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‘ [264] by freemen, offering large premiums.’ He commended to the patronage of abolitionists the free groceries of Charles Collins, in New York, and of Lydia White,1 in2 Philadelphia, and allowed C. Peirce, of the latter city, to advertise that orders on his grocery would be gladly3 received at the office of the Liberator, and the goods procured without extra charge. Logically there seemed no flaw in the argument based on the half-truth that slaves are kept because they are profitable; practically, Mr. Garrison regarded the free-produce movement as only a subordinate instrumentality. All appeals to the Northern conscience were blows at ‘the root of slavery,’ and he welcomed this among others. He never proposed to make it his sole weapon, and in time it came to seem to him one of the least effective.

A dim prefiguring of the axe whose strokes were to make the tree tremble to its crown, is to be found in the first volume of the Liberator. Mr. Garrison had a perfectly just understanding of the pro-slavery guarantees of the United States Constitution, and of the powers of the Federal Government over the institution of slavery. His incessant demand for emancipation in the District of Columbia, which he was amazed that John Quincy4 Adams, then a member of the House of Representatives, should refuse to countenance; his proposal to agitate5 for the abrogation of the slave-representation clause of the Constitution; his conviction that the Constitution6 had only to be invoked through the Supreme Court to secure the free people of color against the oppressive enactments of the Southern States; his mention, with7 only moral censure, of the employment of Federal troops to suppress slave insurrections at the South—all show his strict construction of rights and obligations under the law of the land, for reformers as well as for

1 From a letter of Lydia White's of May 9, 1831 (partly printed in Lib. 1.87), it would appear that Mr. Garrison was desirous to clothe himself with free-labor fabrics. See, also, Lib. 1.93. Part of the severe plainness of fare of the partners while living in Merchants' Hall was due to a conscientious abstinence from coffee and sugar at least, as slave-labor products.

2 Lib. 1.173.

3 Lib. 1.88.

4 Lib. 1.207.

5 Lib. 1.121.

6 Lib. 1.66, and passim.

7 Lib. 1.34.

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