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[380]

Chapter 12: American Anti-slavery Society.—1833.

Garrison finds a mob prepared for him on landing in New York, and a would-be mob in Boston. Visiting Canterbury, he is served with the delayed libel writs, but is never brought to trial. In December he effects the organization at Philadelphia of a National Anti-slavery Society, of which he draws up the Declaration of sentiments.


Time would vindicate the essentially patriotic service which Mr. Garrison had rendered by cementing the alliance between British philanthropy and American abolitionism; but, for the moment, his faithful exposure of the national guilt of slaveholding—his ‘washing dirty linen abroad’—caused him to be looked upon at home as the detractor and enemy of his country. Not only what he had himself said in Exeter Hall, but O'Connell's contemptuous treatment of the colonization ‘humbug,’ and tremendous denunciation of American slave-owners, were treasured up against his return. The colonization organs sedulously fanned the public heat caused by the wounding of the national amour propre, and the mind of the respectable classes was prepared for any form of popular resentment against Mr. Garrison by the publication, in the Boston Daily Advertiser and in Niles' Register, while he was still afloat, of Harrison Gray Otis's letter to a South Carolinian, already referred to. Cresson, too,1 had written to the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser: ‘I have2 only time by this packet to tell thee that Garrison and the Anti-Slavery Society are fully employed in endeavoring to crush me, hunt the Colonization Society out of the country, and vilify our national character.’

The flame broke out by reason of an ‘unpremeditated3 coincidence’ for which Mr. Garrison was in no wise responsible. Notices of a public meeting to form that New York City Anti-Slavery Society which he had effectively encouraged on his departure, were read from the4

1 Ante, p. 242.

2 Lib. 3.151.

3 Lib. 3.163.

4 Lib. 3.161.

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