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[396] made each other's acquaintance for the first time. Mr. May, who ‘studied anxiously their countenances and bearing, and caught most thirstily every word that dropped from their lips,’ and satisfied himself that ‘most of them were men ready to die, if need be, in the pass of Thermopylae,’ has recorded an episode of the journey (by steamboat from New York to Elizabethtown, and again from Bordentown to Philadelphia):

There was much earnest talking by other parties beside our1 own. Presently a gentleman turned from one of them to me and said, “What, sir, are the Abolitionists going to do in Philadelphia?” I informed him that we intended to form a National Anti-Slavery Society. This brought from him an outpouring of the commonplace objections to our enterprise, which I replied to as well as I was able. Mr. Garrison drew near, and I soon shifted my part of the discussion into his hands, and listened with delight to the admirable manner in which he expounded and maintained the doctrines and purposes of those who believed with him that the slaves—the blackest of them— were men, entitled as much as the whitest and most exalted men in the land to their liberty, to a residence here, if they choose, and to acquire as much wisdom, as much property, and as high a position as they may.

‘After a long conversation, which attracted as many as could get within hearing, the gentleman said, courteously: “I have been much interested, sir, in what you have said, and in the exceedingly frank and temperate manner in which you have treated the subject. If all Abolitionists were like you, there would be much less opposition to your enterprise. But, sir, depend upon it, that hair-brained, reckless, violent fanatic, Garrison, will damage, if he does not shipwreck, any cause.” Stepping forward, I replied, “Allow me, sir, to introduce you to Mr. Garrison, of whom you entertain so bad an opinion. The gentleman you have been talking with is he.” ’

The little company reached Philadelphia in the morning of December 3, and found the city sufficiently excited by the cause of their coming to justify all the2 precautions already taken, and (on a hint from the police that they could not protect evening meetings) to make day sessions advisable. They gathered informally,

1 May's Recollections, p. 81; Second Decade Proceedings, p. 28.

2 May's Recollections, p. 82; Second Decade Proceedings, p. 28.

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