the citizens of Boston are celebrating the adoption of the “Fifteenth Amendment” ~ all the colored people of the city + of many neighboring towns also, and a good sprinkling of white folk beside; the day is warm + bright, + all is auspicious. At 3 o’clock. Faneuil Hall will be well filled, maybe packed, + Garrison, + Phillips, + numbers of others, are to speak. S. J. May and I, in this family, are honored with tickets of invitation to platform; and as it is now past 2 o’clock, you will perceive I have small time for writing. But I have no sinister motive in so long a silence, as I’m sure you’ll believe.

We are very sorry to have Deborah leave the country without coming to Boston, or Leicester, again. We comfort ourselves a little with sending you a few books now, and hoping that both you and she will, before long, visit America again.

I had a short note from Mary Erthin[?] yesterday, ~ written with her left hand. She said she had sent to you, some weeks time, a letter I had written to her, concerning Mrs. Robbins’s death mainly, + my father’s illness; -- and, before I had finished which, my dear father himself joined the great company of the departed. -- I was glad she sent it to you; for I quite had you in mind, all the while I was writing it. Now I must say goodbye; -- & with sincere regard

For you always
S. May