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[351]

Some of the debates have been highly piquant, talented and1 eloquent—all of them pregnant with interest. Among the speakers are Lord Suffield, Buxton, Macaulay,2 Cropper, Stephen, Gurney and Thompson. Perfect unanimity of sentiment as to the wisest course to be pursued is not to be expected in so large a body; but whatever differences exist in regard to the Government plan, all are agreed upon these two fundamental points—namely, that the right of property in the slaves shall “instantly cease, and that, whatever relief or compensation may be granted to the planters, no part of it shall be paid by the slaves.”

With Buxton Mr. Garrison had had a curious experience:

On arriving in London I received a polite invitation by letter3 from Mr. Buxton to take breakfast with him. Presenting myself at the appointed time, when my name was announced, instead of coming forward promptly to take me by the hand, he scrutinized me from head to foot, and then inquired, somewhat dubiously, “Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Garrison, of Boston, in the United States?” “Yes, sir,” I replied, “I am he; and I am here in accordance with your invitation.” Lifting up his hands he exclaimed, “Why, my dear sir, I thought you were a black man! And I have consequently invited this company of ladies and gentlemen to be present to welcome Mr. Garrison, the black advocate of emancipation from the United States of America!” I have often said that that is the only compliment I have ever had paid to me that I care to remember, or to tell of! For Mr. Buxton had somehow or other supposed that no white American could plead for those in bondage as I had done, and therefore I must be black!

‘The worthy successor of Wilberforce, our esteemed friend and coadjutor, Thomas Fowell Buxton,’ had this picture drawn of him by his guest on his return to America:

Buxton has sufficient fleshly timber to make two or three4 Wilberforces. He is six feet and a half in height, though rather slender than robust. What a formidable leader of the antislavery cause in appearance! We always felt delighted to see him rise in his seat in Parliament to address the House, for his

1 Lib. 3.139.

2 Zachary Macaulay, father of the historian.

3 London Breakfast to W. L. G., p. 38.

4 Lib. 6.7.

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