being agitated—the doctrines disseminated and the measures adopted by some of their fellow-citizens of the non-slaveholding States, avowing a solemn determination to effect an immediate and unconditional emancipation of the slaves at the South
’; and to avert the disastrous consequences of such interference.
Before the day fixed for the meeting, Mr. Garrison
whose health was not good, yielding to the solicitations of his aunt Newell, sailed with her2
to the British 3
Provinces, to visit their relatives and look after certain inheritances.
On his return, in the first week of August, he found the whole country ablaze with an excitement that threatened the safety of every abolitionist.
What had happened, meantime, was this.
Southern meeting in New York had come off (July 20). Moderate resolutions were presented, admitting slavery to be an evil, but apologizing for it as entailed (in the manner of the Baptist
Board of Foreign Missions), and on the ground (already used to justify the persecution of Prudence Crandall
) that ‘amalgamation’ of the two races would be revolting; protesting that agitation would compel the slaveholders in self-defence to tighten the bonds of the slave; and calling for a convention of delegates from the slaveholding States to consider the present crisis.
To these the ‘fire-eaters’ objected as conceding too much, and to the convention as giving undue importance to a set of fanatics powerless for mischief.
It was thereupon resolved rather that, ‘whether slavery in our country be an evil or not
, it is a question belonging solely to the States in which it is tolerated’; that the South
could not believe the abolitionists would seriously affect public opinion at the North
, and confidently relied upon the North
to put them down; but that if the issue were forced, the rights of property were sacred and would be maintained.