Chapter 8: ‘the Liberator’—1831.The doctrine of immediate emancipation, as urged in this paper, excites the fears of the South, especially after the Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia, and leads to public and private menaces against the life of its editor, and to penal enactments against taking the Liberator. appeals for its suppression are made to the city authorities of Boston; the extradition of Garrison is attempted by means of Southern indictments; and finally the Legislature of Georgia offers for his apprehension.
Punctually on Saturday, January 1, 1831, the first number of the weekly Liberator appeared, bearing on its front a plain black-letter heading, the names of William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp as publishers, of Mr. Garrison as editor, of Stephen Foster as printer, and the motto: Our Country is the World—Our Countrymen are Mankind.1It was a modest folio, of which the printed page of four columns measured fourteen inches by nine and a quarter, and the running titles of the second, third, and fourth pages were respectively ‘The Liberator,’ ‘Journal of the Times,’ and ‘Literary, Miscellaneous, and Moral,’ making so many departments of the paper. As a mother recalls a lost darling by giving its name to a later born, so, apparently, Mr. Garrison commemorated his Journal of the Times in the title which covered the news of the day. Once more his own master, alone responsible for his utterances, there was something pleasant in this suggestion of an unbroken continuity of editorial independence. Typographically, the number  was a model of neatness and accuracy, and worthily introduced a series possessing to the end the same characteristics.2 On their return from Baltimore, the two friends, 3 Garrison and Knapp, had taken lodgings on Federal Street, with the Rev. William Collier, and there made the acquaintance of Stephen Foster, an intelligent and warmhearted youth of their own age, from Portland, then foreman of the printing-office of the Christian Examiner at Merchants' Hall. A zeal for the cause, added to personal friendship, induced Foster to allow them the use of his type for their new paper in return for their services by day as journeymen at the case. For three numbers this arrangement continued, when a change became necessary, and Foster's name was withdrawn from the paper; but his good — will and anti-slavery endeavor knew no abatement till his untimely death before the close of the4 year. A lot of well-worn, second-hand type was rescued from the foundry, and with this the fourth number was put to press. The publication office, originally at No. 6 Merchants' Hall,5was shifted to No. 8, No. 9, and No. 11 with each succeeding issue; but at No. 11, in the third story, ‘under the eaves’—the old home of the National Philanthro-6 pist—with a temporary flitting to No. 10, it rested for some years. ‘The dingy walls; the small windows, bespattered with printer's ink; the press7 standing in one corner; the composing stands opposite; the long editorial and mailing table, covered with newspapers; the bed of the editor and publisher on the floor—all these,’ says8 Oliver Johnson, ‘make a picture never to be forgotten.’9  Here were workshop and home in one.10 ‘The Publishers of the Liberator,’ as they announced in their first11 issue, ‘have formed their copartnership with a determination to print the paper as long as they can subsist upon bread and water, or their hands obtain employment. The friends of the cause may therefore take courage; its enemies—may surrender at discretion.’ The 12 partners lived, in fact, ‘chiefly upon bread and milk, a few cakes, and a little fruit, obtained from a baker's shop opposite and a petty cake and fruit shop in the basement,’ and ‘were sometimes on “short commons,” even at that.’13 But they had meat to eat the world knew not of. ‘Many a time in visiting their office,’ Mr. Johnson14 again bears witness, ‘did I find them partaking of their humble repast, which they seasoned with laughter, song and cheerful talk. A friendly cat cheered their loneliness and protected them from the depredations of mice. Mr.15 Garrison was fond of his feline companion, and I remember seeing her more than once mounted upon his writing-table, and caressing his bald forehead in a most affectionate way, while he was spinning editorial yarn.’ How little time there was for such spinning, and why in this first volume editorial promises went so often unfulfilled, appears in Mr. Garrison's letter to his ‘beloved friend,’ Samuel J. May, under date of February 14, 1831: 
If the most unremitted labor had not occupied my time16 since your departure, I should feel very culpable for my long silence. Without means, and determined to ask the assistance of no individual,–and, indeed, not knowing where to look for it, so unpopular was the cause,—you may suppose that I have been obliged to make severe personal exertions for the establishment of the Liberator. I am ashamed of the meagre aspect which the paper presents in its editorial department, because the public imagine that I have six days each week to cater for it, when, in fact, scarcely six hours are allotted to me, and these at midnight. My worthy partner and I complete the mechanical part; that is to say, we compose and distribute, on every number, one hundred thousand types, besides performing the press-work. mailing the papers to subscribers,17 &c., &c. In addition to this, a variety of letters, relative to the paper, are constantly accumulating, which require prompt answers. We have just taken a colored apprentice,18 however, who will shortly be able to alleviate our toil. I cannot give you a better apprehension of the arduousness of my labors than by stating that it is more than six weeks since I visited Mr. Coffin19—perhaps more properly the Misses Coffin; for, certainly, there is no place in Boston I am disposed to visit so often as in Atkinson Street.Already, in replying publicly to a correspondent, he20 had said: ‘It cannot be supposed that we, who perform every day but the Sabbath fourteen hours of manual labor on our paper, independent of mental toil, . . . are inimical to the prosperity or improvement of the working  fraternity.’ And towards the close of the year he21 writes thus to a friend in Providence:
‘I am sorry that I can give you in return only a few lines22 which are destitute of thought and distinguished for bad penmanship, (for I write in haste,)—but so it is. A week's hard labor has just closed, and my mind is too much exhausted for mental effort, and my body too jaded to be serviceable. My correspondence is necessarily extensive and onerous; pen, ink and paper throw me into a kind of intellectual hydrophobia, and so I avoid them as much as possible.’But we have not done with the mechanical obstacles to the birth of the new journal. The ream or two of23 paper needed to produce a specimen number was sought to be obtained on credit of Deacon Moses Grant, of the firm of Grant & Daniell, an acquaintance in the temperance cause, who had entire respect for the partners and had previously been consulted by them about starting the Liberator. His refusal to let them have the modest amount asked for was, therefore, not from distrust of ultimate repayment, but from scruples about countenancing a paper having the anti-slavery character proposed. At last, a house to which the young men were both strangers was found to take the business risk, and the first number was launched. Simultaneously was received from James Forten, ‘the greatly esteemed and24 venerated sailmaker of Philadelphia,’ the sum of fiftyfour dollars in advance for twenty-seven subscribers— aid so timely as (like that shortly before received from25 Ebenezer Dole) perhaps to be called Providential, seeing that Mr. Garrison's orthodoxy was at that date irreproachable. Still, neither a slender credit nor fifty-four dollars in hand could go a great way towards supporting a paper which began without a subscriber. But for the ‘cheering countenance and pecuniary assistance early extended to the Liberator’ by Mr. Sewall26 and Mr. Ellis  Gray Loring in particular, it ‘must have again and again been suspended, and ultimately discontinued.’ The mission of the Liberator was thus set forth on the first page in a salutatory address: