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‘ [228] heaping all their reproaches upon the South, and asserting that the crime of oppression is not national,’ whereas the power of Congress over the District is indisputable, —this petition prays that ‘Congress will, without delay, take such measures for the immediate or gradual abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and for preventing the bringing of slaves into that District for purposes of traffic, in such mode as may be advisable,’ etc. This is an advance on the petition which Mr. Garrison had circulated in Vermont, in so far as it assumes1 the practicability of immediate emancipation; and it may be said for the author of it (not the editor himself) that the appeal is not here to individuals guilty of the sin of slaveholding, but to a legislature which must consider ways and means, and which is accordingly also asked to make ‘suitable provision . . . for the education of all free blacks and colored children in the District, thus to preserve them from continuing, even as free men, an unenlightened and degraded caste.’2 Moreover, as a test of the disposition of Congress to exercise its Constitutional authority over the District, a demand for gradual abolition was as good as for immediate. For the moment, the publication and recommendation of such a petition, even in its least strenuous aspect, were evidence, in Southern eyes, of the business-like character of Mr. Garrison's undertaking, and gave unmistakable significance to the bold and defiant language of his Salutatory.

Nor did turning the leaf of the first number of the Liberator bring much comfort to slaveholders. On the second page they might read the indomitable spirit of their adversary in his preface to a report of his second Baltimore trial—a report taken from the Baltimore Gazette, and containing in full the original libel. His persecutors are challenged to do their worst: he can

1 Ante, p. 108.

2 ‘Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will, alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow: that it ought to be, we shall always contend’ (W. L. G. in Lib. 1.129).

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