to be very beautiful. On alighting at his door, Mr. Paul and myself, at the request of Mr. Alexander, strolled about the serpentine paths of the Park, while he went in to ascertain whether Clarkson's health would permit an interview at that time—as, a few days before, he had injured one of his legs severely against the shaft of his carriage. In about twenty minutes we were called into the house, and were met by Clarkson totteringly supported by Mr. Alexander. His mind was evidently full of distress: my own was deeply affected, almost beyond the utterance of words. In taking me by the hand, he observed — “I cannot see your face—I have now wholly lost my sight —but—” and here his emotion overpowered his feelings— “I believe I have lost it in a good cause.” My introductory remarks were few and simple. A burden of gratitude for his noble services in the cause of bleeding humanity, and of sympathy for his present affecting condition, pressed mightily upon my soul, which I earnestly desired to throw off by the power of speech; but, lest it might seem like premeditated flattery and artful condolence, I was awed into silence. He immediately began on the subject of colonization; and, with a vividness of memory which surprised me, minutely stated the substance of all his conversations with Mr. Cresson from their first interview, and the circumstances which had led him to give his sanction to the Colonization Society. He had never regarded that Society as capable, in itself, of effecting the abolition of slavery in the United States, but only as an auxiliary to its abolition. Did he suppose that compulsion, either directly or indirectly, was used to effect the removal of the free people of color and such as were liberated from bondage, he should deprecate the measure as unspeakably cruel and wicked. Finding that his approval of the Society was regarded with grief by many of his dearest friends, in whose opinions he could not unite as to its evil character,1—and in order to obtain that repose of mind which his bodily infirmities imperiously demanded,—he had resolved to occupy neutral ground, and did not wish to be ranked on either side of the controversy. He saw no reason to change his decision.
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1 See the letters of James Cropper and Arnold Buffum to Clarkson, Abolitionist, pp. 8, 39. Clarkson wrote to John Fenwick, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Dec. 22, 1832 (Ms.): ‘E. Cresson is a man of estimable character in Philadelphia; the bosom friend of Robert Vaux. There is nothing against the Association but rumor. It will probably be balanced by the formation of anti-slavery societies in the United States.’
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