May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], June 9, [1853], to [Joseph Parrish]


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June 9.

Dear Sir,

Yesterday I sent you a draft on New York for $200. for Peter Still - Today I have received yours of the 7th requesting to have the money sent on. Mr Garrison wrote to me very promptly at Mr Still's request, but it was not convenient for me to send the money until nearly a week after I received the letter -- Mr Hamilton Willis of Boston Masstts - a nephew of mine, is the gentleman who gave bonds for the purchase of poor Thomas Sims, who had been arraigned for assault & battery,

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and some other breaches of the Peace, in the prosecution of their nefarious undertaking. He happened to be at my house a day or two after I received Mr Garrison's letter. I told him Peter Still's story. He was deeply interested in it - and immediately said that he thought he could induce the gentlemen slaveholders whom he had befriended, and who live in Georgia to go and see if they cannot make a bargain with the owner of Uncle Peter's family - that shall be much more favorable than the one now pending. If Sir you do not succeed

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in the application you are now about to make to the owner to take $3000 let me advise you to write immediately to Mr Hamilton Willis - let him know the name of the owner - his place of residence, and the persons, who have hitherto been endeavoring to negotiate for you --

Mr Willis is a very shrewd [skillful] man - one of the principal brokers in Boston - and if he undertakes the negotiation - he will effect it, if any man can.

Yours Respectfully

Sam. J. May

⟨ Please give my best regards to Peter Still- and tell him he is most kindly remembered

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by all my family. I have a little money that I shall send him when I next write. ⟩



May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], June 9, [1853], to [Joseph Parrish]


The Rev. Samuel J. May reports that he has sent Peter Still's 200 dollars, as requested by William Lloyd Garrison and by the recipient, Joseph Parrish, and requests that if the current attempt to offer $3,000 for the freedom of Peter Still's enslaved family fails, then the writer’s nephew Mr. Hamilton Willis of Boston should be contacted, as the latter individual believes that he can obtain a more favorable price for Still’s family through “gentleman slaveholders whom he had befriended, and who live in Georgia.”


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries




public domain


4 p.




May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871, “May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], June 9, [1853], to [Joseph Parrish],” Peter Still Digital Edition, accessed June 22, 2024,

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