previous next
[426] of the first vice-presidents of the Windham County1 Peace Society established in 1826 through the efforts of S. J. May, and died its president; and was likewise an officer of the Windham County Temperance Society, at2 its organization in 1829. Reared in the Baptist faith, his views had gravitated towards those of the Society of Friends, to whose principles respecting war, slavery, and oaths he became a convert.3 He ‘cherished their spirit, dressed very much in their style, and generally [while in Providence] attended their religious meetings.’ Two of his daughters became Friends ‘through convincement.’

Religion, philanthropy and hospitality moulded the family life at ‘Friendship's Valley,’ as Prudence Crandall had gratefully denominated the Benson place, which lay on both sides of the Norwich and Worcester road, in an intervale at the foot of the long hill separating Brooklyn from Pomfret. Nowhere could Mr. Garrison have found an atmosphere more congenial to his moral sense, or more inimical to the solitary and unsettled life he had hitherto led. Almost in the ride to Canterbury he had4 offered himself to Miss Helen, his companion, but lacked the courage. In January, 1834, he began a correspondence which speedily culminated in a proposal of marriage on his part, and in a joyful yet self-distrustful acceptance on hers. In April, on his way to Philadelphia, he visited her for the first time as an acknowledged suitor, and, to his great satisfaction, was received by her in her customary simplicity of dress. ‘Truly,’ he writes. ‘not5 one young lady out of ten thousand, in a first interview with her lover, but would have endeavored falsely to ’

1 Larned's Windham County, 2.475.

2 Ibid., 2.484.

3 This was rather a case of reversion than of conversion, for the affinity between the early Friends and the Baptists was very strong (see Tallack's George Fox, the Friends and the early Baptists). One of Mr. Benson's ancestors, on the maternal side, was that Rev. Obadiah Holmes who was publicly whipt in Boston, in 1651, for holding service at the bedside of an invalid brother Baptist, and whose account of his behavior under this persecution (in Clarke's Newes from New England) shows how little he differed in spirit and in manne from the equally outraged Quakers.

4 Ante, p. 390.

5 Ms. April 24, 1834.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Samuel Joseph May (1)
Obadiah Holmes (1)
Helen Eliza Garrison (1)
George Fox (1)
Prudence Crandall (1)
Clarke (1)
George Benson (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 24th, 1834 AD (1)
January, 1834 AD (1)
1829 AD (1)
1826 AD (1)
1651 AD (1)
April (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: