Mr. Garrison's Birth and Parents—His Mother—Her Conversion—His Boyhood—Apprenticed to a Printer—First Anti-Slavery Address—Advice to Dr. Beecher—Benjamin Lundy—Garrison goes to Baltimore—First Battle with Slavery—In Jail—First number of the Liberator—Threats and Rage from the South—The American Anti-Slavery Society—First Visit to England—The Era of Mob Violence—The Respectable Boston Mob—Mr. Garrison's account—Again in Jail—The Massachusetts Legislature Uncivil to the Abolitionists—Logical Vigor of the Slaveholders—Garrison's Disunionism—Denounces the Church—Liberality of the Liberator—The Southerners' own Testimony—Mr. Garrison's Bland Manners—His Steady Nerves—His use of Language—Things by their Right Names—Abolitionist "Hard Language;" Garrison's Argument on it—Protest for Woman's Rights—The triumph of his Cause—"The Liberator" Discontinued—Second Visit to England—Letter to Mrs. Stowe.

We have written the name of a man who has had a more marked influence on our late national history than any other person who could be mentioned. No man has been more positively active in bringing on that great moral and political agitation whose issues have been in those recent scenes and events which no American can ever forget.

When we remember that it was begun by one man, singlehanded, alone, unfriended, despised and poor, we must feel in advance that such a man came of no common stock, and possessed no common elements of character. We are interested to inquire after the parentage and the early forming causes which have produced such results. In Mr. Garrison's case he frankly ascribes all that he is, or has ever been or done, to the training, example and influence of a mother whose early history and life-long character were of uncommon interest.

She was born of English stock, in the province of New Brunswick, and grew up in that lethargic state of society which has received not an impulse or a new idea since the time of Queen Anne. Her parents attended the Established Church, drank the king's health on all proper occasions, and observed the gradual growing up of a beautiful and spirited daughter with tranquil satisfaction.

At the age of eighteen this young girl, with a party of gay companions, went from curiosity to attend the religious services of some itinerating Baptists, who were startling the dead echoes of that region by a style of preaching, praying and exhorting, such as never had been heard there before. They were commonly called Ranters, and the young people promised themselves no small amusement from the spectacle of their extravagances.

But the beautiful and gay girl carried unknown and dormant in her own nature, the elements of an earnest and lofty religious character, which no touch of the droning services of a dead church had ever yet stirred to consciousness—and the wild singing, the fervent exhortations, the vivid and real emotions which were exhibited in this meeting, fired the electric train and roused the fervor of her own nature. Life, death, eternity, all became vivid and real to her, and the command to come out from a vain world and be separate; to confess Christ openly before men, seemed to her to have a living and present power.

It is very commonly the case that minds for the first time awakened to the real power of religion, feel that the only true faith is to be found under the forms and ideas which have so moved them, and that to confess Christ means a visible union with any particular body of Christians who have made real to them the Christian idea. Such was the call felt by this young girl to join herself with this despised body of Christians.

Her parents were greatly shocked and annoyed when they found that instead of ridiculing the Ranters, she was going again and again to their services, with an undissembled earnestness: and when finally she announced to them her purpose to unite herself to them in the public ordinance of baptism, their indignation knew no bounds, and they threatened her that if she did she should never enter their doors again, or be to them more than a stranger.

Then was the crisis in which the woman stood between two worlds—two kinds of life—on one side, the most earnest and whole-hearted excitement of the higher moral feelings, on the other side, the material good things of this world.

The mother of Lloyd Garrison hesitated not a moment between the convictions of her conscience and a worldly good. Like the primitive Christians, she went down into the waters of baptism feeling that she was leaving father, mother, and home, and casting herself on God alone.

Her parents, with true John Bull obstinacy, made good their word, and shut their doors upon her; but an uncle, struck perhaps with her courage and constancy, opened to her an asylum where she remained till her marriage. In later years her parents became reconciled to her.

The religious life thus begun was carried on with a marked and triumphant fullness. She was a woman of enthusiastic convictions, of strong mind, and of great natural eloquence, and during the infancy and childhood of William Lloyd he was often with her in the prayer-meetings, which were vivified by the electric eloquence of her prayers and exhortations—for the Baptist as well as Methodist denominations, allowed to women as well as men, a Christian equality in the use of the gifts of instruction.

The father of Garrison, a man possessed of some genius and many fascinating and interesting traits, was one of the victims of intemperance in those days when so many families were saddened by its blight; and at quite an early age Mrs. Garrison was left with a family of helpless little ones, with no other heritage but her faith in God, and her own undaunted and courageous spirit. She was obliged to put her boys out at a very tender age, to struggle for themselves, while she followed the laborious profession of a sick nurse.

William Lloyd, her second son, was by temperament fitted to be impressed by a woman like his mother. He had listened to the burning recital of her experience, and his heart, even in early infancy, learned to thrill in sympathy with the solemn grandeur of religious devotion and absolute self-sacrifice. All his mother's religious ideas became his own; and even as a boy he was a strict and well versed Baptist, having at his tongue's end every argument which supported the peculiar faith which his mother's enthusiasm had taught him to regard as the only true one.

The necessities of life, however, early separated him from her society. When only nine years of age he was placed in the shop of a shoemaker to learn the trade, but the confinement and employment were unfavorable to his health and uncongenial to his feelings. He was longing for educational advantages, and bent on a career in the world of ideas.

He was taken from this situation and sent to school at Newburyport, paying for his board and schooling by sawing wood, doing errands, and performing other labors out of school hours.

After some unsuccessful experiments at different situations, he found at last a congenial sphere in being apprenticed as a printer to Ephraim W. Allen, editor of the Newburyport Gazette.

His bent had always been for letters, and he engaged in this occupation with enthusiasm, and that minute and careful faithfulness and accuracy in regard to the smallest minutiæ which formed a very marked trait in his character. In all that relates to the expression of ideas by the written or printed signs of language, Garrison had a natural aptitude, and attained to a peculiar perfection.

His handwriting was, and is, even at this time of life, as perfect in point of legibility, neatness, and exact finish, as if he had been by profession a writing-master.

Even in the days when the Liberator was the most despised and rejected of all papers, the very lowest in the scale of genteel appreciation, its clear and elegant typography, and the grace and completeness of its mechanical disposition, won for it admiration. He understood to a nicety that art which solicits the eye of a reader, and makes a printed sheet look attractive.

It was not long before his fervid mind began to reach beyond the mechanical setting of his types, to the intellectual and moral purposes to be accomplished through them.

Garrison was one of the ordained priests of nature, one of the order of natural prophets who feel themselves to have a message to society, which they must and will deliver.

He began sending anonymous articles to the paper on which he was employed, which were well received, and which, consequently, he had more than once the pleasure of setting up in type.

Encouraged by their favorable reception, he gradually began to offer articles to other journals. A series of articles for the Salem Gazette, under the signature "Aristides," attracted particular attention, and were commended by Robert Walsh in the Philadelphia National Gazette, who attributed them to Timothy Pickering; a compliment of no small significance to a young mechanic.

In 1824, his employer, Mr. Allen, was obliged for a long time to be absent from the charge of his paper, when Mr. Garrison acted as editor of the Newburyport Herald, of which he had been previously printer.

In 1826 he became proprietor and editor of a paper called the Free Press, in his native town. He toiled at it with unceasing industry, and that patient cheerfulness of enthusiasm which made every labor light. He printed his own editorials, without previously writing them, a fact which more than anything else shows how completely he had mastered the mechanical part of his profession. But with all this industry and talent, the work of keeping up a newspaper of so high a moral tone as that to which he was always aspiring, was simply beyond the ability of a poor man, and he was obliged to relinquish it. He went to Boston and engaged as a journeyman printer for a time, till in 1827 he became the editor of the National Philanthropist, the first journal that advocated total abstinence, and in 1828 he joined a friend at Bennington, Vt., in a journal devoted to peace, temperance, and anti-slavery.

On the 4th of July, 1829, he delivered an address in Park Street church, Boston, on the subject of slavery. At that time the subject had taken a deep and absorbing hold upon his mind. He then regarded the American Colonization Society's as the most practical and feasible issue in the case—an opinion which he afterwards most fully retracted. At this time he visited the leading orthodox ministers and editors in and about Boston. Being himself a child of the church, he desired to stir up in behalf of the slave that efficiency of church activity that was effecting so much in the cause of temperance. Burning with zeal, he sought the then active leader of the orthodox party, and begged him to become leader in the movement, and command the forces in a general anti-slavery crusade.

Dr. Beecher received him favorably, listened to him courteously, wished him success, but said in regard to himself he had so "many irons in the fire" that he could not think of putting in another. "Then," said Garrison, "you had better let all others go, and attend to this one alone." The results of time have shown that the young printer saw further than the sages of his day.

It is worth remembering by those who criticized Garrison's generalship in leading the anti-slavery cause, that in the outset he was not in the least ambitious of being a general, and would willingly have become aide-de-camp to the ruling forces of the religious world. That the campaign was carried on out of the church of New England, and not in and by it, was because the church and the religious world at that hour were absorbed in old issues—old activities and schemes of benevolence—and had not grace given them to see that the great critical national question of the day had thus been passed out of their hands.

The articles in Garrison's paper, however, attracted the attention of a little obscure old man, a Quaker, who was laboring in the city of Baltimore, for the cause of the suffering slaves, with a devotion and self-sacrifice worthy of the primitive Christians.

Benjamin Lundy, a quiet, persistent, drab-clothed, meek old man, one of those valiant little mice who nibble undismayed on the nets which enchain the strongest lions, was keeping up, in the city of Baltimore, an anti-slavery paper which was read only by a few people who thought just as he did, and which was tolerated in southern society only because everybody was good-naturedly sure that it was no sort of matter what it said.

Benjamin, however, took his staff in hand, and journeyed on foot up to Bennington, Vt., to see the man who wrote as if he cared for the slave. The strict Baptist and the meek Quaker met on the common ground of the cross of Christ. Both were agreed in one thing; that here was Jesus Christ, in the person of a persecuted race, hungry, thirsty, sick and in prison, with none to visit and relieve; and the only question was, would they arise and go to His help?

So Mr. Garrison went down to the city of Baltimore, to join his forces with Benjamin Lundy. "But," as he humorously observed, "I wasn't much help to him, for he had been all for gradual emancipation, and as soon as I began to look into the matter, I became convinced that immediate abolition was the doctrine to be preached, and I scattered his subscribers like pigeons."

Good little Benjamin took the ruinous zeal of his new partner with the tolerance which his sect extends to every brother who "follows his light;" but a final assault of Garrison on one of the most villainous aspects of slavery, quite upset the enterprise, and landed him in prison. The story is in this wise: A certain ship, the Francis Todd, from Newburyport, came to Baltimore and took in a load of slaves for the New Orleans market. All the harrowing cruelties and separations which attend the rending asunder of families, and the sale of slaves, were enacted under the eyes of the youthful philanthropist, and in a burning article he denounced the inter-state slave trade as piracy, and piracy of an aggravated and cruel kind, inasmuch as those born and educated in civilized and Christianized society, have more sensibility to feel the evils thus inflicted, than imbruted savages. He denounced the owners of the ship, and all the parties in no measured terms, and expressed his determination to "cover with thick infamy all who were engaged in the transaction." Then, to be sure, the sleeping tiger was roused, for there was a vigor and power in the young editor's eloquence that quite dissipated the good-natured contempt which had hitherto hung round the paper. He was indicted for libel, found guilty, of course, condemned, imprisoned in the cell of a man who had been hanged for murder. His mother at this time was not living, but her heroic, undaunted spirit still survived in her son, who took the baptism of persecution and obloquy not merely with patience, but with the joy which strong spirits feel in endurance. He wrote sonnets on the walls of his prison, and by his cheerful and engaging manners made friends of his jailor and family, who did everything to render his situation as comfortable as possible. Some considerable effort was made for his release, and much interest was excited in various quarters for him.

He was finally liberated by Arthur Tappan, who paid the exorbitant fine for want of which he was imprisoned. He went out of jail, as people generally do who are imprisoned for conscience's sake, more devoted than ever to the cause for which he suffered. The river of his life, which hitherto had had many branches, all flowing in the direction of general benevolence, now narrowed and concentrated itself into one intense volume, to beat day and night against the prison walls of slavery, till its foundations should be washed away, and it should tumble to dust.

He issued a prospectus of an anti-slavery journal at Washington, and lectured through the northern cities, and was surprised to find the many and vital cords by which the Northern States were held from the expression of the natural feelings of humanity on a subject whose claims were so obvious. In Boston he in vain tried to get the use of a hall to lecture in; but a mob was threatened, and of all the public edifices in the city, not one could be found whose owner would risk it until a club of professed infidels came forward, and offered their hall as a tribute to free speech.

On Jan. 1, 1831, Mr. Garrison issued the first number of the Liberator. He had no money. The rank, respectability and religion of Boston alike disowned him. At first, he and his partner, Isaac Knapp, were too poor even to hire an office of their own, but the foreman in the office of the Christian Examiner generously employed them as journeymen, taking their labor as compensation for the use of his type. Mr. Garrison, after working as journeyman printer all day, spent the greater part of the night in writing and printing his paper; and under such auspices the first number came out.

Nothing more remarkable in human literature has ever appeared than those few memorable paragraphs in which this obscure, unfriended young mechanic thus issued his declaration of war against an evil embodied in the Constitution and protected by the laws of one of the most powerful nations of the earth. David meeting Goliath with a sling and stone was nothing to it. The words have a prophetic assurance that sounds solemn in the remembrance of recent events. He speaks as one having authority:

"During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, 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 slaveholders 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 birth-place of liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe; yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let Southern oppressors tremble; let their secret abettors tremble; let all the enemies of the persecuted black tremble. Assenting to the self-evident truths maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, 'that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,' I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population.

* * * * *

"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? 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. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

It is pretended that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question, my influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent; and it shall be felt in coming years—not perniciously, but beneficially—not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God that He enables me to disregard 'the fear of man which bringeth a snare,' and to speak truth in its simplicity and power; and I here close with this dedication:

"Oppression! I have seen thee, face to face,
And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow;
But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now—
For dread to prouder feelings doth give place,
Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace
Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
I also kneel—but with far other vow
Do hail thee and thy herd of hirelings base;
I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
Thy brutalizing sway—till Afric's chains
Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land,
Trampling Oppression and his iron rod;
Such is the vow I take—so help me God!"

Just thirty-five years after, on the first of January, 1866, Garrison had the happiness of announcing that the glorious work to which he had devoted himself was finally finished; and with humble ascriptions of all the praise and glory to God, he proclaimed the cessation of the Liberator. His own son had been a leader in that conquering army which entered Charleston amid the shouts of liberated slaves, and the fetters and hand-cuffs of the slave-mart were sent as peaceful trophies to the Liberator office in Boston. Never was it given to any mortal in one generation to witness a more perfect triumph of a moral enterprise!

But before this triumph came were years of sharp conflict. Tones so ringing and so resolute, coming from the poorest den in Boston, could not but find listeners! The vital instincts of all forms of oppression are surprisingly acute, and prompt to discriminate afar what is really a true and what a false alarm. A storm of agitation began, which swelled, and eddied, and howled, and shook, and convulsed the nation from year to year, till the end came.

The first number of the Liberator brought fifty dollars from James Forten, a colored man of Philadelphia, and the names of twenty-five subscribers; and before long an obscure room was rented as an office, where Garrison and his partner made their bed on the floor, boarded themselves, and printed their paper.

A Southern magistrate, trembling for the institutions of his country, wrote a somewhat dictatorial appeal to the mayor of Boston, Harrison Gray Otis, to suppress that paper. Mr. Otis wrote in reply, that having ferreted out the paper and the editor, he found that his office was an obscure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, his supporters a few insignificant persons of all colors—from which he argued that there was no occasion for alarm, even though the obscure paper should prove irrepressible. Very differently, however, thought the South. Every mail brought to Garrison threats of assassination, and letters whose mingled profanity and obscenity can only be described as John Bunyan describes the discourse of Apollyon, "He spake as a dragon." The Governors of one or two States set a price upon his head. The Governor of Georgia, in terms somewhat more decent, offered five thousand dollars to any one who should arrest and bring to trial under the laws of that State, the editor or publisher of the Liberator. Many of Mr. Garrison's friends, deeming his life in danger, besought him to wear arms. He was, however, from religious conviction, a non-resistant of evil, interpreting with literal strictness the Saviour's directions on that subject; and so committed his life simply to the good providence of God.

On January 1, 1832, he secured the co-operation of eleven others, who, with himself, organized the American Anti-Slavery Society upon the principle of immediate emancipation. Affiliated associations sprang up all over the country—books, tracts, lectures, all the machinery of moral agitation, began active movement. He went to England as agent for the Emancipation Society, to hold counsel with the men who had pioneered the same work successfully in England. He was warmly received by Wilberforce, Brougham, Clarkson, and their associates, and succeeded in opening their eyes to the entire inefficiency of the Colonization Society as a substitute for the great duty of immediate emancipation, so that Wilberforce, with eleven of his coadjutors, issued a protest against it, not as in itself considered, but as it had been made a shield to the consciences of those who deferred their immediate duty to the slave on the ground of this distant and precarious remedy.

While in England this time, Mr. Garrison was invited to Stafford House, and treated with marked attention by the Duchess of Sutherland, then in the zenith of that magnificent beauty which, in union with a generous nature and winning manners, made her one of the most distinguished leaders among the nobility of the times. With a heart to feel every grand and heroic impulse, she had entered with enthusiasm into the anti-slavery movement of her own country, and was prepared to welcome the obscure, unknown apostle of the same faith from American shores. At her request, Garrison sat for his portrait to one of the most distinguished artists of the time, and the copy was retained among the memorabilia of Stafford House. Garrison humorously remarked that many had desired to have his head before now, but the solicitation had never come in so flattering a form. The noble woman has lived to enjoy the triumph of that cause in which her large heart gave her that right of personal possession which belongs to the very highest natures.

On his return from England he assisted in organizing the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia, the declaration of whose principles was prepared by him. From this time the anti-slavery agitation was intensified, and the era of mob violence swept over the country. The holding of an anti-slavery society in any place was the appointed signal for scenes of riotous violence. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Hall was burned, the negroes abused and maltreated. In Cincinnati, Birney's printing-press and types were thrown into the Ohio, and the negroes for days were hunted like beasts. In Alton, Lovejoy was shot while defending his printing-press, and Boston, notwithstanding the sepulchres of the fathers, and the shadow of Bunker Hill spire, had her hour of the powers of darkness. Leading presses abused the abolitionists in terms which aroused every vindictive passion of the mob, and in October, 1835, a meeting of the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Boston was riotously broken up by a collection of persons, described in the journals of the day as "gentlemen of property and standing."

The heroines of that memorable day and time, were ladies from the very first Massachusetts families; sprung from the old heroic stock of her historic fame. For vigor of mind, for education, for beauty, accomplishments and genius, some of them might be cited who would scarce find superiors in any land. Their meeting was in every way feminine and proper, and in strict accordance with the spirit and customs of New England, which recognize female organizations for various benevolent purposes, as one of the most approved means for carrying on society.

There was no more reason why a female Anti-Slavery Society should not meet quietly, transact its own business and listen to speeches of its own chosen orators, than the Female Foreign Missionary Society or the Female Home Missionary Society, or the Female Temperance Union.

But certain newspapers of Boston called attention to the fact that this meeting was so to be held, in articles written in that well known style which stirs up and invites that very mobocratic spirit which it pretends to deprecate.

These papers proceeded to say that those ladies were about to hold a dangerous kind of meeting, which would be sure to end in a mob, that they were about to be addressed by George Thompson, who was declared to be nothing more nor less than a British agitator, sent over to make dissension and trouble in America, and kept here for that purpose by British funds.

It was now stated in the public prints that several store keepers in the immediate vicinity of the Hall, had petitioned the Mayor to suppress the meeting, as in case of a riot in the neighborhood their property might be in danger. A placard was posted and circulated through the city to the following purport, that

'The infamous foreign scoundrel, Thompson, would hold forth in Anti-Slavery Hall in the afternoon, and that the present was a fair opportunity for the friends of the Union 'to snake him out;' that a purse of $100 has been subscribed by a number of patriotic citizens to reward the individual who would lay violent hands on him, so that he might be brought to the tar kettle before dark."

In consequence, the Mayor sent a deputy to Mr. Garrison to know if Mr. Thompson did intend to address the meeting, for if he did not he wished to apprise the people of it in order to tranquilize the excitement, and if he did, it would be necessary to double the constabulary forces.

Mr. Garrison sent him word that Mr. Thompson was out of town, and would not be present at the meeting. The remainder of this scene is best given in Mr. Garrison's own words:

"As the meeting was to commence at 3 o'clock, P. M., I went to the hall about twenty minutes before that time. Perhaps a hundred individuals had already gathered around the street door and opposite to the building, and their number was rapidly augmenting. On ascending into the hall, I found about fifteen or twenty ladies assembled, sitting with serene countenances, and a crowd of noisy intruders (mostly young men) gazing upon them, through whom I urged my way with considerable difficulty. 'That's Garrison,' was the exclamation of some of their number, as I quietly took my seat. Perceiving that they had no intention of retiring, I went to them and calmly said—'Gentlemen, 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 or indecorous as to thrust your presence upon this meeting. If, gentlemen,' I pleasantly continued, '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.' I then sat down, and, for a few moments, their conduct was more orderly. However, the stair-way and upper door of the hall were soon densely filled with a brazen-faced crew, whose behavior grew more and more indecent and outrageous. Perceiving that it would be impracticable for me, or any other person, to address the ladies; and believing, as I was the only male abolitionist in the hall, that my presence would serve as a pretext for the mob to annoy the meeting, I held a short colloquy with the excellent President of the Society, telling her that I would withdraw, unless she particularly desired me to stay. It was her earnest wish that I would retire, as well for my own safety as for the peace of the meeting. She assured me that the Society would resolutely but calmly proceed to the transaction of its business, and leave the issue with God. I left the hall accordingly, and would have left the building, if the stair-case had not been crowded to excess. This being impracticable, I retired into the Anti-Slavery Office, (which is separated from the hall by a board partition,) accompanied by my friend, Mr. Charles C. Burleigh. It was deemed prudent to lock the door, to prevent the mob from rushing in and destroying our publications.

In the mean time, the crowd in the street had augmented from a hundred to thousands. The cry was for 'Thompson! Thompson!'—but the Mayor had now arrived, and, addressing the rioters, he assured them that Mr. Thompson was not in the city, and besought them to disperse. As well might he have attempted to propitiate a troop of ravenous wolves. None went away—but the tumult continued momentarily to increase. It was apparent, therefore, that the hostility of the throng was not concentrated upon Mr. Thompson but that it was as deadly against the Society and the Anti-Slavery cause. The fact is worthy of special note—for it incontestably proves that the object of these 'respectable and influential' rioters was to put down the cause of Emancipation, and that the prejudice against Mr. Thompson was only a mere pretext.

Notwithstanding the presence and frantic behavior of rioters in the hall, the meeting of the Society was regularly called to order by the President. She read a select and exceedingly appropriate portion of scripture, and offered a fervent prayer to God for direction and succour and the forgiveness of enemies and rioters. It was an awful, sublime and soul-thrilling scene. * * * The clear, untremulous tone of that Christian heroine in prayer, occasionally awed the ruffians into silence, and was heard distinctly even in the midst of their hisses, yells and curses—for they could not long silently endure the agony of conviction, and their conduct became furious. They now attempted to break down the partition, and partially succeeded; but that little band of women still maintained their ground unshrinkingly, and endeavored to transact their business.

An assault was now made upon the door of the office, the lower panel of which was instantly dashed to pieces. Stooping down, and glaring upon me as I sat at the desk, writing an account of the riot to a distant friend, the ruffians cried out—'There he is! That's Garrison! Out with the scoundrel!' &c., &c. Turning to Mr. Burleigh I said—'You may as well open the door, and let them come in and do their worst.' But he, with great presence of mind, went out, locked the door, put the key into his pocket, and by his admirable firmness succeeded in keeping the office safe.

Two or three constables having cleared the hall and staircase of the mob, the Mayor came in and ordered the ladies to desist, assuring them that he could not any longer guarantee protection, if they did not take immediate advantage of the opportunity to retire from the building. Accordingly, they adjourned, to meet at the house of one of their number, for the completion of their business; but as they passed through the crowd, they were greeted with 'taunts, hisses, and cheers of mobocratic triumph, from gentlemen of property and standing from all parts of the city.' Even their absence did not diminish the throng. Thompson was not there—the ladies were not there—but 'Garrison is there!' was the cry. 'Garrison! Garrison! We must have Garrison! Out with him! Lynch him!' These and numberless other exclamations arose from the multitude. For a moment their attention was diverted from me to the Anti-Slavery sign, and they vociferously demanded its possession. It is painful to state, that the Mayor promptly complied with their demand! So agitated and alarmed had he become that in very weakness of spirit he ordered the sign to be hurled to the ground, and it was instantly broken in a thousand fragments by the infuriated populace. The sign being demolished the cry for Garrison was resumed more loudly than ever. It was now apparent that the multitude would not disperse till I left the building, and as egress out of the front door was impossible, the Mayor and some of his assistants as well as some of my friends earnestly besought me to escape in the rear of the building. At this moment an abolition brother, whose mind had been previously settled on the peace question, in his anguish and alarm for my safety, and in the view of the helplessness of the civil authority, said, 'I must henceforth repudiate the principle of non-resistance. When the civil arm is powerless, my own rights are trodden in the dust, and the lives of my friends are put in imminent peril by ruffians, I will hereafter stand ready to defend myself and them at all hazards.' Putting my hand upon his shoulder, I said, 'Hold, my dear brother! You know not what spirit you are of. Of what value or utility are the principles of peace and forgiveness, if we may repudiate them in the hour of peril and suffering? Do you wish to become like one of those violent and blood-thirsty men who are seeking my life? Shall we give blow for blow, and array sword against sword? God forbid! I will perish sooner than raise my hand against any man, even in self-defence, and let none of my friends resort to violence for my protection. If my life be taken, the cause of emancipation will not suffer. God reigns—his throne is undisturbed by this storm—he will make the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder he will restrain—his omnipotence will at length be victorious.'

Preceded by my faithful and beloved friend Mr. J—— R—— C——, I dropped from a back window on to a shed, and narrowly escaped falling headlong to the ground. We entered into a carpenter's shop, through which we attempted to get into Wilson's Lane, but found our retreat cut off by the mob. They raised a shout as soon as we came in sight, but the proprietor promptly closed the door of his shop, kept them at bay for a time, and thus kindly afforded me an opportunity to find some other passage. I told Mr. C. it would be futile to attempt to escape—I would go out to the mob, and let them deal with me as they might elect; but he thought it was my duty to avoid them as long as possible. We then went up stairs, and finding a vacancy in one corner of the room, I got into it, and he and a young lad piled up some boards in front of me, to shield me from observation. In a few minutes several ruffians broke into the chamber, who seized Mr. C. in a rough manner, and led him out to the view of the mob, saying, 'This is not Garrison, but Garrison's and Thompson's friend, and he says he knows where Garrison is, but won't tell.' Then a shout of exultation was raised by the mob, and what became of him I do not know; though, as I was immediately discovered, I presume he escaped without material injury. On seeing me, three or four of the rioters, uttering a yell, furiously dragged me to the window, with the intention of hurling me from that height to the ground; but one of them relented, and said, 'Don't let us kill him outright.' So they drew me back, and coiled a rope about my body—probably to drag me through the streets. I bowed to the mob, and requesting them to wait patiently until I could descend, went down upon a ladder that was raised for that purpose. I fortunately extricated myself from the rope, and was seized by two or three of the leading rioters, powerful and athletic men, by whom I was dragged along bare-headed, (for my hat had been knocked off and cut in pieces on the spot,) a friendly voice in the crowd shouting, 'He shan't be hurt! He is an American!' This seemed to excite sympathy in the breasts of some others, and they reiterated the same cry. Blows, however, were aimed at my head by such as were of a cruel spirit, and at last they succeeded in tearing nearly all my clothes from my body. Thus was I dragged through Wilson's Lane into State street, in the rear of the City Hall, over the ground that was stained with the blood of the first martyrs in the cause of Liberty and Independence, in the memorable massacre of 1770; and upon which was proudly unfurled, only a few years since, with joyous acclamations, the beautiful banner presented to the gallant Poles by the young men of Boston! What a scandalous and revolting contrast! My offence was in pleading for LIBERTY—liberty for my enslaved countrymen, colored though they be—liberty of speech and of the press for ALL! And upon that 'consecrated spot' I was made an object of derision and scorn.

They proceeded with me in the direction of the City Hall, the cry being raised, 'To the Common!' whether to give me a coat of tar and feathers, or to throw me into the pond, was problematical. As we approached the south door, the Mayor attempted to protect me by his presence; but as he was unassisted by any show of authority or force, he was quickly thrust aside; and now came a tremendous rush on the part of the mob to prevent my entering the hall. For a time the conflict was desperate; but at length a rescue was effected by a posse that came to the help of the Mayor, by whom I was carried up to the Mayor's room.

In view of my denuded condition, one individual in the Post office below stairs kindly lent me a pair of pantaloons, another a coat, a third a stock, a fourth a cap, &c. After a brief consultation, the mob densely surrounding and threatening the City Hall and Post Office, the Mayor and his advisers said that my life depended on committing me to jail, ostensibly as a disturber of the peace. Accordingly a hack was got ready at the door and I was put into it, supported by Sheriff Parkman and Ebenezer Bailey, the Mayor leading the way. And now ensued a scene which baffles all description. As the ocean lashed to fury by a storm, seeks to whelm a bark beneath the waves, so did the mob, enraged at their disappointment, rush like a whirlwind upon the frail vehicle in which I sat, and endeavored to drag me out of it. Escape seemed a physical impossibility. They clung to the wheels—dashed open the doors—seized hold of the horses—and tried to upset the carriage. They were, however, vigorously repulsed by the police, a constable sprang in by my side, the doors were closed, and the driver, using his whip on the bodies of the horses and the heads of the rioters, happily made an opening through the crowd, and drove with all speed to Leverett street.

In a few moments I was locked up in a cell, safe from my persecutors, accompanied by two delightful associates, a good conscience and a cheerful mind. In the course of the evening several of my friends came to my grated window to sympathise and confer with me, with whom I held strengthening conversation, till the hour of retirement, when I threw myself on my prison bed, and slept tranquilly. In the morning, I inscribed upon the walls of my cell, with a pencil, the following lines:

'Wm. Lloyd Garrison was put into this cell on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 21, 1835, to save him from the violence of a "respectable and influential" mob, who sought to destroy him for preaching the abominable and dangerous doctrine that "all men are created equal," and that all oppression is odious in the sight of God. "Hail, Columbia!" Cheers for the Autocrat of Russia, and the Sultan of Turkey!

Reader, let this inscription remain till the last slave in this despotic land be loosed from his fetters.'

'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!'

'Confine me as a prisoner—but bind me not as a slave.
Punish me as a criminal—but hold me not as a chattel.
Torture me as a man—but drive me not like a beast.
Doubt my sanity—but acknowledge my immortality.'

In the course of the forenoon, after passing through the mockery of an examination, for form's sake, before Judge Whitman, I was released from prison; but, at the earnest solicitation of the city authorities, in order to tranquilize the public mind, I deemed it proper to leave the city for a few days, accompanied by my wife, whose situation was such as to awaken the strongest solicitude for her life."

At this distance of time it is difficult to conceive of such scenes as occurring in Boston. They are to be accounted for by two things. First, the intense keenness of the instincts of the Slaveholding power in the United States, in discriminating from afar what the results of the Anti-Slavery discussion would be, and the real power which was arising in the apparently feeble body of the Abolitionists; and second, the thousand ties of politics, trade, blood relationship, friendship and religion that interlaced the South with the North, and made the North for many years a tool of southern dictators and a mere reflection of southern sympathies. There was scarcely a thing in northern society that was not interwoven and intertwisted with southern society. Northern schools and colleges were full of southern scholars—northern teachers were all the while seeking places on southern plantations. The great political bodies had each its southern wing, every religious denomination had its southern members and southern interests. Every kind of trade and industrial calling had its southern outlet. The ship builders of Maine went to Charleston for their cargoes. Plantations were fitted out at the North, by every kind of trade. Our mercantile world was truly and in fact one firm with the South and felt any disturbance to them as virtually as the South itself.

Hence Garrison's instinctive feeling that the battle was to be fought in the North, where as yet there was a free press and the right of free speech.

It was not long before the South perceived that if free inquiry and free discussion were going to be allowed in Massachusetts, it would be all over with them, and like men who were brought up always to have their own way and had but to command to be obeyed, several southern states sent immediate and earnest communications to the Massachusetts Legislature, requesting the General Court to enact laws making it penal for the citizens of Massachusetts to form abolition societies or print and publish abolition sentiments.

The Governor of Massachusetts, in his message to the Legislature at this time, expressed his belief that the abolitionists were guilty of an offence punishable by common law.

This part of the Governor's message, together with the resolutions from the Legislatures of slaveholding states, was referred to a committee of five.

The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society addressed a memorial to this committee, praying to be permitted to appear before them and show that they had done nothing but what they had a perfect constitutional right to do by the laws of Massachusetts.

On the Fourth and Eighth of March, 1836, these memorable interviews took place at the state house, in the chamber of the representatives.

A committee of some of the leading abolitionists attended—Mr. I. May, Mr. E. Gray Loring, Mr. Sewell, Dr. Follen, of Harvard College, and Mr. Garrison. Dr. Channing also met with them as an expression of sympathy and to mark his sense of the vitally important nature of the transactions to the rights of personal liberty in Massachusetts.

The meeting was attended by many spectators, and the abolitionists had opportunity to defend their course and conduct.

Mr. Garrison's speech at this time is one of the most energetic and characteristic of his utterances. After alluding to the duty of all men to plead for the rights of the dumb and the oppressed, he then went on to say:

"Mr. Chairman, there is one aspect of this great question which has not yet been presented to the committee. 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 the 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 untrammelled, and southern slavery must speedily come to an end." The chairman of the committee however insulted the abolitionists, refused them a fair hearing, and substantially turned them out of the Legislature, to protest at their leisure. The Legislature however did not pass the laws demanded by the South.

Miss Martineau, who visited Boston in those days, described feelingly what she justly called the martyr age in America.

The abolitionists in Boston at this time, were ostracized from genteel society. Rank and fashion cut them in the street, and crossed out their names from visiting lists. Whoever joined them must expect as a matter of course to give up what was called in Boston, good society.

Their houses were constantly threatened by anonymous letters, nor was the threat a vain one.

One of the most accomplished women of Boston, whose genius and beauty and fine manners won her a distinguished position afterwards in European society, lives to remember now, how her house was fired while she was still an invalid in her chamber with an infant daughter only three weeks old, and how she was obliged to sit by an open window to get air for herself and infant, from the smoke that filled the house after the fire had been discovered and brought under.

Now there were in the whole North, thousands of people who thought slavery a wrong, an inhumanity, and who wished with a greater or less degree of ardor that it might cease from the earth. But all these people were associated for some purpose social, moral or religious, with people at the South, who were in a state of feverish combativeness on this subject, who were accustomed to command from their cradles, impatient of contradiction, and violent in their passions; and in every way and form, and every branch of life in state and church, the demand was stringent and imperative: "You shall not say that slavery is wrong—you shall not agitate that question or discuss it at all, and you shall join with us to discountenance and put down all who endeavor to agitate the public mind. If you don't we won't have any thing to do with you or your purposes or schemes."

This was the language which kept the whole North boiling like a pot for years. On the one hand, the force of conscience and humanity, and on the other, the passionate determined resistance of the South operating through northern men, who, though disliking slavery yet had their various purposes to carry, for which they needed the help of the South.

So even the religious societies felt that their great moral and religious work was so important that they must yield a little, in order to gain the help of southern Christians. The Tract Society struck out from English reprints every line and sentence which might be supposed to reprove slavery; the Sunday School Union followed suit. The various religious bodies, embarrassed by their southern wings, spent their time in every annual meeting in ingenious skirmishing, in which the main body sought to keep the peace between the active minority of abolitionists, and the irritated, determined, dictatorial southern brethren, whose sentiments were exactly expressed by Dr. Plummer, of Virginia:

"If abolitionists will set the world in a blaze, it is but fair that they should receive the first warming at the fire. Let them understand that they will be caught if they come among us, and they will take good heed to keep out of our way; there is not one among them that has any idea of shedding his blood for his cause."

The ministers of the slaveholding region were driven on by the unsparing, uncompromising slave-owners, and were the most high-handed defenders of the system. Northern religious bodies, in order to carry on their purposes in union with the South, were obliged to make constant concessions at which their conscience revolted. The Methodist church, in 1840, passed a law forbidding their colored members to give testimony in church trials in slave States. The debates on this question are worth looking back to now, as they give a dramatic reality to the great driving, pushing process which was then going on in favor of slavery.

A trembling brother, after voting for this astounding prohibition, which took away the last hope of even a hearing in Christ's church for the poor hunted slave—rose the day after he had helped pass it, and humbly and plaintively tried to get it taken back.

He said that the resolution "was introduced under peculiar circumstances, during considerable excitement, and he went for it as a peace offering to the South, without sufficiently reflecting upon the precise import of its phraseology, but after a little deliberation he was sorry! He was convinced that if the resolution remained on the journal, it would be disastrous to the whole Northern church."

Dr. A. J. Few, of Georgia, arose, and it is instructive to see how resolute men, who have made up their minds, and know exactly what they mean to do, despise timid men, who are divided between policy and conscience. Dr. Few said:

"Look at it! What do you declare to us, in taking this course! Why, simply, as much as to say, 'We cannot sustain you in the condition which you cannot avoid! We cannot sustain you in the necessary conditions of slaveholding; one of its necessary conditions being the rejection of negro testimony!' If it is not sinful to hold slaves, under all circumstances, it is not sinful to hold them in the only condition, and under the only circumstances in which they can be held. The rejection of negro testimony is one of the necessary circumstances under which slaveholding can exist; indeed, it is utterly impossible for it to exist without it; therefore it is not sinful to hold slaves in the condition and under the circumstances in which they are held at the South, inasmuch as they can be held under no other circumstances. * * * If you believe that slaveholding is necessarily sinful, come out with the abolitionists, and honestly say so. If you believe that slaveholding is necessarily sinful, you believe we are necessarily sinners; and if so, come out and honestly declare it, and let us leave you. * * * We want to know distinctly, precisely and honestly the position which you take. We cannot be tampered with by you any longer. We have had enough of it. We are tired of your sickly sympathies. * * * If you are not opposed to the principles which it involves, unite with us, like honest men, and go home, and boldly meet the consequences."

From this it appears that the Southern slaveocracy was not only a very united, determined body, but also remarkably logical as to the necessary ways and means which were essential to the support of their system, and that not only they were prepared to go the whole length themselves, but they meant to have nothing to do with any one who would not go the whole length with them.

The result of this one victory was to split the Methodist church in two. Mr. Peck was right in supposing that there was yet enough conscience in the Northern Methodists to feel the impossibility of holding a book of discipline which called slavery "the sum of all villainies," and yet keeping union with those who were making it the first object of life to uphold it. Some such crisis of conscience, always brought on by the slave-driving, dictatorial, determined and logical South, in time rent asunder all the principal denominations into a northern and southern wing. For however they might have been disposed towards the policy of non-intervention, the South never allowed them to stand long on that ground. They must not only cease to remonstrate against slavery, but help them by consenting to positive laws and measures in its defence. So great was the power of this dictatorial spirit, that when the New School Presbyterian church had broken off from the great body of southern churches, who went with the Old School, yet the one or two synods who were left among them extorted from the whole body the decree that "masters ought not to be disciplined for selling slaves without their consent, even when fellow members of the same churches with themselves."

Now this history of what went on in the church of America—for the church, meaning by it all the religious denominations, did embody as a general fact, the whole religious and moral force of the country, shows more strongly than anything else what was likely to be going on in bodies that did not profess any moral character or considerations. If this was the state to which the dictation of the southern slavepower had driven the church, what was to be hoped of the political world and the world of trade?

Mr. Garrison looked over this dark field, and saw the battle—for there was a battle all over the land—a battle in which the truth and the right were being steadily, daily and everywhere beaten. The church and the world seemed to be vieing with each other who could retreat fastest before their victorious masters, and every day some new right of humanity was thrown down for the pursuing army to worry and tear—just as retreating fugitives throw back a lamb or a dog to stop a pack of hungry wolves.

Garrison saw at once that the root of all this defeat and disaster was the desire of UNION with slaveholders, and forthwith he unfurled his banner and sounded his trumpet to the watchword, NO UNION WITH SLAVEHOLDERS.

Immediately the Constitution of the United States was brought up before him. Does not the constitution form a union with slaveholders? Has it not express compromises designed to protect slave property? Is not the basis of representation throughout all the southern states made on three-fifths of a slave population? Now Mr. Garrison, what do you say to that?

"What I say," said Garrison, "is, that slavery is a sin against God and man, and if the constitution of the United States does agree to defend and protect it, it is a sinful league, and it is a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell," and out came the Liberator with the solemn curses of the old prophets at its head, and the Garrisonian abolitionists organized themselves on the principle that they would hold no union with slaveholders in church or in state, they would belong to no religious or secular body which did not treat slavery as a sin against God, and they would lift up their testimony against every person, party or denomination in church or in state that made any concession to the slaveholding power, for the sake of accomplishing any purpose whatsoever.

Here we see the whole scope of subject-matter for the Liberator, and for all the lectures and speeches from the platforms of the Garrisonian abolition societies for years and years. For as there was scarcely a thing in society in those days that was not the joint work of the North and the South, and as the South never made a concession, of course there was through all the various ramifications of political, social and religious life, a continued series of concessions on the part of the North. These concessions were always, everywhere unsparingly discussed, reproved and denounced by the Garrisonians, and so there was controversy constantly and everywhere.

The ministry of New England, from the days of President Edwards, had adopted a peculiar and pungent style of preaching immediate repentance of sin. They repudiated all half efforts, insensible approaches, dream-like floatings toward right, and narrowed the question of individual responsibility down to the present moment, and urged repentance on the spot as the duty of all. Garrison had received his early education in this school, and he drove his preaching of immediate repentance for the sin of slavery, his requirements for an instant clearing of the soul from all complicity with it, with the solemnity of an old Puritan. He had the whole language of the Old Testament at his tongue's end, and a text from the old prophets ready like an arrow on a bow-string, to shoot into every loop-hole of the concessions and compromises that were constantly going on. He reproved without fear or favor, ministers, elders, Christians, statesmen, governors, authors, and denounced the whole church as contaminated by the sanction and support it gave to the accursed thing.

He was denounced in turn by the church as an infidel and an opposer of religion, but he persisted in hurling right and left the stern denunciations of the Old Testament: "When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst with him—thou hast been partaker with adulterers," and he declared that the visible union of church and state with an organization which practiced systematic robbery on four millions of human beings, and made legal marriage among them an impossibility, was in the very highest sense consenting with thieves, and being made partakers with adultery.

There is not the least doubt that the course of entire separation from slaveholders in church and state, would have been a perfect and efficient stop to the evil, could it have been compassed. Could we once imagine a state of things in which every man and woman in the United States who admitted that slavery was an injustice, should come to the point of refusing all fellowship or connection with it, either in church or state, or in any of the traffic or intercourse of life, we should imagine a state in which there would have been immediately a majority which could have revised the constitution of the United States, and cast out the offensive clauses, as has since been done.

But measures so stringent and thorough, supposed an education of the public conscience which had not yet taken place, and the Garrisonian Abolitionists therefore were always a small minority, extremely unfashionable and every where spoken against. Small as they were, they were the indispensables of the great conflict—its very heart. Garrison and his band of coadjutors formed a steady force which acted night and day with unvarying consistency. While everybody else in the United States had something else to conserve, some side issues to make, some other point to carry, Garrison and his band had but one thing to say—that American slavery is a sin; but one thing to do—to preach immediate repentance and forsaking of sin. They withdrew from every organization which could in any way be supposed to tolerate or hold communion with it, and walked alone, a small, but always active and powerful body. They represented the pure, abstract form of every principle as near as it is possible for it to be represented by human frailty. Free speech, free inquiry and freedom of conscience found perfect expression in their meetings, and the Liberator was the one paper in which any honest, well-meaning person might print any conscientious opinion, however contrary to those generally received in society. Of course it became the channel for much crude thought, for much startling and strange expression; and its circulation was confined almost entirely to the small party whose opinions it expressed. A large portion of the Liberator was every week devoted to extracts cut from southern papers, giving a vivid picture of the barbaric state of society, produced by slavery. Here, without note or comment, came the accounts clipped from different southern papers, of the assaults, frays and murders daily perpetrated by white men on each other in a land where violence was ever above law. There were, too, the advertisements of slave auctions and runaway negroes; of blood-hounds kept for human hunting; while in a weekly corner called the "Refuge of Oppression," all the violent doctrines of the most rabid slave holders found every week a faithful reproduction in their own language. For an exact picture of the image and body of the most extreme form of southern slave holding and its results on society, the Liberator was as perfect a moral daguerreotype as could be produced.

A solemn instance of the terrible sequence of Divine retribution has been presented to this generation which will not soon be forgotten. All this disgusting, harrowing, dreadful record of cruelty, crime and oppression which the Liberator went on, year after year, in vain holding up to the inspection of the North, as being perpetrated within the bounds of slaveholding society, was shrunk from as too dreadful and disgusting to be contemplated.

"We do not wish to have our feelings harrowed; we do not wish to be appalled and disgusted with records of cruelty and crime," was the almost universal voice of good society at the North, as they went steadily on, compromising with and yielding to the exactions of a barbarous oligarchy. God so ordered it in return, that the cup of trembling which had so long been drunk by the slave alone, should be put into the hands of thousands of the sons and daughters of the free North. Thousands of them were starved, tortured, insulted, hunted by dogs, separated from home and friends, and left to linger out a cruel death in life, through the barbarity of those very slaveholders, with whose sins we had connived, with whose cruelties practiced on the helpless negroes we had refused to interfere. So awful a lesson of the justice of a living God we trust will never be forgotten. If every northern man and woman had from the very first been as careful in regarding the rights of the slave, as determined to hold no fellowship with evil as Garrison, the solution of our great national question might have been a far more peaceful one.

In the days of the great conflict, Mr. Garrison was accused of being in a bad spirit, of the utterance of violent, angry and abusive language. A very mistaken idea of his personal character, in fact, went abroad in the world.

In his personal intercourse he is peculiarly bland and urbane, one of the few men capable of conducting an argument on the most interesting subject without the slightest apparent excitement of voice or manner, allowing his adversary every polite advantage and admitting all his just statements with perfect fairness. It is said that a fiery young southerner once fell into a discussion on slavery with him when he was travelling incog., on board a steamboat. Garrison quite won his heart by the fairness and courtesy with which he discussed the subject, and brought him to admissions which the frank southerner in a good humor was quite willing to make. On parting he said to him, "If that Garrison there in Boston were only like you, we should be more ready to listen to him."

A great deal of this amiability doubtless is owing to the singular steadiness and healthiness of Garrison's nervous system. In this he was one of the most peculiarly constituted men, in whom nature ever combined traits expressly for a great work. All his personal habits are those of a methodical unexcitable man, and not in the least like the hurry and enthusiasm of a fanatic. He is methodical, systematic and precise in all his arrangements, neat and careful in respect to the minutest trifle.

His handwriting is always of the finished completeness of a writing master, and in the most vehement denunciations, not a letter was ever misplaced or a comma or exclamation point, omitted. Every thing he ever wrote was perfected for the press as it left his pen. Such habits as these speak a composed and equable nervous system. In fact, Garrison's nerves never knew what it was to shiver and vibrate either with irritation or with fear. He is gifted with the most perfect imperturbable cheerfulness, which no outward discomposure seems to have any power to shake.

His politely bowing to the furious Boston mob before descending to put himself in their hands, is a very characteristic thing, and during all the tossings and tumults of the hour that followed, Garrison was probably the serenest person that ever had his clothes torn off his back for expressing his opinions.

That language in the Liberator which looked to the world as if it must have been uttered in a passion, because it was so far above the usual earnestness of expression on such subjects, was in his case the result of a deliberate system.

Garrison said that the world blinded conscience and made false issues with itself by the habitual calling of things by the wrong names; that there was no kind of vice which might not be disguised under a polite phrase. Theft might be spoken of as an ingenious transfer of property—adultery as a form of the elective affinity, and so on, but that all such phraseology had an immoral tendency.

In like manner the stealing of men and women from Africa—the systematic appropriation of all the fruits of their industry and labor—was robbery. Whoever did this was a thief.

Garrison called slaveholders, no matter of what rank in society, of what personal amiabilities and virtues, man-thieves. Whoever formed union with slaveholders, united with man-thieves, and as the partaker in law is judged as being a thief, those who united with man-thieves became themselves thieves.

Having reasoned this out logically, Garrison steadily and systematically applied these terms wherever he thought they applied. The Garrisonian tract, "The church a den of thieves," is a specimen of this kind of logic, and this unsparing use of terms. Whatever may be thought of the justice of such reasoning or the propriety of such logical application of terms, we still wish the fact to stand out clear, that these denunciations were not boiled up by heated passions, but reasoned out by logic, and that it was a part of a systematic plan to bring back the moral sense of society by a habit of calling things by discriminating names. Thus in the Liberator every agent of the United States who helped to catch and return a slave was always spoken of as a kidnapper—all defences of the fugitive slave law were familiarly denominated defences of kidnapping. Theodore Parker, in his sermons about the time of the fugitive slave law, makes very effective use of these terms, and it is not to be denied that the habit of thus constantly using language which in a word makes a moral discrimination is a very powerful influence in forming popular opinion.

People will boggle a great while about fulfilling constitutional obligation when catching a slave is put in those terms, but when it is put as "kidnapping," the question becomes far more direct and simple. The Garrisonians doubtless were philosophical in the precision of the moral nomenclature they adopted, and their success in stimulating drugged and paralyzed moral sentiment was largely owing to it.

To be sure, in the application of wholesale moral syllogism to particular individual cases, there was often something that appeared extremely hard and unjust to the individual. When an amiable northern Doctor of Divinity, who never owned a slave in his life and never expected to, found himself cited in the Liberator by the familiar designation of a man-thief, because he had been in the General Assembly, good naturedly uniting with a large body of southern slaveholders in suppressing all inquiry into their great systematic robbery, the northern Doctor was naturally indignant and so were all his friends and adherents.

To be sure it was only a skillful turning of that syllogistic crank by which New England theology demonstrated that every individual not conscious of a certain moral change of heart, was a malignant enemy of God, and had not a spark of moral excellence of any kind, no matter what sort of a man he might be, or what moral virtues he might practice.

Garrison simply reversed the crank and turned this unsparing kind of logic back on the church and clergy, who felt some of the surprise and pain of the eagle in the fable who found himself shot through by an arrow feathered from his own wing; and in both cases it may be doubted whether great moral syllogisms do not involve many instances of individual and personal injustice.

But it is best to let Garrison state his own case as he did in the Liberator:

"I am accused of using hard language. I admit the charge. I have not been able to find a soft word to describe villainy, or to identify the perpetrator of it. The man who makes a chattel of his brother—what is he? The man who keeps back the hire of his laborers by fraud—what is he? They who prohibit the circulation of the Bible—what are they? They who compel three millions of men and women to herd together, like brute beasts—what are they? They who sell mothers by the pound, and children in lots to suit purchasers—what are they? I care not what terms are applied to them, provided they do apply. If they are not thieves, if they are not tyrants, if they are not men-stealers, I should like to know what is their true character, and by what names they may be called. It is as mild an epithet to say that a thief is a thief, as it is to say that a spade is a spade.

"The anti-slavery cause is beset with many dangers; but there is one which we have special reason to apprehend. It is that this hollow cant about hard language will insensibly check the free utterance of thought and close application of truth which have characterized abolitionists from the beginning. As that cause is becoming popular, and many may be induced to espouse it from motives of policy rather than from reverence for principle, let us beware how we soften our just severity of speech, or emasculate a single epithet. The whole scope of the English language is inadequate to describe the horrors and impurities of slavery. Instead therefore, of repudiating any of its strong terms, we rather need a new and stronger dialect.

* * * * *

"The cry of hard language has become stale in my ears. The faithful utterance of that language has, by the blessing of God, made the anti-slavery cause what it is, ample in resources, strong in numbers, victorious in conflict. * * * Soft phrases and honeyed accents were tried in vain for many a year;—they had no adaptation to the subject. 'Canst thou draw out the leviathan, Slavery, with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? wilt thou take him for a servant forever? Shall not one be cast down at the sight of him? Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether mill-stone. When he raiseth up himself, even the mighty are afraid. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.' O, the surpassing folly of those 'wise and prudent' men, who think he may be coaxed into a willingness to be destroyed, and who regard him as the gentlest of all fish—provided he be let alone! They say it will irritate him to charge him with being a leviathan; he will cause the deep to boil like a pot. Call him a dolphin, and he will not get angry! If I should call these sage advisers by their proper names, no doubt they would be irritated too."

The era of mob violence, which swept over the country in consequence of the anti-slavery agitation, led to a discussion of the peace question, in which Garrison took an earnest part as a champion of the principles of non-resistance, and in 1838 he led the way in organizing the New England Non-Resistance Society, whose declaration of sentiments was prepared by him. The active part taken by the women of the country in these moral changes, led to a discussion of the rights of women. Mr. Garrison was at once an advocate for the principle that women should be allowed liberty to do whatever God and nature qualified them to do—to vote, to serve on committees, and to take part in discussions on equal terms with the other sex. Upon this principle there was a division in the Anti-Slavery Society in 1840; and in the World's Anti-Slavery Convention, held that year in London, Mr. Garrison, being delegate from that society, refused to take his seat because the female delegates from the United States were excluded. Probably no act of Mr. Garrison's eventful life was a more difficult and triumphant exercise of consistent principle than this.

He had come over to England for sympathy, for at home he was despised, and rejected, and hated, and Exeter Hall was filled with an applauding, tumultuous crowd, ready to make him the lion of the hour, but not ready to receive his female coadjutors.

As usual, Mr. Garrison conferred not with flesh and blood for a moment, but rose, bade farewell to the society, and leaving his protest, walked out serenely through the crowd, and thus sealed his protest in favor of the equal rights of woman.

The consideration that he thus renounced an overwhelming public sympathy, and cut himself loose from the patronage of all good society in England, could not weigh a moment with him in comparison with a principle, and the doctrine of the moral, social and political equality of woman may be said to have found in Garrison its first public champion.

The question now arises: If Garrison and his little band were indeed morally right in their position—No union with slaveholders, on what ground did the whole valiant anti-slavery corps proceed who did not come out from the church or the state, but saw their way clear to remain in existing organizations, and fight in and by them.

The free soil party of the political abolitionists generally were headed by men of pure and vital moral sense, who believed just as sincerely as Mr. Garrison that slavery was a wrong and an injustice. How then could they avoid the inference that they could have no union with slaveholders? The statement of this ground properly belongs to the biographical sketches of Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson, which will immediately follow this.

The Garrisonians, and Mr. Garrison at their head, had so perfect an instinct in their cause that they always could feel when a party was at heart morally sincere and in earnest. So, though they always most freely and most profusely criticised the works and ways of the political abolitionists, they were on the whole on excellent terms with them.

They had gotten up such a name for speaking just their minds of every body and thing, that their privilege of criticism came to be allowed freely, and on the whole the little band was thought by the larger one to do good political work by their more strictly and purely moral appeals to the conscience of the community. Where there had been pretty active Garrisonian labor in lecturing, came in the largest political vote.

It is but justice to say that Mr. Garrison's conduct throughout his course demonstrated that it was not a constitutional love of opposition, or a delight in fault-finding which inspired his denunciations of slavery and of the Union as the defence of slavery. For from the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Garrison became a warm, enthusiastic Unionist. When the United States flag, cleansed of all stain of slavery, was once more erected on Fort Sumter, Garrison made the voyage down to testify by his presence at the scene his devotion and loyalty to the flag of his country.

Garrison's non-resistant principles did not allow him to take any active part in the war. But in the same manner they caused him to allow perfect and free toleration to such of his sons as desired to enter the army. The right of individual judgment in every human being was always sacred with him, and the military command which took possession of Charleston had among its officers a son of William Lloyd Garrison.

The scene in the Boston Music Hall, on the 1st of January, 1864, when the telegraphic dispatch of the Emancipation Proclamation was received by an enthusiastic concourse of citizens, and welcomed by the first literary talent of Boston, was one of those occurrences of the visible triumph of good men in their day and generation, of which the slavery conflict gives many instances.

This scene was in all respects a remarkable one, as marking the moral progress of Boston, but in order to feel its full power we must again run our eye over the events of the past few years, of which it was the outcome.

It was only thirty-four years since the Legislature of Georgia had passed an act signed by Gov. Lumpkin, offering the sum of five thousand dollars for whoever would bring into the State of Georgia the person of William Lloyd Garrison, there to answer to the laws of Georgia for the publication of the Liberator—an "incendiary sheet." Everybody knew that this proclamation meant a short shrift and a long rope to Garrison, but there was at that time no counter movement on the part of his own State for his protection, no official declaration on the part of the Massachusetts Legislature to certify that she considered offering rewards for the kidnapping of her citizens to be a violation of State rights. In fact, so completely was Garrison, thus threatened by the South, unprotected by law and public sentiment at the North, that five years later, when the outcry from slaveholding legislatures became stronger, a Massachusetts Governor actually recommended imposing pains and penalties on the abolitionists for the discussion of the subject, and the Legislature actually took into discussion the propriety of doing so.

Was ever thirty years productive of a greater moral change than this 1st of January, 1864, witnessed?

An assemblage of all that Boston had to show of intellect, scholarship, art, rank and fashion, all came together of one accord to one place to celebrate the triumph of those great principles for which Garrison had once been dragged with a rope ignominiously through the streets of Boston.

Now that serene head, with its benevolent calmness, rising in one of the most conspicuous and honored seats in the house, was the observed of all observers. The hisses of mob violence, the scoffs and sneers, had changed to whispered tributes all over the house, "There he is, look!" and mothers pointed him to their children. "There is the good man who had the courage to begin this glorious work, years ago!"

Of Garrison's appearance at this time, it is sufficient to say that it was no more nor less serene and untroubled than when he stood amid the hisses of the mob in Faneuil Hall. He had always believed in this victory as steadfastly in the beginning as in the end, for God, who makes all his instruments for his own purposes, had given him in the outset that "faith which is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen," and to God alone, without a thought of self, did he ascribe the glory.

On the 1st of January, 1865, Mr. Garrison having finished the work for which the Liberator was established in Boston, came out with his last editorial announcing the discontinuing of that paper. He says:

"The object 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 instrumentalities, (of which I hope to avail myself,) under new auspices, with more abundant means and with millions instead of hundreds for allies.

"Most happy am I to be no longer in conflict with the mass of my fellow-countrymen on the subject of slavery. For no man of any refinement or sensibility can be indifferent to the approbation of his fellow-men, if it be rightly earned. But to obtain it by going with the multitude to do evil, is self-degradation and personal dishonor. Better to be always in a minority of one with God—branded as a madman, incendiary, fanatic, heretic, infidel—frowned upon by the powers that be, and mobbed by the populace—or consigned ignominiously to the gallows, like him whose 'soul is marching on,' though his 'body lies mouldering in the grave,' or burnt to ashes at the stake, like Wickliffe, or nailed to the cross, like Him who 'gave himself for the world,' in defence of the RIGHT, than like Herod, having the shouts of the multitude crying, 'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!'

"Commencing my editorial career when only twenty years of age, I have followed it continuously till I have attained my sixtieth year—first in connection with The Free Press, in Newburyport, in the spring of 1826; next, with The National Philanthropist, in Boston, in 1827; next, with The Journal of the Times, in Bennington, Vt., in 1828–9; next, with The Genius of Universal Emancipation, in Baltimore, in 1829–30; and finally, with the Liberator, in Boston, from the 1st of January, 1831, to the 1st of January, 1866,—at the start, probably the youngest member of the editorial fraternity in the land, now, perhaps, the oldest, not in years, but in continuous service,—unless Mr. Bryant, of the New York Evening Post, be an exception.

"Whether I shall again be connected with the press, in a similar capacity, is quite problematical; but at my period of life, I feel no prompting to start a new journal at my own risk, and with the certainty of struggling against wind and tide, as I have done in the past.

"I began the publication of the Liberator without a subscriber, and I end it—it gives me unalloyed satisfaction to say—without a farthing as the pecuniary result of the patronage extended to it during thirty-five years of unremitted labors.

"From the immense change wrought in the national feeling and sentiment on the subject of slavery, the Liberator derived no advantage at any time in regard to its circulation.

* * * * *

"Farewell, tried and faithful patrons! Farewell, generous benefactors, without whose voluntary but essential pecuniary contributions the Liberator must have long since been discontinued! Farewell, noble men and women who have wrought so long and so successfully, under God, to break every yoke! Hail, ye ransomed millions! Hail, year of jubilee! With a grateful heart and a fresh baptism of the soul, my last invocation shall be—

'Spirit of Freedom! on—
Oh! pause not in thy flight
Till every clime is won,
To worship in thy light:
Speed on thy glorious way,
And wake the sleeping lands!
Millions are watching for the ray,
And lift to thee their hands.
Still 'Onward!' be thy cry—
Thy banner on the blast;
And as thou rushest by,
Despots shall shrink aghast.
On! till thy name is known
Throughout the peopled earth;
On! till thou reign'st alone,
Man's heritage by birth;
On! till from every vale, and where the mountains rise,
The beacon lights of Liberty shall kindle to the skies!'


There were those in the party of the Garrisonian Abolitionists whose course at this time seemed to justify the popular impression that faultfinding had so long been their occupation, that they were not willing to accept even their own victory at the price of giving up their liberty of denunciation. It is doubtless very dangerous to the finer tissues of one's moral nature to live only to deny and contend and rebuke.

But Mr. Garrison showed conclusively that it was love of right and not love of contention, that animated him by this prompt, whole hearted acknowledgment of the good when it came. No American citizen ever came more joyfully and lovingly into the great American Union, than he who so many years had stood outside of it, for conscience' sake; and he showed just as much steadiness and independence in disregarding the criticisms of some of his former coadjutors, as he formerly had in disregarding those of pro-slavery enemies. He would not say that a work was not done which was done—he was honest and fair in acknowledging honest and fair work, and he very wisely distinguished between emancipation, as a fixed and final fact, and reconstruction, as belonging to the new era founded on emancipation. In his last editorial he very quietly and sensibly states his views on this subject, and repels the charge which had been made that he was deserting the battle before the victory was won. He ends by saying:

"I shall sound no trumpet and make no parade as to what I shall do for the future. After having gone through with such a struggle as has never been paralleled in duration in the life of any reformer, and for nearly forty years been the target at which all poisonous and deadly missiles have been hurled, and having seen our great national iniquity blotted out, and freedom 'proclaimed throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof,' and a thousand presses and pulpits supporting the claims of the colored population to fair treatment where not one could be found to do this in the early days of the anti-slavery conflict, I might, it seems to me—be permitted to take a little repose in my advanced years, if I desired to do so. But, as yet, I have neither asked nor wished to be relieved of any burdens or labors connected with the good old cause. I see a mighty work of enlightenment and regeneration yet to be accomplished at the South, and many cruel wrongs done to the freedmen which are yet to be redressed; and I neither counsel others to turn away from the field of conflict, under the delusion that no more remains to be done, nor contemplate such a course in my own case."

Mr. Garrison's health, which had suffered severely from his long labors, required the relief of foreign travel.

He once more revisited England, where his course was one unbroken triumph. A great breakfast was given in his honor at St. James' Hall, London, at which John Bright presided. The Duke of Argyle presented a complimentary address to Mr. Garrison, congratulating him on the successful termination of the Anti-Slavery struggle. Lord John Russell seconded this address, and at this time magnanimously retracted certain hasty sayings in regard to the recent conflict in America, at its commencement. In the city of Edinburgh he was received in a crowded public meeting with tumultuous cheering, and the freedom of the city was solemnly presented to him by the Lord Provost and magistracy. In a private letter he says:

"I need not tell you that I went to England with no purpose or thought of being lionized, but only quietly to see old friends, to seek recreation, hoping to renovate my failing health by the voyage. But I shall ever gratefully remember those friendly manifestations towards me and my native land."

In conclusion, it is but justice to human nature in general and to New England in particular, to say that the poets of New England, true to a divine inspiration always honored Garrison, even in his days of deepest darkness and rebuke. Longfellow, Russell, Lowell, Whittier and Emerson, came out boldly with Anti-Slavery poems. They were the wise men, star-led, who brought to the stable and the manger of the infant cause, the gold, frankincense and myrrh. It was a great opportunity, and they had grace given them to use it, and not all the fame they had won otherwise, honors them so much as those tributes to humanity and liberty which they bestowed in the hour of her utmost need.

We will conclude this sketch by a letter from Mr. Garrison, which best shows the spirit in which he regards the result of the great conflict.

"Dear Mrs. Stowe:

For your very appreciative and congratulatory letter on the "marvellous work of the Lord," which the Liberator marks as finished, I proffer you my heartfelt thanks, and join with you in a song of thanksgiving to Him, who, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm has set free the captive millions in our land.

"The instrumentalities which the God of the oppressed has used for the overthrow of the slave system, have been as multifarious and extraordinary as that system has been brutal and iniquitous. Every thing that has been done, whether to break the yoke or to rivet it more strongly, has been needed to bring about the great result. The very madness of the South has worked as effectively anti-slavery-wise as the most strenuous efforts of the abolitionists.

"The outlawry of all Northern men of known hostility to slavery—the numberless pro-slavery mobs and lynchings, her defiant and awful defence of the traffic in human flesh, her increasing rigor and cruelties towards the slaves, and finally her horrible treason and rebellion to secure her independence as a vast slaveholding empire, through all time, all mightily helped to defeat her impious purpose and to hasten the year of jubilee. Thus it is that

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

And who but God is to be glorified?

Charles Sumner

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