previous next

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

1 This sentiment, which was fully foreshadowed in the Park-Street Church address, was, as we have already seen (ante, p. 202), wrought out in the prospectus of the Public Liberator. As will appear later on, Mr. Garrison claimed originality for the formula. There is no evidence, and small probability, that at this time he had read Thomas Paine's “Rights of man,” in the fifth chapter of which occurs this passage, so eminently applicable to the editor of the Liberator: ‘In stating these matters, I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. . . . Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.’

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William Lloyd Garrison (5)
Thomas Paine (1)
Isaac Knapp (1)
Stephen Foster (1)
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.
January 1st, 1831 AD (1)
1831 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: