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[376] that a National Abolition Society has been formed in the United States of America.

In the midst of Mr. Garrison's address he was 1 interrupted by ‘deafening and long-continued thunders of applause,’ which greeted the entrance of Daniel O'Connell. The Irish Liberator, in a private interview with Mr. Garrison upon the subject of the Colonization Society, had asked, ‘Why don't you hold a public meeting in Exeter Hall?’ Upon which Mr. Garrison expressed his doubt whether the popular interest in the subject would ensure an audience. ‘Well,’ said O'Connell, ‘I'll come and make a speech for you.’ ‘Agreed,’ said Mr. Garrison, and the arrangements were begun. But when the meeting had assembled, O'Connell was wanting. Scouts were sent out for him, and he was found at a breakfast, just rising to his feet to make a speech: he had entirely forgotten the appointment. A note of reminder was slipt into his hands, and he at once excused himself. Driven rapidly to the Hall he came upon the platform, and at the proper moment ‘threw off his magnificent speech as he threw off his coat,’ as Mr. Garrison was fond of saying in after years.

This speech, humorous, disjointed, occasionally blundering (as where O'Connell expressed sympathy with the ‘oppressed State’ of South Carolina in the nullification controversy), was also characteristically eloquent, and calculated to probe American susceptibilities to the quick. ‘I will now go to America,’ said he, after a reference to2 the anti-slavery crisis in England and the pending issue of compensation and apprenticeship. ‘I have often longed to go there in reality; but so long as it is tarnished by slavery, I will never pollute my foot by treading on its shores.’ Of the American slave-owners he declared, amid cheering: ‘They are the basest of the base—the most execrable of the execrable. I thank God that upon the wings of the press the voice of so humble an individual as myself will pass against the western breeze—that it will reach the rivers, the lakes, the mountains, and the glens of America—and that the ’

1 Lib. 3.178.

2 Lib. 3.186.

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