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Chapter 9: organization: New-England Anti-slavery Society.—Thoughts on colonization.—1832.

With difficulty an association is formed in Boston on the basis of Garrison's doctrine. After a lecturing tour in New England, he makes a destructive attack on the American Colonization Society in a pamphlet called “thoughts on African Colonization.”

The first step towards the formation of an antislavery society in accordance with the doctrines advocated by the Liberator was taken in Boston on Sunday, November 13, 1831, when fifteen persons assembled in Mr. Sewall's office on State Street, on the understanding ‘that if the apostolic number of twelve should be found ready to unite upon the principles that should be thought vital, and in a plan of operations deemed wise and expedient,’ an association should then and there be organized. Among them were Mr. May and Mr. Oliver1 Johnson, who have both given an account of the proceedings. Mr. Garrison took the initiative, by describing ‘what the Abolitionists of Great Britain had done, since, under the inspiration of Elizabeth Heyrick, they had put their movement on the ground of immediate, in distinction from gradual, emancipation. He wanted societies formed in America upon the same principle, and could not be satisfied with any scheme of gradualism.’ For two hours the question was discussed, not whether immediate emancipation was right and safe, but whether on the one hand popular prejudice would not be unduly excited, and on the other the friends of gradual emancipation be repelled from the new society, by its positive committal to immediatism. ‘Mr. Garrison was firm in the conviction that the vitality of the movement depended upon a frank avowal of fundamental principles, however unpopular they might be; ’

1 Johnson's Garrison, pp. 82-89; May's Recollections, pp. 30-32.

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