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[286] swearing, etc., etc. But, after much tumult and many interruptions, I got through with my speech—then Mr. Furness1 made a capital speech—then an opponent spoke—then2 Douglass and Samuel Ward—and we wound up with electrical effect. Wendell had no time to speak. But the mail will close instanter.3 No part of this for the press. The N. Y. papers will tell the story to-morrow.

The Tabernacle was a Congregational place of worship, on the northeast corner of Broadway and Anthony (now Worth) Street. The revivalist Finney had formerly4 preached there. It was a large hall, nearly square, on the ground floor, with a gentle descent from the entrance. The platform faced this entrance, with tiers of seats rising rearward to the organ, and then merging with those of the gallery, which rested on four great pillars. Thither went Mr. Garrison on Tuesday morning, to take5 his place as President of the American Anti-Slavery Society. As the above letter shows, he was fully alive to the possibilities of the occasion, and perfectly tranquil in mind. He could well trust his general appearance to belie the Herald's caricature of him, physically and spiritually; but as he was to be the central figure of the meetings, he was resolved to avoid all outward singularity. For this reason he abandoned for good the turn-down collar which he had clung to through all the changes of fashion,6 and put on the stand — up collar of the day. Surrounded on the platform by the flower of the Massachusetts Board and by the speakers agreed upon, he entered calmly upon his duties to the Society and to the vast assembly about him. In front, he saw a most respectable company of men and women; behind and above him he felt the organized and impending mob.

The passages which Mr. Garrison's “blasphemous atheism” Ante, p. 283. prompted him to read, as an opening exercise,7 from the Bible—a book, he said, ‘which the people of this country profess to receive as the word of God’—

1 Rev. W. H. Furness.

2 F. Douglass.

3 W. Phillips.

4 C. G. Finney.

5 May 7, 1850, 10 A. M.

6 See Torrey's portrait, ante, 1.1, and the frontispiece to the present volume. Mr. Garrison related this incident to his son William.

7 Lib. 20.81, 85.

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