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‘ [244] upon the subject of slavery in the abstract;1 and I am persuaded that if upon investigation it should be found that any of our citizens are among the subscribers, they are those who would sincerely disavow the horrid doctrines which openly encourage insurrection and its consequences,’ etc.

What came of further inquiry is related in the letter of ex-Mayor Otis published in October, 1848,2 in defence3 of the candidacy of Zachary Taylor against the sentimental objection that the Whig nominee for President was a slaveholder. In an historical digression slightly at variance with the foregoing account, he says:

No symptom of the abolition mania, or a desire to interfere with the domestic concerns of the South, was manifested in any quarter till within a few years. The rise and progress of this fever is curious. The first information received by me of a disposition to agitate this subject in our State was from the Governors of Virginia and Georgia, severally remonstrating against an incendiary newspaper published in Boston, and, as they alleged, thrown broadcast among their plantations, inciting to insurrection and its horrid results. It appeared on enquiry that no member of the city government, nor any person of my acquaintance, had ever heard of the publication. Some time afterward, it was reported to me by the city officers that they had ferreted out the paper and its editor;4 That his office was an obscure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and his

1 And therefore presumably harmless. ‘The great mass of slaveholders,’ wrote Mr. Garrison, ‘while they profess to be opposed to slavery in the abstract (would to Heaven there was no slavery but slavery in the abstract!). are incurably attached to practical slavery’ (Lib. 2.194).

2 His last political utterance. He died on October 28.

3 Lib. 18.162.

4 Mayor Otis might have saved the ‘ferreting’ by handing the city officers his copy of the Liberator, with the publication office declared upon the first page. He had had practice in this sort of inquisition (Ante, p. 160).

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