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[298] but its existence is hardly known to one ten thousand of our population, and the pamphlet which unmasked it, paralyzed it, and reduced it to insignificance, has, by its very success, lost a larger measure of its readableness than commonly happens to polemic literature. Its historic importance, however, can never diminish. If we could imagine in our time a “Thoughts on the Bible Society,” which should, with the same eloquence and cogency, maintain that this organization was the greatest obstacle to science, and one which must be removed at all hazards, we should have some idea of the consternation produced by the “Thoughts on Colonization.” ‘This book,’ its author correctly anticipated, ‘will doubtless1 increase the rage of my enemies;2 but no torrent of invective shall successfully whelm it, no sophistry impair its force, no activity destroy its influence, no misrepresentation defeat its usefulness. I commend it particularly to the candid attention of the two most powerful classes in this country—editors of newspapers and the clergy. It is not a light matter for either of them to propagate false doctrines and excite delusive hopes on the subject of politics or religion.’ One3 to whom the book came as a revelation has described its effect in the following graphic passage:

Fifty years ago, it is no exaggeration to say, this nation, in church and state, from President to bootblack—I mean the white bootblack—was thoroughly pro-slavery. In the Sodom there might have been a Lot or two here and there—some profound thinker—who wished justice to be done though the heavens should fall, but he was despondent. It seemed as though nearly the whole business of the press, the pulpit, and

1 Thoughts, p. 38.

2 At a meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society in Boston, the Rev. William Hague was present ‘when the great pamphlet of Mr. Garrison, fresh from the press, was brought in and placed upon the table. . . . The Hon. Alexander H. Everett was thoroughly incensed, and said that the author should be indicted for libel’ (Boston Watchman, June 7, 1883).

3 Elizur Wright, Jr., the first Corresponding Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society (Lib. 3.1). The extract is taken from remarks made at a memorial service in honor of Mr. Garrison, held, just after his death, in the church of the Rev. Wm. C. Gannett, at St. Paul, Minn., June 1, 1879. They were afterwards published in the Chicago Unity.

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