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[242] acts would justify a suspension of pacific relations. He therefore asked for authority to communicate with the Governor of Massachusetts and call the Legislature's attention to this wrong. His view was more tersely expressed by the Columbia Telescope when it said: ‘They [the Bostonians] permit a battery to be erected upon1 their territory, which fires in upon us, and we should be justified in invading that territory to silence the guns.’

The Intelligencer's appeal to ‘the worthy Mayor of the2 City of Boston’ for some action towards legal suppression or public disavowal of the Liberator, was the first3 intimation he had had of that paper's existence. A fortnight later (October 15) he received from ‘an eminent counsellor of the State of South Carolina’ (no doubt, Senator Hayne) a private communication to the same end, to which Mr. Otis made a long reply.4 He had by that time procured a copy of the Liberator, but had not ascertained the name of any person taking it, and concluded that ‘its patronage must be extremely limited’:

‘I am told that it is supported chiefly by the free colored people; that the number of subscribers in Baltimore and Washington exceeds that of those in this city, and that it is gratuitously left at one or two of the reading-rooms in this place. It is edited by an individual who formerly lived at Baltimore, where his feelings have been exasperated by some occurrences consequent to his publications there,5 on topics ’

1 Lib. 1.195.

2 Ante, p. 238.

3 Niles' Register, 45.42.

4 First given to the public in the fall of 1833, through the Boston Advertiser. See, also, Niles' Register, 45.42, Sept. 14.

5 This notion, that Mr. Garrison's heat against slavery must be the passionate resentment of an injured man, was not peculiar to Mayor Otis. It is apologetically put forth in the following (Ms.) letter from President Wayland of Brown University, which is also noteworthy for its perverse assumption that the editor of the Liberator was promoting a slave insurrection, as well as for the sophistry of the future author of the “Elements of moral science.” Its date (after the Southampton rising) should not be overlooked:

Providence, Nov. 1, 1831.
Dear sir: Having directed the paper which you have very politely sent me to be discontinued, various considerations render it proper that I should frankly state to you my reasons for having done so.

I believe as strongly as any other man that slavery is very wicked, and very destructive to the best interests both of master and slave. But this does not seem to me to decide that immediate emancipation of all the slaves in the U. S. would be either wise or just. Very much may be required to be done before liberty would be a blessing to the slave. I may have embezzled the property of a minor, and may have brought him up in misery and vice. It is wrong for me to hold this property for my own benefit, but it would be neither wise nor right to put it at once into the possession of my ward, and by so doing to expose him to temptations which his previous education had not prepared him to resist. I should first teach him how to use it, and then put him in possession of it.

But even granting the propriety of Immediate Emancipation, there are other important questions to be settled. Shall we seek to bring about this event by enlightening, convincing, and persuading the masters, or by exciting to rebellion the slaves?

If this desirable event can be accomplished by the first of these methods, it will prevent bloodshed; it will improve the moral character of both parties; it will bind them together by the feeling of benevolence on the one hand, and gratitude on the other; it will be permanent in its effects, and will be a glorious triumph to the cause of philanthropy by inducing man voluntarily to perform a great and noble action. Such seems to me the mode which Christianity would approve.

If we, on the contrary, attempt to accomplish this result by exciting the slaves to rebellion, success can only be looked for after a most bloody servile war, destructive to all the better feelings of both parties, leaving them in interminable hatred, and utterly unfit for any permanently amicable adjustment; and after all, the event will be left to the mere accident of physical superiority. Whichever might succeed, neither party would be substantially better off than at present, and an ocean of blood would have been needlessly shed. Men are not often made better or happier by war, specially by servile war, the most destructive and demoralizing of all the forms of human massacre.

Now I regret to say, my dear sir, that so far as I can judge, the tendency of your paper is to produce the latter of these results. Its attitude to the slave-owners is menacing and vindictive. The tendency of your remarks is to prejudice their minds against a cool discussion of the subject. On the contrary, the miseries of the slaves are set forth in a manner calculated to arouse their most destructive passions [and urge] them on to resistance at all hazards. Should such a catastrophe ever occur, I am sure that you or I would rather have lost our right hand than have written a word which should have contributed in the least degree to hasten it.

I believe that you, my dear sir, have suffered injustice in consequence of your efforts in this cause. But let us remember the Gospel teaches us forgiveness. Let us strive to do good to all men—masters as well as slaves. In this course we shall be more useful, and, I think, follow more closely our Master in Heaven.

With every sentiment of respect, I am, dear sir.

Yours truly.


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