Chapter 18: the irrepressible Conflict.—1858.Both Seward and Lincoln overtake Garrison's declaration (as far back as 1840) of the irreconcilability of freedom and slavery. Conviction seizes upon many abolitionists that the conflict will end only in blood. Garrison deprecates the idea, and washes his hands of all responsibility for such a ter-mination.
No attempt was made in 1858 to renew the Disunion Convention of the previous year. The financial prostration continued, and, furnishing a pretext to the clergy to blow up a spurious revival of religion, became a1 greater obstacle than ever. The Massachusetts abolitionists, however, relying upon the new Executive of the State,2 again besieged the Legislature for the removal of Judge Loring from an office which he doggedly clung to, in open3 defiance of the Personal Liberty Law of May 21, 1855—4 an unconstitutional statute, as he insisted. Mr. Garrison went in March before the Joint Special Committee having5 the petitions under consideration, with a paper drawn up by himself, and signed also by Samuel May, Sr. and Jr., by Francis Jackson, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, and others. Both the Committee and the Legislature were favorable; an address for removal was voted, and6 Governor Banks acceded, but with a request, amounting to a condition, that the law of 1855 should be ‘materially’7 modified. The subservient Legislature did accordingly remove the stigma and the prohibition of slave-catching8 from a large class embraced in the original measure, and otherwise diminished the disunion attitude of the State. Loring removed, the Liberator urged as the next step9 the procuring of an enactment that no man should be put on trial for his freedom in Massachusetts. At the New England Anti-Slavery Convention in May, Mr. Garrison introduced a resolution recommending petitions to this10 effect, which were duly put in circulation. While the 11 con