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
road, in an intervale at the foot of the long hill separating Brooklyn
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
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.
one young lady out of ten thousand, in a first interview with her lover, but would have endeavored falsely to ’