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‘ [466] at Charlestown,1 New York, and Harvard College. . . . Dr. Follen calls it an abolition sermon.’ One who heard it wrote that Channing had come out an abolitionist.2 ‘ “Property in man! Property in man!” he [the preacher] exclaimed, “you may claim matter as property to any extent you please—the earth, the ocean, and the planets; but you cannot touch a soul. I can as readily conceive of the angels in Heaven being property, as man.” ’ Mr. May was not so credulous. ‘What am I to believe3 respecting Dr. Channing? Has he indeed taken the position of a real abolitionist? Or has he only denounced slavery in the abstract? I wish he could have an opportunity to converse with Thompson.’

Dr. Channing's wish would have been anything but that—anything, except to meet Mr. Garrison himself. His failure to acknowledge the latter's appeal was perhaps owing to sickness.4 There was, however, nothing in Dr. Channing's physical or mental constitution to make him anxious to exchange views with the archagitator. He had lived in the midst of slavery (in Virginia) at an age when his humanity should have been tender and sensitive to cruelty; mature and a clergyman he witnessed it in the West Indies; it was still two years after Mr. Garrison had in vain besought him to cast in the weight of his mighty influence with the despised abolitionists, before he put forth his little work on “Slavery,” which finished his reputation at the South as completely as if he had accepted the presidency of an

1 The burning of the Ursuline Convent. (See above, p. 448.) Rumors of a retaliatory attack on Harvard College caused a defensive organization there.

2 Lib. 4.188.

3 Ms. Nov. 24, 1834, to W. L. G.

4 March 13, 1834, Mr. Garrison wrote to G. W. Benson: ‘Sickness prevented the Rev. Dr. Channing from being present at our meeting [of the New England A. S. Society in the Tremont Temple, March 10]; otherwise we should in all probability have had a speech from him. I understand he fully agrees with us on the great question of immediate emancipation.’ In July, Dr. Channing was accounting for the New York riots by the ‘fatal mistake’ of the abolition watchword ‘immediate.’ (See p. 531 of the centenary edition of his Life.) In the fall, Mr. May was still laboring with him to reconcile him to the word and the idea. (See pp. 170-185 of his “Recollections,” and pp. 528-536 of the Life just cited.)

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