‘The chief business we have had to do, recently,’ he wrote1 to Quincy, ‘has been to rescue the anti-slavery cause from the2 hands of your pro-slavery American divines, whose principal occupation for some weeks has been to hoodwink, deceive, and corrupt those with whom they have come in contact.
Such men are a moral pestilence.
Into whatsoever society they enter, they misrepresent the abolitionists of America; they cover up the most frightful features of slavery; they extenuate the criminality of all slaveholders, and boldly justify the conduct of such as belong to their own churches, and labor to destroy the hitherto sound views of the people of this country respecting the essential sinfulness of manstealing; and yet, they are as much opposed to slavery as any human beings in the world!
and yet, they are the friends of the slave, and we are the slaves' worst enemies!
Can you not keep such men at home?
If you cannot, why then we must try what we can do to unmask them.
I do trust we shall soon create a public sentiment here which will be such as will lead them to travel in any direction rather than towards the shores of Great Britain.’
The allusion in this passage was to the great meeting of the newly formed League, in Exeter Hall, to review the proceedings of the Evangelical Alliance
This was another World's Convention, or rather Conference, convoked in October, 1845, on a sectarian basis, in which Methodists3
and Free Church men preponderated, and which met 1200 strong in London
, in mid-August, full of great expectations,4
yet not without apprehensions of discord.
A preliminary British conference had been held at Birmingham
, attended by Scotch members who had already given public notice5
that slaveholders must be excluded from the London
, an eminent Free Church leader,6
craftily procured the adoption of a policy of ‘not inviting’ slaveholders, which was thus delicately formulated:7
That, while this Committee deem it unnecessary and8 inexpedient to enter into any question, at present, on the subject of slaveholding, or on the difficult circumstances in which Christian brethren may be placed in countries where the law of slavery prevails, they are of opinion that invitations ought not to be sent to individuals who, whether by their own fault or otherwise,