It is such as I see around me, and others equally laborious in the field, elsewhere, who have given such an impetus to the cause of emancipation.
I can add no more.
If Mr. Garrison
was moved by his own reminiscences and by the cordiality of the hour, scarcely less so was George Thompson
, whose turn came next.
Reminiscence for him meant recounting the history of his acquaintance and friendship with Garrison
, and the personal consequences to himself as already detailed in these pages.1
Passing from this theme, he took up the salutatory of the first number of the Liberator
, which he read and developed in his most eloquent manner.
I am in earnest. I will not equivocate.
I will not excuse. I will not2 retreat a single inch—and I will be heard! (Sensation.)
These words should give us pause, for they are amongst the most remarkable, as they are amongst the most emphatic and prophetic, ever uttered.
Through coming years and ages, they will be household words over the vast continent of America.
They constitute the picture of the man before you. I have met with nothing in the language of any other Reformer that ever gave me so clear an insight into the soul of the man as these words into that of Mr. Garrison.
Illuminated by his subsequent acts, I am satisfied that I know the man. Sir, I am content to leave to minute philosophers all investigations into the phenomena of external nature, if I may be permitted to attain to some acquaintance with what passes in the minds of those who compass some great moral achievement.
I love to study the character of a great reformer.
I would give much to be permitted to read his soul at the moment he conceives his great idea.
I would fain trace the exercises of that soul amidst the early days of gloom, and disappointment, and peril.
And I should like to read it when his prayers and prophecy are in part fulfilled, and he beholds, as our guest does now, the indubitable signs of ultimate success, and stands surrounded, as he is now, by a multitude who honor him, love him, believe in him, and are determined to stand by him. (Great cheers.)
William Lloyd Garrison is our cherished guest to-night; but he is also on his trial.
He shall be tried by his own words, and you shall deliver the verdict.
On the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, this same William Lloyd Garrison did fling upon the breeze—ay, it was indeed