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[56] fundamental law, the Constitution, and it was openly abetted and defended by the church. Was it possible to worship institutions which brought forth such harvests? By their fruits ye shall know them, and this fruit was rotten to the core. And he began to preach a crusade against coercion, and the government which enforced it, and the church which blessed it. Public opinion in Garrison's time, and to a lesser degree to-day also, was singularly alike in religious and political matters. The pope, a man, had been deposed on the one hand, and the Bible, a writing, set up in his place. The king, a man, had been dismissed on the other, and the Constitution, a writing, enthroned in his place. The infallibility of the pope had been transferred to the Bible, and the majesty of the king to the Constitution, and protestantism and democracy seemed destined to end in the worship of printer's ink. It was the old error which has always called forth the prophet to denounce it — the error of exalting the letter above the spirit. If protestantism and democracy have any meaning, they stand for freedom; and yet Garrison found them approving of military coercion, warfare and slavery. What was he to do? It was a hard wrench for him. It required many months for him to appreciate the true bearings of the situation, but when he once saw clearly that his

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William Lloyd Garrison (2)
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