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Title: William Lloyd Garrison - The Abolitionist
Author: Grimké, Archibald Henry, 1849-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "William Lloyd Garrison - The Abolitionist" ***

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[Illustration: Wm. Lloyd Garrison]




Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Grimké, Archibald Henry, 1849-1930.

William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist.

Reprint of the 1891 ed. published by Funk & Wagnalls, New York.

1. Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.

Reprinted from the edition of 1891, New York First AMS edition published
in 1974

_To Mrs. Anna M. Day, who has been a mother to my little girl, and a
sister to me, this book is gratefully and affectionately dedicated, by_

_The Author_.


The author of this volume desires by way of preface to say just two
things:--firstly, that it is his earnest hope that this record of a hero
may be an aid to brave and true living in the Republic, so that the
problems knocking at its door for solution may find the heads, the
hands, and the hearts equal to the performance of the duties imposed by
them upon the men and women of this generation. William Lloyd Garrison
was brave and true. Bravery and truth were the secret of his marvelous
career and achievements. May his countrymen and countrywomen imitate his
example and be brave and true, not alone in emergent moments, but in
everyday things as well.

So much for the author's firstly, now for his secondly, which is to
acknowledge his large indebtedness in the preparation of this book to
that storehouse of anti-slavery material, the story of the life of
William Lloyd Garrison by his children. Out of its garnered riches he
has filled his sack.

HYDE PARK, MASS., May 10, 1891.


Dedication                                          III

Preface                                               V


The Father of the Man                                11


The Man Hears a Voice: Samuel, Samuel!               38


The Man Begins his Ministry                          69


The Hour and the Man                                 92


The Day of Small Things                             110


The Heavy World is Moved                            118


Master Strokes                                      133


Colorphobia                                         157


Agitation and Repression                            170


Between the Acts                                    192


Mischief Let Loose                                  208


Flotsam and Jetsam                                  233


The Barometer Continues to Fall                     242


Brotherly Love Fails, and Ideas Abound              263


Random Shots                                        292


The Pioneer Makes a New and Startling Departure     306


As in a Looking Glass                               319


The Turning of a Long Lane                          335


Face to Face                                        356


The Death-Grapple                                   370


The Last                                            385

Index                                               397




William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, December
10, 1805. Forty years before, Daniel Palmer, his great-grandfather,
emigrated from Massachusetts and settled with three sons and a daughter
on the St. John River, in Nova Scotia. The daughter's name was Mary, and
it was she who was to be the future grandmother of our hero. One of the
neighbors of Daniel Palmer was Joseph Garrison, who was probably an
Englishman. He was certainly a bachelor. The Acadian solitude of five
hundred acres and Mary Palmer's charms proved too much for the
susceptible heart of Joseph Garrison. He wooed and won her, and on his
thirtieth birthday she became his wife. The bride herself was but
twenty-three, a woman of resources and of presence of mind, as she
needed to be in that primitive settlement. Children and cares came apace
to the young wife, and we may be sure confined her more and more closely
to her house. But in the midst of a fast-increasing family and of
multiplying cares a day's outing did occasionally come to the busy
housewife, when she would go down the river to spend it at her father's
farm. Once, ten years after her marriage, she had a narrow escape on one
of those rare days. She had started in a boat with her youngest child,
Abijah, and a lad who worked in her household. It was spring and the St.
John was not yet clear of ice. Higher up the river the ice broke that
morning and came floating down with the current. The boat in which Mary
Garrison and her baby rode was overtaken by the fragments and wrecked.
The mother with her child sought refuge on a piece of ice and was driven
shoreward. Wrapping Abijah in all the clothes she could spare she threw
him ashore. She and the lad followed by the aid of an overhanging willow
bough. The baby was unharmed, for she had thrown him into a snow-bank.
But the perils of the river gave place to the perils of the woods. In
them Mary Garrison wandered with her infant, who was no less a personage
than the father of William Lloyd Garrison, until at length she found the
hut of a friendly Indian, who took her in and "entertained her with his
best words and deeds, and the next morning conducted her safely to her

The Palmers were a hardy, liberty-loving race of farmers, and Joseph
Garrison was a man of unusual force and independence of character. The
life which these early settlers lived was a life lived partly on the
land and partly on the river. They were equally at home with scythe or
oar. Amid such terraqueous conditions it was natural enough that the
children should develop a passion for the sea. Like ducks many of them
took to the water and became sailors. Abijah was a sailor. The
amphibious habits of boyhood gave to his manhood a restless, roving
character. Like the element which he loved he was in constant motion. He
was a man of gifts both of mind and body. There was besides a strain of
romance and adventure in his blood. By nature and his seafaring life he
probably craved strong excitement. This craving was in part appeased no
doubt by travel and drink. He took to the sea and he took to the cup.
But he was more than a creature of appetites, he was a man of sentiment.
Being a man of sentiment what should he do but fall in love. The woman
who inspired his love was no ordinary woman, but a genuine Acadian
beauty. She was a splendid specimen of womankind. Tall she was, graceful
and admirably proportioned. Never before had Abijah in all his
wanderings seen a creature of such charms of person. Her face matched
the attractions of her form and her mind matched the beauty of her face.
She possessed a nature almost Puritanic in its abhorrence of sin, and in
the strength of its moral convictions. She feared to do wrong more than
she feared any man. With this supremacy of the moral sense there went
along singular firmness of purpose and independence of character. When a
mere slip of a girl she was called upon to choose between regard for her
religious convictions and regard for her family. It happened in this
wise. Fanny Lloyd's parents were Episcopalians, who were inclined to
view with contempt fellow-Christians of the Baptist persuasion. To have
a child of theirs identify herself with this despised sect was one of
those crosses which they could not and would not bear. But Fanny had in
a fit of girlish frolic entered one of the meetings of these low-caste
Christians. What she heard changed the current of her life. She knew
thenceforth that God was no respecter of persons, and that the crucified
Nazarene looked not upon the splendor of ceremonies but upon the
thoughts of the heart of His disciples. Here in a barn, amid vulgar
folk, and uncouth, dim surroundings, He had appeared, He, her Lord and
Master. He had touched her with that white unspeakable appeal. The
laughter died upon the fair girlish face and prayer issued from the
beautiful lips. If vulgar folk, the despised Baptists, were good enough
for the Christ, were they not good enough for her? Among them she had
felt His consecrating touch and among them she determined to devote
herself to Him. Her parents commanded and threatened but Fanny Lloyd was
bent on obeying the heavenly voice of duty rather than father and
mother. They had threatened that if she allowed herself to be baptised
they would turn her out of doors. Fanny was baptised and her parents
made good the threat. Their home was no longer her home. She had the
courage of her conviction--ability to suffer for a belief.

Such was the woman who subsequently became the wife of Abijah Garrison,
and the mother of one of the greatest moral heroes of the century.
Abijah followed the sea, and she for several years with an increasing
family followed Abijah. First from one place and then another she glided
after him in her early married life. He loved her and his little ones
but the love of travel and change was strong within him. He was ever
restless and changeful. During one of his roving fits he emigrated with
his family from Nova Scotia to the United States. It was in the spring
of 1805 that he and they landed in Newburyport. The following December
his wife presented him with a boy, whom they called William Lloyd
Garrison. Three years afterward Abijah deserted his wife and children.
Of the causes which led to this act nothing is now known. Soon after his
arrival in Newburyport he had found employment. He made several voyages
as sailing-master in 1805-8 from that port. He was apparently during
these years successful after the manner of his craft. But he was not a
man to remain long in one place. What was the immediate occasion of his
strange behavior we can only conjecture. Possibly an increasing love for
liquor had led to domestic differences, which his pleasure-loving nature
would not brook. Certain it was that he was not like his wife. He was
not a man in whom the moral sense was uppermost. He was governed by
impulse and she by fixed moral and religious principles. He drank and
she abhorred the habit. She tried first moral suasion to induce him to
abandon the habit, and once, in a moment of wifely and motherly
indignation, she broke up one of his drinking parties in her house by
trying the efficacy of a little physical suasion. She turned the company
out of doors and smashed the bottles of liquor. This was not the kind of
woman whom Abijah cared to live with as a wife. He was not the sort of
man whom the most romantic love could attach to the apron-strings of any
woman. And in the matter of his cup he probably saw that this was what
he would be obliged to do as the condition of domestic peace. The
condition he rejected and, rejecting it, rejected and cast-off his wife
and family and the legal and moral responsibilities of husband and

Bitter days now followed and Fanny Garrison became acquainted with grief
and want. She had the mouths of three children to fill--the youngest an
infant at her breast. The battle of this broken-hearted woman for their
daily bread was as heroic as it was pathetic. She still lived in the
little house on School street where Lloyd was born. The owner, Martha
Farnham, proved herself a friend indeed to the poor harassed soul. Now
she kept the wolf from the door by going out as a monthly nurse--"Aunt
Farnham" looking after the little ones in her absence. She was put to
all her possibles during those anxious years of struggle and want. Even
Lloyd, wee bit of a boy, was pressed into the service. She would make
molasses candies and send him upon the streets to sell them. But with
all her industry and resource what could she do with three children
weighing her down in the fierce struggle for existence, rendered tenfold
fiercer after the industrial crisis preceding and following the War of
1812. Then it was that she was forced to supplement her scant earnings
with refuse food from the table of "a certain mansion on State street."
It was Lloyd who went for this food, and it was he who had to run the
gauntlet of mischievous and inquisitive children whom he met and who
longed for a peep into his tin pail. But the future apostle of
non-resistance was intensely resistant, we may be sure, on such
occasions. For, as his children have said in the story of his life:
"Lloyd was a thorough boy, fond of games and of all boyish sport.
Barefooted, he trundled his hoop all over Newburyport; he swam in the
Merrimac in summer, and skated on it in winter; he was good at sculling
a boat; he played at bat and ball and snowball, and sometimes led the
'Southend boys' against the Northenders in the numerous conflicts
between the youngsters of the two sections; he was expert with marbles.
Once, with a playmate, he swam across the river to 'Great Rock,' a
distance of three-fourths of a mile and effected his return against the
tide; and once, in winter, he nearly lost his life by breaking through
the ice on the river and reached the shore only after a desperate
struggle, the ice yielding as often as he attempted to climb upon its
surface. It was favorite pastime of the boys of that day to swim from
one wharf to another adjacent, where vessels from the West Indies
discharged their freight of molasses, and there to indulge in stolen
sweetness, extracted by a smooth stick inserted through the bung-hole.
When detected and chased, they would plunge into the water and escape to
the wharf on which they had left their clothes." Such was the little man
with a boy's irrepressible passion for frolic and fun. His passion for
music was hardly less pronounced, and this he inherited from his mother,
and exercised to his heart's content in the choir of the Baptist Church.
These were the bright lines and spots in his strenuous young life. He
played and sang the gathering brood of cares out of his own and his
mother's heart. He needed to play and he needed to sing to charm away
from his spirit the vulture of poverty. That evil bird hovered ever over
his childhood. It was able to do many hard things to him, break up his
home, sunder him from his mother, force him at a tender age to earn his
bread, still there was another bird in the boy's heart, which sang out
of it the shadow and into it the sunshine. Whatever was his lot there
sang the bird within his breast, and there shone the sun over his head
and into his soul. The boy had unconsciously drawn around him a circle
of sunbeams, and how could the vulture of poverty strike him with its
wings or stab him with its beak. When he was about eight he was parted
from his mother, she going to Lynn, and he, wee mite of a man, remaining
in Newburyport. It was during the War of 1812, and pinching times, when
Fanny Garrison was at her wit's end to keep the wolf from devouring her
three little ones and herself into the bargain. With what tearing of the
heart-strings she left Lloyd and his little sister Elizabeth behind we
can now only imagine. She had no choice, poor soul, for unless she
toiled they would starve. So with James, her eldest son, she went forth
into the world to better theirs and her own condition. Lloyd went to
live in Deacon Ezekiel Bartlett's family. They were good to the little
fellow, but they, too, were poor. The Deacon, among other things, sawed
wood for a living, and Lloyd hardly turned eight years, followed him in
his peregrinations from house to house doing with his tiny hands what he
could to help the kind old man. Soon Fanny Lloyd's health, which had
supported her as a magic staff in all those bitter years since Abijah's
desertion of wife and children, began in the battle for bread in Lynn,
to fail her. And so, in her weakness, and with a great fear in her heart
for her babies, when she was gone from them into the dark unknown
forever, she bethought her of making them as fast as possible
self-supporting. And what better way was there than to have the boys
learn some trade. James she had already apprenticed to learn the mystery
of shoemaking. And for Lloyd she now sent and apprenticed him, too, to
the same trade. Oh! but it was hard for the little man, the heavy
lapstone and all this thumping and pounding to make a shoe. Oh! how the
stiff waxen threads cut into his soft fingers, how all his body ached
with the constrained position and the rough work of shoemaking. But one
day the little nine-year-old, who was "not much bigger than a last," was
able to produce a real shoe. Then it was probably that a dawning
consciousness of power awoke within the child's mind. He himself by
patience and industry had created a something where before was nothing.
The eye of the boy got for the first time a glimpse of the man, who was
still afar off, shadowy in the dim approaches of the hereafter. But the
work proved altogether beyond the strength of the boy. The shoemaker's
bench was not his place, and the making of shoes for his kind was not
the mission for which he was sent into the world. And now again poverty,
the great scene-shifter, steps upon the stage, and Fanny Lloyd and her
two boys are in Baltimore on that never-ending quest for bread. She had
gone to work in a shoe factory established by an enterprising Yankee in
that city. The work lasted but a few months, when the proprietor failed
and the factory was closed. In a strange city mother and children were
left without employment. In her anxiety and distress a new trouble, the
greatest and most poignant since Abijah's desertion, wrung her with a
supreme grief. James, the light and pride of her life, had run away from
his master and gone to sea. Lloyd, poor little homesick Lloyd, was the
only consolation left the broken heart. And he did not want to live in
Baltimore, and longed to return to Newburyport. So, mindful of her
child's happiness, and all unmindful of her own, she sent him from her
to Newburyport, which he loved inexpressibly. He was now in his eleventh
year. Very happy he was to see once more the streets and landmarks of
the old town--the river, and the old house where he was born, and the
church next door and the school-house across the way and the dear
friends whom he loved and who loved him. He went again to live with the
Bartletts, doing with his might all that he could to earn his daily
bread, and to repay the kindness of the dear old deacon and his family.
It was at this time that he received his last scrap of schooling. He
was, as we have seen, but eleven, but precious little of that brief and
tender time had he been able to spend in a school-house. He had gone to
the primary school, where, as his children tell us, he did not show
himself "an apt scholar, being slow in mastering the alphabet, and
surpassed even by his little sister Elizabeth." During his stay with
Deacon Bartlett the first time, he was sent three months to the
grammar-school, and now on his return to this good friend, a few more
weeks were added to his scant school term. They proved the last of his
school-days, and the boy went forth from the little brick building on
the Mall to finish his education in the great workaday world, under
those stern old masters, poverty and experience. By and by Lloyd was a
second time apprenticed to learn a trade. It was to a cabinetmaker in
Haverhill, Mass. He made good progress in the craft, but his young heart
still turned to Newburyport and yearned for the friends left there. He
bore up against the homesickness as best he could, and when he could
bear it no longer, resolved to run away from the making of toy bureaus,
to be once more with the Bartletts. He had partly executed this
resolution, being several miles on the road to his old home, when his
master, the cabinetmaker, caught up to him and returned him to
Haverhill. But when he heard the little fellow's story of homesickness
and yearning for loved places and faces, he was not angry with him, but
did presently release him from his apprenticeship. And so the boy to his
great joy found himself again in Newburyport and with the good old
wood-sawyer. Poverty and experience were teaching the child what he
never could have learned in a grammar-school, a certain acquaintance
with himself and the world around him. There was growing within his
breast a self-care and a self-reliance. It was the autumn of 1818, when,
so to speak, the boy's primary education in the school of experience
terminated, and he entered on the second stage of his training under the
same rough tutelage. At the age of thirteen he entered the office of the
Newburyport _Herald_ to learn to set types. At last his boy's hands had
found work which his boy's heart did joy to have done. He soon mastered
the compositor's art, became a remarkably rapid composer. As he set up
the thoughts of others, he was not slow in discovering thoughts of his
own demanding utterance. The printer's apprentice felt the stirrings of
a new life. A passion for self-improvement took possession of him. He
began to read the English classics, study American history, follow the
currents of party politics. No longer could it be said of him that he
was not an apt pupil. He was indeed singularly apt. His intelligence
quickened marvelously. The maturing process was sudden and swift. Almost
before one knows it the boy in years has become a man in judgment and
character. This precipitate development of the intellectual life in him,
produced naturally enough an appreciable enlargement of the _ego_. The
young eagle had abruptly awakened to the knowledge that he possessed
wings; and wings were for use--to soar with. Ambition, the desire to
mount aloft, touched and fired the boy's mind. As he read, studied, and
observed, while his hands were busy with his work, there was a constant
fluttering going on in the eyrie of his thoughts. By an instinct
analogous to that which sends a duck to the water, the boy took to the
discussion of public questions. It was as if an innate force was
directing him toward his mission--the reformation of great public
wrongs. At sixteen he made his first contribution to the press. It was a
discussion of a quasi-social subject, the relation of the sexes in
society. He was at the impressionable age, when the rosy god of love is
at his tricks. He was also at a stage of development, when boys are
least attractive, when they are disagreeably virile, full of their own
importance and the superiority of their sex. In the "Breach of the
Marriage Promise," by "An Old Bachelor," these signs of adolescence are
by no means wanting, they are, on the contrary, distinctly present and
palpable. But there were other signs besides these, signs that the youth
had had his eyes wide open to certain difficulties which beset the
matrimonial state and to the conventional steps which lead to it, and
that he had thought quite soberly, if not altogether wisely upon them.
The writer was verdant, to be sure, and self-conscious, and partial in
his view of the relations of the sexes, but there was withal a serious
purpose in the writing. He meant to expose and correct what he conceived
to be reprehensible conduct on the part of the gentler sex, bad feminine
manners. Just now he sees the man's side of the shield, a few years
later he will see the woman's side also. He ungallantly concludes "to
lead the '_single life_,' and not," as he puts it, "trouble myself about
the ladies." A most sapient conclusion, considering that this veteran
misogynist was but sixteen years old. During the year following the
publication of this article, he plied his pen with no little
industry--producing in all fifteen articles on a variety of topics, such
as "South American Affairs," "State Politics," "A Glance at Europe,"
etc., all of which are interesting now chiefly as showing the range of
his growing intelligence, and as the earliest steps by which he acquired
his later mastery of the pen and powerful style of composition. In a
letter addressed to his mother about this time, the boy is full of
Lloyd, undisguisedly proud of Lloyd, believes in Lloyd. "When I peruse
them over" (_i.e._ those fifteen communications to the press), "I feel
absolutely astonished," he naïvely confesses, "at the different subjects
which I have discussed, and the style in which they are written. Indeed
it is altogether a matter of surprise that I have met with such signal
success, seeing I do not understand _one single rule of grammar_, and
having a very inferior education." The printer's lad was plainly not
lacking in the bump of approbativeness, or the quality of
self-assertiveness. The quick mother instinct of Fanny Garrison took
alarm at the tone of her boy's letter. Possibly there was something in
Lloyd's florid sentences, in his facility of expression, which reminded
her of Abijah. He, too, poor fellow, had had gifts in the use of the
pen, and what had he done, what had he come to? Had he not forsaken wife
and children by first forsaking the path of holiness? So she pricks the
boy's bubble, and points him to the one thing needful--God in the soul.
But in her closing words she betrays what we all along suspected, her
own secret pleasure in her son's success, when she asks, "Will you be so
kind as to bring on your pieces that you have written for me to see?"
Ah! was she not every inch a mother, and how Lloyd did love her. But she
was no longer what she had been. And no wonder, for few women have been
called to endure such heavy burdens, fight so hopelessly the battle for
bread, all the while her heart was breaking with grief. Disease had made
terrible inroads upon her once strong and beautiful person. Not the
shadow of the strength and beauty of her young womanhood remained. She
was far away from her early home and friends, far away from her darling
boy, in Baltimore. James, her pride, was at sea, Elizabeth, a sweet
little maiden of twelve, had left her to take that last voyage beyond
another sea, and Abijah, without one word of farewell, with the silence
of long years unbroken, he, too, also! had hoisted sail and was gone
forever. And now in her loneliness and sorrow, knowing that she, too,
must shortly follow, a great yearning rose up in her poor wounded heart
to see once more her child, the comfort and stay of her bitter life. And
as she had written to him her wish and longing, the boy went to her, saw
the striking change, saw that the broken spirit of the saintly woman was
day by day nearing the margin of the dark hereafter, into whose healing
waters it would bathe and be whole again. The unspeakable experience of
mother and son, during this last meeting is not for you and me, reader,
to look into. Soon after Lloyd's return to Newburyport a cancerous tumor
developed on her shoulder, from the effects of which she died September
3, 1823, at the age of forty-five. More than a decade after her death
her son wrote: "She has been dead almost eleven years; but my grief at
her loss is as fresh and poignant now as it was at that period;" and he
breaks out in praise of her personal charms in the following original

  "She was the masterpiece of womankind--
  In shape and height majestically fine;
  Her cheeks the lily and the rose combined;
  Her lips--more opulently red than wine;
  Her raven locks hung tastefully entwined;
  Her aspect fair as Nature could design;
  And then her eyes! so eloquently bright!
  An eagle would recoil before her light."

The influence of this superb woman was a lasting power for truth and
righteousness in the son's stormy life. For a whole year after her
death, the grief of the printer's lad over his loss, seemed to have
checked the activity of his pen. For during that period nothing of his
appeared in the _Herald_. But after the sharp edge of his sorrow had
worn off, his pen became active again in the discussion of public men
and public questions. It was a period of bitter personal and political
feuds and animosities. The ancient Federal party was _in articulo
mortis_. The death-bed of a great political organization proves
oftentimes the graveyard of lifelong friendships. For it is a scene of
crimination and recrimination. And so it happened that the partisans of
John Adams, and the partisans of John Adams's old Secretary of State,
Timothy Pickering, were in 1824 doing a thriving business in this
particular line. Into this funereal performance our printer's apprentice
entered with pick and spade. He had thus early a _penchant_ for
controversy, a soldier's scent for battle. If there was any fighting
going on he proceeded directly to have a hand in it. And it cannot be
denied that that hand was beginning to deal some manly and sturdy blows,
whose resound was heard quite distinctly beyond the limits of his
birthplace. His communications appeared now, not only in the _Herald_,
but in the Salem _Gazette_ as well. Now it was the Adams-Pickering
controversy, now the discussion of General Jackson as a presidential
candidate, now the state of the country in respect of parties, now the
merits of "American Writers," which afforded his 'prentice hand the
requisite practice in the use of the pen. He had already acquired a
perfect knowledge of typesetting and the mechanical makeup of a
newspaper. During his apprenticeship he took his first lesson in the art
of thinking on his feet in the presence of an audience. The audience to
be sure were the members of a debating club, which he had organized. He
was very ambitious and was doubtless looking forward to a political
career. He saw the value of extempore speech to the man with a future,
and he wisely determined to possess himself of its advantage. He little
dreamt, however, to what great use he was to devote it in later years.
There were other points worth noting at this time, and which seemed to
prophecy for him a future of distinction. He possessed a most attractive
personality. His energy and geniality, his keen sense of humor, his
social and bouyant disposition, even his positive and opinionated
temper, were sources of popular strength to him. People were strongly
drawn to him. His friends were devoted to him. He had that quality,
which we vaguely term magnetic, the quality of attaching others to us,
and maintaining over them the ascendency of our character and ideas.

In the midst of all this progress along so many lines, the days of his
apprenticeship in the _Herald_ office came to an end. He was just
twenty. With true Yankee enterprise and pluck, he proceeded to do for
himself what for seven years he had helped to do for another--publish a
newspaper. And with a brave heart the boy makes his launch on the
uncertain sea of local journalism and becomes editor and publisher of a
real, wide-awake sheet, which he calls the _Free Press._ The paper was
independent in politics and proved worthy of its name during the six
months that Garrison sat in the managerial chair. Here is the tone which
the initial number of the paper holds to the public: "As to the
political course of the _Free Press_, it shall be, in the widest sense
of the term, _independent_. The publisher does not mean by this, to rank
amongst those who are of everybody's and of nobody's opinion; ... nor
one of whom the old French proverb says: _Il ne soit sur quel pied
danser_. [He knows not on which leg to dance.] Its principles shall be
open, magnanimous and free. It shall be subservient to no party or body
of men; and neither the craven fear of loss, nor the threats of the
disappointed, nor the influence of power, shall ever awe one single
opinion into silence. Honest and fair discussion it will court; and its
columns will be open to all temperate and intelligent communications
emanating from whatever political source. In fine we will say with
Cicero: 'Reason shall prevail with him more than popular opinion.' They
who like this avowal may extend their encouragement; and if any feel
dissatisfied with it, they must act accordingly. The publisher cannot
condescend to solicit their support." This was admirable enough in its
way, but it was poor journalism some will say. And without doubt when
judged by the common commercial standard it _was_ poor journalism. In
this view it is a remarkable production, but in another aspect it is
still more remarkable in that it took with absolute accuracy the measure
of the man. As a mental likeness it is simply perfect. At no time during
his later life did the picture cease to be an exact moral representation
of his character. It seems quite unnecessary, therefore, to record that
he proceeded immediately to demonstrate that it was no high sounding and
insincere declaration. For in the second number, he mentions with that
singular serenity, which ever distinguished him on such occasions, the
discontinuance of the paper on account of matter contained in the first
issue, by ten indignant subscribers. "Nevertheless," he adds, "our
happiness at the loss of such subscribers is not a whit abated. We _beg_
no man's patronage, and shall ever erase with the same cheerfulness that
we insert the name of any individual.... Personal or political offence
we shall studiously avoid--truth _never_." Here was plainly a wholly new
species of the _genus homo_ in the editorial seat. What, expect to make
a newspaper pay and not beg for patronage? Why the very idea was enough
to make newspaperdom go to pieces with laughter. Begging for patronage,
howling for subscribers, cringing, crawling, changing color like the
chameleon, howling for Barabbas or bellowing against Jesus, all these
things must your newspaper do to prosper. On them verily hang the whole
law and all the profits of modern journalism. This is what the devil of
competition was doing in that world when William Lloyd Garrison entered
it. It took him up into an exceedingly high mountain, we may be certain,
and offered him wealth, position, and power, if he would do what all
others were doing. And he would not. He went on editing and publishing
his paper for six months regardful only of what his reason
approved--regardless always of the disapproval of others. Not once did
he palter with his convictions or juggle with his self-respect for the
sake of pelf or applause. His human horizon was contracted, to be sure.
It could hardly be otherwise in one so young. His world was his country,
and patriotism imposed limits upon his affections. "Our country, our
whole country, and nothing but our country," was the ardent motto of the
_Free Press_. The love of family comes, in the order of growth, before
the love of country; and the love of country precedes the love of all
mankind. "First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear,"
is the great law of love in the soul as of corn in the soil. Besides
this contraction of the affections, there was also manifest in his first
journalistic venture a deficiency in the organ of vision, a failure to
see into things and their relations. What he saw he reported faithfully,
suppressing nothing, adding nothing. But the objects which passed across
the disk of his editoral intelligence were confined almost entirely to
the surface of things, to the superficies of national life. He had not
the ken at twenty to penetrate beneath the happenings of current
politics. Of the existence of slavery as a supreme reality, we do not
think that he then had the faintest suspicion. No shadow of its
tremendous influence as a political power seemed to have arrested for a
brief instant his attention. He could copy into his paper this atrocious
sentiment which Edward Everett delivered in Congress, without the
slightest comment or allusion. "Sir, I am no soldier. My habits and
education are very unmilitary, but there is no cause in which I would
sooner buckle a knapsack on my back, and put a musket on my shoulder
than that of putting down a servile insurrection at the South." The
reason is plain enough. Slavery was a _terra incognito_ to him then, a
book of which he had not learned the ABC. Mr. Everett's language made no
impression on him, because he had not the key to interpret its
significance. What he saw, that he set down for his readers, without
fear or favor. He had not seen slavery, knew nothing of the evil.
Acquaintance with the deeper things of life, individual or national,
comes only with increasing years, they are hardly for him who has not
yet reached his majority. Slavery was the very deepest thing in the life
of the nation sixty-four years ago. And if Garrison did not then so
understand it, neither did his contemporaries, the wisest and greatest
of them so understand it. The subject of all others which attracted his
attention, and kept his editorial pen busy, was the claim of
Massachusetts for indemnity from the general government, for certain
disbursements made by her for the defence of her sea-coast during the
war of 1812. This matter, which forms but a mere dust point in the
perspective of history, his ardent young mind mistook for a principal
object, erected into a permanent question in the politics of the times.
But the expenditure of enormous energies upon things of secondary and of
even tertiary importance, to the neglect of others of prime and lasting
interest, is supremely human. He was errant where all men go astray. But
the schoolmaster of the nation was abroad, and was training this young
man for the work he was born to do. These six months were, therefore,
not wasted, for in the university of experience he did ever prove
himself an apt scholar. One lesson he had learned, which he never needed
to relearn. Just what that lesson was, he tells in his valedictory to
the subscribers of the _Free Press_, as follows: "This is a time-serving
age; and he who attempts to walk uprightly or speak honestly, cannot
rationally calculate upon speedy wealth or preferment." A sad lesson, to
be sure, for one so young to learn so thoroughly. Perhaps some reader
will say that this was cynical, the result of disappointment. But it was
not cynical, neither was it the result of disappointment. It was
unvarnished truth, and more's the pity, but truth it was none the less.
It was one of those hard facts, which he of all men, needed to know at
the threshold of his experience with the world. Such a revelation proves
disastrous to the many who go down to do business in that world.
Ordinary and weak and neutral moral constitutions are wrecked on this
reef set in the human sea. Like a true mariner he had written it boldly
on his chart. There at such and such a point in the voyage for the
golden fleece, were the rocks and the soul-devouring dragons of the way.
Therefore, oh! my soul, beware. What, indeed, would this argonaut of the
press take in exchange for his soul? Certainly not speedy wealth nor
preferment. Ah! he could not praise where he ought to reprobate; could
not reprobate where praise should be the meed. He had no money and
little learning, but he had a conscience and he knew that he must be
true to that conscience, come to him either weal or woe. Want renders
most men vulnerable, but to it, he appeared, at this early age,
absolutely invulnerable. Should he and that almost omnipotent
inquisitor, public opinion, ever in the future come into collision upon
any principle of action, a keen student of human nature might forsee
that the young recusant could never be starved into silence or
conformity to popular standards. And with this stern, sad lesson
treasured up in his heart, Garrison graduated from another room in the
school-house of experience. All the discoveries of the young journalist
were not of this grim character. He made another discovery altogether
different, a real gem of its kind. The drag-net of a newspaper catches
all sorts of poets and poetry, good, bad, and indifferent--oftener the
bad and indifferent, rarely the good. The drag-net of the _Free Press_
was no exception to this rule; but, one day, it fetched up from the
depths of the hard commonplaces of our New England town life a genuine
pearl. We will let Mr. Garrison tell the story in his own way:

    "Going up-stairs to my office, one day, I observed a letter
    lying near the door, to my address; which, on opening, I found
    to contain an original piece of poetry for my paper, the _Free
    Press_. The ink was very pale, the handwriting very small; and,
    having at that time a horror of newspaper original poetry--which
    has rather increased than diminished with the lapse of time--my
    first impulse was to tear it in pieces, without reading it; the
    chances of rejection, after its perusal, being as ninety-nine to
    one; ... but summoning resolution to read it, I was equally
    surprised and gratified to find it above mediocrity, and so gave
    it a place in my journal.... As I was anxious to find out the
    writer, my post-rider, one day, divulged the secret, stating
    that he had dropped the letter in the manner described, and that
    it was written by a Quaker lad, named Whittier, who was daily at
    work on the shoemaker's bench, with hammer and lapstone, at East
    Haverhill. Jumping into a vehicle, I lost no time in driving to
    see the youthful rustic bard, who came into the room with
    shrinking diffidence, almost unable to speak, and blushing like
    a maiden. Giving him some words of encouragement, I addressed
    myself more particularly to his parents, and urged them with
    great earnestness to grant him every possible facility for the
    development of his remarkable genius."

Garrison had not only found a true poet, but a true friend as well, in
the Quaker lad, John Greenleaf Whittier. The friendship which sprang up
between the two was to last during the lifetime of the former. Neither
of them in those days of small things could have possibly by any flight
of the imagination foreseen how their two lives, moving in parallel
lines, would run deep their shining furrows through one of the greatest
chapters of human history. But I am anticipating, and that is a vice of
which no good storyteller ought to be guilty. So, then, let me
incontinently return from this excursion and pursue the even tenor of my

Garrison had stepped down from his elevated position as the publisher
and editor of the _Free Press_. He was without work, and, being
penniless, it behooved him to find some means of support. With the
instinct of the bright New England boy, he determined to seek his
fortunes in Boston. If his honesty and independence put him at a
disadvantage, as publisher and editor, in the struggle for existence, he
had still his trade as a compositor to fall back upon As a journeyman
printer he would earn his bread, and preserve the integrity of an
upright spirit. And so without a murmur, and with cheerfulness and
persistency, he hunted for weeks on the streets of Boston for a chance
to set types. This hunting for a job in a strange city was discouraging
enough. Twice before had he visited the place, which was to be his
future home. Once when on his way to Baltimore to see his mother, and
once afterward when on a sort of pleasure tramp with three companions.
But the slight knowledge which he was able to obtain of the town and its
inhabitants under these circumstances did not now help him, when from
office to office he went in quest of something to do. After many
failures and renewed searchings, he found what he was after, an
opportunity to practice his trade. Business was dull, which kept our
journeyman printer on the wing; first at one and then at another
printing office we find him setting types for a living during the year
1827. The winning of bread was no easy matter; but he was not ashamed to
work, neither was he afraid of hard work. During this year, he found
time to take a hand in a little practical politics. There was in July,
1827, a caucus of the Federal party to nominate a successor to Daniel
Webster in the House of Representatives. Young Garrison attended this
caucus, and made havoc of its cut and dried programme, by moving the
nomination of Harrison Gray Otis, instead of the candidate, a Mr.
Benjamin Gorham, agreed upon by the leaders. Harrison Gray Otis was one
of Garrison's early and particular idols. He was, perhaps, the one
Massachusetts politician whom the young Federalist had placed on a
pedestal. And so on this occasion he went into the caucus with a written
speech in his hat, eulogistic of his favorite. He had meant to have the
speech at his tongue's end, and to get it off as if on the spur of the
moment. But the speech stayed where it was put, in the speaker's hat,
and failed to materialize where and when it was wanted on the speaker's
tongue. As the mountain would not go to Mahomet, Mahomet like a sensible
prophet went to the mountain. Our orator in imitation of this
illustrious example, bowed to the inevitable and went to his mountain.
Pulling his extempore remarks out of his hat, he delivered himself of
them to such effect as to create quite an Otis sentiment in the meeting.
This performance was, of course, a shocking offence in the eyes of
those, whose plans it had disturbed. With one particular old fogy he got
into something of a newspaper controversy in consequence. The
"consummate assurance" of one so young fairly knocked the breath out of
this Mr. Eminent Respectability; it was absolutely revolting to all his
"ideas of propriety, to see a stranger, a man who never paid a tax in
our city, and perhaps no where else, to possess the impudence to take
the lead and nominate a candidate for the electors of Boston!" The
"young gentleman of six months standing," was not a whit abashed or awed
by the commotion which he had produced. That was simply a case of cause
and effect. But he seemed in turn astonished at his opponent's evident
ignorance of William Lloyd Garrison. "It is true," he replied, with the
proud dignity of conscious power, "it is true that my acquaintance in
this city is limited. I have sought none. Let me assure him, however,
that if my life be spared, my name shall one day be known to the
world--at least to such extent that common inquiry shall be unnecessary.
This, I know will be deemed excessive vanity--but time shall prove it
prophetic." To the charge of youth he makes this stinging rejoinder,
which evinces the progress he was making in the tournament of language:
"The little, paltry sneers at my youth by your correspondent have long
since become pointless. It is the privileged abuse of old age--the
hackneyed allegation of a thousand centuries--the damning _crime_ to
which all men have been subjected. I leave it to metaphysicians to
determine the precise moment when wisdom and experience leap into
existence, when, for the first time, the mind distinguishes truth from
error, selfishness from patriotism, and passion from reason. It is
sufficient for me that I am understood." This was Garrison's first
experience with "gentlemen of property and standing" in Boston. It was
not his last, as future chapters will abundantly show.



There is a moment in the life of every serious soul, when things, which
were before unseen and unheard in the world around him become visible
and audible. This startling moment comes to some sooner, to others
later, but to all, who are not totally given up to the service of self,
at sometime surely. From that moment a change passes over such an one,
for more and more he hears mysterious voices, and clearer and more clear
he sees apparitional forms floating up from the depths above which he
kneels. Whence come they, what mean they? He leans over the abyss, and
lo! the sounds to which he hearkens are the voices of human weeping and
the forms at which he gazes are the apparitions of human woe; they
beckon to him, and the voices beseech him in multitudinous accent and
heart-break: "Come over, come down, oh! friend and brother, and help
us." Then he straightway puts away the things and the thoughts of the
past and girding himself with the things, and the thoughts of the divine
OUGHT and the almighty MUST, he goes over and down to the rescue.

Such an epochal first moment came to William Lloyd Garrison in the
streets of Boston. Amid the hard struggle for bread he heard the abysmal
voices, saw the gaunt forms of misery. He was a constant witness of the
ravages of the demon of drink--saw how strong men succumbed, and weak
ones turned to brutes in its clutch. And were they not his brothers, the
strong men and the weak ones alike? And how could he, their keeper, see
them desperately beset and not fly to their help? Ah! he could not and
did not walk by on the other side, but, stripling though he was, rushed
to do battle with the giant vice, which was slaying the souls and the
bodies of his fellow citizens. Rum during the three first decades of the
present century was, like death, no respecter of persons, entering with
equal freedom the homes of the rich, and the hovels of the poor. It was
in universal demand by all classes and conditions of men. No occasion
was esteemed too sacred for its presence and use. It was an honored
guest at a wedding, a christening, or a funeral. The minister whose
hands were laid in baptismal blessing on babes, or raised in the holy
sacrament of love over brides, lifted also the glass; and the selfsame
lips which had spoken the last words over the dead, drank and made merry
presently afterward among the decanters on the side-board. It mattered
not for what the building was intended--whether for church, school, or
parsonage, rum was the grand master of ceremonies, the indispensable
celebrant at the various stages of its completion. The party who dug the
parson out after a snow-storm, verily got their reward, a sort of
prelibation of the visionary sweets of that land, flowing not, according
to the Jewish notion, with milk and _honey_, but according to the
revised version of Yankeedom, with milk and _rum_. Rum was, forsooth, a
very decent devil, if judged by the exalted character of the company it
kept. It stood high on the rungs of the social ladder and pulled and
pushed men from it by thousands to wretchedness and ruin. So flagrant
and universal was the drinking customs of Boston then that dealers
offered on the commons during holidays, without let or hindrance, the
drunkard's glass to the crowds thronging by extemporized booths and
bars. Shocking as was the excesses of this period "nothing comparatively
was heard on the subject of intemperance--it was seldom a theme for the
essayist--the newspapers scarcely acknowledged its existence, excepting
occasionally in connection with some catastrophes or crimes--the
Christian and patriot, while they perceived its ravages, formed no plans
for its overthrow--and it did not occur to any that a paper devoted
mainly to its suppression, might be made a direct and successful engine
in the great work of reform. Private expostulations and individual
confessions were indeed sometimes made; but no systematic efforts were
adopted to give precision to the views or a bias to the sentiments of
the people." Such was the state of public morals and the state of public
sentiment up to the year 1826, when there occurred a change. This change
was brought about chiefly through the instrumentality of a Baptist city
missionary, the Rev. William Collier. His labors among the poor of
Boston had doubtless revealed to him the bestial character of
intemperance, and the necessity of doing something to check and put an
end to the havoc it was working. With this design he established the
_National Philanthropist_ in Boston, March 4, 1826. The editor was one
of Garrison's earliest acquaintances in the city. Garrison went after
awhile to board with him, and still later entered the office of the
_Philanthropist_ as a type-setter. The printer of the paper, Nathaniel
H. White and young Garrison, occupied the same room at Mr. Collier's.
And so almost before our hero was aware, he had launched his bark upon
the sea of the temperance reform. Presently, when the founder of the
paper retired, it seemed the most natural thing in the world, that the
young journeyman printer, with his editorial experience and ability,
should succeed him as editor. His room-mate, White, bought the
_Philanthropist_, and in April 1828, formally installed Garrison into
its editorship. Into this new work he carried all his moral earnestness
and enthusiasm of purpose. The paper grew under his hand in size,
typographical appearance, and in editorial force and capacity. It was a
wide-awake sentinel on the wall of society; and week after week its
columns bristled and flashed with apposite facts, telling arguments,
shrewd suggestions, cogent appeals to the community to destroy the
accursed thing. No better education could he have had as the preparation
for his life work. He began to understand then the strength of
deep-seated public evils, to acquaint himself with the methods and
instruments with which to attack them. The _Philanthropist_ was a sort
of forerunner, so far as the training in intelligent and effective
agitation was concerned, of the _Genius of Universal Emancipation_ and
of the _Liberator_. One cannot read his sketch of the progress made by
the temperance reform, from which I have already quoted, and published
by him in the _Philanthropist_ in April, 1828, without being struck by
the strong similitude of the temperance to the anti-slavery movement in
their beginnings. "When this paper was first proposed," the young
temperance editor records, "it met with a repulsion which would have
utterly discouraged a less zealous and persevering man than our
predecessor. The moralist looked on doubtfully--the whole community
esteemed the enterprise desperate. Mountains of prejudice, overtopping
the Alps, were to be beaten down to a level--strong interest, connected
by a thousand links, severed--new habits formed; Every house, and almost
every individual, in a greater or less degree, reclaimed. Derision and
contumely were busy in crushing this sublime project in its
birth--coldness and apathy encompassed it on every side--but our
predecessor, nevertheless, went boldly forward with a giant's strength
and more than a giant's heart--conscious of difficulties and perils,
though not disheartened, armed with the weapons of truth--full of
meekness, yet certain of a splendid victory--and relying on the promises
of God for the issue." What an inestimable object-lesson to Garrison was
the example of this good man going forth singlehanded to do battle with
one of the greatest evils of the age! It was not numerical strength, but
the faith of one earnest soul that is able in the world of ideas and
human passions to remove mountains out of the way of the onward march of
mankind. This truth, we may be sure, sunk many fathoms deep into the
mind of the young moralist. And no wonder. For the results of two years
agitation and seed sowing were of the most astonishing character. "The
change which has taken place in public sentiment," he continues, "is
indeed remarkable ... incorporated as intemperance _was_, and still
_is_, into our very existence as a people.... A regenerating spirit is
everywhere seen; a strong impulse to action has been given, which,
beginning in the breasts of a few individuals, and then affecting
villages, and cities, and finally whole States, has rolled onward
triumphantly through the remotest sections of the republic. As union and
example are the levers adopted to remove this gigantic vice, temperance
societies have been rapidly multiplied, many on the principle of entire
abstinence, and others making it a duty to abstain from encouraging the
distillation and consumption of spirituous liquors. Expressions of the
deep abhorrence and sympathy which are felt in regard to the awful
prevalence of drunkenness are constantly emanating from legislative
bodies down to various religious conventions, medical associations,
grand juries, etc., etc. But nothing has more clearly evinced the
strength of this excitement than the general interest taken in this
subject by the conductors of the press. From Maine to the Mississippi,
and as far as printing has penetrated--even among the Cherokee
Indians--but one sentiment seems to pervade the public papers, viz., the
necessity of strenuous exertion for the suppression of intemperance."
Such a demonstration of the tremendous power of a single righteous soul
for good, we may be sure, exerted upon Garrison lasting influences. What
a revelation it was also of the transcendent part which the press was
capable of playing in the revolution of popular sentiment upon moral
questions; and of the supreme service of organization as a factor in
reformatory movements. The seeds sowed were faith in the convictions of
one man against the opinions, the prejudices, and the practices of the
multitude; and knowledge of and skill in the use of the instruments by
which the individual conscience may be made to correct and renovate the
moral sense of a nation. But there was another seed corn dropped at this
time in his mind, and that is the immense utility of woman in the work
of regenerating society. She it is who feels even more than man the
effects of social vices and sins, and to her the moral reformer should
strenuously appeal for aid. And this, with the instinct of genius,
Garrison did in the temperance reform, nearly seventy years ago. His
editorials in the _Philanthropist_ in the year 1828 on "Female
Influence" may be said to be the _courier avant_ of the Woman's
Christian Temperance Union of to-day, as they were certainly the
precursors of the female anti-slavery societies of a few years later.

But now, without his knowing it, a stranger from a distant city entered
Boston with a message, which was to change the whole purpose of the
young editor's life. It was Benjamin Lundy, the indefatigable friend of
the Southern slave, the man who carried within his breast the whole
menagerie of Southern slavery. He was fresh from the city which held the
dust of Fanny Garrison, who had once written to her boy in Newburyport,
how the good God had cared for her in the person of a colored woman.
Yes, she had written: "The ladies are all kind to me, and I have a
colored woman that waits on me, that is so kind no one can tell how kind
she is; and although a slave to man, yet a free-born soul, by the grace
of God. Her name is Henny, and should I never see you again, and you
should come where she is, remember her, for your poor mother's sake."
And now, without his dreaming of it, this devoted Samaritan in black,
who, perhaps, had long ago joined her dear friend in the grave, was
coming to that very boy, now grown to manhood, to claim for her race
what the mother had asked for her, the kind slave-woman. Not one of all
those little ones of the nation but who had a home in the many-mansioned
heart of Lundy. He had been an eye and ear witness of the barbarism of
slavery. "My heart," he sobbed, "was deeply grieved at the gross
abomination; I heard the wail of the captive; I felt his pang of
distress, and the iron entered my soul." With apostolic faith and zeal
he had for a decade been striving to free the captive, and to tie up his
bruised spirit. Sadly, but with a great love, he had gone about the
country on his self-imposed task. To do this work he had given up the
business of a saddler, in which he had prospered, had sacrificed his
possessions, and renounced the ease that comes with wealth; had courted
unheard-of hardships, and wedded himself for better and worse to poverty
and unremitting endeavor. Nothing did he esteem too dear to relinquish
for the slave. Neither wife nor children did he withhold. Neither the
summer's heat nor the winter's cold was able to daunt him or turn him
from his object. Though diminutive and delicate of body, no distance or
difficulty of travel was ever able to deter him from doing what his
humanity had bidden him do. From place to place, through nineteen
States, he had traveled, sowing as he went the seeds of his holy
purpose, and watering them with his life's blood. Not Livingstone nor
Stanley on the dark continent exceeded in sheer physical exertion and
endurance the labors of this wonderful man. He belongs in the category
of great explorers, only the irresistible passion and purpose, which
pushed him forward, had humanity, not geography, as their goal. Where,
in the lives of either Stanley or Livingstone do we find a record of
more astonishing activity and achievement than what is contained in
these sentences, written by Garrison of Lundy, in the winter of 1828?
"Within a few months he has traveled about twenty-four hundred miles, of
which upwards of nineteen hundred were performed _on foot!_ during which
time he has held nearly fifty public meetings. Rivers and mountains
vanish in his path; midnight finds him wending his solitary way over an
unfrequented road; the sun is anticipated in his rising. Never was moral
sublimity of character better illustrated." Such was the marvelous man,
whose visit to Boston, in the month of March, of the year 1828, dates
the beginning of a new epoch in the history of America. The event of
that year was not the "Bill of Abominations," great as was the national
excitement which it produced; nor was it yet the then impending
political struggle between Jackson and Adams, but the unnoticed meeting
of Lundy and Garrison. Great historic movements are born not in the
whirlwinds, the earthquakes, and the pomps of human splendor and power,
but in the agonies and enthusiasms of grand, heroic spirits. Up to this
time Garrison had had, as the religious revivalist would say, no
"realizing sense" of the enormity of slave-holding. Occasionally an
utterance had dropped from his pen which indicated that his heart was
right on the subject, but which evinced no more than the ordinary
opposition to its existence, nor any profound convictions as to his own
or the nation's duty in regard to its extinction. His first reference to
the question appeared in connection with a notice made by him in the
_Free Press_ of a spirited poem, entitled "Africa," in which the
authoress sings of:

  "The wild and mingling groans of writhing millions,
  Calling for vengeance on my guilty land."

He commended the verses "to all those who wish to cherish female genius,
and whose best feelings are enlisted in the cause of the poor oppressed
sons of Africa." He was evidently impressed, but the impression belonged
to the ordinary, transitory sort. His next recorded utterance on the
subject was also in the _Free Press_. It was made in relation with some
just and admirable strictures on the regulation Fourth of July oration,
with its "ceaseless apostrophes to liberty, and fierce denunciations of
tyranny." Such a tone was false and mischievous--the occasion was for
other and graver matter. "There is one theme," he declares, "which
should be dwelt upon, till our whole country is free from the curse--it
is slavery." The emphasis and energy of the rebuke and exhortation lifts
this second allusion to slavery, quite outside of merely ordinary
occurrences. It was not an ordinary personal occurrence for it served to
reveal in its lightning-like flash the glow and glare of a conscience
taking fire. The fire slumbered until a few weeks before Lundy entered
Boston, when there were again the glow and glare of a moral sense in the
first stages of ignition on the enormity of slave institutions. The act
of South Carolina in making it illegal to teach a colored person to read
and write struck this spark from his pen: "There is something
unspeakably pitiable and alarming," he writes in the _Philanthropist_,
"in the state of that society where it is deemed necessary, for
self-preservation, to seal up the mind and debase the intellect of man
to brutal incapacity.... Truly the alternatives of oppression are
terrible. But this state of things cannot always last, nor ignorance
alone shield us from destruction." His interest in the question was
clearly growing. But it was still in the gristle of sentiment waiting to
be transmuted into the bone and muscle of a definite and determined
purpose, when first he met Lundy. This meeting of the two men, was to
Garrison what the fourth call of God was to Samuel, the Hebrew lad, who
afterward became a prophet. As the three previous calls of God and the
conversations with Eli had prepared the Jewish boy to receive and
understand the next summons of Jehovah, so had Garrison's former
experience and education made him ready for the divine message when
uttered in his ears by Lundy. All the sense of truth and the passion for
righteousness of the young man replied to the voice, "Here am I." The
hardening process of growth became immediately manifest in him. Whereas
before there was sentimental opposition to slavery, there began then an
opposition, active and practical. When Lundy convened many of the
ministers of the city to expose to them the barbarism of slavery,
Garrison sat in the room, and as Lundy himself records, "expressed his
approbation of my doctrines." The young reformer must needs stand up and
make public profession of his new faith and of his agreement with the
anti-slavery principles of the older. But it was altogether different
with the assembled ministers. Lundy, as was his wont on such occasions,
desired and urged the formation of an anti-slavery society, but these
sons of Eli of that generation were not willing to offend their
slave-holding brethren in the South. Eyes they had, but they refused to
see; ears, which they stopped to the cry of the slave breaking in
anguish and appeal from the lips of this modern man of God. Garrison,
eleven years later, after the lips, which were eloquent then with their
great sorrow, were speechless in the grave, told the story of that
ministers' meeting. And here is the story:

"He (Lundy) might as well have urged the stones in the streets to cry
out in behalf of the perishing captives. Oh, the moral cowardice, the
chilling apathy, the criminal unbelief, the cruel skepticism, that were
revealed on that memorable occasion! My soul was on fire then, as it is
now, in view of such a development. Every soul in the room was heartily
opposed to slavery, but, it would terribly alarm and enrage the South to
know that an anti-slavery society existed in Boston. But it would do
harm rather than good openly to agitate the subject. But _perhaps a
select_ committee might be formed, to be called by some name that would
neither give offence, nor excite suspicion as to its real design! One or
two only were for bold and decisive action; but as they had neither
station nor influence, and did not rank among the wise and prudent,
their opinion did not weigh very heavily, and the project was finally
abandoned. Poor Lundy! that meeting was a damper to his feelings." There
is no doubt that Garrison was one of the very few present, who "were for
bold and decisive action" against the iniquity. The grief and
disappointment of his brave friend touched his heart with a brother's
affection and pity. The worldly wisdom and lukewarmness of the clergy
kindled a righteous indignation within his freedom-loving soul. This was
his first bitter lesson from the clergy. There were, alas, many and
bitterer experiences to follow, but of them he little recked at the
time. As this nineteenth-century prophet mused upon the horrible thing
the fires of a life purpose burned within him. And oftener thenceforth
we catch glimpses of the glow and glare of a soul bursting into flame.
The editorials in the _Philanthropist_, which swiftly followed Lundy's
visit, began to throw off more heat as the revolving wheels of an
electrical machine throw off sparks. The evil that there was in the
world, under which, wherever he turned, he saw his brother man
staggering and bleeding, was no longer what it had been, a vague and
shadowy apparition, but rather a terrible and tremendous reality against
which he must go forth to fight the fight of a lifetime. And so he
girded him with his life purpose and flung his moral earnestness against
the triple-headed curse of intemperance, slavery, and war. A mighty
human love had begun to flow inward and over him. And as the tide
steadily rose it swallowed and drowned all the egoism of self and race
in the altruism of an all-embracing humanity. When an apprentice in the
office of the Newburyport _Herald_, and writing on the subject of South
American affairs he grew hot over the wrongs suffered by American
vessels at Valparaiso and Lima. He was for finishing "with cannon what
cannot be done in a conciliatory and equitable manner, where justice
demands such proceedings." This was at seventeen when he was a boy with
the thoughts of a boy. Six years later he is a man who has looked upon
the sorrows of men. His old boy-world is far behind him, and the
ever-present sufferings of his kind are in front of him. War now is no
longer glorious, for it adds immeasurably to the sum of human misery.
War ought to be abolished with intemperance and slavery. And this duty
he began to utter in the ears of his country. "The brightest traits in
the American character will derive their luster, not from the laurels
picked from the field of blood, not from the magnitude of our navy and
the success of our arms," he proclaimed, "but from our exertions to
banish war from the earth, to stay the ravages of intemperance among all
that is beautiful and fair, to unfetter those who have been enthralled
by chains, which we have forged, and to spread the light of knowledge
and religious liberty, wherever darkness and superstition reign.... The
struggle is full of sublimity, the conquest embraces the world." Lundy
himself did not fully appreciate the immense gain, which his cause had
made in the conversion of Garrison into an active friend of the slave.
Not at once certainly. Later he knew. The discovery of a kindred spirit
in Boston exerted probably no little influence in turning for the second
time his indefatigable feet toward that city. He made it a second visit
in July, 1828, where again he met Garrison. His experience with the
ministers did not deter him from repeating the horrible tale wherever he
could get together an audience. This time he secured his first public
hearing in Boston. It was in the Federal Street Baptist Church. He spoke
not only on the subject of slavery itself, the growth of anti-slavery
societies, but on a new phase of the general subject, viz., the futility
of the Colonization Society as an abolition instrument. Garrison was
present, and treasured up in his heart the words of his friend. He did
not forget how Lundy had pressed upon his hearers the importance of
petitioning Congress for the abolition of slavery in the District of
Columbia, as we shall see further on. But poor Lundy was unfortunate
with the ministers. He got this time not the cold shoulder alone but a
clerical slap in the face as well. He had just sat down when the pastor
of the church, Rev. Howard Malcolm, uprose in wrath and inveighed
against any intermeddling of the North with slavery, and brought the
meeting with a high hand to a close. This incident was the first
collision with the church of the forlorn hope of the Abolition movement.
Trained as Garrison was in the orthodox creed and sound in that creed
almost to bigotry, this behavior of a standard-bearer of the church,
together with the apathy displayed by the clergy on a former occasion,
caused probably the first "little rift within the lute" of his creed,
"that by and by will make the music mute, and, ever widening, slowly
silence all." For in religion as in love, "Unfaith in aught is want of
faith in all." The Rev. Howard Malcolm's arbitrary proceeding had
prevented the organization of an anti-slavery committee. But this was
affected at a second meeting of the friends of the slave. Garrison was
one of the twenty gentlemen who were appointed such a committee. His
zeal and energy far exceeded the zeal and energy of the remaining
nineteen. He did not need the earnest exhortation of Lundy to impress
upon his memory the importance of "activity and steady perseverance." He
perceived almost at once that everything depended on them. And so he had
formed plans for a vigorous campaign against the existence of slavery in
the District of Columbia. But before he was ready to set out along the
line of work, which he had laid down for Massachusetts, the scene of his
labors shifted to Bennington, Vermont. Before he left Boston, Lundy had
recognized him as "a valuable coadjutor." The relationship between the
two men was becoming beautifully close. The more Lundy saw of Garrison,
the more he must have seemed to him a man after his own heart. And so no
wonder that he was solicitous of fastening him to his cause with hooks
of steel. The older had written the younger reformer a letter almost
paternal in tone--he must do thus and thus, he must not be disappointed
if he finds the heavy end of the burthen borne by himself, while those
associated with him do little to keep the wheels moving, he must
remember that "a few will have the labor to perform and the honor to
share." Then there creeps into his words a grain of doubt, a vague fear
lest his young ally should take his hands from the plough and go the way
of all men, and here are the words which Paul might have written to
Timothy: "I hope you will persevere in your work, steadily, but not make
too large calculations on what may be accomplished in a particularly
stated time. You have now girded on a holy warfare. Lay not down your
weapons until honorable terms are obtained. _The God of hosts is on your
side._ Steadiness and faithfulness will most assuredly overcome every
obstacle." The older apostle had yet to learn that the younger always
did what he undertook in the field of morals and philanthropy.

But the scene had shifted from Boston to Bennington, and with the young
reformer goes also his plan of campaign for anti-slavery work. The
committee of twenty, now nineteen since his departure, slumbered and
slept in the land of benevolent intentions, a practical illustration of
Lundy's pungent saying, that "philanthropists are the slowest creatures
breathing. They think forty times before they act." The committee never
acted, but its one member in Vermont did act, and that promptly and
powerfully as shall shortly appear. Garrison had gone to Bennington to
edit the _Journal of the Times_ in the interest of the reelection of
John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. For this object he was engaged as
editor of the paper. What he was engaged to do he performed faithfully
and ably, but along with his fulfillment of his contract with the
friends of Mr. Adams, he carried the one which he had made with humanity
likewise. In his salutatory he outlined his intentions in this regard
thus: "We have three objects in view, which we shall pursue through
life, whether in this place or elsewhere--namely, the suppression of
intemperance and its associate vices, the gradual emancipation of every
slave in the republic, and the perpetuity of national peace. In
discussing these topics what is wanting in vigor shall be made up in
zeal." From the issue of that first number if the friends of Adams had
no cause to complain of the character of his zeal and vigor in their
service, neither had the friends of humanity. What he had proposed doing
in Massachusetts as a member of the anti-slavery committee of twenty, he
performed with remarkable energy and success in Vermont. It was to
obtain signatures not by the hundred to a petition for the abolition of
slavery in the District of Columbia, but by the thousands, and that from
all parts of the State. He sent copies of the petition to every
postmaster in Vermont with the request that he obtain signatures in his
neighborhood. Through his exertions a public meeting of citizens of
Bennington was held and indorsed the petition. The plan for polling the
anti-slavery sentiment of the State worked admirably. The result was a
monster petition with 2,352 names appended. This he forwarded to the
seat of Government. It was a powerful prayer, but as to its effect,
Garrison had no delusions. He possessed even then singularly clear ideas
as to how the South would receive such petitions, and of the course
which it would pursue to discourage their presentation. He was no less
clear as to how the friends of freedom ought to carry themselves under
the circumstances. In the _Journal of the Times_ of November, 1828, he
thus expressed himself: "It requires no spirit of prophecy to predict
that it (the petition) will create great opposition. An attempt will be
made to frighten Northern 'dough-faces' as in case of the Missouri
question. There will be an abundance of furious declamation, menace, and
taunt. Are we, therefore, to approach the subject timidly--with half a
heart--as if we were treading on forbidden ground? No, indeed, but
earnestly, fearlessly, as becomes men, who are determined to clear their
country and themselves from the guilt of oppressing God's free and
lawful creatures." About the same time he began to make his assaults on
the personal representatives of the slave-power in Congress, cauterizing
in the first instance three Northern "dough-faces," who had voted
against some resolutions, looking to the abolition of the slave-trade
and slavery itself in the District of Columbia. So while the South thus
early was seeking to frighten the North from the agitation of the
slavery question in Congress, Garrison was unconsciously preparing a
countercheck by making it dangerous for a Northern man to practice
Southern principles in the National Legislature. He did not mince his
words, but called a spade a spade, and sin, sin. He perceived at once
that if he would kill the sin of slave-holding, he could not spare the
sinner. And so he spoke the names of the delinquents from the housetop of
the _Journal of the Times_, stamping upon their brows the scarlet letter
of their crime against liberty. He had said in the October before: "It
is time that a voice of remonstrance went forth from the North, that
should peal in the ears of every slaveholder like a roar of thunder....
For ourselves, we are resolved to agitate this subject to the utmost;
nothing but death shall prevent us from denouncing a crime which has no
parallel in human depravity; we shall take high ground. _The alarm must
be perpetual._" A voice of remonstrance, with thunder growl
accompaniment, was rising higher and clearer from the pen of the young
editor. His tone of earnestness was deepening to the stern bass of the
moral reformer, and the storm breath of enthusiasm was blowing to a
blaze the glowing coals of his humanity. The wail of the fleeing
fugitive from the house of bondage sounded no longer far away and unreal
in his ears, but thrilled now right under the windows of his soul. The
masonic excitement and the commotion created by the abduction of Morgan
he caught up and shook before the eyes of his countrymen as an object
lesson of the million-times greater wrong daily done the slaves. "All
this fearful commotion," he pealed, "has arisen from the abduction of
_one man_. More than two millions of unhappy beings are groaning out
their lives in bondage, and scarcely a pulse quickens, or a heart leaps,
or a tongue pleads in their behalf. 'Tis a trifling affair, which
concerns nobody. Oh! for the spirit that rages, to break every fetter of
oppression!" Such a spirit was fast taking possession of the writer.

Of this Lundy was well informed. He had not lost sight of his young
coadjutor, but had watched his course with great hope and growing
confidence. In him he found what he had discovered in no one else,
anti-slavery activity and perseverance. He had often found men who
protested loudly their benevolence for the negro, but who made not the
slightest exertion afterward to carry out their good wishes. "They will
pen a paragraph, perhaps an article, or so--and then--_the subject is
exhausted!_" It was not so with his young friend, the Bennington editor.
He saw that "argument and useful exertion on the subject of African
emancipation can never be exhausted until the system of slavery itself
be totally annihilated." He was faithful among the faithless found by
Lundy. To reassure his doubting leader, Garrison took upon himself
publicly a vow of perpetual consecration to the slave. "Before God and
our country," he declares, "we give our pledge that the liberation of
the enslaved Africans shall always be uppermost in our pursuits. The
people of New England are interested in this matter, and they must be
aroused from their lethargy as by a trumpet-call. They shall not quietly
slumber while we have the management of a press, or strength to hold a
pen." The question of slavery had at length obtained the ascendency over
all other questions in his regard. And when Lundy perceived this he set
out from Baltimore to Bennington to invite Garrison to join hands with
him in his emancipation movement at Baltimore. He performed the long
journey on foot, with staff in hand in true apostolic fashion. The two
men of God met among the mountains of Vermont, and when the elder
returned from the heights the younger had resolved to follow him to the
vales where men needed his help, the utmost which he could give them. He
agreed to join his friend in Baltimore and there edit with him his
little paper with the grand name (_The Genius of Universal
Emancipation_), devoted to preaching the gospel of the gradual
abolishment of American slavery. Garrison was to take the position of
managing editor, and Lundy to look after the subscription list. The
younger to be resident, the elder itinerant partner in the publication
of the paper. Garrison closed his relations with the _Journal of the
Times_, March 27, 1829, and delivered his valedictory to its readers.
This valedictory strikes with stern hammer-stroke the subject of his
thoughts. "Hereafter," it reads, "the editorial charge of this paper
will devolve on another person. I am invited to occupy a broader field,
and to engage in a higher enterprise; that field embraces the whole
country--that enterprise is in behalf of the slave population."

"To my apprehension, the subject of slavery involves interests of
greater moment to our welfare as a republic, and demands a more prudent
and minute investigation than any other which has come before the
American people since the Revolutionary struggle--than all others which
now occupy their attention. No body of men on the face of the earth
deserve their charities, and prayers, and united assistance so much as
the slaves of this country; and yet they are almost entirely neglected.
It is true many a cheek burns with shame in view of our national
inconsistency, and many a heart bleeds for the miserable African. It is
true examples of disinterested benevolence and individual sacrifices are
numerous, particularly in the Southern States; but no systematic,
vigorous, and successful measures have been made to overthrow this
fabric of oppression. I trust in God that I may be the humble instrument
of breaking at least one chain, and restoring one captive to liberty; it
will amply repay a life of severe toil." The causes of temperance and
peace came in also for an earnest parting word, but they had clearly
declined to a place of secondary importance in the writer's regard. To
be more exact, they had not really declined, but the slavery question
had risen in his mind above both. They were great questions, but it was
_the_ question--had become _his_ cause.

Lundy, after his visit to Garrison at Bennington, started on a trip to
Hayti with twelve emancipated slaves, whom he had undertaken to colonize
there. Garrison awaited in Boston the return of his partner to
Baltimore. The former, meanwhile, was out of employment, and sorely in
need of money. Never had he been favored with a surplusage of the root
of all evil. He was deficient in the money-getting and money-saving
instinct. Such was plainly not his vocation, and so it happened that
wherever he turned, he and poverty walked arm in arm, and the
interrogatory, "wherewithal shall I be fed and clothed on the morrow?"
was never satisfactorily answered until the morrow arrived. This led him
at times into no little embarrassment and difficulty. But since he was
always willing to work at the case, and to send his "pride on a
pilgrimage to Mecca," the embarrassment was not protracted, nor did the
difficulty prove insuperable.

The Congregational societies of Boston invited him in June to deliver
before them a Fourth of July address in the interest of the Colonization
Society. The exercises took place in Park Street Church. Ten days before
this event he was called upon to pay a bill of four dollars for failure
to appear at the May muster. Refusing to do so, he was thereupon
summoned to come into the Police Court on the glorious Fourth to show
cause why he ought not to pay the amercement. He was in a quandary. He
did not owe the money, but as he could not be in two places at the same
time, and, inasmuch as he wanted very much to deliver his address before
the Congregational Societies, and did not at all long to make the
acquaintance of his honor, the Police Court Judge, he determined to pay
the fine. But, alack and alas! he had "not a farthing" with which to
discharge him from his embarrassment. Fortunately, if he wanted money he
did not want friends. And one of these, Jacob Horton, of Newburyport,
who had married his "old friend and playmate, Harriet Farnham," came to
his rescue with the requisite amount.

On the day and place appointed Garrison appeared before the
Congregational Societies with an address, to the like of which, it is
safe to say, they had never before listened. It was the Fourth of July,
but the orator was in no holiday humor. There was not, in a single
sentence of the oration the slightest endeavor to be playful with his
audience. It was rather an eruption of human suffering, and of the
humanity of one man to man. What the Boston clergy saw that afternoon,
in the pulpit of Park Street Church, was the vision of a soul on fire.
Garrison burned and blazed as the sun that July afternoon burned and
blazed in the city's streets. None without escaped the scorching rays of
the latter, none within was able to shun the fervid heat of the former.
Those of my readers who have watched the effects of the summer's sun on
a track of sandy land and have noted how, about midday, the heat seems
to rise in sparkling particles and exhalations out of the hot,
surcharged surface, can form some notion of the moral fervor and passion
of this Fourth of July address, delivered more than sixty years ago, in
Boston. Through all the pores of it, over all the length and breadth of
it, there went up bright, burning particles from the sunlit sympathy and
humanity of the young reformer.

In beginning, he animadverted, among other things, on the spread of
intemperance, of political corruption, on the profligacy of the press,
and, amid them all, the self-complacency and boastfulness of the
national spirit, as if it bore a charmed life.

"But," he continued, "there is another evil which, if we had to contend
against nothing else, should make us quake for the issue. It is a
gangrene preying upon our vitals--an earthquake rumbling under our
feet--a mine accumulating material for a national catastrophe. It should
make this a day of fasting and prayer, not of boisterous merriment and
idle pageantry--a day of great lamentation, not of congratulatory joy.
It should spike every cannon, and haul down every banner. Our garb
should be sack-cloth--our heads bowed in the dust--our supplications for
the pardon and assistance of Heaven.

"Sirs, I am not come to tell you that slavery is a curse, debasing in
its effects, cruel in its operations, fatal in its continuance. The day
and the occasion require no such revelation. I do not claim the
discovery as my own, that 'all men are born equal,' and that among their
inalienable rights are 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
Were I addressing any other than a free and Christian assembly, the
enforcement of this truth might be pertinent. Neither do I intend to
analyze the horrors of slavery for your inspection, nor to freeze your
blood with authentic recitals of savage cruelty. Nor will time allow me
to explore even a furlong of that immense wilderness of suffering which
remains unsubdued in our land. I take it for granted that the existence
of these evils is acknowledged, if not rightly understood. My object is
to define and enforce our duty, as Christians and philanthropists."

This was, by way of exordium, the powerful skirmish line of the address.
Assuming the existence of the evil, he advanced boldly to his theme,
viz., the duty of abolishing it. To this end he laid down four
propositions, as a skillful general plants his cannon on the heights
overlooking and commanding his enemies' works. The first, broadly
stated, asserted the kinship of the slave to the free population of the
republic. They were men; they were natives of the country; they were in
dire need. They were ignorant, degraded, morally and socially. They were
the heathen at home, whose claims far outranked those in foreign lands;
they were higher than those of the "Turks or Chinese, for they have the
privileges of instruction; higher than the Pagans, for they are not
dwellers in a Gospel land; higher than our red men of the forest, for we
do not bind them with gyves, nor treat them as chattels."

Then he turned hotly upon the Church, exclaiming: "What has Christianity
done by direct effort for our slave population? Comparatively nothing.
She has explored the isles of the ocean for objects of commiseration;
but, amazing stupidity! she can gaze without emotion on a multitude of
miserable beings at home, large enough to constitute a nation of
freemen, whom tyranny has heathenized by law. In her public services
they are seldom remembered, and in her private donations they are
forgotten. From one end of the country to the other her charitable
societies form golden links of benevolence, and scatter their
contributions like rain drops over a parched heath; but they bring no
sustenance to the perishing slave. The blood of souls is upon her
garments, yet she heeds not the stain. The clanking of the prisoner's
chains strike upon her ear, but they cannot penetrate her heart."

Then, with holy wrath upon the nation, thus:

"Every Fourth of July our Declaration of Independence is produced, with
a sublime indignation, to set forth the tyranny of the mother country,
and to challenge the admiration of the world. But what a pitiful detail
of grievances does this document present, in comparison with the wrongs
which our slaves endure? In the one case it is hardly the plucking of a
hair from the head; in the other, it is the crushing of a live body on
the wheel--the stings of the wasp contrasted with the tortures of the
Inquisition. Before God I must say that such a glaring contradiction as
exists between our creed and practice the annals of six thousand years
cannot parallel. In view of it I am ashamed of my country. I am sick of
our unmeaning declamation in praise of liberty and equality; of our
hypocritical cant about the inalienable rights of man. I would not for
my right hand stand up before a European assembly, and exult that I am
an American citizen, and denounce the usurpations of a kingly government
as wicked and unjust; or, should I make the attempt, the recollection of
my country's barbarity and despotism would blister my lips, and cover my
cheeks with burning blushes of shame."

Passing to his second proposition, which affirmed the right of the free
States to be in at the death of slavery, he pointed out that slavery was
not sectional but national in its influence. If the consequences of
slave-holding did not flow beyond the limits of the slave section, the
right would still exist, on the principle that what affected injuriously
one part must ultimately hurt the whole body politic. But it was not
true that slavery concerned only the States where it existed--the parts
where it did not exist were involved by their constitutional liability
to be called on for aid in case of a slave insurrection, as they were in
the slave representation clause of the national compact, through which
the North was deprived of its "just influence in the councils of the
nation." And, furthermore, the right of the free States to agitate the
question inhered in the principle of majority rule--the white population
of the free States being almost double that of the slave States, "and
the voice of this overwhelming majority should be potential." He
repelled in strong language the wrongfulness of allowing the South to
multiply the votes of those freemen by the master's right to count three
for every five slaves, "because it is absurd and anti-republican to
suffer property to be represented as men, and _vice versa_, because it
gives the South an unjust ascendancy over other portions of territory,
and a power which may be perverted on every occasion."

He looked without shrinking upon the possibility of disunion even then.

"Now I say that, on the broad system of equal rights," he declared,
"this inequality should no longer be tolerated. If it cannot be speedily
put down--not by force but by fair persuasion--if we are always to
remain shackled by unjust, constitutional provisions, when the emergency
that imposed them has long since passed away; if we must share in the
guilt and danger of destroying the bodies and souls of men _as the price
of our Union_; if the slave States will haughtily spurn our assistance,
and refuse to consult the general welfare, then the fault is not ours if
a separation eventually takes place."

Considering that he was in his twenty-fourth year, and that the
Abolition movement had then no actual existence, the orator evinced
surprising prescience in his forecast of the future, and of the strife
and hostility which the agitation was destined to engender.

"But the plea is prevalent," he said, "that any interference by the free
States, however benevolent or cautious it might be, would only irritate
and inflame the jealousies of the South, and retard the cause of
emancipation. If any man believes that slavery can be abolished without
a struggle with the worst passions of human nature, quietly,
harmoniously, he cherishes a delusion. It can never be done, unless the
age of miracles returns. No; we must expect a collision, full of sharp
asperities and bitterness. We shall have to contend with the insolence,
and pride, and selfishness of many a heartless being.

"Sirs, the prejudices of the North are stronger than those of the South;
they bristle like so many bayonets around the slaves; they forge and
rivet the chains of the nation. Conquer them and the victory is won. The
enemies of emancipation take courage from our criminal timidity.... We
are ... afraid of our own shadows, who have been driven back to the wall
again and again; who stand trembling under their whips; who turn pale,
retreat, and surrender at a talismanic threat to dissolve the Union...."
But the difficulties did not daunt him, nor the dangers cow him. He did
not doubt, but was assured, that truth was mighty and would prevail.
"Moral influence when in vigorous exercise," he said, "is irresistible.
It has an immortal essence. It can no more be trod out of existence by
the iron foot of time, or by the ponderous march of iniquity, than
matter can be annihilated. It may disappear for a time; but it lives in
some shape or other, in some place or other, and will rise with
renovated strength. Let us then be up and doing. In the simple and
stirring language of the stout-hearted Lundy, all the friends of the
cause must go to work, keep to work, hold on, and never give up." The
closing paragraph is this powerful peroration: "I will say, finally,
that I despair of the republic while slavery exists therein. If I look
up to God for success, no smile of mercy or forgiveness dispels the
gloom of futurity; if to our own resources, they are daily diminishing;
if to all history our destruction is not only possible but almost
certain. Why should we slumber at this momentous crisis? If our hearts
were dead to every thought of humanity; if it were lawful to oppress,
where power is ample; still, if we had any regard for our safety and
happiness, we should strive to crush the vampire which is feeding upon
our life-blood. All the selfishness of our nature cries aloud for a
better security. Our own vices are too strong for us, and keep us in
perpetual alarm; how, in addition to these, shall we be able to contend
successfully with millions of armed and desperate men, as we must,
eventually, if slavery do not cease?" Exit the apprentice, enter the
master. The period of preparation is ended, the time of action begun.
The address was the fiery cry of the young prophet ere he plunged into
the unsubdued wilderness of American slavery.



Some time in August, 1829, Garrison landed in Baltimore, and began with
Lundy the editorship of _The Genius of Universal Emancipation_. Radical
as the Park Street Church address was, it had, nevertheless, ceased to
represent in one essential matter his anti-slavery convictions and
principles. The moral impetus and ground-swell of the address had
carried him beyond the position where its first flood of feeling had for
the moment left him. During the composition of the address he was
transported with grief and indignation at the monstrous wrong which
slavery did the slaves and the nation. He had not thought out for
himself any means to rid both of the curse. The white heat of the
address destroyed for the instant all capacity for such thinking. "Who
can be amazed, temperate, and furious--in a moment? No man. The
expedition of his violent love outran the pauser reason" He had accepted
the colonization scheme as an instrument for removing the evil, and
called on all good citizens "to assist in establishing auxiliary
colonization societies in every State, county, and town"; and implored
"their direct and liberal patronage to the parent society." He had not
apparently, so much as dreamed of any other than gradual emancipation.
"The emancipation of all the slaves of this generation is most assuredly
out of the question," he said; "the fabric which now towers above the
Alps, must be taken away brick by brick, and foot by foot, till it is
reduced so low that it may be overturned without burying the nation in
its ruins. Years may elapse before the completion of the achievement;
generations of blacks may go down to the grave, manacled and lacerated,
without a hope for their children." He was on the Fourth of July a firm
and earnest believer in the equity and efficacy of gradualism. But after
that day, and some time before his departure for Baltimore, he began to
think on this subject. The more he thought the less did gradualism seem
defensible on moral grounds. John Wesley had said that slavery was the
"sum of all villainies"; it was indeed the sin of sins, and as such
ought to be abandoned not gradually but immediately. Slave-holding was
sin and slaveholders were sinners. The sin and sinner should both be
denounced as such and the latter called to instant repentance, and the
duty of making immediate restitution of the stolen liberties of their
slaves. This was the tone ministers of religion held every where toward
sin and sinners, and this should be the tone held by the preachers of
Abolition toward slavery, and slaveholders. To admit the principle of
gradualism was for Abolition to emasculate itself of its most virile
quality. Garrison, consequently rejected gradualism as a weapon, and
took up instead the great and quickening doctrine of immediatism. Lundy
did not know of this change in the convictions of his coadjutor until
his arrival in Baltimore. Then Garrison frankly unburdened himself and
declared his decision to conduct his campaign against the national
iniquity along the lines of immediate and unconditional emancipation.
The two on this new radicalism did not see eye to eye. But Lundy with
sententious shrewdness and liberality suggested to the young radical:
"Thee may put thy initials to thy articles and I will put my initials to
mine, and each will bear his own burden." And the arrangement pleased
the young radical, for it enabled him to free his soul of the necessity
which was then sitting heavily upon it. The precise state of his mind in
respect of the question at this juncture in its history and in his own
is made plain enough in his salutatory address in _The Genius of
Universal Emancipation_. The vow made in Bennington ten months before to
devote his life to philanthrophy, and the dedication of himself made six
months afterward to the extirpation of American slavery, he solemnly
renews and reseals in Baltimore. He does not hate intemperance and war
less, but slavery more, and those, therefore, he formally relegates
thenceforth to a place of secondary importance in the endeavors of the
future. It is obvious that the colonization scheme has no strong hold
upon his intelligence. He does not conceal his respect for it as an
instrument of freedom, but he puts no high value on its utility. "It may
pluck a few leaves," he remarks, "from the Bohon Upas, but can neither
extract its roots nor destroy its withering properties. Viewed as an
auxiliary, it deserves encouragement; but as a remedy it is altogether
inadequate." But this was not all. As a remedy, colonization was not
only altogether inadequate, its influence was indirectly pernicious, in
that it lulled the popular mind into "a belief that the monster has
received his mortal wound." He perceived that this resultant
indifference and apathy operated to the advantage of slavery, and to the
injury of freedom. Small, therefore, as was the good which the
Colonization Society was able to achieve, it was mixed with no little
ill. Although Garrison has not yet begun to think on the subject, to
examine into the motives and purposes of the society, it does not take a
prophet to foresee that some day he will. He had already arrived at
conclusions in respect of the rights of the colored people "to choose
their own dwelling place," and against the iniquity of their
expatriation, which cut directly at the roots of the colonization
scheme. Later the pro-slavery character of the society will be wholly
revealed to him. But truth in the breast of a reformer as of others must
needs follow the great law of moral growth, first the blade, then the
ear, and then the full corn in the ear. It is enough that he has made
the tremendous step from gradual to immediate and unconditional
emancipation on the soil.

At this period he tested the disposition of slaveholders to manumit
their slaves. The Colonization Society had given it out that there was
no little desire on the part of many masters to set their slaves free.
All that was wanted for a practical demonstration in this direction was
the assurance of free transportation out of the country for the
emancipated slaves. Lundy had made arrangement for the transportation of
fifty slaves to Hayti and their settlement in that country. So he and
Garrison advertised this fact in the _Genius_, but they waited in vain
for a favorable response from the South--notwithstanding the following
humane inducement which this advertisement offered: "THE PRICE OF
PASSAGE WILL BE ADVANCED, and everything furnished of which they may
stand in need, until they shall have time to prepare their houses and
set in to work." No master was moved to take advantage of the
opportunity. This was discouraging to the believers in the efficacy of
colonization as a potent anti-slavery instrument. But Garrison was no
such believer. With unerring moral instinct he had from the start placed
his reliance "on nothing but the eternal principles of justice for the
speedy overthrow of slavery."

He obtained at this period an intimate personal knowledge of the free
colored people. He saw that they were not essentially unlike other
races--that there was nothing morally or intellectually peculiar about
them, and that the evil or the good which they manifested was the common
property of mankind in similar circumstances. He forthwith became their
brave defender against the common slanders of the times. "There is a
prevalent disposition among all classes to traduce the habits and morals
of our free blacks," he remarked in the _Genius_. "The most scandalous
exaggerations in regard to their condition are circulated by a thousand
mischievous tongues, and no reproach seems to them too deep or
unmerited. Vile and malignant indeed is this practice, and culpable are
they who follow it. We do not pretend to say that crime, intemperance,
and suffering, to a considerable extent, cannot be found among the free
blacks; but we do assert that they are as moral, peaceable, and
industrious as that class of the whites who are, like them, in indigent
circumstances--and far less intemperate than the great body of foreign
immigrants who infest and corrupt our shores." This idea of the natural
equality of the races he presented in the _Genius_ a few weeks before
with Darwinian breadth in the following admirable sentences: "I deny the
postulate that God has made, by an irreversible decree, or any inherent
qualities, one portion of the human race superior to another. No matter
how many breeds are amalgamated--no matter how many shades of color
intervene between tribes or nations give them the same chances to
improve, and a fair start at the same time, and the result will be
equally brilliant, equally productive, equally grand."

At the same time that he was making active, personal acquaintance with
the free colored people, he was making actual personal acquaintance with
the barbarism of slavery also. "The distinct application of a whip, and
the shrieks of anguish" of the slave, his residence in Baltimore had
taught him was "nothing uncommon" in that city. Such an instance had
come to him while in the street where the office of the _Genius_ was
located. It was what was occurring at almost all hours of the day and in
almost all parts of the town. He had not been in Baltimore a month when
he saw a specimen of the brutality of slavery on the person of a negro,
who had been mercilessly flogged. On his back were thirty-seven gashes
made with a cowskin, while on his head were many bruises besides. It was
a Sunday morning, fresh from his terrible punishment, that the poor
fellow had found the editors of the _Genius_, who, with the compassion
of brothers, took him in, dressed his wounds, and cared for him for two
days. Such an experience was no new horror to Lundy, but it was
doubtless Garrison's first lesson in that line, and it sank many fathoms
deep into his heart.

Maryland was one of the slave-breeding States and Baltimore a slave
emporium. There was enacted the whole business of slavery as a
commercial enterprise. Here the human chattels were brought and here
warehoused in jails and other places of storage and detention. Here they
were put up at public auction, and knocked down to the highest bidder,
and from here they were shipped to New Orleans, the great distributing
center for such merchandise. He heard what Lundy had years before heard,
the wail of captive mothers and fathers, wives, husbands and children,
torn from each other; like Lundy, "he felt their pang of distress; and
the iron entered his soul." He could not hold his peace in the midst of
such abominations, but boldly exposed and denounced them. His
indignation grew hot when he saw that Northern vessels were largely
engaged in the coastwise slave-trade; and when, to his amazement, he
learned that the ship _Francis_, owned by Francis Todd, a Newburyport
merchant, had sailed for New Orleans with a gang of seventy-five slaves,
his indignation burst into blaze. He blazoned the act and the name of
Francis Todd in the _Genius_, and did verily what he had resolved to do,
viz., "to cover with thick infamy all who were concerned in this
nefarious business," the captain as well as the owner of the
ill-freighted ship. He did literally point at these men the finger of
scorn. Every device known to the printer's art for concentrating the
reader's attention upon particular words and sentences, Garrison made
skillful use of in his articles--from the deep damnation of the heavy
black capitals in which he printed the name Francis Todd, to the small
caps in which appeared the words, "sentenced to solitary confinement for
life," and which he flanked with two terrible indices. But the articles
did not need such embellishment. They were red hot branding irons
without them. One can almost smell the odor of burning flesh as he reads
the words: "It is no worse to fit out piratical cruisers or to engage in
the foreign slave-trade, than to pursue a similar trade along our coast;
and the men who have the wickedness to participate therein, for the
purpose of keeping up wealth should be ==>SENTENCED TO SOLITARY
CONFINEMENT FOR LIFE; <==_they are the enemies of their own
species--highway robbers, and murderers_; and their final doom will be,
unless they speedily repent, _to occupy the lowest depths of perdition_.
I know that our laws make a distinction in this matter. I know that the
man who is allowed to freight his vessel with slaves at home, for a
distant market, would be thought worthy of death if he should take a
similar freight on the coast of Africa; but I know, too, that this
distinction is absurd, and at war with the common sense of mankind, and
that God and good men regard it with abhorrence.

"I recollect that it was always a mystery in Newburyport how Mr. Todd
contrived to make profitable voyages to New Orleans and other places,
when other merchants, with as fair an opportunity to make money, and
sending to the same ports at the same time invariably made fewer
successful speculations. The mystery seems to be unravelled. Any man can
gather up riches if he does not care by what means they are obtained."

A copy of the _Genius_, containing this article Garrison sent to the
owner of the ship _Francis_. What followed made it immediately manifest
that the branding irons of the reformer had burned home with scarifying
effect. Mr. Todd's answer to the strictures was a suit at law against
the editors of the _Genius_ for five thousand dollars in damages. But
this was not all. The Grand Jury for Baltimore indicted them for
publishing "a gross and malicious libel against Francis Todd and
Nicholas Brown." This was at the February Term, 1830. On the first day
of March following, Garrison was tried. He was ably and eloquently
defended by Charles Mitchell, a young lawyer of the Baltimore Bar. But
the prejudice of judge and jury rendered the verdict of guilty a
foregone conclusion. April 17, 1830, the Court imposed a penalty of
fifty dollars and costs, which, with the fine amounted in all to nearly
one hundred dollars. The fine and costs Garrison could not pay, and he
was therefore committed to jail as a common malefactor. His confinement
lasted seven weeks. He did not languish during this period. His head and
hands were in fact hardly ever more active than during the term of his
imprisonment. Shut out by Maryland justice from work without the jail,
he found and did that which needed to be done within "high walls and
huge." He was an extraordinary prisoner and was treated with
extraordinary consideration by the Warden. He proved himself a genuine
evangel to the prisoners, visiting them in their cells, cheering them by
his bouyant and benevolent words, giving them what he had, a brother's
sympathy, which to these ill-fated ones, was more than gold or silver.
He indited for such of them as he deemed deserving, letters and
petitions to the Governor praying their pardon; and he had the great
satisfaction of seeing many of his efforts in this regard crowned with

But more than this his imprisonment afforded him an opportunity for a
closer acquaintance with the barbarism of slavery than he could possibly
have made had he lived otherwise in Baltimore. A Southern jail was not
only the place of detention of offenders against social justice, but of
slaves waiting for the next market-day, of recaptured fugitives waiting
for their owners to reclaim them. Here they were huddled and caged,
pitiful and despairing in their misery. Such scenes sickened the young
reformer every day. God had opened to him the darkest chapter in the
book of the negroes' wrongs. Here is a page from that black volume of
oppression and cruelty, the record of which he has preserved in the
following graphic narrative: "During my late incarceration in Baltimore
prison, four men came to obtain a runaway slave. He was brought out of
his cell to confront his master, but pretended not to know him--did not
know that he had ever seen him before--could not recollect his name. Of
course the master was exceedingly irritated. 'Don't you remember,' said
he, 'when I gave you not long since thirty-nine lashes under the
apple-tree? Another time when I gave you a sound flogging in the barn?
Another time when you was scourged for giving me the lie, by saying that
the horse was in a good condition?' 'Yes,' replied the slave, whose
memory was thus quickened, 'I do recollect. You have beaten me cruelly
without cause; you have not given me enough to eat and drink; and I
don't want to go back again. I wish you to sell me to another master. I
had rather even go to Georgia than to return home!'

"'I'll let you know, you villain,' said the master, 'that my wishes and
not _yours_, are to be consulted. I'll learn you how to run away

The other men advised him to take the black home, and cut him up in inch
pieces for his impudence, obstinacy, and desertion--swearing
tremendously all the while. The slave was ordered back to his cell. Then
ensued the following colloquy between Garrison and the master:

G.--"Sir, what right have you to that poor creature?"

M.--"My father left him to me."

G.--"Suppose your father had broken into a bank and stolen ten thousand
dollars, and safely bequeathed that as a legacy; could you
conscientiously keep the money? For myself, I had rather rob any bank to
an indefinite amount than kidnap a fellow-being, or hold him in bondage;
the sin would be less injurious to society, and less sinful in the sight
of God."

M.--"Perhaps you would like to buy the slave and give him his liberty?"

G.--"Sir, I am a poor man; and were I ever so opulent, it would be
necessary, on your part, to make out a clear title to the services of
the slave before I could conscientiously make a bargain."

M--"Well, sir, I can prove from the Bible that slavery is right."

G.--"Ah! that is a precious book--the rule of conduct. I have always
supposed that its spirit was directly opposed to everything in the shape
of fraud and oppression. However, sir, I should be glad to hear your

M. (hesitatingly)--"Ham--Noah's curse, you know."

G. (hastily)--"Oh, sir, you build on a very slender foundation. Granting
even--what remains to be proved--that the Africans are the descendants
of Ham, Noah's curse was a _prediction_ of future servitude, and not an
injunction to oppress. Pray, sir, is it a careful desire to fulfill the
Scriptures, or to make money, that induces you to hold your fellow-men
in bondage?"

M. (excitedly)--"Why, sir, do you really think that the slaves are
beings like ourselves?--that is, I mean do you believe that they possess
the same faculties and capacities as the whites?"

G. (energetically)--"Certainly, sir, I do not know that there is any
moral or intellectual quality in the curl of the hair, or the color of
the skin. I cannot conceive why a black man may not as reasonably object
to my color, as I to his. Sir, it is not a black face that I detest, but
a black heart--and I find it very often under a white skin."

M. (derisively)--"Well, sir, how should you like to see a black man
President of the United States?"

G. (severely)--"As to that, sir, I am a true Republican, and bow to the
will of the majority. If the people prefer a black President, I should
cheerfully submit; and if he be qualified for the station, may
peradventure give him my vote."

M. (triumphantly)--"How should you like to have a black man marry your

G. (making a home thrust and an end of the dialogue)--"I am not
married--I have no daughter. Sir, I am not familiar with _your_
practices; but allow me to say, that slaveholders generally should be
the last persons to affect fastidiousness on that point; for they seem
to be enamored with _amalgamation_."

Garrison's pen was particularly busy during the term of his
imprisonment. He paid his respects to the State's Attorney who
prosecuted him, to the judge who condemned him, and to Francis Todd, the
owner of the ship _Francis_. He prepared and scattered broadcast a true
account of his trial, showing how the liberty of the press had been
violated in the case. He did not doubt that it would astonish Europe if
it were known there "that _an American citizen lies incarcerated in
prison, for having denounced slavery and its abettors in his own
country_." The fact created no little astonishment in America. Slavery
became distinctly connected for the first time with abridgments of the
freedom of the press, and the right of free speech. And the cause of the
slave became involved with the Constitutional liberties of the republic.
In punishing Garrison, the Abolitionist, the rights of Garrison the
white freeman were trampled on. And white freemen in the North, who
cared nothing for Abolitionism, but a great deal for their right to
speak and write freely, resented the outrage. This fact was the most
important consequence, which flowed from the trial and imprisonment of
the young editor of _The Genius of Universal Emancipation_. "As the news
of my imprisonment became extensively known," he wrote, "and the merits
of the case understood, not a mail rolled into the city but it brought
me consolatary letters from individuals hitherto unknown to me, and
periodicals of all kinds from every section of the Union (not even
excepting the South), all uniting to give me a triumphant acquittal--all
severely reprehending the conduct of Mr. Todd--and all regarding my
trial as a mockery of justice." This unexpected result was one of those
accidents of history, which "have laws as fixed as planets have."

The prosecution and imprisonment of Garrison was without doubt designed
to terrorize him into silence on the subject of slavery. But his
persecutors had reckoned without a knowledge of their victim. Garrison
had the martyr's temperament and invincibility of purpose. His
earnestness burned the more intensely with the growth of opposition and
peril. Within "gloomy walls close pent," he warbled gay as a bird of a
freedom which tyrants could not touch, nor bolts confine:

  "No chains can bind it, and no cell enclose,
  Swifter than light, it flies from pole to pole,
  And in a flash from earth to heaven it goes!"

or with deep, stern gladness sang he to "The Guiltless Prisoner" how:

  "A martyr's crown is richer than a king's!
  Think it an honor with thy Lord to bleed,
  And glory 'midst intensest sufferings;
  Though beat--imprisoned--put to open shame
  Time shall embalm and magnify thy name."

"Is it supposed by Judge Brice," the guiltless prisoner wrote from his
cell, "that his frowns can intimidate me, or his sentence stifle my
voice on the subject of African oppression? He does not know me. So long
as a good Providence gives me strength and intellect, I will not cease
to declare that the existence of slavery in this country is a foul
reproach to the American name; nor will I hesitate to proclaim the guilt
of kidnappers, slave abettors, or slaveowners, wheresoever they may
reside, or however high they may be exalted. I am only in the _alphabet_
of my task; time shall perfect a useful work. It is my shame that I have
done so little for the people of color; yea, before God, I feel humbled
that my feelings are so cold, and my language so weak. A few white
victims must be sacrificed to open the eyes of this nation, and to show
the tyranny of our laws. I expect and am willing to be persecuted,
imprisoned, and bound for advocating African rights; and I should
deserve to be a slave myself if I shrunk from that duty or danger." The
story of the trial of William Lloyd Garrison, from which the above brave
words are taken, fell into the hands of that noble man and munificent
merchant, Arthur Tappan, of New York. From the reading of it he rose
"with that deep feeling of abhorrence of slavery and its abettors which
every one must feel who is capable of appreciating the blessings of
liberty," and thereupon notified Lundy to draw upon him for one hundred
dollars if that amount would give the young editor his liberty. The fine
and costs of court were accordingly paid and just forty-nine days after
entering Baltimore jail a prisoner, Garrison recovered his freedom. The
civil action of Todd against him was still pending. Nothing daunted
Garrison went North two days after his discharge to obtain certain
evidence deemed important by his counsel to his defence. He took with
him an open letter from Lundy looking to the renewal of the weekly
_Genius_ under their joint control. Prior to Garrison's trial the paper
had fallen into great stress for want of money. Lundy and he had made a
division of their labors, the latter doing the editorial and office
work, while the former traveled from place to place soliciting
subscriptions and collecting generally the sinews of war. But the
experiment was not successful from a business standpoint. For as
Garrison playfully observed subsequently: "Where friend Lundy could get
one new subscriber, I could knock a _dozen_ off, and I did so. It was
the old experiment of the frog in the well, that went two feet up and
fell three feet back, at every jump." Where the income of the paper did
not exceed fifty dollars in four months and the weekly expenditure
amounted to at least that sum, the financial failure of the enterprise
was inevitable. This unhappy event did actually occur six weeks before
the junior editor went to jail; and the partnership was formally
dissolved in the issue of the _Genius_ of March 5, 1830. But when Arthur
Tappan made his generous offer of a hundred dollars to effect Garrison's
release, he made at the same time an offer of an equal amount to aid the
editors in reëstablishing the _Genius_. This proposition led to hopes on
the part of the two friends to a renewal of their partnership in the
cause of emancipation. And so Garrison's visit to the North was taken
advantage of to test the disposition of Northern philanthropy to support
such a paper. But what he found was a sad lack of interest in the slave.
Everywhere he went he encountered what appeared to him to be the most
monstrous indifference and apathy on the subject. The prejudices of the
free States seemed to him stronger than were those of the South. Instead
of receiving aid and encouragement to continue the good work of himself
and coadjutor, and for the doing of which he had served a term of seven
weeks in prison, men, even his best friends sought to influence him to
give it up, and to persuade him to forsake the slave, and to turn his
time and talents to safer and more profitable enterprises nearer home.
He was informed by these worldly wise men and Job's counselors that his
"scheme was visionary, fanatical, unattainable." "Why should he make
himself," they argued, "an exile from home and all that he held dear on
earth, and sojourn in a strange land, among enemies whose hearts were
dead to every noble sentiment?" Ah! he himself confessed that all were
against his return to Baltimore. But his love of the slave was stronger
than the strength of the temptation. He put all these selfish objections
behind him. As he has recorded the result of this experience:
"Opposition served only to increase my ardor, and confirm my purpose."
Strange and incomprehensible to his fellows is the man who prefers
"persecution, reproach, and poverty" with duty, to worldly ease and
honor and riches without it. When a man appears in society who is not
controlled by motives which usually govern the conduct of other men he
becomes at first an object of pity, then of contempt, and, lastly, of
hate. Garrison we may be sure at the end of this visit had made rapid
transit from the first to the second of these stages in the esteem of
his generation.

His experience was not all of this deplorable kind. He left Baltimore
without the money required to pay his way North, depending literally
upon the good God to provide for him the necessary means to complete his
journey. And such help was more than once providentially afforded the
young apostle of liberty. At New York, when he did not know how he was
to go farther for want of means, he met a Mr. Samuel Leggett who gave
him a pass on the "splendid steamboat _President_." It seems that this
friend in his need had read with indignation the story of his trial. The
bread which he had scattered from his prison on the waters of public
sentiment had thus returned to him after many days in the timely
assistance of a sympathetic soul. And then, again, when he was in Boston
in sore distress for a little money, suddenly, beautifully, the desire
of his heart was satisfied. But let him tell the incident in his own
touching way. His face was turned toward Baltimore: "But how was I to
return?" he asks. "I had not a dollar in my pocket, and my time was
expired. No one understood my circumstances. I was too proud to beg, and
ashamed to borrow. My friends were prodigal of pity, but of nothing
else. In the extremity of my uneasiness, I went to the Boston
post-office, and found a letter from my friend Lundy, inclosing a draft
for $100 from a stranger and as a remuneration for my poor inefficient
services in behalf of the slaves!" The munificent stranger was Ebenezer
Dole, of Hallowell, Maine. Money thus acquired was a sacred trust to
this child of Providence. "After deducting the expenses of traveling,"
he goes on to say, "the remainder of the above-named sum was applied in
discharging a few of the debts incurred by the unproductiveness of the

Garrison returned to Baltimore, but he did not tarry long in that
slave-ruled city. Todd's suit against him was tried after his departure,
and the jury soothed the Newburyport merchant's wounded pride with a
verdict for a thousand dollars. He never attempted, however, to enforce
the payment of the same being content probably with the "vindication,"
which his legal victory gave him.

Before the reformer left Baltimore he had definitely abandoned the plans
looking to a revival of his interest in the _Genius_. He determined
instead to publish a sheet devoted to the abolition of slavery under his
sole management and control. This paper he proposed to call the _Public
Liberator_, and to issue from Washington. The prospectus of this
journalistic project bearing date, August, 1830, declares in its opening
sentence its "primary object" to be "the abolition of slavery, and the
moral and intellectual elevation of our colored population." "I shall
spare no efforts," he pledged himself, "to delineate the withering
influence of slavery upon our national prosperity and happiness, its
awful impiety, its rapid extension, and its inevitable consequences if
it be suffered to exist without hindrance. It will also be my purpose to
point out the path of safety, and a remedy for the disease." This
comprehensive and aggressive plan of campaign signalized the rise of an
Abolitionism wholly unlike the Abolitionism of any previous time in the
history of the country. It did in fact date the opening of a new era in
the slavery struggle in America.

With Northern indifference and apathy on the subject of emancipation,
Garrison's previous visit to the North had acquainted him. Their
existence he saw interposed the main obstacle to the success of his new
venture in journalism. "The cause of this callous state of feeling," he
believed, "was owing to their exceeding ignorance of the horrors of
slavery." He accordingly made up his mind to throw the light which he
possessed into the midst of this darkness. He had written in prison
three lectures on "Slavery and Colonization." What better could he now
do than to deliver those lectures at the North? If the good people and
their religious leaders knew what he knew, they would presently feel as
he did on the question. He was loath to leave Baltimore without giving
this testimony against slavery. But unable to procure a room for this
purpose was finally compelled to content himself with the witness he had
already borne in the _Genius_ and in prison in behalf of the slave. In
Philadelphia he well-nigh failed to obtain a hall for his lectures, but
did finally succeed in getting the Franklin Institute, where, to small
audiences, he lifted up his voice against the iniquity of the times. He
repeated his lectures in New York, New Haven, and Hartford. But not many
came out to hear him. The nation, its churches, and politicians had
thrust their fingers in their ears to every cry coming up from the
slave. Why should they go to sup with a madman on horrors, with which as
patriotic people they were forbidden to concern themselves. And so for
the most part Garrison could do nothing with communities, which had
eyes, but obstinately refused to see with them upon any subject relating
to the abominations of slavery. In his own town of Newburyport, officers
of Christian churches not only refused to hear his message themselves,
but debarred others from listening to the woes and wrongs of
fellow-creatures in bondage. As Mr. Garrison truly said at the time: "If
I had visited Newburyport to plead the cause of twenty white men in
chains, every hall and every meeting-house would have been thrown open,
and the fervor of my discourses anticipated and exceeded by my
fellow-townsmen. The fact that two millions of colored beings are
groaning in bondage, in this land of liberty, excites no interest nor
pity." If these damning facts are remembered sixty years after their
occurrence to the shame of the trustees of the two churches, viz., the
Presbyterian Church on Harris street and the Second Congregational
Church, it is also remembered to the honor of the two pastors, Rev. Dr.
Daniel Dana, and the Rev. Dr. Luther F. Dimmick, that they had thrown
open to the prophet the doors of their meeting-houses, which the
trustees afterward slammed in his face.

In Boston the same hard luck followed him. In all that city of Christian
churches he could not obtain the use of a single meeting-house, "in
which to vindicate the rights of TWO MILLIONS of American citizens, who
are now groaning in servile chains in this boasted land of liberty; and
also to propose just, benevolent, and constitutional measures for their
relief." So ran an advertisement in the Boston _Courier_ of the sorely
tried soul. For two weeks he had gone up and down the town in search of
a room free of cost, in which to deliver his message. The door of every
sanctuary was locked against his cause. It was then, as a final
recourse, that he turned to the _Courier_, and made his last appeal to
the Christian charity of the city. The prayer of the prophet was
answered from an unexpected quarter. It was that ecclesiastical dragon
of the times, Abner Kneeland, and his society of "blasphemers," who
proved afresh the truth of that scripture which says: "Not every one
that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." It was they
that gave to liberty a hearing, to the prophet of righteousness a chance
to deliver his message. It was in their meeting-house, in Julian Hall,
that Garrison gave his lectures, giving the first one on the evening of
October 15, 1830.

Samuel J. May, who was present, has preserved his impressions of the
lecture and lecturer. "Never before," he records many years afterward,
"was I so affected by the speech of man. When he had ceased speaking I
said to those around me: 'That is a providential man; he is a prophet;
he will shake our nation to its center, but he will shake slavery out of
it. We ought to know him, we ought to help him. Come, let us go and give
him our hands.' Mr. Sewall and Mr. Alcott went up with me and we
introduced each other. I said to him, 'Mr. Garrison, I am not sure that
I can indorse all you have said this evening. Much of it requires
careful consideration. But I am prepared to embrace you. I am sure you
are called to a great work, and I mean to help you.' Mr. Sewall
cordially assured him of his readiness also to cooperate with him. Mr.
Alcott invited him to his home. He went and we sat with him until twelve
that night, listening to his discourse, in which he showed plainly that
_immediate, unconditional emancipation, without expatriation, was the
right of every slave, and could not be withheld by his master an hour
without sin_. That night my soul was baptised in his spirit, and ever
since I have been a disciple and fellow-laborer of William Lloyd
Garrison." A new force had arisen in our history, and a new epoch had
broken bolts for humanity.



The providential man was not yet twenty-five. In personal appearance he
was quite the reverse of his friend Lundy. Garrison was gifted with a
body that matched his mind, strong, straight, sound in every part, and
proportioned in every member. As he stood he was much above the medium
height. His dark hair had already partially left the crown of the high
dome-shaped head. His forehead combined height with breadth, which,
taken in connection with the brown eyes covered with the now habitual
glasses, lent to his countenance a striking air of moral serenity and
elevation. Force, firmness, no ordinary self-reliance and courage found
masterly expression in the rest of the face. There was through the whole
physical man a nice blending of strength and delicacy of structure. The
impression of fineness and finish was perhaps mainly owing to the
woman-like purity and freshness of skin and color, which overspread the
virile lines and features of the face from brow to chin. What one saw in
that face was the quality of justice made flesh, good-will to men

This characterization of the reformer's countenance may be considered
absurd by some readers. But absurd it is not. People who had read his
stern denunciations of slave-holding and slaveholders, and who had
formed their image of the man from his "hard language" and their own
prejudices could not recognize the original when they met him. His
manner was peculiarly winning and attractive, and in personal
intercourse almost instantly disarmed hostility. The even gentleness of
his rich voice, his unfailing courtesy and good temper, his quick eye
for harmless pleasantries, his hearty laugh, the Quaker-like calmness,
deliberateness, and meekness, with which he would meet objections and
argue the righteousness of his cause, his sweet reasonableness and
companionableness were in strange contrast to popular misconceptions and
caricatures of him. No one needed to be persuaded, who had once
conversed with him, that there was no hatred or vindictiveness in his
severities of language toward slaveholders. That he was no Jacobin, no
enemy of society, was perceived the moment one looked into his grave,
kind face, or caught the warm accents of his pacific tones, or listened
to the sedate intensity, and humanity of his discourses on the enormity
of American slavery as they fell from him in conversations between man
and man. Here is a case in point, a typical incident in the life of the
reformer; it occurred, it is true, when he was twenty-seven, but it
might have occurred at twenty-five quite as well; it is narrated by
Samuel J. May in his recollections of the anti-slavery conflict: On his
way from New York to Philadelphia with Garrison, Mr. May fell into a
discussion with a pro-slavery passenger on the vexed question of the
day. There was the common pro-slavery reasoning, which May answered as
well as he was able. Presently Mr. Garrison drew near the disputants,
whereupon May took the opportunity to shift the anti-slavery burden of
the contention to his leader's shoulders. All of his most radical and
unpopular Abolition doctrines Garrison immediately proceeded to expound
to his opponent. "After a long conversation," says Mr. May, "which
attracted as many as could get within hearing, the gentleman said,
courteously: 'I have been much interested, sir, in what you have said,
and in the exceedingly frank and temperate manner in which you have
treated the subject. If all Abolitionists were like you, there would be
much less opposition to your enterprise. But, sir, depend upon it, that
hair-brained, reckless, violent fanatic, Garrison, will damage, if he
does not shipwreck, any cause.' Stepping forward, I replied, 'Allow me,
sir, to introduce you to Mr. Garrison, of whom you entertain so bad an
opinion. The gentleman you have been talking with is he.'"

Or take Harriet Martineau's first impressions on seeing him. "His aspect
put to flight in an instant what prejudices his slanderers had raised in
me. I was wholly taken by surprise. It was a countenance glowing with
health, and wholly expressive of purity, animation and gentleness. I did
not wonder at the citizen who, seeing a print of Garrison at a shop
window without a name to it, went in and bought it, and framed it as the
most saintlike of countenances."

The appearance of such a man on the stage of our history as a nation, at
this hour, was providential. His coming was in the fulness of time. A
rapid review of events anterior to the advent of Garrison will serve to
place this matter more clearly before the general reader. To begin,
then, at the beginning we have two ships off the American coast, the one
casting anchor in Plymouth harbor, the other discharging its cargo at
Jamestown. They were both freighted with human souls. But how different!
Despotism landed at Jamestown, democracy at Plymouth. Here in the germ
was the Southern idea, slave labor, slave institutions; and here also
was the Northern idea, free labor, free institutions. Once planted they
grew, each seed idea multiplying after its kind. In course of time there
arose on one side an industrial system in which the plantation
principle, race-rule and race-slavery, were organic centers; and, on the
other, a social system in which the principle of popular power and
government, the town meeting, and the common school were the ganglia of
social expansion. Contrary ideas beget naturally enough contrary
interests and institutions. So it is no matter for surprise that the
local interests and institutions of the thirteen revolted colonies
lacked homogeneity and identity. What was calculated to promote the
general welfare of the Northern one, it was quite possible might work a
totally opposite result in the Southern. For, indeed, while there were
slaves in them all, the slave system had taken root in Southern soil
only; and while on the other hand the spirit of freedom was existent in
each, free labor had rooted itself in Northern ground solely.

As the war of the Revolution was an uprising against arbitrary power,
and for the establishment of political liberty, it pushed easily into
the foreground the larger subject of human rights. Most of the leading
actors felt the inconsistency of keeping some men in bondage, when they
were fighting to rid themselves of a tyranny which, in comparison to the
other, was a state of honorable freedom. Their humanity condemned
African slavery, and they earnestly desired its extinction. The
Declaration of Independence proves to how high a level the tide of
freedom rose in the colonies. The grand truths by it proclaimed the
signers of that instrument did not restrict in their application to some
men to the exclusion of other men. They wrote "All men," and they meant
exactly what they wrote. Too simply honest and great they were to mean
less than their solemn and deliberate words.

On political as well as on moral grounds they desired emancipation. But
there was a difficulty which at the time proved insuperable. The
nation-making principle, the idea of country, was just emerging out of
the nebulous civil conditions and relations of the ante-Revolutionary
epoch. There was no existent central authority to reach the evil within
the States except the local governments of the States respectively. And
States in revolt against the central authority of the mother country
would hardly be disposed to divest themselves of any part of their newly
asserted right to govern themselves for the purpose of conferring the
same upon any other political body. To each State, then, the question
was necessarily left for settlement.

The war, during its continuance, absorbed the united resources and
energies of the people and their leaders. The anti-slavery movement made
accordingly but small progress. Reforms thrive only when they get a
hearing. Public attention is the food on which they thrive. But precious
little of this food was the Abolition cause able to snatch in those
bitter years. It could not grow. It remained in the gristle--hardly more
than a sentiment. But the sentiment was a seed, the promise and potency
of kindlier times. With the close of the long struggle other questions
arose; got the people's ears; fixed the attention of the leaders. Scant
notice could emancipation extort from men who had to repair the ravages
of an exhausting war, reconstruct shattered fortunes, restore civil
society in parts tumbling into ruinous disorder. The instinct of
self-preservation was altogether too masterful for the moral starveling.
It succumbed to circumstances, content to obtain an occasional sermon,
an annual address, a few scattered societies to keep a human glow in the
bosom of the infant Confederacy.

The Confederation failed. The formation of a more perfect union was
demanded and undertaken. This transcendent task straightway thrust into
the background every other enterprise and interest. The feeble activity
of the freedom-making principle was checked, for the time being, by the
energy of the nation-making power. They were not antagonistic
forces--only in the natural order of things, the earliest stages in the
evolution of the former had to come after the first steps were taken in
the development of the latter. Before there could start a general
movement against American slavery there must needs be an American
nation. An American nation was, in the year 1787, in process of
successful development. With the adoption of the Constitution, the
national principle entered on a period of marvelous expansion and

Let it not, however, be hastily concluded that freedom meanwhile was in
total eclipse, that the anti-slavery sentiment was absolutely without
influence. For it unquestionably inspired the Ordinance of 1787. The
Northwest Territory, out of which were subsequently organized the States
of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, was thereby,
forever secured to the Northern idea, and free labor. Supplementary to
this grand act was the Constitutional prohibition of the African
slave-trade after the year 1808. Together they were intended to
discourage the growth of slavery--the first by restricting its
territorial extension, the second, by arresting its numerical increase.
And without doubt they would have placed the evil in the way of ultimate
extinction had other and far reaching causes not intervened to produce
adverse social and political conditions.

The first of these causes, in point of time, were certain labor-saving
inventions in England, which vastly enhanced the demand for raw cotton.
Arkwright's invention of the spinning machine about twenty years prior
to the adoption of the Constitution, perfected by the spinning-jenny of
Hargreaves, and the mule of Crompton, "turned Lancashire," the historian
Green says, "into a hive of industry." The then rapid demand for cotton
operated in time as a stimulus to its production in America. Increased
productivity raised the value of slave property and slave soil. But the
slow and tedious hand method of separating the fiber of the cotton bulb
from the seed greatly limited the ability of the Cotton States to meet
and satisfy the fast growing demand of the English manufacturers, until
Eli Whitney, in 1793, by an ingenious invention solved the problem of
supply for these States. The cotton gin was not long in proving itself
the other half--the other hand of the spinning machine.

From that year the slave interests of the South rose in market value,
and its industrial system assumed unexpected importance in the economic
world. The increased production of cotton led directly to increased
demand for slave labor and slave soil. The increased demand for slave
labor the Constitutional provision relating to the African slave trade
operated in part to satisfy. The increased demand for slave soil was
likewise satisfied by the cession to the United States by Georgia and
North Carolina of the Southwest Territory, with provisos practically
securing it to slavery. Out of this new national territory were
subsequently carved the slave States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and

Slave soil unlike free soil, is incapable of sustaining a dense
population. Slave labor calls for large spaces within which to multiply
and prosper. The purchase of Louisiana and the acquisition of Florida
met this agrarian necessity on the part of the South. Immense, unsettled
areas thus fell to the lot of the slave system at the crisis of its
material expansion and prosperity. The domestic slave-trade under the
impetus of settling these vast regions according to the plantation
principle, became an enormous and spreading industry. The crop of slaves
was not less profitable than the crop of cotton. A Southern white man
had but to buy a score of slaves and a few hundred acres to get "rich
beyond the dreams of avarice." So at least calculated the average
Southern man.

This revival of slavery disappointed the humane expectation of its
decline and ultimate extinction entertained by the founders of the
republic. It built up instead a growing and formidable slave class, and
interest in the Union. With the rise of giant slave interests, there
followed the rise of a power devoted to their encouragement and

Three far-reaching concessions the slave States obtained in the
convention of 1787, viz., the right to import slaves from Africa until
1808; the rendition of fugitive slaves escaping into the free States,
and the three-fifths slave representation clause of the
Constitution--all of which added vastly to the security and value of
this species of property, and as a consequence contributed to the slave

The equality of the States in the upper branch of the National
Legislature, taken in connection with the right of the slave States to
count five slaves as three freemen in the apportionment of
representatives to the lower House of Congress, gave the Southern
section an almost immediate ascendency in the Federal Government. To the
South was thus opened by an unexpected combination of circumstances a
wide avenue for the acquisition of fabulous wealth, and to Southern
public men an incomparable arena for the exercise of political abilities
and leadership. An institution, which thus ministered to two of the
strongest passions of mankind--avarice and ambition--was certain to
excite the most intense attachment. Its safety naturally, therefore,
became among the slave class an object of prime importance. Southern
jealousy in this regard ultimated inevitably in Southern narrowness,
Southern sectionalism, which early manifested themselves in the
exclusion from lead in national affairs of Northern public men, reputed
to be unfriendly to slavery. Webster as late as 1830, protested warmly
against this intolerance. Like begets like. And the proscribing of
anti-slavery politicians by the South, created in turn not a little
sectional feeling at the North, and helped to stimulate there a
consciousness of sectional differences, of antagonism of interests
between the two halves of the Union.

Discontent with the original basis of the Union, which had given the
South its political coign of vantage, broke out first in New England.
The occasion, though not the cause, of this discontent was, perhaps, the
downfall of the Federal party, whose stronghold was in the East. The
commercial and industrial crisis brought on by the embargo, and which
beggared, on the authority of Webster, "thousands of families and
hundreds of thousands of individuals" fanned this Eastern
dissatisfaction into almost open disaffection towards a government
dominated by Southern influence, and directed by Southern statesmanship.
To the preponderance of this Southern element in national legislation
New England traced her misfortunes. She was opposed to the War of 1812,
but was overruled to her hurt by the South. In these circumstances New
England went for correcting the inequalities of the original basis of
the Union, which gave to the South its undue preponderance in shaping
national laws and policies. This was the purpose of the Hartford
Convention, which proposed the abrogation of the slave representation
clause of the Constitution, and the imposition of a check upon the
admission of new States into the Union. The second proposition did not
say "new slave States," but new slave States was, nevertheless, intended
by the Convention. Here in point of time and magnitude, was the first
distinct collision of the two sets of ideas and interests of the

Following the Treaty of Ghent other and imperious questions engaged the
public attention--questions of the tariff, of finance, internal
improvements, national defence, a new navy, forts and fortifications.
Hard times, too, engrossed an enormous share of this attention. The
immediate needs and problems of the hour pushed into the background all
less pressing ones. The slavery question amidst the clamor and babel of
emergent and material interests, lost something of its sectional heat
and character. But its fires were not extinguished, only banked as
events were speedily to reveal.

The application of Missouri for admission into the Union as a slave
State four years after the Hartford Convention blew to a blaze the
covered embers of strife between the sections. The North was violently
agitated. For the admission of a new slave State meant two more slave
votes in the Senate, and an increase on the old inequitable basis of
slave representation in the lower House of Congress. It meant to the
Northern section indefinite Southern ascendency, prolonged Southern lead
in national legislation. All the smouldering passions of the earlier
period, of embargo, and non-intercourse, and the war of 1812, flamed
suddenly and fiercely in the heart of the free States.

The length and bitterness of that controversy excited the gravest
apprehensions for the stability of the Union. The dread of disunion led
to mutual concessions, to the Missouri Compromise. The slave-holding
section got its immediate claim allowed, and the free States secured the
erection of a line to the north of which slavery was forever prohibited.
And besides this, the admission of Maine was supposed to neutralize
whatever political advantages, which would accrue to the South from the
admission of Missouri as a slave State. Both sections were content, and
the slavery question was thought to be permanently settled. With this
final disposition of an ugly problem, the peace and permanence of the
Union were viewed universally as fixed facts. Still, considering the
gravity of the case, a little precaution would not go amiss. The slavery
question had shaken men's faith in the durability of the republic. It
was therefore adjudged a highly dangerous subject. The political
physicians with one accord prescribed on the ounce-of-prevention
principle, _quiet_, SILENCE, and OBLIVION, to be administered in large
and increasing doses to both sections. Mum was the word, and mum the
country solemnly and suddenly became from Maine to Georgia. But, alas!
beneath the ashes of this Missouri business, deep below the unnatural
silence and quiet, inextinguishable fires were burning and working again
to the surface of politics. In such circumstances a fresh outbreak of
old animosities must occur as soon as the subterranean heat should reach
the point of highest combustibility in the federal system. The tariff
proved to be that point of highest combustibility.

Alexander Hamilton inaugurated the policy of giving governmental aid to
infant manufactures. The wisdom of diversifying the industries of the
young nation was acquiesced in by the leading statesmen of both
sections. Beset as the republic then was by international forces hostile
to democratic institutions, it was natural enough that the great men who
presided over its early years should seek by Federal legislation to
render it, as speedily and completely as possible, industrially
self-dependent and self-supporting. The war of 1812 enforced anew upon
the attention of statesmen the importance of industrial independence.
The war debt, together with certain governmental enterprises and
expenditures growing out of the war, was largely, if not wholly,
responsible for the tariff of 1816. This act dates the rise of our
American system of protection. It is curious to note that Southern men
were the leaders of this new departure in the national fiscal policy.
Calhoun, Clay, and Lowndes were the guiding spirits of that period of
industrial ferment and activity. They little dreamt what economic evils
were to fall in consequence upon the South. That section was not slow to
feel the unequal action of the protective principle. The character of
its labor incapacitated the South from dividing the benefits of the new
revenue policy with its free rival. The South of necessity was
restricted to a single industry, the tillage of the earth. Slave labor
did not possess the intelligence, the skill, the patience, the
mechanical versatility to embark successfully in manufacturing
enterprises. Free labor monopolised the protected industries, and
Northern capital caught all the golden showers of fiscal legislation.
What the South needed, from an economic point of view, was unrestricted
access to the markets of the world for her products, and the freest
competition of the world in her own markets. The limitations imposed
upon the slave States by their industrial system was in itself a
tremendous handicap in their struggle for an advantageous place in the
New World of the nineteenth century; in their struggle with their free
sisters for political leadership in the Union. But with the development
of the protective principle those States fell into sore financial
distress, were ground between the upper millstone of the protective
system and the nether millstone of their own industrial system.
Prosperity and plenty did presently disappear from that section and
settled in the North. In 1828 Benton drew this dark picture of the state
of the South:

"In place of wealth, a universal pressure for money was felt; not enough
for common expenses; the price of all property down; the country
drooping and languishing; towns and cities decaying, and the frugal
habits of the people pushed to the verge of universal self-denial for
the preservation of their family estates."

He did not hesitate to charge to Federal legislation the responsibility
for all this poverty and distress, for he proceeds to remark that:

"Under this legislation the exports of the South have been made the
basis of the Federal revenue. The twenty odd millions annually levied
upon imported goods are deducted out of the price of their cotton, rice,
and tobacco, either in the diminished prices which they receive for
those staples in foreign ports, or in the increased price which they pay
for the articles they have to consume at home."

A suffering people are not apt to reason clearly or justly on the causes
which have brought them to indigence. They feel their wretchedness and
reach out for a victim. And the law-making power usually happens to be
that victim. As the distress of the South increased, the belief that
Federal legislation was responsible for it increased likewise. The
spread and deepening of this conviction in the Southern States
precipitated among them an ominous crisis in their attachment to the
Union. Nullification and an embittered sectionalism was the hateful
legacy bequeathed to the republic by the tariff controversy. It left the
South in a hyper-sensitive state in all matters relating to her domestic
interests. It left the North in a hyper-sensitive condition on all
matters touching the peace and stability of the Union. The silence and
oblivion policy on the subject of slavery was renewed with tenfold
intensity. Ulysses-like the free States bound themselves, their right of
free speech, and their freedom of the press on this subject, for fear of
the Siren voices which came thrilling on every breeze from the South.
Quiet was the word, and quiet the leaders in Church and State sought to
enforce upon the people, to the end that the vision of "States
dissevered, discordant, belligerent, of a land rent with civil feuds, or
drenched it may be, in fraternal blood," might not come to pass for
their "glorious Union."

The increasing friction and heat between the sections during twenty-five
years, had effected every portion of the Federal system, and created
conditions favorable to a violent explosion. Sectional differences of a
political and industrial complexion, forty years had sufficed to
develop. Sectional differences of a moral and social character forty
years had also sufficed to generate. To kindle all those differences,
all that mass of combustible feelings and forces into a general
conflagration a spark only was wanted. And out of the glowing humanity
of one man the spark was suddenly struck.

It is curious to note that in the year 1829, the very year in which
William Lloyd Garrison landed in Baltimore, and began the editorship of
_The Genius of Universal Emancipation_, the American Convention, or
national assembly of the old State societies for the abolition of
slavery, fell into desuetude. It was as if Providence was clearing the
debris of an old dispensation out of the way of the new one which his
prophet was beginning to herald, as if guarding against all possibility
of having the new wine, then soon to be pressed from the moral vintage
of the nation, put into old bottles. The Hour for a new movement against
slavery had come, and with its arrival the Man to hail it had also come.

Other men had spoken and written against slavery, and labored for the
freedom of the slave before Garrison had thought upon the subject at
all. Washington and Jefferson, Franklin, Jay, and Hamilton had been
Abolitionists before he was born, but theirs was a divided interest. The
establishment of a more perfect union was the paramount object of their
lives. John Wesley had denounced slavery in language quite as harsh as
Garrison's, but his, too, was a divided interest, the religious revival
of the eighteenth century being his distinctive mission. Benezet,
Woolman, and Lundy were saints, who had yearned with unspeakable
sympathy for the black bondmen, and were indefatigable in good works in
his behalf, but they had not that stern and iron quality without which
reforms cannot be launched upon the attention of mankind. What his
predecessors lacked, Garrison possessed to a marvelous degree--the
undivided interest, the supremacy of a single purpose, the stern stuff
out of which the moral reformer is made, and in which he is panoplied.
They were all his, but there was another besides--immediatism. This
element distinguished the movement against slavery, started by him, from
all other movements begun before he arrived on the stage, for the
emancipation of the slaves in the Union.

This doctrine of immediate as opposed to gradual emancipation, was not
original with Garrison, nor was he the first to enunciate it. More than
a dozen years before he was converted to it, Rev. George Bourne, in "The
Book and Slavery Irreconcilable," had shown that "the system (of
slavery) is so entirely corrupt that it admits of no cure but by a
_total and immediate abolition_. For a gradual emancipation is a virtual
recognition of the right, and establishes the rectitude of the practice.
If it be just for one moment, it is hallowed forever; and if it be
inequitable, not a day should it be tolerated." In 1824, eight years
after the publication of Bourne's book, and five years before Garrison
announced the doctrine in the _Genius_, the Rev. James Duncan maintained
it, in his "Treatise on Slavery," with no uncertainty of sense or
conviction. But neither Bourne nor Duncan had been able to effect an
incarnation of the doctrine, without which the good which it aimed at
could not be achieved. What they failed to effect, it is the glory of
Garrison that he achieved in his own person. He was "_total and
immediate Abolition_" personified. "Truth is mighty and will prevail,"
is a wise saying and worthy of acceptation. But this ultimate prevailing
of TRUTH depends mainly upon individual effort, applied not
intermittently, but steadily to a particular segment of the circle of
conduct. It is the long, strong, never-ending pull and tug upon the
wheels of conduct, which marks the great reformer. He finds his age or
country stuck in some Serbonian bog of iniquity. He prays, but he prays
with his shoulders braced strenuously against the body of society, and
he does not cease his endeavors until a revolution in conduct places his
age or country on firm ground beyond its Serbonian bog. The coming of
such a man is no accident. When the Hour is ready and the Man comes, a
new epoch in the life of a people arises from the conjunction. Of such
vast consequence verily was the coming into American history of William
Lloyd Garrison.



After leaving Baltimore, Garrison clung pathetically to the belief that,
if he told what he had seen of the barbarism of slavery to the North, he
would be certain to enlist the sympathy and aid of its leaders,
political and ecclesiastical, in the cause of emancipation. The sequel
to his efforts in this regard proved that he was never more mistaken in
his life. He addressed letters to men like Webster, Jeremiah Mason,
Lyman Beecher, and Dr. Channing, "holding up to their view the
tremendous iniquity of the land, and begging them, ere it should be too
late, to interpose their great power in the Church and State, to save
our country from the terrible calamities which the sin of slavery was
bringing upon us." But there is no evidence that this appeal produced
the feeblest ripple in the lives of the two first; and upon the two last
it was equally barren of result. Dr. Channing, indeed, did not take the
trouble to hear any one of the three lectures of the young
philanthropist. Dr. Beecher, however, was at the pains to be present at
the first lecture given at Julien Hall. But he betrayed no real interest
in the subject. He had no time to devote to anti-slavery, had, in fine,
too many irons in the fire already. To this impotent apology of the
great preacher of immediatism in his dealing with all kinds of sin,
except the sin of slave-holding, for not espousing the cause of the
slave, Mr. Garrison made his famous retort:

    "Then you had better let all your irons burn than neglect your
    duty to the slave."

What more did this poor and friendless man, with his one idea and his
harsh language, know of duties and dangers than Daniel Webster, who was
busy saving the Union; than Lyman Beecher, who was not less busy saving
souls; or than Dr. Channing, who was quite as busy saving liberalism in
matters of religion? What folly and presumption it must have seemed to
these mighty men this attempt of Garrison to impress upon them a proper
sense of their obligations to their country.

"Your zeal," said Dr. Beecher to him, with unlimited condescension of
tone--"your zeal is commendable, but you are misguided. If you will give
up your fanatical notions and be guided by us (the clergy) we will make
you the Wilberforce of America."

And so what was the young man, burning up with his one idea, to do in
presence of such a failure to win these men to the leadership of the
anti-slavery movement? He could not hold his peace; his message he was
compelled to deliver in the ears of the nation whether its leaders would
hear or forbear. Perhaps the common people would hearken to what the
wise and powerful had rejected. At any rate they should hear what was
resting upon his soul with the weight of a great woe, the force of a
supreme command. But how was he, penniless and friendless, to roll from
his bosom the burden which was crushing it; to pause long enough in the
battle for bread to fight the battle of the slave? Ah, if he had money!
but no money did he have, not a dollar in his pocket! Oh, if he had rich
friends who would dedicate their riches to the preaching of the gospel
of freedom! but alas! rich friends there were none. Oh, if he could cry
to the Church for help in this hour of his need! but it was slowly
dawning on him that not from the Church would help come to his cause;
for a grievous thing had happened to the Church. The slave gorgon sat
staring from the pews, and turning the pulpits to stone, turning also to
stone the hearts of the people.

Undismayed by the difficulties which were closing in around him,
Garrison resolutely set himself to accomplish his purpose touching the
establishment of a weekly paper devoted to the abolition of slavery. He
had promised in his _Prospectus_ to issue the first number of the
_Public Liberator_ "as soon as subscriptions thereto may authorize the
attempt." But had he waited for the fulfillment of this condition, the
experiment could never have been tried. When subscribers did not come
in, the paper, he determined should go forth all the same. But there are
some things in the publication of a paper which no man can dispense
with, which indispensable somethings are: types, a press, an office, and
an assistant. All these requisites were wanting to the man whose sole
possession seemed an indomitable will, a faith in himself, and in the
righteousness of his cause, which nothing could shake, nor
disappointment nor difficulty, however great, was able to daunt or
deter. To such an unconquerable will, to such an invincible faith
obstacles vanish; the impossible becomes the attainable. As Garrison
burned to be about his work, help came to him from a man quite as
penniless and friendless as himself. The man was Isaac Knapp, an old
companion of his in Newburyport, who had also worked with him in the
office of the _Genius_, in Baltimore. He was a practical printer, and
was precisely the sort of assistant that the young reformer needed at
this juncture in the execution of his purpose; a man like himself
acquainted with poverty, and of unlimited capacity for the endurance of
unlimited hardships. Together they worked out the financial problems
which blocked the way to the publication of the paper. The partners took
an office in Merchants' Hall building, then standing on the corner of
Congress and Water streets, Boston, which gave their joint enterprise a
local habitation. It had already a name. They obtained the use of types
in the printing office of the _Christian Examiner_, situated in the same
building. The foreman, Stephen Foster, through his ardent interest in
Abolition, made the three first numbers of the paper possible. The
publishers paid for the use of the types by working during the day at
the case in the _Examiner's_ office. They got the use of a press from
another foreman with Abolition sympathies, viz., James B. Yerrington,
then the printer of the Boston _Daily Advocate_. Thus were obtained the
four indispensables to the publication of the _Liberator_--types, a
press, an office, and an assistant.

When at length the offspring of such labor and sacrifices made its
appearance in the world, which was on January 1, 1831, it was, in point
of size, insignificant enough. It did not look as if its voice would
ever reach beyond the small dark chamber where it saw the light.
Picture, oh! reader, a wee sheet with four columns to the page,
measuring fourteen inches one way and nine and a quarter the other, and
you will get an idea of the diminutiveness of the _Liberator_ on the day
of its birth. The very paper on which it was printed was procured on
credit. To the ordinary observer it must have seemed such a weakling as
was certain to perish from inanition in the first few months of its
struggle for existence in the world of journalism. It was domiciled
during successive periods in four different rooms of the Merchant's Hall
building, until it reached No. 11, "under the eaves," whence it issued
weekly for many years to call the nation to repentance. A photographic
impression of this cradle-room of the anti-slavery movement has been
left by Oliver Johnson, an eye-witness. Says Mr. Johnson: "The dingy
walls; the small windows, bespattered with printer's ink; the press
standing in one corner; the composing-stands opposite; the long
editorial and mailing table, covered with newspapers; the bed of the
editor and publisher on the floor--all these make a picture never to be
forgotten." For the first eighteen months the partners toiled fourteen
hours a day, and subsisted "chiefly upon bread and milk, a few cakes,
and a little fruit, obtained from a baker's shop opposite, and a petty
cake and fruit shop in the basement," and, alas, "were on short commons
even at that." Amid such hard and grinding poverty was the _Liberator_
born. But the great end of the reformer glorified the mean surroundings:

  "O truth! O Freedom! how are ye still born
  In the rude stable, in the manger nursed;
  What humble hands unbar those gates of morn
  Through which the splendors of the New Day burst."

About the brow of this "infant crying in the night," shone aureole-like
the sunlit legend: _Our country is the world--our countrymen are
mankind._ The difference between this motto of the _Liberator_ and that
of the _Free Press_: _Our country, our whole country, and nothing but
our country_--measures the greatness of the revolution which had taken
place in the young editor. The grand lesson he had learned, than which
there is none greater, that beneath diversities of race, color, creed,
language, there is the one human principle, which makes all men kin. He
had learned at the age of twenty-five to know the mark of brotherhood
made by the Deity Himself: "Behold! my brother is man, not because he is
American or Anglo-Saxon, or white or black, but because he is a
fellow-man," is the simple, sublime acknowledgment, which thenceforth he
was to make in his word and life.

It was Mr. Garrison's original design, as we have seen, to publish the
_Liberator_ from Washington. Lundy had, since the issue of the
_Prospectus_ for the new paper, removed the _Genius_ to the capital of
the nation. This move of Lundy rendered the establishment of a second
paper devoted to the abolition of slavery in the same place, of doubtful
utility, but, weighty as was this consideration from a mere business
point of view, in determining Garrison to locate the _Liberator_ in
another quarter, it was not decisive. Just what was the decisive
consideration, he reveals in his salutatory address in the _Liberator_.
Here it is:

"During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the
people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery," he confides
to the reader, "every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the
fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected
in the free States--_and particularly in New England_--than at the
South. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction
more relentless; prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen than
among slaveowners themselves. Of course there were individual exceptions
to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten
me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of
emancipation in the eyes of the nation, _within sight of Bunker Hill,
and in the birthplace of liberty_." This final choice of Boston as a
base from which to operate against slavery was sagacious, and of the
greatest moment to the success of the experiment and to its effective
service to the cause.

If the reformer changed his original intention respecting the place of
publication for his paper, he made no alteration of his position on the
subject of slavery. "I shall strenuously contend," he declares in the
salutatory, "for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population."
"In Park Street Church," he goes on to add, "on the Fourth of July,
1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular
but pernicious doctrine of _gradual_ abolition. I seize this opportunity
to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask
pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren, the poor slaves,
for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice, and

To those who find fault with his harsh language he makes reply: "I
_will_ be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this
subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation.
No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell
him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell
the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it
has fallen--but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the
present. I am in earnest--I will not equivocate--I will not excuse--I
will not retreat a single inch--AND I WILL BE HEARD." Martin Luther's
"Here I take my stand," was not braver or grander than the "I will be
heard," of the American reformer. It did not seem possible that a young
man, without influence, without money, standing almost alone, could ever
make good those courageous words. The country, in Church and State, had
decreed silence on the subject of slavery; the patriotism of the North,
its commerce, its piety, its labor and capital had all joined hands to
smother agitation, and stifle the discussion of a question that
imperilled the peace and durability of Webster's glorious Union. But one
man, tearing the gag from his lips, defying all these, cried, "Silence,
there shall not be!" and forthwith the whole land began to talk on the
forbidden theme:

  "O small beginnings ye are great and strong,
  Based on a faithful heart and weariless brain!
  Ye build the future fair, ye conquer wrong.
  Ye earn the crown, and wear it not in vain!"



Archimedes with his lever desired a place to stand that he might move
the world of matter. Garrison with his paper, having found a place for
his feet, demonstrated speedily his ability to push from its solid base
the world of mind. His plan was very simple, viz., to reveal slavery as
it then existed in its naked enormity, to the conscience of the North,
to be "as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice." And so, week
after week, he packed in the columns of the _Liberator_ facts, the most
damning facts, against slaveholders, their cruelty and tyranny. He
painted the woes of the slaves as if he, too, had been a slave. For the
first time the masters found a man who rebuked them as not before had
they been rebuked. Others may have equivocated, but this man called
things by their proper names, a spade, a spade, and sin, sin. Others may
have contented themselves with denunciations of the sins and with
excuses for the sinner, as a creature of circumstances, the victim of
ancestral transgressions, but this man offered no excuses for the
slave-holding sinner. Him and his sin he denounced in language, which
the Eternal puts only into the mouths of His prophets. It was, as he had
said, "On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with
moderation." The strength and resources of his mother-tongue seemed to
him wholly inadequate for his needs, to express the transcendent
wickedness of slave-holding. All the harsh, the stern, the terrible and
tremendous energies of the English speech he drew upon, and launched at
slaveholders. Amid all of this excess of the enthusiast there was the
method of a calculating mind. He aimed to kindle a conflagration because
he had icebergs to melt. "The public shall not be imposed upon," he
replied to one of his critics, "and men and things shall be called by
their right names. I retract nothing, I blot out nothing. My language is
exactly such as suits me; it will displease many, I know; to displease
them is my intention." He was philosopher enough to see that he could
reach the national conscience only by exciting the national anger. It
was not popular rage, which he feared but popular apathy. If he could
goad the people to anger on the subject of slavery he would soon be rid
of their apathy. And so week after week he piled every sort of
combustible material, which he was able to collect on board the
_Liberator_ and lighting it all, sent the fiery messenger blazing among
the icebergs of the Union. Slaveholders were robbers, murderers,
oppressors; they were guilty of all the sins of the decalogue, were in a
word the chief of sinners. At the same moment that the reformer denied
their right of property in the slave, he attacked their character also,
held them up in their relation of masters to the reprobation of the
nation and of mankind as monsters of injustice and inhumanity. The tone
which he held toward them, steadily, without shadow of change, was the
tone of a righteous man toward the workers of iniquity. The
indifference, the apathy, the pro-slavery sympathy and prejudice of the
free States rendered the people of the North hardly less culpable. They
were working iniquity with the people of the South. This was the long,
sharp goad, which the young editor thrust in between the bars of the
Union and stirred the guilty sections to quick and savage outbursts of
temper against him and the bitter truths which he preached. Almost
directly the proofs came to him that he was HEARD at the South and at
the North alike. Angry growls reached his ears in the first month of the
publication of the _Liberator_ from some heartless New England editors
in denunciation of his "violent and intemperate attacks on
slaveholders." The _Journal_, published at Louisville, Kentucky, and
edited by George D. Prentice, declared that, "some of his opinions with
regard to slavery in the United States are no better than lunacy." The
_American Spectator_ published at the seat of the National Government,
had hoped that the good sense of the "late talented and persecuted
junior editor" of the _Genius_, "would erelong withdraw him even from
the side of the Abolitionists." And from farther South the growl which
the reformer heard was unmistakably ferocious. It was from the State of
South Carolina and the Camden _Journal_, which pronounced the
_Liberator_ "a scandalous and incendiary budget of sedition." These were
the beginning of the chorus of curses, which soon were to sing their
serpent songs about his head. Profane and abusive letters from irate
slaveholders and their Northern sympathisers began to pour into the
sanctum of the editor. Within a few months after the first issue of the
_Liberator_ the whole aspect of the world without had changed toward
him. "Foes are on my right hand, and on my left," he reported to some
friends. "The tongue of detraction is busy against me. I have no
communion with the world--the world none with me. The timid, the
lukewarm, the base, affect to believe that my brains are disordered, and
my words the ravings of a maniac. Even many of my friends--they who have
grown up with me from my childhood--are transformed into scoffers and
enemies." The apathy of the press, and the apathy of the people were
putting forth signs that the long winter of the land was passing away.

To a colored man belongs the high honor of having been the _courier
avant_ of the slavery agitation. This man was David Walker, who lived in
Boston, and who published in 1829 a religio-political discussion of the
status of the negroes of the United States in four articles. The
wretchedness of the blacks in consequence of slavery he depicted in dark
and bitter language. Theodore Parker, many years afterward, said that
the negro was deficient in vengeance, the lowest form of justice.
"Walker's Appeal" evinced no deficiency in this respect in its author.
The pamphlet found its way South, and was the cause of no little
commotion among the master-class. It was looked upon as an instigation
to servile insurrection. The "Appeal" was proscribed, and a price put
upon the head of the author. Garrison deprecated the sanguinary
character of the book. For he himself was the very reverse of Walker.
Garrison was a full believer in the literal doctrine of non-resistance
as enunciated by Jesus. He abhorred all war, and physical collisions of
every description, as wicked and inhuman. He sang to the slave:

  "Not by the sword shall your deliverance be;
  Not by the shedding of your master's blood,
  Not by rebellion--or foul treachery,
  Upspringing suddenly, like swelling flood;
  Revenge and rapine ne'er did bring forth good.
  God's _time is best_!--nor will it long delay;
  Even now your barren cause begins to bud,
  And glorious shall the fruit be!--watch and pray,
  For lo! the kindling dawn that ushers in the day."

He considered "Walker's Appeal" "a most injudicious publication, yet
warranted by the creed of an independent people." He saw in our
Fourth-of-July demonstrations, in our glorification of force as an
instrument for achieving liberty, a constant incentive to the slaves to
go and do likewise. If it was right for the men of 1776 to rise in
rebellion against their mother-country, it surely could not be wrong
were the slaves to revolt against their oppressors, and strike for their
freedom. It certainly did not lie in the mouth of a people, who
apotheosized force, to condemn them. What was sauce for the white man's
goose was sauce for the black man's gander.

The South could not distinguish between this sort of reasoning, and an
express and positive appeal to the slaves to cut the throats of their
masters. The contents of the _Liberator_ were quite as likely to produce
a slave insurrection as was "Walker's Appeal," if the paper was allowed
to circulate freely among the slave population. It was, in fact, more
dangerous to the lives and interests of slaveholders by virtue of the
pictorial representation of the barbarism and abomination of the
peculiar institution, introduced as a feature of the _Liberator_ in its
seventeenth number, in the shape of a slave auction, where the slaves
are chattels, and classed with "horses and other cattle," and where the
tortures of the whipping-post are in vigorous operation. Here was a
message, which every slave, however ignorant and illiterate could read.
His instinct would tell him, wherever he saw the pictured horror, that a
friend, not an enemy, had drawn it, but for what purpose? What was the
secret meaning, which he was to extract from a portrayal of his woes at
once so real and terrible. Was it to be a man, to seize the knife, the
torch, to slay and burn his way to the rights and estate of a man?
Garrison had put no such bloody import into the cut. It was designed not
to appeal to the passions of the slaves, but to the conscience of the
North. But the South did not so read it, was incapable, in fact, of so
reading it. What it saw was a shockingly realistic representation of the
wrongs of the slaves, the immediate and inevitable effect of which upon
the slaves would be to incite them to sedition, to acts of revenge.
Living as the slaveholders were over mines of powder and dynamite, it is
not to be marveled at that the first flash of danger filled them with
apprehension and terror. The awful memories of San Domingo flamed red
and dreadful against the dark background of every Southern plantation
and slave community. In the "belly" of the _Liberator's_ picture were
many San Domingos. Extreme fear is the beginning of madness; it is,
indeed, a kind of madness. The South was suddenly plunged into a state
of extreme fear toward which the _Liberator_ and "Walker's Appeal" were
hurrying it, by one of those strange accidents or coincidences of

This extraordinary circumstance was the slave insurrection in
Southampton, Virginia, in the month of August, 1831. The leader of the
uprising was the now famous Nat Turner. Brooding over the wrongs of his
race for several years, he conceived that he was the divinely appointed
agent to redress them. He was cast in the mould of those rude heroes,
who spring out of the sides of oppression as isolated trees will
sometimes grow out of clefts in a mountain. With his yearning to deliver
his people, there mingled not a little religious frenzy and
superstition. Getting his command from Heaven to arise against the
masters, he awaited the sign from this same source of the moment for
beginning the work of destruction. It came at last and on the night of
August 21st; he and his confederates made a beginning by massacring
first his own master, Mr. Joseph Travis, and his entire family. Turner's
policy was remorseless enough. It was to spare no member of the white
race, whether man, woman, or child, the very infant at the mother's
breast was doomed to the knife, until he was able to collect such an
assured force as would secure the success of the enterprise. This
purpose was executed with terrible severity and exactness. All that
night the work of extermination went on as the slave leader and his
followers passed like fate from house to house, and plantation to
plantation, leaving a wide swathe of death in their track. Terror filled
the night, terror filled the State, the most abject terror clutched the
bravest hearts. The panic was pitiable, horrible. James McDowell, one of
the leaders of the Old Dominion, gave voice to the awful memories and
sensations of that night, in the great anti-slavery debate, which broke
out in the Virginia Legislature, during the winter afterward. One of the
legislators, joined to his idol, and who now, that the peril had passed,
laughed at the uprising as a "petty affair." McDowell retorted--"Was
that a 'petty affair,' which erected a peaceful and confiding portion of
the State into a military camp, which outlawed from pity the unfortunate
beings whose brothers had offended; which barred every door, penetrated
every bosom with fear or suspicion, which so banished every sense of
security from every man's dwelling, that let but a hoof or horn break
upon the silence of the night, and an aching throb would be driven to
the heart? The husband would look to his weapon, and the mother would
shudder and weep upon her cradle. Was it the fear of Nat Turner and his
deluded, drunken handful of followers which produced such effects? Was
it this that induced distant counties, where the very name of
Southampton was strange, to arm and equip for a struggle? No, sir, it
was the _suspicion eternally attached to the slave himself,_--a
suspicion that a Nat Turner might be in every family, that the same
bloody deed might be acted over at any time and in any place, that the
materials for it were spread through the land, and were always ready for
a like explosion."

Sixty one whites and more than a hundred blacks perished in this
catastrophe. The news produced a profound sensation in the Union.
Garrison himself, as he records, was horror-struck at the tidings. Eight
months before he had in a strain of prophecy penetrated the future and
caught a glimpse of just such an appalling tragedy:

  "Wo, if it come with storm, and blood, and fire,
  When midnight darkness veils the earth and sky!
  Wo to the innocent babe--the guilty sire--
  Mother and daughter--friends of kindred tie!
  _Stranger and citizen alike shall die!_
  Red-handed slaughter his revenge shall feed,
  And havoc yell his ominous death-cry,
  And wild despair in vain for mercy plead--
  While hell itself shall shrink and sicken at the deed!"

After the Southampton insurrection the slavery agitation increased
apace, and the _Liberator_ and its editor became instantly objects of
dangerous notoriety in it. The eyes of the country were irresistibly
drawn to them. They were at the bottom of the uprising, they were
instigating the slaves to similar outbreaks. The savage growlings of a
storm came thrilling on every breeze from the South, and wrathful
mutterings against the agitator and his paper grew thenceforth more
distinct and threatening throughout the free States. October 15, 1831,
Garrison records in the _Liberator_ that he "is constantly receiving
from the slave States letters filled with the most diabolical threats
and indecent language." In the same month Georgetown, S.C., in a panic
made it unlawful for a free colored person to take the _Liberator_ from
the post-office. In the same month the Charleston _Mercury_ announced
that "gentlemen of the first respectability" at Columbia had offered a
reward of fifteen hundred dollars for the arrest and conviction of any
white person circulating the _Liberator_, Walker's pamphlet, "or any
other publication of seditious tendency." In Georgia the same symptoms
of fright were exhibited. In the same month the grand jury at Raleigh,
N.C., indicted William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp for circulating
the _Liberator_ in that county. It was even confidently expected that a
requisition would be made by the Executive of the State upon the
Governor of Massachusetts for their arrest, when they would be tried
under a law, which made their action felony. "Whipping and imprisonment
for the first offence, and death, without benefit of clergy, for the
second." Governor Floyd said in his message to the Virginia Legislature
in December that there was good cause to suspect that the plans of the
Southampton massacre were "designed and matured by unrestrained fanatics
in some of the neighboring States." Governor Hamilton sent to the South
Carolina Legislature in the same month an excited message on the
situation. He was in entire accord with the Virginia Executive as to the
primary and potent agencies which led to the slave uprising in Virginia.
They were "incendiary newspapers and other publications put forth in the
non-slave-holding States, and freely circulated within the limits of
Virginia." As specimens of "incendiary newspapers and other
publications, put forth in the non-slave-holding States," the South
Carolina official sent along with his message, copies of the _Liberator_
and of Mr. Garrison's address to the "Free People of Color," for the
enlightenment of the members of the Legislature. But it remained for
Georgia to cap the climax of madness when her Legislature resolved:

    "That the sum of five thousand dollars be, and the same is
    hereby appropriated, to be paid to any person or persons who
    shall arrest, bring to trial and prosecute to conviction, under
    the laws of this State, the editor or publisher of a certain
    paper called the _Liberator_, published in the town of Boston
    and State of Massachusetts; or who shall arrest and bring to
    trial and prosecute to conviction, under the laws of this State,
    any other person or persons who shall utter, publish, or
    circulate within the limits of this State said paper called the
    _Liberator_, or any other paper, circular, pamphlet, letter, or
    address of a seditious character."

This extraordinary resolve was signed Dec. 26, 1831, by "Wilson Lumpkin,
Governor." The whole South was in a state of terror. In its insane
fright it would have made short shrift of the editor of the _Liberator,_
had he by accident, force, or fraud have fallen into the clutches of its
laws. The Georgia reward of five thousand dollars was as Mr. Garrison
put it, "a bribe to kidnappers." The Southern method of dealing with the
agitation within the slave States was violent and effective. There could
be no agitation after the agitators were abolished. And the Southern
method was to abolish the agitators.

The suppression of Abolitionism within the slave States was no difficult
matter, but its suppression at the North was a problem of a wholly
different nature, as the South was not long in finding out. It would not
understand why its violent treatment of the disease within its
jurisdiction could not be prescribed as a remedy by the
non-slave-holding half of the Union within its borders. And so the South
began to call loudly and fiercely for the suppression of a movement
calculated to incite the slaves to insubordination and rebellion. This
demand of the South had its influence at the North. Such newspapers as
the _National Intelligencer,_ and the Boston _Courier_ suggested
amendments to the laws whereby the publication of incendiary writings in
the free States might be prohibited. The latter journal allowed that
under the criminal code of Massachusetts "every man has a right to
advocate Abolition, or conspiracy, or murder; for he may do all these
without breaking our laws, although in any Southern State public justice
and public safety would require his punishment." "But," the editor goes
on to remark, "if we have no laws upon the subject, it is because the
exigency was not anticipated.... Penal statutes against treasonable and
seditious publications are necessary in all communities. We have them
for our own protection; if they should include provisions for the
protection of our neighbors it would be no additional encroachment upon
the liberty of the press." The Governors of Virginia and Georgia
remonstrated with Harrison Gray Otis, who was Mayor of Boston in the
memorable year of 1831, "against an incendiary newspaper published in
Boston, and, as they alleged, thrown broadcast among their plantations,
inciting to insurrection and its horrid results." As a lawyer Mayor
Otis, however, "perceived the intrinsic, if not insuperable obstacles to
legislative enactments made to prevent crimes from being consummated
beyond the local jurisdiction." But the South was not seeking a legal
opinion as to what it could or could not do. It demanded, legal or
illegal, that Garrison and the _Liberator_ be suppressed. To the Boston
mayor the excitement over the editor and his paper seemed like much ado
about nothing. The cause appeared to his supercilious mind altogether
inadequate to the effect. And so he set to work to reduce the panic by
exposing the vulgarity and insignificance of the object, which produced
it. That he might give the Southern bugaboo its _quietus_, he directed
one of his deputies to inquire into a publication, of which "no member
of the city government, nor any person," of his honor's acquaintance,
"had ever heard." The result of this inquiry Mayor Otis reported to the
Southern functionaries.

"Some time afterward," he wrote, "it was reported to me by the city
officers that they had ferreted out the paper and its editor; that his
office was an obscure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and
his supporters a very few insignificant persons of all colors."

With this bare bodkin Harrison Gray Otis thought to puncture the
Southern panic. But the slaveholders had correcter notions of the nature
and tendency of the Abolition enterprise than had the Boston mayor. They
had a strange, an obstinate presentiment of disaster from the first
instant that the _Liberator_ loomed upon their horizon. It was a battery
whose guns, unless silenced, would play havoc with Southern interests
and the slave system; _ergo_, the paper must be suppressed; _ergo_, its
editor must be silenced or destroyed. And so when Otis, from his serene
height, assured them of his "belief that the new fanaticism had not
made, nor was likely to make, proselytes among the respectable classes
of our people," they continued to listen to their fears, and to cry the
louder for the suppression of the "incendiary newspaper published in

The editor of that paper never flinched before the storm of malignity
which was gathering about his head. He pursued the even tenor of his
way, laboring at the case more than fourteen hours every day, except
Sundays, upon the paper, renewing, week after week, his assaults upon
the citadel of the great iniquity, giving no quarter to slave-holding
sinners, but carrying aloft the banner of IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL
EMANCIPATION. Otis had looked to numbers and respectability as his
political barometer and cue; but when, after diligent search with
official microscopes, he failed to observe the presence of either in
connection with this "new fanaticism," wise man that he was, he turned
over and renewed his slumbers on the edge of a volcano whose ominous
rumbling the Southern heart had heard and interpreted aright. He was too
near to catch the true import of the detonations of those subterranean
forces which were sounding, week after week, in the columns of the
_Liberator_. They seemed trivial, harmless, contemptible, like the toy
artillery of children bombarding Fort Independence. Garrison's moral
earnestness and enthusiasm seemed to the Boston mayor like the impotent
rage of a man nursing memories of personal injuries suffered at the

If there was panic in the South, there was none in the office of the
_Liberator_. Unterrified by the commotion which his composing-stick was
producing near and far, he laughed to scorn the abuse and threats of his
enemies. When the news of the reward of the State of Georgia "for the
abduction of his person" reached him, he did not quail, great as was his
peril, but boldly replied:

"Of one thing we are sure: all Southern threats and rewards will be
insufficient to deter us from pursuing the work of emancipation. As
citizens of the United States we know our rights and dare maintain them.
We have committed no crime, but are expending our health, comfort, and
means for the salvation of our country, and for the interests and
security of infatuated slaveholders, as well as for the relief of the
poor slaves."

Archimedes with his lever had moved the world. Archimedes "in a small
chamber, unfurnitured and mean," had set a world of pro-slavery passions
and prejudices spinning away into space:

  "Such earnest natures are the fiery pith,
  The compact nucleus, 'round which systems grow;
  Mass after mass becomes inspired therewith,
  And whirls impregnate with the central glow."



"Help came but slowly" to the reformer. With a single instrument he had
stirred the nation, as no other man had done, on the slavery question.
He had thrown the South into widespread excitement, and thawed the
apathy of the North into widespread attention. He had won an almost
instant hearing for his cause. But he knew that this was not enough.
Effective as he had shown the weapon of the press to be, it alone was
unequal to the conduct of prolonged agitation. And prolonged agitation
Garrison clearly apprehended was to be the price of abolition. Back of
him and the _Liberator_ he needed an organized force, coadjutors like
Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms during the mighty conflict on which he
had now entered with the slave interests of the country. Those interests
were organized, and because they were organized they were powerful. The
sentiment of freedom he determined to organize and to render it thereby
invincible. To organized wrong he designed to oppose organized right,
confident that organized right would prevail in the end. He had
knowledge of the utility of temperance societies in advancing the cause
of sobriety among the people. He had learned from Lundy how much he had
relied upon the union of men as anti-slavery helps. Garrison determined
to summon to his side the powerful agency of an anti-slavery society
devoted to immediate and unconditional emancipation. He had already made
converts; he had already a small following. At Julien Hall, on the
occasion of his first lecture on the subject of slavery, he had secured
three remarkable men to the movement, viz., Rev. Samuel J. May, then a
young Unitarian minister, Samuel E. Sewall, a young member of the Bar,
and A. Bronson Alcott, a sage even in his early manhood. They had all
promised him aid and comfort in the great task which he had undertaken.
A little later two others, quite as remarkable as those first three were
drawn to the reformer's side, and abetted him in the treason to
iniquity, which he was prosecuting through the columns of the
_Liberator_ with unrivaled zeal and devotion. These disciples were Ellis
Grey Loring and David Lee Child. They were a goodly company, were these
five conspirators, men of intellect and conscience, of high family and
social connections, of brilliant attainments and splendid promises for
the future. To this number must be added a sixth, Oliver Johnson, who
was at the time editing _The Christian Soldier_, disciple of Garrison
then, and ever after his devoted friend. The early promises of this
noble half dozen friends of the slave were more than fulfilled in after
years. Often to the dingy room "under the eaves" in Merchants' Hall they
climbed to carry aid and comfort to "one poor, unlearned young man," and
to sit at his feet in this cradle-room of the new movement. It was there
in communion with the young master that suggestions looking to the
formation of an anti-slavery society, were doubtless first thrown out.

  "The place was dark, unfurnitured and mean;
  Yet there the freedom of a race began."

It was not all clear sailing for the editor of the _Liberator_ even with
such choice spirits. They did not always carry aid and comfort to him,
but differences of opinions sometimes as well. He did not sugar-coat
enough the bitter truth which he was telling to the nation. Some of them
would have preferred _The Safety Lamp_ to the _Liberator_ as a title
less likely to offend the prejudices of many good people. Some again
objected to the pictorial heading of the paper as an altogether unwise
proceeding, and positively mischievous. He had the same experience when
the formation of an Abolition society was under consideration. He was
confronted with this benevolent aversion to giving offence by calling
things by their right names. But much as he desired to have his friends
and followers organized for associated action, where a principle was at
stake he was with them as with slavery itself absolutely inflexible and
uncompromising. He was for organizing on the principle of immediate
emancipation. A few deemed that ground too radical and revolutionary,
and were for ranging themselves under the banner of Gradualism, thinking
to draw to their ranks a class of people, who would be repelled by
Immediatism. But Garrison was unyielding, refused to budge an inch to
conciliate friend or foe--not even such stanch supporters as were Sewall
and Loring, who supplied him again and again with money needed to
continue the publication of the _Liberator_. No, he was right and they
were wrong, and they, not he, ought accordingly to yield. The contention
between the leader and his disciples was not what was expedient, but
what was right. It was on the part of the leader the assertion of a
vital principle, and on this ground he was pledged against retreat. The
mountain could not go to Mahomet, therefore Mahomet must needs go to the
mountain. Garrison could not abandon his position, wherefore in due time
Loring, Child, and Sewall surrendered theirs. Finely has Lowell
expressed this righteous stubbornness, and steadfastness to principle in
three stanzas of his poem entitled, "The Day of Small Things," and which
have such an obvious lesson for our own times that I shall venture to
quote them in this place:

  "Who is it will not dare himself to trust?
  Who is it hath not strength to stand alone?
  Who is it thwarts and bilks the inward MUST?
  He and his works, like sand from earth are blown.

  "Men of a thousand shifts and wiles look here!
  See one straightforward conscience put in pawn
  To win a world! See the obedient sphere
  By bravery's simple gravitation drawn!

  "Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old,
  And by the Present's lips repeated still,
  In our own single manhood to be bold,
  Fortressed in conscience and impregnable will?"

The history of the making of this first society is an interesting story.
There were four meetings in all before it was found possible to complete
the work of its organization. These meetings extended over a space of
nearly three months, so obstinate were a minority against committing the
proposed society to the principle of immediate emancipation. The very
name which was to be given to the association provoked debate and
disagreement. Some were for christening it "Philo-African," while
Garrison would no such milk-and-water title, but one which expressed
distinctly and graphically the real character of the organization, viz.,
"New England Anti-Slavery Society." He would sail under no false or
neutral colors, but beneath the red flag of open and determined
hostility to slavery. It should be a sign which no one could possibly
mistake. The first meeting was held at the office of Samuel E. Sewall,
November 13, 1831. At the third meeting, convened New Year's evening of
1832, which was the first anniversary of the publication of the
_Liberator_, the work of organization was finished, with a single
important exception, viz., the adoption of the preamble to the
constitution. The character of the preamble would fix the character of
the society. Therefore that which was properly first was made to come
last. The fourth meeting took place on the night of January 6th in the
African Baptist Church on what was then Belknap but now known as Joy
street. The young leader and fourteen of his followers met that evening
in the school-room for colored children, situated under the auditorium
of the church. They could hardly have fallen upon a more obscure or
despised place for the consummation of their enterprise in the city of
Boston than was this selfsame negro church and school-room. The weather
added an ever memorable night to the opprobrium of the spot. A fierce
northeaster accompanied with "snow, rain, and hail in equal proportions"
was roaring and careering through the city's streets. To an eye-witness,
Oliver Johnson, "it almost seemed as if Nature was frowning upon the new
effort to abolish slavery; but," he added, "the spirits of the little
company rose superior to all external circumstances."

If there was strife of the elements without, neither was there sweet
accord within among brethren. "The spirits of the little company" may
have risen superior to the weather, but they did not rise superior to
the preamble, with the principle of immediatism incorporated in it.
Eleven stood by the leader and made it the chief of the corner of the
new society, while three, Messrs. Loring, Sewall, and Child, refused to
sign the Constitution and parted sorrowfully from the small band of the
New England Anti-Slavery Society. But the separation was only temporary,
for each returned to the side of the reformer, and proved his loyalty
and valor in the trying years which followed.

The preamble which was the bone of so much contention declared that:
"We, the undersigned, hold that every person, of full age and sane mind,
has a right to immediate freedom from personal bondage of whatsoever
kind, unless imposed by the sentence of the law for the commission of
some crime. We hold that man cannot, consistently with reason, religion,
and the eternal and immutable principles of justice, be the property of
man. We hold that whoever retains his fellow-man in bondage is guilty of
a grievous wrong. We hold that a mere difference of complexion is no
reason why any man should be deprived of any of his natural rights, or
subjected to any political disability. While we advance these opinions
as the principles on which we intend to act, we declare that we will not
operate on the existing relations of society by other than peaceful and
lawful means, and that we will give no countenance to violence or

Twelve, the apostolic number, affixed to the preamble and constitution
their names, and thus formed the first Garrisonian Society for the
abolition of slavery in the United States. The names of these apostolic
men it is well to keep in mind. They are William Lloyd Garrison, Oliver
Johnson, Robert B. Hall, Arnold Buffum, William J. Snelling, John E.
Fuller, Moses Thatcher, Joshua Coffin, Stillman B. Newcomb, Benjamin C.
Bacon, Isaac Knapp, and Henry K. Stockton. The band of reformers, their
work done, had risen to pass out of the low, rude room into the dark
night. The storm was still raging. They themselves had perchance been
sobered by the experiences of the evening. They had gone in fifteen,
they were returning twelve. And, after all, what had they accomplished?
What could they a mere handful do to abolish slavery entrenched as it
was in Church and State? It is possible that some such dim
discouragement, some such vague misgiving of the futility of the
evening's labor, was in the hearts of those wearied men, and that their
leader divined as much, for the spirit of prophecy fell upon Garrison
just as they "were stepping out into the storm and darkness." "We have
met to-night," he said, "in this obscure school-house; our numbers are
few and our influence limited; but, mark my prediction, Faneuil Hall
shall erelong echo with the principles we have set forth. We shall shake
the nation by their mighty power." Then the little band dispersed "into
the storm and darkness," carrying with them these words charged with
hope and courage.

The fruitful seed of organized agitation Garrison had securely planted
in soil fertile and ready for its reception. Its growth constitutes one
of the marvels of reforms. Within a few brief years it multiplied into
hundreds and thousands of societies throughout the free States. But its
beginnings were small and humble enough. "The objects of the society"
were according to the second article of the constitution, "to endeavor
by all means sanctioned by law, humanity, and religion, to effect the
abolition of slavery in the United States, to improve the character and
condition of the free people of color, to inform and correct public
opinion in relation to their situation and rights, and to obtain for
them equal civil and political rights and privileges with the whites."
The means which were immediately adopted by the society for the
accomplishment of these objects were mainly three, than which none
others could have been more effective. These were petitioning Congress
on the subject of slavery. The publication and circulation of
anti-slavery addresses and tracts, and the employment of anti-slavery
agents, "in obtaining or communicating intelligence, in the publication
and distribution of tracts, books, or papers, or in the execution of any
measure which may be adopted to promote the objects of the society."
Such was the simple but unequaled machinery which the New England
Anti-Slavery Society relied upon for success in the war, which it had
declared against American slavery. The executive power of the body, and
the operation of its machinery were lodged in a board of managers of
which Garrison's was the leading, originating mind. The society started
out bravely in the use of its means by memorializing Congress for the
abolition of slavery, "in the District of Columbia and in the
Territories of the United States under their jurisdiction," and by
preparing and distributing an address in maintenance of the doctrine of
immediate emancipation. The board of managers set the machinery in
motion as far and as fast as the extremely limited pecuniary ability of
the society would permit. The membership was not from the rich classes.
It was Oliver Johnson who wittily remarked that not more than one or two
of the original twelve, "could have put a hundred dollars into the
treasury without bankrupting themselves." The remark was true, and was
quite as applicable to any dozen of the new-comers as to the original
twelve. The society was never deficient in zeal, but it was certainly
sadly wanting in money. And money was even to such men and to such a
movement an important factor in revolutionizing public opinion.

The _Liberator_ was made the official organ of the society, and in this
way was added to its other weapons that of the press. This was a capital
arrangement, for by it both the paper and the society were placed under
the direction of the same masterly guidance. There was still one arrow
left in the moral quiver of the organization to reach the conscience of
the people, and that was the appointment of an agent to spread the
doctrines of the new propaganda of freedom. In August the board of
managers, metaphorically speaking, shot this arrow by making Garrison
the agent of the society to lecture on the subject of slavery "for a
period not exceeding three months." This was the first drop from a cloud
then no bigger than a hand, but which was to grow and spread until,
covering the North, was, at the end of a few short years, to flood the
land with anti-slavery agents and lecturers.

Our anti-slavery agent visited portions of Massachusetts, Maine, and
Rhode Island, preaching the Abolition gospel in divers places, and to
many people--notably at such centers of population as Worcester,
Providence, Bangor, and Portland, making at the latter city a signal
conversion to his cause in the person of General Samuel Fessenden,
distinguished then as a lawyer, and later as the father of William Pitt
Fessenden. The anti-slavery schoolmaster was abroad, and was beginning
to turn New England and the North into one resounding schoolhouse, where
he sat behind the desk and the nation occupied the forms.

So effective was the agitation prosecuted by the society during the
first year of its existence that it was no empty declaration or boast of
the _Abolitionist_, the new monthly periodical of the society, that
"probably, through its instrumentality, more public addresses on the
subject of slavery, and appeals in behalf of the contemned free people
of color, have been made in New England, during the past year (1832)
than were elicited for forty years prior to its organization."

The introduction of the principle of association into the slavery
agitation, and the conversion of it into an organized movement was an
achievement of the first importance. To Garrison, more than to any man,
or to all others put together, belongs the authorship of this immense
initiative. He it was, who, having "announced the principle, arranged
the method" of the Abolition movement. The marshaling of the
anti-slavery sentiment of New England under a common standard, in a
common cause, was a master stroke of moral generalship. This master
stroke the leader followed up promptly with a second stroke not less
masterly. That second stroke was his "Thoughts on African Colonization,"
published in the summer succeeding the formation of the New England
Anti-Slavery Society.

Garrison's championship of the cause of the slave had started with
strong faith in the efficacy and disinterestedness of the colonization
scheme as an instrument of emancipation. It commanded, therefore, his
early support. In his Park Street Church address he evinced himself in
earnest sympathy with the friends of colonization. But after his arrival
in Baltimore a change began to exhibit itself in this regard. He began
to qualify his confidence in its utility; began to discern in it
influences calculated to retard general emancipation. As these doubts
and misgivings arose within him he expressed them frankly in the
_Genius_. Lundy had been suspicious of the pro-slavery purposes or
interests of the enterprise for many years. He could not reconcile
himself to the significant or, at least, singular fact of so many
slaveholders being in the membership and the offices of the association.
Then, in addition to this lack of confidence on the part of Lundy in the
scheme, Garrison became acquainted, for the first time, with the objects
of the society's philanthropy--the class of free people of color. He
found that these people were not at all well affected to the society;
that they had no appreciation of its benevolent intentions in respect to
themselves. He found, on the contrary, that they were positively
embittered toward it and toward its designs for their removal from the
country as toward their worst enemy. This circumstance was undoubtedly a
poser to their young friend. How could he reconcile this deep-seated and
widespread disbelief in the purity of the motives of the Colonization
Society, with the simple integrity and humanity of the enterprise
itself? Later, his acquaintance with such representatives of the free
people of color in Philadelphia as James Forten and his son-in-law,
Robert Purvis, served but to confirm those first impressions which he
received in Baltimore from the Watkinses and the Greeners. It was the
same experience in New York and New Haven, in Boston and Providence. He
learned that from the very beginning, in the year 1817, that the free
people of color in Richmond and Philadelphia had, by an instinctive
knowledge of threatened wrong and danger, met and resolved against the
society and its sinister designs upon themselves. These people did not
wish to leave the country; they did not wish to be sent to Liberia; but
the society, bent on doing them good against their will, did want them
to leave the country, did want to send them to Liberia.

And why did the society desire to remove the free people of color out of
the country? Was it from motives of real philanthropy? The colored
people were the first to detect its spurious humanity, the first to see
through the artful disguises employed to impose upon the conscience of
the republic. Their removal, they intuitively divined, was proposed not
to do their race a benefit, but rather to do a service to the owners of
slaves. These objects of the society's pseudo-philanthropy had the
sagacity to perceive that, practically, their expatriation tended to
strengthen the chains of their brethren then in slavery; for if the
South could get rid of its free colored population, its slave property
would thereby acquire additional security, and, of consequence,
increased market value. Like cause, like effect. If the operation of the
colonization scheme was decidedly in the interest of the masters, it was
the part of wisdom to conclude as the free colored people did actually
conclude that the underlying motive, the hidden purpose of the society
was also in the interest of the masters.

Garrison did not reach his conclusions as to the pro-slavery character
and tendency of the society abruptly. The scales fell away gradually
from his eyes. He was not completely undeceived until he had examined
the reports of the society and found in them the most redundant evidence
of its insincerity and guilt. It was out of its own mouth that he
condemned it. When he saw the society in its true character, he saw what
he must do. It was a wolf in sheep's skin running at large among the
good shepherd's flock, and inflicting infinite hurt upon his poor sheep.
He no longer wondered at the horror which the colonization scheme
inspired among the free people of color. They were right. The society
was their dangerous and determined enemy; it was the bulwark of the
slave-holding classes. With the instinct of a great purpose he resolved
to carry this powerful bulwark of slavery by assault. To the attack he
returned week after week in the _Liberator_, during a year and a half.
Then he hurled himself upon it with all his guns, facts, arguments,
denunciations, blowing away and burning up every shred of false covering
from the doctrines, principles, and purposes of the society, revealing
it to mankind in its base and monstrous character.

The society's one motive "to get rid of the free people of color," was
outrageous enough, but this was not its only sin. There was another
phase to the mischief it was working, which lifted it to the rank of a
great sinner. It was not only harmful in its principles and purposes.
"It imperatively and effectually seals up the lips," so Garrison accused
it, "of a vast number of influential and pious men, who, for fear of
giving offence to those slaveholders with whom they associate, and
thereby leading to a dissolution of the compact, dare not expose the
flagrant enormities of the system of slavery, nor denounce the crime of
holding human beings in bondage. They dare not lead to the onset against
the forces of tyranny; and if they shrink from the conflict, how shall
the victory be won? I do not mean to aver that in their sermons, or
addresses, or private conversations, they never allude to the subject of
slavery; for they do so frequently, or at least every Fourth of July.
But my complaint is that they content themselves with representing
slavery as an evil--a misfortune--a calamity which has been entailed
upon us by former generations,--_and not as an individual_ CRIME,
embracing in its folds, robbery, cruelty, oppression, and piracy. _They
do not identify the criminal_; they make no direct, pungent, earnest
appeal to the consciences of men-stealers." This was a damning bill, but
it was true in every particular; and the evidence which Garrison adduced
to establish his charges was overwhelming and irrefragable.

Nearly fifty years afterward, Elizur Wright described the baleful
influence of the society upon the humanity and philanthropy of the
nation. "The humanity and philanthropy," he said, "which could not
otherwise be disposed of, was ingeniously seduced into an African
Colonization Society, whereby all slaves who had grown seditious and
troublesome to their masters could be transplanted on the pestiferous
African coast. That this wretched and seemingly transparent humbug could
have deluded anybody, must now seem past belief; but I must with shame
confess the fact that I for one was deluded by it. And that fact would
put me in doubt of my own sanity at the time if I did not know that high
statesmen, presidents of colleges, able editors, and that most undoubted
of firm philanthropists, Gerritt Smith, shared the same delusion. Bible
and missionary societies fellowshipped that mean and scurvy device of
the kidnapper, in their holy work. It was spoken of as the most glorious
of Christian enterprises, had a monthly magazine devoted to itself, and
taxed about every pulpit in the land for an annual sermon in its favor."

Such was the Colonization Society, and its entrenched strength in the
piety and philanthropy of the country at the moment when Garrison
published his "Thoughts." It did not seem possible that a single arm
however powerful, was able to start its roots; but, directly upon the
launching of this bolt, the roots of the Bohun Upas, as Garrison
graphically designated the society, were seen to have started, and the
enterprise appeared blasted as by fire. The deluded intellect and
conscience of the free States saw in the fierce light, which the
pamphlet of the reformer threw upon the colonization scheme how
shamefully imposed upon they had been. They had believed the society
"the most glorious of Christian enterprises," and, lo! it stood revealed
to them a "scurvy device of the kidnapper." The effect was
extraordinary. The book was seized and its contents devoured by some of
the finest minds of the North. Here is an example of the interest which
it excited and the converts which it made: "Last Monday evening was our
Law Club meeting, and I had the great satisfaction of hearing Judge
Mellen, our Chief-Justice, say he had read your 'Thoughts,' was a
thorough convert to your views, and was ready to do all in his power to
promote them. Mr. Longfellow [father of Henry W. Longfellow] was present
also, and with equal warmth and clearness expressed himself also in
favor of your views. This is getting the two first men in the State for
talents and influence in benevolent effort. I have no doubt they will
head the list of those who will subscribe to form here an anti-slavery
society. Mr. Greenleaf [Simon] also, will cordially come in, and I need
not say he is one of the first [men] in the State, for his character is
known." This quotation is made from a letter of General Samuel
Fessenden, of Portland, Me., to Mr. Garrison, dated December 14, 1832.
Among the remarkable minds which the "Thoughts" disillusioned in respect
of the character and tendency of the Colonization Society were Theodore
D. Weld, Elizur Wright, and Beriah Green, N.P. Rogers, William Goodell,
Joshua Leavitt, Amos A. Phelps, Lewis Tappan, and James Miller McKim.

Garrison's assertion that "the overthrow of the Colonization Society was
the overthrow of slavery itself," was, from the standpoint of a student
of history, an exaggerated one. We know now that the claim was not
founded on fact, that while they did stand together they did not fall
together. But the position was, nevertheless, the strongest possible one
for the anti-slavery movement to occupy at the time. In the disposition
of the pro-slavery forces on the field of the opening conflict in 1832,
the colonization scheme commanded the important approaches to the
citadel of the peculiar institution. It cut off the passes to public
opinion, and to the religious and benevolent influences of the land. To
reach these it was necessary in the first place to dislodge the society
from its coign of vantage, its strategical point in the agitation. And
this is precisely what "The Thoughts on African Colonization" did. It
dislodged the society from its powerful place in the moral sentiment of
the North. The capture of this position was like the capture of a
drawbridge, and the precipitation of the assaulting column directly upon
the walls of a besieged castle. Within the pamphlet was contained the
whole tremendous enginery of demolition. The anti-slavery agent and
lecturer thenceforth set it up wherever he spoke.

To him it was not only the catapult; it furnished the missile-like facts
and arguments for breaching the walls of this pro-slavery stronghold as

The effect of the publication of "The Thoughts" in this country was
extraordinary, but the result of their circulation in England was hardly
less so. It produced there as here a revolution in public sentiment upon
the subject. The philanthropy and piety of Great Britain had generally
prior to the unmasking of the society, looked upon it as an instrument
of Emancipation, and had accordingly given it their powerful
countenance, and not a little material support. But from the moment that
the pamphlet reached England a decided change in this regard became
manifest. The society made fruitless attempts to break the force of the
blow dealt it by Garrison in the United States. But wherever its
emissaries traveled "The Thoughts" confronted and confounded them. So
that Mr. Garrison was warranted in saying that "all that sophistry or
misrepresentation could effect to overthrow its integrity has been
attempted in vain. The work, as a whole, stands irrefutable." The
attempts made to maintain its hold upon the British public were
characterized by duplicity and misrepresentation beyond anything
practiced in America. The work of deceiving the philanthropy of Great
Britain was conducted by the emissary of the society, Elliott Cresson, a
man perfectly fitted to perform his part with remarkable thoroughness
and industry. Three thousand miles away from America, and practically
secure from contradiction, he went about making outrageous statements as
to the anti-slavery character and purpose of the colonization
enterprise. As there was no one in England sufficiently acquainted with
the operations and designs of the society, he was enabled to falsify
facts, to conceal the real principles of the scheme with astonishing
audacity and activity. He approached Wilberforce, and duped Clarkson
into a belief in the anti-slavery aim of the society.

Unmasked in America, the time had come when the interests of the
Abolition movement on this side of the Atlantic required that it should
be stripped of its disguises on the other side also. No better
instrument could be selected for this purpose than the man who had torn
the mask from its features in the United States. And so in March, 1833,
the Board of Managers of the New England Anti-Slavery Society notified
the public of the appointment of "William Lloyd Garrison as their agent,
and that he would proceed to England as soon as the necessary
arrangements can be made, for the purpose of procuring funds to aid in
the establishment of the proposed MANUAL LABOR SCHOOL FOR COLORED YOUTH,
and of disseminating in that country the truth in relation to American
slavery, and to its ally, the American Colonization Society." The
managers offered in justification of their step the fact that "Elliott
Cresson is now in England as an agent for the Colonization Society, and
that he has procured funds to a considerable amount by representing that
the object of the society is 'to assist in the emancipation of all the
slaves now in the United States.' It is important that the
philanthropists of that country should be undeceived, and that the real
principles and designs of the Colonization Society should be there made

In pursuance of this mission Garrison sailed from New York, May 2, 1833.
Twenty days later he landed in Liverpool. His arrival was opportune, for
all England was watching the closing scene in the drama of West India
Emancipation. He was an eye-witness of the crowning triumph of the
English Abolitionists, viz., the breaking by Act of Parliament of the
fetters of eight hundred thousand slaves. He was in time to greet his
great spiritual kinsman, William Wilberforce, and to undeceive him in
respect of the Colonization Society, before death claimed his body, and
to follow him to his last resting-place by the side of Pitt and Fox, in
Westminster Abbey.

A highly interesting incident of this visit is best told in Mr.
Garrison's own words. He said:

"On arriving in London I received a polite invitation by letter from Mr.
Buxton to take breakfast with him. Presenting myself at the appointed
time, when my name was announced, instead of coming forward promptly to
take me by the hand, he scrutinized me from head to foot, and then
inquired, 'Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Garrison, of Boston, in
the United States?' 'Yes, sir,' I replied, 'I am he; and I am here in
accordance with your invitation.' Lifting up his hands he exclaimed,
'Why, my dear sir, I thought you were a black man! And I have
consequently invited this company of ladies and gentlemen to be present
to welcome Mr. Garrison, the black advocate of emancipation, from the
United States of America.' I have often said that that is the only
compliment I have ever had paid to me that I care to remember or to tell
of! For Mr. Buxton had somehow or other supposed that no white American
could plead for those in bondage as I had done, and therefore I must be

Garrison promptly threw down his challenge to Elliott Cresson, offering
to prove him an impostor and the Colonization Society "corrupt in its
principles, proscriptive in its measures, and the worst enemy of the
free colored and slave population of the United States." From the first
it was apparent that Cresson did not mean to encounter the author of the
"Thoughts" in public debate. Even a mouse when cornered will show fight,
but there was no manly fight in Cresson. Garrison sent him a letter
containing seven grave charges against his society, and dared him to a
refutation of them in a joint discussion. This challenge was presented
four times before the agent of colonization could be persuaded to accept
it. Garrison was bent on a joint public discussion between himself and
Mr. Cresson. But Mr. Cresson was bent on avoiding his opponent. He
skulked under one pretext or another from vindicating the colonization
scheme from the seven-headed indictment preferred against it by the
agent of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. As Cresson could not be
driven into a joint discussion with him there was nothing left to
Garrison but to go on without him. His arraignment and exposure of the
society in public and private was thorough and overwhelming. He was
indefatigable in the prosecution of this part of his mission. And his
labor was not in vain. For in less than three months after his reaching
England he had rendered the Colonization Society as odious there as his
"Thoughts" had made it in America. The great body of the anti-slavery
sentiment in Great Britain promptly condemned the spirit and object of
the American Colonization Society. Such leaders as Buxton and Cropper
"termed its objects _diabolical_;" while Zachary Macaulay, father of the
historian, did not doubt that "the unchristian prejudice of color (which
alone has given birth to the Colonization Society, though varnished over
with other more plausible pretences, and veiled under a profession of a
Christian regard for the temporal and spiritual interests of the negro
which is belied by the whole course of its reasonings and the spirit of
its measures) is so detestable in itself that I think it ought not to be
tolerated, but, on the contrary, ought to be denounced and opposed by
all humane, and especially by all pious persons in this country."

The protest against the Colonization Society "signed by Wilberforce and
eleven of the most distinguished Abolitionists in Great Britain,"
including Buxton, Macaulay, Cropper, and Daniel O'Connell, showed how
thoroughly Garrison had accomplished his mission. The protest declares,
thanks to the teachings of the agent of the New England Anti-Slavery
Society, that the colonization scheme "takes its roots from a cruel
prejudice and alienation in the whites of America against the colored
people, slave or free. This being its source the effects are what might
be expected; that it fosters and increases the spirit of caste, already
so unhappily predominant; that it widens the breach between the two
races--exposes the colored people to great practical persecution, in
order to _force_ them to emigrate; and, finally, is calculated to
swallow up and divert that feeling which America, as a Christian and
free country, cannot but entertain, that slavery is alike incompatible
with the law of God and with the well-being of man, whether the enslaver
or the enslaved." The solemn conclusion of the illustrious signers of
this mighty protest was that: "That society is, in our estimation, not
deserving of the countenance of the British public." This powerful
instrument fell, as Garrison wrote at the time, "like a thunderbolt upon
the society." The damage inflicted upon it was immense, irreparable. The
name of Thomas Clarkson was conspicuous by its absence from the protest.
He could not be induced to take positive ground against the society.
Garrison had visited him for this purpose. But the venerable
philanthropist, who was then blind, had taken position on _neutral
ground_, and could not, after an interview of four hours, be induced to
abandon it. But, fortunately, potent as the name of Clarkson would have
been in opposition to the society, it was not indispensable to its
overthrow in Great Britain. Garrison had won to his side "all the
staunch anti-slavery spirits," while Cresson was able to retain only "a
few titled, wealthy, high-pretending individuals."

The success of the mission was signal, its service to the movement
against slavery in America manifold. Garrison writing from London to the
board of managers, summarized the results produced by it as follows:
"1st, awakening a general interest among the friends of emancipation in
this country, and securing their efficient coöperation with us in the
abolition of slavery in the United States; 2d, dispelling the mists with
which the agent of the American Colonization Society has blinded the
eyes of benevolent men in relation to the design and tendency of the
society; 3d, enlisting able and eloquent advocates to plead our cause;
4th, inducing editors of periodicals and able writers to give us the
weight of their influence; 5th, exciting a spirit of emulation in the
redemption of our slave population among the numerous female
anti-slavery societies; 6th, procuring a large collection of
anti-slavery documents, tracts, pamphlets, and volumes, which will
furnish us with an inexhaustible supply of ammunition." These were
indeed some of the grand results of laborious weeks. His mission was
ended. He was profoundly grateful to the good God for its success. The
great movement which he had started against oppression in his own
country was awaiting his aggressive leadership. He did not tarry abroad,
therefore, but set sail from London August 18, 1833, for New York, where
he landed six weeks later.



Garrison's Abolitionism was of the most radical character. It went the
whole length of the humanity of the colored race, and all that that
implied. They were, the meanest members, whether bond or free, his
brothers and his sisters. From the first he regarded them as bone of his
bone and blood of his blood, as children with him of a common father.
Poor and enslaved and despised to be sure, wronged by all men, and
contemned by all men, but for that very reason they were deserving of
his most devoted love and labor. He never looked down upon them as
wanting in any essential respect the manhood which was his. They were
men and as such entitled to immediate emancipation. They were besides
entitled to equality of civil and political rights in the republic,
entitled to equality and fraternity in the church, equality and
fraternity at the North, equality and fraternity always and everywhere.
This is what he preached, this is what he practiced. In not a single
particular was he ever found separating himself from his brother in
black, saying to him "thus far but no farther." He never drew the line
in public or private between him and the people whose cause was his
cause--not even socially. He went into their homes and was in all things
one with them. He forgot that he was white, forgot that they were black,
forgot the pride of race, forgot the stigma of race too in the tie of
human kinship which bound him to them. If he had what they did not
possess, the rights of a man, the civil and political position of a man
in the State, the equality of a brother in the church, it could not make
him feel better than they, it filled him instead with a righteous sense
of wrong, a passionate sympathy, a supreme desire and determination to
make his own rights the measure of theirs.

"I lose sight of your present situation," he said in his address before
Free People of Color, "and look at it only in futurity. I imagine myself
surrounded by educated men of color, the Websters, and Clays, and
Hamiltons, and Dwights, and Edwardses of the day. I listen to their
voice as judges and representatives, and rulers of the people--the whole
people." This glowing vision was not the handiwork of a rhetorician
writing with an eye to its effect upon his hearers. The ardent hope of
the reformer was rather the father of the golden dream.

This practical recognition of the negro as a man and a brother was the
exact opposite of the treatment which was his terrible lot in the
country. Never in all history was there a race more shamefully oppressed
by a dominant race than were the blacks by the whites of America. Held
as slaves in the South, they were stamped as social outcasts at the
North. There was no one, however mean or vicious, who if he possessed a
white skin, was not treated more humanely than were they. In the most
enlightened of the free States they were discriminated against by public
laws and proscribed by public opinion. They were in a word pariahs of
the republic. They were shut out from all the common rights, and
privileges and opportunities enjoyed by the lowest of the favored race.
They were denied equality in the public school. The principle of popular
education had no application to a class which was not of the people, a
class which the common sentiment of a Christian nation had placed at the
zero point of political values, and meant to keep forever at that point.
Entrance to the trades were barred to the blacks. What did they want
with such things where there was no white trash so forgetful of his
superiority as to consent to work by their side. Nowhere were they
allowed the same traveling accommodations as white men, and they were
everywhere excluded from public inns. Neither wealth nor refinement was
able to procure them admission into other than "Jim Crow cars." If
heart-sick at the outrages by every one heaped upon them they turned for
consolation to the house of God, even there the spirit of proscription
and caste prejudice met them, and pointed to the "negro pew" where they
sat corraled from the congregation as if they had no equal share in the
salvation which the pulpit preached. Everywhere the white man had the
right of way, even on the highway to heaven! And in no place was the
negro made to feel the prejudice against his color more gallingly than
in churches arrogating the name of Christian. He had no rights on earth,
he had none in trying to get into the bosom of the founder of
Christianity, which the white sinners or saints were bound to respect.
Even the liberty-loving Quakers of Philadelphia were not above the use
of the "negro seat" in their meetings. Somehow they discerned that there
was a great gulf separating in this life at least the white from the
black believer. That God had made of one blood all nations of men, St.
Paul had taught, but the American church had with one accord in practice
drawn the line at the poor despised colored man. He was excluded from
ecclesiastical equality, for he was different from other men for whom
Christ died. The Bible declared that man was made but a little lower
than the angels; the American people in their State and Church
supplemented this sentiment by acts which plainly said that the negro
was made but a little above the brute creation.

Here are instances of the length to which the prejudice against color
carried the churches in those early years of the anti-slavery movement:

In 1830, a colored man, through a business transaction with a lessee of
one of the pews in Park Street Church, came into possession of it.
Thinking to make the best use of his opportunity to obtain religious
instruction for himself and family from this fountain of orthodoxy, the
black pew-holder betook him, one Sunday, to "Brimstone Corner." But he
was never permitted to repeat the visit. "Brimstone Corner" could not
stand him another Lord's day, and thereupon promptly expelled him and
his family out of its midst. The good deacons displayed their capacity
for shielding their flock from consorting with "niggers," by availing
themselves of a technicality to relet the pew to a member who was not
cursed with a dark skin. On another Lord's day, in another stronghold of
Boston Christianity, Oliver Johnson ran the battery of "indignant frowns
of a large number of the congregation" for daring to take a
fellow-Christian with a skin not colored like his own into his pew, to
listen to Dr. Beecher. The good people of the old Baptist meeting-house,
at Hartford, Conn., had evidently no intention of disturbing the
heavenly calm of their religious devotions by so much as a thought of
believers with black faces; for by boarding up the "negro pews" in front
and leaving only peep-holes for their occupants, they secured themselves
from a sight of the obnoxious creatures, while Jehovah, who is no
respecter of persons, was in His holy place. Incredible as it may seem,
a church in the town of Stoughton, Mass., to rid itself of even a
semblance of Christian fellowship and equality with a colored member,
did actually cut the floor from under the colored member's pew!

These cruel and anti-Christian distinctions in the churches affected
Garrison in the most painful manner. He says:

"I never can look up to these wretched retreats for my colored brethren
without feeling my soul overwhelmed with emotions of shame, indignation,
and sorrow."

He had such an intimate acquaintance with members of this despised caste
in Boston and Philadelphia, and other cities, and appreciated so deeply
their intrinsic worth and excellence, as men and brethren, that he felt
their insults and injuries as if they were done to himself. He knew that
beneath many a dark skin he had found real ladies and gentlemen, and he
knew how sharper than a serpent's tooth to them was the American
prejudice against their color. In 1832, just after a visit to
Philadelphia, where he was the guest of Robert Purvis, and had seen much
of the Fortens, he wrote a friend:

"I wish you had been with me in Philadelphia to see what I saw, to hear
what I heard, and to experience what I felt in associating with many
colored families. There are colored men and women, young men and young
ladies, in that city, who have few superiors in refinement, in moral
worth, and in all that makes the human character worthy of admiration
and praise."

Strange to say, notwithstanding all their merits and advancement, the
free people of color received nothing but disparagement and contempt
from eminent divines like Dr. Leonard W. Bacon and the emissaries of the
Colonization Society. They were "the most abandoned wretches on the face
of the earth"; they were "all that is vile, loathsome, and dangerous";
they were "more degraded and miserable than the slaves," and _ad
infinitum_ through the whole gamut of falsehood and traduction. It was
human for the American people to hate a class whom they had so deeply
wronged, and altogether human for them to justify their atrocious
treatment by blackening before the world the reputation of the said
class. That this was actually done is the best of all proofs of the
moral depravity of the nation which slavery had wrought.

Garrison's vindication of the free people of color in Exeter Hall,
London, on July 13, 1833, from this sort of detraction and villification
is of historic value:

"Sir," said he, addressing the chair, "it is not possible for the mind
to coin, or the tongue to utter baser libels against an injured people.
Their condition is as much superior to that of the slaves as the light
of heaven is more cheering than the darkness of the pit. Many of their
number are in the most affluent circumstances, and distinguished for
their refinement, enterprise, and talents. They have flourishing
churches, supplied by pastors of their own color, in various parts of
the land, embracing a large body of the truly excellent of the earth.
They have public and private libraries. They have their temperance
societies, their debating societies, their moral societies, their
literary societies, their benevolent societies, their saving societies,
and a multitude of kindred associations. They have their infant schools,
their primary and high schools, their sabbath schools, and their Bible
classes. They contribute to the support of foreign and domestic missions
to Bible and tract societies, etc. In the city of Philadelphia alone
they have more than fifty associations for moral and intellectual
improvement. In fact, they are rising up, even with mountains of
prejudice piled upon them, with more than Titanic strength, and
trampling beneath their feet the slanders of their enemies. A spirit of
virtuous emulation is pervading their ranks, from the young child to the
gray head. Among them is taken a large number of daily and weekly
newspapers, and of literary and scientific periodicals, from the popular
monthlies up to the grave and erudite _North American_ and _American
Quarterly Reviews_. I have at this moment, to my own paper, the
_Liberator_, one thousand subscribers among this people; and, from an
occupancy of the editorial chair for more than seven years, I can
testify that they are more punctual in their payments than any five
hundred white subscribers whose names I ever placed indiscriminately in
my subscription book."

There was an earnest desire on the part of the free people of color to
raise the level of their class in the Union. At a convention held by
them in Philadelphia, in 1831, they resolved upon a measure calculated
to make up, to some extent, the deprivations which their children were
suffering by being excluded from the higher schools of learning in the
land. So they determined to establish a college on the manual-labor
system for the education of colored youth. They appealed for aid to
their benevolent friends, and fixed upon New Haven as the place to build
their institution. Arthur Tappan, with customary beneficence, "purchased
several acres of land, in the southerly part of the city, and made
arrangements for the erection of a suitable building, and furnishing it
with needful supplies, in a way to do honor to the city and country."

The school, however, was never established owing to the violent
hostility of the citizens, who with the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common
Council resolved in public meeting to "_resist_ the establishment of the
proposed college in this place by every lawful means."

The free people of color were derided because of their ignorance by
their persecutors, but when they and their friends proposed a plan to
reduce that ignorance, their persecutors bitterly opposed its execution.
New Haven piety and philanthropy, as embodied in the Colonization
Society, were not bent on the education of this class but on its
emigration to the coast of Africa solely. In such sorry contradictions
and cruelties did American prejudice against color involve American
Christianity and humanity.

This outrage was perpetrated in 1831. Two years afterward Connecticut
enacted altogether the most shameful crime in her history. There lived
in the year 1833, in the town of Canterbury, in that State, an
accomplished young Quaker woman, named Prudence Crandall. Besides a
superior education, she possessed the highest character. And this was
well; for she was the principal of the Female Boarding School located in
that town. The institution was, in 1833, at the beginning of its third
year, and in a flourishing condition. While pursuing her vocation of a
teacher, Miss Crandall made the acquaintance of the _Liberator_ through
a "nice colored girl," who was at service in the school. Abhorring
slavery from childhood, it is no wonder that the earnestness of the
_Liberator_ exerted an immediate and lasting influence upon the
sympathies of the young principal. The more she read and the more she
thought upon the subject the more aroused she became to the wrongs of
which her race was guilty to the colored people. She, too, would lend
them a helping hand in their need. Presently there came to her a colored
girl who was thirsting for an education such as the Canterbury Boarding
School for young ladies was dispensing to white girls. This was Miss
Crandall's opportunity to do something for the colored people, and she
admitted the girl to her classes. But she had no sooner done so than
there were angry objections to the girl's remaining.

"The wife of an Episcopal clergyman who lived in the village," Miss
Crandall records, "told me that if I continued that colored girl in my
school it would not be sustained."

She heroically refused to turn the colored pupil out of the school, and
thereby caused a most extraordinary exhibition of Connecticut chivalry
and Christianity.

Seeing how matters stood with her in these circumstances, Prudence
Crandall conceived the remarkable purpose of devoting her school to the
education of colored girls exclusively. She did not know whether her
idea was practicable, and so in her perplexity she turned for counsel to
the editor of the _Liberator_. She went to Boston for this purpose, and
there, at the old Marlboro' Hotel, on Washington street, on the evening
of January 29, 1833, she discussed this business with Mr. Garrison. This
visit and interview confirmed the brave soul in her desire to change her
school into one for the higher education of colored girls. It was
expected that a sufficient number of such pupils could be obtained from
well-to-do colored families in cities like Boston, Providence, and New
York to assure the financial success of the enterprise. When Miss
Crandall had fully matured her plans in the premises she announced them
to the Canterbury public. But if she had announced that she contemplated
opening a college for the spread of contagious diseases among her
townspeople, Canterbury could not possibly have been more agitated and
horrified. Every door in the village was slammed in her face. She was
denounced in town meetings, and there was not chivalry enough to cause a
single neighbor to speak in her defence. Samuel J. May had to come from
an adjoining town for this purpose. "But," says Mr. May, "they would not
hear me. They shut their ears and rushed upon me with threats of
personal violence."

As there was nothing in the statutes of Connecticut which made the
holding of such a school as that of Miss Crandall's illegal, the good
Canterbury folk procured the passage of a hasty act through the
Legislature, which was then in session, "making it a penal offence,
punishable by fine and imprisonment, for any one in that State keeping a
school to take as his or her pupils the children of colored people of
other States." But the heart of the young Quaker woman was the heart of
a heroine. She dared to disregard the wicked law, was arrested, bound
over for trial, and sent to jail like a common malefactor. It was no
use, persecution could not cow the noble prisoner into submission to the
infamous statute. In her emergency truth raised up friends who rallied
about her in the unparalleled contest which raged around her person and
her school. There was no meanness or maliciousness to which her enemies
did not stoop to crush and ruin her and her cause. "The newspapers of
the county and of the adjoining counties teemed with the grossest
misrepresentations, and the vilest insinuations," says Mr. May, "against
Miss Crandall, her pupils, and her patrons; but for the most part,
peremptorily refused us any room in their columns to explain our
principles and purposes, or to refute the slanders they were
circulating." Four or five times within two years she was forced into
court to defend her acts against the determined malignity of men who
stood high in the Connecticut Church and State. The shops in the town
boycotted her, the churches closed their doors to her and her pupils.
Public conveyances refused to receive them, and physicians to prescribe
for them. It is said that the heroic soul was cut off from intercourse
with her own family, in the hope doubtless that she would the sooner
capitulate to the negro-hating sentiment of her neighbors. But firm in
her resolve the fair Castellan never thought of surrendering the citadel
of her conscience at the bidding of iniquitous power. Then, like
savages, her foes defiled with the excrement of cattle the well whence
the school drew its supply of water, attacked the house with rotten eggs
and stones, and daubed it with filth. This drama of diabolism was fitly
ended by the introduction of the fire fiend, and the burning of the
detestable building devoted to the higher education of "niggers."
Heathenism was, indeed, outdone by Canterbury Christianity.

The circumstances of this outrage kindled Garrison's indignation to the
highest pitch. Words were inadequate to express his emotions and agony
of soul. In the temper of bold and clear-eyed leadership he wrote George
W. Benson, his future brother-in-law, "we may as well, first as last,
meet this proscriptive spirit, _and conquer it_. We--_i.e._, all the
friends of the cause--must make this a common concern. The New Haven
excitement has furnished a bad precedent--a second must not be given or
I know not what we can do to raise up the colored population in a manner
which their intellectual and moral necessities demand. In Boston we are
all excited at the Canterbury affair. Colonizationists are rejoicing and
Abolitionists looking sternly." Like a true general Garrison took in
from his _Liberator_ outlook the entire field of the struggle. No friend
of the slave, however distant, escaped his quick sympathy or ready
reinforcements. To him the free people of color turned for championship,
and to the _Liberator_ as a mouthpiece. The battle for their rights and
for the freedom of their brethren in the South advanced apace.
Everywhere the army of their friends and the army of their foes were in
motion, and the rising storm winds of justice and iniquity were
beginning "to bellow through the vast and boundless deep" of a nation's



William Lloyd Garrison's return from his English mission was signalized
by two closely related events, viz., the formation of the New York City
Anti-Slavery Society, and the appearance of the first of a succession of
anti-slavery mobs in the North. The news of his British successes had
preceded him, and prepared for him a warm reception on the part of his
pro-slavery countrymen. For had he not with malice prepense put down the
"most glorious of Christian enterprises," and rebuked his own country in
the house of strangers as recreant to freedom? And when O'Connell in
Exeter Hall pointed the finger of scorn at America and made her a
by-word and a hissing in the ears of Englishmen, was it not at a meeting
got up to further the designs of this "misguided young gentlemen who has
just returned from England whither he has recently been for the sole
purpose as it would seem [to the _Commercial Advertiser_] of traducing
the people and institutions of his own country." Had he not caught up
and echoed back the hissing thunder of the great Irish orator:--"_Shame
on the American Slaveholders_! Base wretches should we shout in
chorus--base wretches, how dare you profane the temple of national
freedom, the sacred fane of Republican rites, with the presence and the
sufferings of human beings in chains and slavery!"

The noise of these treasons on a foreign shore, "deafening the sound of
the westerly wave, and riding against the blast as thunder goes," to
borrow O'Connell's graphic and grandiose phrases, had reached the
country in advance of Mr. Garrison. The national sensitiveness was
naturally enough stung to the quick. Here is a pestilent fellow who is
not content with disturbing the peace of the Union with his new
fanaticism, but must needs presume to make the dear Union odious before
the world as well. And his return, what is it to be but the signal for
increased agitation on the slavery question. The conquering hero comes
and his fanatical followers salute him forthwith with a new anti-slavery
society, which means a fresh instrument in his hands to stir up strife
between the North and the South. "Are we tamely to look on, and see this
most dangerous species of fanaticism extending itself through society?"
shrieked on the morning of Mr. Garrison's arrival in New York Harbor,
the malignant editor of the _Courier and Enquirer_.

The pro-slavery and lawless elements of the city were not slow to take
the cue given by metropolitan papers, and to do the duty of patriots
upon their country's enemies. Arthur Tappen and his anti-slavery
associates outwitted these patriotic gentlemen, who attended in a body
at Clinton Hall on the evening of October 2, 1833, to perform the
aforesaid duty of patriots, while the objects of their attention were
convened at Chatham Street Chapel and organizing their new fanaticism.
The mob flew wide of its mark a second time, for when later in the
evening it began a serenade more expressive than musical before the
entrance to the little chapel on Chatham street the members of the
society "folded their tents like the Arabs and as silently stole away."
The Abolitionists accomplished their design and eluded their enemies at
the same time. But the significance of the riotous demonstration went
not unobserved by them and their newly arrived leader. It was plain from
that night that if the spirit of Abolitionism had risen, the spirit of
persecution had risen also.

A somewhat similar reception saluted the reformer in Boston. An
inflammatory handbill announced to his townsmen his arrival. "The true
American has returned, _alias_ William Lloyd Garrison, the 'Negro
Champion,' from his disgraceful mission to the British metropolis,"
etc., etc., and wound up its artful list of lies with the malignant
suggestion that "He is now in your power--do not let him escape you, but
go this evening, armed with plenty of _tar and feathers_ and administer
to him justice at his abode at No. 9 Merchant's Hall, Congress street."
In obedience to this summons, a reception committee in the shape of "a
dense mob, breathing threatenings which forboded a storm," did pay their
respects to the "true American" in front of his abode at the _Liberator_
office. Fortunately the storm passed over without breaking that evening
on the devoted head of the "Negro Champion." But the meaning of the
riotous demonstration it was impossible to miss. Like the mob in New
York it clearly indicated that the country was on the outer edge of an
area of violent disturbances on the subject of slavery.

The peril which Garrison had twice escaped was indeed grave, but neither
it nor the certainty of future persecution could flutter or depress his
spirits. "For myself," he wrote subsequently in the _Liberator_, "I am
ready to brave any danger even unto death. I feel no uneasiness either
in regard to my fate or to the success of the cause of Abolition.
Slavery must speedily be abolished; the blow that shall sever the chains
of the slaves may shake the nation to its center--may momentarily
disturb the pillars of the Union--but it shall redeem the character,
extend the influence, establish the security, and increase the
prosperity of our great republic." It was not the rage and malice of his
enemies which the brave soul minded, but the ever-present knowledge of
human beings in chains and slavery whom he must help. Nothing could
separate him from his duty to them, neither dangers present nor
persecutions to come. The uncertainty of life made him only the more
zealous in their behalf. The necessity of doing, doing, and yet ever
doing for the slave was plainly pressing deep like thorns into his
thoughts. "I am more and more impressed;" he wrote a friend a few weeks
later, "I am more and more impressed with the importance of 'working
whilst the day lasts.' If 'we all do fade as a leaf,' if we are 'as the
sparks that fly upward,' if the billows of time are swiftly removing the
sandy foundation of our life, what we intend to do for the captive, and
for our country, and for the subjugation of a hostile world, must be
done quickly. Happily 'our light afflictions are but for a moment.'"

This yearning of the leader for increased activity in the cause of
immediate emancipation was shared by friends and disciples in different
portions of the country. Few and scattered as were the Abolitionists,
they so much the more needed to band together for the great conflict
with a powerful and organized evil. This evil was organized on a
national scale, the forces of righteousness which were rising against
it, if they were ever to overcome it and rid the land of it, had needs
to be organized on a national scale also. Garrison with the instinct of
a great reformer early perceived the immense utility of a national
anti-slavery organization for mobilizing the whole available Abolition
sentiment of the free States in a moral agitation of national and
tremendous proportions.

He had not long to wait after his return from England before this desire
of his soul was satisfied. It was in fact just a month afterward that a
call for a convention for the formation of the American Anti-Slavery
Society went out from New York to the friends of immediate emancipation
throughout the North. As an evidence of the dangerously excited state of
the popular mind on the subject of slavery there stands in the summons
the significant request to delegates to regard the call as confidential.
The place fixed upon for holding the convention was Philadelphia, and
the time December 4, 1833.

Garrison bestirred himself to obtain for the convention a full
representation of the friends of freedom. He sent the call to George W.
Benson, at Providence, urging him to spread the news among the
Abolitionists of his neighborhood and to secure the election of a goodly
number of delegates by the society in Rhode Island. He forthwith
bethought him of Whittier on his farm in Haverhill, and enjoined his old
friend to fail not to appear in Philadelphia. But while the young poet
longed to go to urge upon his Quaker brethren of that city "to make
their solemn testimony against slavery visible over the whole land--to
urge them, by the holy memories of Woolman and Benezet and Tyson to come
up as of old to the standard of Divine Truth, though even the fires of
another persecution should blaze around them," he feared that he would
not be able to do so. The spirit was surely willing but the purse was
empty, "as thee know," he quaintly adds, "our farming business does not
put much cash in our pockets." The cash he needed was generously
supplied by Samuel E. Sewall, and Whittier went as a delegate to the
convention after all. The disposition on the part of some of the poorer
delegates was so strong to be present at the convention that not even
the lack of money was sufficient to deter them from setting out on the
expedition. Two of them, David T. Kimball and Daniel E. Jewett, from
Andover, Mass., did actually supplement the deficiencies of their
pocket-books by walking to New Haven, the aforesaid pocket-books being
equal to the rest of the journey from that point.

About sixty delegates found their way to Philadelphia and organized on
the morning of December 4th, in Adelphi Hall, the now famous convention.
It was a notable gathering of apostolic spirits--"mainly composed of
comparatively young men, some in middle age, and a few beyond that
period." They had come together from ten of the twelve free States,
which fact goes to show the rapid, the almost epidemic-like spread of
Garrisonian Abolitionism through the North. The _Liberator_ was then
scarcely three years old, and its editor had not until the second day of
the convention attained the great age of twenty-eight! The convention of
1787 did not comprise more genuine patriotism and wisdom than did this
memorable assembly of American Abolitionists. It was from beginning to
end an example of love to God and love to men, of fearless scorn of
injustice and fearless devotion to liberty. Not one of those three score
souls who made up the convention, who did not take his life in his hand
by reason of the act. It was not the love of fame surely which brought
them over so many hundreds of miles, which made so many of them endure
real physical privation, which drew all by a common, an irresistible
impulse to congregate for an unpopular purpose within reach of the teeth
and the claws of an enraged public opinion.

The convention, as one man might have said with the single-minded Lundy,
"My heart was deeply grieved at the gross abomination; I heard the wail
of the captive; I felt his pang of distress; and the iron entered my
soul." The iron of slavery had indeed entered the soul of every member
of the convention. It was the divine pang and pity of it which collected
from the East and from the West this remarkable body of reformers.

The story of how they had to find a president illustrates the
contemporary distrust and antagonism, which the anti-slavery movement
aroused among the men of standing and influence. Knowing in what bad
odor they were held by the community, and anxious only to serve their
cause in the most effective manner, the members of the convention hit
upon the plan of asking some individual eminent for his respectability
to preside over their deliberations, and thereby disarm the public
suspicions and quiet the general apprehensions felt in respect of the
incendiary character of their intention. So in pursuance of this plan
six of their number were dispatched on the evening of December 3d to
seek such a man. But the quest of the committee like that of Diogenes
proved a failure. After two attempts and two repulses the committee were
not disposed to invite the humiliation of a third refusal and must have
listened with no little relief, to this blunt summary of the situation
by Beriah Green, who was one of the six. "If there is not timber amongst
ourselves," quoth Green, "big enough to make a president of, let us get
along without one, or go home and stay there until we have grown up to
be men." The next day Green was chosen, and established in a manner
never to be forgotten by his associates that the convention did possess
"timber big enough to make a president of."

Narrow as were the circumstances of many of the members, the convention
was by no means destitute of men of wealth and business prominence. Such
were the Winslows, Isaac and Nathan, of Maine, Arnold Buffum, of
Massachusetts, and John Rankin and Lewis Tappan, of New York.
Scholarship, talents, and eloquence abounded among the delegates. Here
there was no lack, no poverty, but extraordinary sufficiency, almost to
redundancy. The presence of the gentler sex was not wanting to lend
grace and picturesqueness to the occasion. The beautiful and benignant
countenance of Lucretia Mott shed over the proceedings the soft radiance
of a pure and regnant womanhood; while the handful of colored delegates
with the elegant figure of Robert Purvis at their head, added pathos and
picturesqueness to the _personnel_ of the convention. Neither was the
element of danger wanting to complete the historic scene. Its presence
was grimly manifest in the official intimation that evening meetings of
the convention could not be protected, by the demonstrations of popular
ill-will which the delegates encountered on the streets, by the
detachment of constabulary guarding the entrance to Adelphi Hall, and by
the thrillingly significant precaution observed by the delegates of
sitting with locked doors. Over the assembly it impended cruel and
menacing like fate. Once securely locked within the hall, the
Abolitionists discreetly abstained from leaving it at noon for dinner,
well knowing how small a spark it takes to kindle a great fire. It was
foolhardy to show themselves unnecessarily to the excited crowds in the
streets, and so mindful that true courage consisteth not in
recklessness, they despatched one of their number for crackers and
cheese, which they washed down with copious draughts of cold water. But
they had that to eat and drink besides, whereof the spirits of mischief
without could not conceive.

The grand achievement of the convention was, of course, the formation of
the American Anti-Slavery Society, but the crown of the whole was
unquestionably the Declaration of Sentiments. The composition of this
instrument has an interesting history. It seems that the delegates
considered that the remarkable character of the movement which they were
launching upon the wide sea of national attention demanded of them an
expression altogether worthy of so momentous an undertaking. The
adoption of a constitution for this purpose was felt to be inadequate. A
constitution was indispensable, but some other expression was necessary
to give to their work its proper proportion and importance. Such a
manifestation it was deemed meet to make in the form of a declaration of
sentiments. A committee was accordingly appointed to draft the
declaration. This committee named three of its number, consisting of
Garrison, Whittier, and Samuel J. May to draw up the document. The
sub-committee in turn deputed Garrison to do the business.

Mr. May has told in his _Recollections of the Anti-Slavery Conflict_,
how he and Whittier left their friend at ten o'clock in the evening,
agreeing to call at eight the following morning and how on their return
at the appointed hour they found Garrison with shutters closed and lamps
burning, penning the last paragraph of the admirable document. He has
told how they three read it over together two or three times, making
some slight alterations in it, and how at nine o'clock the draft was
laid by them before the whole committee. The author of the recollections
has left a graphic account of its effect upon the convention. "Never in
my life," he says, "have I seen a deeper impression made by words than
was made by that admirable document upon all who were present. After the
voice of the reader had ceased there was silence for several minutes.
Our hearts were in perfect unison. There was but one thought with us
all. Either of the members could have told what the whole convention
felt. We felt that the word had just been uttered which would be mighty,
through God, to the pulling down of the strongholds of slavery." Such
was the scene at the first reading of the Declaration of Sentiments, Dr.
Atlee, the reader. The effect at its final reading was, if possible,
even more dramatic and eloquent. Whittier has depicted this closing and
thrilling scene. He has described how Samuel J. May read the declaration
for the last time. "His sweet, persuasive voice faltered with the
intensity of his emotions as he repeated the solemn pledges of the
concluding paragraphs. After a season of silence, David Thurston of
Maine, rose as his name was called by one of the secretaries and affixed
his name to the document. One after another passed up to the platform,
signed, and retired in silence. All felt the deep responsibility of the
occasion--the shadow and forecast of a life-long struggle rested upon
every countenance."

The effects, so electrical and impressive, which followed the reading of
the declaration were not disproportioned to its merits, for it was an
instrument of singular power, wisdom, and eloquence. Indeed, to this
day, more than half a century after it was written it still has virtue
to quicken the breath and stir the pulses of a sympathetic reader out of
their normal time. A great passion for freedom and righteousness
irradiates like a central light the whole memorable document. It begins
by a happy reference to an earlier convention, held some fifty-seven
years before in the same place, and which adopted a declaration holding
"that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and
the pursuit of happiness;" and how at the trumpet-call of its authors
three millions of people rushed to arms "deeming it more glorious to die
instantly as free men, than desirable to live one hour as slaves"; and
how, though few in number and poor in resources those same people were
rendered invincible by the conviction that truth, justice, and right
were on their side. But the freedom won by the men of 1776 was
incomplete without the freedom for which the men of 1833 were striving.
The authors of the new declaration would not be inferior to the authors
of the old "in purity of motive, in earnestness of zeal, in decision of
purpose, intrepidity of action, in steadfastness of faith, in sincerity
of spirit." Unlike the older actors, the younger had eschewed the sword,
the spilling of human blood in defence of their principles. Theirs was a
moral warfare, the grappling of truth with error, of the power of love
with the inhumanities of the nation. Then it glances at the wrongs which
the fathers suffered, and at the enormities which the slaves were
enduring. The "fathers were never slaves, never bought and sold like
cattle, never shut out from the light of knowledge and religion, never
subjected to the lash of brutal taskmasters," but all these woes and
more, an unimaginable mountain of agony and misery, was the appalling
lot of the slaves in the Southern States. The guilt of this nation,
which partners such a crime against human nature, "is unequaled by any
other on earth," and therefore it is bound to instant repentance, and to
the immediate restitution of justice to the oppressed.

The Declaration of Sentiments denies the right of man to hold property
in a brother man, affirms the identity in principle between the African
slave trade and American slavery, the imprescriptibility of the rights
of the slaves to liberty, the nullity of all laws which run counter to
human rights, and the grand doctrine of civil and political equality in
the Republic, regardless of race and complexional differences. It boldly
rejects the principle of compensated emancipation, because it involves a
surrender of the position that man cannot hold property in man; because
slavery is a crime, and the master is not wronged by emancipation but
the slaves righted, restored to themselves; because immediate and
general emancipation would only destroy nominal, not real, property, the
labor of the slaves would still remain to the masters and doubled by the
new motives which freedom infuses into the breasts of her children; and,
finally because, if compensation is to be given at all it ought to be
given to those who have been plundered of their rights. It spurns in one
compact paragraph the pretensions of the colonization humbug as
"delusive, cruel, and dangerous."

But lofty and uncompromising as were the moral principles and positions
of the declaration, it nevertheless recognized with perspicuity of
vision the Constitutional limitations of the Federal Government in
relation to slavery. It frankly conceded that Congress had no right to
meddle with the evil in any of the States. But wherever the national
jurisdiction reached the general government was bound to interfere and
suppress the traffic in human flesh. It was the duty of Congress,
inasmuch as it possessed the power, to abolish slavery in the District
of Columbia, the National Territories, along the coast and between the
States. The free States are the _particeps criminis_ of the slave
States. They are living under a pledge of their tremendous physical
force to rivet the manacles of chattel slavery upon millions in the
South; they are liable at any instant to be called on under the
Constitution to suppress a general insurrection of the slaves. This
relationship is criminal, "is full of danger, IT MUST BE BROKEN UP."

So much for the views and principles of the declaration, now for the
designs and measures as enumerated therein: "We shall organize
anti-slavery societies, if possible, in every city, town and village in
our land.

"We shall send forth agents to lift up the voice of remonstrance, of
warning, of entreaty, and of rebuke.

"We shall circulate, unsparingly and extensively, anti-slavery tracts
and periodicals.

"We shall enlist the pulpit and the press in the cause of the suffering
and the dumb.

"We shall aim at a purification of the churches from all participation
in the guilt of slavery.

"We shall encourage the labor of freemen rather than that of slaves, by
giving a preference to their productions; and

"We shall spare no exertions nor means to bring the whole nation to
speedy repentance."

The instrument closes by pledging the utmost of its signers to the
overthrow of slavery--"come what may to our persons, our interests, or
our reputations--whether we live to witness the triumph of Liberty,
Justice, and Humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this great,
benevolent, and holy cause." Twin pledge it was to that ancestral,
historic one made in 1776: "And for the support of this declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually
pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Whittier has predicted for the Declaration of Sentiments an enduring
fame: "It will live," he declares, "as long as our national history."
Samuel J. May was equally confident that this "Declaration of the Rights
of Man," as he proudly cherished it, would "live a perpetual, impressive
protest against every form of oppression, until it shall have given
place to that brotherly kindness which all the children of the common
Father owe to one another." As a particular act and parchment-roll of
high thoughts and resolves, highly expressed, it will not, I think,
attain to the immortality predicted for it. For as such it has in less
than two generations passed almost entirely out of the knowledge and
recollection of Americans. But in another sense it is destined to
realize all that has been foreshadowed for it by its friends. Like
elemental fire its influence will glow and flame at the center of our
national life long after as a separate and sovereign entity it shall
have been forgotten by the descendants of its illustrious author and

The convention was in session three days, and its proceedings were
filled with good resolutions and effective work. Arthur Tappan was
elected President of the national organization, and William Green, Jr.,
Treasurer. Elizur Wright, Jr., was chosen Secretary of Domestic
Correspondence, William Lloyd Garrison Secretary of Foreign
Correspondence, and Abraham L. Cox Recording Secretary. Besides these
officers there were a Board of Management and a number of
Vice-Presidents selected. For three days the hearts of the delegates
burned within them toward white-browed Duty and the master, Justice, who
stood in their midst and talked with divine accents to their spirits of
how men were enslaved and cruelly oppressed by men, their own brothers,
and how the cry of these bondmen came up to them for help. And with one
accord there fell upon the delegates a pang and pity, an uplifting,
impelling sense of 'woe unto us' if we withhold from our brethren in
bonds the help required of us. This rising tide of emotion and
enthusiasm gathering mass at each sitting of the convention, culminated
during the several readings of the Declaration of Sentiments. And when
on the third day Beriah Green brought the congress to a close in a
valedictory address of apostolic power and grandeur, and with a prayer
so sweet, so fervent, and strong as to melt all hearts, the pent-up
waters of the reform was ready to hurl themselves into an agitation the
like of which had never before, nor has since, been seen or felt in the
Union. Thenceforth freedom's little ones were not without great allies,
who were "exultations, agonies, and love, and man's unconquerable mind."

Everywhere the flood of Abolitionism burst upon the land, everywhere the
moral deluge spread through the free States. Anti-slavery societies rose
as it were, out of the ground, so rapid, so astonishing were their
growth during the year following the formation of the national society.
In nearly every free State they had appeared doubling and quadrupling in
number, until new societies reached in that first year to upwards of
forty. Anti-slavery agents and lecturers kept pace with the anti-slavery
societies. They began to preach, to remonstrate, to warn, entreat, and
rebuke until their voices sounded like the roar of many waters in the
ears of the people. Wherever there was a school-house, a hall, or a
church, there they were, ubiquitous, irrepressible, a cry in the
wilderness of a nation's iniquity. Anti-slavery tracts and periodicals
multiplied and started from New York and Boston in swarms, and clouds,
the thunder of their wings were as the thunder of falling avalanches to
the guilty conscience of the country. There was no State, city, town, or
village in the Republic where their voice was not heard.

The Rev. Amos A Phelp's "Lectures on Slavery and Its Remedy;" "the Rev.
J.D. Paxton's 'Letters on Slavery'; the Rev. S.J. May's letters to
Andrew T. Judson, 'The Rights of Colored People to Education
Vindicated'; Prof. Elizur Wright, Jr.'s, 'Sin of Slavery and Its
Remedy'; Whittier's 'Justice and Expediency'; and, above all, Mrs. Lydia
Maria Child's startling 'Appeal in favor of that class of Americans
called Africans' were the more potent of the new crop of writings
betokening the vigor of Mr. Garrison's Propagandism," says that
storehouse of anti-slavery facts the "Life of Garrison" by his children.
Swift poured the flood, widespread the inundation of anti-slavery
publications. Money, although not commensurate with the vast wants of
the crusade, came in copious and generous streams. A marvelous
munificence characterized the charity of wealthy Abolitionists. The poor
gave freely of their mite, and the rich as freely of their thousands.
Something of the state of simplicity and community of goods which marked
the early disciples of Christianity seemed to have revived in the hearts
of this band of American reformers. A spirit of renunciation, of
self-sacrifice, of brotherly kindness, of passionate love of
righteousness, of passionate hatred of wrong, of self-consecration to
truth and of martyrdom lifted the reform to as high a moral level as had
risen any movement for the betterment of mankind in any age of the

The resolutions of the signers of the Declaration of Sentiment, to
enlist the pulpit in the cause of the suffering and dumb, and to attempt
the purification of the churches from all participation in the guilt of
slavery, encountered determined opposition from the pulpits and the
churches themselves. The Abolitionists were grieved and indignant at the
pro-slavery spirit which pulpits and churches displayed. But what
happened was as we now look back at those proceedings, an inevitable
occurrence, a foregone conclusion. The pulpits were only representative
of the religion of the pews, and the pews were occupied by the same sort
of humanity that toil and spin and haggle over dollars and cents six out
of every seven days. They have their selfish and invested interests,
fixed social notions, relationships, and prejudices, which an episode
like Sunday, churches, and sermons do not seriously affect. Indeed,
Sunday, churches, and sermons constitute an institution of modern
civilization highly conservative of invested interests, fixed social
notions, relationships, and prejudices. Who advances a new idea, a
reformatory movement, disturbs the _status quo_, stirs up the human bees
in that great hive called society, and that lesser one called the
church, and he must needs expect to have the swarm about his head.

This was precisely what happened in the case of the anti-slavery
movement. It threatened the then _status quo_ of property rights, it
attacked the fixed social notions, relationships, and prejudices of the
South and of the North alike. The revolution which this new idea
involved in the slave States, was of the most radical character, going
down to a complete reconstruction of their entire social system. At once
the human hornets were aroused, and in these circumstances, the innocent
and the guilty were furiously beset. Because the new idea which
disturbed the South had originated in the North, the wrath of the South
rose hot against not the authors of the new idea alone but against the
people of that section as well. But this sectional unpleasantness
endangered the stability of the Union, and menaced with obstructions and
diversions the golden stream of Northern traffic, dollars, and
dividends. This was intolerable, and forthwith the Apiarian brotherhood
of the free States put together their heads with those of the slave
States to attack, sting, and utterly abolish the new idea, and the new
idea's supporters. The Northern churches were, of course, in the
Northern brotherhood. And when the new fanaticism threatened the
financial stability of the pews, the pulpits instead of exerting
themselves in behalf of the suffering and dumb slaves, exerted
themselves to preserve the prosperity of the pews by frowning down the
friends of the slaves. They were among the first to stone the new idea
and its fiery prophets. "Away with them!" shouted in chorus pulpit and
pews. Sad? yes, but alas! natural, too. These men were not better nor
worse than the average man. They were the average men of their
generation, selfish, narrow, material, encrusted in their prejudices
like snails in their shells, struggling upward at a snail's pace to the
larger life, with its added sweetness and humanities, but experiencing
many a discomfiture by the way from those foul and triple fiends, the
World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

Nowhere in the churches was their opposition to the Abolition movement
more persistent and illiberal than in the theological seminaries, whence
the pulpits drew their supplies of preachers. Like master, like servant,
these institutions were indentured to the public, and reflected as in a
mirror the body and pressure of its life and sentiment. That a stream
cannot rise higher than its source, although a theological stream, found
remarkable demonstration in the case of Lane Seminary. Here after the
publication of the "Thoughts on Colonization," and the formation of the
National Society, an earnest spirit of inquiry broke out among the
students on the subject of slavery. It was at first encouraged by the
President, Lyman Beecher, who offered to go in and discuss the question
with his "boys." That eminent man did not long remain in this mind. The
discussions which he so lightly allowed swept through the institution
with the force of a great moral awakening. They were continued during
nine evenings and turned the seminary at their close, so far as the
students went, into an anti-slavery society. This is not the place to go
at length into the history of that anti-slavery debate, which, in its
consequences, proved one of the events of the anti-slavery conflict. Its
leader was Theodore D. Weld, who was until Wendell Phillips appeared
upon the scene, the great orator of the agitation.

Dr. Beecher had no notion of raising such a ghost when he said, "Go
ahead, boys, I'll go in and discuss with you." It was such an apparition
of independence and righteousness as neither the power of the trustees
nor the authority of the faculty was ever able to dismiss. The virtue of
a gag rule was tried to suppress Abolition among the students, but
instead of suppressing Abolition, it well-nigh suppressed the seminary;
for, rather than wear a gag on the obnoxious subject, the students--to
between seventy and eighty, comprising nearly the whole muster-roll of
the school--withdrew from an institution where the exercise of the right
of free inquiry and free speech on a great moral question was denied and
repressed. The same spirit of repression arose later in the Theological
School at Andover, Mass. There the gag was effectively applied by the
faculty, and all inquiry and discussion relating to slavery disappeared
among the students. But the attempt to impose silence upon the students
of Phillips's Academy near-by was followed by the secession of forty or
fifty of the students.

Ah! the Abolitionists had undertaken to achieve the impossible, when
they undertook to enlist the pulpit in the cause of the slaves, and to
purify the churches from all participation in the guilt of slavery. For
the average man, whether within or without the church, is not controlled
in his conduct toward his brother man by the principles and precepts of
Jesus, but by the laws of social and individual selfishness. These
selfish forces may at epochal moments align themselves with justice and
liberty, and they not infrequently do, otherwise human progress must be
at an end. In advancing themselves, they perforce advance justice and
liberty. Thus do men love their neighbors as themselves, and move
forward to fraternity and equality in kingdoms and commonwealths. The
special province of moral reformers, like Garrison and the
Abolitionists, seems to be to set these egoistic and altruistic elements
of human society at war, the one against the other, thereby compelling
its members and classes, willy nilly, to choose between the
belligerents. Some will enlist on one side, some on the other, but in
the furnace heat of the passions which ensues, an ancient evil, or a bad
custom or institution, gets the vitality burned out of it, which in due
time falls as slag out of the new order that arises at the close of the



Mr. Garrison, in a private letter to a friend under date of September
12, 1834, summarises the doings of the preceding twelve months of his
life, and makes mention of a fact which lends peculiar interest to that
time: "It has been the most eventful year," he remarks, "in my history.
I have been the occasion of many uproars, and a continual disturber of
the public peace. As soon as I landed I turned the city of New York
upside down. Five thousand people turned out to see me tarred and
feathered, but were disappointed. There was also a small hubbub in
Boston on my arrival. The excitement passed away, but invective and
calumny still followed me. By dint of some industry and much persuasion,
I succeeded in inducing the Abolitionists in New York to join our little
band in Boston, in calling a national convention at Philadelphia. We
met, and such a body of men, for zeal, firmness, integrity, benevolence,
and moral greatness, the world has rarely seen in a single assembly.
Inscribed upon a declaration which it was my exalted privilege to write,
their names can perish only with the knowledge of the history of our
times. A National Anti-Slavery Society was formed, which astonished the
country by its novelty, and awed it by its boldness. In five months its
first annual meeting was held in the identical city in which, only seven
antecedent months, Abolitionists were in peril of their lives. In
ability, interest, and solemnity it took precedence of all the great
religious celebrations which took place at the same time. During the
same month, a New England anti-slavery convention was held in Boston,
and so judicious were its measures, so eloquent its appeals, so
unequivocal its resolutions, that it at once gave shape and character to
the anti-slavery cause in this section of the Union. In the midst of all
these mighty movements, I have wooed "a fair ladye," and won her, have
thrown aside celibacy, and jumped body and soul into matrimony, have
sunk the character of bachelor in that of husband, have settled down
into domestic quietude, and repudiated all my roving desires, and have
found that which I have long been yearning to find, a home, a wife, and
a beautiful retreat from a turbulent city."

Garrison does not exaggerate the importance of the initiatives and
achievements of the year, or the part played by him in its history. His
activity was indeed phenomenal, and the service rendered by him to the
reform, was unrivaled. He was in incessant motion, originating,
directing, inspiring the agitation in all portions of the North. What
strikes one strongly in studying the pioneer is his sleeplessness, his
indefatigableness, his persistency in pursuit of his object. Others may
rest after a labor, may have done one, two, or three distinct tasks, but
between Garrison's acts there is no hiatus, each follows each, and is
joined to all like links in a chain. He never closed his eyes, nor
folded his arms, but went forward from work to work with the
consecutiveness of a law of nature.

But amid labors so strenuous and uninterrupted the leader found
opportunity to woo and win "a fair ladye." She was a daughter of a
veteran Abolitionist, George Benson, of Brooklyn, Conn., who with his
sons George W. and Henry E. Benson, were among the stanchest of the
reformer's followers and supporters. The young wife, before her
marriage, was not less devoted to the cause than they. She was in
closest sympathy with her husband's anti-slavery interests and purposes.
Never had husband found wife better fitted to his needs, and the needs
of his life work. So that it might be truly said that Garrison even when
he went a-wooing forgot not his cause and that when he took a wife, he
made at the same time a grand contribution to its ultimate triumph.

How did Helen Eliza Garrison serve the great cause? One who knew shall
tell. He has told it in his own unequaled way. "That home," he says,
"was a great help. Her husband's word and pen scattered his purpose far
and wide; but the comrades that his ideas brought to his side her
welcome melted into friends. No matter how various and discordant they
were in many things--no matter how much there was to bear and
overlook--her patience and her thanks for their sympathy in the great
idea were always sufficient for the work also.... In that group of
remarkable men and women which the anti-slavery movement drew together,
she had her own niche--which no one else could have filled so perfectly
or unconsciously as she did.... She forgot, omitted nothing. How much we
all owe her!" These were words spoken by a friend, whose name will
appear later on in this story; words spoken by him at the close of her
beautiful life, as she lay dead in her coffin.

And here is another account of her written by the husband on the first
anniversary of their marriage: "I did not marry her," he confides to her
brother George, "expecting that she would assume a prominent station in
the anti-slavery cause, but for domestic quietude and happiness. So
completely absorbed am I in that cause, that it was undoubtedly wise in
me to select as a partner one who, while her benevolent feelings were in
union with mine, was less immediately and entirely connected with it. I
knew she was naturally diffident, and distrustful of her own ability to
do all that her heart might prompt. She is one of those who prefer to
toil unseen--to give by stealth--and to sacrifice in seclusion. By her
unwearied attention to my wants, her sympathetic regards, her perfect
equanimity of mind, and her sweet and endearing manners; she is no
trifling support to Abolitionism, inasmuch as she lightens my labors,
and enables me to find exquisite delight in the family circle, as an
offset to public adversity."

And here is a lovely bit of self-revelation made to her betrothed
several months before they were wedded. "I am aware of the
responsibility that will devolve upon me," she writes, "and how much my
example will be copied among that class you have so long labored to
elevate and enlighten. I have been considering how the colored people
think of dress, and how much of their profits are expended for useless
ornaments that foolishly tend to make a show and parade. As much stress
will, of course, be laid on Garrison's _wife_ by that class, it behooves
me to be very circumspect in all things, when called upon to fill so
important a station."

The marriage occurred September 4, 1834, and the next day the pair set
up housekeeping in "Freedom's Cottage," on Bower street, Roxbury. The
young housekeepers were rich in every good thing except money; and of
that commodity there was precious little that found its way into the
family till. And money was indispensable even to a philanthropist, who
cared as little for it as did Garrison. He had never in his twenty-eight
years experienced the sensation which a bank account, however small,
gives its possessor. He had been toiling during the last three years in
a state of chronic self-forgetfulness, and of consequence in a state of
chronic inpecuniosity. He had never been careful of what he got--was
careful only of what he gave. For himself he was ready to subsist on
bread and water and to labor more than fourteen hours at the case to
make the issue of the _Liberator_ possible. But surely he could not put
"a fair ladye" on such limited commons even for the sake of his cause.
The laborer is worthy of his hire, and an unworldly minded reformer
ought to be supplied with the wherewithal needful to feed, clothe, and
house himself and those dependent upon him. Some such thought shaped
itself in Garrison's mind as his circumstances grew more and more
straitened, and his future as the head of a family looked more and more
ominous. Anxiety for the morrow pressed heavily upon him as his
responsibilities as a breadwinner hugged closer and closer his everyday
life. Poverty ceased to be the ordinary enemy of former years, whom he
from the lookouts of the unconquerable mind used to laugh to scorn; it
had become instead a cruel foe who worried as by fire the peace of his

There was the _Liberator_? The _Liberator_ as a moral engine was a
marvelous success; but the _Liberator_ as a money-maker was a most
dismal failure. If its owners had possessed only common aptitude for
business the failure need not have been so complete, indeed the
enterprise might have been crowned with a moderate degree of success.
But never were two men more entirely lacking in the methods, which
should enter into ventures of that character, than were Garrison and
Knapp. Garrison was unfortunate in this respect but it seems that Knapp
was more so. Neither took to book-keeping, and neither overcame his
serious deficiency in this regard. The consequence was that the books
kept themselves, and confusion grew upon confusion until the partners
were quite confounded. Garrison naïvely confesses this fault of the firm
to his brother-in-law thus: "Brother Knapp, you know, resembles me very
closely in his habits of procrastination. Indeed I think he is rather
worse than I am in this respect!"

The paper was issued originally without a single subscriber. At the end
of the first volume the subscription list numbered five hundred names.
In the course of the next two volumes this number was more than doubled,
almost tripled, in fact. The subscription price was two dollars. The
property would have begun from this point to make returns to its owners
had they possessed the business training and instinct requisite to its
successful management. But they were reformers, not money-getters, and
instead of enjoying the profits they proceeded to use them up
incontinently in their first enlargement of the paper. But while they
had added to the cost of publication, they took no thought to augment
the cost of subscription. The publishers gave more and the subscribers
received more for the sum of two dollars. The pecuniary embarrassments
of the _Liberator_ increased, and so the partners' "bondage to penury"
increased also. This growing pressure was finally relieved by "several
generous donations," made for the support of the paper. At the beginning
of the fourth volume, the publishers wisely or other-wisely, again
enlarged their darling, and again neglected to raise the subscription
rates at the same time.

Misfortunes never come without company, but alight in flocks, and a
whole flock of misfortunes it was to the _Liberator_ when Joshua Coffin,
"that huge personification of good humor," was appointed canvassing
agent for the paper. He was as wanting in business methods as his
employers were. Confusion now gathered upon confusion around the devoted
heads of the partners, was accelerated and became daily more and more
portentous and inextricable. The delinquencies of subscribers grew more
and more grave. On the three first volumes they were two thousand
dollars in arrears to the paper. This was a large, a disastrous loss,
but traceable, to no inconsiderable extent, doubtless, to the loose
business methods of the reformer and his partner. The _Liberator_ at the
beginning of its fourth year was struggling in a deep hole of financial
helplessness and chaos. Would it ever get out alive, or "SHALL THE
_LIBERATOR_ DIE?" burst in a cry of anguish, almost despair, from its
editor, so weak in thought of self, so supreme in thought of others.

This carelessness of what appertained to the things which concerned
self, and devotion to the things which concerned his cause, finds apt
and pathetic illustration in this letter to Samuel J. May in the summer
of 1834, when his pecuniary embarrassments and burdens were never harder
to carry:

"In reply to your favor of the 24th [July], my partner joins with me in
consenting to print an edition of Miss Crandall's [defence] as large as
the one proposed by you, at our own risk. As to the profits that may
arise from the sale of the pamphlet, we do not expect to make any; on
the contrary, we shall probably suffer some loss, in consequence of the
difficulty of disposing of any publication, however interesting or
valuable in itself. But a trial so important as Miss C.'s, involving
such momentous consequences to a large portion of our countrymen,
implicating so deeply the character of this great nation, ought not to
go unpublished, and _shall_ not while we have the necessary materials
for printing it."

It is interesting to note that the weekly circulation of the
_Liberator_, in the spring of 1834, was twenty-three hundred copies, and
that this number was distributed in Philadelphia, four hundred; in New
York, three hundred: in Boston, two hundred; in other parts of the free
States eleven hundred; and that of the remaining three hundred, one-half
was sent as exchange with other papers, and eighty of the other half
were divided equally between England and Hayti, leaving seventy copies
for gratuitous distribution. The colored subscribers to the paper were
to the whites as three to one.

There were several suggestions by sundry friends looking to the release
of the _Liberator_ from its embarrassments, and, to the relief of its
unselfish publishers, from the grinding poverty which its issue imposed
upon them. The most hopeful and feasible of them was the scheme of which
Garrison wrote his betrothed April 14, 1834: "I am happy to say," he
pours into her ears, "that it is probable the managers of the New
England Anti-Slavery Society will determine, to-morrow afternoon, to
take all the pecuniary liabilities of the _Liberator_ hereafter, and
give me a regular salary for editing it, and friend Knapp a fair price
for printing it. My salary will not be less than $800 per annum, and
perhaps it will be fixed at a $1,000.... The new arrangement will go
into effect on the 1st of July." But alas; the managers took no such
action on the morrow, nor went the "new arrangement" into effect at the
time anticipated. The editor was married in September, and two months
later the eagerly expected relief was still delayed. This hope deferred
must have caused the young husband meanwhile no little anxiety and heart

Love in a cottage is very pretty and romantic in novels, but love in a
cottage actually thriving on "bread and water," was a sweet reality in
the home of the young couple in Roxbury. "All the world loves a lover,"
says Emerson, but alas! there are exceptions to all rules, and all the
world loved not Garrison in his newly found felicity as shall presently

The pledge made by the reformer in the initial number of the _Liberator_
to be "as harsh as truth," had been kept to the letter. To some minds
there is nothing more difficult to understand and tolerate than is the
use of harsh language toward individual wrongdoers. They appear to be
much more solicitous to turn away the wrath of the wicked than to do
away with their wickedness. Multitudes of such minds were offended at
the tremendous severities of Garrison's speech. They were for peace at
any cost, while Garrison was for truth at any cost. These pro-slavery
critics were not necessarily wanting in good feelings to the slaves, or
lacking in a sense of the justice of their cause. But the feelings and
the sense were transitive to an abstract object, intransitive to that
terrible reality, the American slave. The indignation of such people
exceeded all bounds when contemplating wrongs in the abstract, iniquity
in the abstract, while the genuine article in flesh and blood and
habited in broadcloth and respectability provoked no indignation,
provoked instead unbounded charity for the willing victims of ancestral
transgressions. Upon the Southern slaveholder, as a creature of
circumstances, these people expended all their sympathy while upon the
Southern slave, who were to their view _the circumstances_, they looked
with increasing disapprobation. Garrison's harsh language greatly
shocked this class--excited their unbounded indignation against the

Besides this class there was another, composed of friends, whom
Garrison's denunciatory style offended. To Charles Pollen and Charles
Stuart, and Lewis Tappan, this characteristic of the writings of the
great agitator was a sore trial. To them and to others, too, his
language seemed grossly intemperate and vituperative, and was deemed
productive of harm to the movement. But Garrison defended his harsh
language by pointing to the state of the country on the subject of
slavery before he began to use it, and to the state of the country
afterward. How utterly and morally dead the nation was before, how
keenly and marvelously alive it became afterward. The blast which he had
blown had jarred upon the senses of his slumbering countrymen he
admitted, but he should not be blamed for that. What to his critics
sounded harsh and abusive, was to him the trump of God. For, at the
thunder-peal which the Almighty blew from the mouth of his servant, how,
as by a miracle, the dead soul of the nation awoke to righteousness. He
does not arrogate to himself infallibility, indeed he is sure that his
language is not always happily chosen. Such errors, however, appear to
him trivial, in view of indisputable and extraordinary results produced
by the _Liberator_. He believes in marrying masculine truths to
masculine words. He protests against his condemnation by comparison.
"Every writer's style is his own--it may be smooth or rough, plain or
obscure, simple or grand, feeble or strong," he contends, "but
_principles_ are immutable." By his principles, therefore he would, be
judged. "Whittier, for instance," he continues, "is highly poetical,
exuberant, and beautiful. Stuart is solemn, pungent, and severe. Wright
is a thorough logician, dextrous, transparent, straightforward. Beriah
Green is manly, eloquent, vigorous, devotional. May is persuasive,
zealous, overflowing with the milk of human kindness. Cox is diffusive,
sanguine, magnificent, grand. Bourne thunders and lightens. Phelps is
one great, clear, infallible argument--demonstration itself. Jocelyn is
full of heavenly-mindedness, and feels and speaks and acts with a zeal
according to knowledge. Follen is chaste, profound, and elaborately
polished. Goodell is perceptive, analytical, expert, and solid. Child
(David L.) is generously indignant, courageous, and demonstrative; his
lady combines strength with beauty, argumentation with persuasiveness,
greatness with humility. Birney is collected, courteous,
dispassionate--his fearlessness excites admiration, his
conscientiousness commands respect." Of these writers, which is
acceptable to slaveholders or their apologists? Some have been cruelly
treated and all been calumniated as "fanatics, disorganizers, and
madmen." And why? "Certainly not for the _phraseology_ which they use,
but for the _principles_ which they adopt."

From another quarter came presently notes of discord, aroused by
Garrison's _hard language_. Sundry of the Unitarian clergy, under the
lead of Rev. Henry Ware, Jr., took it into their heads that the editor
of the _Liberator_ and some others were outrageously abusing the
Abolition cause, "mismanaging it by their unreasonable violence" of
language. Wherefore those gentlemen interposed to rescue the great cause
from harm by a brilliant scheme designed to secure moderation in this
regard. This brilliant scheme was nothing less absurd than the
establishment of a censorship over the _Liberator_. But as these
solicitous souls had reckoned without their host, their amiable plan
came to naught; but not, however, before adding a new element to the
universal discord then fast swelling to a roar. To the storm of censure
gathering about his head the reformer bowed not--neither swerved he to
the right hand nor to the left--all the while deeming it, "with the
apostle, a small thing to be judged by man's judgment." "I solicit no
man's praise," he sternly replies to his critics, "I fear no men's

There was still another cause of offence given by Garrison to his
countrymen. It was not his _hard language_, but a circumstance less
tolerable, if that was possible, than even that rock of offence. It
seems that when the editor of the _Liberator_ was in England, and dining
with Thomas Powell Buxton, he was asked by the latter in what way the
English Abolitionists could best assist the anti-slavery movement in
America, and he had replied, "_By giving us George Thompson_." This
unexpected answer of the American appeared without doubt to the
Englishman at the time somewhat extraordinary. He had his misgivings as
to the wisdom, to say nothing of the propriety, of an international act
of such importance and delicacy as the sending of George Thompson to
America. He questioned whether the national self-love of the American
people would not resent the arrival of an Englishman on such a mission
among them and refuse him a fair hearing in consequence. But Garrison
was confident that while Thompson's advent would stir up the pro-slavery
bile of the North and all that, he would not be put to much if any
greater disadvantage as a foreigner in speaking in New England on the
subject of slavery, than were those Abolitionists who were to the manner
born. As to his friend's personal safety in the East, Garrison was
extremely optimistic, had not apparently the slightest apprehensions for
him in this regard.

Well, after due deliberation, George Thompson consented to undertake the
mission to America, and the English reformers to send him, though not
all of them. For some there were like James Cropper, who were indisposed
to promoting such a mission, or "paying agents to travel in the United
States." It was natural enough for Mr. Garrison to prefer such a request
after hearing George Thompson speak. For he was one of those electric
speakers, who do with popular audiences what they will. In figure and
voice and action, he was a born orator. His eloquence was graphic,
picturesque, thrilling, and over English audiences it was irresistible.
Garrison fancied that such eloquence would prove equally attractive to
and irresistible over American audiences as well. But in this he was
somewhat mistaken, for Thompson had to deal with an element in American
audiences of which he had had no experience in England. What that
element was he had occasion to surmise directly he arrived upon these
shores. He reached New York just sixteen days after the marriage of his
friend, the editor of the _Liberator_ to be immediately threatened with
mob violence by the metropolitan press in case he ventured to "lecture
in favor of immediate Abolition," and to be warned that: "If our people
will not suffer our own citizens to tamper with the question of slavery,
it is not to be supposed that they will tolerate the officious
intermeddling of a foreign fanatic." Then as if by way of giving him a
taste of the beak and talons of the American _amour propre_, he and his
family were put out of the Atlantic Hotel in deference to the wish of an
irate Southerner. Thus introduced the English orator advanced speedily
thereafter into closer acquaintance with the American public. He
lectured in many parts of New England where that new element of rowdyism
and virulence of which his English audiences had given him no previous
experience, manifested its presence first in one way and then in others,
putting him again and again in jeopardy of life and limb. At Augusta,
Maine, his windows were broken, and he was warned out of the town. At
Concord, New Hampshire, his speech was punctuated with missiles. At
Lowell, Massachusetts, he narrowly escaped being struck on the head and
killed by a brickbat. Indeed it was grimly apparent that the master of
Freedom's Cottage would be obliged to revise his views as to the hazard,
which his friend ran in speaking upon the subject of slavery in New
England. To do so was weekly becoming for that friend an enterprise of
great personal peril. But it added also to the fierce hatred with which
the public now regarded Garrison. He was the author of all the mischief,
the slavery agitation, the foreign emissary. He had even dared to inject
the poison of Abolitionism into the politics of Boston and
Massachusetts. This attempt on the part of the _Liberator_ to establish
an anti-slavery test of office was only another proof of the dangerous
character of the new fanaticism and the Jacobinical designs of the
Garrisonian fanatics, ergo, the importance of suppressing the
incendiaries. Down with Thompson! Garrison must be destroyed! The
Union--it must and shall be preserved! All these the public excitement,
which had risen everywhere to a tempest, had come more and more to mean.
A tremendous crisis had come in the life of Garrison, and a great peril,
eagle-like, with the stirred-up hate of a nation, was swooping upon him.



A wild-cat-like creature was abroad. To it the Abolitionists were to be
thrown. It was to destroy Garrison, make an end of Thompson, and
suppress between its enormous jaws the grandest moral movement of the
century. Besides doing up this modest little programme, the beast, O
wonderful to say, was also to crown its performances by "saving" the
Union. Rejoicing in the possession of such a conservative institution,
the politicians, the press, and public opinion uncaged the monster,
while from secure seats they watched the frightful scenes of fury and
destruction enacted by it in the national arena.

These scenes began in the summer of 1834, and in the city of New York.
They were ushered in by the breaking up of an anti-slavery celebration
on the Fourth of July by the clack and roar of several hundred young
rowdies, gathered for the purpose. Their success but whetted the
appetite of the spirit of mischief for other ventures against the
Abolitionists. As a consequence New York was in a more or less disturbed
state from the fourth to the ninth of the month. The press of the city,
with but a single exception (_The Evening Post_) meanwhile goaded the
populace on by false and inflammatory representations touching the
negroes and their friends, to the rioting which began in earnest on the
evening of the ninth. That night a mob attacked Lewis Tappan's house on
Rose street, breaking in the door, smashing blinds and windows, and
playing havoc generally with the furniture. On the following evening the
rioters assailed the store of Arthur Tappan, on Pearl street,
demolishing almost every pane of glass in the front of the building. On
the same evening the mob paid its respects to Rev. Dr. Cox, by breaking
windows both at his house and at his church. The negro quarters in the
neighborhood of Five Points, and their houses in other parts of the
city, were raided on the night of the 11th, and much damage done by the
lawless hordes which for nearly a week wreaked their wrath upon the
property of the negroes and their anti-slavery friends.

After this brave beginning, the wild-cat-like spirit continued, these
ferocious demonstrations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan,
Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire. The slavery agitation had
increased apace. It had broken out in Congress on the presentation of
anti-slavery petitions. The fire thus kindled spread through the
country. Southern excitement became intense, amounted almost to panic.
The activity of the anti-slavery press, the stream of anti-slavery
publications, which had, indeed, increased with singular rapidity, was
exaggerated by the Southern imagination, struck it with a sort of
terror. There were meetings held in many parts of the South, tremendous
scenes enacted there. In Charleston, South Carolina, the post-office was
broken open by an aristocratic mob, under the lead of the famous Robert
Y. Hayne, and a bonfire made of the Abolition mail-matter which it
contained. As this Southern excitement advanced, a passionate fear for
the stability of the Union arose in the heart of the North. Abolition
and the Abolitionists had produced these sectional disturbances.
Abolition and the Abolitionists were, therefore, enemies of the
"glorious Union." Northern excitement kept pace with Southern excitement
until, in the summer of 1835, a reign of terror was widely established
over both sections. To Garrison, from his _Liberator_ outlook, all
seemed "Consternation and perplexity, for perilous times have come."
They had, indeed, come in New York, as witness this from the pen of
Lydia Maria Child, who was at the time (August 15) in Brooklyn. Says

    "I have not ventured into the city, nor does one of us dare to
    go to church to-day, so great is the excitement here. You can
    form no conception of it. 'Tis like the time of the French
    Revolution, when no man dared trust his neighbor. Private
    assassins from New Orleans are lurking at the corners of the
    streets to stab Arthur Tappan, and very large sums are offered
    for any one who will convey Mr. Thompson into the slave
    States.... There are several thousand Southerners now in the
    city, and I am afraid there are not seven hundred among them who
    have the slightest fear of God before their eyes. Mr. Wright
    [Elizur] was yesterday barricading his doors and windows with
    strong bars and planks an inch thick. Violence in some form
    seems to be generally expected."

Great meetings to put the Abolitionists down afforded vents during this
memorable year to the pent-up excitement of the free States. New York
had had its great meeting, and had put the Abolitionists down with
pro-slavery resolutions and torrents of pro-slavery eloquence. Boston,
too, had to have her great meeting and her cataracts of pro-slavery
oratory to reassure the South of the sympathy and support of "the great
body of the people of the Northern States." The toils seemed everywhere
closing around the Abolitionists. The huge head of the asp of public
opinion, the press of the land was everywhere busy, day and night,
smearing with a thick and virulent saliva of lies the brave little band
and its leader. Anti-slavery publications, calculated to inflame the
minds of the slaves against their masters, and intended to instigate the
slaves to servile insurrections, had been distributed broadcast through
the South by the emissaries of anti-slavery societies. The Abolitionists
advocated the emancipation of the slaves in the South by Congress,
intermarriages between the two races, the dissolution of the Union, etc.
All of which outrageous misrepresentations were designed to render the
movement utterly odious to the public, and the public so much the more
furious for its suppression.

It was in the midst of such intense and widespread excitement that
Boston called its meeting to abolish the Abolitionists. It was the month
of August, and the heat of men's passions was as great as the heat of
the August sun. The moral atmosphere of the city was so charged with
inflammable gases that the slightest spark would have sufficed to
produce an explosion. The Abolitionists felt this and carried themselves
the while with unusual circumspection. They deemed it prudent to publish
an address to neutralize the falsehoods with which they were assailed by
their enemies. The address drawn up by Garrison for the purpose was
thought "too fiery for the present time," by his more cautious followers
and was rejected. The _Liberator_ office had already been threatened in
consequence of a fiery article by the editor, denouncing the use of
Faneuil Hall for the approaching pro-slavery meeting. It seemed to the
unawed and indignant champion of liberty that it were "better that the
winds should scatter it in fragments over the whole earth--better that
an earthquake should engulf it--than that it should be used for so
unhallowed and detestable a purpose!" The anti-abolition feeling of the
town had become so bitter and intense that Henry E. Benson, then clerk
in the anti-slavery office, writing on the 19th of the month, believed
that there were persons in Boston, who would assassinate George Thompson
in broad daylight, and doubted whether Garrison or Samuel J. May would
be safe in Faneuil Hall on the day of the meeting, and what seemed still
more significant of the inflamed state of the public mind, was the
confidence with which he predicted that a mob would follow the meeting.
The wild-cat-like spirit was in the air--in the seething heart of the

The meeting was held August 21st, in the old cradle of liberty. To its
call alone fifteen hundred names were appended. It was a Boston audience
both as to character and numbers, an altogether imposing affair, over
whom the mayor of the city presided and before whom two of the most
consummate orators of the commonwealth fulmined against the
Abolitionists. One of their hearers, a young attorney of twenty-four,
who listened to Peleg Sprague and Harrison Gray Otis that day, described
sixteen years afterward the latter and the effects produced by him on
that audience. Our young attorney vividly recalled how "'Abolitionist'
was linked with contempt, in the silver tones of Otis, and all the
charms that a divine eloquence and most felicitous diction could throw
around a bad cause were given it; the excited multitude seemed actually
ready to leap up beneath the magic of his speech. It would be something,
if one must die, to die by such a hand--a hand somewhat worthy and able
to stifle anti-slavery, if it could be stifled. The orator was worthy of
the gigantic task attempted; and thousands crowded before him, every one
of their hearts melted by that eloquence, beneath which Massachusetts
had bowed, not unworthily, for more than thirty years."

Here is a specimen of the sort of goading which the wild-cat-like spirit
of the city got from the orators. It is taken from the speech of Peleg
Sprague. The orator is paying his respects to George Thompson, "an
avowed _emissary_" "_a professed agitator_," who "comes here from the
dark and corrupt institutions of Europe to enlighten _us_ upon the
rights of man and the moral duties of our own condition. Received by our
hospitality, he stands here upon our soil, protected by our laws, and
hurls firebrands, arrows, and death into the habitations of our
neighbors and friends, and brothers; and when he shall have kindled a
conflagration which is sweeping in desolation over our land, he has only
to embark for his own country, and there look serenely back with
indifference or exultation upon the widespread ruin by which _our_
cities are wrapt in flames, and _our_ garments rolled in blood."

The great meeting was soon a thing of the past but not so its effects.
The echoes of Otis and Sprague did not cease at its close. They thrilled
in the air, they thrilled long afterward in the blood of the people.
When the multitude dispersed Mischief went out into the streets of the
city with them. Wherever afterward they gathered Mischief made one in
their midst. Mischief was let loose, Mischief was afoot in the town. The
old town was no place for the foreign emissary, neither was it a safe
place for the arch-agitator. On the day after the meeting, Garrison and
his young wife accordingly retreated to her father's home at Brooklyn,
Conn., where the husband needed not to be jostling elbows with Mistress
Mischief, and her _pals_.

Garrison's answer to the speeches of Otis and Sprague was in his
sternest vein. He is sure after reading them that, "there is more guilt
attaching to the people of the free States from the continuance of
slavery, than those in the slave States." At least he is ready to affirm
upon the authority of Orator Sprague, "that New England is as really a
slave-holding section of the republic as Georgia or South Carolina."
Sprague, he finds, "in amicable companionship and popular repute with
thieves and adulterers; with slaveholders, slavedealers, and
slave-destroyers; ... with the disturbers of the public peace; with the
robbers of the public mail; with ruffians who insult, pollute, and
lacerate helpless women; and with conspirators against the lives and
liberties of New England citizens."

To Otis who was then nearly seventy years of age Garrison addressed his
rebuke in tones of singular solemnity. It seemed to him that the aged
statesman had transgressed against liberty "under circumstances of
peculiar criminality." "Yet at this solemn period," the reprobation of
the prophet ran, "you have not scrupled, nay, you have been ambitious,
to lead and address an excited multitude, in vindication of all
imaginable wickedness, embodied in one great system of crime and
blood--to pander to the lusts and desires of the robbers of God and his
poor--to consign over to the tender mercies of cruel taskmasters,
multitudes of guiltless men, women, and children--and to denounce as an
'unlawful and dangerous association' a society whose only object is to
bring this nation to repentance, through the truth as it is in Jesus."

These audacious and iconoclastic performances of the reformer were not
exactly adapted to turn from him the wrath of the idol worshipers. They
more likely added fuel to the hot anger burning in Boston against him.
Three weeks passed after his departure from the city, and his friends
did not deem it safe for him to return. Toward the end of the fourth
week of his enforced absence, against which he was chafing not a little,
an incident happened in Boston which warned him to let patience have its
perfect work. It was on the night of September 17th that the
dispositions of the city toward him found grim expression in a gallows
erected in front of his house at 23 Brighton street. This ghastly
reminder that the fellow-citizens of the editor of the _Liberator_
continued to take a lively interest in him, "was made in real
workmanship style, of _maple joist_ five inches through, eight or nine
feet high, for the accommodation of two persons." Garrison and Thompson
were the two persons for whom these brave accommodations were prepared.
But as neither they nor their friends were in a mood to have trial made
of them, the intended occupants consented to give Boston a wide berth,
and to be somewhat particular that they did not turn in with her while
the homicidal fit lasted.

This editing his paper at long range, and this thought of life and
safety Garrison did not at all relish. They grew more and more irksome
to his fearless and earnest spirit. For his was a "pine-and-fagot"
Abolitionism that knew not the fear of men or their wrath. But now he
must needs have a care for the peace of mind of his young wife, who was,
within a few months, to give birth to a child. And her anxiety for him
was very great. Neither was the anxiety of devoted friends and followers
to be lightly disregarded. All of which detained the leader in Brooklyn
until the 25th of the month, when the danger signals seemed to have
disappeared. Whereupon he set out immediately for his post in Boston to
be at the head of his forces. He found the city in one of those strange
pauses of popular excitement, which might signify the ebb of the tide or
only the retreat of the billows. He was not inclined to let the
anti-Abolition agitation subside so soon, before it had carried on its
flood Abolition principles to wider fields and more abundant harvests in
the republic. Anxious lest the cat-like temper of the populace was
falling into indifference and apathy, he and his disciples took occasion
to prod it into renewed wakefulness and activity. The instruments used
for this purpose were anti-slavery meetings and the sharp goad of his
_Liberator_ editorials. The city was possessed with the demon of
slavery, and its foaming at the mouth was the best of all signs that the
Abolition exorcism was working effectively. So, in between the
glittering teeth and the terrible paws was thrust the maddening goad,
and up sprang the mighty beast horrible to behold.

One of these meetings was the anniversary of the formation of the Boston
Female Anti-Slavery Society which fell on October 14th. The ladies
issued their notice, engaged a hall, and invited George Thompson to
address them. Now the foreign emissary was particularly exasperating to
Boston sensibility on the subject of slavery. He was the veritable red
rag to the pro-slavery bull. The public announcement, therefore, that he
was to speak in the city threw the public mind into violent agitation.
The _Gazette_ and the _Courier_ augmented the excitement by the
recklessness with which they denounced the proposed meeting, the former
promising to Thompson a lynching, while the latter endeavored to involve
his associates who were to the "manner born" in the popular outbreak,
which was confidently predicted in case the "foreign vagrant" wagged his
tongue at the time appointed.

Notwithstanding the rage of press and people the meeting was postponed
through no willingness on the part of the ladies, but because of the
panic of the owners of the hall lest their property should be damaged or
destroyed in case of a riot. The ladies, thereupon, appointed three
o'clock in the afternoon of October 21st as the time, and the hall
adjoining the Anti-Slavery Office, at 46 Washington street, as the place
where they would hold their adjourned meeting. This time they made no
mention of Mr. Thompson's addressing them, merely announcing several
addresses. In fact, an address from Mr. Thompson, in view of the squally
outlook, was not deemed expedient. To provide against accidents and
disasters, he left the city on the day before the meeting. But this his
enemies did not know. They confidently expected that he was to be one of
the speakers. An inflammatory handbill distributed on the streets at
noon of the 21st seemed to leave no doubt of this circumstance in the
pro-slavery portion of the city.

The handbill referred to ran as follows:



    That infamous foreign scoundrel, THOMPSON, will hold forth _this
    afternoon_ at the _Liberator_ office. No. 48 Washington street.
    The present is a fair opportunity for the friends of the Union
    to _snake Thompson out_! It will be a contest between the
    Abolitionists and the friends of the Union. A purse of $100 has
    been raised by a number of patriotic citizens to reward the
    individual who shall first lay violent hands on Thompson, so
    that he may be brought to the tar-kettle before dark. Friends of
    the Union, be vigilant!

    _Boston, Wednesday, 12 o'clock._

That Wednesday forenoon Garrison spent at the anti-slavery office,
little dreaming of the peril which was to overtake him in that very spot
in the afternoon. He went home to an early dinner, since his wife was a
member of the society, and he himself was set down for an address. As he
wended his way homeward, Mischief and her gang were afoot distributing
the aforesaid handbills "in the insurance offices, the reading-rooms,
all along State street, in the hotels, bar-rooms, etc.," and scattering
it "among mechanics at the North End, who were mightily taken with it."
Garrison returned about a half hour before the time appointed for the
meeting. He found a small crowd of about a hundred individuals collected
in front of the building where the hall was situated, and on ascending
to the hall more of the same sort, mostly young men, choking the access
to it. They were noisy, and Garrison pushed his way through them with
difficulty. As he entered the place of meeting and took his seat among
the ladies, twenty had already arrived, the gang of young rowdies
recognized him and evinced this by the exclamation: "That's Garrison!"
The full significance of the crowd just without the hall did not seem to
have occurred to the man whom they had identified. He did not know that
they were the foam blown from the mouth of a great mob at the moment
filling the streets in the neighborhood of the building where he sat
with such serenity of spirit. His wife who had followed him from their
home saw what Garrison did not see. The crowd of a hundred had swelled
to thousands. It lay in a huge irregular cross, jammed in between the
buildings on Washington street, the head lowering in front of the
anti-slavery office, the foot reaching to the site where stood Joy
building, now occupied by the Rogers, the right arm stretching along
Court street to the Court House, and the left encircling the old State
House, City Hall and Post-office then, in a gigantic embrace. All hope
of urging her way through that dense mass was abandoned by Mrs.
Garrison, and a friend, Mr. John E. Fuller, escorted her to his home,
where she passed the night.

Meantime the atmosphere upstairs at the hall began to betoken a fast
approaching storm. The noises ominously increased on the landing just
outside. The door of the hall was swung wide open and the entrance
filled with rioters. Garrison, all unconscious of danger, walked over to
these persons and remonstrated in his grave way with them in regard to
the disturbance which they were producing, winding up with a
characteristic bit of pleasantry: "Gentlemen," said he, "perhaps you are
not aware that this is a meeting of the Boston _Female_ Anti-Slavery
Society, called and intended exclusively for _ladies_, and those only
who have been invited to address them. Understanding this fact you will
not be so rude and indecorous as to thrust your presence upon this
meeting." But he added, "If, _gentlemen_, any of you are _ladies_ in
disguise--why only apprise me of the fact, give me your names, and I
will introduce you to the rest of your sex, and you can take seats among
them accordingly." The power of benignity over malignity lasted a few
moments after this little speech, when the situation changed rapidly
from bad to worse. "The tumult continually increased," says an
eye-witness, "with horrible execrations, howling, stamping, and finally
shrieking with rage. They seemed not to dare to enter, notwithstanding
their fury, but mounted on each other's shoulders, so that a row of
hostile heads appeared over the slight partition, of half the height of
the wall which divides the society's rooms from the landing place. We
requested them to allow the door to be shut; but they could not decide
as to whether the request should be granted, and the door was opened and
shut with violence, till it hung useless from its hinges."

Garrison thinking that his absence might quiet these perturbed spirits
and so enable the ladies to hold their meeting without further
molestation volunteered at this juncture to the president of the society
to retire from the hall unless she desired him to remain. She did not
wish him to stay but urged him to go at once not only for the peace of
the meeting but for his own safety. Garrison thereupon left the hall
meaning at the time to leave the building as well, but egress by the way
of the landing and the stairs, he directly perceived was impossible, and
did what seemed the next best thing, entered the anti-slavery office,
separated from the hall by a board partition. Charles C. Burleigh
accompanied him within this retreat. The door between the hall and the
office was securely locked, and Garrison with that marvelous serenity of
mind, which was a part of him, busied himself immediately with writing
to a friend an account of the scenes which were enacting in the next

The tempest had begun in the streets also. The mob from its five
thousand throats were howling "Thompson! Thompson!" The mayor of the
city, Theodore Lyman, appeared upon the scene, and announced to the
gentlemen of property and standing, who were thus exercising their vocal
organs, that Mr. Thompson was not at the meeting, was not in the city.
But the mayor was a modern Canute before the sea of human passion, which
was rushing in over law and authority. He besought the rioters to
disperse, but he might as well have besought the waves breaking on
Nastasket Beach to disperse. Higher, higher rose the voices; fiercer,
fiercer waxed the multitude; more and more frightful became the uproar.
The long-pent-up excitement of the city and its hatred of Abolitionists
had broken loose at last and the deluge had come. The mayor tossed upon
the human inundation as a twig on a mountain stream, and with him for
the nonce struggled helplessly the police power of the town also.

Upstairs in the hall the society and its president are quite as
powerless as the mayor and the police below. Miss Mary S. Parker, the
president, is struggling with the customary opening exercises. She has
called the meeting to order, read to the ladies some passages from the
Bible, and has lifted up her voice in prayer to the All Wise and
Merciful One "for direction and succor, and the forgiveness of enemies
and revilers." It is a wonderful scene, a marvelous example of Christian
heroism, for in the midst of the hisses and threats and curses of the
rioters, the prayer of the brave woman rose clear and untremulous. But
now the rioters have thrown themselves against the partition between the
landing-place and the hall. They are trying to break it down; now, they
have partially succeeded. In another moment they have thrown themselves
against the door of the office where Garrison is locked. The lower panel
is dashed in. Through the opening they have caught sight of their
object, Garrison, serenely writing at his desk. "There he is! That's
Garrison! Out with the scoundrel!" and other such words of recognition
and execration, burst from one and another of the mob. The shattering of
the partition, the noise of splitting and ripping boards, the sharp
crash caused by the shivering of the office door, the loud and angry
outcries of the rioters warn the serene occupant of the office that his
position has become one of extreme peril. But he does not become
excited. His composure does not forsake him. Instead of attempting to
escape, he simply turns to his friend, Burleigh, with the words, "You
may as well open the door, and let them come in and do their worst." But
fortunately, Burleigh was in no such extremely non-resistant mood.

The advent of the mayor and the constables upon the scene at this point
rescued Garrison from immediately falling into the hands of the mob, who
were cleared out of the hall and from the stairway. Now the voice of the
mayor was heard urging the ladies to go home as it was dangerous to
remain; and now the voice of Maria Weston Chapman, replying: "If this is
the last bulwark of freedom, we may as well die here as anywhere." The
ladies finally decided to retire, and their exit diverted, while the
operation lasted, the attention of the huge, cat-like creature from
their object in the anti-slavery office. When the passing of the ladies
had ceased, the old fury of the mob against Garrison returned. "Out with
him!" "Lynch him!" rose in wild uproar from thousands in the streets.
But again the attention of the huge, cat-like creature was diverted from
its object in the second story of the building before which it was
lashing itself into frenzy. This time it was the anti-slavery sign which
hung from the rooms of the society over the sidewalk. The mob had caught
sight of it, and directly set up a yell for it. The sensation of utter
helplessness in the presence of the multitude seemed at this juncture to
return to the chief magistrate of the city. It was impossible to control
the cataract-like passions of the rioters. He heard their awful roar for
the sign. The din had risen to terrific proportions. The thought of what
might happen next appalled him. The mob might begin to bombard the sign
with brickbats, and from the sign pass to the building, and from the
building to the constables, and then--but the mayor glanced not beyond,
for he had determined to appease the fury of the mob by throwing down to
it the hateful sign. A constable detached it, and hurled it down to the
rioters in the street. But by the act the mayor had signified that the
rule of law had collapsed, and the rule of the mob had really begun.
When the rioters had wreaked their wrath upon the emblem of freedom,
they were in the mood for more violence. The appetite for destruction,
it was seen, had not been glutted; only whetted. Garrison's situation
was now extremely critical. He could no longer remain where he was, for
the mob would invade the building and hunt him like hounds from cellar
to garret. He must leave the building without delay. To escape from the
front was out of the question. A way of escape must, therefore, be found
in the rear. All of these considerations the mayor and Garrison's
friends urged upon him. The good man fell in with this counsel, and,
with a faithful friend, proceeded to the rear of the building, where
from a window he dropped to a shed, but in doing so was very nearly
precipitated to the ground. After picking himself up he passed into a
carpenter's shop, meaning to let himself down into Wilson's Lane, now
Devonshire street, but the myriad-eyed mob, which was searching every
portion of the building for their game, espied him at this point, and
with that set up a great shout. The workmen came to the aid of the
fugitive by closing the door of the carpenter's shop in the face of his
pursuers. The situation seemed desperate. Retreat from the front was cut
off; escape from the rear anticipated and foiled. Garrison perceived the
futility of any further attempts to elude the mob, and proposed in his
calm way to deliver himself up to them. But his faithful Achates, John
Reid Campbell, advised him that it was his duty to avoid the mob as long
as it was possible to do so. Garrison thereupon made a final effort to
get away. He retreated up stairs, where his friend and a lad got him
into a corner of the room and tried to conceal his whereabouts by piling
some boards in front of him. But, by that time, the rioters had entered
the building, and within a few moments had broken into the room where
Garrison was in hiding. They found Mr. Reid, and demanded of him where
Garrison was. But Reid firmly refused to tell. They then led him to a
window, and exhibited him to the mob in the Lane, advising them that it
was not Garrison, but Garrison's and Thompson's friend, who knows where
Garrison is, but refuses to tell. A shout of fierce exultation from
below greeted this announcement. Almost immediately afterward, Garrison
was discovered and dragged furiously to the window, with the intention
of hurling him thence to the pavement. Some of the rioters were for
doing this, while others were for milder measures. "Don't let us kill
him outright!" they begged. So his persecutors relented, coiled a rope
around his body instead, and bade him descend to the street. The great
man was never greater than at that moment. With extraordinary meekness
and benignity he saluted his enemies in the street. From the window he
bowed to the multitude who were thirsting for his destruction,
requesting them to wait patiently, for he was coming to them. Then he
stepped intrepidly down the ladder raised for the purpose, and into the
seething sea of human passion.

Garrison must now have been speedily torn to pieces had he not been
quickly seized by two or three powerful men, who were determined to save
him from falling into the hands of the mob. They were men of great
muscular strength, but the muscular strength of two or three giants
would have proven utterly unequal to the rescue, and this Mr. Garrison's
deliverers evidently appreciated. For while they employed their powerful
arms, they also employed stratagem as well to effect their purpose. They
shouted anon as they fought their way through the excited throng, "He is
an American! He shan't be hurt!" and other such words which divided the
mind of the mob, arousing among some sympathy for the good man. By this
means he was with difficulty got out of Wilson's lane into State street,
in the rear of the old State House. The champion was now on historic
ground, ground consecrated by the blood of Crispus Attucks and his
fellow-martyrs sixty-five years before. His hat was lost, much of his
clothing was stripped from his body, he was without his customary
glasses, and was therefore practically blind. He could hear the awful
clamor, the mighty uproar of the mob, but he could not distinguish them
one from another, friend from foe. Nevertheless he "walked with head
erect, calm countenance flashing eyes like a martyr going to the stake,
full of faith and manly hope" according to the testimony of an
eye-witness. Garrison himself has thrown light on the state of his mind
during the ordeal. "The promises of God," he afterward remembered,
sustained his soul, "so that it was not only divested of fear, but ready
to sing aloud for joy."

The news now reached the ears of the mayor that Garrison was in the
hands of the mob. Thereupon the feeble but kindly magistrate began to
act afresh the role of the twig in the mountain stream. He and his
constables struggled helplessly in the human current rushing and raging
around City Hall, the head and seat of municipal law and authority.
Without the aid of private citizens Garrison must inevitably have
perished in the commotions which presently reached their climax in
violence and terror. He was in the rear of City Hall when the mayor
caught up to him and his would-be rescuers. The mayor perceived the
extremity of the situation, and said to the Faneuil Hall giants who had
hold of Garrison, "Take him into my office," which was altogether more
easily said than done. For the rioters have raised the cry "to the Frog
Pond with him!" Which order will be carried out, that of the magistrate
or that of the mob?

These were horrible moments while the two hung trembling in the balance.
But other private citizens coming to the assistance of the mayor struck
the scales for the moment in his favor, and Garrison was finally
hustled, and thrust by main force into the south door of the City Hall
and carried up to the mayor's room. But the mob had immediately effected
an entrance into the building through the north door and filled the
lower hall. The mayor now addressed the pack, strove manfully in his
feeble way to prevail upon the human wolves to observe order, to sustain
the law and the honor of the city, he even intimated to them that he was
ready to lay down his life on the spot to maintain the law and preserve
order. Then he got out on the ledge over the south door and spoke in a
similar strain to the mob on the street. But alas! he knew not the
secret for reversing the Circean spell by which gentlemen of property
and standing in the community had been suddenly transformed into a
wolfish rabble.

The increasing tumult without soon warned the authorities that what
advantage the mayor may have obtained in the contest with the mob was
only temporary and that their position was momentarily becoming more
perilous and less tenable. It was impossible to say to what extreme of
violence a multitude so infuriated would not go to get their prey. It
seemed to the now thoroughly alarmed mayor that the mob might in their
frenzy attack the City Hall to effect their purpose. There was one
building in the city, which the guardians of the law evidently agreed
could resist the rage of the populace, and that building was the jail.
To this last stronghold of Puritan civilization the authorities and the
powers that were, fell back as a dernier resort to save Garrison's life.
But even in this utmost pitch and extremity, when law was trampled in
the streets, when authority was a reed shaken in a storm, when anarchy
had drowned order in the bosom of the town, the Anglo-Saxon passion for
legal forms asserted itself. The good man, hunted for his life, must
forsooth be got into the only refuge which promised him security from
his pursuers by a regular judicial commitment as a disturber of the
peace. Is there anything at once so pathetic and farcical in the
Universal history of mobs?

Pathetic and farcical to be sure, but it was also well meant, and
therefore we will not stop to quarrel with men who were equal to the
perpetration of a legal fiction so full of the comedy and tragedy of
civilized society. But enough--the municipal wiseacres having put their
heads together and evolved the brilliant plan of committing the prophet
as a disturber of the peace, immediately set about its execution, which
developed in the sequence into a bird of altogether another color. For a
more perilous and desperate device to preserve Garrison's life could not
well have been hit upon. How was he ever to be got out of the building
and through that sea of ferocious faces surging and foaming around it.
First then by disguising his identity by sundry changes in his apparel.
He obtained a pair of trousers from one kindly soul, another gave him a
coat, a third lent him a stock, a fourth furnished him a cap. A hack was
summoned and stationed at the south door, a posse of constables drew up
and made an open way from the door to it. Another hack was placed in
readiness at the north door. The hack at the south door was only a ruse
to throw the mob off the scent of their prey, while he was got out of
the north door and smuggled into the other hack. Up to this point, the
plan worked well, but the instant after Garrison had been smuggled into
the hack he was identified by the mob, and then ensued a scene which
defies description; no writer however skillful, may hope to reproduce
it. The rioters rushed madly upon the vehicle with the cry: "Cut the
traces! Cut the reins!" They flung themselves upon the horses, hung upon
the wheels, dashed open the doors, the driver the while belaboring their
heads right and left with a powerful whip, which he also laid vigorously
on the backs of his horses. For a moment it looked as if a catastrophe
was unavoidable, but the next saw the startled horses plunging at
break-neck speed with the hack up Court street and the mob pursuing it
with yells of baffled rage. Then began a thrilling, a tremendous race
for life and Leverett street jail. The vehicle flew along Court street
to Bodoin square, but the rioters, with fell purpose flew hardly less
swiftly in its track. Indeed the pursuit of the pack was so close that
the hackman did not dare to drive directly to the jail but reached it by
a detour through Cambridge and Blossom streets. Even then the mob
pressed upon the heels of the horses as they drew up before the portals
of the old prison, which shut not an instant too soon upon the editor of
the _Liberator_, who was saved from a frightful fate to use a Biblical
phrase but by the skin of his teeth.

Here the reformer safe from the wrath of his foes, was locked in a cell;
and here, during the evening, with no abatement of his customary
cheerfulness and serenity of spirit, he received several of his anxious
friends, Whittier among them, whom through the grated bars he playfully
accosted thus: "You see my accommodations are so limited, that I cannot
ask you to spend the night with me." That night in his prison cell, and
on his rude prison bed, he slept the sleep of the just man, sweet and

  "When peace within the bosom reigns,
  And conscience gives th' approving voice;
  Though bound the human form in chains.
  Yet can the soul aloud rejoice.

  "'Tis true, my footsteps are confined--
  I cannot range beyond this cell--
  But what can circumscribe my mind,
  To chain the winds attempt as well!"

The above stanzas he wrote the next morning on the walls of his cell.
Besides this one he made two other inscriptions there, to stand as
memorabilia of the black drama enacted in Boston on the afternoon of
October 21, 1835.

After being put through the solemn farce of an examination in a court,
extemporized in the jail, Garrison was discharged from arrest as a
disturber of the peace! But the authorities, dreading a repetition of
the scenes of the day before, prayed him to leave the city for a few
days, which he did, a deputy sheriff driving him to Canton, where he
boarded the train from Boston to Providence, containing his wife, and
together they went thence to her father's at Brooklyn, Conn. The
apprehensions of the authorities in respect of the danger of a fresh
attack upon him were unquestionably well founded, inasmuch as diligent
search was made for him in all of the outgoing stages and cars from the
city that morning.

In this wise did pro-slavery, patriotic Boston translate into _works_
her sympathy for the South.



The results of the storm became immediately manifest in several ways.
Such a commotion did not leave things in precisely the state in which
they were on the morning of the memorable day on which it struck the
city. The moral landscape and geography of the community had sensibly
changed at its close. The full extent of the alteration wrought could
not at once be seen, nor was it at once felt. But that there were deep
and abiding changes made by it in the court of public opinion in Boston
and Massachusetts on the subject of slavery there is little doubt. It
disgusted and alarmed many individuals who had hitherto acted in unison
with the social, business, and political elements, which were at the
bottom of the riot. Francis Jackson, for instance, had been one of the
fifteen hundred signers of the call for the great Faneuil Hall meeting
of the 21st of August. But on the afternoon of the 21st of October he
threw his house open to the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, after
its meeting had been broken up by the mob. It seemed to him then that it
was no longer a mere struggle for the freedom of the slave, but for the
right of free speech and free discussion as well. Dr. Henry I. Bowditch,
a young man, in 1835, eminent professor and physician subsequently,
dates from that afternoon of mob violence his conversion to
Abolitionism. In that selfsame hour seeds of resistance to slavery were
sown in two minds of the first order in the city and State. Wendell
Phillips was a spectator in the streets that day, and the father of
Charles Sumner, the sheriff at the time, fought bravely to save Garrison
from falling into the hands of the mob. The great riot gave those young
men their first summons to enter the service of freedom. It was not long
afterward probably that they both began to read the _Liberator_. From
that event many intelligent and conservative people associated slavery
with lynch law and outrage upon the rights of free speech and popular

This anti-slavery reaction of the community received practical
demonstration in the immediate increase of subscribers to the
_Liberator_. Twelve new names were added to the subscription list in one
day. It received significant illustration also in Garrison's nomination
to the legislature. In this way did between seventy and eighty citizens
testify their sympathy for him and their reprobation of mob rule. In yet
another way was its influence felt, and this was in the renewed zeal and
activity which it instantly produced on the part of the Abolitionists
themselves. It operated upon the movement as a powerful stimulus to
fresh sacrifices and unwearied exertions. George W. Benson, Garrison's
brother-in-law, led off bravely in this respect, as the following
extract from a letter written by him in Boston, two days after the riot,
to Garrison, at Brooklyn, well illustrates. He had come up to the city
from Providence the night before, in quest of his sister and her
husband. Not finding them, he turned to the cause which had been so
ruthlessly attacked, and this is the sort of care which he bestowed upon
it. He got Burleigh to write a general relation of the mob for
publication in the _Liberator_, and Whittier to indite another, with an
appeal to the public, the same to be published immediately, and of which
he ordered three thousand copies for himself.

"I further ordered," he writes, "one thousand copies of A. Grimké's
letter, with your introductory remarks, and your address published in
the _Liberator_ several weeks since, with your name appended, and
Whittier's poetry on the times, in a pamphlet form. I urged all our
friends to redouble their exertions. They seemed well disposed to accept
the advice, as nothing will now avail but thorough measures. _Liberty or

This is a fair specimen of the indomitable, indefatigable spirit which
was born of the attempt to put Abolitionism down by lawlessness and
violence. Indeed, the "Broad-Cloth Mob," viewed in the light of the
important consequences which followed it, was equal to a hundred
anti-slavery meetings, or a dozen issues of the _Liberator_.

It is a curious and remarkable circumstance that, on the very day of the
Boston mob, there occurred one in Utica, N.Y., which was followed by
somewhat similar results. An anti-slavery convention was attacked and
broken up by a mob of "gentlemen of property and standing in the
community," under the active leadership of a member of Congress. Here
there was an apparent defeat for the Abolitionists, but the consequences
which followed the outrage proved it a blessing in disguise. For the
cause made many gains thereby, and conspicuously among them was Gerritt
Smith, ever afterward one of its most eloquent and munificent
supporters. If anti-slavery meetings made converts by tens, anti-slavery
mobs made them by hundreds. The enemies of freedom builded better than
they knew or intended, and Garrison had the weightiest of reasons for
feeling thankful to them for the involuntary, yet vast aid and comfort
which their pro-slavery virulence and violence were bringing him and the
anti-slavery movement throughout the free States. Example: in 1835-36,
the great mob year, as many as three hundred and twenty-eight societies
were organized in the North for the immediate abolition of slavery.

The mob did likewise help towards a satisfactory solution of the riddle
propounded by Garrison: "Shall the _Liberator_ die?" The fresh access of
anti-slavery strength, both in respect of zeal and numbers, begotten by
it, exerted no slight influence on the longevity of the _Liberator_.
Poor the paper continued, and embarrassed the editor for many a month
thereafter, but as an anti-slavery instrument its survival may be said
from that proceeding to have become a necessity. To allow the
_Liberator_ to die at this juncture would have been such a confession of
having been put down, such an ignominious surrender to the mobocrats as
the Abolitionists of Boston would have scorned to make. "I trust," wrote
Samuel E. Sewall, "there will not be even one week's interruption in the
publication of the _Liberator._" _Ex uno disce omnes_. He but voiced the
sentiment of the editor's disciples and associates in the city, in the
State, and in New England as well.

Besides these larger consequences there were others of a more personal
and less welcome character. The individual suffers but the cause goes
forward. Property-holders in Boston after the riot were not at all
disposed to incur the risk of renting property to such disturbers of the
peace as Garrison and the _Liberator_. The owner of his home on Brighton
street was thrown into such alarm for the safety of his property, if
Garrison continued to occupy it, that he requested the cancellation of
the lease and the vacation of the premises. Garrison and his friends,
all things considered, decided that it was the part of wisdom to accede
to the request--although this breaking up of his home was a sore trial
to the young husband in more ways than one.

The landlord of the building where was located the _Liberator_ office
promptly notified the publishers to remove the paper not many mornings
after the mob. This was particularly hard luck, inasmuch as the most
dilligent quest for another local habitation for the paper, failed of
success. No one was willing to imperil his property by letting a part of
it to such a popularly odious enterprise. So that not only had the
household furniture of the editor to be stored, but the office effects
of the paper as well. The inextinguishable pluck and zeal of Garrison
and his Boston coadjutors never showed to better advantage than when
without a place to print the _Liberator_, the paper was "set up in
driblets" in other offices at extraordinary expense, and sent out week
after week to tell the tale of the mob, and to preach with undiminished
power the gospel of universal emancipation.

But more afflictive to the feelings of the reformer than the loss of his
home, or that of the office of the _Liberator_, was the loss of his
friend, George Thompson. It seemed to him when the English orator
departed that "the paragon of modern eloquence," and "the benefactor of
two nations," had left these shores. Garrison's grief was as poignant as
his humiliation was painful. George Thompson had come hither only as a
friend of America, and America had pursued him with the most relentless
malice. The greatest precautions were taken after the "Broadcloth Mob"
to ensure his safety. The place of his concealment was kept a secret and
committed only to a few tried friends. There is no doubt that had these
precautions not been observed and his hiding place been discovered by
the ruffians of the city, his life would have been attempted. Indeed it
is almost as certain that had he ventured to show himself in public he
would have been murdered in broad daylight in any of the large towns and
cities of Massachusetts. His mission was clearly at an end unless he was
determined to invite martyrdom. In these circumstances there was nothing
to do but to smuggle him out of the country at the first opportunity. On
Sunday, November 8, the anxiously looked-for moment came when George
Thompson was put upon a packet, in which he sailed for St. Johns, New
Brunswick, whence he subsequently took passage for England. Garrison was
inconsolable. "Who now shall go forth to argue our cause in public," he
sadly asked, "with subtle sophists and insolent scoffers?" little
dreaming that there was then approaching him out of the all-hail
hereafter a greater in these identical respects than George Thompson,
indisputably great as he was.

It was a blessed refuge to Garrison, the Benson homestead of Brooklyn,
termed Friendship's Valley. Hunted as a partridge by his enemies here he
found the quiet, and sympathy, and the right royal welcome and affection
for which his heart panted amidst the dust, and din, and dangers of the
crusade against slavery. But grateful as were the domestic sweets of
Friendship's Valley, his was altogether too militant and masterful a
spirit to yield himself without a struggle to the repose which it
offered. He did not at all relish the idea of being a forced exile from
Boston, of being obliged to edit the _Liberator_ at such long range. But
his friends urged him to submit to the one, and do the other, both on
grounds of economy and common prudence. He was almost super-anxious lest
it be said that the fear of the mob drove him out of Boston, and that
the fear of it kept him out. This super-anxiety in that regard his
friends to a certain degree shared with him. It was a phase of Abolition
grit. Danger attracted this new species of reformers as a magnet draws
iron. Instead of running away from it, they were, with one accord,
forever rushing into it. And the leader in Brooklyn was for rushing back
to Boston, where, if one chanced to sow the wind in the morning, he
might be morally certain of reaping the whirlwind in the afternoon.

Two weeks after he had been secretly conveyed to Canton by Deputy
Sheriff Parkman, being the day of his discharge from Leverett street
jail, he was back again in Boston. The popular excitement had subsided.
He showed himself freely in the streets and was nowhere molested. One
day, however, while at the anti-slavery office on Washington street, he
witnessed what was perhaps a final manifestation of the cat-like spirit
of the great mob. A procession passed by with band and music, bearing
aloft a large board on which were represented George Thompson and a
black woman with this significant allusion to the riot, made as if
addressed to himself by his dusky companion in disgrace: "When are we
going to have another meeting, Brother Thompson?" The cat-like creature
had lapsed into a playful mood, but its playfulness would have quickly
given place to an altogether different fit did it but know that Garrison
was watching it from the window of the very room where a few weeks
before he had nearly fallen into its clutches.

Garrison remained in Boston two weeks, going about the city, wherever
and whenever business or duty called him in a perfectly fearless way. He
left on the afternoon of November 18th. On that same afternoon the
Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society held a memorable meeting at the house
of Francis Jackson. It was then that Harriet Martineau, another foreign
emissary, avowed her entire agreement with the principles of the
Abolitionists, which subjected her to social ostracism, and to unlimited
abuse from the pro-slavery press of the city.

The new hatred of slavery which the mob had aroused in Boston found
heroic expression in a letter of Francis Jackson's replying to a vote of
thanks of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society to him for his
hospitality to the ladies after their meeting was broken up by the mob.
Mr. Jackson in his answer points with emphasis to the fact that his
hospitality had a double aim, one was the accommodation of the ladies,
the other the preservation of the right of free discussion. In his
regard a foundation principle of free institutions had been assailed.
"Happily," he shrewdly observed, "one point seems already to be gaining
universal assent, that slavery cannot long survive free discussion.
Hence the efforts of the friends, and apologists of slavery to break
down this right. And hence the immense stake which the enemies of
slavery hold, in behalf of freedom and mankind, in its preservation. The
contest is, therefore, substantially between liberty and slavery.

"As slavery cannot exist with free discussion, so neither can liberty
breathe without it. Losing this, we, too, shall be no longer free men
indeed, but little, if at all, superior to the millions we now seek to
emancipate." This apprehension and spirit of resistance, voiced by
Francis Jackson, was Garrison's new ally, which, phoenix-like, was born
out of the ashes of that terrific attempt of his enemies to effect his
destruction, known as the "Broad-Cloth Mob."



Having made trial of the strong arm of the mob as an instrument for
putting down the Abolitionists, and been quite confounded by its
unexpected energy and unmanageableness, Boston was well disposed to lay
the weapon aside as much too dangerous for use. For the wild-cat-like
creature might take it into its head, when once it had got a taste of
blood, to suppress some other isms in the community besides
Abolitionism. No, no, the gentlemen of property and standing in the
community had too much at stake to expose their property and their
persons to the perils of any further experiments in that direction, even
for the sake of expressing their sympathy for their dear brethren in the
South, or of saving the dear Union into the bargain. Another method more
in accord with the genius of their high state of civilization, they
opined, might be invented to put the agitation and the agitators of the
slavery question down. The politicians thereupon proceeded to make this
perfectly wonderful invention. Not the strong arm of the mob, quoth
these wiseacres, but the strong arm of the law it shall be. And the
strong arm of the law they forthwith determined to make it.

Massachusetts was hearkening with a sort of fascination to the song of
the slave syren. And no wonder. For the song of the slave syren was
swelling and clashing the while with passionate and imperious energy.
South Carolina had led off in this kind of music. In December following
the Boston mob Governor McDuffie, pitched the key of the Southern
concert in his message to the legislature descriptive of anti-slavery
publications, and denunciatory of the anti-slavery agitation. The
Abolitionists were, to his mind, "enemies of the human race," and the
movement for immediate emancipation ought to be made a felony punishable
"by death without benefit of clergy." He boldly denied that slavery was
a political evil, and vaunted it instead as "_the corner stone of our
republican edifice_." The legislature upon the receipt of this
extraordinary message proceeded to demand of the free States the
suppression, by effective legislation, of anti-slavery societies and
their incendiary publications. The burden of this demand was directly
caught up by North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Georgia. But there
were some things which even a pro-slavery North could not do to oblige
the South. Neither party, much as both desired it, dared to undertake
the violation by law of the great right of free speech and of the
freedom of the press. Not so, however, was it with sundry party leaders,
notably the governors of New York and Massachusetts, who were for trying
the strong arm of the law as an instrument for suppressing Abolitionism.
Edward Everett was so affected by the increasing Southern excitement and
his fears for the safety of the dear Union that he must needs deliver
himself in his annual message upon the Abolition agitation. He was of
the opinion that the Abolitionists were guilty of an offence against
Massachusetts which might be "prosecuted as a misdemeanor at common
law." He evidently did not consider that in the then present state of
political parties and of public opinion any repressive legislation upon
the subject could be got through the legislature, and hence the immense
utility of the old machinery of the common law, as an instrument for
putting down the agitation. But in order to get this machinery into
operation, careful preparation was necessary. Proof must not be wanting
as to the dangerous and unpatriotic character and tendency of the
movement to be repressed. There should be the most authoritative
utterance upon this point to warrant the effective intervention of the
Courts and Grand Juries of the commonwealth in the prosecution of the
Abolitionists, as disturbers of the peace. Ergo the Governor's
deliverance in his annual message against them. Now, if the legislature
could be brought to deliver itself in tones not less certain, the third
coördinate branch of the State government might catch its cue and act
with energy in suppressing the disturbers of the peace of the
commonwealth and of the dear Union as well. This was the scheme, the
conspiracy which was in a state of incubation in Massachusetts in the
year 1836. The pro-slavery portion of Governor Everett's message,
together with the Southern demands for repressive legislation against
the Abolitionists were referred to a joint legislative committee for
consideration and report. The chairman of the committee was George Lunt,
of Newburyport, a bitter pro-slavery politician, who saw no sign,
received no light which did not come out of the South.

The Abolitionists perceived the gravity of the new danger which
threatened them, and rallied promptly to avert it. They shrewdly guessed
that the object of the committee would not be the enactment of any new
law against themselves but the adoption of condemnatory resolutions
instead. This course they rightly dreaded more than the other, and to
defeat it the managers of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society
requested a public hearing of the committee, which was granted. On March
4th Garrison and many of the anti-slavery leaders appeared before the
committee, with a carefully planned programme of procedure. To each of
the selected speakers was assigned a distinct phase of the great subject
of discussion before the committee. Samuel J. May was appointed to open
with an exposition of the anti-slavery movement and of the object and
motives of its founders; Garrison to follow with an exhibition of the
pacific character of the agitation as contained in official publications
whereby forgiveness, submission, and non-resistance were steadily
inculcated; Ellis Gray Loring was next to demonstrate the perfectly
constitutional character of the agitation. The Abolitionists had in no
wise contravened the National or the State Constitution, either in
letter or spirit, and so on through the programme. It was thus that the
Abolitionists dexterously killed two birds with one stone; for at the
same time that they made their defence before the committee, they
managed to present their cause to the attention of the public as well.
Appearing before the committee to prevent hostile action on the part of
the legislature against their movement, they skillfully turned the
occasion into the most notable meeting for agitating the subject of
slavery in the State during the year.

The pro-slavery malignity of the chairman helped not a little to bring
this result to pass. He again and again interrupted the speakers with
the greatest insolence of behavior. Garrison, for a wonder, was allowed
to finish his remarks without interruption. Here is a specimen of the
way in which Paul addressed himself to King Agrippa's master--public

"Sir," spoke he to the committee, "we loudly boast of our free country,
and of the union of these States, yet I have no country! As a New
Englander and as an Abolitionist I am excluded by a bloody proscription
from one-half of the national territory, and so is every man who is
known to regard slavery with abhorrence. Where is our Union? ... The
right of free and safe locomotion from one part of the land to the other
is denied to us, except on peril of our lives.... Therefore it is, I
assert, that the Union is now virtually dissolved.... Look at McDuffie's
sanguinary message! Read Calhoun's Report to the U.S. Senate,
authorizing every postmaster in the South to plunder the mail of such
Northern letters or newspapers as he may choose to think incendiary!
Sir, the alternative presented to the people of New England is this:
they must either submit to be gagged and fettered by Southern
taskmasters, or labor unceasingly for the removal of slavery from our

This was a capital stroke, a bold and brilliant adaptation of the
history of the times to the advancement of the anti-slavery movement in
New England. Missing Garrison, the anger of the chairman fell upon
Goodell and Prof. Follen, like a tiger's whelp. Follen was remarking
upon the Faneuil Hall meeting, how it had rendered the Abolitionists
odious in Boston, and how, in consequence, the mob had followed the

"Now, gentlemen," the great scholar continued, "may we most reasonably
anticipate that similar consequences would follow the expression by the
legislature of a similar condemnation? Would not the mob again undertake
to execute the informal sentence of the General Court? Would it not let
loose again its bloodhounds upon us?"

At this point Mr. Lunt peremptorily stopped the speaker, exclaiming:

"Stop, sir! You may not pursue this course of remark. It is insulting to
this committee and the legislature which they represent."

The Abolitionists, after this insult, determined to withdraw from the
hearing, and appeal to the legislature to be heard, not as a favor but
of right. A new hearing was, therefore, ordered, and the reformers
appeared a second time before the committee. But the scenes of the first
were repeated at the second hearing. The chairman was intolerably
insolent to the speakers. His violent behavior to William Goodell, who
was paying his respects to the Southern documents lying on the table of
the committee, terminated the second hearing. These documents Mr.
Goodell described as fetters for Northern freemen, and boldly
interrogated the chairman in respect of them thus:

"Mr. Chairman, are you prepared to attempt putting them on?" But the
chairman was in no mood to listen to the question. His insolence reached
a climax as he exclaimed passionately to Mr. Goodell, "Stop, sir! Sit
down, sir! The committee will hear no more of this." But the temper of
the Abolitionists had risen also, as had also risen the temper of the
great audience of citizens who were present at the hearing which was had
in the hall of the House of Representatives. "Freemen we came," retorted
Goodell, "and as freemen we shall go away." Scarcely had these words
died upon the ears when there rose sharply from the auditory, the stern
protest "Let us go quickly, lest we be made slaves."

The attempt to suppress the Abolitionists was a failure. It but
stimulated the agitation and deepened the popular interest in the
subject. Strong allies within and without the legislature were enlisted
on the side of freedom. The turning of the tide of public sentiment in
the grand old State had come. Slowly did it rise for awhile, but from
that event it never ceased to flow in and with increasing volume. The
condemnatory report of the insolent chairman proved as innocuous as the
baying of dogs at the moon. The legislature refused to indorse it and
the pro-slavery resolutions attached to it. They were both ignominiously
laid upon the table, and what is more to the purpose as a straw to show
the drift of popular opinion on the slavery question in Massachusetts,
their author failed of a renomination as Senator at the hands of his
dissatisfied constituents.

The conflict was raging not alone in Massachusetts but all through the
free States. In Congress the battle was assuming an intensely bitter
character. Here the South was the agitator. Here she kept the political
waters in a state of violent ebullition. As the discord grew,
sectionalism threw darkening and portentous shadows over the face of the
Union. The South was insisting in all stages of passion that the tide of
Abolition be checked in the North, that the flood of incendiary
publications be suppressed at their sources in the free States. The
Southern slave-holding President had suggested the suppression of these
by Congress. He would "prohibit, under severe penalties, the circulation
in the Southern States, through the mail, of incendiary publications
intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection." But when Webster and
a few Northern leaders objected to such a proceeding as unconstitutional
and in derogation of the freedom of the press, the South treated the
objection as inimical to Southern interest and security. Thereupon the
Southern excitement increased all the faster. The slave-power was not
disposed to accept anything short of complete submission on the part of
the North. And this the North could not well yield. While the
slave-holding States were clamoring for the suppression of Abolitionism
in the free States, Abolitionism was giving evidences of extraordinary
expansion, and activity. It had risen well above the zero point in
politics. It was gaining numbers and it was gaining votes. A new element
had appeared at the polls and both of the old parties began to exhibit a
certain degree of impressibility to the latest attraction. The
slave-power with quick instinct recognized in the new comer a dangerous
rival, and schemed for its destruction. Southern jealousy took on the
character of insanity. Neither Northern Whigs nor Northern Democrats
were permitted to show any regard for the rival. They were to snub and
utterly abolish her, otherwise they should be snubbed and utterly
abolished by the slave-power. They could not with impunity give to
Abolitionism the scantiest attention or courtesy. Not even a gallant
like John Quincy Adams, who was able to see nothing attractive in the
little band of reformers. They seemed to him, in fact, "a small,
shallow, and enthusiastic party preaching the abolition of slavery upon
the principles of extreme democracy." If Mr. Adams had little love for
the South, he had none whatever for the Abolitionists. By no stretch of
the imagination could he have been suspected of any sentimental
attachment to the Abolition movement. For his unvarying attitude towards
it was one of grim contempt. But if the old Roman had no love for the
Abolitionists, he did have a deep-seated attachment and reverence for
certain ancient rights appertaining to free institutions, which nothing
was able to shake. Among these was the great right of petition, viewed
by the ex-President as a right of human nature. For a dozen years he
stood in Congress its sleepless sentinel. And herein did he perform for
freedom most valiant service. It made no difference to the dauntless old
man whether he approved of the prayer of a petition or not, if it was
sent to him he presented it to the House all the same. He presented
petitions for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and
one, at least, against it, petitions from black and white, bond and
free, with superb fidelity to the precious right which he championed.

This characteristic of the aged statesman kept the Southern members in a
state of chronic apprehension and excitement. They bullied him, they
raged like so many wild animals against him, they attempted to crush him
with votes of censure and expulsion all to no purpose. Then they applied
the gag: "That all petitions, memorials, and papers touching the
abolition of slavery, or the buying, selling, or transferring slaves, in
any State, or district, or territory of the United States, be laid on
the table without being debated, printed, read, or referred, and that no
action be taken thereon." Mr. Adam's denunciation of this action as a
violation of the Constitution, of the right of the people to petition,
and of the right to freedom of speech in Congress, found wide echo
through the North. The violence, intolerence, and tyranny of the South
were disgusting many of the most intelligent and influential minds in
the non-slave-holding States, and driving them into more or less close
affiliation with the anti-slavery movement.

And so it was wherever one turned there were conflict and uproar.
Everywhere contrary ideas, interests, institutions, tendencies, were
colliding with inextinguishable rage. All the opposites and
irreconcilables in a people's life had risen and clashed together in a
death struggle for mastery. Freedom and slavery, civilization and
barbarism had found an Armageddon in the moral consciousness of the
Republic. Now the combatants rallied and the battle thickened at one
point, now around another. At Washington the tide rolls in with
resounding fury about the right of petition and the freedom of debate,
then through the free States it surges and beats around the right of
free speech and the freedom of the press. Storm clouds are flying from
the East and from the West, flying out of the North and out of the
South. Everywhere the chaos of the winds has burst, and the anarchy of
the "live thunder."

Benton with his customary optimism from a Southern standpoint, rejoiced
in the year 1836 that the people of the Northern States had "chased off
the foreign emissaries, silenced the gabbling tongues of female dupes,
and dispersed the assemblies, whether fanatical, visionary, or
incendiary, of all that congregated to preach against evils that
afflicted others, not them, and to propose remedies to aggravate the
disease which they pretended to cure." Calhoun's pessimism was clearer
eyed. The great nullifier perceived at once the insuppressible nature of
the Abolition movement and early predicted that the spirit then abroad
in the North would not "die away of itself without a shock or
convulsion." Yes, it was as he had prophesied, the anti-slavery reform
was, at the very moment of Benton's groundless jubilation, rising and
spreading with astonishing progress through the free States. It was
gaining footholds in the pulpit, the school, and the press. It was a
stalwart sower, scattering broadcast as he walked over the fields of the
then coming generation truths and antipathies of social principles,
which were to make peace impossible between the slave-holding and the
non-slave-holding halves of the Union.

In the year 1836 the anti-slavery leaven or residuum for instance, was
sufficiently potent to preserve the statutes of the free States, free
from repressive laws directed against the Abolitionists. This was much
but there was undoubtedly another phase of the agitation, a phase which
struck the shallow eye of Benton, and led him into false conclusions. It
was not clear sailing for the reform. It was truly a period of stress
and storm. Sometimes the reform was in a trough of the sea of public
opinion, sometimes on the crest of a billow, and then again on the bosom
of a giant ground swell. In Boston in this selfsame year which witnessed
Benton's exultation over the fall of Abolitionism, the Massachusetts
Anti-Slavery Society was not able to obtain the use of hall or church
for its annual meeting, and was in consequence forced into insufficient
accommodations at its rooms on Washington street. The succeeding year
the society was obliged, from inability to obtain the use of either hall
or church in the city, to occupy for its annual meeting the loft over
the stable connected with the Marlborough Hotel. It is a long way from
this rude meeting-house to the hall of the House of Representatives, but
in this storm and stress period the distance was traversed in a few
brief hours. The society applied in its exigency for the use of the hall
for an evening meeting, and the application was granted by the members.
It was a _jeu d'esprit_ of Henry B. Stanton, "That when Boston votes we
go into a stable, but when the State votes we go into the State House."
It was even so, for the incident served to reveal what was true
everywhere through the free States that the anti-slavery reform was
making fastest progress among people away from the great centres of
population. It found ready access to the simple American folk in
villages, in the smaller towns, and in the rural districts of New
England and the North. And already from these independent and
uncorrupted sons and daughters of freedom had started the deep ground
swell which was to lift the level of Northern public opinion on the
question of slavery.

This Walpurgis period of the movement culminated on November 7, 1837, in
a terrible tragedy. The place was a little Illinois town, Alton, just
over the Mississippi River from St. Louis, and the victim was Elijah P.
Lovejoy. He was a minister of the Presbyterian Church, and the editor of
a weekly religious newspaper, first published in St. Louis and removed
by him later to Alton. His sin was that he did not hold his peace on the
subject of slavery in the columns of his paper. He was warned "to pass
over in silence everything connected" with that question. But he had no
choice, he had to cry aloud against iniquities, which, as a Christian
minister and a Christian editor, he dared not ignore. His troubles with
the people of St. Louis took in the spring of 1836 a sanguinary turn,
when he denounced the lynching of a negro by a St. Louis mob,
perpetrated under circumstances of peculiar atrocity. In consequence of
his outspoken condemnation of the horror, his office was broken into and
destroyed by a mob. Lovejoy thereupon removed his paper to Alton, but
the wild-cat-like spirit pursued him across the river and destroyed his
press. He replaced his broken press with a new one, only to have his
property a second time destroyed. He replaced the second with a third
press, but a third time the mob destroyed his property. Then he bought a
fourth press, and resolved to defend it with his life. Pierced by
bullets he fell, resisting the attack of a mob bent on the destruction
of his rights. Lovejoy died a martyr to free speech and the freedom of
the press.

The tidings of this tragedy stirred the free States to unwonted depths.
The murder of an able and singularly noble man by a mob was indeed
horrible enough, but the blow which took his life was aimed at the right
of free speech and the freedom of the press. He was struck down in the
exercise of his liberties as a citizen of the town where he met death,
and of the State and country to which he belonged. What brave man and
good in the North who might not meet a similar fate for daring to
denounce evils approved by the community in which his lot was cast? Who
was safe? Whose turn would it be next to pay with his life for attempts
to vindicate the birthright of his citizenship? What had Lovejoy done,
what had he written, that thousands of people who did not agree with
Garrison would not have done and have written under like circumstances?
He was not a disciple of Garrison, he did not accept the doctrine of
immediate emancipation, and yet a pro-slavery mob had murdered him. Yes,
who was safe? Who was to be the next? A great horror transfixed the
North, and bitter uncertainty, and tremendous dread of approaching
perils to its liberties.

Ah! had not Garrison spoken much plain truth at the public hearing of
the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society before the insolent chairman and
his committee when he said: "The liberties of the people of the free
States are identified with those of the slave population. If it were not
so, there would be no hope, in my breast, of peaceful deliverance of the
latter class from their bondage. Our liberties are bound together by a
ligament as vital as that which unites the Siamese twins. The blow which
cuts them asunder, will inevitably destroy them both. Let the freedom of
speech and of the press be abridged or destroyed, and the nation itself
will be in bondage; let it remain untrammeled, and Southern slavery must
speedily come to an end." The tragedy at Alton afforded startling
illustration of the soundness of this remark. Classes like individuals
gain wisdom only by experience; and the murder of Lovejoy was one of
those terrific experiences which furrow themselves in the soul of a
people in frightful memories and apprehensions which do not disappear
but remain after long lapse of years.

Twelve days after the murder--it was before the development of the
telegraph and rapid postal facilities--the news reached Boston. It
produced the most profound sensation. Many of the leading citizens felt
straightway that if the rights assailed in the person of Lovejoy were to
be preserved to themselves and their section, immediate action was
required. A great meeting was proposed, and Faneuil Hall applied for.
The application was denied by the municipal authorities on the plea that
its use for such a purpose might provoke a mob. The city was, however,
dealing now not with the despised Abolitionists, but with men of
property and standing in the community and was soon brought to its
senses by the indignant eloquence of Dr. Channing, appealing to the
better self of Boston in this strain: "Has it come to this? Has Boston
fallen so low? May not its citizens be trusted to come together to
express the great principles of liberty for which their forefathers
died? Are our fellow-citizens to be murdered in the act of defending
their property and of assuming the right of free discussion? And is it
unsafe in this metropolis to express abhorrence of the deed?"

A second application for the hall was granted, and a meeting, which is
an historical event in the annals of the old town, was held December 8,
1837--a meeting memorable as an uprising, not of the Abolitionists, but
of the conservatism and respectability of the city in behalf of the
outraged liberties of white men. Ever memorable, too, for that marvelous
speech of Wendell Phillips, which placed him instantly in the front rank
of minds with a genius for eloquence, lifted him at once as an
anti-slavery instrument and leader close beside William Lloyd Garrison.
The wild-cat-like spirit which had hunted Thompson out of the country
and Lovejoy to death, had more than made good the immense deficit of
services thus created through the introduction upon the national stage
of the reform of this consummate and incomparable orator.

The assassination of Lovejoy was an imposing object lesson to the North,
but it was not the last. Other and terrible illustrations of the triumph
of mobs followed it, notably the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in
Philadelphia on the evening of May 17, 1838. As the murder of Lovejoy
formed the culmination of outrages directed against the rights of
person, the burning of Pennsylvania Hall furnished the climax of
outrages committed against the rights of property. The friends of the
slave and of free discussion in Philadelphia feeling the need of a place
where they might assemble for the exercise of the right of free speech
in a city which denied to them the use of its halls and meeting-houses,
determined to erect for themselves such a place. At a cost of forty
thousand dollars they built Pennsylvania Hall and devoted it to "Free
Discussion, Virtue, Liberty, and Independence."

Two days after the dedicatory exercises were had the hall was occupied
by the annual convention of American Anti-Slavery Women. On the evening
of May 16th, Garrison, Maria Weston Chapman, Angelina Grimké Weld and
others addressed the convention in the new temple of freedom. The scenes
of that evening have been graphically described by the first speaker as
follows: "The floor of the hall was densely crowded with women, some of
the noblest specimens of our race, a large proportion of whom were
Quakers. The side aisles and spacious galleries were as thickly filled
with men. Nearly three thousand people were in the hall. There seemed to
be no visible symptoms of a riot. When I rose to speak I was greeted
with applause by the immense assembly, and also several times in the
course of my remarks. As soon, however, as I had concluded my address, a
furious mob broke into the hall, yelling and shouting as if the very
fiends of the pit had suddenly broken loose. The audience rose in some
confusion, and would undoubtedly have been broken up, had it not been
for the admirable self-possession of some individuals, particularly the
women. The mobocrats finding that they could not succeed in their
purpose, retreated into the streets, and, surrounding the building,
began to dash in the windows with stones and brick-bats. It was under
these appalling circumstances that Mrs. Chapman rose for the first time
in her life, to address a promiscuous assembly of men and women--and she
acquitted herself nobly. She spoke about ten minutes, and was succeeded
by A.E.G. Weld, who occupied nearly an hour. As the tumult from without
increased, and the brick-bats fell thick and fast (no one, however,
being injured) her eloquence kindled, her eye flashed, and her cheeks
glowed, as she devoutly thanked the Lord that the stupid repose of that
city had at length been disturbed by the force of truth. When she sat
down, Esther Moore (a Friend) made a few remarks, then Lucretia Mott,
and finally Abby Kelley, a noble young woman from Lynn.

"The meeting broke up about 10 o'clock, and we all got safely home. The
next day the street was thronged with profane ruffians and curious
spectators--the women, however, holding their meetings in the hall all
day, till towards evening. It was given out by the mob that the hall
would be burnt to the ground that night. We were to have a meeting in
the evening, but it was impossible to execute our purpose. The mayor
induced the manager to give the keys of the building into his hands. He
then locked the doors, and made a brief speech to the mob, assuring them
that he had the keys, and that there would be no meeting, and requesting
them to retire. He then went home, but the mob were bent on the
destruction of the hall. They had now increased to several thousands,
and soon got into the hall by dashing open the doors with their axes.
They then set fire to this huge building, and in the course of an hour
it was a solid mass of flame. The bells of the city were rung, and
several engines rallied; but no water was permitted to be thrown upon
the building. The light of the fire must have been seen a great

At midnight Garrison was spirited out of the city, and conveyed in a
covered carriage by a friend to Bristol, about twenty miles, where in
the morning he took the steamboat for Boston. The light of that fire was
visible a great distance in more senses than one. The burning of
Pennsylvania Hall proved a public enlightener. After that occurrence the
gentlemen of property scattered through the free States devoted
themselves less to the violent suppression of Abolitionism and more to
the forcible suppression, upon occasion, of the alarming manifestations
of popular lawlessness, which found significant demonstration just a
week later in the city of Boston.

Mr. Garrison has preserved for us an instructive account of this affair,
too, and here is the story as told by him to his brother-in-law, George
W. Benson, in a letter dated May 25th: "The spirit of mobocracy, like
the pestilence, is contagious; and Boston is once more ready to reënact
the riotous scenes of 1835. The Marlboro' Chapel, having just been
completed, and standing in relation to our cause just as did
Pennsylvania Hall, is an object of pro-slavery malevolence. Ever since
my return, threats have been given out that the chapel should share the
fate of the hall. Last evening was the time for its dedication; and, so
threatening was the aspect of things, four companies of light infantry
were ordered to be in readiness, each being provided with 100 _ball_
cartridges, to rush to the scene of riot on the tolling of the bells.
The Lancers, a powerful body of horsemen, were also in readiness. During
the day placards were posted at the corners of the streets, denouncing
the Abolitionists, and calling upon the citizens to rally at the chapel
in the evening, in order to put them down. An immense concourse of
people assembled, a large proportion doubtless from motives of
curiosity, and not a few of them with evil designs; but owing to the
strong military preparations, the multitude refrained entirely from any
overt acts of violence. They did not disperse till after 10 o'clock, and
during the evening shouted and yelled like a troop of wild savages. Some
ten or twelve were seized and carried to the watch-house, and this
morning fined for their disorderly conduct."

The frightful excesses of the Walpurgis period of the agitation reacted
through the free States to an extraordinary extent in favor of
Abolition. The greater the horror committed by the wild-cat-like spirit,
the greater the help which the reform derived therefrom. The destruction
of property, and the destruction of life instead of putting down the
hated Abolitionists aroused in the public mind apprehensions and
antagonisms in respect of mobs, which proved, immediately and
ultimately, of immense advantage to freedom. This revulsion on the part
of the North from lawless attempts to abolish Abolitionism, affected
almost unavoidably, and in the beginning of it almost unconsciously, the
friendly dispositions of that section toward slavery, the root and
mainspring of these attempts. Blows aimed at the agent were sure,
regardless of the actor's intention, to glance and strike the principal.
In spite of mobs then, and to a remarkable degree because of mobs,
Abolitionism had become a powerful motor in revolutionizing public
opinion in the free States on the subject of slavery.



During those strenuous, unresting years, included between 1829 and 1836,
Garrison had leaned on his health as upon a strong staff. It sustained
him without a break through that period, great as was the strain to
which it was subjected. But early in the latter year the prop gave way,
and the pioneer was prostrated by a severe fit of sickness. It lasted
off and on for quite two years. His activity the first year was
seriously crippled, though at no time, owing to his indomitable will,
could he be said to have been rendered completely _hors de combat_.
Almost the whole of 1836 he spent with his wife's family in Brooklyn,
where his first child was born. This new mouth brought with it fresh
cares of a domestic character. He experienced losses also. Death removed
his aged father-in-law in the last month of 1836, and four weeks later
Henry E. Benson, his brother-in-law. Their taking off was a sad blow to
the reformer and to the reform. That of the younger man cast a gloom
over anti-slavery circles in New England; for at the time of his death
he was the secretary and general agent of the Massachusetts Society, and
although not twenty-three, had displayed uncommon capacity for affairs.
The business ability which he brought into his office was of the
greatest value where there was such a distinct deficiency in that
respect among his coadjutors, and the loss of it seemed irreparable.

Afflicted as he was, the leader was nevertheless cheered by the
extraordinary progress of the movement started by him. The growth and
activity of Abolitionism were indeed altogether phenomenal. In February,
1837, Ellis Gray Loring estimated that there were then eight hundred
anti-slavery societies in the United States, that an anti-slavery
society had been formed in the North every day for the last two years,
and that in the single State of Ohio there were three hundred societies,
one of which had a membership of four thousand names. The moral
agitation was at its height. The National Society had hit upon a capital
device for increasing the effectiveness of its agents and lecturers.
This was to bring them together in New York for a few weeks' study of
the slavery question under the direction of such masters as Theodore D.
Weld, Beriah Green, Charles Stuart, and others. All possible phases of
the great subject, such as, What is slavery? What is immediate
emancipation? The consequences of emancipation to the South, etc., etc.,
pro-slavery objections and arguments were stated and answered. The
agents and lecturers went forth from the convention bristling with
facts, and glowing with enthusiasm to renew the crusade against slavery.
Garrison, broken in health as he was, went on from Boston to attend this
school of his disciples. He spoke briefly but repeatedly to them upon
the all-absorbing topic which had brought them together. "It was a happy
circumstance, too," he wrote, "that I was present with them, and that
they had an opportunity to become _personally_ acquainted with me; for,
as I am a great stumbling-block in the way of the people, or, rather, of
some people, it would be somewhat disastrous to our cause if any of our
agents, through the influence of popular sentiment, should be led to
cherish prejudices against me."

In February, 1837, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society came to the
rescue of the _Liberator_ from its financial embarrassments and
hand-to-mouth existence by assuming the responsibility of its
publication. The arrangement did not in any respect compromise Mr.
Garrison's editorial independence, but lifted from him and his friend
Knapp in his own language, "a heavy burden, which has long crushed us to
the earth." The arrangement, nevertheless, continued but a year when it
was voluntarily set aside by Mr. Garrison for causes of which we must
now give an account.

In the letter from which we have quoted above, touching his visit to the
Convention of Anti-Slavery Agents, Garrison alludes to one of these
causes. He says: "I was most kindly received by all, and treated as a
brother, notwithstanding the wide difference of opinion between us on
some religious points, _especially the Sabbath question_." The italics
are our own. Until within a few years he had been one of the strictest
of Sabbath observers. Although never formally connected with any church,
he had been a narrow and even an intolerant believer in the creed and
observances of New England orthodoxy. Words failed him in 1828 to
express his abhorrence of a meeting of professed infidels: "It is
impossible," he exclaimed with the ardor of a bigot, "to estimate the
depravity and wickedness of those who, at the present day, reject the
Gospel of Jesus Christ," etc. A year and a half later while editing the
_Genius_ in Baltimore, he held uncompromisingly to the stern Sabbatical
notions of the Puritans. A fête given to Lafayette in France on Sunday
seemed to him an act of sheer religious desecration. The carrying of
passengers and the mails on the Sabbath provoked his energetic
reprobation. He was in all points of New England Puritanism, orthodox of
the orthodox.

Subsequently he began to see things in a different light. As the area of
his experience extended it came to him that living was more than
believing, that it was not every one who professed faith in Jesus had
love for him in the heart; and that there were many whom his own
illiberalism had rated as depraved and wicked on mere points of
doctrine, who, nevertheless, shamed by the blamelessness and nobility of
their conduct multitudes of ardent Christians of the lip-service sort.
Indeed this contradiction between creed and conduct struck him with
considerable force in the midst of his harsh judgments against unbelief
and unbelievers. "There are, in fact," he had remarked a year or two
after he had attained his majority, "few _reasoning_ Christians; the
majority of them are swayed more by the usages of the world than by any
definite perception of what constitutes duty--so far, we mean, as
relates to the subjugation of vices which are incorporated, as it were,
into the existence of society; else why is it that intemperance, and
slavery, and war, have not ere this in a measure been driven from our

As the months of his earnest young life passed him by, they showed him
as they went how horrible a thing was faith without works. "By their
fruits ye shall know them," the Master had said, and more and more as he
saw how many and great were the social evils to be reformed, and in what
dire need stood his country of righteous action, did he come to put
increasing emphasis on conduct, as the one thing needful to rid the land
of the triple curse of slavery, intemperance, and war. As he mused upon
these giant evils, and the desolation which they were singly and
together causing in the world, and upon the universal apathy of the
churches in respect of them, it seemed to him that the current religion
was an offence and an abomination. And in his prophetic rage he
denounced it as "a religion which quadrates with the natural depravity
of the heart, giving license to sin, restraining no lust, mortifying not
the body, engendering selfishness, and cruelty!--a religion which walks
in silver slippers, on a carpeted floor, having thrown off the burden of
the cross and changed the garments of humiliation for the splendid
vestments of pride! a religion which has no courage, no faithfulness, no
self-denial, deeming it better to give heed unto men than unto God!"
This was in the autumn of 1829, but though he was thus violently
denunciatory of contemporary religion, the severity of his judgment
against the skepticism of the times had not been materially modified. He
still regarded the unbeliever with narrow distrust and dislike. When,
after his discharge from Baltimore jail, he was engaged in delivering
his message on the subject of slavery, and was seeking an opportunity to
make what he knew known to the people of Boston, he was forced, after
vainly advertising for a hall or meeting-house in which to give his
three lectures, to accept the offer of Abner Kneeland's Society of
Infidels of the use of their hall for that purpose. The spirit of these
people, branded by the community as blasphemers, and by himself, too, in
all probability, Garrison saw to be as admirable as the spirit displayed
by the churches of the city toward him and his cause was unworthy and
sinful. But, grateful as he was for the hospitality of the infidels, he,
nevertheless, rather bluntly informed them that he had no sympathy with
their religious notions, and that he looked for the abolition of slavery
to evangelicism, and to it alone.

A few years in the university of experience, where he learned that
conduct is better than creeds, and living more than believing, served to
emancipate him from illiberal prejudices and narrow sectarianism. He
came to see, "that in Christ Jesus all stated observances are so many
self-imposed and unnecessary yokes; and that prayer and worship are all
embodied in that pure, meek, child-like state of heart which
affectionately and reverently breathes but one petition--'Thy will be
done on earth as it is in heaven.' Religion ... is nothing but
love--perfect love toward God and toward man--without formality, without
hypocrisy, without partiality--depending upon no outward form to
preserve its vitality or prove its existence."

This important change in Mr. Garrison's religious convictions became
widely known in the summer of 1836 through certain editorial strictures
of his upon a speech of Dr. Lyman Beecher, at Pittsburgh, on the subject
of the Sabbath. The good doctor was cold enough on the question of
slavery, which involved not only the desecration of the Sabbath, but of
the souls and bodies of millions of human beings. If Christianity was
truly of divine origin, and Garrison devoutly believed that it was, it
would approve its divinity by its manner of dealing with the vices and
evils which were dragging and chaining the feet of men to the gates of
hell. If it parleyed with iniquity, if it passed its victims by on the
other side, if it did not war incessantly and energetically to put down
sin, to destroy wickedness, it was of the earth, earthy, and its
expounders were dumb dogs where they should bark the loudest and bite
the hardest; and Dr. Beecher appeared to him one of these dumb dogs,
who, when he opened his mouth at all, was almost sure to open it at the
men who were trying through evil report and good to express in their
lives the spirit of Him who so loved the world that He gave His Son to
die to redeem it. He bayed loud enough at the Abolitionists but not at
the abomination which they were attacking. He was content to leave it to
the tender mercies of two hundred years. No such liberal disposition of
the question of the Sabbath was he willing to allow. He waxed eloquent
in its behalf. His enthusiasm took to itself wings and made a great
display of ecclesiastical zeal beautiful to behold. "The Sabbath," quoth
the teacher who endeavored to muzzle the students of Lane Seminary on
the subject of slavery, whose ultimate extinction his prophetic soul
quiescently committed to the operation of two centuries; "the Sabbath,"
quoth he, "is the _great sun of the moral world_." Out upon you, said
Garrison, the LORD GOD is the _great sun of the moral world_, not the
Sabbath. It is not one, but every day of the week which is His, and
which men should be taught to observe as holy days. It is not regard for
the forms of religion but for the spirit, which is essential to
righteousness. What is the command, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it
holy,' but one of ten commandments? Is the violation of the fourth any
worse than the violation of the third or fifth, or sixth? Nowhere is it
so taught in the Bible. Yet, what is slavery but a breaking and treading
down of the whole ten, what but a vast system of adultery, robbery, and
murder, the daily and yearly infraction on an appalling scale not alone
of the spirit but of the letter of the decalogue?

Mr. Garrison then passed to criticisms of a more special character
touching the observance of the day thus: "These remarks are made not to
encourage men to do wrong at any time, but to controvert a pernicious
and superstitious notion, and one that is very prevalent, that
extraordinary and supernatural visitations of divine indignation upon
certain transgressors (of the Sabbath particularly and almost
exclusively) are poured out now as in the days of Moses and the
prophets. Whatever claim the Sabbath may have to a strict religious
observance, we are confident it cannot be strengthened, but must
necessarily be weakened, by all such attempts to enforce or prove its
sanctity." This pious but rational handling of the Sabbath question gave
instant offence to the orthodox readers of the _Liberator_. For it was
enough in those days to convict the editor of rank heresy. From one and
another of his subscribers remonstrances came pouring in upon him. A
young theological student at Yale ordered his paper stopped in
consequence of the anti-Sabbatarian views of the editor. A Unitarian
minister at Harvard, Mass., was greatly cut up by reason thereof, and
suddenly saw what before he did not suspect. "I had supposed you," he
wrote in his new estate, "a very pious person, and that a large
proportion of the Abolitionists were religious persons.... I have
thought of you as another Wilberforce--but would Wilberforce have spoken
thus of the day on which the Son of God rose from the dead?" Garrison's
query in reply--"Would Wilberforce have denied the identity of Christ
with the Father?"--was a palpable hit. But as he himself justly
remarked, "Such questions are not arguments, but fallacies unworthy of a
liberal mind." Nevertheless, so long as men are attached to the leading
strings of sentiment rather than to those of reason, such questions will
possess tremendous destructive force, as Mr. Garrison, in his own case,
presently perceived. He understood the importance of not arousing
against him "denominational feelings or peculiarities," and so had
steered the _Liberator_ clear of the rocks of sectarianism. But when he
took up in its columns the Sabbath question he ran his paper directly
among the breakers of a religious controversy. He saw how it was with
him at once, saw that he had stirred up against him all that religious
feeling which was crystallized around the first day of the week, and
that he could not hope to escape without serious losses in one way or
another. "It is pretty certain," he writes Samuel J. May in September,
1836, "that the _Liberator_ will sustain a serious loss in its
subscriptions at the close of the present volume; and all appeals for
aid in its behalf will be less likely to prevail than formerly. I am
conscious that a mighty sectarian conspiracy is forming to crush me, and
it will probably succeed to some extent."

This controversy over the Sabbath proved the thin edge of differences
and dissensions, which, as they went deeper and deeper, were finally to
rend asunder the erstwhile united Abolition movement. The period was
remarkable for the variety and force of new ideas, which were coming
into being, or passing into general circulation. And to all of them it
seems that Garrison was peculiarly receptive. He took them all in and
planted them in soil of extraordinary fertility. It was immediately
observed that it was not only one unpopular notion which he had adopted,
but a whole headful of them. And every one of these new ideas was a sort
of rebel-reformer, a genuine man of war. They had come as a protest
against the then existing beliefs and order of things, come as their
enemies and destroyers. Each one of them was in a sense a stirrer-up of
sedition against old and regnant relations and facts, political, moral,
and religious. Whoever espoused them as his own, espoused as his own
also the antagonisms, political, moral, and religious which they would
excite in the public mind. All of which was directly illustrated in the
experience of the editor of the _Liberator_. Each of these new notions
presently appeared in the paper along with Abolitionism. What was his
intention timid people began to inquire? Did he design to carry them
along with the Abolition movement? Suspicious minds fancied they saw "in
Mr. Garrison, a decided wish, nay, a firm resolve, in laboring to
overthrow slavery, to overthrow the Christian Sabbath and the Christian
ministry. His doctrine is that every day is a Sabbath, and every man his
own minister. There are no Christian ordinances, there is no visible
church." His no-government and non-resistant ideas excited yet further
the apprehensions of some of his associates for the safety of that
portion of the present order to which they clung. As developed by
Garrison they seemed to deny the right of the people "to frame a
government of laws to protect themselves against those who would injure
them, and that man can apply physical force to man rightfully under no
circumstances, and not even the parent can apply the rod to the child,
and not be, in the sight of God, a trespasser and a tyrant."

Garrison embraced besides Perfectionism, a sort of political, moral, and
religious Come-outerism, and faith in "universal emancipation from sin."
His description of himself about this time as "an Ishmaelitish editor"
is not bad, nor his quotation of "Woe is me my mother! for I was born a
man of strife" as applicable to the growing belligerency of his
relations with the anti-slavery brethren in consequence of the new ideas
and isms, which were taking possession of his mind and occupying the
columns of the _Liberator_.

Among the strife-producers during this period of the anti-slavery
agitation, the woman's question played a principal part. Upon this as
upon the Sabbath question, Garrison's early position was one of extreme
conservatism. As late as 1830, he shared the common opinions in regard
to woman's sphere, and was strongly opposed to her stepping outside of
it into that occupied by man. A petition of seven hundred women of
Pittsburgh, Pa., to Congress in behalf of the Indians gave his masculine
prejudices a great shock. "This is, in our opinion," he declared, "an
uncalled for interference, though made with holiest intentions. We
should be sorry to have this practice become general. There would then
be no question agitated in Congress without eliciting the informal and
contrariant opinions of the softer sex." This top-lofty sentiment
accorded well with the customary assumption and swagger of one of the
lords of creation. For the young reformer was evidently a firm believer
in the divine right of his sex to rule in the world of politics. But as
he grew taller and broader the horizon of woman widened, and her sphere
embraced every duty, responsibility, and right for which her gifts and
education fitted her. The hard and fast lines of sex disappeared from
his geography of the soul. He perceived for a truth that in humanity
there was neither male nor female, but that man and woman were one in
work and destiny--equals in bearing the world's burden, equals in
building the world's glory. He heard in his heart the injunction of the
eternal wisdom saying: "Whom God hath joined together let no man put
asunder;" and straightway disposed his opinions and prejudices, his
thoughts and purposes in cordial obedience therewith. He saw at once the
immense value of woman's influence in the temperance movement, he saw no
less quickly her importance in the anti-slavery reform, and he had
appealed to her for help in the work of both, and she had justified his
appeal and proven herself the most devoted of coadjutors.

In the beginning of the movement against slavery the line of demarcation
between the sexes was strictly observed in the formation of societies.
The men had theirs, the women theirs. Each, sexually considered, were
very exclusive affairs. It did not seem to have occurred to the founders
of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, or of the national organization
to admit women to membership in them, nor did it seem to enter the mind
of any woman to prefer a request to be admitted into them. Anti-slavery
women organized themselves into female anti-slavery societies, did their
work apart from the men, who plainly regarded themselves as the
principals in the contest, and women as their moral seconds. The first
shock, which this arrangement, so accordant with the oak-and-ivy notion
of the masculine half of mankind, received, came when representatives of
the gentler sex dropped the secondary role assigned women in the
conflict, and began to enact that of a star. The advent of the sisters
Grimké upon the anti-slavery stage as public speakers, marked the advent
of the idea of women's rights, of their equality with men in the
struggle with slavery.

At the start these ladies delivered their message to women only, but
by-and-bye as the fame of their eloquence spread men began to appear
among their auditories. Soon they were thrilling packed halls and
meeting-houses in different parts of the country, comprised of men and
women. The lesson which their triumph enforced of women's fitness to
enact the rôle of principals in the conflict with slavery was not lost
upon the sex. Women went, saw, and conquered their prejudices against
the idea of equality; likewise, many men. The good seed of universal
liberty and equality fell into fruitful soil and germinated in due time
within the heart of the moral movement against slavery.

The more that Sarah and Angelina Grimké reflected upon the sorry
position to which men had assigned women in Church and State the more
keenly did they feel its injustice and degradation. They beat with their
revolutionary idea of equality against the iron bars of the cage-like
sphere in which they were born, and within which they were doomed to
live and die by the law of masculine might. At heart they were rebels
against the foundation principle of masculine supremacy on which society
and government rested. While pleading for the freedom of the slaves, the
sense of their own bondage and that of their sisters rose up before them
and revealed itself in bitter questionings. "Are we aliens," asked
Angelina, "because we are women? Are we bereft of citizenship because we
are the _mothers, wives, and daughters_ of a mighty people? Have _women_
no country--no interests staked on the public weal--no partnership in a
nation's guilt or shame?" This discontent with the existing social
establishment in its relation to women received sympathetic responses
from many friends to whom the sisters communicated the contagion of
their unrest and dissatisfaction. Angelina records that, "At friend
Chapman's, where we spent a social evening, I had a long talk with the
brethren on the rights of women, and found a very general sentiment
prevailing that it is time our fetters were broken. L.M. Child and Maria
Chapman strongly supported this view; indeed very many seem to think a
new order of things is very desirable in this respect."

This prevalence of a sentiment favorable to women's rights, which
Angelina observed in Mrs. Chapman's parlors possessed no general
significence. For true to the character of new ideas, this particular
new idea did not bring peace but a sword. It set Abolition brethren
against Abolition brethren, and blew into a flame the differences of
leaders among themselves. But the first irruption of strife which it
caused proceeded from without, came from the church or rather from the
clergy of the Orthodox Congregational churches of Massachusetts. This
clerical opposition to the idea of women's rights found expression in
the celebrated "Pastoral Letter," issued by the General Association of
Ministers of that denomination to the churches of the same in the summer
of 1837. This ecclesiastical bull had two distinct purposes to
accomplish; first, to discourage the agitation of the slavery question
by excluding anti-slavery agents from lecturing upon that subject in the
churches; and, second, to suppress the agitation of the woman's question
by setting the seal of the disapproval of the clergy to the appearance
of women in their new and revolutionary rôle of public speakers and
teachers on the burning subjects of the times. The reverend authors
threw up their hands and eyes in holy horror at the "widespread and
permanent injury" which seemed to them to threaten "the female
character." They scorned the new-fangled notion of woman's independence,
and asked for nothing better than the Pauline definition of her
"appropriate duties and influence." "The power of women," quoth they,
"is in her dependence.... When she assumes the place and tone of man as
a public reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnecessary; we
put ourselves in self-defence against her, she yields the power which
God has given her for protection, and her character becomes unnatural!"

These Congregational ministers were not the only representatives of the
lordly sex to whom the idea of women's equality was repellent.
Anti-slavery brethren, too, were flinging themselves into all postures
of self-defence against the dangerous innovation, which the sisters
Grimké were letting into the social establishment, by itinerating "in
the character of public lecturers and teachers." Amos A. Phelps was
quite as strongly opposed to women preachers, to women assuming the
"place and tone of man as a public reformer," as Nehemiah Adams himself.
He remonstrated, with them against their continued assumption of the
character of public lecturers and teachers, but to no purpose. Sarah and
Angelina were uncompromising, refused to yield one iota of their rights
as "moral and responsible beings." They firmly declined to make their
Quakerism and not their womenhood their warrant for "exercising the
rights and performing the duties" of rational and responsible beings,
for the sake of quieting tender consciences, like that of Phelps, among
the anti-slavery brethren. They were in earnest and demanded to know
"whether there is such a thing as male and female virtues, male and
female duties." Angelina writes: "My opinion is that there is no
difference, and that this false idea has run the ploughshare of ruin
over the whole field of morality. My idea is that whatever is morally
right for a man to do is morally right for a woman to do. I recognize no
rights but human rights.... I am persuaded that woman is not to be, as
she has been, a mere second-hand agent in the regeneration of a fallen
world, but the acknowledged equal and co-worker with man in this
glorious work."

The debate on the subject threatened for a short season to push the
woman's question to the level of the slavery question. The contention
became acrimonious, and the alienation of friendships was widespread.
John G. Whittier and Theodore D. Weld, who were both avowed believers in
the idea of women's rights, nevertheless, felt that the agitation of the
subject, under the circumstances, was a grave blunder. "No moral
enterprise, when prosecuted with ability and any sort of energy, _ever_
failed under heaven," wrote Weld to Sarah and Angelina, "so long as its
conductors pushed the _main_ principle, and did not strike off until
they reached the summit level. On the other hand, every reform that ever
foundered in mid-sea, was capsized by one of these gusty side-winds."
Both Weld and Whittier endeavored to dissuade the sisters from mooting
the question of women's rights at all, and to urge them to devote their
voice and pen to the "_main_ principle" exclusively. But Angelina
confesses that "our judgment is not convinced, and we hardly know what
to do about it, for we have just as high an opinion of Brother
Garrison's views, and _he_ says '_go on_.'" The influence of Weld and
Whittier finally prevailed with "Carolina's high-souled daughters," and
they refrained from further agitation of the subject of Women's rights
lest they should thereby injure the cause of the slave.

But the leaven of equality was not so effectually disposed of. It had
secured permanent lodgment in the anti-slavery body, and the
fermentation started by it, went briskly on. Such progress did the
principle of women's rights make among the Eastern Abolitionists,
especially among those of Massachusetts, that in the spring of 1838 the
New England Anti-Slavery Society voted to admit women to equal
membership with men. This radical action was followed by a clerical
secession from the society, which made a stir at the time. For among the
seceding members was no less a personage than Amos A. Phelps, who was
the general agent of the Massachusetts Society, and therefore one of
Garrison's stanchest supporters. The reform instituted by the New
England Society, in respect of the character of its membership, was
quickly adopted by the Massachusetts Society and by several local
organizations, all of which set the ball of discord spinning among the
brethren at a great rate. But by this time all the new ideas,
Sabbatical, no-government, perfectionist, non-resistance, as well as
women's rights, were within the anti-slavery arena, and fencing and
fighting for a chance to live, with the old ideas and the old order.

Garrison championed all of the new ideas, and in doing so arrayed
against himself all of the special champions of the existing
establishments. In his reduced physical state, the reformer was not
equal to the tremendous concussions of this "era of activity," as
Emerson named it. At moments he appeared bewildered amid the loud,
fierce clamor of contending ideas, each asserting in turn its moral
primacy. For an instant the vision of the great soul grew dim, the great
heart seemed to have lost its bearings. All of the new ideas thawed and
melted into each other, dissolved into one vague and grand solidarity of
reforms. The voice of the whole was urging him amid the gathering moral
confusion to declare himself for all truth, and he hearkened irresolute,
with divided mind. "I feel somewhat at a loss to know what to do"--he
confesses at this juncture to George W. Benson, "whether to go into all
the principles of holy reform and make the Abolition cause subordinate,
or whether still to persevere in the _one_ beaten track as hitherto.
Circumstances hereafter must determine this matter." That was written in
August, 1837; a couple of months later circumstances had not determined
the matter, it would seem, from the following extract from a letter to
his brother-in-law: "It is not my intention at present to alter either
the general character or course of the _Liberator_. My work in the
anti-slavery cause is not wholly done; as soon as it is, I shall know
it, and shall be prepared, I trust, to enter upon a mightier work of

Meanwhile the relations between the editor of the _Liberator_ and the
managers of the national organization were becoming decidedly strained.
For it seemed to them that Garrison had changed the anti-slavery
character of his paper by the course which he had taken in regard to the
new ideas which were finding their way into its columns to the manifest
harm of the main principle of immediate emancipation. This incipient
estrangement between the pioneer and the executive committee of the
national society was greatly aggravated by an occurrence, which, at the
time, was elevated to an importance that it did not deserve. This
occurrence was what is known in anti-slavery annals as the "Clerical
Appeal." Five clergymen, who were obviously unfriendly to Garrison, and
distrustful of the religious and social heresies which they either saw
or fancied that they saw in the _Liberator_, and withal jealous lest the
severities of the paper against particular pro-slavery ministers should
diminish the influence and sacred character of their order, published,
in August of 1837, in the _New England Spectator_ an acrid arraignment
of editor and paper, upon five several charges, designed to bring
Garrisonism to the block and speedy death. This document was followed by
two other appeals by way of supplement and rejoinder from the same
source, an "Andover Appeal" from kindred spirits and a bitter, personal
letter from one of the "seventy agents," all of them having a common
motive and purpose, viz., sectarian distrust and dislike of Garrison,
and desire to reduce his anti-slavery influence to a nullity.

In his diseased and suffering bodily condition, Garrison naturally
enough fell into the error of exaggerating the gravity of these attacks
upon himself. Insignificant in an historical sense, they really were an
episode, an unpleasant one to be sure for the time being, but no more.
To Garrison, however, they appeared in a wholly different light. It
seemed a rebellion on a pretty grand scale, which called for all his
strength, all the batteries of the friends of freedom, all his terrible
and unsparing severities of speech to quell it. All his artillery he
posted promptly in positions commanding the camp of the mutineers, and
began to pour, as only he could, broadside after broadside into the
works of the wretched little camp of rebels. He could hardly have
expended more energy and ammunition in attacking a strategical point of
Southern slavery, than was expended in punishing a handful of deserters
and insurgents. But, alas! he was not satisfied to draw upon his own
resources for crushing the clerical sedition, he demanded reinforcements
from the central authorities in New York as well. And then began a
contention between him and the Executive Committee of the National
Society, which issued only in ill.

Garrison considered it the duty of the Executive Committee to disapprove
officially of the action of the Massachusetts recalcitrants, and also
the duty of its organ, the _Emancipator_, to rebuke the authors of the
"appeals." Not so, replied Lewis Tappan and Elizur Wright, your request
is unreasonable. If you choose to make a mountain out of a molehill, you
choose to make a mistake which the Executive Committee will not repeat.
Your troubles are wholly local, of no general importance whatever.
"What! Shall a whole army stop its aggressive movements into the
territories of its enemies to charge bayonets on five soldiers,
subalterns, company, or even staff officers, because they stray into a
field to pick berries, throw stones or write an 'appeal?' To be frank
with you we shall make bold to say that we do not approve of the appeal,
it is very censurable, its spirit is bad, but neither do we approve of
your action in the premises, it is also very censurable and its spirit
is bad. What then? shall the Executive Committee condemn the authors of
the appeal and not condemn the editor of the _Liberator_ also? If strict
military justice were done should not both parties be cashiered? Let the
Sabbath and the theoretic theology of the priesthood alone for the
present." "I could have wished, yes, I have wished from the bottom of my
soul," it is Wright who now holds the pen, "that you could conduct that
dear paper, the _Liberator_, in the singleness of purpose of its first
years, without traveling off from the ground of our true, noble,
heart-stirring Declaration of Sentiments--without breathing sentiments
which are novel and shocking to the community, and which seem to me to
have no logical sequence from the principles on which we are associated
as Abolitionists. I cannot but regard the taking hold of one great moral
enterprise while another is in hand and but half achieved, as an outrage
upon commonsense, somewhat like that of the dog crossing the river with
his meat. But you have seen fit to introduce to the public some novel
views--I refer especially to your sentiments on government and religious
perfection--and they have produced the effect which was to have been
expected. And now considering what stuff human nature is made of, is it
to be wondered at that some honest-hearted, thorough-going Abolitionists
should have lost their equanimity? As you well know I am comparatively
no bigot to any creed, political or theological, yet to tell the plain
truth, I look upon your notions of government and religious perfection
as downright fanaticism--as harmless as they are absurd. I would not
care a pin's head if they were preached to all Christendom; for it is
not in the human mind (except in a peculiar and, as I think, diseased
state) to believe them."

Barring the extreme plainness of speech with which Wright and Tappan
gave their advice to Mr. Garrison, it was in the main singularly sound
and wise. But the pioneer did not so regard it. He was possessed with
his idea of the importance of chastising the clerical critics, and of
the duty of the Executive Committee and of the _Emancipator_ to back him
in the undertaking. His temper was, under all circumstances, masterful
and peremptory. It was never more masterful and peremptory than in its
management of this business. The very reasonable course of the Board at
New York suggested to his mind a predominance of "sectarianism at
headquarters," seemed to him "criminal and extraordinary." As the
Executive Committee and its organ would not rebuke the schismatics, he
was moved to rebuke the Executive Committee and its organ for their
"blind and temporizing policy." And so matters within the movement
against slavery went, with increasing momentum, from bad to worse.

The break in the anti-slavery ranks widened as new causes of controversy
arose between the management in Boston and the management at New York.
The Massachusetts Abolitionists had stood stanchly by Garrison against
the clerical schismatics. They also inclined to his side in his trouble
with the national board. Instead of one common center of activity and
leadership the anti-slavery reform began now to develop two centers of
activity and leadership. Garrison and the _Liberator_ formed the moral
nucleus at one end, the Executive Committee and the _Emancipator_ the
moral nucleus at the other. Much of the energies of the two sides were
in those circumstances, absorbed in stimulating and completing the
processes which were to ultimate in the organic division of the body of
the movement against slavery. When men once begin to quarrel they will
not stop for lack of subjects to dispute over. There will be no lack,
for before one disputed point is settled another has arisen. It is the
old story of the box of evils. Beginnings must be avoided, else if one
evil escapes, others will follow. The anti-slavery Pandora had let out
one little imp of discord and many big and little imps were
incontinently following.

Against all of the new ideas except one, viz., the idea of anti-slavery
political action, the New York leadership, speaking broadly, had opposed
itself. But as if by some strange perversity of fate, this particular
new idea was the only one of the new ideas to which the Boston
leadership did not take kindly. It became in time as the very apple of
the eye to the management of the National Society. And the more ardently
it was cherished by them, the more hateful did it become with the Boston
Board. It was the only one of the new ideas which had any logical
sequence from the Abolition cause. In a country where the principle of
popular suffrage obtains, all successful moral movements must sometime
ultimate in political action. There is no other way of fixing in laws
the changes in public sentiment wrought during this period of agitation.
The idea of political action was therefore a perfectly natural growth
from the moral movement against slavery. The only reasonable objection
to it would be one which went to show that it had arrived out of due
course, that its appearance at any given time was marked by prematurity
in respect of the reasons, so to speak, of the reform. For every
movement against a great social wrong as was the anti-slavery movement
must have its John-the-Baptist stage, its period of popular awakening to
the nature and enormity of sin and the duty of immediate repentance.

The anti-slavery enterprise was at the time of the controversy between
the New York and the Boston Boards in this first stage of its growth. It
had not yet progressed naturally out of it into its next phase of
political agitation. True there were tendencies more or less strong to
enter the second stage of its development, but they seem irregular,
personal, and forced. The time had not come for the adoption of the
principle of associated political action against slavery. But the deep
underlying motive of the advocates of the third-party idea was none the
less a grand one, viz., "to have a free Northern nucleus," as Elizur
Wright put it, "a standard flung to the breeze--something around which
to rally." Garrison probed to the quick the question in a passage of an
address to the Abolitionists, which is here given: "Abolitionists! you
are now feared and respected by all political parties, not because of
the number of votes you can throw, so much as in view of the moral
integrity and sacred regard to principle which you have exhibited to the
country. It is the religious aspect of your enterprise which impresses
and overawes men of every sect and party. Hitherto you have seemed to be
actuated by no hope of preferment or love of power, and therefore have
established, even in the minds of your enemies, confidence in your
disinterestedness. If you shall now array yourselves as a political
party, and hold out mercenary rewards to induce men to rally under your
standard, there is reason to fear that you will be regarded as those who
have made the anti-slavery cause a hobby to ride into office, however
plausible or sound may be your pretexts for such a course. You cannot,
you ought not, to expect that the political action of the State will
move faster than the religious action of the Church, in favor of the
abolition of slavery; and it is a fact not less encouraging than
undeniable, that both the Whig and Democratic parties have consulted the
wishes of Abolitionists even beyond the measure of their real political
strength. More you cannot expect under any circumstances."

Hotly around this point raged the strife among brethren. Actuated by the
noblest motives were both sides in the main, yet, both sides displayed
in the maintenance of their respective positions an amount of weak human
nature, which proves that perfection is not attainable even by the most
disinterested of men. Harsh and abusive language good men uttered
against good men. Distrust, suspicion, anger, and alienation took
possession of the thoughts of the grandest souls. Saints and heroes
beseemed themselves like very ordinary folk, who, when they come to
differences, come directly afterward to high words and thumping blows.
The love of David and Jonathan which once united Garrison and Phelps,
has died. Garrison and Stanton meet and only exchange civilities. They,
too, have become completely alienated, and so on down the long list of
the "goodliest fellowship ... whereof this land holds record." To a
sweet and gentle spirit like Samuel J. May, the acrimony and scenes of
strife among his old associates was unspeakably painful. Writing to
Garrison from South Scituate, May 1, 1839, he touches thus upon this
head: "I now think I shall not go to New York next week. In the first
place, I cannot afford the expense.... But I confess, I do not lament my
inability to go so much as I should do if the prospect of an agreeable
meeting was fairer. I am apprehensive that it will be not so much an
anti-slavery as anti-Garrison and anti-Phelps meeting, or
anti-board-of-managers and anti-executive committee meeting. Division
has done its work, I fear, effectually. The two parties seem to me to
misunderstand, and therefore sadly misrepresent one another. I am not
satisfied with the course you and your partisans have pursued. It
appears to me not consistent with the non-resistant, patient,
long-suffering spirit of the Gospel. And I do not believe that either
the cause of the slave, or the cause of peace and righteousness has been

The situation was further complicated by the discovery of a fresh bone
of contention. As if to give just a shade of sordidness to the strife
there must needs arise a money difficulty between the two rival boards
of leaders. This is how our recent band of brothers happened to stumble
upon their new apple of discord. Soon after the formation of the
National Society an arrangement was made with each of the State
societies whereby they agreed to operate financially their respective
territories and to turn into the national treasury the several sums
which at the annual meeting they obligated themselves to contribute to
the general work. This arrangement was intended to avoid the expense,
conflict, and confusion consequent upon the employment of two sets of
agents to work the same territory. Matters went on quite smoothly under
this plan between the Massachusetts Board and the National Board until
the beginning of the year 1839, when the former fell into arrears in the
payment of its instalments to the latter. Money from one cause or
another, was hard to get at by the Massachusetts Board, and the treasury
in New York was in an extremely low state. The relations between the two
boards were, as we have seen, much strained and neither side was in the
mood to cover with charity the shortcomings of the other. Perhaps the
board at New York was too exacting, perhaps the board at Boston was not
sufficiently zealous, under the circumstances. But what were the real
irritating causes which kept the two boards at loggerheads over the
matter need not here be determined. This fact is clear that the
arrangement was rescinded by the New York management, and their agents
thrown into Massachusetts. This action only added fuel to a fire which
was fast assuming the proportions of a conflagration. All the
anti-Garrisonians formed themselves into a new anti-slavery society, and
the National Board, as if to burn its bridges, and to make
reconciliation impossible, established a new paper in Boston in
opposition to the _Liberator_. The work of division was ended. There was
no longer any vital connection between the two warring members of the
anti-slavery reform. To tear the dead tissues asunder which still joined
them, all that was wanted was another sharp shock, and this came at the
annual meeting of the National Society in 1840 over the woman's
question. The issue, "Shall a woman serve with men on a committee?" was
precipitated upon the convention by the appointment of that brilliant
young Quakeress, Abby Kelley, on the business committee with ten men.
The convention confirmed her appointment by about a hundred majority in
a total vote of 1,008. Whereupon those opposed to this determination of
the question, withdrew from the convention and organized the American
and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Garrison had triumphed and he was
immensely elated with his victory. His moral leadership was definitely
established, never again to be disputed by his disciples and followers.



The division of the anti-slavery organization into two distinct
societies did not immediately terminate the war between them. From New
York and the American society the contest over the woman's question was
almost directly shifted after the triumph of the Garrisonians in the
convention, to London and the World's Convention, which was held in the
month of June of the year 1840. To this anti-slavery congress both of
the rival anti-slavery organizations in America elected delegates. These
delegates, chosen by the older society and by its auxiliaries of the
States of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, were composed of women and
men. Lucretia Mott was not only chosen by the National Society, but by
the Pennsylvania Society as well. The Massachusetts Society selected
Lydia Maria Child, Maria Weston Chapman, and Ann Green Phillips together
with their husbands among its list of delegates. England at this time
was much more conservative on the woman's question than America. The
managers of the World's Convention did not take kindly to the notion of
women members, and signified to the American societies who had placed
women among their delegates that the company of the women was not
expected. Those societies, however, made no alteration in deference to
this notice, in the character of their delegations, but stood stoutly by
their principle of "the EQUAL BROTHERHOOD of the entire HUMAN FAMILY
without distinction of color, sex, or clime."

A contest over the admission of women to membership in the World's
Convention was therefore a foregone conclusion. The convention,
notwithstanding a brilliant fight under the lead of Wendell Phillips in
behalf of their admission, refused to admit the women delegates. The
women delegates instead of having seats on the floor were forced in
consequence of this decision to look on from the galleries. Garrison,
who with Charles Lenox Remond, Nathaniel P. Rogers, and William Adams,
was late in arriving in England, finding, on reaching London the women
excluded from the convention and sitting as spectators in the galleries,
determined to take his place among them, deeming that the act of the
convention which discredited the credentials of Lucretia Mott and her
sister delegates, had discredited his own also. Remond, Rogers, and
Adams followed his example and took their places with the rejected women
delegates likewise. The convention was scandalized at such proceedings,
and did its best to draw Garrison and his associates from the ladies in
the galleries to the men on the floor, but without avail. There they
remained an eloquent protest against the masculine narrowness of the
convention. Defeated in New York, the delegates of the new American and
Foreign Anti-Slavery Society triumphed over their victors in London. But
their achievements in the World's Convention, in this regard, was not of
a sort to entitle them to point with any special pride in after years;
and, as a matter of fact, not one of them would have probably cared to
have their success alluded to in any sketch of their lives for the
perusal of posterity.

Garrison and his associates were the recipients of the most cordial and
flattering attention from the English Abolitionists. He was quite
lionized, in fact, at breakfasts, fêtes, and soirées. The Duchess of
Sunderland paid him marked attention and desired his portrait, which was
done for Her Grace by the celebrated artist, Benjamin Robert Haydon, who
executed besides a large painting of the convention, in which he grouped
the most distinguished members with reference to the seats actually
occupied by them during its sessions. Of course to leave Garrison out of
such a picture would almost seem like the play of "Hamlet" with _Hamlet_
omitted, a blunder which the artist was by no means disposed to make.
Garrison was accordingly invited to sit to him for his portrait. Haydon,
who it seems was a student of human nature as well as of the human form,
made the discovery of a fact which at first surprised and angered him.
In making his groupings of heads he decided to place together the Rev.
John Scoble, George Thompson and Charles Lenox Remond. When Scoble sat
to him, Haydon told him of his design in this regard. But, remarked
Haydon, Scoble "sophisticated immediately on the propriety of placing
the negro in the distance, as it would have much greater effect." The
painter now applied his test to Thompson who "saw no objection."
Thompson did not bear the test to Haydon's satisfaction, who observed
that "A man who wishes to place the negro on a level must no longer
regard him as having been a slave, and feel annoyed at sitting by his
side." But when the artist approached Garrison on the subject it was
wholly different. "I asked him," Haydon records with obvious pleasure,
"and he met me at once directly."

Thompson was not altogether satisfactory to Garrison either during this
visit as the following extract from one of his letters to his wife
evinces: "Dear Thompson has not been strengthened to do battle for us,
as I had confidently hoped he would be. He is placed in a difficult
position, and seems disposed to take the ground of non-committal,
publicly, respecting the controversy which is going on in the United

Garrison, Rogers, and Remond in the company of Thompson made a
delightful trip into Scotland at this time. Everywhere the American
Abolitionists were met with distinguished attentions. "Though I like
England much, on many accounts," Garrison writes home in high spirits,
"I can truly say that I like Scotland better." An instance, which may be
coupled with that one furnished by Haydon, occurred during this Scottish
tour, and illustrates strongly the kind of stuff of which he was made.
On his way to the great public reception tendered the American delegates
by the Glasgow Emancipation Society, a placard with the caption, _"Have
we no white slaves?"_ was put into his hands. Upon acquainting himself
with its contents he determined to read it to the meeting, and to make
it the text of remarks when he was called upon to address the meeting.
He was presently announced and the immense audience greeted him with
every manifestation of pleasure and enthusiasm, with loud cheering and
waving of handkerchiefs. Nevertheless he held to his purpose to speak
upon the subject of the placard, unwelcome though it should prove to his
hearers. "After reading the interrogation, I said in reply: 'No--broad
as is the empire, and extensive as are the possessions of Great Britain,
not a single _white_ SLAVE can be found in them all;' and I then went on
to show the wide difference that exists between the condition of human
beings who are held and treated as chattels personal, and that of those
who are only suffering from certain forms of political injustice or
governmental oppression.... 'But,' I said, 'although it is not true that
England has any _white_ slaves, either at home or abroad, is it not true
that there are thousands of her population, both at home and abroad, who
are deprived of their just rights, who are grievously oppressed, who are
dying even in the midst of abundance, of actual starvation? YES!' and I
expressly called upon British Abolitionists to prove themselves the true
friends of suffering humanity abroad, by showing that they were the best
friend of suffering humanity at home." Truth, justice, duty, always
overrode with him the proprieties, however sacredly esteemed by others.
Of a piece with this fact of the placard of the _white slave_ was his
custom in refusing the wine proffered by some of his British friends to
their guests. He was not content with a simple refusal and the implied
rebuke which it involved, he must needs couple his declaration with an
express rebuke to host and hostess for tempting men into the downward
way to drunkenness.

While in attendance upon the sessions of the World's Convention Garrison
received tidings, of the birth of his third child. The second, whom he
named for himself, was born in 1838. The third, who was also a son, the
fond father named after Wendell Phillips. Three children and a wife did
not tend to a solution of the always difficult problem of family
maintenance. The pressure of their needs upon the husband sometimes,
simple as indeed they were owing to the good sense and prudence of Mrs.
Garrison, seemed to exceed the weight of the atmospheric column to the
square inch. The fight for bread was one of the bitterest battles of the
reformer's life. The arrangement made in 1837, whereby the Massachusetts
Anti-Slavery Society assumed the responsibility of the publication of
the _Liberator_, Garrison rescinded at the beginning of 1838, for the
sake of giving himself greater freedom in the advocacy in its columns of
the several other reforms in which he had enlisted, besides
Abolitionism. But Garrison and the paper were now widely recognized as
anti-slavery essentials and indispensables. Many of the leaders of the
movement perceived, as Gerritt Smith expressed it in a letter enclosing
fifty dollars for the editor, that "Among the many things in which the
Abolitionists of our country should be agreed, are the two following:
(1) The _Liberator_ must be sustained; (2) its editor must be kept above
want; not only, nor mainly, for his own or his family's happiness; but
that, having his own mind unembarrassed by the cares of griping poverty,
he may be a more effective advocate of the cause of the Saviour's
enslaved poor." A new arrangement, in accordance with this suggestion
for the support of the paper and the preservation of the editor from
want, was made in 1839, and its performance taken in charge by a
committee of gentlemen, who undertook to raise the necessary funds for
those objects. Thus it was that Garrison, through the wise and generous
provision of friends, was enabled to augment the happiness of an
increasing family, and at the same time add to his own effectiveness as
an anti-slavery instrument.

Garrison found occasion soon after his return from the World's
Convention for the employment of all his added effectiveness for
continuing the moral movement against slavery. For what with the strife
and schism in the anti-slavery ranks, followed by the excitements of the
long Presidential canvass of 1840, wherein the great body of the
Abolitionists developed an uncontrollable impulse to political action,
some through the medium of the new Liberty party which had nominated
James G. Birney for the Presidency, while others reverted to the two old
parties with which they had formerly acted--what with all these causes
the pure moral movement started by Garrison was in grave danger of
getting abolished or at least of being reduced to a nullity in its
influence upon public opinion. John A. Collins, the able and resourceful
general agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, wrote in the
deepest anxiety to Garrison from New Bedford, September 1, 1840, on this
head. Says he: "I really wish you understood perfectly the exact
position the friends of the old organization hold to the two great
political parties, and how generally they have been caught up in the
whirlwind of political enthusiasm. Could you but go where I have been,
and have seen and heard what I have seen and heard; could you see
men--aye, and women, too--who have been and still are your warmest
advocates, who have eschewed sectarianism, and lost their caste in the
circle in which they moved, for their strong adherence to your views and
measures, declare that they would sooner forego their Abolitionism than
their party.... Now, these are not the views of here and there a
straggling Abolitionist, but of seven-tenths of all the voting
Abolitionists of the State.... They are entirely unconscious of the
demoralizing influence of their course. They need light, warning,
entreaty, and rebuke." Besides this demoralization of the Abolitionists,
as described by Collins, the parent society at New York fell into bad
financial straits. It was absolutely without funds, and without any
means of supplying the lack. What should it do in its extremity but
appeal to the Massachusetts Society which was already heavily burdened
by its own load, the _Liberator_. The new organ of the national
organization, _The Anti-Slavery Standard_, surely must not be allowed to
fail for want of funds in this emergency. The Boston management rose to
the occasion. Collins was sent to England in quest of contributions from
the Abolitionists of Great Britain. But, great as was the need of money,
the relief which it might afford would only prove temporary unless there
could be effected a thorough anti-slavery revival. This was vital. And
therefore to this end Garrison now bent his remarkable energies.

Agents, during this period when money was scarce, were necessarily few.
But the pioneer proved a host in himself. Resigning the editorial charge
of the _Liberator_ into the capable hands of Edmund Quincy, Garrison
itinerated in the rôle of an anti-slavery lecturer in Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and New Hampshire, reviving everywhere the languishing
interest of his disciples. On the return of Collins in the summer of
1841, revival meetings and conventions started up with increased
activity, the fruits of which were of a most cheering character. At
Nantucket, Garrison made a big catch in his anti-slavery net. It was
Frederick Douglass, young, callow, and awkward, but with his splendid
and inimitable gifts flashing through all as he, for the first time in
his life, addressed an audience of white people. Garrison, with the
instinct of leadership, saw at once the value of the runaway slave's
oratorical possibilities in their relations to the anti-slavery
movement. It was at his instance that Collins added Douglass to the band
of anti-slavery agents. The new agent has preserved his recollections of
the pioneer's speech on that eventful evening in Nantucket. Says he:
"Mr. Garrison followed me, taking me as his text; and now, whether I had
made an eloquent plea in behalf of freedom or not, his was one never to
be forgotten. Those who had heard him oftenest, and had known him
longest, were astonished at his masterly effort. For the time he
possessed that almost fabulous inspiration, often referred to but seldom
attained, in which a public meeting is transformed, as it were, into a
single individuality, the orator swaying a thousand heads and hearts at
once, and by the simple majesty of his all-controlling thought,
converting his hearers into the express image of his own soul. That
night there were, at least, a thousand Garrisonians in Nantucket!"

Here is another picture of Garrison in the lecture-field. It is from the
pen of N.P. Rogers, with whom he was making a week's tour among the
White Mountains, interspersing the same with anti-slavery meetings. At
Plymouth, failing to procure the use of a church for their purpose, they
fell back upon the temple not made with hands.

"Semi-circular seats, backed against a line of magnificent trees to
accommodate, we should judge, from two to three hundred," Rogers
narrates, "were filled, principally with women, and the men who could
not find seats stood on the green sward on either hand; and, at length,
when wearied with standing, seated themselves on the ground. Garrison,
mounted on a rude platform in front, lifted up his voice and spoke to
them in prophet tones and surpassing eloquence, from half-past three
till I saw the rays of the setting sun playing through the trees on his
head.... They (the auditory) heeded it not any more than he, but
remained till he ended, apparently indisposed to move, though some came
from six, eight, and even twelve miles distance." So bravely prospered
the revival agitation, under the vigorous preaching of the indomitable

In the midst of the growing activities of the revival season of the
anti-slavery movement, Garrison had some personal experiences of a
distressing nature. One of these was the case of his quondam friend and
partner in the publication of the _Liberator_, Isaac Knapp. He, poor
fellow, was no longer the publisher of the paper. His wretched business
management of his department tended to keep the _Liberator_ in a state
of chronic financial embarrassment. When the committee, who assumed
charge of the finances of the paper, took hold of the problem, they
determined to let Knapp go. He was paid $150 or $175 as a _quid pro quo_
for his interest in the _Liberator_. Unfortunate in the business of a
publisher, he was yet more unfortunate in another respect. He had become
a victim of intemperance. His inebriety increased upon him, accelerated,
no doubt, by his business failure. Notwithstanding Garrison's strong and
tender friendship for Knapp, the broken man came to regard him as an
enemy, and showed in many ways his jealousy and hatred of his old friend
and partner. Very painful was this experience to the pioneer.

An experience which touched Garrison more nearly arose out of the sad
case of his brother James, who, the reader will recall, ran away from
his mother in Baltimore and went to sea. He ultimately enlisted in the
United States Navy, and what with the brutalities which he suffered at
the hands of his superiors, by way of discipline, and with those of his
own uncontrolled passions and appetites, he was, when recovered by his
brother William, a total moral and physical wreck. But the prodigal was
gathered to the reformer's heart, and taken to his home where in memory
of a mother long dead, whose darling was James, he was nursed and
watched over with deep and pious love. There were sad lapses of the
profligate man even in the sanctuary of his brother's home. The craving
for liquor was omnipotent in the wretched creature, and he was attacked
by uncontrollable desire for drink. But William's patience was infinite,
and his yearning and pity at such times were as sweet and strong as a
mother's. Death rung the curtain down in the fall of 1842, on this
miserable life with its sorry and pathetic scenes.

About this time a trial of a different sort fell to the lot of Garrison
to endure. The tongue of detraction was never more busy with his alleged
infidel doctrines or to more damaging effect. Collins, in England,
seeking to obtain contributions for the support of the agitation in
America found Garrison's infidelity the _great lion_ in the way of
success. Even the good dispositions of the venerable Clarkson were
affected by the injurious reports in this regard, circulated in England
mainly by Nathaniel Colver, a narrow and violent sectary of the Baptist
denomination of the United States. It was, of course, painful to
Garrison to feel that he had become a rock of offence in the path of the
great movement, which he had started and to which he was devoting
himself so energetically. To Elizabeth Pease, one of the noblest of the
English Abolitionists, and one of his stanchest transatlantic friends,
he defended himself against the false and cruel statements touching his
religious beliefs. "I esteem the Holy Scriptures," he wrote her, "above
all other books in the universe, and always appeal to 'the law and the
testimony' to prove all my peculiar doctrines." His religious sentiments
and Sabbatical views are almost if not quite identical with those held
by the Quakers. "I believe in an indwelling Christ," he goes on to
furnish a summary of his confession of faith, "and in His righteousness
alone; I glory in nothing here below, save in Christ and in Him
crucified; I believe all the works of the devil are to be destroyed, and
Our Lord is to reign from sea to sea, even to the ends of the earth; and
I profess to have passed from death unto life, and know by happy
experience, that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." These were
the pioneer's articles of faith. Their extreme simplicity and
theological conservatism it would seem ought to have satisfied the
evangelicals of all denominations. They were in essentials thoroughly
orthodox. But in the composition of the shibboleths of beliefs
non-essentials as well as essentials enter, the former to the latter in
the proportion of two to one. It is not surprising, therefore, that
Garrison's essentials proved unequal to the test set up by sectarianism,
inasmuch as his spiritual life dropped the aspirate of the
non-essentials of religious forms and observances.

But the good man had his compensation as well as his trials. Such of a
very noble kind was the great Irish address brought over from Ireland by
Remond in December 1841. It was signed by Daniel O'Connell, Father
Mathew, and sixty thousand Roman Catholics of Ireland, who called upon
the Irish Roman Catholics of America to make the cause of the slaves of
the United States their cause. Large expectations of Irish assistance in
the anti-slavery agitation were excited in the bosoms of Abolitionists
by this imposing appeal. Garrison shared the high hopes of its
beneficent influence upon the Ireland of America, with many others.
Alas! for the "best laid schemes of mice and men," for the new Ireland
was not populated with saints, but a fiercely human race who had come to
their new home to better their own condition, not that of the negro.
Hardly had they touched these shores before they were Americanized in
the colorphobia sense, out-Heroded Herod in hatred of the colored people
and their anti-slavery friends. Indeed, it was quite one thing to preach
Abolitionism with three thousand miles of sea-wall between one and his
audience, and quite another to rise and do the preaching with no
sea-wall to guard the preacher from the popular consequences of his
preaching, as Father Mathew quickly perceived and reduced to practice
eight years later, when he made his memorable visit to this country. In
vain was the monster document unrolled in Faneuil Hall, and many
Abolitionists with Irish blood were put forward to sweep the chords of
Erin's heart, and to conjure by their eloquence the disciples of St.
Patrick to rally under the banner of freedom. There was no response,
except the response of bitter foes. Erin's harp vibrated to no breeze
which did not come out of the South. The slave-power had been erected
into patron saint by the new Ireland in America, and the new Ireland in
America was very well content with his saintship's patronage and
service. Thus it happened that the great expectations, which were
excited by the Irish address, were never realized. But the pioneer had
other fish in his net, had, in fact, meanwhile, got himself in readiness
for a launch into a new and startling agitation. As to just what this
new and startling agitation was we must refer the reader to the next



When Garrison hoisted the banner of immediate emancipation he was
over-confident of success through the instrumentality of the church. It
did not enter his heart to conceive that after he had delivered his
message touching the barbarism of slavery that a church calling itself
Christian, or that a ministry arrogating to itself the character of the
Christ, could possibly say him nay. But he learned sadly enough the
utter folly of such expectations. For from pew and pulpit the first
stones were hurled against him, and the most cruel and persistent
opposition and persecution issued. Then as the movement which he had
started advanced, he saw how it was, why the church had played him false
and the cause of freedom. It was because the poison of slavery which the
evil one had injected into the nation's arteries had corrupted the
springs of justice and mercy in that body. The Church was not free, it,
too, was in bonds to slavery, how then could it help to free the slaves?
That was the reason that pulpit and pew cried out against him and
persecuted him. It was not they but the slave despotism, which ruled
them, which wrought its fell purpose within them.

If the reformer cast his eyes about him for other help it was the same;
the slime of the serpent was upon State as well as Church. Both of the
two great political parties were bound hands and feet, and given over to
the will of the slave tyranny. In all departments of Government, State
and National, the positive, all-powerful principle was slavery. Its
dread _nolo me tangere_ had forced Congress into the denial of the right
of petition, and into the imposition of a gag upon its own freedom of
debate. It was the grand President-maker, and the judiciary bent without
a blush to do its service. What, then, in these circumstances could the
friends of freedom hope to achieve? The nation had been caught in the
snare of slavery, and was in Church and State helpless in the vast
spider-like web of wrong. The more the reformer pondered the problem,
the more hopeless did success look under a Constitution which united
right and wrong, freedom and slavery. As his reflections deepened, the
conviction forced its way into his mind that the Union was the strong
tower of the slave-power, which could never be destroyed until the
fortress which protected it was first utterly demolished. In the spring
of 1842 the pioneer was prepared to strike into this new path to effect
his purpose.

"We must dissolve all connection with those murderers of fathers," he
wrote his brother-in-law, "and murderers of mothers, and murderers of
liberty, and traffickers of human flesh, and blasphemers against the
Almighty at the South. What have we in common with them? What have we
gained? What have we not lost by our alliance with them? Are not their
principles, their pursuits, their policies, their interests, their
designs, their feelings, utterly diverse from ours? Why, then, be
subject to their dominion? Why not have the Union dissolved in form as
it is in fact, especially if the form gives ample protection to the
slave system, by securing for it all the physical force of the North? It
is not treason against the cause of liberty to cry, "Down with every
slave-holding Union!" Therefore, I raise that cry. And O that I had a
voice louder than a thousand thunders, that it might shake the land and
electrify the dead--the dead in sin, I mean--those slain by the hand of

A few weeks later the first peal of this thunder broke upon the startled
ears of the country through the columns of the _Liberator_. The May
meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society was drawing near, and the
reformer, now entirely ready to enter upon an agitation looking to the
dissolution of the Union, suggested "the duty of making the REPEAL OF
THE UNION between the North and the South the grand rallying point until
it be accomplished, or slavery cease to pollute our soil. We are for
throwing all the means, energies, actions, purposes, and appliances of
the genuine friends of liberty and republicanism into this one channel,"
he goes on to announce, "and for measuring the humanity, patriotism, and
piety of every man by this one standard. This question can no longer be
avoided, and a right decision of it will settle the controversy between
freedom and slavery." The stern message of Isaiah to the Jews,
beginning, "Hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men that rule this
people. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with DEATH and
with HELL are we at agreement," seemed to the American Isaiah to
describe exactly the character of the National Constitution. "Slavery is
a combination of DEATH and HELL," he declares, with righteous wrath,
"and with it the North have made a covenant, and are at agreement. As an
element of the Government it is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. As
a component part of the Union, it is necessarily a national interest.
Divorced from Northern protection, it dies; with that protection it
enlarges its boundaries, multiplies its victims, and extends its

The announcement of this new radicalism caused a sensation. Many genuine
Garrisonian Abolitionists recoiled from a policy of disunion. Lydia
Maria Child and James S. Gibbon of the Executive Committee of the
National Society hastened to disavow for the society all responsibility
for the disunion sentiment of the editor of the _Liberator_. His new
departure seemed to them "foreign to the purpose for which it was
organized." Like all new ideas, it was a sword-bearer, and proved a
decided disturber of the peace. The Union-loving portion of the free
States had never taken to the Abolition movement, for the reason that it
tended to disturb the stability of their idol. But now the popular
hatred of Abolitionism was intensified by the avowal of a distinct
purpose on the part of its leader to labor for the separation of the
sections. The press of the North made the most of this design to render
altogether odious the small band of moral reformers, to reduce to a
nullity their influence upon public opinion.

Notwithstanding its rejection by James Gibbons and Lydia Maria Child the
new idea of the dissolution of the Union, as an anti-slavery object,
found instant favor with many of the leading Abolitionists, like Wendell
Phillips, Edmund Quincy, Parker Pillsbury, Stephen S. Foster and Abby
Kelley. At the anniversary meeting of the American Society in 1842, the
subject was mooted, and, although there was no official action taken,
yet it was apparent that a majority of the delegates were favorable to
its adoption as the sentiment of the society.

The ultimate object of Garrison was the abolition of slavery. Disunion
led directly to this goal, therefore he planted his feet in that way.
But while he shot the agitation at a distant mark, he did not mean to
miss less remote results. There was remarkable method in his madness. He
agitated the question of the dissolution of the Union "in order that the
people of the North might be induced to reflect upon their debasement,
guilt, and danger in continuing in partnership with heaven-daring
oppressors, and thus be led to repentance."

The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at its annual meeting in January,
1843 "dissolved the Union," wrote Quincy to R.D. Webb, "by a handsome
vote, after a warm debate. The question was afterward reconsidered and
passed in another shape, being wrapped up by Garrison in some of his
favorite Old Testament Hebraisms by way of vehicle, as the apothecaries
say." This is the final shape which Garrison's "favorite Old Testament
Hebraisms" gave to the action of the society:

"_Resolved_, That the compact which exists between the North and the
South is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell--involving
both parties in atrocious criminality--and should be immediately

At its tenth anniversary, in 1844, the American Society resolved
likewise that there should be no Union with slaveholders; and in May of
the same year the New England Society voted by a large majority to
dissolve the 'covenant with death, and the agreement with hell.' Almost
the whole number of the Garrisonian Abolitionists had by this time
placed upon their banner of immediate emancipation the revolutionary
legend "No Union with slaveholders." _Cathago est delenda_ were now ever
on the lips of the pioneer. 'The Union it must and shall be destroyed'
became the beginning, the middle, and the end of all his utterances on
the slavery question.

The attitude of the anti-slavery disunionists to the Government which
they were seeking to overthrow was clearly stated by Francis Jackson in
a letter returning to the Governor of Massachusetts his commission as a
justice of the peace. Says he, "To me it appears that the vices of
slavery, introduced into the constitution of our body politic by a few
slight punctures, has now so pervaded and poisoned the whole system of
our National Government that literally there is no health in it. The
only remedy that I can see for the disease is to be found in the
_dissolution of the patient_.... Henceforth it (the Constitution) is
dead to me, and I to it. I withdraw all profession of allegiance to it,
and all my voluntary efforts to sustain it. The burdens that it lays
upon me, while it is held up by others, I shall endeavor to bear
patiently, yet acting with reference to a higher law, and distinctly
declaring that, while I retain my own liberty, I will be a party to no
compact which helps to rob any other man of his."

The Abolition agitation for the dissolution of the Union was assisted
not a little by sundry occurrences of national importance. The
increasing arrogance and violence of the South in Congress on all
matters relating to the subject of slavery was one of these occurrences.
Freedom of debate and the right of petition, Southern intolerance had
rendered well nigh worthless in the National Legislature. In this way
the North, during several months in every year, was forced to look at
the reverse and the obverse faces, of the Union. These object-lessons
taught many minds, no doubt, to count the cost which the preservation of
the Union entailed upon the free States--"to reflect upon their
debasement, guilt, and danger" in their partnership with slaveholders.
Another circumstance which induced to this kind of reflection was the
case of George Latimer, who was seized as a fugitive slave in Boston in
the autumn of 1842. From beginning to end the Latimer case revealed how
completely had Massachusetts tied her own hands as a party to the
original compact with slavery whose will was the supreme law of the
land. In obedience to this supreme law Chief-Justice Shaw refused to the
captive the writ of _habeas corpus_, and Judge Story granted the owner
possession of the fugitive, and time to procure evidence of his
ownership. But worse still Massachusetts officials and one of her jails
were employed to aid in the return of a man to slavery. This degradation
aroused the greatest indignation in the State and led to the enactment
of a law prohibiting its officials from taking part in the return of
fugitive slaves, and the use of its jails and prisons for their
detention. The passage of this personal liberty measure served to
increase the activity of the anti-Union working forces in the South.

Then, again, the serious difficulty between Massachusetts and two of the
slave States in regard to their treatment of her colored seamen aided
Garrison in his agitation for the dissolution of the Union by the keen
sense of insult and injury which the trouble begat and left upon the
popular mind. Colored men in Massachusetts enjoyed a fair degree of
equality before her laws, were endowed with the right to vote, and were,
barring the prejudice against color, treated by the commonwealth as
citizens. They were employed in the merchant service of her interstate
trade. But at two of the Southern ports where her vessels entered, the
colored seamen were seized by the local police and confined in houses of
detention until the vessels to which they belonged were ready to depart,
when they were released and allowed to join the vessels. This was a most
outrageous proceeding, outrageous to the colored men who were thus
deprived of their liberty, outrageous also to the owners of the vessels
who were deprived of the service of their employés. Of what avail was
the constitutional guaranty that "the citizens of each State shall be
entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several
States", many men began to question? The South was evidently disposed to
support only that portion of the national compact which sustained the
slave system, all the rest upon occasion it trampled on and nullified.
This lesson was enforced anew upon Massachusetts by the affair of her
colored seamen. Unable to obtain redress of the wrong done her citizens,
the State appointed agents to go to Charleston and New Orleans and test
the constitutionality of the State laws under which the local
authorities had acted. But South Carolina and Louisiana, especially the
former, to whom Samuel Hoar was accredited, evinced themselves quite
equal to the exigency to which the presence of the Massachusetts agents
gave rise. To cut a long story short, these gentlemen, honored citizens
of a sister State, and covered with the ægis of the Constitution, found
that they could make no success of the business which they had in hand,
found indeed that as soon as that business was made public that they
stood in imminent peril of their lives. Whereupon, wisely conceiving
discretion to be the better part of valor, they beat a hasty retreat
back to their native air. The Massachusetts agents were driven out of
Charleston and New Orleans. Where was the sacred and glorious union
between Massachusetts and South Carolina and Louisiana that such things
were possible--were constantly occurring? The circumstance made a strong
impression on the State whose rights were thus grossly violated. It
helped to convert Massachusetts to its later opposition to slavery, and
to make its public sentiment more tolerant of the Garrisonian opposition
to the covenant with death and the agreement with hell. To the agitation
growing out of the scheme for the annexation of Texas must, however, be
ascribed the premium among all the anti-Union working facts and forces
of the first few years after Garrison and his coadjutors had raised the
cry of "No union with slaveholders." This agitation renewed the
intensity and sectionalism of the then almost forgotten struggle over
the admission of Missouri nearly a quarter of a century before, and
which was concluded by the Missouri compromise. This settlement was at
the time considered quite satisfactory to the South. But Calhoun took an
altogether different view of the matter twenty years later. The
arrangement by which the South was excluded from the upper portion of
the Louisiana Territory he came to regard as a cardinal blunder on the
part of his section. The fact is that within those two decades the
slave-holding had been completely outstripped by the non-slave-holding
States in wealth, population, and social growth. The latter had obtained
over the former States an indisputable supremacy in those respects.
Would not the political balance settle also in the natural order of
things in the Northern half of the Union unless it could be kept where
it then was to the south of Mason and Dixon's line by an artificial
political make-weight. This artificial political make-weight was nothing
less than the acquisition of new slave territory to supply the demand
for new slave States. Texas, with the territorial dimensions of an
empire, answered the agrarian needs of the slave system. And the South,
under the leadership of Calhoun, determined to make good their fancied
loss in the settlement of the Missouri controversy by annexing Texas.

But all the smouldering dread of slave domination, all the passionate
opposition to the extension of slavery, to the acquisition of new slave
territory and the admission of new slave States, awoke hotly in the
heart of the North. "No more slave territory." "No more slave States,"
resounded during this crisis, through the free States. "Texas or
disunion," was the counter cry which reverberated through the slave
States. Even Dr. Channing, who had no love for Garrison or his
anti-slavery ultraism, was so wrought upon by the scheme for the
annexation of Texas as to profess his preference for the dissolution of
the Union, "rather than receive Texas into the Confederacy." "This
measure, besides entailing on us evils of all sorts," the doctor boldly
pointed out, "would have for its chief end to bring the whole country
under the slave-power, to make the general Government the agent of
slavery; and this we are bound to resist at all hazards. The free States
should declare that the very act of admitting Texas will be construed as
a dissolution of the Union."

The Northern blood was at fever heat, and an unwonted defiance of
consequences, a fierce contempt of ancient political bugaboos marked the
utterances of men erstwhile timid of speech upon all questions relating
to slavery. In the anti-Texas convention held in Faneuil Hall January
29, 1845, all this timidity disappeared in the presence of the new
peril. It was not a convention of Abolitionists, although Garrison was a
member, but of politicians, mostly of the Whig party. "The anti-slavery
spirit of the convention," wrote Edmund Quincy to R.D. Webb, "was
surprising. The address and the speeches of the gentlemen, not
Abolitionists, were such as caused Garrison to be mobbed ten years ago,
and such as we thought thorough three or four years ago. There were no
qualifications, or excuses, or _twaddle_."

Garrison flung himself into the anti-Texas movement with all his
customary force and fire. Elected a delegate to the Faneuil Hall
Convention by the influence of Francis Jackson, he took a leading part
in its proceedings, "created the most stir in the whole matter," Wendell
Phillips thought. Charles Sumner, who heard him speak for the first
time, was struck with his "natural eloquence," and described his words
as falling "in fiery rain." Again at a mass meeting for Middlesex
County, held at Concord, to consider the aggressions of the slave-power,
did the words of the pioneer fall "in fiery rain." Apprehensive that the
performance of Massachusetts, when the emergency arose, would fall far
short of her protestations, he exclaimed, "I have nothing to say, sir,
nothing. I am tired of words, tired of hearing strong things said, where
there is no heart to carry them out. When we are prepared to state the
whole truth, and die for it, if necessary--when, like our fathers, we
are prepared to take our ground, and not shrink from it, counting not
our lives dear unto us--when we are prepared to let all earthly hopes go
back to the board--_then_ let us say so; _till_ then, the less we say
the better, in such an emergency as this. 'But who are we, will men
ask.' that talk of such things? 'Are we enough to make a revolution?'
No, sir; but we are enough to _begin_ one, and, once begun, it never can
be turned back. I am for revolution were I utterly alone. I am there
because I _must_ be there. I _must_ cleave to the right. I cannot choose
but obey the voice of God.

" ... Do not tell me of our past Union, and for how many years we have
been one. We were only one while we were ready to hunt, shoot down, and
deliver up the slave, and allow the slave-power to form an oligarchy on
the floor of Congress! The moment we say no to this, the Union
ceases--the Government falls."

The Texan struggle terminated in the usual way, in the triumph of the
slave-power. Texas was annexed and admitted into the sisterhood of
States, giving to the Southern section increased slave representation in
both branches of Congress, and thereby aiding to fasten, what at the
moment appeared to be its permanent domination in national affairs. As
Garrison had apprehended, the performance of the North fell far short of
its protestations when the crisis came. It swallowed all its brave
words, and collapsed into feeble and disheartened submission to its
jubilant and hitherto invincible antagonist. The whole North except the
small and irrepressible band of Garrisonian Abolitionists were cast down
by the revulsive wave of this disastrous event. Writing to his friend
Webb, Garrison discourses thus upon the great defeat: "Apparently the
slave-holding power has never been so strong, has never seemed to be so
invincible, has never held such complete mastery over the whole, has
never so successfully hurled defiance at the Eternal and Just One, as at
the present time; and yet never has it in reality been so weak, never
has it had so many uncompromising assailants, never has it been so
filled with doubt and consternation, never has it been so near its
downfall, as at this moment. Upon the face of it, this statement looks
absurdly paradoxical; but it is true, nevertheless. We are groping in
thick darkness; but it is that darkest hour which is said to precede the
dawn of day."



Garrison was the most dogmatic, as he was the most earnest of men. It
was almost next to impossible for him to understand that his way was not
the only way to attain a given end. A position reached by him, he was
curiously apt to look upon as a sort of _ultima thule_ of human endeavor
in that direction of the moral universe. And, notwithstanding instances
of honest self-depreciation, there, nevertheless, hung around his
personality an air and assumption of moral infallibility, as a reformer.
His was not a tolerant mind. Differences with him he was prone to treat
as gross departures from principle, as evidences of faithlessness to
freedom. He fell upon the men who did not see eye to eye with him with
tomahawk and scalping knife. He was strangely deficient in a sense of
proportion in such matters. His terrible severities of speech, he
visited upon the slave-power and the Liberty party alike. And although a
non-resistent, in that he eschewed the use of physical force, yet there
never was born among the sons of men a more militant soul in the use of
moral force, in the quickness with which he would whip out the rapiers,
or hurl the bolts and bombs of his mother tongue at opponents. The
pioneer must have been an unconscious believer in the annihilation of
the wicked, as he must have been an unconscious believer in the
wickedness of all opposition to his idea of right and duty. This, of
course, must be taken only as a broad description of the reformer's
character. He was a man, one of the grandest America has given to the
world, but still a man with his tendon of Achilles, like the rest of his

His narrow intolerance of the idea of anti-slavery political action, and
his fierce and unjust censure of the champions of that idea, well
illustrate the trait in point. Birney and Whittier, and Wright and
Gerritt Smith, and Joshua Leavitt, he apparently quite forgot, were
actuated by motives singularly noble, were in their way as true to their
convictions as he was to his. No, there was but one right way, and in
that way stood the feet of the pioneer. His way led directly,
unerringly, to the land of freedom. All other ways, and especially the
Liberty party way, twisted, doubled upon themselves, branched into
labyrinths of folly and self-seeking. "Ho! all ye that desire the
freedom of the slave, who would labor for liberty, follow me and I will
show you the only true way," was the tone which the editor of the
_Liberator_ held to men, who were battering with might and main to
breach the walls of the Southern Bastile. They were plainly not against
the slave, although opposed to Mr. Garrison, narrowly, unjustly opposed
to him, without doubt, but working strenuously according to their lights
for the destruction of a common enemy and tyrant. This was the test,
which Garrison should have taken as conclusive. The leaders of the
Liberty party, though personally opposed to him and to his line of
action, were, nevertheless, friends of the slaves, and ought to have
been so accounted and treated by the man who more than any other was
devoted to the abolition of slavery.

But the whole mental and moral frame of the man precluded such
liberality of treatment of opponents. They had rejected his way, which
was the only true way, and were, therefore, anathema maranatha. When a
moral idea which has been the subject of widespread agitation, and has
thereby gained a numerous following, reaches out, as reach out it must,
sooner or later, for incorporation into law, it will, in a republic like
ours, do so naturally and necessarily through political action--along
the lines of an organized party movement. The Liberty party formation
was the product of this strong tendency in America. Premature it
possibly was, but none the less perfectly natural. Now every political
party, that is worthy of the name, is a compound rather than a simple
fact, consisteth of a bundle of ideas rather than a single idea. Parties
depend upon the people for success, upon the people not of one interest
but of many interests and of diversities of views upon public questions.
One plank is not broad enough to accommodate their differences and
multiplicity of desires. There must be a platform built of many planks
to support the number of votes requisite to victory at the polls. There
will always be one idea or interest of the many ideas or interests, that
will dominate the organization, be erected into a paramount issue upon
which the party throws itself upon the country, but the secondary ideas
or interests must be there all the same to give strength and support to
the main idea and interest.

Besides this peculiarity in the composition of the great political
parties in America, there is another not less distinct and marked, and
that is the Constitutional limitations of the Federal political power.
Every party which looks for ultimate success at the polls must observe
strictly these limitations in its aims and issues. Accordingly when the
moral movement against slavery sought a political expression of the idea
of Abolition it was constrained within the metes and bounds set up by
the National Constitution. Slavery within the States lay outside of the
political boundaries of the general Government. Slavery within the
States, therefore, the more sagacious of the Liberty party leaders
placed not among its bundle of ideas, into its platform of national
issues. But it was otherwise with slavery in the District of Columbia,
in the national territories, under the national flag on the high seas,
for it lay within the constitutional reach of the federal political
power, and its abolition was demanded in the Third party platform. These
leaders were confident that the existence of slavery depended upon its
connection with the National Government. Their aim was to destroy the
evil by cutting this connection through which it drew its blood and
nerve supplies. They planted themselves upon the anti-slavery character
of the Constitution, believing that it "does not sanction nor
nationalize slavery but condemns and localizes it."

This last position of the Liberty party leaders struck Garrison as a
kind of mental and moral enormity. At it and its authors, the
anti-slavery Jupiter, launched his bolts, fast and furious. Here is a
specimen of his chain lightning: "We have a very poor opinion of the
intelligence of any man, and very great distrust of his candor or
honesty, who tries to make it appear that no pro-slavery compromise was
made between the North and the South, at the adoption of the
Constitution. We cherish feelings of profound contempt for the quibbling
spirit of criticism which is endeavoring to explain away the meaning of
language, the design of which as a matter of practice, and the adoption
of which as a matter of bargain, were intelligently and clearly
understood by the contracting parties. The truth is the misnamed
'Liberty party' is under the control of as ambitious, unprincipled, and
crafty leaders as is either the Whig or Democratic party; and no other
proof of this assertion is needed than their unblushing denial of the
great object of the national compact, namely, union at the sacrifice of
the colored population of the United States. Their new interpretations
of the Constitution are a bold rejection of the facts of history, and a
gross insult to the intelligence of the age, and certainly never can be
carried into effect without dissolving the Union by provoking a civil
war." All the same, the pioneer to the contrary notwithstanding, many of
these very Liberty party leaders were men of the most undoubted candor
and honesty and of extraordinary intelligence.

Garrison was never able to see the Liberty party, and for that matter
Wendell Phillips, Edmund Quincy, and others of the old organization
leaders could not either, except through the darkened glass of personal
antagonisms growing out of the schism of 1840. It was always, under all
circumstances, to borrow a phrase of Phillips, "Our old enemy, Liberty
party." And, as Quincy naïvely confesses in an article in the
_Liberator_ pointing out the reasons why Abolitionists should give to
the Free-soil party incidental aid and comfort, which were forbidden to
their "old enemy, Liberty party," the significant and amusing fact that
the latter was "officered by deserters." Ay, there was indeed the rub!
The military principle of the great leader forbade him to recognize
deserters as allies. Discipline must be maintained, and so he proceeded
to maintain the anti-slavery discipline of his army by keeping up a
constant fusillade into the ranks of the deserter band, who, in turn,
were every whit as blinded by the old quarrel and separation, and who
slyly cherished the modest conviction that, when they seceded, the salt
of old organization lost its savor, and was thenceforth fit only to be
trampled under the Liberty party's feet. Without doubt, those old
Abolitionists and Liberty party people belonged to the category of

The scales of the old grudge dropped from Garrison's eyes directly the
Free-Soil party loomed upon the political horizon. He recognized at once
that, if it was not against the slave, it was for the slave; apprehended
clearly that, in so far as the new party, which, by the way, was only
the second stage in the development of the central idea of his old
enemy, Liberty party, as the then future Republican party was to be its
third and final expression, apprehended clearly I say that, in so far as
the new party resisted the aggressions and pretensions of the
slave-power, it was fighting for Abolition--was an ally of Abolitionism.

In the summer of 1848, from Northampton, whither he had gone to take the
water cure, Garrison counseled Quincy, who was filling the editorial
chair, in the interim, at the _Liberator_ office, in this sage fashion:
"As for the Free-Soil movement, I feel that great care is demanded of us
disunionists, both in the _Standard_ and the _Liberator_, in giving
credit to whom credit is due, and yet in no case even seeming to be
satisfied with it." In the winter of 1848 in a letter to Samuel May,
Jr., he is more explicit on this head. "As for the Free-Soil movement,"
he observes, "I am for hailing it as a cheering sign of the times, and
an unmistakable proof of the progress we have made, under God, in
changing public sentiment. Those who have left the Whig and Democratic
parties for conscience's sake, and joined the movement, deserve our
commendation and sympathy; at the same time, it is our duty to show
them, and all others, that there is a higher position to be attained by
them or they will have the blood of the slave staining their garments.
This can be done charitably yet faithfully. On the two old parties,
especially the Whig-Taylor party, I would expend--_pro tempore_, at
least--our heaviest ammunition." This is as it should be, the tone of
wise and vigilant leadership, the application of the true test to the
circumstances, viz., for freedom if against slavery; not to be
satisfied, to be sure, with any thing less than the whole but disposed
to give credit to whom it was due, whether much or little. Pity that the
pioneer could not have placed himself in this just and discriminating
point of view in respect of his old enemy, Liberty party, praising in it
what he found praiseworthy, while blaming it for what he felt was
blameworthy. But perfection weak human nature doth not attain to in this
terrestrial garden of the passions, and so very likely the magnanimity
which we have desired of Garrison is not for that garden to grow but
another and a heavenly.

Garrison ill brooked opposition, came it from friends or foes. He was so
confident in his own positions that he could not but distrust their
opposites. Of course, if his were right, and of that doubt in his mind
there was apparently none, then the positions of all others had to be
wrong. This masterful quality of the man was constantly betrayed in the
acts of his life and felt by his closest friends and associates in the
anti-slavery movement. Quincy, writing to Richard Webb, narrates how, at
the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1843,
Garrison was for removing it to Boston, but that he and Wendell Phillips
were for keeping it where it then was in New York, giving at the same
time sundry good and sufficient reasons for the faith that was in them,
and how, thereupon, "Garrison dilated his nostrils like a war-horse, and
snuffed indignation at us." "If the Boston friends were unwilling to
take the trouble and responsibility," were the petulant, accusative
words put by Quincy into his chief's mouth on the occasion, "then there
was nothing more to be said; we must try to get along as well as we
could in the old way." And how they disclaimed "any unwillingness to
take trouble and responsibility," while affirming "the necessity of
their acting on their own idea."

Another characteristic of the pioneer is touched upon by the same writer
in a relation which he was making to Webb of Garrison's election to the
presidency of the parent society. Says Quincy: "Garrison makes an
excellent president at a public meeting where the order of speakers is
in some measure arranged, as he has great felicity in introducing and
interlocuting remarks; but at a meeting for debate he does not answer so
well, as he is rather too apt, with all the innocence and simplicity in
the world, to do all the talking himself."

The same friendly critic has left his judgment of other traits of the
leader, traits not so much of the man as of the editor. It is delivered
in a private letter of Quincy to Garrison on resigning the temporary
editorship of the _Liberator_ to "its legitimate possessor." who had
been for several months health-hunting at Northampton in the beautiful
Connecticut Valley. Quincy made bold to beard the Abolition lion in his
lair, and twist his tail in an extremely lively manner. "Now, my dear
friend," wrote the disciple to the master, "you must know that to the
microscopic eyes of its friends, as well as to the telescopic eyes of
its enemies, _the_ _Liberator_ _has faults_, these they keep to themselves
as much as they honestly may, but they are not the less sensible of
them, and are all the more desirous to see them immediately abolished.
Luckily, they are not faults of principle--neither moral nor
intellectual deficiencies--but faults the cure of which rests solely
with yourself.

"I hardly know how to tell you what the faults are that we find with it,
lest you should think them none at all, or else unavoidable. But no
matter, of that you must be the judge; we only ask you to listen to our
opinion. We think the paper often bears the mark of haste and
carelessness in its getting up; that the matter seems to be hastily
selected and put in _higgledy-piggledy_, without any very apparent
reason why it should be in at all, or why it should be in the place
where it is. I suppose this is often caused by your selecting articles
with a view to connect remarks of your own with them, which afterward in
your haste you omit. Then we complain that each paper is not so nearly a
complete work in itself as it might be made, but that things are often
left at loose ends, and important matters broken off in the middle. I
assure you, that Brother Harriman is not the only one of the friends of
the _Liberator_ who grieves over your 'more anon' and 'more next
week'--which 'anon' and 'next week' never arrive.

"Then we complain that your editorials are too often wanting, or else
such, from apparent haste, as those who love your fame cannot wish to
see; that important topics, which you feel to be such, are too often
either entirely passed over or very cursorily treated, and important
moments like the present neglected....

"We have our suspicions, too, that good friends have been disaffected by
the neglect of their communications; but of this we can only speak by
conjecture. In short, it appears to those who are your warmest friends
and the stanchest supporters of the paper, that you might make the
_Liberator_ a more powerful and useful instrumentality than it is,
powerful and useful as it is, by additional exertions on your part. It
is very unpleasant to hear invidious comparisons drawn between the
_Liberator_ and _Emancipator_ with regard to the manner of getting it
up, and to have not to deny but to excuse them--and we knowing all the
time that you have all the tact and technical talent for getting up a
good newspaper that Leavitt has, with as much more, intellectual ability
as you have more moral honesty, and only wanting some of his (pardon me)
industry, application, and method."

Garrison, to his honor, did not allow the exceeding candor of his mentor
to disturb their friendship. The pioneer was not wholly without defence
to the impeachment. He might have pleaded ill health, of which he had
had _quantum suf._ since 1836 for himself and family. He might have
pleaded also the dissipation of too much of his energies in consequence
of more or less pecuniary embarrassments from which he was never wholly
freed; but, above all, he might have pleaded his increasing activity as
an anti-slavery lecturer. His contributions to the movement against
slavery were of a notable character in this direction, both in respect
of quantity and quality. He was not alone the editor of the _Liberator_,
he was unquestionably besides one of the most effective and interesting
of the anti-slavery speakers--indeed in the judgment of so competent an
authority as James Russell Lowell, he was regarded as the most effective
of the anti-slavery speakers. Still, after all is placed to his credit
that can possibly be, Quincy's complaints would be supported by an
altogether too solid basis of fact. The pioneer was much given to
procrastination. What was not urgent he was strongly tempted to put off
for a more convenient time. His work accumulated. He labored hard and he
accomplished much, but because of this habit of postponing for to-morrow
what need not be done to-day, he was necessarily forced to leave undone
many things which he ought to have done and which he might have
accomplished had he been given to putting off for to-morrow nothing
which might be finished to-day.

The pioneer was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but never
was he wholly cast down by his misfortunes. His cheerful and bouyant
spirit kept him afloat above his sorrows, above his griefs. The organ of
mirthfulness in him was very large. He was an optimist in the best sense
of that word, viz., that all things work together for good to them that
love goodness. In the darkest moments which the Abolition cause
encountered his own countenance was full of light, his own heart pierced
through the gloom and communicated its glow to those about him, his own
voice rang bugle-like through reverse and disaster.

In his family the reformer was seen at his best. His wife was his friend
and equal, his children his playfellows and companions. The dust of the
great conflict he never carried with him into his home to choke the love
which burned ever brightly on its hearth and in the hearts which it
contained. What he professed in the _Liberator_, what he preached in the
world, of non-resistance, woman's rights, perfectionism, he practiced in
his home, he embodied as father, and husband, and host. Never lived
reformer who more completely realized his own ideals to those nearest
and dearest to him than William Lloyd Garrison.

He had seven children, five boys and two girls. The last, Francis
Jackson, was born to him in the year 1848. Two of them died in
childhood, a boy and a girl. The loss of the boy, whom the father had
"named admiringly, gratefully, reverently," Charles Pollen, was a
terrible blow to the reformer, and a life-long grief to the mother. He
seemed to have been a singularly beautiful, winning, and affectionate
little man and to have inspired sweet hopes of future "usefulness and
excellence" in the breasts of his parents. "He seemed born to take a
century on his shoulders, without stooping; his eyes were large,
lustrous, and charged with electric light; his voice was clear as a
bugle, melodious, and ever ringing in our ears, from the dawn of day to
the ushering in of night, so that since it has been stilled, our
dwelling has seemed to be almost without an occupant," lamented the
stricken father to Elizabeth Pease, of Darlington, England.

"Death itself to me is not terrible, is not repulsive," poured the
heartbroken pioneer into the ears of his English friend, "is not to be
deplored. I see in it as clear an evidence of Divine wisdom and
beneficence as I do in the birth of a child, in the works of creation,
in all the arrangements and operations of nature. I neither fear nor
regret its power. I neither expect nor supplicate to be exempted from
its legitimate action. It is not to be chronicled among calamities; it
is not to be styled "a mysterious dispensation of Divine Providence"; it
is scarcely rational to talk of being resigned to it. For what is more
rational, what more universal, what more impartial, what more
serviceable, what more desirable, in God's own time, hastened neither by
our ignorance or folly?...

"When, therefore, my dear friend, I tell you that the loss of my dear
boy has overwhelmed me with sadness, has affected my peace by day and my
repose by night, has been a staggering blow, from the shock of which I
find it very difficult to recover, you will not understand me as
referring to anything pertaining to another state of existence, or as
gloomily affected by a change inevitable to all; far from it. Where the
cherished one who has been snatched from us is, what is his situation,
or what his employment, I know not, of course; and it gives me no
anxiety whatever. Until I join him at least my responsibility to him as
his guardian and protector has ceased; he does not need my aid, he
cannot be benefited by my counsel. That he will still be kindly cared
for by Him who numbers the very hairs of our heads, and without whose
notice a sparrow cannot fall to the ground; that he is still living,
having thrown aside his mortal drapery, and occupying a higher sphere of
existence, I do not entertain a doubt. My grief arises mainly from the
conviction that his death was premature; that he was actually defrauded
of his life through unskillful treatment; that he might have been saved,
if we had not been so unfortunately situated at that time. This to be
sure, is not certain; and not being certain, it is only an ingredient of
consolation that we find in our cup of bitterness."

The pioneer was one of the most generous of givers. Poor indeed he was,
much beyond the common allotment of men of his intelligence and
abilities, but he was never too indigent to answer the appeals of
poverty. If the asker's needs were greater than his own he divided with
him the little which he had. To his home all sorts of people were
attracted, Abolitionists, peace men, temperance reformers,
perfectionists, homoeopathists, hydropathists, mesmerists,
spiritualists, Grahamites, clairvoyants, whom he received with unfailing
hospitality, giving welcome and sympathy to the new ideas, food and
shelter for the material sustenance of the fleshly vehicles of the new
ideas. He evidently was strongly of the opinion that there are "more
things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of" in the philosophy of any
particular period in the intellectual development of man. No age knows
it all. It was almost a lo, here, and a lo, there, with him, so large
was his bump of wonder, so unlimited was his appetite for the incredible
and the improbable in the domain of human knowledge and speculation.
Great was the man's faith, great was his hope, great was his charity.

He was one of the most observant of men in all matters affecting the
rights of others; he was one of the least observant in all matters
appertaining to himself. With a decided taste for dress, yet his actual
knowledge of the kind of clothes worn by him from day to day was
amusingly inexact, as the following incident shows: Before wearing out
an only pair of trousers, the pioneer had indulged in the unusual luxury
of a new pair. But as there was still considerable service to be got out
of the old pair, he, like a prudent man, laid aside the new ones for
future use. His wife, however, who managed all this part of the domestic
business, determined, without consulting him, the morning when the new
trousers should be donned. She made the necessary changes when her lord
was in bed, putting the new in the place of the old. Garrison wore for
several days the new trousers, thinking all the time that they were his
old ones until his illusions in this regard were dispelled by an
incident which cost him the former. Some poor wretch of a tramp,
knocking in an evil hour at the pioneer's door and asking for clothes,
decided the magnificent possessor of two pairs of trousers, to don his
new ones and to pass the old ones on to the tramp. But when he
communicated the transaction to his wife, she hoped, with a good deal of
emphasis, that he had not given away the pair of breeches which he was
wearing, for if he had she would beg to inform him that he had given
away his best ones! But the pioneer's splendid indifference to _meum_
and _tuum_ where his own possessions were concerned was equal to the
occasion. He got his compensation in the thought that his loss was
another's gain. That, indeed, was not to be accounted loss which had
gone to a brother-man whose needs were greater than his own.



Garrison's forecast of the future, directly after the annexation of
Texas, proved singularly correct. Never, as at that moment, had the
slave-power seemed so secure in its ascendency, yet never, at any
previous period, was it so near its downfall. Freedom had reached that
darkest hour just before dawn; and this, events were speedily to make
clear. If the South could have trammeled up the consequences of
annexation, secure, indeed, for a season, would it have held its
political supremacy in America? But omnipotent as was the slave-power in
the Government, it was not equal to this labor. In the great game, in
which Texas was the stakes, Fate had, unawares, slipped into the seat
between the gamesters with hands full of loaded dice. At the first throw
the South got Texas, at the second the war with Mexico fell out, and at
the third new national territory lay piled upon the boards.

Calhoun, the arch-annexationist, struggled desperately to avert the war.
He saw as no other Southern leader saw its tremendous significance in
the conflict between the two halves of the Union for the political
balance. The admission of Texas had made an adjustment of this balance
in favor of the South. Calhoun's plan was to conciliate Mexico, to sweep
with our diplomatic broom the gathering war-clouds from the national
firmament. War, he knew, would imperil the freshly fortified position of
his section--war which meant at its close the acquisition of new
national territory, with which the North would insist upon retrieving
its reverse in the controversy over Texas. War, therefore, the great
nullifier resolved against. He cried halt to his army, but the army
heard not his voice, heeded not his orders, in the wild uproar and
clamor which arose at the sight of helpless Mexico, and the temptation
of adding fresh slave soil to the United States South, through her
spoliation; Calhoun confessed that, with the breaking out of hostilities
between the two republics an impenetrable curtain had shut from his eyes
the future. The great plot for maintaining the political domination of
the South had miscarried. New national territory had become inevitable
with the firing of the first gun. Seeing this, Calhoun endeavored to
postpone the evil day for the South by proposing a military policy of
"masterly inactivity" whereby time might be gained for his side to
prepare to meet the blow when it fell. But his "masterly inactivity"
policy was swept aside by the momentum of the national passion which the
war had aroused.

California and New Mexico became the strategic points of the slavery
struggle at the close of the war. To open both to the immigration of
slave-labor was thenceforth the grand design of the South. Over Oregon
occurred a fierce preliminary trial of strength between the sections.
The South was thrown in the contest, and the anti-slavery principle of
the Ordinance of 1787 applied to the Territory. Calhoun, who was
apparently of the mind that as Oregon went so would go California and
New Mexico, was violently agitated by this reverse. "The great strife
between the North and the South is ended," he passionately declared.
Immediately the charge was made and widely circulated through the slave
States that the stronger was oppressing the weaker section, wresting
from it its just share in the common fruits of common victories. For had
not California and New Mexico been won by the bravery and blood of the
South as of the North, and how then was the North to deprive the South
of its joint ownership of them without destroying the federal equality
of the two halves of the Union? What was it but to subvert the Union
existing among the States?

Disunion sentiment was thenceforth ladled out to the slave States in
increasing quantities. The turning of the long lane in the domination of
the slave-power was visibly near. With Garrison at one end and Calhoun
at the other the work of dissolution advanced apace. The latter
announced, in 1848, that the separation of the two sections was
complete. Ten years before, Garrison had made proclamation that the
Union, though not in form, was, nevertheless, in fact dissolved. And
possibly they were right. The line of cleavage had at the date of
Calhoun's announcement passed entirely through the grand strata of
national life, industrial, moral, political, and religious. There
remained indeed but a single bond of connection between the
slave-holding and the non-slave-holding States, viz., fealty to party.
But in 1848 not even this slender link was intact.

The anti-slavery uprising was a fast growing factor in the politics of
the free States. This was evinced by the aggressiveness of anti-slavery
legislation, the repeal of slave sojournment laws, the enactment of
personal liberty laws, the increasing preference manifested by Whig and
by Democratic electors for anti-slavery Whig, and anti-slavery
Democratic leaders. Seward and Chase, and Hale and Hamlin, Thaddeus
Stevens and Joshua R. Giddings, were all in Congress in 1849. A
revolution was working in the North; a revolution was working in the
South. New and bolder spirits were rising to leadership in both
sections. On the Southern stage were Jefferson Davis, Barnwell Rhett,
David Atchison, Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, and James M. Mason. The
outlook was portentous, tempestuous.

The tide of excitement culminated in the crisis of 1850. The
extraordinary activity of the under-ground railroad system, and its
failure to open the national Territories to slave immigration had
transported the South to the verge of disunion. California, fought over
by the two foes, was in the act of withdrawing herself from the field of
contention to a position of independent Statehood. It was her rap for
admission into the Union as a free State which precipitated upon the
country the last of the compromises between freedom and slavery. It
sounded the opening of the final act of Southern domination in the

The compromise of 1850, a series of five acts, three of which it took to
conciliate the South, while two were considered sufficient to satisfy
the North, was, after prolonged and stormy debate, adopted to save
Webster's glorious Union. These five acts were, in the agonized accents
of Clay, to heal "the five fire gaping wounds" of the country. But the
wounds were immedicable, as events were soon to prove. Besides, two at
least of the remedies failed to operate as emollients. They irritated
and inflamed the national ulcers and provoked fresh paroxysms of the
disease. The admission of California as a free State was a sort of
perpetual _memento mori_ to the slave-power. It hung forever over the
South the Damoclean blade of Northern political ascendency in the Union.
The fugitive slave law on the other hand produced results undreamt of by
its authors. Who would have ventured to predict the spontaneous,
irresistible insurrection of the humane forces and passions of the North
which broke out on the passage of the infamous bill? Who could have
foretold the moral and political consequences of its execution, for
instance, in Boston, which fifteen years before had mobbed anti-slavery
women and dragged Garrison through its streets? The moral indignation
aroused by the law in Massachusetts swept Webster and the Whigs from
power, carried Sumner to the Senate and crowned Liberty on Beacon Hill.
It worked a revolution in Massachusetts, it wrought changes of the
greatest magnitude in the free States.

From this time the reign of discord became universal. The conflict
between the sections increased in virulence. At the door of every man
sat the fierce figure of strife. It fulmined from the pulpit and frowned
from the pews. The platforms of the free States resounded with the
thunder of tongues. The press exploded with the hot passions of the
hour. Parties warred against each other. Factions arose within parties
and fought among themselves with no less bitterness. Wrath is infectious
and the wrathful temper of the nation became epidemic. The Ishmaelitish
impulse to strike something or someone, was irresistible. The bonds
which had bound men to one another seemed everywhere loosening, and
people in masses were slipping away from old to enter into new
combinations of political activity. It was a period of tumultuous
transition and confusion. The times were topsy-turvy and old Night and
Chaos were the angels who sat by the bubbling abysses of the revolution.

In the midst of this universal and violent agitation of the public mind
the old dread of disunion returned to torment the American
_bourgeoisie_, who through their presses, especially those of the
metropolis of the Union, turned fiercely upon the Abolitionists. While
the compromise measures were the subject of excited debate before
Congress, the anniversary meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society
fell due. But the New York journals, the _Herald_ in particular, had no
mind to allow the meeting to take place without renewing the reign of
terror of fifteen years before. Garrison was depicted as worse than
Robespierre, with an insatiable appetite for the destruction of
established institutions, both human and divine. The dissolution of the
Union, the "overthrow of the churches, the Sabbath, and the Bible," all
were required to glut his malevolent passion. "Will the men of sense
allow meetings to be held in this city which are calculated to make our
country the arena of blood and murder," roared the _Herald_, "and render
our city an object of horror to the whole South?... Public opinion
should be regulated. These Abolitionists should not be allowed to
misrepresent New York." In order to suppress the Abolitionists that
paper did not blink at any means, however extreme or revolutionary, but
declared boldly in favor of throttling free discussion. "When free
discussion does not promote the public good," argued the editor, "it has
no more right to exist than a bad government that is dangerous and
oppressive to the common weal. It should be overthrown." The mob thus
invoked came forward on the opening of the convention to overthrow free

The storm which the New York press was at so much labor to brew,
Garrison did not doubt would break over the convention. He went to it in
a truly apostolic spirit of self-sacrifice. "Not knowing the things that
shall befall me there, saving that bonds and afflictions abide with me
in every city," he wrote his wife an hour before the commencement of the
convention. His prevision of violence was quickly fulfilled. He had
called Francis Jackson to the chair during the delivery of the opening
speech which fell to the pioneer to make as the president of the
society. His subject was the Religion of the Country, to which he was
paying his respects in genuine Garrisonian fashion. Belief in Jesus in
the United States had no vital influence on conduct or character. The
chief religious denominations were in practice pro-slavery, they had
uttered no protest against the national sin. There was the Roman
Catholic Church whose "priests and members held slaves without incurring
the rebuke of the Church." At this point the orator was interrupted by
one of those monstrous products of the slums of the American metropolis,
compounded of the bully, the blackleg, and the demagogue in about equal
proportions. It was the notorious Captain Isaiah Rynders, perched with
his band of blackguards in the organ loft of the tabernacle and ready to
do the will of the metropolitan journals by over-throwing the right of
free discussion. He was not disposed to permit Mr. Garrison's censure of
the Roman Catholic Church to pass unchallenged, so he begged to ask
"whether there are no other churches as well as the Catholic Church,
whose clergy and lay members hold slaves?" To which the anti-slavery
leader replied with the utmost composure, not inclined to let even
Captain Rynders interrupt the even and orderly progression of his
discourse: "Will the friend wait for a moment, and I will answer him in
reference to other churches?" "The friend" thereupon resumed his seat in
the organ loft, and Garrison proceeded with his indictment of the
churches. There was the Episcopal Church, whose clergy and laity dealt
with impunity in human flesh, and the Presbyterians, whose ministers and
members did likewise without apparently any compunctious visitings of
conscience, ditto the Baptist, ditto the Methodist. In fact "all the
sects are combined," the orator sternly continued, "to prevent that
jubilee which it is the will of God should come."

But the bully in the organ loft, who was not content for long to play
the part of Patience on a monument, interrupted the speaker with a
second question which he looked upon, doubtless, as a hard nut to crack.
"Are you aware," inquired the blackleg "that the slaves in the South
have their prayer-meetings in honor of Christ?" The nut was quickly
crushed between the sharp teeth of the orator's scathing retort. Mr.
Garrison--"Not a slave-holding or a slave-breeding Jesus. (Sensation.)
The slaves believe in a Jesus that strikes off chains. In this country
Jesus has become obsolete. A profession in him is no longer a test. Who
objects to his course in Judæa? The old Pharisees are extinct, and may
safely be denounced. Jesus is the most respectable person in the United
States. (Great sensation and murmurs of disapprobation.) Jesus sits in
the President's chair of the United States. (A thrill of horror here
seemed to run through the assembly.) Zachary Taylor sits there, which is
the same thing, for he believes in Jesus. He believes in war, and the
Jesus that 'gave the Mexicans hell.'" (Sensation, uproar, and

This rather sulphurous allusion to the President of the glorious Union,
albeit in language used by himself in a famous order during the Mexican
War, acted as a red rag upon the human bull in the organ loft, who, now
beside himself with passion, plunged madly down to the platform with his
howling mob at his heels. "I will not allow you to assail the President
of the United States. You shan't do it!" bellowed the blackguard,
shaking his fist at Mr. Garrison. But Mr. Garrison, with that
extraordinary serenity of manner which was all his own, parleyed with
the ruffian, as if he was no ruffian and had no mob at his back. "You
ought not to interrupt us," he remonstrated with gentle dignity. "We go
upon the principle of hearing everybody. If you wish to speak, I will
keep order, and you shall be heard." Rynders was finally quieted by the
offer of Francis Jackson to give him a hearing as soon as Mr. Garrison
had brought his address to an end.

Rev. W.H. Furness, of Philadelphia, who was a member of the convention
and also one of the speakers, has preserved for us the contrasts of the
occasion. "The close of Mr. Garrison's address," says he, "brought down
Rynders again, who vociferated and harangued at one time on the
platform, and then pushing down into the aisles, like a madman followed
by his keepers. Through the whole, nothing could be more patient and
serene than the bearing of Mr. Garrison. I have always revered Mr.
Garrison for his devoted, uncompromising fidelity to his great cause.
Today I was touched to the heart by his calm and gentle manners. There
was no agitation, no scorn, no heat, but the quietness of a man engaged
in simple duties."

The madman and his keepers were quite vanquished on the first day of the
convention by the wit, repartee, and eloquence of Frederick Douglass,
Dr. Furness, and Rev. Samuel R. Ward, whom Wendell Phillips described as
so black that "when he shut his eyes you could not see him." But it was
otherwise on the second day when public opinion was "regulated," and
free discussion overthrown by Captain Rynders and his villainous gang,
who were resolved, with the authors of the compromise, that the Union as
it was should be preserved.

But, notwithstanding the high authority and achievements of this noble
band of patriots and brothers, Garrison's detestation of the Union but
increased, and his cry for its dissolution grew deeper and louder. And
no wonder. For never had the compact between freedom and slavery seemed
more hateful than after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill. The
state of panic which it created among the colored people in the free
States will form, if ever written down, one of the most heartrending
chapters in human history. Hundreds and thousands fled from their homes
into the jaws of a Canadian winter to escape the jaws of the
slave-hounds, whose fierce baying began presently to fill the land from
Massachusetts to Ohio. It made no difference whether these miserable
people had been always free or were fugitives from slavery, the terror
spread among them all the same. The aged and the young turned their
backs upon their homes and hurried precipitately into a strange country.
Fathers with wives and children dependant upon them for their daily
bread, were forced by the dread of being captured and returned to
bondage to abandon their homes and loved ones, sometimes without so much
as a touch of their hands or a tone of their voices in token of
farewell. Perhaps on his way to work in the morning some husband or son
has caught a glimpse among the faces on the street of one face, the
remembrance of which to the day of death, he can never lose, a face he
had known in some far away Southern town or plantation, and with which
are connected in the poor fellow's brain the most frightful sufferings
and associations. Crazed at the sight, with no thought of home, of the
labors which are awaiting him, oblivious of everything but the abject
terror which has suddenly taken possession of him, he hastens away to
hide and fly, fly and hide, until he reaches a land where slave-hounds
enter not, and panting fugitives find freedom. Wendell Phillips tells of
an old woman of seventy who asked his advice about flying, though
originally free, and fearful only of being caught up by mistake. The
distress everywhere was awful, the excitement indescribable. From Boston
alone in the brief space of three weeks after the rescue of Shadrach,
nearly a hundred of these panic stricken creatures had fled. The whole
number escaping into Canada Charles Sumner placed as high as six
thousand souls. But in addition to this large band of fugitives, others
emigrated to the interior of New England away from the seaboard centers
of trade and commerce where the men-hunters abounded.

The excitement and the perils of this period were not confined to the
colored people. Their white friends shared both with them. We are
indebted to Mr. Phillips for the following graphic account of these
excitements and perils in Boston in March, 1851. He has been describing
the situation in the city, in respect of the execution of the infamous
law, to Elizabeth Pease, and goes on thus: "I need not enlarge on this;
but the long evening sessions--debates about secret escapes--plans to
evade where we can't resist--the door watched that no spy may enter--the
whispering consultations of the morning--some putting property out of
their hands, planning to incur penalties, and planning also that, in
case of conviction, the Government may get nothing from them--the doing,
and answering no questions--intimates forbearing to ask the knowledge
which it may be dangerous to have--all remind one of those foreign
scenes which have hitherto been known to us, transatlantic republicans,
only in books."

On the passage of the Black Bill, as the Abolitionists stigmatised the
law, it was not believed that the moral sentiment of Boston would
execute it, so horrified did the community seem. But it was soon
apparent to the venerable Josiah Quincy that "The Boston of 1851 is not
the Boston of 1775. Boston," the sage goes on to remark, "has now become
a mere shop--a place for buying and selling goods; and, I suppose, also
of _buying and selling men_." The great idol of her shopkeepers, Daniel
Webster, having striven mightily for the enactment of the hateful bill
while Senator of the United States, had gone into Millard Fillmore's
Cabinet, to labor yet more mightily for its enforcement. The rescue of
Shadrach, which Mr. Secretary of State characterized "as a case of
treason," set him to thundering for the Union as it was, and against the
"fanatics," who were stirring up the people of the free States to resist
the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. But he was no longer "the
God-like" Webster, for he appeared to the editor of the _Liberator_ as
"an ordinary-looking, poor, decrepit old man, whose limbs could scarce
support him; lank with age; whose sluggish legs were somewhat concealed
by an over-shadowing abdomen; with head downcast and arms shriveled, and
dangling almost helpless by his side, and incapable of being magnetized
for the use of the orator." The voice and the front of "the God-like"
had preceded the "poor decrepit old man" to the grave. Garrison dealt no
less roughly and irreverently with another of the authors of the wicked
law and another of the superannuated divinities of a shopkeeping North,
Henry Clay. "HENRY CLAY, with one foot in the grave," exclaimed the
reformer, "and just ready to have both body and soul cast into hell, as
if eager to make his damnation doubly sure, rises in the United States
Senate and proposes an inquiry into the expediency of passing yet
another law, by which every one who shall dare peep or mutter against
the execution of the Fugitive Slave Bill shall have his life crushed

In those trial times words from the mouth or the pen of Abolitionists
had the force of deadly missiles. Incapacitated as Garrison was to
resort to physical resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law by his
non-resistant doctrine, it seemed that all the energy and belligerency
of the man went into the most tremendous verbal expressions. They were
like adamantine projectiles flung with the savage strength of a catapult
against the walls of slavery. The big sinners, like Webster and Clay, he
singled out for condign punishment, were objects of his utmost
severities of speech. It was thus that he essayed to breach the iron
dungeon in which the national iniquity had shut the national conscience.
Saturated was the reformer's mind with the thought of the Bible, its
solemn and awful imagery, its fiery and prophetic abhorrence and
denunciations of national sins, all of which furnished him an unfailing
magazine whence were drawn the bolts which he launched against the giant
sin and the giant sinners of his time. And so Clay had not only "one
foot in the grave," but was "just ready to have both body and soul cast
into hell."

While physical resistance of the Slave Law was wholly out of the
question with Garrison, he, nevertheless, refused to condemn the men
with whom it was otherwise. Here he was anything but a fanatic. All that
he required was that each should be consistent with his principles. If
those principles bade him resist the enforcement of the Black Bill, the
apostle of non-resistance was sorry enough, but in this emergency,
though he possessed the gentleness of the dove, he also practised the
wisdom of the serpent. That truth moves with men upon lower as well as
higher planes he well knew. It is always partial and many-colored,
refracted as it is through the prisms of human passion and prejudice. If
it appear unto some minds in the red bar of strife and blood, so be it.
Each must follow the light which it is given him to discern, whether the
blue of love or the red of war. Great coadjutors, like Wendell Phillips,
Theodore Parker, and Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, were for forcible resistance
to the execution of the law. So were the colored people. Preparations to
this end went on vigorously in Boston under the direction of the
Vigilance Committee. The Crafts escaped the clutches of the
slave-hunters, so did Shadrach escape them, but Sims and Burns fell into
them and were returned to bondage.

From this time on Wendell Phillips became in Boston and in the North
more distinctly the leader of the Abolition sentiment. The period of
pure moral agitation ended with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law.
That act opened a new era in the movement, an era in which
non-resistance had no place, an era in which a resort to physical force
in settlement of sectional differences, the whole trend of things were
making inevitable. Fighting, the Anglo-Saxon method, as Theodore Parker
characterized it, of making a final settlement of just such
controversies as was the slavery question, was in the air, had become
without any general consciousness of it at the time appearing in the
popular mind, a foregone conclusion, from the moment that the South
wrested from the National Government the right to defy and override the
moral sentiment of free State communities. With this advance of the
anti-slavery agitation a stage nearer the end, when fighting would
supersede all other methods, the fighters gravitated naturally to the
front of the conflict, and the apostle of non-resistance fell somewhat
into the background of the great movement started by him.

Garrison had begun, indeed, to recognize that there were other ways
besides his way of abolishing slavery--had begun to see that these with
his led to Rome, to the ultimate extinction of the evil, to which
anti-slavery unionists and disunionists were alike devoted. His innate
sagacity and strong sense of justice lifted the reformer to larger
toleration of mind. At a dinner given in Boston in May, 1853, by the
Free Democracy to John P. Hale, he was not only present to testify his
appreciation of the courage and services of Mr. Hale to the common
cause, but while there was able to speak thus tolerantly--tolerantly for
him certainly--of a Union dear to the company about the table yet
hateful beyond measure to himself: "Sir, you will pardon me," spoke the
arch anti-slavery disunionist, "for the reference. I have heard
something here about our Union, about the value of the Union, and the
importance of preserving the Union, Gentlemen, if you have been so
fortunate as to find a Union worth preserving, I heartily congratulate
you. Cling to it with all your souls!" For himself, he has not been so
fortunate. With a price set on his head in one of the Southern States,
and outlawed in all of them, he begs to be pardoned if found lacking in
loyalty to the existing Union, which to him, alas: "is but another name
for the iron reign of the slave-power. We have no common country as yet.
God grant we may have. We shall have it when the jubilee comes--and not
till then," he declared, mindful of the convictions of others, yet
bravely true to his own. The seeds of liberty, of hatred of the
slave-power, planted by Garrison were springing up in a splendid crop
through the North. Much of the political anti-slavery of the times were
the fruit of his endeavor. Wendell Phillips has pointed out how the
Liberty party was benefited by the meetings and speeches of Garrisonian
Abolitionists. What was true of the Liberty party was equally true of
Free Soil and Free Democracy. Although the little band remained small,
it was potent in swelling, year after year, the anti-slavery membership
of all the parties, Whig and Democratic, as well as of those already
mentioned. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" might fairly be classed among the large
indirect results produced by Garrison. "But," as Phillips justly
remarked, "'Uncle Tom' would never have been written had not Garrison
developed the facts; and never would have succeeded had he not created
readers and purchasers." Garrisonism had become an influence, a power
that made for liberty and against slavery in the United States. It had
become such also in Great Britain. George Thompson, writing the pioneer
of the marvelous sale of "Uncle Tom" in England, and of the
unprecedented demand for anti-slavery literature, traced their source to
his friend: "Behold the fruit of your labors," he exclaimed, "and

Mr. Garrison's pungent characterization of the "Union" at the dinner of
the Free Democracy as "but another name for the iron reign of the
slave-power," found almost instant illustration of its truth in the
startling demand of that power for the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise. In 1850 the South lost California, but it received at the
time an advantage of far-reaching consequence, viz., the admission of
the principle of federal non-intervention upon the subject of slavery in
the national Territories into the bill organizing Territorial
Governments for New Mexico and Utah. The train which was to blow down
the slave wall of 1820 and open to slave immigration the northern half
of the Louisiana Territory, was laid in the compromise measures of 1850.

Calhoun, strongly dissatisfied as he was with the Missouri settlement,
recoiled from countenancing any agitation on the part of the South
looking to its repeal on the ground that such action was calculated to
disturb "the peace and harmony of the Union." But four years after the
death of the great nullifier, his disciples and followers dared to
consummate a crime, the consequences of which he shrank from inviting.
The political conditions four years had indeed modified in one important
particular at least. In Calhoun's lifetime, there was no Northern leader
bold enough to undertake to engineer an act of abrogation through
Congress. If the North were willing, possessed sufficient magnanimity,
to surrender, in the interest of brotherly love between the sections,
the benefits which inured to it under the Missouri Compromise, neither
Calhoun nor the South would have declined the proffered sacrifice. The
selection of Stephen A. Douglas in 1854 as the leader of the movement
for repeal put a new face on the business, which was thereby made to
appear to proceed from the free, not from the slave States. This was
adroit, the fixing upon the losing section the initiative and the
responsibility of the act of abrogation.

Besides this element, there was another not less specious which lent to
the scheme an air of fairness, and that was the application to the
Territories of the American principle of local self-government, in other
words, the leaving to the people of the Territories the right to vote
slavery up or vote it down, as they might elect. The game was a deep
one, worthy of the machinations of its Northern and Southern authors.
But, like other elaborate schemes of mice and men, it went to pieces
under the fatal stroke of an unexpected circumstance. The act which
abrogated the Missouri Compromise broke the much-enduring back of
Northern patience at the same time. In the struggle for the repeal
Southern Whigs and Southern Democrats forgot their traditionary party
differences in battling for Southern interests, which was not more or
less than the extension to the national Territories of the peculiar
institution. The final recognition of this ugly fact on the part of the
free States, raised a popular flood in them big enough to whelm the Whig
party and to float a great political organization, devoted to
uncompromising opposition to the farther extension of slavery. The
sectionalism of slavery was at last met by the sectionalism of freedom.
From that moment the old Union, with its slave compromises, was doomed.
In the conflict then impending its dissolution was merely a matter of
time, unless indeed the North should prove strong enough to preserve it
by the might of its arms, seeing that the North still clung passionately
to the idea of national unity.

Not so, however, was it with Garrison. Sharper and sterner rose his
voice against any union with Slaveholders. On the Fourth of July
following the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the reformer at
Framingham, Mass., gave a fresh and startling sign of his hatred of the
Union by burning publicly the Constitution of the United States. Before
doing so however, he consigned to the flames a copy of the _Fugitive
Slave Law_, next the decision of Judge Loring remanding Anthony Burns to
slavery, also the charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the Grand Jury
touching the assault upon the court-house for the rescue of Burns. Then
holding up the United States Constitution, he branded it as the source
and parent of all the other atrocities--a covenant with death and an
agreement with hell--and consumed it to ashes on the spot, exclaiming,
"So perish all compromises with tyranny! And let all the people say,
Amen!" This dramatic act and the "tremendous shout" which "went up to
heaven in ratification of the deed" from the assembled multitude, what
were they but the prophecy of a fiercer fire already burning in the
land, soon to blaze about the pillars of the Union, of a more tremendous
shout soon to burst with the wrath of a divided people over that

  "perfidious bark
  Built i' th' eclipse, and rigged with curses dark."



Face to face at last were freedom and slavery. The final struggle
between them for mastery had come. Narrow, indeed, was the issue that
divided the combatants, slavery extension on the one side, and slavery
restriction on the other, not total and immediate emancipation, but it
was none the less vital and supreme to the two enemies. Back of the
Southern demand for "More slave soil" stood a solid South, back of the
Northern position, "No more slave soil" was rallying a fast uniting
North. The political revolution, produced by the Kansas-Nebraska Bill,
advanced apace through the free States from Maine to Michigan. A
flood-tide of Northern resistance had suddenly risen against the

Higher than anywhere else rose this flood-tide in Massachusetts. The
judge who remanded Anthony Burns to slavery was removed from office, and
a Personal Liberty Law, with provisions as bold as they were thorough,
enacted for the protection of fugitive slaves. Mr. Garrison sat beside
the President of the State Senate when that body voted to remove Judge
Loring from his office. Such was Massachusetts's answer to the
abrogation of the Missouri Compromise, and a triumphant slave-power. Its
instant effect was to accelerate in the South the action of the disunion
working forces there, to hurry the inevitable moment when the two
sections would rush together in a death-grapple within or without
Webster's once glorious Union.

Indeed the foes had already closed in a frightful wrestle for the
possession of Kansas. When the National Government adopted the popular
sovereignty doctrine in solution of the Territorial problem between the
two halves of the Union, freedom and slavery thereupon precipitated
their forces upon the debatable land, and, for the first time, the men
of the North and the men of the South came into actual physical
collision in defence of their respective ideas and institutions. The
possession of land is nine points of the law among Anglo-Saxons, and for
this immense advantage both sides flung themselves into Kansas--the
North by means of emigrant aid societies, the South by means of bands of
Border ruffians under the direction of a United States Senator. It was
distinctly understood and ordained in connection with the repeal of the
compromise of 1820, that final possession of the Territories then thrown
open to slave labor should be determined by the people inhabiting the
same. In the contest for peopling Kansas the superior colonizing
resources of the free States was presently made manifest. They, in any
fair contest with ballots, had a majority of the polls, and were,
therefore, able to vote slavery down. Worsted as the South clearly was
in a show of heads, it threw itself back upon fraud and force to decide
the issue in its favor. The cartridge-box took the place of the
ballot-box in bleeding Kansas, and violence and anarchy, as a
consequence, reigned therein for the space of several years.

This is no place to depict those scenes of slave-holding outrages,
supported as they were by a Northern President with Southern principles.
The sight of them rapidly changed the pacific character of the free
States. Many a peace man dropped his peace principles before this bloody
duel between the civilization of the South and that of the North.
Ministers and churches took up collections to send, not Bibles, but
Sharp's rifles to their brethren in Kansas. The South had appealed to
the sword, and the North had sternly accepted the challenge. War was in
the air, and the Northern temper, without there being any general
consciousness of it, was fast mounting to the war point in the
thermometer of the passions, thanks to the perfidy and ruffianism of the
slave-power in Congress and Kansas.

This trend and strong undertow of the nation toward a civil outbreak and
commotion, though unnoted by the multitude, was yet, nevertheless, seen
and felt by many thoughtful and far-seeing minds; and by no one more
clearly than by T.W. Higginson, who at the twentieth anniversary of the
Boston mob, discoursed thus on this head: "Mr. Phillips told us that on
this day, twenty years ago, the military could not protect the meeting,
because the guns were outside in the mob--or the men who should have
carried them! There has been a time since when the men were on the
outside and the guns too; and as surely as this earth turns on its axis,
that time will come again! And it is for you, men, who hear me, to think
what you will do when that time comes; and it is for you, women, who
hear me, to think what you will do, and what you are willing--I will not
say, to _consent_ that those you love should do, but what you are
willing to _urge_ them to do, and to send them from your homes, knowing
that they will do it, whether they live or die." The murderous assault
upon Charles Sumner in the Senate Chamber at Washington by Preston S.
Brooks, served to intensify the increasing belligerency of the Northern
temper, to deepen the spreading conviction that the irrepressible
conflict would be settled not with the pen through any more fruitless
compromises, but in Anglo-Saxon fashion by blood and iron.

Amid this general access of the fighting propensity, Garrison preserved
the integrity of his non-resistant principles, his aversion to the use
of physical force as an anti-slavery weapon. Men like Charles Stearns
talked of shouldering their Sharp's rifles against the Border ruffians
as they would against wild beasts. For himself, he could not class any
of his fellow-creatures, however vicious and wicked, on the same level
with wild beasts. Those wretches were, he granted, as bad and brutal as
they were represented by the free State men of Kansas, but to him they
were less blameworthy than were their employers and indorsers, the
pro-slavery President and his Cabinet, pro-slavery Congressmen, and
judges, and doctors of divinity, and editors. Incomparably guilty as
these "colossal conspirators against the liberty, peace, happiness, and
safety of the republic" were; and, though his moral indignation "against
their treasonable course" burned like fire, he, nevertheless, wished
them no harm. He shrank from the idea of the physical collision of man
with a brother man, and with him all mankind were brothers. No one is
able to draw a sword or point a rifle at any member of the human family,
"in a Christian state of mind." He held to Jesus, who condemned
violence, forbade the entertainment by his disciples of retaliatory
feelings and the use of retaliatory weapons. When Jesus said "Love your
enemies," he did not mean, "Kill them if they go too far."

Garrison's moral radicalism and political sagacity were never exhibited
to better advantage than during these tremendous years of the crisis. He
saw the sudden rise of a great political organization opposed to the
farther extension of slavery to national territory. It was by no means a
party after his heart, and for total and immediate emancipation, and the
dissolution of the Union, yet he perceived that while this was true, it
was, nevertheless, in its narrow purpose, battling against the
slave-power, fighting the slave system, and to this extent was worthy of
the commendation of Abolitionists. "It helps to disseminate no small
amount of light and knowledge," the reformer acutely observed, "in
regard to the nature and workings of the slave system, being
necessitated to do this to maintain its position; and thus, for the time
being, it is moulding public sentiment in the right direction, though
with no purpose to aid us in the specific work we are striving to
accomplish, namely, the dissolution of the Union, and the abolition of
slavery throughout the land." While bating no jot of his anti-slavery
principles, he all the same put in practice the apostolic injunction to
give credit to whom credit is due, by cordially commending what he found
worthy of commendation in the purpose and policy of the Republican
party, and by urging a like conduct upon his followers. In the
Presidential canvass of 1856 his sympathies went strongly with Frémont
as against Buchanan and Fillmore, although his Abolition principles
precluded him from voting for the Republican candidate or from urging
his disciples to vote for him. But, barring this moral barrier, had he
"a million votes to bestow" he "would cast them all for Frémont ... not
because he is an Abolitionist or a Disunionist ... but because he is for
the non-extension of slavery, in common with the great body of the
people of the North, whose attachment to the Union amounts to idolatry."

When the election was over the motto of the _Liberator_ was still "No
union with slaveholders," and would have remained the same though
Frémont instead of Buchanan had triumphed at the polls, until indeed the
domination of the slave-power had ended, and the North and the National
Constitution had been divorced from all criminal connection with
slavery. The anti-slavery agitation for the dissolution of the Union
went on with increased zeal. A State convention, called by T.W.
Higginson and others, "to consider the practicability, probability, and
expediency of a separation between the free and slave States, and to
take such other measures as the condition of the times may require," met
at Worcester, Mass., January 15, 1857, with Frank W. Bird in the chair,
and William Lloyd Garrison among the vice-presidents. The pioneer's
speech on the occasion was a characteristic and noteworthy utterance.
Its tone throughout was grave and argumentative. Here is a specimen of
it, and of the way in which he met the most serious objection to the
Abolition movement for disunion: "The air is filled with objections to a
movement of this kind. I am neither surprised nor disquieted at this.
One of these is of a very singular nature, and it is gravely urged that
it is conclusive against disunion. It is to this effect: We must remain
in the Union because it would be inhuman in us to turn our backs upon
millions of slaves in the Southern States, and to leave them to their
fate! Men who have never been heard of in the anti-slavery ranks, or who
are ever submitting to a compromise of principle, have their bowels
wonderfully moved all at once with sympathy for the suffering slave!
Even our esteemed friend, Theodore Parker (who deals in no cant) says,
in his letter, that he cannot consent to cut himself off from the slave
population. Now, we who are engaged in this movement claim to be equally
concerned for the liberation of the slave. If we have not yet proved our
willingness to suffer the loss of all things, rather than turn and flee,
God knows that we are prepared to bear any new cross that He, in His
Providence, may be disposed to lay upon us. For one, I make no parade of
my anxiety for the deliverance of those in bondage; but I do say that it
strikes me as remarkable that those who, for a quarter of a century,
have borne the heat and burden of the day, should have the imputation
cast upon them of intending to leave four millions of slaves in their
chains, by seeking the overthrow of this Union!...

" ... I declare that this talk of leaving the slave to his fate is not a
true representation of the case; and it indicates a strange dullness of
comprehension with regard to our position and purpose. What! Is it to
forsake the slave when I cease to be the aider and abettor of his
master? What! When the North is pressing down upon four millions of
slaves like an avalanche, and we say to her, 'Take off that
pressure--stand aside--give the slave a chance to regain his feet and
assert his freedom!' is that turning our backs upon him? Here, for
example, is a man engaged in highway robbery, and another man is acting
as an accessory, without whose aid the robber cannot succeed. In saying
to the accomplice. 'Hands off! Don't aid the villain!' shall I be told
that this is enabling the highwayman to rob with impunity? What an
absurdity! Are we not trying to save the pockets of all travelers from
being picked in seeking to break up all connection with highway

The convention projected a general convention of the free States to
consider the subject, and "_Resolved_, That the sooner the separation
takes place, the more peaceful it will be; but that peace or war is _a
secondary consideration_ in view of our present perils. Slavery must be
conquered, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must." The projected
general convention, owing to the monetary crisis of 1857, did not take
place; but the extraordinary public excitement on the slavery question
increased rather than diminished during the year. The increasing menace
to the domination of the slave-power from this source had become so
great that it was deemed prudent on the part of the upholders of that
power to allay it by means of an authoritative utterance upon the vexed
question of slavery in the national Territories from the highest
judicial tribunal in the Land. The Northern respect for the opinion of
the Supreme Court, the South and her allies in the free States counted
upon as the vehicle of the quieting medicament. For, if the Missouri
Compromise were pronounced by that Court unconstitutional and,
therefore, _ab initio_, null and void, no wrong was done the North
through its formal repeal by Congress. The act of abrogation, in this
view, added nothing to the South which did not belong to it as well
before as after its passage, detracted nothing from the North which was
justly its due in the premises. In pursuance of this cunningly devised
scheme the Supreme Court delivered itself of an opinion in the famous
"Dred Scott Case." So abhorrent it was to the intelligence and moral
sense of the free States, that it produced results altogether opposed to
those designed by the men who invoked it. Instead of checking, the
execrated judgment augmented enormously the existing excitement.
Garrison's bitter taunt that "the Union is but another name for the iron
reign of the slave-power," was driven home to the North, by the Dred
Scott decision, with the logic of another unanswerable fact. Confidence
in the independence and impartiality of the Supreme Court was seriously
shaken, and widespread suspicion struck root at the North touching the
subserviency of that tribunal to the interests and designs of the

The popular agitation at this fresh and alarming evidence of the purpose
and power of the South upset the machinations of the schemers, swelled
the numerical strength of the new Northern party opposed to the
Territorial aggressions and pretensions of the slave section. So rapid
was the growth of the Republican party that the slave leaders
anticipated its accession to power at the then next Presidential
election. So certain were they in their forebodings of defeat that they
set about in dead earnest to put their side of the divided house in
order for the impending struggle for Southern independence. Military
preparations went forward with a vengeance, arms and munitions of war
which were the property of the General Government began to move
southward, to Southern military depots and posts for the defence of the
United States South, when at last the word "DISUNION" should be
pronounced over the Republic. The Lincoln-Douglass debate augmented
everywhere the excitement, fed the already mighty numbers of the new
party. More and more the public consciousness and conviction were
squaring with Mr. Lincoln's oracular words in respect that the Union
could not "endure permanently half slave and half free."

The darkness and tumult of the rising tempest were advancing apace, when
suddenly there burst from the national firmament the first warning peal
of thunder, and over Virginia there sped the first bolt of the storm.
John Brown with his brave little band, at Harper's Ferry, had struck for
the freedom of the slave. Tired of words, the believer in blood and iron
as a deliverer, had crossed from Pennsylvania into Virginia on the
evening of October 16, 1859, and seized the United States Armory at
Harper's Ferry. Although soon overpowered, captured, tried, and hanged
for his pains by the slave-power, the martyr had builded better than he
knew. For the blow struck by him then and there ended almost abruptly
the period of argument and ushered in the period of arms. The jar from
that battle-ax at the roots of the slave system hurled together in a
death struggle right and wrong, freedom and slavery, in the republic.

This attempt on the part of John Brown to liberate the slaves seemed to
Garrison "misguided, wild, and apparently insane, though disinterested
and well-intended." On non-resistant grounds he deplored this use of the
sword to effect emancipation, and condemned the leader. But, judging him
according to the standard of Bunker Hill and the men of 1776, he did not
doubt that Brown deserved "to be held in grateful and honorable
remembrance to the latest posterity, by all those who glory in the deeds
of a Wallace or Tell, a Washington or Warren."

The raid of Brown and his subsequent execution, and their reception at
the North revealed how vast was the revolution in public sentiment on
the slavery question which had taken place there, since the murder of
Lovejoy, eighteen years before. Lovejoy died defending the right of free
speech and the liberty of the press, yet the Attorney-General of
Massachusetts declared that "he died as the fool dieth." Brown died in
an invasion of a slave State, and in an effort to emancipate the slaves
with a band of eighteen followers, and he was acclaimed, from one end of
the free States to the other, hero and martyr. Mr. Garrison commenting
on this immensely significant fact, acutely and justly observed that:
"The sympathy and admiration now so widely felt for him, prove how
marvelous has been the change affected in public opinion during the
thirty years of moral agitation--a change so great indeed, that whereas,
ten years since, there were thousands who could not endure my lightest
word of rebuke of the South, they can now easily swallow John Brown
whole and his rifle into the bargain. In firing his gun, he has merely
told us what time of day it is. It is high noon, thank God!"

But there is another circumstance hardly less significant of another
change at the North even more momentous than the one just noted.

On December 2d, the day on which Brown was hung, solemn funeral
observances were held throughout the North by Abolitionists. At the
great meeting in Boston, held in Tremont Temple, and presided over by
Samuel E. Sewall, Garrison inquired as to the number of non-resistants
who were present. To this question there came a solitary reply. There
was but one non-resistant beside himself in the hall. Where were his
followers? Why had they forsaken their principles? The tide of Northern
belligerency, which was everywhere rising to its flood, everywhere
rushing and mounting to the tops of those dams which separate war and
peace had swept away his followers, had caused them to forsake their
principles. True to their Anglo-Saxon instinct, they had reverted to the
more human, if less Christian method of cutting the Gordian knot of the
republic with the sword.

The irresistible drift of the North toward the point where peace ends
and war begins, which that solitary "I" at the John Brown meeting
denoted, was still further indicated by what appeared not wholly unlike
a change in Mr. Garrison's attitude on the same subject. His
non-resistant position was the same, but somehow his face seemed to turn
warward too, with the rest of the nation, in the following passage taken
from his address at that John Brown meeting:

"Nevertheless, I am a non-resistant," said he, speaking to that solitary
confession of non-resistance principles, "and I not only desire, but
have labored unremittingly to effect the peaceful abolition of slavery,
by an appeal to the reason and conscience of the slaveholder; yet, as a
peace man, an ultra peace man, I am prepared to say: Success to every
slave insurrection at the South, and in every slave country. And I do
not see how I compromise or stain my peace profession in making that
declaration. Whenever there is a contest between the oppressed and the
oppressor, the weapons being equal between the parties, God knows that
my heart must be with the oppressed, and always against the oppressor.
Therefore, whenever commenced, I cannot but wish success to all slave
insurrections.... Rather than see men wearing their chains, in a
cowardly and servile spirit, I would as an advocate of peace, much
rather see them breaking the head of the tyrant with their chains. Give
me, as a non-resistant, Bunker Hill, and Lexington, and Concord, rather
than the cowardice and servility of a Southern slave plantation."

The unmistakable signs of disintegration, the swift action of the
national tragedy, the Charleston Convention, the disruption of the
Democratic party, the last bond between the North and the South, filled
the heart of the pioneer with solemn joy. "Only think of it!" he exulted
at the anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York, May
8, 1860; "only think of it! the party which has for so many years cried
out, 'There must be no agitation on this subject' is now the most
agitated of all the parties in the country. The party which declares
that there ought not to be any sectionalism as against slavery, has now
been sundered geographically, and on this very question! The party which
had said, 'Let discussions cease forever,' is busily engaged in the
discussion, so that, possibly, the American Anti-Slavery Society might
adjourn _sine die_, after we get through with our present meetings, and
leave its work to be carried on in the other direction!" This was all
true enough. The sections were at last sundered, and a day of wrath was
rising dark and dreadful over "States dissevered, discordant,



The triumph of the Republican party at the polls was the signal for the
work of dissolution to begin. Webster's terrific vision of "a land rent
with civil feuds" became reality in the short space of six weeks after
Lincoln's election, by the secession of South Carolina from the Union.
Quickly other Southern States followed, until a United States South was
organized, the chief stone in the corner of the new political edifice
being Negro slavery. It was not six weeks after the inauguration of
Abraham Lincoln, when the roar of cannon in Charleston Harbor announced
to the startled country that war between the States had begun. The first
call of the new President for troops to put down the rebellion and to
save the Union, and the patriotic uprising which it evoked made it plain
that the struggle thus opened was to be nothing less than a
death-grapple between the two sections.

Before the attack on Fort Sumter, Garrison was opposed to coercing the
rebel States back into the Union. He admitted the Constitutional power
of the National Government to employ force in maintaining the integrity
of the Republic. "The Federal Government must not pretend to be in
actual operation, embracing thirty-four States," the editor of the
_Liberator_ commented, "and then allow the seceding States to trample
upon its flag, steal its property, and defy its authority with impunity;
for it would then be (as it is at this moment) a mockery and a
laughing-stock. Nevertheless to think of whipping the South (for she
will be a unit on the question of slavery) into subjection, and
extorting allegiance from millions of people at the cannon's mouth, is
utterly chimerical. True, it is in the power of the North to deluge her
soil with blood, and inflict upon her the most terrible sufferings; but
not to conquer her spirit, or change her determination."

He, therefore, proposed that "the people of the North should recognize
the fact that THE UNION IS DISSOLVED, and act accordingly. They should
see, in the madness of the South, the hand of God, liberating them from
'a covenant with death' and an 'agreement with hell,' made in a time of
terrible peril, and without a conception of its inevitable consequences,
and which has corrupted their morals, poisoned their religion, petrified
their humanity as towards the millions in bondage, tarnished their
character, harassed their peace, burdened them with taxation, shackled
their prosperity, and brought them into abject vassalage."

It is not to be wondered at that Garrison, under the circumstances, was
for speeding the South rather than obstructing her way out of the Union.
For hardly ever had the anti-slavery cause seen greater peril than that
which hung over it during the months which elapsed between Lincoln's
election and the attack on Sumter, owing to the paralyzing apprehensions
to which the free States fell a prey in view of the then impending
disruption of their glorious Union. Indeed no sacrifice of anti-slavery
accomplishments, policy, and purpose of those States were esteemed too
important or sacred to make, if thereby the dissolution of the Union
might be averted. Many, Republicans as well as Democrats, were for
repealing the Personal Liberty Laws, and for the admission of New Mexico
as a State, with or without slavery, for the enforcement of the Fugitive
State Law, for suppressing the right of free speech and the freedom of
the press on the subject of slavery, and for surrendering the Northern
position in opposition to the extension of slavery to national
Territories, in order to placate the South and keep it in the Union.
Nothing could have possibly been more disastrous to the anti-slavery
movement in America than a Union saved on the terms proposed by such
Republican leaders as William H. Seward, Charles Francis Adams, Thomas
Corwin, and Andrew G. Curtin. The Union, under the circumstances, was
sure death to the slave, in disunion lay his great life-giving hope.
Therefore his tried and sagacious friend was for sacrificing the Union
to win for him freedom.

As the friends of the Union were disposed to haggle at no price to
preserve it, so was Garrison disposed to barter the Union itself in
exchange for the abolition of slavery. "Now, then, let there be a
CONVENTION OF THE FREE STATES," he suggested, "called to organize an
independent government on free and just principles; and let them say to
the slave States: Though you are without excuse for your treasonable
conduct, depart in peace! Though you have laid piratical hands on
property not your own, we surrender it all in the spirit of magnanimity!
And if nothing but the possession of the Capitol will appease you, take
even that without a struggle! Let the line be drawn between us where
free institutions end and slave institutions begin!"

But the thunder of the rebel guns in Charleston Harbor wrought in the
reformer a complete revolution in this regard. In the tremendous popular
uprising which followed that insult to the national flag he perceived
that the old order with its compromises and dispositions to agree to
anything, to do anything for the sake of preserving the Union had passed
away forever. When it was suggested as an objection to his change of
base that the "Administration is endeavoring to uphold the Union, the
Constitution, and the Laws, even as from the formation of the
Government," he was not for a moment deceived by its apparent force, but
replied sagely that "this is a verbal and technical view of the case."
"Facts are more potential than words," he remarked with philosophic
composure, "and events greater than parchment arrangements. The truth
is, the old Union is _nan est invenius_, and its restoration, with its
pro-slavery compromises, well-nigh impossible. The conflict is really
between the civilization of freedom and the barbarism of
slavery--between the principles of democracy and the doctrines of
absolutism--between the free North and the man-imbruting South;
therefore, to this extent hopeful for the cause of impartial liberty."

With the instinct of wise leadership, he adjusted himself and his little
band of Abolitionists, as far as he was able, to the exigencies of the
revolution. In his madness there was always remarkable method. When the
nation was apathetic, dead on the subject of slavery, he used every
power which he possessed or could invent to galvanize it into life. But
with the prodigious excitement which swept over the free States at the
outbreak of the war, Garrison saw that the crisis demanded different
treatment. Abolitionists and their moral machinery he felt should be
withdrawn, for a season at least, from their conspicuous place before
the public gaze, lest it happen that they should divert the current of
public opinion from the South to themselves, and thus injure the cause
of the slave. He accordingly deemed it highly expedient that the usual
anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, held in New York,
ought, under the circumstances, to be postponed, coming as it would but
a few weeks after the attack on Sumter, and in the midst of the
tremendous loyal uprising against the rebels. This he did, adding, by
way of caution, this timely counsel: "Let nothing be done at this solemn
crisis needlessly to check or divert the mighty current of popular
feeling which is now sweeping southward with the strength and
impetuosity of a thousand Niagaras, in direct conflict with that haughty
and perfidious slave-power which has so long ruled the republic with a
rod of iron, for its own base and satanic purposes."

The singular tact and sagacity of the pioneer in this emergency may be
again seen in a letter to Oliver Johnson, who was at the time editing
the _Anti-Slavery Standard_. Says the pioneer: "Now that civil war has
begun, and a whirlwind of violence and excitement is to sweep through
the country, every day increasing in interest until its bloodiest
culmination, it is for the Abolitionists to 'stand still and see the
salvation of God,' rather than to attempt to add anything to the general
commotion. It is no time for minute criticism of Lincoln, Republicanism,
or even the other parties, now that they are fusing, for a death-grapple
with the Southern slave oligarchy; for they are instruments in the hands
of God to carry forward and help achieve the great object of
emancipation for which we have so long been striving.... We need great
circumspection and consummate wisdom in regard to what we may say and do
under these unparalleled circumstances. We are rather, for the time
being, to note the events transpiring than seek to control them. There
must be no needless turning of popular violence upon ourselves by any
false step of our own."

The circumspection, the tact, and sagacity which marked his conduct at
the beginning of the rebellion characterized it to the close of the war,
albeit at no time doing or saying aught to compromise his anti-slavery
principle of total and immediate emancipation. On the contrary, he
urged, early and late, upon Congress and the President the exercise of
the war power to put an end for ever to slavery. Radical Abolitionists
like Stephen S. Foster were for denying to the Administration
anti-slavery support and countenance, and for continuing to heap upon
the Government their denunciations until it placed itself "openly and
unequivocally on the side of freedom," by issuing the edict of
emancipation. Against this zeal without discretion Garrison warmly
protested. "I cannot say that I do not sympathize with the Government,"
said he, "as against Jefferson Davis and his piratical associates. There
is not a drop of blood in my veins, both as an Abolitionist and a peace
man, that does not flow with the Northern tide of sentiment; for I see,
in this grand uprising of the manhood of the North, which has been so
long groveling in the dust, a growing appreciation of the value of
liberty and free institutions, and a willingness to make any sacrifice
in their defence against the barbaric and tyrannical power which avows
its purpose, if it can, to crush them entirely out of existence. When
the Government shall succeed (if it shall succeed) in conquering a
peace, in subjugating the South, and shall undertake to carry out the
Constitution as of old, with all its pro-slavery compromises, then will
be my time to criticise, reprove, and condemn; then will be the time for
me to open all the guns that I can bring to bear upon it. But blessed be
God that 'covenant with death' has been annulled, and that 'agreement
with hell' no longer stands. I joyfully accept the fact, and leave all
verbal criticism until a more suitable opportunity."

But it must be confessed that at times during the struggle, Lincoln's
timidity and apparent indifference as to the fate of slavery, in his
anxiety to save the Union, weakened Garrison's confidence in him, and
excited his keenest apprehensions "at the possibility of the war
terminating without the utter extinction of slavery, by a new and more
atrocious compromise on the part of the North than any that has yet been
made." The pioneer therefore adjudged it prudent to get his battery into
position and to visit upon the President for particular acts, such as
the revocation of anti-slavery orders by sundry of his generals in the
field, and upon particular members of his Cabinet who were understood to
be responsible for the shuffling, hesitating action of the Government in
its relation to slavery, an effective fire of criticism and rebuke.

Nevertheless Mr. Garrison maintained toward the Government a uniform
tone of sympathy and moderation. "I hold," said he, in reply to
strictures of Mr. Phillips upon the President at the annual meeting of
the Massachusetts Society in 1862; "I hold that it is not wise for us to
be too microscopic in endeavoring to find disagreeable and annoying
things, still less to assume that everything is waxing worse and worse,
and that there is little or no hope." He himself was full of hope which
no shortcomings of the Government was able to quench. He was besides
beginning to understand the perplexities which beset the administration,
to appreciate the problem which confronted the great statesman who was
at the head of the nation. He was getting a clear insight into the
workings of Lincoln's mind, and into the causes which gave to his
political pilotage an air of timidity and indecision.

"Supposing Mr. Lincoln could answer to-night," continued the pioneer in
reply to his less patient and hopeful coadjutors, "and we should say to
him: 'Sir, with the power in your hands, slavery being the cause of the
rebellion beyond all controversy, why don't you put the trump of jubilee
to your lips, and proclaim universal freedom?'--possibly he might
answer: 'Gentlemen, I understand this matter quite as well as you do. I
do not know that I differ in opinion from you; but will you insure me
the support of a united North if I do as you bid me? Are all parties and
all sects at the North so convinced and so united on this point that
they will stand by the Government? If so, give me the evidence of it,
and I will strike the blow. But, gentlemen, looking over the entire
North, and seeing in all your towns and cities papers representing a
considerable, if not a formidable portion of the people, menacing and
bullying the Government in case it dared to liberate the slaves, even as
a matter of self-preservation, I do not feel that the hour has yet come
that will render it safe for the Government to take that step.' I am
willing to believe that something of this kind weighs in the mind of the
President and the Cabinet, and that there is some ground for hesitancy
as a mere matter of political expediency." This admirable and
discriminating support of the President finds another capital
illustration in weighty words of his in answer to animadversions of
Prof. Francis W. Newman, of England, directed against Mr. Lincoln. Says
Garrison: "In no instance, however, have I censured him (Lincoln) for
not acting upon the highest abstract principles of justice and humanity,
and disregarding his Constitutional obligations. His freedom to follow
his convictions of duty as an individual is one thing--as the President
of the United States, it is limited by the functions of his office, for
the people do not elect a President to play the part of reformer or
philanthropist, nor to enforce upon the nation his own peculiar ethical
or humanitary ideas without regard to his oath or their will."

Great indeed was the joy of the pioneer when President Lincoln on
January 1, 1863, issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The same
sagacious and statesmanlike handling of men and things distinguished his
conduct after the edict of freedom was made as before. When the question
of Reconstruction was broached in an administrative initiative in
Louisiana, the President gave great offence to the more radical members
of his party, and to many Abolitionists by his proposal to readmit
Louisiana to Statehood in the Union with no provision for the extension
of the suffrage to the negro. This exhibition of the habitual caution
and conservatism of Mr. Lincoln brought upon him a storm of criticism
and remonstrances, but not from Garrison. There was that in him which
appreciated and approved the evident disposition of the President to
make haste slowly in departing from the American principle of local
self-government even in the interest of liberty. Then, too, he had his
misgivings in relation to the virtue of the fiat method of transforming
chattels into citizens. "Chattels personal may be instantly translated
from the auction-block into freemen," he remarked in defence of the
administrative policy in the reconstruction of Louisiana, "but when were
they ever taken at the same time to the ballot-box, and invested with
all political rights and immunities? According to the laws of
development and progress it is not practicable.... Besides, I doubt
whether he has the Constitutional right to decide this matter. Ever
since the Government was organized, the right of suffrage has been
determined by each State in the Union for itself, so that there is no
uniformity in regard to it.

" ... In honestly seeking to preserve the Union, it is not for President
Lincoln to seek, by a special edict applied to a particular State or
locality, to do violence to a universal rule, accepted and acted upon
from the beginning till now by the States in their individual
sovereignty.... Nor, if the freed blacks were admitted to the polls by
Presidential fiat do I see any permanent advantage likely to be secured
by it; for, submitted to as a necessity at the outset, as soon as the
State was organized and left to manage its own affairs, the white
population with their superior intelligence, wealth, and power, would
unquestionably alter the franchise in accordance with their prejudices,
and exclude those thus summarily brought to the polls. Coercion would
gain nothing." A very remarkable prophecy, which has since been exactly
fulfilled in the Southern States. Garrison, however, in the subsequent
struggle between Congress and Mr. Lincoln's successor over this selfsame
point in its wider relation to all of the Southern States, took sides
against Andrew Johnson and in favor of the Congressional fiat method of
transforming chattels personal into citizens. The elimination of Abraham
Lincoln from, and the introduction of Andrew Johnson upon the National
stage at this juncture, did undoubtedly effect such a change of
circumstances, as to make the Congressional fiat method a political
necessity. It was distinctly the less of two evils which at the moment
was thrust upon the choice of the Northern people.

The same breadth and liberality of view, which marked his treatment of
Mr. Lincoln upon the subject of emancipation and of that of
reconstruction, marked his treatment also of other questions which the
suppression of the rebellion presented to his consideration. Although a
radical peace man, how just was his attitude toward the men and the
measures of the War for the Union. Nothing that he did evinced on his
part greater tact or toleration than his admirable behavior in this
respect. To his eldest son, George Thompson, who was no adherent of the
doctrine of non-resistance, and who was commissioned by Governor Andrew,
a second lieutenant in the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, the
pioneer wrote expressing his regret that the young lieutenant had not
been able "to adopt those principles of peace which are so sacred and
divine to my soul, yet you will bear me witness that I have not laid a
straw in your way to prevent your acting up to your own highest
convictions of duty." Such was precisely his attitude toward the North
who, he believed, in waging war against the South for the maintenance of
the Union, was acting up to her own highest convictions of duty. And not
a straw would he place across her path, under those circumstances,
though every step bore witness to one of the most gigantic and
destructive wars in history.

Garrison did not have to wait for posthumous appreciation from his
countrymen. His steady and discriminating support of the Government, and
his ardent sympathy with the arms of the North won him appreciation in
his lifetime. Indeed, there came to him, if not popularity, something
closely akin to it during the war. His visit to the capital in June,
1864, well illustrates the marvelous changes which had taken place in
the Union touching himself and his cause. On his way to Washington the
pioneer stopped over at Baltimore, which he had not revisited for
thirty-four years, and where the Republican Convention, which
renominated Lincoln was in session. He watched the proceedings from the
gallery, and witnessed with indescribable emotions the enthusiastic
demonstrations of joy with which the whole body of delegates greeted the
radical anti-slavery resolution of the Convention. To the reformer it
was "a full indorsement of all the Abolition fanaticism and
incendiarism" with which he had been branded for years. The jail where
he had been held a prisoner for seven weeks, like the evil which he had
denounced, was gone, and a new one stood in its place, which knew not
Garrison. In the court-house where he was tried and sentenced he was
received by a United States judge as an illustrious visitor. Judge Bond
hunted up the old indictment against the junior editor of the _Genius of
Universal Emancipation_, where it had lain for a generation, during
which that guiltless prisoner had started a movement which had shaken
the nation by its mighty power, and slavery out of it. "Eight or nine of
the original jurymen who gave the verdict against Mr. Garrison are still
living," wrote Theodore Tilton, at the time, to the _Independent_, "and
Judge Bond jocosely threatened to summon them all into Court, that Mr.
Garrison might forgive them in public."

At Washington the pioneer's reception seemed to him like a dream. And no
wonder. He was heartily received by President Lincoln and Secretary
Stanton. He was accorded the most marked attentions on the floor of both
branches of Congress. On every side there rose up witnesses to the
vastness of the revolution which had taken place, and to the fact that
the great Abolitionist was no longer esteemed an enemy of the Republic
but one of its illustrious citizens. This was evinced in a signal and
memorable manner a little later when the National Government extended to
him an invitation to visit Fort Sumter as its guest on the occasion of
the re-raising over it of the Stars and Stripes. He went, and so also
went George Thompson, his lifelong friend and coadjutor, who was the
recipient of a similar invitation from the Secretary of War.

This visit of Mr. Garrison, taken in all its dramatic features, is more
like a chapter of fiction, with its strange and improbable incidents and
situations, than a story of real life. The pioneer entered Georgia and
trod the streets of Savannah, whose legislature thirty-three years
before had set a price upon his head. In Charleston he witnessed the
vast ruin which the war had wrought, realized how tremendous had been
the death-struggle between Freedom and Slavery, and saw everywhere he
turned that slavery was beaten, was dead in its proud, rebellious
center. Thousands upon thousands of the people whose wrongs he had made
his own, whose woes he had carried in his soul for thirty-five years,
greeted him, their deliverer, in all stages of joy and thanksgiving.
They poured out at his feet their overflowing love and gratitude. They
covered him with flowers, bunches of jessamines, and honeysuckles and
roses in the streets of Charleston, hard by the grave where Calhoun lay
buried. "'Only listen to that in Charleston streets!' exclaimed
Garrison, on hearing the band of one of the black regiments playing the
air of 'Old John Brown', and we both broke into tears," relates Rev.
Theodore L. Cuyler, who stood by the side of the pioneer that April
morning under the spire of St. Michael's church.

"The Government has its hold upon the throat of the monster, slavery,"
Mr. Garrison assured an audience of nearly four thousand freedmen, "and
is strangling the life out of it." It was even so. Richmond had fallen,
and Lee had surrendered. The early and total collapse of the rebellion
was impending. The Government was, indeed, strangling the life out of it
and out of slavery, its cause and mainspring. The monster had, however,
a crowning horror to add to a long list of horrors before fetching its
last gasp. The assassination of President Lincoln was the dying blow of
slavery, aimed through him at the Union which he had maintained.
Appalling as was the deed, it was vain, for the Union was saved, and
liberty forever secured to the new-born nation. As Garrison remarked at
the tomb of Calhoun, on the morning that Lincoln died, "Down into a
deeper grave than this slavery has gone, and for it there is no



"Garrison," said George Thompson on the steamer which was conveying the
Government party out of Charleston Harbor on their return trip;
"Garrison you began your warfare at the North in the face of rotten eggs
and brickbats. Behold you end it at Charleston on a bed of roses!" The
period of persecution had indeed ended, the reign of missiles had
ceased, but with the roses there came to the pioneer not a few thorns.
Bitter was the sorrow which visited him in the winter of 1863. Without
warning his wife was on the night of December 29th, stricken with
paralysis, which crippled her for the rest of her life. No words can
adequately express all that she had been to the reformer in his struggle
with slavery. She was a providential woman raised up to be the wife and
helpmate of her husband, the strenuous man of God. "As a wife for a
period of more than twenty-six years," he wrote her on the completion of
her fiftieth year, "you have left nothing undone to smooth the rugged
pathway of my public career--to render home the all-powerful magnet of
attraction, and the focal point of domestic enjoyment--to make my
welfare and happiness at all times a matter of tender solicitude--and to
demonstrate the depth and fixedness of that love which you so long ago
plighted to me.... Whatever of human infirmity we may have seen in each
other, I believe few have enjoyed more unalloyed bliss in wedded life
than ourselves." For twelve years after that sad December night the
lovely invalid was the object of her husband's most tender and assiduous
care. And when at last she left him in January, 1876, the loneliness
which fell upon his heart seemed more than he could bear.

Differences with old associates was a grievous thorn which came to the
pioneer during the progress of the war. The first marked disagreement
between him and them occurred at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts
Anti-Slavery Society not a month after his wife's prostration. The clash
came between the leader and his great coadjutor Wendell Phillips over a
resolution introduced by the latter, condemning the Government and
declaring its readiness "to sacrifice the interest and honor of the
North to secure a sham peace." Garrison objected to the severity of this
charge. He believed that there was but one party at the North of which
it was true, and that was the party of Copperheads. He endeavored,
therefore, to modify the harshness of the resolution by giving it a more
moderate tone. But the anti-Lincoln feeling of the Convention proved too
strong for his resistance, and Mr. Phillips's resolution was finally
adopted as the sentiment of the society.

The discordant note thus struck grew sharper and louder during the year.
The divergence of views in the ranks of the Abolitionists touching the
Southern policy of the Administration grew wider, until the subject of
Mr. Lincoln's renomination sundered the little band into two wings--one
for renomination, headed by Garrison, the other against renomination,
and led by Phillips. These differences presently developed into, if not
positive antagonism, then something closely akin to it between the two
wings and the two leaders. No little heat was generated from the strong,
sharp things said on both sides. Garrison was wiser than Phillips in his
unwillingness to have the country, in the homely speech of the
President, "swap horses while crossing a stream."

Serious differences of opinion sprang up also between the two leaders
and the two wings in relation to the proper time for dissolving the
anti-slavery organizations. Garrison held on one side that this time had
come with the adoption of the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery,
while Phillips held on the other that the societies should continue
their operations until the negro was invested with the right to vote.
And here it seems that Phillips was wiser than Garrison in his purpose
not to abandon in 1865 the old machinery for influencing public
sentiment in the negro's interest.

At the anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in May, 1865,
Garrison contended for its dissolution, declaring that "Nothing is more
clear in my own mind, nothing has ever been more clear, than that this
is the fitting time to dissolve our organization, and to mingle with the
millions of our fellow-countrymen in one common effort to establish
justice and liberty throughout the land." For two days the debate upon
this question raged in the convention, but when the vote was taken it
was found that a large majority of the delegates agreed with Mr.
Phillips. Mr. Garrison was, nevertheless, reëlected President, but
declined and withdrew from the society. The controversy was renewed at
the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in January,
1866. But here again a large majority voted against dissolution. Warm
words fell from both Garrison and Phillips and their respective
supporters, which tried sorely the friendship of the two leaders.

In accordance with his views touching the discontinuance of the
anti-slavery societies, Garrison discontinued the publication of the
_Liberator_ after the completion of its thirty-fifth volume in December,
1865. He did not mean by this act to cease his labors for the negro. Far
from it. For he, like Phillips, stood for his absolute equality before
the law. But he perceived that old things had passed away, and with them
the need of the old instruments, and that what remained to be done for
the black man required to be done with new means. "The object," said he
in his valedictory, "for which the _Liberator_ was commenced, the
extermination of chattel slavery, having been gloriously consummated, it
seems to me specially appropriate to let its existence cover the
historic period of the great struggle; leaving what remains to be done
to complete the work of emancipation to other instrumentalites (of which
I hope to avail myself), under new auspices, with more abundant means,
and with millions instead of hundreds for allies."

With the discontinuance of the _Liberator_ Garrison's occupation, from
which he had derived a regular though somewhat uncertain income for the
support of his family, was gone. He was not in destitute circumstances,
however, thanks to the generosity of friends, who had already secured
him the home in Roxbury, where he spent the remaining years of his life.
He had also been one of the legatees under the will of Charles F. Hovey,
who left about forty thousand dollars to the anti-slavery cause. But the
age of the reformer, he was then sixty, and the state of his health,
which was much impaired, together with the helplessness of his wife,
made some provision for his and her support, other than the little which
he possessed, a matter of anxious thought on the part of himself and his
friends. He had given thirty-five years of his life to the public good.
His services to his country and to the world were above all price, all
money considerations. It was felt that to him who had given so much to
the world, the world should in his need make some substantial
acknowledgement in return.

Some of his countrymen, accordingly, conceived the plan of a national
testimonial to the philanthropist, which should ensure to him during the
rest of his life a competence.

A committee having this end in view was organized March 28, 1866, at the
house of Dr. Henry I. Bowditch. John A. Andrew, who was its chairman,
wrote the address to the public, to which were appended the chief names
in the politics and literature of the land. Nearly two years afterward,
on March 10, 1868, the committee were able to place in Mr. Garrison's
hands the handsome sum of thirty-one thousand dollars with a promise of
possibly one or two thousand more a little later. To the energy and
devotedness of one man, the Rev. Samuel May, Jr., more than to any
other, and perhaps than all others put together, this noble achievement
was due. The pioneer was deeply moved at the high and generous character
of the recognition accorded his labors. "Little, indeed, did I know or
anticipate how prolonged or how virulent would be the struggle," said he
in his reply to the committee, "when I lifted up the standard of
immediate emancipation, and essayed to rouse the nation to a sense of
its guilt and danger. But having put my hands to the plow, how could I
look back? For, in a cause so righteous, I could not doubt that, having
turned the furrows, if I sowed in tears I should one day reap in joy.
But, whether permitted to live to witness the abolition of slavery or
not, I felt assured that, as I demanded nothing that was not clearly in
accordance with justice and humanity, sometime or other, if remembered
at all, I should stand vindicated in the eyes of my countrymen." The
names of John Bright, John Stuart Mill, William E. Foster, and Samuel
Morley, among the contributors to the fund, lent to the testimonial an
international character.

In May, 1867, Garrison went abroad the fourth time, and traveled in
Great Britain and on the Continent. Everywhere that he went he was
received as an illustrious visitor and as a benefactor of mankind. At a
breakfast in London which "was intended to commemorate one of the
greatest of the great triumphs of freedom, and to do honor to a most
eminent instrument in the achievement of that freedom," and at which
were gathered the genius, the wealth, and aristocracy of England and
Scotland, John Bright, who presided, welcomed the illustrious guest
"with a cordiality which knows no stint and no limit for him and for his
noble associates, both men and women," and ventured to speak a verdict
which he believed would be sanctioned by all mankind, viz., that
"William Lloyd Garrison and his fellow-laborers in that world's
work--are they not

  "On Fame's eternal bead-roll worthy to be filed?"

With the discontinuance of the _Liberator_ Garrison's active career came
to a close. But his sympathetic interest in the freedmen, temperance,
the cause of women, and in other reformatory enterprises continued
unabated. He watched with stern and vigilant eye, and bleeding heart the
new rebellion at the South whose purpose was the nullification of the
civil and political rights of the blacks, and the overthrow of the
military rule of the National Government in the Southern States. He did
not see what time has since made clear that a genuine reconstruction of
the South, and the ultimate solution of the Southern problem had, in
accordance with social laws, to proceed from within, from the South
itself, not from without and from Washington. The old fire again burned
in his speech as tidings of the violence of the whites and the
sufferings of the blacks reached him from the former slave section.
Indeed, the last written words of his, addressed to the public, were
words in defence of the race to whose freedom he had devoted his
life--words which, trumpet-tongued raised anew the rallying-cry of
"Liberty and equal rights for each, for all, and for ever, wherever the
lot of man is cast within our broad domains!"

True to his grand motto "My country is the world! my countrymen are all
mankind," he espoused the cause of the Chinese, and denounced the
National policy of excluding them on the ground of race from the
republic but a few months before his death. The anti-Chinese movement
appeared to him "narrow, conceited, selfish, anti-human,
anti-Christian." "Against this hateful spirit of caste," wrote the dying
philanthropist, "I have earnestly protested for the last fifty years,
wherever it has developed itself, especially in the case of another
class, for many generations still more contemned, degraded, and
oppressed; and the time has fully come to deal with it as an offence to
God, and a curse to the world wherever it seeks to bear sway."

On the same grand principle of human fraternity Mr. Garrison dealt with
the questions of trade and tariffs also. He believed in liberty, civil,
religious, and commercial. He was in fact a radical free trader on moral
and humanitary grounds. "He is the most sagacious political economist,"
was a remark of his, "who contends for the highest justice, the most
far-reaching equality, a close adherence to natural laws, and the
removal of all those restrictions which foster national pride and
selfishness." And here is another like unto it: "Believing that the
interests of the American people in no wise materially differ from those
of the people of any other country, and denying the rectitude or
feasibility of building ourselves up at their expense by an exclusive
policy, obstructing the natural flow of material exchanges, I avow
myself to be a radical free trader, even to the extent of desiring the
abolition of all custom-houses, as now constituted, throughout the
world. That event is far distant, undoubtedly, but I believe it will
come with the freedom and enlightenment of mankind. My faith is absolute
that it will prove advantageous to every branch of industry, whether at
home or abroad."

The closing years of the reformer's life were years of great bodily
suffering. A disease of the kidneys and a chronic catarrh of the head
made steady inroads upon the resources of his constitution, made life at
times a wheel on which he was racked with physical tortures, all of
which he bore with the utmost fortitude and serenity of spirit. "The
longer I live, the longer I desire to live," he wrote Samuel J. May,
"and the more I see the desirableness of living; yet certainly not in
this frail body, but just as it shall please the dear Father of us all."
One by one he saw the little band of which he was leader dwindle as now
one and now another dropped by the way. And it was he or Mr. Phillips,
or both, who spoke the last loving words over their coffins. As the
little band passed on to the unseen country, a new joy awoke in the soul
of the leader left behind, the joy of anticipation, of glad reunion
beyond the grave. "How unspeakably pleasant it will be to greet them,
and to be greeted by them on the other side of the line," it seemed to
him as he, too, began to descend toward the shore of the swift, silent
river. The deep, sweet love for his mother returned with youthful
freshness and force to him, the man of seventy-three years, at the
thought of coming again into her presence. A strange yearning was
tugging at his heart for all the dear ones gone before. The fond mother,
who had watched over his childhood, and the fond wife, who had been the
stay of his manhood, were the first two whom he yearned to meet after
crossing the river. The joyous thought of his approaching meeting with
those white-souled women cheered and comforted the reformer amid
excruciating physical sufferings. Worn out by heroic and Herculean
labors for mankind and by a complication of diseases, he more and more
longed for rest, to go home to beloved ones as he expressed it. To the
question, "What do you want, Mr. Garrison?" asked by the attending
physician on the day before his death, he replied, weariedly, "To finish
it up!" And this he did at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Villard,
in New York, in the midst of children and grandchildren, near midnight,
on May 24, 1879.

"While that ear could listen," said Wendell Phillips over the
illustrious champion of liberty as he lay dead in the old church in
Roxbury; "While that ear could listen, God gave what he has rarely given
to man, the plaudits and prayers of four millions of victims." But as he
lay there he had, besides, the plaudits and praise of an emancipated
nation. The plaudits and praise of an emancipated race, mingling
melodiously with those of an emancipated nation made noble music about
his bier. In the city, where forty-three years before he was mobbed, the
flags floated at half-mast in his honor; and on Beacon Hill, where the
Government once desired his destruction, the voice of appreciation was
heard and tokens of the State's sorrow met the eye. Great in life great
also in death was William Lloyd Garrison.

  "Men of a thousand shifts and wiles, look here!
  See one straightforward conscience put in pawn
  To win a world; see the obedient sphere
  By bravery's simple gravitation drawn!

  Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old,
  And by the present's lips repeated still,
  In our own single manhood to be bold,
  Fortressed in conscience and impregnable will?"


Adams, Charles Francis,                                      372.

Adams, John Quincy,                                          54, 250-251.

Adams, Nehemiah,                                             278.

Adams, William,                                              292.

Alcott, A. Bronson,                                          90, 91, 134.

American Anti-Slavery Society,                               174, 311, 340,
                                                             373, 387.

Andover Seminary,                                            190.

Andrew, John A.,                                             381, 389.

Annexation of Texas,                                         335.

_Anti-Slavery Standard_,                                     299.

Atchison, David,                                             338, 374.

Attucks, Crispus,                                            227.

Bacon, Leonard W.,                                           162.

Bartlett, Ezekiel,                                           18, 20.

Beecher, Lyman,                                              110, 111, 161,
                                                             189, 190, 269.

Benson, George,                                              194, 263.

Benson, George W.,                                           168, 178, 234,
                                                             260, 281.

Benson, Henry E.,                                            212, 263.

Benton, Thomas H.,                                           105-106, 252,

Bird, Frank W.,                                              361.

Birney, James G.,                                            203, 298, 320.

Bond, Judge,                                                 382.

Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society,                          217, 233, 240.

Bourne, Rev. George,                                         108, 203.

Bowditch, Henry I.,                                          233, 349, 389.

Bright, John,                                                390, 391.

Brooks, Preston S.,                                          359.

Brown, John,                                                 365-368.

Buffum, Arnold,                                              139, 177.

Burleigh, Charles C.,                                        221, 223, 235.

Buxton, Thomas Fowell,                                       152, 154, 204.

Calhoun, John C.,                                            246, 252, 315,
                                                             335, 336, 337,
                                                             352, 353, 384.

Campbell, John Reid,                                         225.

Channing, Dr. W.E.,                                          110, 111, 256,

Chapman, Maria Weston,                                       223, 258, 259,
                                                             277, 292.

Chase, Salmon P.,                                            338.

Child, David Lee,                                            134, 136, 138,

Child, Lydia Maria,                                          186, 203, 210,
                                                             277, 292, 309.

Clay, Henry,                                                 339, 348.

Clerical Appeal,                                             282.

Clarkson, Thomas,                                            155, 303.

Coffin, Joshua,                                              139, 198.

Cobb, Howell,                                                338.

Collier, Rev. William,                                       40.

Collins, John A.,                                            298, 299, 300,

Colonization Society,                                        60, 72,
                                                             144-156, 162.

Colored Seaman,                                              313-314.

Colorphobia,                                                 157-169.

Colver, Nathaniel,                                           303.

_Commercial Advertiser_, New York,                           170.

_Courier_, Boston,                                           128, 129, 217.

_Courier and Enquirer_, New York,                            171.

Corwin, Thomas,                                              372.

Cox, Abraham L.,                                             185, 203, 209.

Crandall, Prudence,                                          165-168, 199.

Cresson, Elliott,                                            150, 151, 153.

Cropper, James,                                              154, 205.

Curtin, Andrew G.,                                           372.

Curtis, Benjamin R.,                                         354.

Cuyler, Rev. Theodore L.,                                    384.

Davis, Jefferson,                                            338, 376.

Disunion Convention at Worcester,                            361-363.

Dole, Ebenezer,                                              86.

Douglas, Stephen A.,                                         353, 365.

Douglass, Frederick,                                         300, 344.

Dred Scott Case,                                             364.

Duncan, Rev, James,                                          108-109.

_Emancipator, The_,                                          283, 285, 286,

Emerson, Ralph Waldo,                                        281.

_Evening Post_, New York,                                    208.

Everett, Edward,                                             30, 31, 243,

Farnham, Martha,                                             16.

Fessenden, Samuel,                                           141, 148.

Follen, Prof. Charles,                                       201, 203, 247.

Forten, James,                                               144.

Foster, Stephen S.,                                          310, 375.

Foster, William E.,                                          390.

Frémont, John C.,                                            361.

_Free Press_,                                                27, 34.

Fugitive Slave Law, effect of,                               345-347.

Fugitive Slaves, The Crafts, Shadrach, Sims, Burns,          349.

Fuller, John E.,                                             219.

Furness, Rev. W.H.,                                          344.

Garrison, Abijah,                                            12-15, 18.

Garrison, Charles Follen,                                    331-332.

Garrison, Francis Jackson,                                   330.

Garrison, George Thompson,                                   381.

Garrison, Helen Eliza,                                       194-196, 219,
                                                             297, 331,

Garrison, James,                                             19, 20,

Garrison, Joseph,                                            11, 12.

Garrison, Wendell Phillips,                                  297.

Garrison, William Lloyd,

  Early years,                                               11-26;

  Publishes _Free Press,_                                    27-34;

  seeks work in Boston,                                      35;

  nominates Harrison Gray Otis for Congress,                 35-36;

  temperance and the _Philanthropist_,                       39-44;

  meets Lundy,                                               44;

  early attitude on the slavery question,                    46-50;

  on war,                                                    51;

  first experience with ministers on the subject of slavery, 52;

  Anti-slavery Committee of twenty,                          53;

  goes to Bennington, Vt., to edit the
    _Journal of the Times_,                                  54-55;

  monster anti-slavery petition to Congress,                 55;

  anticipates trouble with the South,                        56;

  begins to preach freedom,                                  56-57;

  agrees to help Lundy edit the _Genius of Universal
    Emancipation_,                                           58;

  Congregational Societies of Boston invite him to
    deliver Fourth-of-July oration,                          60;

  the address,                                               61-67;

  goes to Baltimore,                                         69;

  raises the standard of immediate emancipation,             70;

  Lundy and he agree to differ,                              71;

  defends Free People of Color,                              73-74;

  makes acquaintance with barbarism of slavery,              74;

  ship _Francis_ and Francis Todd,                           75-77;

  prosecuted and imprisoned,                                 77-83;

  released,                                                  83;

  visits the North,                                          84;

  returns to Baltimore but leaves it again for good,         87;

  lectures on slavery,                                       88-91;

  character,                                                 92-94;

  incarnation of immediate emancipation,                     109;

  Dr. Lyman Beecher,                                         110-111;

  difficulties in the way of publishing the _Liberator_,     112-115;

  his method of attacking slavery,                           118;

  he is heard,                                               120;

  Walker's appeal,                                           121-122;

  Nat Turner,                                                125-126;

  southern excitement,                                       127-128;

  New England Anti-Slavery Society,                          137-138;

  appointed agent,                                           141;

  thoughts on African colonization,                          143-150;

  first visit to England,                                    152-156;

  Mr. Buxton's mistake,                                      152;

  prejudice against color,                                   157;

  Prudence Crandall,                                         166, 168;

  organization of New York City Anti-Slavery Society and
    beginning of the mob period,                             170-172;

  formation of American Anti-Slavery Society,                174-185;

  declaration of sentiments,                                 182-184;

  increased agitation,                                       185-186;

  marriage,                                                  193;

  the wife,                                                  194-196;

  poverty of the _Liberator_,                                197-200;

  the paper displeases friends,                              201-204;

  George Thompson,                                           204-206;

  Faneuil Hall meeting to put the Abolitionists down,        211-215;

  gallows for two,                                           215-216;

  the Broad-Cloth Mob,                                       218-232;

  Thompson leaves the country,                               238;

  appears before a committee of Massachusetts legislature,   245-246;

  Pennsylvania Hall,                                         257-260;

  Marlboro Chapel,                                           260-261;

  ill health,                                                263;

  Educational Convention of anti-slavery agents,             264-265;

  the Sabbath question,                                      265-272;

  The woman's question,                                      273-280;

  clerical appeal,                                           282-285;

  anti-slavery political action,                             286-288;

  conflict between the New York and the Boston boards,       289-291;

  the World's Convention,                                    292-295;

  visit to Scotland,                                         295-296;

  in the lecture field,                                      300-301;

  his brother James,                                         302-303;

  meets charges of infidelity,                               303-304;

  Irish Address,                                             304-305;

  no union with slaveholders,                                306-312;

  Texas agitation,                                           316-318;

  dislikes Liberty party,                                    319-323;

  some characteristics,                                      326-334;

  the Rynders Mob,                                           340-344;

  publicly burns the United States Constitution,             354;

  answers objections to his disunionism,                     362-363;

  Harper's Ferry,                                            365-367;

  secession: first attitude to it,                           370-373;

  second attitude,                                           373;

  adapts himself to circumstances,                           373-381;

  Lincoln and emancipation,                                  379;

  visits Baltimore, Washington, Charleston,                  381-384;

  illness and death of his wife,                             385-386;

  differences with anti-slavery associates,                  386-388;

  discontinues the _Liberator_,                              388;

  national testimonial,                                      389-390;

  fourth visit to England,                                   390-391;

  champions cause of Southern negroes,                       391;

  champions cause of Chinese,                                392;

  believes in Free Trade,                                    392-393;

  illness and death,                                         393-395.

Garrison, William Lloyd, Jr.,                                297.

_Gazette_, Boston,                                           217.

_Genius of Universal Emancipation_,                          58, 69, 71-75.

Gibbons, James S.,                                           309.

Giddings, Joshua R.,                                         338.

Goodell, William,                                            149, 203, 247,

Green, William, Jr.,                                         184.

Grimké, Angelina E.,                                         235, 258-259.

Grimké, Sisters,                                             275-280.

Hale, John P.,                                               338, 350.

Hamilton, Alexander,                                         104.

Hamlin, Hannibal,                                            338.

Haydon, Benjamin Robert,                                     294, 295.

Hayne, Robert Y.,                                            209.

_Herald_, Newburyport,                                       21, 26.

_Herald_, New York,                                          340, 341.

Higginson, T.W.,                                             358-359, 361.

Hoar, Samuel,                                                314.

Horton, Jacob,                                               61.

Hovey, Charles F.,                                           389.

Jackson, Francis,                                            233, 240-241,
                                                             311-312, 317,
                                                             341, 344.

Jewett, Daniel E.,                                           175.

Jocelyn, Rev. Simeon Smith,                                  203.

Johnson, Andrew,                                             380.

Johnson, Oliver,                                             114, 134, 137,
                                                             139, 160-161,

_Journal_, Camden (S.C.),                                    128.

_Journal_, Louisville (Ky.),                                 120.

Kansas, Struggle over,                                       357-358.

Kelley, Abby,                                                259, 291, 310.

Kimball, David T.,                                           175.

Knapp, Isaac,                                                113, 127, 139,
                                                             197, 200, 265,

Kneeland, Abner,                                             90, 268.

Lane Seminary,                                               189.

Latimer, George,                                             312.

Leavitt, Joshua,                                             149, 320, 329.

Leggett, Samuel,                                             86.

_Liberator, The_,                                            111-120,
                                                             126-129, 131,
                                                             141, 163, 165,
                                                             169, 176,
                                                             197-204, 236,
                                                             237, 265, 284,
                                                             297, 327-329,

Lincoln, Abraham,                                            365, 370, 375,
                                                             376, 377, 378,
                                                             379, 380, 382,

Lloyd, Fanny,                                                13-20, 24-26,

Longfellow, Stephen,                                         148.

Loring, Edward Greeley,                                      354.

Loring, Ellis Grey,                                          134, 135, 136,
                                                             138, 245, 264.

Lovejoy, Elijah P.,                                          254-257.

Lowell, James Russell,                                       136, 329.

Lumpkin, Wilson,                                             128.

Lundy, Benjamin,                                             44, 45, 46,
                                                             48-54, 57,
                                                             58, 69, 71,
                                                             72, 75, 108,

Lunt, George,                                                244, 247, 248.

Lyman, Theodore,                                             223, 224, 227,

Macaulay, Zachary,                                           154.

Malcolm, Rev. Howard,                                        52.

Martineau, Harriet,                                          94, 240.

Mason, James M.,                                             338.

Mason, Jeremiah,                                             111.

Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society,                          265, 280, 297,

Mathew, Father,                                              304, 305.

May, Samuel, Jr.,                                            325, 389.

May, Samuel J.,                                              90, 93, 94,
                                                             134, 166, 167,
                                                             179, 180, 186,
                                                             199, 245, 272,
                                                             289, 393.

McDowell, James,                                             124, 125.

McKim, James Miller,                                         149.

McDuffie, Governor,                                          243, 246.

_Mercury_, Charleston,                                       126,

Mill, John Stuart,                                           390.

Missouri Compromise, Repeal of,                              352-354.

Moore, Esther,                                               259.

Morley, Samuel,                                              390,

Mott, Lucretia,                                              178, 259, 292,

_National Intelligencer_,                                    128.

New England Anti-Slavery Society,                            137-141, 200,
                                                             280, 311.

_New England Spectator_,                                     282.

Newman, Prof. Francis W.,                                    378.

O'Connell, Daniel,                                           154, 170, 171,

Otis, Harrison Gray,                                         35, 129, 130,
                                                             131, 213, 214,

Palmer, Daniel,                                              11.

Palmer, Mary,                                                11, 12.

Parker, Mary S.,                                             222, 234.

Parker, Theodore,                                            121, 349, 350,

Pastoral Letter,                                             277.

Paxton, Rev. J.D.,                                           186.

Pease, Elizabeth,                                            303, 331, 346.

Pennsylvania Hall,                                           257-260.

Phelps, Amos A.,                                             149, 186, 203,
                                                             278, 280, 288.

Phillips Academy (Andover),                                  190.

Phillips, Ann Green,                                         292, 293.

Phillips, Wendell,                                           190, 257, 310,
                                                             317, 323, 326,
                                                             344, 346-347,
                                                             349, 351, 386,
                                                             387, 388, 393,

Pillsbury, Parker,                                           310,

Prentice, George D.,                                         120.

Purvis, Robert,                                              144, 162, 178.

Quincy, Edmund,                                              299, 310, 316,
                                                             323, 324, 325,
                                                             326, 327-329.

Quincy, Josiah,                                              347.

Rankin, John,                                                177.

Remond, Charles Lenox,                                       293, 295, 304.

Rhett, Barnwell,                                             338.

Rogers, Nathaniel P.,                                        149, 293, 295,

Rynders, Isaiah,                                             341-344.

Scoble, Rev. John,                                           294.

Sewall, Samuel E.,                                           90, 91, 134,
                                                             135, 136, 137,
                                                             138, 175, 236,

Seward, William H.,                                          338, 372.

Shaw, Chief-Justice,                                         312.

Slavery, Rise and Progress of,                               95-107.

Smith, Gerritt,                                              147, 236, 297,

Sprague, Peleg,                                              213, 214.

Stanton, Edwin M.,                                           382.

Stanton, Henry B.                                            253, 288.

Stearns, Charles,                                            359.

Stevens, Thaddeus,                                           338.

Stuart, Charles,                                             201, 202, 264.

Sumner, Charles,                                             234, 317, 339,
                                                             346, 359.

Tappan, Arthur,                                              83, 84, 164,
                                                             171, 184, 209,

Tappan, Lewis,                                               149, 177, 201,
                                                             209, 283, 285.

Texas Agitation,                                             314-318.

Thompson, George,                                            204-206, 210,
                                                             212, 213, 216,
                                                             217, 218, 238,
                                                             294, 295, 351,
                                                             383, 385.

Thurston, David,                                             180.

Tilton, Theodore,                                            382.

Todd, Francis,                                               75, 76, 77,
                                                             81, 82, 87.

Toombs, Robert,                                              338.

Travis, Joseph,                                              124.

Turner, Nat.,                                                124-125.

Uncle Tom's Cabin,                                           351-352.

Villard, Mrs. Henry,                                         394.

Walker, David,                                               121, 122, 123,

Ward, Rev. Samuel R.,                                        344.

Ware, Rev. Henry, Jr.,                                       203.

Webb, Richard D.,                                            310, 316, 318,

Webster, Daniel,                                             35, 101, 110,
                                                             111, 117, 249,
                                                             338, 339, 347,
                                                             348, 370.

Weld, Theodore D.,                                           149, 190, 264,

Wesley, John,                                                70, 107.

White, Nathaniel H.,                                         41.

Whitney, Eli,                                                98.

Whittier, John Greenleaf,                                    34, 175, 179,
                                                             186, 202, 234,
                                                             279, 320.

Wilberforce, William,                                        152, 154.

Winslow, Isaac,                                              177.

Winslow, Nathan,                                             177.

Wright, Elizur,                                              147, 149, 185,
                                                             186, 202, 210,
                                                             283-285, 287,

Yerrington, James B.,                                        113.

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