‘When I saw how outrageously Garrison and some others1 were abusing this great cause, mismanaging it by their unreasonable violence, and by what I thought unchristian language, and a convention was proposed in Massachusetts, I joined a few gentlemen in Cambridge2 in an association for the purpose of inquiring whether something might not be done to moderate the tone they were using, and prevent the mischief which we thought likely to ensue. We were foolish enough to imagine that we might possibly exert some favorable influence. We attempted it, and of course we failed; for all who know Mr. Garrison know that he is not a man to be controlled or advised. Our Society lived about a year, and has now virtually expired. I never belonged to any other. I have attended but four antislavery meetings, three in Boston and one in Cambridge. I have never had any acquaintance with Thompson, who, I thought, had no business in the country;3 only a speaking acquaintance with Garrison; and I was never in the Anti-Slavery rooms but once.’Fresh from the inspiration of the Philadelphia Convention of December, 1833, Mr. May appears to have made an4 earnest effort to win over to the cause the leading clergy of his own denomination. The adhesion of Follen, if so
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1 Memoir, pp. 366, 367.
2 Twenty-three in number, most if not all Unitarians. The first four names on the list were Henry Ware, Sidney Willard, Charles Follen, H. Ware, Jr. Further on came W. H. Channing, Charles T. Brooks, Frederick H. Hedge, etc. (see the preamble and Constitution in A. B. Muzzey's Reminiscences and memorials, p. 294).
3 So thought the Unitarian Christian Register, which spoke of Thompson as ‘an itinerate foreigner,’ and doubted the wisdom of enlisting him (Lib. 4.179). Mr. Ware's letter was written two days after the Boston mob intended for Thompson, and is perhaps the mildest commentary on that outrage to be found in print. ‘You are correct,’ writes Mr. Garrison to G. W. Benson, Sept, 4, 1835; ‘those religious persons and papers that denounce our brother George Thompson as a foreigner, are virtually rebuking every foreign missionary who has been sent from our shores to evangelize a rebellious world; and they will find, ere long, that infidelity will meet and vanquish them with their own weapons.’
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