A short time after this visit, I unexpectedly received, to my exceeding joy, from a distinguished member of Parliament, duplicate copies of the Protest against the American Colonization Society, signed by Wilberforce and eleven of the most distinguished abolitionists in Great Britain, which has fallen like a thunderbolt upon the Society, and riven it in twain. In getting up this Protest I had no agency whatever. It was altogether unexpected by me; but to obtain it was alone worth a trip across the Atlantic.1Mr. Garrison was recalled from Bath, directly after his last interview with Wilberforce, by a note from Captain Stuart informing him that Cresson had called a public meeting at Freemason Tavern, at which the Duke of Sussex was to preside, for the purpose of forming a British Colonization Society in open or secret affiliation with the American. ‘Punctual to the hour,’ says his 2 Report, ‘I went to the meeting,3 accompanied by my friends Capt. Stuart, Joseph Phillips, William Hume, Esq., of Dublin, and other gentlemen, expecting to find a large audience. Mr. Cresson and six or eight of his friends constituted the whole company in attendance, excepting those who went with me! The Duke of Sussex was absent, and Mr. Cresson therefore moved that the meeting be adjourned!’ Another meeting was shortly appointed for July 3 at the Hanover-Square Rooms, under the same auspices, whereupon Mr. Garrison addressed a letter to ‘His Grace the Duke of Sussex,’ desiring a private interview as the accredited agent of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, ready to prove Mr. Elliott Cresson a deceiver, and the Colonization Society ‘corrupt in its principles, proscriptive in its measures, and the worst enemy of the free colored and ’
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1 The Protest bore the general date of July, 1833. ‘Mr. Wilberforce signed it about a week or ten days before his death [July 29]. His autograph is remarkably firm and plain. His testimony is almost like a voice from the grave, and, in giving it, he has made the last act of his life as useful and important in the destruction of prejudice and slavery as any other single act in his noble career of philanthropy’ (W. L. G. to the editor of the London Patriot, Lib. 3.201).
2 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 42.
3 Probably on June 20.
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