Chapter 14: the Boston mob (first stage).—1835.An Americas Union is formed by orthodox clergymen in the vain hope to draw off anti-slavery support from Garrison. Meetings of Southerners in New York and Richmond, denouncing the abolitionists; anti-negro riots in Philadelphia, and supposed slave-insurrections in Mississippi; and finally the rifling of the mails and burning of anti-slavery periodicals at Charleston, with the sanction of the Postmaster-General, cause unparalleled excitement throughout the country. The Mayor of Boston presides at a town meeting called to reprobate the abolition movement, and addressed by Harrison Gray Otis and Peleg Sprague. Garrison leaves the city, but replies in the Liberator to the Faneuil Hall speeches. A double gallows for himself and Thompson is erected before his home in Boston.
Always the opening year brought fresh anxiety to the editor of the Liberator. January, 1835, found him hampered with the expenses of the withdrawn Canterbury suits, and staggering under the load of the1 paper, which had latterly been issued quite irregularly, though without a lapse in the series:
‘The truth is,’ he wrote to his father-in-law on January 12,2 1835, ‘we have been hesitating whether to stop or proceed with it, in consequence of the non-payment of our numerous subscribers, and the faithlessness of a majority of our agents; and on Friday last I went home to write my valedictory, and3 to advertise the world of the downfall of the Liberator! It was truly an afflicting period, and I felt as if I was about cutting off my right arm, or plucking out my right eye. Ascertaining my purpose, several of my anti-slavery brethren rallied together, and have resolved to sustain me and the paper if I will proceed; so, hereafter, I trust, you will get it regularly.’But now a new danger loomed up—to the cause, to its pioneer, and to his organ. The disaffection in the anti-slavery ranks towards Mr. Garrison on account of his ‘harsh’ and ‘unchristian’ language, as described in the last chapter, had not escaped the clerical supporters of the Colonization Society. They saw in it the means, and the only means, to cheek the advance of abolitionism, by breaking down the editor of the Liberator. To this end they craftily devised a new organization, with a title and with aims vague enough to include everybody who felt any concern for the blacks, and hence