nor the several anniversaries above referred to, and the attendant and subsequent mobs; nor the daily multiplication of anti-slavery societies; nor Judson
's retributive defeat as candidate for the2 Connecticut
Legislature; nor Charles Stuart
's arrival in3
America; nor Gerrit Smith
's founding a manual-labor4
school at Peterboroa, for colored males.
All these cheering signs of the times, following close upon the organization of the American Anti-Slavery Society, were well calculated to elate the editor of the Liberator
. But one is made aware of a special exaltation seeking a vent in verse—mainly in sonnets—of which the last two,5
‘Helen, if thus we tenderly deplore,’ and ‘Thou mistress of my heart!
my chosen one!’
reveal the cause.
Of that touching farewell scene at the African Church6
in April, 1833, Miss Helen Benson
was a witness, and for the first time looked on the speaker whose name was household in her father's family.
They met again the next day at her brother's store—Mr. Garrison
deeply impressed by her ‘sweet countenance and pleasant conversation’; she, who had found him to surpass even her imagination of him, ‘riveted to the spot,’ lingering long to hear him converse, and bidding him farewell, perhaps forever, with a dull weight upon her mind.
In his fancy she accompanied him on his outward voyage and during his sojourn in England
, and lightened the tedium of his return.
On his subsequent journeys to and from Boston
he never omitted an opportunity to visit the Bensons at Brooklyn
, and every interview confirmed him in his admiration of her. She was a plump and rosy creature, with blue eyes and fair brown hair, just entering, when first seen by him, her twenty-third year.7