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Chapter 7: first Western tour.—1847.

A too laborious lecture engagement with Frederick Douglass begins in midsummer in Pennsylvania, and ends, at Cleveland, Ohio, with Garrison's prostration with fever, at the im-minent peril of his life.

Early in 1847, Mr. Garrison was solicited by the1 abolitionists of Ohio to visit their section of the country; and in the Liberator of March 19 he gave notice that he would spend the month of August in that State.2 This decision led to numerous invitations from friends in3 Central New York, as well as in Pennsylvania, along the two lines of Western travel. The programme, as finally made up, chose the Southern route for the outward trip, and the Northern for the homeward.4

The intervening months were spent in the usual manner —in editorial drudgery, in occasional lecturing, in attendance at the three great anniversaries in Boston and New York. Opposition to the Mexican War, and reiterated5 appeals for a peaceable dissolution of the Union, were the regular anti-slavery work of the year, to which was added support of the Wilmot Proviso, or the attempt in Congress6 to ensure freedom to the territory certain to be acquired, by force or purchase, of Mexico. In Massachusetts, little was needed to maintain the Legislature in its attitude of7 aversion to the war, or to procure its endorsement of the Proviso; but to disunion it of course turned a cold8 shoulder.

As usual, too, Mr. Garrison's lecture topics embraced religion and peace as well as abolition; and in the philanthropic anniversary month we have a glimpse of him amid kindred spirits. The Rev. Samuel May, Jr.,9 writes to Mary Carpenter from Boston, May 29, 1847:

1 Ms. Mar. 8, 1847, J. Elizabeth James to W. L. G.

2 Lib. 17.46.

3 MSS. Feb. 28, 1847, Charlotte G. Coffin to H. E. G.; Mar. 23, O. A. Bowe to W. L. G.

4 Lib. 17.122.

5 Lib. 17.2, 10, 22, 26, 30, 42, 46, 207.

6 Lib. 17.193.

7 Lib. 17.14, 74.

8 Lib. 17.58.

9 Mr. May—a Unitarian clergyman residing at Leicester, Mass., and universally esteemed and beloved in his own denomination; a cousin of S. J. May, and worthy to be such; a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1829 with Wm. Henry Channing, J. F. Clarke, and other men of national and world-wide reputation—had now become the General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (Lib. 17: 94). This position he filled, with the greatest fidelity and self-abnegation, to the close of the anti-slavery struggle, to which no one brought richer gifts of integrity, humanity, culture—inherited and personal. ‘I was,’ he wrote to Miss Carpenter, July 15, 1851, ‘a “birthright” Unitarian—grew up to think their ministers faultless men, almost—honest and fearless seekers for the truth and the right. I was for many years their fellow-laborer, admirer, and defender,— and devoted to the Unitarian cause. My eyes opened very slowly to the defection and decline of the early Unitarian spirit. Many preceded me in their witness against the bigotry, narrowness, and worldliness which crept into and subjected the Unitarian body—till now, in its organized movement at least, it has become what I have already expressed [‘a lifeless, soulless thing ’]. It was with a great price—at a great sacrifice of feeling, ease, and social consideration (I may say this to you, which I would not wish to dwell upon at all)—that I purchased my freedom from those chains of sectarianism; which I would not reassume this hour, if the whole world's wealth were the bribe to do so. I look now upon those chains with something like loathing’ (Ms.).

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