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[77]

The next three years were spent by James Garrison under his brother's roof, with a temporary stay at1 Brooklyn during the latter's journey to England. In the summer of 1841, he made a voyage to New Brunswick, to visit his relations. He had taken the pledge of total abstinence, but was betrayed by the captain into breaking it, yet on the whole kept steady until he landed in Boston in August. Then that fatality which seemed to him to have its iron grip upon him, suppressing every effort of his fallen manhood to rise again, brought him to the Liberator office during his brother's absence in New Hampshire. While the latter, with Rogers, was making2 the woods of the White Mountains ring with the anthems of the free, or rejoicing in the conversion of their3 companion from the smoker's habit, James Garrison for the thousandth time fell, a victim to circumstances:

‘Had I have come out home when I left the vessel, all4 perhaps would have been well. But no, it was not to be until the cup of my bitterness was full; and none but God and myself can tell what I have suffered in body and in mind for my rashness. A great number of the Ohio's, Macedonian's, and Grampus's ship's company being ashore, I had a great many old shipmates among them. Suffice to say, I was led on to destruction. Coming to my senses, I thought of you, of Helen, of Mary, Mother,5 and the Home (the only one I ever knew) [where] I had spent so many happy hours. The amount of suffering and expense I had caused you all, the breaking of my pledge, the promises I had made to reform—all rushed to my mind like the advancing roar of some mighty whirlwind. To drown those dreadful thoughts, I procured two ounces of laudanum, with a full determination to put a stop to my wretched existence.’

The attempted suicide was baffled, and once more, and to the end, the hapless man found a refuge in the home ever open to him in Cambridgeport. He lacked the nerve to tell his brother what had happened, so wrote a frank account, which he left on his table; his mind balancing between futile plans of engaging anew as a sailor, and a half-formed resolve still to make away with his hated life. Thus the affecting paper closed:

1 Ante, 2.358.

2 Ante, p. 22.

3 Ante, p. 22.

4 Ms.

5 Mrs. Garrison; Mary Benson; Mrs. Sally Benson.

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