This is the sixth and final volume collecting the letters of an outstanding figure in American history. During the years when these letters were written, William Lloyd Garrison was secure, both financially and in his reputation as distinguished abolitionist. Although officially retired, he remained vigorously concerned with issues crucial to him—the relationship of the races, woman suffrage, temperance, national and international affairs, and, above all, his family.
He writes about the Alabama Claims and the proposed annexation of Santo Domingo, aligning himself with the Radical Republicans. His letters support President Grant, despite the charges of corruption that surrounded him, but his public views on Rutherford B. Hayes change from cautious optimism to condemnation. He is saddened by the return to power in the South of the white ruling class, and to the end of his life he is deeply involved with the plight of minority groups in the country.
The center of Garrison’s life was his family, and his correspondence reveals the ways his days passed in association with those nearest to him. There is evidence of friction in the family, but his relationships are warm and loving. His private letters tell of the death of his wife in 1875 and his failing health. He died in 1879, an old reformer still fighting for the rights of humanity.