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‘ [90] cannot regard any man as a consistent abolitionist who, while holding to the popular construction of the Constitution, makes himself a party to that instrument, by taking any office under it requiring an oath, or voting for its support.’ This was laid on the table, but its future triumph was ensured by the election of its mover to be1 President of the Society for the ensuing year.

Edmund Quincy to R. D. Webb.

Dedham, June 27 (–July 26), 1843.
2 I don't exactly remember when I wrote to you last, but am sure it was before the annual meeting of the Am. A. S. Society at N. Y. It was a singularly pleasant meeting in all its particulars. We did not carry on from Boston so strong a force as we have done for the three last years, when we chartered railways and steamboats; but we were a goodly company notwithstanding. The whole number at the meeting was about as large as it ever was, the deficiency from the Eastern States being made up from the Western; some having come eight and six hundred miles in their own wagons to attend it, at an3 inconceivably small expense. This was the first year since the secession that we were fairly wheeled into line of battle against slavery proper. . . .

The principal business of the meeting was to decide what was best to be done with the American Society. Some were for disbanding it, as a machine costing more than it was worth. More were for removing it to Boston, on the ground that there was literally nobody in New York but James S. Gibbons who either would or could act as a member of the Executive Committee. To prevent the scandal of a discussion of these topics before the pro-slavery reporters and the miscellaneous audiences we usually had, we referred all the business of the Society to a Committee of 25, to be arranged and in fact done by them.

In this Committee the question of the removal to Boston was urged vehemently by Garrison, Collins, Foster, Abby Kelley, and others, and was apparently well received by all the rest except the members of the Boston Clique4 themselves, viz., Wendell

1 Lib. 13.81.

2 Ms.

3 Lib. 13.81.

4 ‘The “Boston Clique,” the system that, in the elegant phrase of Elizur Wright, jr., “wabbles around a centre somewhere between 25 Cornhill [the Liberator and A. S. Offices] and the South End” (meaning 11 West St., the house of H. G. and M. W. Chapman)’ (Ms. Jan. 29, 1843, Quincy to Webb).

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