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[364]

[‘He said to me, with great emphasis,— “Tell the people of1 the United States, Mr. Garrison, that Thomas Clarkson is now resolved not to give any countenance to the American Colonization Society. Tell them that he refused to comply with the solicitation of Mr. Cresson to become an honorary member of it; and also refused to give his sanction to the British Colonization Society. I occupy neutral ground. My letter to Mr. Cresson in favor of the American Colonization Society was extorted by his statement [what a statement!] that one hundred thousand slaves had been offered to the Society gratuitously, to be sent to Liberia. This unparalleled liberality seemed to me to be indeed the work of God.” ’]

Having listened to him with becoming deference, I spared2 no pains to correct the erroneous views which he had formed— beginning with the origin of the Society, and tracing it through all its ramifications; explaining its direful tendencies to corrupt the public mind, obscure the moral vision of the people, inflame their prejudices, deceive their hopes, and sear their consciences —and to perpetuate, by pruning, an overgrown system of oppression. I showed him that it was cruel mockery to say that the persecuted and oppressed exiles to Liberia had gone with their own consent, cheerfully and voluntarily; that the doctrines of the Society were abhorrent and impious; that it was the enemy not merely of the colored race, but of all genuine abolitionists; that good men who had taken it upon trust, on ascertaining its real purposes, were abandoning it in crowds, and using mighty exertions to overthrow it; and that all its doctrines, measures and designs were evil, and only evil continually. I also endeavored to convince him that he did not occupy neutral ground, but that he was everywhere, both in England and in the United States, regarded as the unfaltering friend of the Society; and that until he publicly requested to be considered as neither approving nor opposing the Society, he could not possibly be neutral in this great controversy.

The Rev. Mr. Paul also appealed to him in the most solemn and pathetic manner, and stated in what light the Society was universally regarded by his colored brethren, and in what manner it was operating to their injury. His disclosures seemed powerfully to agonize the mind of the venerable man, and sincerely did we pity him.

After an interview of about four hours, we took our leave of him, lamenting that he should still feel it to be his duty to occupy what he considered neutral ground.

1 Lib. 3.189.

2 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 47.

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