‘Up to that period,’ wrote Garrison subsequently, ‘no3 single incident connected with the subject of slavery had ever excited so much attention, or elicited such a spontaneous burst of general indignation. As the news of my imprisonment became extensively known, and the merits of the case understood, not a mail rolled into the city but it brought me consolatory letters from individuals hitherto unknown to me, and periodicals of all kinds, from every section of the Union, (not even excepting the South,) all uniting to give me a triumphant acquittal—all severely reprehending the conduct of Mr. Todd —and all regarding my trial as a mockery of justice. Indeed, I was in danger of being lifted up beyond measure, even in prison, by excessive panegyric and extraordinary sympathy.’4
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1 G. U. E., June, 1830, p. 35.
2 It is doubtful if any Northern editor expressed himself with more vigor and fearlessness on the subject than George D. Prentice, then conducting the New England Weekly Review at Hartford. He was at that time a warm admirer of Garrison, though he had never seen him, and, after a careful examination of the facts relating to the trial, he flung down the gauntlet to Todd in this spirited fashion:‘The remarks in Mr. Garrison's alleged libel were strict truths—truths, too, which it concerns the public to know. The slave-trade is murder—it is piracy—and if F. Todd is guilty of it, murder and piracy are among the crimes for which he is answerable. Perhaps his vindictive feelings are not propitiated by the sufferings of a single victim. If so, he is at perfect liberty to consider us as repeating, sentence for sentence and word for word, everything which Mr. Garrison has said touching him and his abominable traffick. Thank Heaven, we are not in Maryland, nor within the jurisdiction of the Court from which our friend received his sentence’ (N. E. W. Review, May 31, 1830). Prentice soon after resigned his position to Whittier and removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as editor of the Journal, he became wholly subservient to the Slave Power and recreant to his early professions.
4 Prentice was certainly unstinting in his praise. ‘Mr. Garrison is too well known to the public,’ he said, ‘to need from us any testimonial either of his talents or his virtues. Among the young men of our country, he has few equals and not one superior. His greatest praise, and the greatest which any man can covet, is that he has devoted himself, body and soul to the amelioration of our race. Without the hope, and almost without the possibility, of pecuniary remuneration, he has gone out, a moral apostle, among the votaries of crime and oppression, and lifted up a voice among them that already makes them tremble for their ancient prerogatives. By the blessing of God, he will triumph. His triumphs have already begun. We would rather be W. L. Garrison, confined as he now is in a dungeon-cell, than his tyrannical judge upon the bench which he has disgraced, or Francis Todd in the midst of the guilty splendors of ill-gotten gold’ (Ibid.)
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