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Chapter 14: mobs

In his Recollections, the Rev. Samuel T. May, who was one of the most faithful and zealous of the Anti-Slavery pioneers, and belonged to that band of devoted workers who were known as Abolition lecturers, tells of his experience in delivering an Anti-Slavery address in the sober New England city of Haverhill.

“It was a Sabbath evening,” he says. “I had spoken about fifteen minutes when the most hideous outcries-yells and screeches — from a crowd of men and boys, who had surrounded the house, startled us, and then came heavy missiles against the doors and the blinds of the windows. I persisted in speaking for a few minutes, hoping the doors and blinds were strong enough to withstand the attack. But presently a heavy stone broke through one of the blinds, scattered a pane of glass, and fell upon the head of a lady sitting near the center of the hall. She uttered a shriek and fell bleeding on the floor.”

There was a panic, of course, and the Abolition lecturer would have been roughly handled by the mob if a young lady, a sister of the poet Whittier, had not taken him by the arm, and walked with him

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