Chapter 11: first mission to England.—1833.He arrives on the eve of the passage of the bill abolishing slavery in the British West Indies, is cordially received by the abolition leaders, and has interesting and affecting interviews with Buxton, Wilberforce, and Clarkson. He exposes Elliott Cresson and the Colonization scheme in Exeter Hall and elsewhere, and secures a protest against the latter headed by Wilberforce, who shortly dies and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Garrison attends his funeral, and then sails for America in August.
The passage was a reasonably short one, of twenty days, but ‘inexpressibly wearisome both to flesh and spirit,’ for Mr. Garrison was seasick within sight of1 Sandy Hook, leading all his fellow-passengers, and for the first week was unable to take food. He arrived out at Liverpool on May 22, and found the daily press filled with the absorbing topic of the hour—abolition in the2 colonies. It was universally conceded that slavery had received its death-blow since Lord Stanley's introduction of the ministerial measure in the House of Commons on May 14. Petitions were crowding in upon Parliament from all parts, including some monster ones signed by the women of Great Britain. Debate had been adjourned to May 30, and the friends of the bill, in their anxiety to insure its passage, accepted the features of apprenticeship and compensation, which made it seem to Mr. Garrison a go-between plan, worthy rather to be denounced than seconded. However, it was clear that he was unexpectedly to witness the closing scenes of the greatest moral struggle of modern times, and he hastened to present himself at the home of James Cropper. But Cropper, like a true soldier, was on the battle-field, having charged his sons to receive his American guest, which they did with great cordiality, introducing him ‘to several worthy3 friends, of both sexes,’ all of whom hailed his visit ‘as singularly providential.’ Some four days were spent in the city, of which Mr. Garrison gives his impressions in a manuscript fragment dated May 27, 1833: