beyond the cost of paper to supply every postmaster in the State
with a copy of this petition, with the request that he would obtain as many signatures in his town as convenient, or request the minister of the parish to do so, and return the same to the Editor
of the Journal of the Times
by or before the middle of December.
That Mr. Garrison
did not wait for the Bennington
citizens to meet and endorse the petition before he sent it to the postmasters seems probable from the date appended to this request—October 20, 1828,—more than a fortnight before the meeting at the Academy.
The postmasters in most of the towns responded nobly, and although some of the larger places, like Burlington
, and Brattleboro
, sent no returns, Mr. Garrison
had the satisfaction of transmitting to the Representative
of his 1
district in Congress a petition bearing 2352 names as the voice of Vermont
in favor of freedom,—probably the most numerously-signed petition on the subject offered during that session.
It was promptly presented on the2
day of its receipt (January 26, 1829), and referred to the Committee
on the District of Columbia.
While hopeful that Congress would give the subject favorable consideration (and the passage by the Pennsylvania
House of Representatives, by a nearly unanimous vote, of a resolution requesting their Senators
and Representatives in Congress to vote for abolition indicated Northern sympathy with the measure), Mr. Garrison
foresaw the wrathful denunciations which the proposition would receive from the Southern
‘It requires no spirit of prophecy,’ he said, ‘to predict that3 it will create great opposition.
An attempt will be made to frighten Northern “dough-faces,” as in the case of the Missouri question.
There will be an abundance of furious declamation, menace and taunt.
Are we therefore to approach the subject timidly—with half a heart—as if we were treading on forbidden ground?
No, indeed—but earnestly, fearlessly, as becomes men who are determined to clear their country and themselves from the guilt of oppressing God's free and lawful creatures.’