previous next
[476] unchecked (for the public at large) either by personal acquaintance or by candid perusal of his writings. A single contemporary instance will show the force of this ignorance and prejudice even in the most enlightened and unbigoted and humanitarian circles. At Concord, Mass., on his Middlesex County lecturing tour, Charles C. Burleigh1had a friendly conversation with Miss Emerson, the maiden aunt of the poet:2
“Why do you have that Garrison engaged in your cause?” 3 said she, and proceeded to express her strong dislike of him and his paper. “You might as well ask me,” I replied, “why we permit the rivers to flow on in their channels, for the one could be prevented as easily as the other, while life remains, and the physical power to labor, in Garrison.” We thereupon discussed Mr. G.'s conduct and character, and I soon found she knew very little about either. I related some facts showing his self-denial, his sacrifice, his heart-and-soul devotion to the cause. Her countenance brightened as I proceeded, and before I could complete my narrative she exclaimed, “He ought to be canonized.”

Nothing marks more peculiarly Mr. Garrison's antislavery warfare than the maturity of it—the judicial measure which is visible in his earliest as in his latest utterances. There had been, since his programme was

1 A native of Plainfield, Conn., born in 1810, and one of a highly-gifted family of brothers. His father, Rinaldo Burleigh, was a graduate of Yale (1803), acquired a high reputation as teacher of the academy in Plainfield, and became president of the first anti-slavery society in Windham Co. His mother, Lydia Bradford, a native of Canterbury, was a lineal descendant of Governor Wm. Bradford, of the Mayflower. Charles Burleigh was admitted to the bar in January, 1835, his examination showing remarkable proficiency. Already, however, his editorial defence of Miss Crandall (ante. p. 416) had committed him to the cause of abolition, and he soon exchanged his brilliant professional prospects for the hardships, odium, and perils of an anti-slavery lecturer. As an orator he was unsurpassed in fluency, logical strictness, and fervor, lacking only the measure of time and space. His tall figure, noble countenance, and unconventional dress, with sandy flowing beard and long ringlets, made his personal appearance as unique as his talent.

2 Mary Moody Emerson, a very quaint personage. She was born in 1773 and died in 1863. Her home was in Waterford, Me. (See “Worthy women of our first century.” pp. 114, 120, 138, 152, 175; Atlantic Monthly, December, 1883.)

3 Ms. April 3, 1835, to S. J. May.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 1883 AD (1)
1863 AD (1)
April 3rd, 1835 AD (1)
January, 1835 AD (1)
1810 AD (1)
1803 AD (1)
1773 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: