We cannot nowadays understand the superstition formerly attached to the stigma of infidelity, both on the part of those who sought to fasten and of those who sought to avoid it. In the popular imagination it belonged in the category of self-operative curses, and was conclusive of all argument. Hence it availed little for Mr. Garrison1 to reason that if the Chardon-Street Convention was infidel because some infidel addressed it, it was Orthodox because Phelps, Baptist because Colver, and Methodist2 because Father Taylor, did likewise. Nor could he hope to escape the imputation of being a double and treble dyed infidel for his attendance at the adjourned second and third sessions of that Convention, which fell in the year now under consideration. Convicted, too, of having ‘headed’ this ungodly gathering in the beginning, the head and front of its offending he must remain to the bitter end. True, Edmund Quincy, who actually headed it, declared that the first suggestion of such a convention3 was made at Groton, where Garrison was not; that when4 he heard of it at a private dinner-table, he did not encourage it, and refused to be one of the committee to call it,5 and even urged Mr. Quincy (in vain) to strike out a strong passage in the call. But, continues the latter—
But, then, these new ideas were first started by you, and therefore you are accountable for this development of them! My dear friend, they who say this, do you honor overmuch. You have but obeyed, you have not created, the spirit of the age, which is busy with old ideas, and will in due time change them, and with them the institutions which are their outward manifestations. Lib. 11.47.