B. Gratz Brown
, John How, the Blairs, the Filleys, and other influential Missourians,--were Abolitionists.
Some of them weakened under the influence of the national administration, but not a few of them maintained their integrity.
Even in the first days of the Civil War
, when all was chaos there, an organization was maintained, although at one time its only working and visible representatives consisted of the members of a committee of four men --a fifth having withdrawn — who were B. Gratz Brown
, afterwards a United States Senator
; Thomas C. Fletcher
, afterwards Governor
of the State
; Hon. Benjamin R. Bonner
, of St. Louis
, and the writer of this narrative.
They issued an appeal that was distributed all over the State
, asking those in sympathy with their views to hold fast to their principles, and to keep up the contest for unconditional freedom.
To that appeal there was an encouraging number of favorable responses.
And thus it was that when Abolitionism may be said to have been lost by merger elsewhere, it remained in its independence and integrity in slaveholding Missouri
, where it kept up a struggle for free soil, and in four years so far made itself master of the situation that a constitutional State convention, chosen by popular vote, adopted an ordinance under which an emancipationist Governor issued his proclamation, declaring that “hence and forever no person within the jurisdiction of the State
shall be subject to any abridgment of liberty, except such as the law shall prescribe for the common good, or know any master but God.”
The writer entered on this work with no purpose