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[379] Cassius M. Clay, living yonder in a perpetual state of siege, and carrying his life in his hands. He had, while a student at Yale, in June, 1831, heard Mr. Garrison's discourse at New Haven against Colonization,1 and then and there resolved to make relentless war on the institution of slavery. Meantime, he had emancipated his slaves and preached abolition, at all hazards to2 his person and property; joined in the Mexican War by a monstrous aberration of principle as of judgment, yet3 holding fast to his main purpose to make Kentucky free; and furnished an example without a parallel both of heroism and of the folly of attempting to undermine the Slave Power from within, even with its own weapons of violence—in other words, of ‘going South,’ as the abolitionists were taunted with not doing. A constant reader of the Liberator, and invited, like its editor, to4 attend the Cincinnati Convention, he wrote to the committee:
You say W. L. Garrison will be present. I wish to say a word of that man. As a man, he stands first among living men, because he has labored most of all in that cause which is of most worth to mankind. It is not for me to say whether, with equal firmness and sensibility to the Right, he might or might not have done more service in a great cause! It is enough that, with whatever talent was loaned him by Deity, with that he has zealously, at all hazard of all things, contended for the highest interests of men. The day for his appreciation has not come! There is, however, one saying of his traducers, and the traducers of those who act with him, which I will notice—that they have set back the cause of emancipation by agitation! Nothing is more false. The cause of emancipation advances only with agitation: let that cease, and despotism is complete. The slaveholders have just as much intention of yielding up their slaves as the sum of the kings of the earth have of laying down, for the benefit of the people, their sceptres! How long will, without agitation, kingdoms last? Lib. 23.70.

At the Convention, Mr. Garrison met, not Clay, indeed, but another abolition Southerner, the Rev. John Rankin, whose ‘Letters’ had stirred him as his own New Haven5

1 Ante, 1.260; Autobiography C. M. Clay, 1.55-57. Cf.

2 Lib. 14.34.

3 Lib. 16.99, 103, 105, 111, 114; Autobiography of Clay, 1.110.

4 Lib. 23.66.

5 Ante, 1.305.

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