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[483] lack of anti-slavery vitality in Republican communities, and subjected them to the abuse of Republican journals,1 denounced the party as the greatest obstacle in the path of the slave. In their endeavors to commit the2 antislavery organization to this doctrine, they encountered the optimism and fair-mindedness of Mr. Garrison, in3 discussions that led to no little personal feeling and alienation, which time would make more visible. ‘As to the Republican Party,’ said he, at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, ‘every political party will be proportionate to the character of the people. This one,’ he continued, not mincing his words, “is a time-serving, a temporizing, a cowardly party, . . . a piebald, a heterogeneous party, very diverse in the constituents which compose it. It has never professed, as the old Liberty Party did, to be an anti-slavery party. It claims only to oppose the extension of slavery, and it does oppose it.” Jan. 27, 1859, Lib. 29.17. It must be measured by its own standard:

I have not said that they have made it [the non-extension4 of slavery] a vital principle, and declared that the Union should be dissolved if they were overcome. That is not the issue. But I say that, up to that point, they do carry out all their professions of resistance to the extension of slavery. I hold that I may give them all credit for what they have done, without at all compromising the anti-slavery cause, and without at all diminishing my right to say to that party— “You are on a sandy foundation, after all; and though you may think you can do something for liberty, I believe you will fail in the end.” The Republican Party has certainly been consistent in its efforts to prevent the extension of slavery; it has spent a vast amount of money for the purpose of enlightening the public sentiment so as to save Kansas and Nebraska, and the vast territories of the West, from the encroachments of the Slave Power. Let the party have the credit of it. Why not? I know of nothing in this anti-slavery cause which justifies me in being uncharitable or unfair. Give to every party its due; and I say that, up to this time, the Republican Party has tried to prevent the extension of slavery, and has suffered greatly on that account. Tell me that it is to be put in the same scale with the Democratic Party—that party which is ready for everything that the South

1 Cf. ante, pp. 393, 394.

2 Lib. 29.17.

3 MSS. Mar. 24, 1859, P. Pillsbury to S. May, Jr.; June 3, W. L. G. to Pillsbury; July 22, 25, to A. K. Foster.

4 Lib. 29.18.

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