Wendell Phillips 1811 - 1884
March 17, 2008
Wendell Phillips 1811 - 1884 was an exceptional orator and agitator, advocate and lawyer, writer and debater, Wendell Phillips used these skills to support homeopathy (Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, Volume 12. Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Homeopathy, 1920. Page 1194), women’s, Native American’s, and labor workers’ rights, and most influentially, the abolitionist movement.
Clement John Wilkinson (Clement John Wilkinson, James John Garth Wilkinson; A Memoir of His Life, with a Selection of His Letters, (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co 1911, reprinted by General Books www.general-books.net). Pages 24-26) tells us that James John Garth Wilkinson and his wife Emma did several lecture tours across England in 1848, and records only one misfortune in Sheffield when they were staying with their friend Wendell Phillips. Off on a visit to see James Montgomery (1771-1854) their pony bolted, throwing Garth Wilkinson and Wendell Phillips out of the trap and onto the ground and carrying Emma over 60 yards at full gallop. Clement John says they were all badly bruised and thankful to escape alive.
Wendell Phillips was present when Horace Greeley escorted Anna Manning Comfort to the podium to receive her homeopathic graduation diploma from her aunt Clemence Lozier’s Homeopathic College in the presence of Henry Ward Beecher, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison and Parker Pillsbury.
Her own home was always open to advocates of women’s cause, and in her parlors were held monthly meetings. The most noted reformers of those days were Miss Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Wendell Phillips, Hamilton Wilcox and Mr. and Mrs. Gerritt Smith.
Wendell Phillips was also close to Marie Zakrzewska:
Dr. Zakrzewska moved to Jamaica Plain in 1890 and her Peter Parley Road home became a center of medical discussion, as well as feminist and abolitionist sentiments. William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Karl Heinzen became her close friends.
The American Anti-Slavery Society was founded by and William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of the society and often spoke at its meetings. William Wells Brown was another freed slave who often spoke at meetings. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members.
Famous members included Theodore Dwight Weld, Lewis Tappan, Lydia Child, Maria Weston Chapman, Henry Highland Garnet, Samuel Cornish, James Forten, Charles Lenox Remond, Ellery Channing and Robert Purvis.
Samuel F Tappan was also an ardent abolitionist influenced by Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker and others. Samuel F Tappan wrote for the Boston Atlas and several other newspapers and his association with William Lloyd Garrison ‘marked the appearance of an unprecedented moral crusade for “immediate abolition.”’
Other speakers included Henry David Thoreau, George Bancroft, Horace Greeley, Orestes Brownson, Charles T. Jackson, James Freeman Clarke, Charles Lane, Lucy Stone and Ephraim W. Bull. Moncure Conway also became an abolitionist at this time, also influenced by Wendell Phillips.
Phillips was also active in efforts to gain equal rights for Native Americans, arguing that the 15th Amendment also granted citizenship to Indians. He proposed that the Andrew Johnson administration create a cabinet-level post that would guarantee Indian rights. Phillips helped create the Massachusetts Indian Commission with Indian rights activist Helen Hunt Jackson and Massachusetts governor William Claflin.
Although publicly critical of President Ulysses S. Grant’s drinking, he worked with Grant’s second administration on the appointment of Indian agents. Phillips lobbied against military involvement in the settling of Native American problems on the Western frontier. He accused General Philip Sheridan of pursuing a policy of Indian extermination.
Public opinion turned against Native American advocates after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in July 1876, but Phillips continued to support the land claims of the Lakota (Sioux). During the 1870s, Phillips arranged public forums for reformer Alfred B. Meacham and Indians affected by the country’s ”Indian removal” policy, including the Ponca chief, Standing Bear, and the Omaha writer and speaker, Susette LaFlesche Tibbles.
Wendell Phillips was a member of the Transcendental Club, and corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Wendell Phillips lectured at the Boston Lyceum alongside Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, George Bancroft, Theodore Parker, Orestes Brownson, Charles Thomas Jackson, James Freeman Clarke, Charles Lane, and Ephraim W. Bull.
Wendell Phillip’s correspondence made its way into the Garrison family archives:
The fourth subseries, Friends and associates, consists of the same type of materials as subseries three with the addition of published writings and memorabilia.
This subseries contains information on many noted people. Although most of the material included here concerns friends of the Garrisons and William Lloyd Garrison, there is also information about others that that the family collected. They include Susan B. Anthony; Alice Stone Blackwell (homeopath and daughter of Lucy Stone); Josephine Elizabeth Butler; Frederick Douglass; Henry George; Thomas Wentworth Higginson; Harriet Martineau; Lucy McKim Garrison, the May and Pankhurst families; Theodore Parker; Wendell Phillips; Parker Pillsbury; Joseph Lindon Smith (including drawings and sketches); Harriet Tubman; Booker T. Washington; Theodore Dwight Weld; and Marie Zakrzewska.