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[1]

Chapter 1: the Boston mob (second stage).—1835.

A highly “respectable” mob, excited against George Thompson, vents itself on Garrison at a meeting of the Boston Female Anti-slavery Society on October 21. Mayor Lyman rescues him, and shelters him in the City Hall, whence he is formally committed to jail as a rioter, narrowly escaping the clutches of the mob on the way. The next day he leaves the City. Thompson returns to England. Garrison's partnership with Knapp ends.


It was now time for Mr. Garrison to descend into that seething mari magno which, from the tranquil haven of Friendship's Valley, he had calmly regarded for a full month. Leaving Brooklyn, in company with his wife, on September 24, 1835, he spent the following day in Providence, and reached Boston at noon on the 26th. He found there this greeting from David Lee Child, written at New York on the 23d:
Be of good cheer. The Devil comes not out without much1 tearing and rending and foaming at the mouth. With all my confidence in my abolition brothers and sisters, you are the only one on whom I entirely rely for pine-and-faggot virtue—not that I trust others less, but that I trust you more. The Southerners are mad past all precedent. The famous spouter, Governor Hamilton, is here, supposed for the countenancing and organizing of kidnappers and assassins. This is hardly credible, yet it is believed. The report now goes that $100,000 is the prize for Arthur Tappan's head, and that two vessels are in the offing to receive him.

Catch a fish before you cook it,
Said the learned Mother Glass.

[2]

On October 2, Mr. Garrison writes to G. W. Benson:

I have not got regulated yet, since my return from 2 rusticating in the country, and I already begin to sigh for the quietude and (selfish ease will out) irresponsibleness of Friendship's Valley. . . . Boston is beginning to sink into apathy. The reaction has come rapidly, but we are trying to get the3 steam up again. We have held two public meetings, which were well attended, and all went off quietly.

And still the South awaited the sign that the North— that Boston—would not put her off with empty words.

The ‘vagabond’ Thompson, as the Boston Transcript4 called him—the ‘wandering insurrectionist’—first began after the Faneuil Hall meeting to experience the deadly hostility invoked against him there. From his peaceful labors in the ‘Old Colony’ and its vicinity, at5 the close of 1834, he had passed in January to Andover, where he had the ear of the theological and academical students; to Concord, Mass.; to various parts of Essex County, where the meeting-houses of Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians and Friends were opened to him. In the intervals of these excursions he spoke frequently in Boston. In February, accompanied by the Rev. Amos A. Phelps and by Henry Benson, he visited southern New Hampshire and Portland, Maine, still enjoying the hospitality of the churches and promoting new antislavery organizations. Thence he proceeded in the same month to New York, where he spoke for the first time since his arrival in America, in the Rev. Dr. Lansing's church, without molestation or disorder of any kind; in March, to Philadelphia, giving an address in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, after an introduction by David Paul Brown. Repairing to Boston for lectures and debates in the Anti-Slavery Rooms, he returned to New York in company with Mr. Garrison. In April he was again in Boston, using the only church open to him (the Methodist Church in Bennett Street) for a Fast-Day and other discourses, and a third time in New York, forming en route a female anti-slavery society in the [3] Providence Pine-Street Baptist Church; and then, once more with Messrs. Phelps and Benson for companions, he journeyed to Albany and Troy, where his success warranted a long sojourn. In the second week in May we find him attending the anniversary meetings of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York, which were held in6 perfect security despite a placard intended to renew the scenes of October, 1833; in the last week, participating in the New England Anti-Slavery Convention in Boston, and, at the very close, holding in Julien Hall a debate7 with Gurley on the subject of colonization. His June campaign was made in the already well-worked field of Essex County, and thither he was recalled in July by the presence of Gurley in Andover. Nowhere had the interest and excitement produced by Mr. Thompson's eloquence been more intense, or the struggle severer, than on this occasion. But, though backed by Amos A. Phelps, he could not prevail against the alliance of Gurley with Professor Stuart to maintain the settled hostility of this theological centre.

The quiet temper of the public mind was destroyed as in an instant by the Charleston bonfire and its imitations at the North—the town meetings in Boston, New8 York, Philadelphia and elsewhere, all concentrating their indignation and malice on the ‘imported travelling incendiary.’ At a convention in Lynn on August 5, a stone meant for Mr. Thompson was thrown through the window and struck a lady in the audience. The next evening he lectured again, and was mobbed by three hundred disturbers, from whom he only escaped by accepting9 the escort of ladies.10 Unable to remain in New York, whither on the 12th he accompanied Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Child despite the remonstrances of his friends, his first test of the New England temper after the signal had been given from Faneuil Hall proved how much it had [4] changed for the worse towards himself. The attack on him at Concord (N. H.), on September 4, followed close upon the mobbing of Mr. May at Haverhill, Mass.; on September 17, the Brighton-Street gallows was set up before his late residence in Boston; on September 27, an11 extraordinary onslaught was made on him in the rural village of Abington, Mass.

At this time, too, a stupid or wilful perversion, by an Andover student from the South, named Kaufman, of Mr. Thompson's remarks in a private discussion on slavery, added fuel to the flames of his persecution. He was accused of having said that the slave masters ought12 to have their throats cut, and that the slaves should be taught so. What he was arguing was, that if it was ever right to rise forcibly against oppressors, the slaves had that right—a commonplace of anti-slavery doctrine, now become one of the axioms of the civilized world. Finally, a trumped — up affidavit before some American consul pretended that Thompson had, for felony, come13 near being transported to Botany Bay. So the uproar went on. Subscriptions to a fund for procuring the heads of Garrison, Thompson and Tappan were invited to be made at a bookstore (!) in Norfolk, Va. Money rewards for the same object were offered from all parts of the South. Northern tradesmen were threatened with14 loss of Southern patronage, or with destruction of their Southern branch establishments, if they were known to be friendly to the abolitionists—if they did not come out against them—if abolitionists were permitted to hold meetings or publish papers in the town where the merchant did business.

This chord was as effectively touched in the case of Boston as of any commercial city, and ‘A Calm Appeal’ of the Richmond Enquirer ‘to put down forever these wanton fanatics,’ had the maddening influence which was calculated for it. This article, highly15 prophetic in its picture of a future civil war between the States, following Southern secession in defence of [5] slavery,16 warned the North against the slightest interference with that institution; urged total noninter-course, social or commercial, with the incendiaries; and inquired—

Why, above all, does not

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