postmasters in any State, District, or Territory 1
‘knowingly to deliver, to any person whatever, any pamphlet, newspaper, handbill, or other printed paper or pictorial representation
, touching the subject of slavery, where, by the laws of the said State, District, or Territory, their circulation was prohibited.’
‘Editorial courtesy’ stood for much more in the first third of the century than it does in our day. The gratuitous publication of Mr. Garrison
's prospectus may therefore have had little personal significance; but it is probable that the service was in his case something more than perfunctory.
In the first place, he was already a ‘veteran journalist,’ judged by the number of newspapers which he had conducted before founding the Liberator
, and his name must have been familiar to a large fraction of his fellow-journalists through the medium of the exchange-table.
It was quite in fashion, as the first volume of the Liberator
shows, to give a personal turn to newspaper discussion, whether friendly or otherwise.
In the next place, Mr. Garrison
's imprisonment had given him a fresh notoriety, and should have drawn to him those who hated slavery, however silently, or saw in him the victim of an attempt on the freedom of the press.
Finally, South Carolina
, by its nullification doctrine and attitude, and Georgia
, by its violation of national treaties in its insolent invasion of the Cherokee State
, had roused to an extraordinary degree both the constitutional and philanthropic sentiment of the North
, and made it possible to welcome one manly protest against the prevailing subserviency to ‘Southern rights.’
‘By the editorial fraternity throughout the country, with2 hardly an exception,’ writes Mr. Garrison in a letter already quoted, ‘the Liberator has been received with acclamation; by the public—the white portion of it—with suspicion or apathy.
Upon the colored population in the free States it has operated like a trumpet-call.
They have risen in their hopes and feelings to the perfect stature of men: in this city, every one of them is as tall as a giant.
About ninety have subscribed ’