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[455]

We return to Mr. Garrison, who had still one powerful shaft in his quiver—the direct application of anti-slavery sentiment to the making and unmaking of political fortunes. At the annual meeting of the American Colonization Society in Washington in January, 1834, the Rev. Leonard Bacon charged the leaders of the anti-slavery movement with ‘a design to make it a political party. I1 have,’ he continued, ‘reason to believe they mean to make adhesion to their sentiments a test of office. And there will not be wanting political desperadoes who are willing to be arrayed under that banner.’ He was more correct in his prediction than in his choice of terms. On the 28th of October following, Mr. Abbott Lawrence, the2 Whig candidate for Congress in the First District of Massachusetts, was honored with a letter from sundry citizens and voters of that district (among whom we remark, together with Sewall, Loring, Child, and other officers of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Francis Jackson), asking his attention to slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia, and calling for an expression of his sentiments on this subject. No pledge was exacted of Mr. Lawrence, but he was urged to aid in the early suppression of this national iniquity, and a plain intimation was given that upon his sentiments about it would depend the political support of the subscribers.

Mr. Lawrence, in reply, admitted slavery to be (as3 in the language of his interrogators) the ‘greatest moral question that has ever been presented to the people of this country,’ and, in his own opinion, ‘not less important in a political point of view.’ He promised to make a careful examination of his duty, but must go to Congress unpledged and untrammelled. This response did not satisfy Mr. Garrison, who, on printing the correspondence in the Liberator, said he preferred to give his influence in favor of Amasa Walker (an outspoken4 abolitionist). He did more, he gave him his vote—the5 one political vote of his lifetime; and after the election

1 Lib. 4.22.

2 Lib. 4.178.

3 Niles' Register, 47.162.

4 Lib. 4.179.

5 Lib. 4.203.

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