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[185]

W. L. Garrison to the Testimonial Committee.

Boston, March 12, 1868.
respected friends: In replying to your very kind letter of the 10th instant, transferring to my hands the truly generous sum obtained by you as a national testimonial, in recognition of my labors in the anti-slavery cause through a long and perilous struggle, I shall try in vain to find words adequately to express my feelings. I can only tender to you my heartfelt thanks for this signal proof of your personal esteem and good-will. I am so constituted as not to fear the frowns of men, when conscious of being in the right; yet no one should desire more strongly than I have always done to secure the regards of the wise, the good, and the true, next to the approval of my own conscience as unto God. All controversy, where no principle is involved, no right to be vindicated, no wrong to be redressed, is utterly distasteful to my temperament. If, therefore, for a long series of years, I was ‘a disturber of the peace’ and ‘a troubler of Israel,’ it was not of my choice or seeking; but necessity was laid upon me so to act, by the heinous wrongfulness of chattel slavery, by the Christian obligation to remember those in bonds as bound with them, by the irresistible claims of outraged human nature, and by a more than patriotic interest in the welfare of my native land. Little indeed did I know or anticipate how prolonged or how virulent would be the struggle, when I lifted up the standard of immediate emancipation, and essayed to rouse the nation to a sense of its guilt and danger. But, having put my hand to the plow, how could I look back? For, in a cause so righteous, I could not doubt that, having turned the furrows, if I sowed in tears I should one day reap in joy. But, whether permitted to live to witness the abolition of slavery or not, I felt assured that, as I demanded nothing that was not clearly in accordance with justice and humanity, some time or other, if remembered at all, I should stand vindicated in the eyes of my countrymen. In the very first number of the Liberator I said:
It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years, not perniciously but beneficially—not as a curse but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. Ante, 1.225.

Happily, I have not had to wait for posterity for my vindication—a generous and complete vindication. But, by the


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William Lloyd Garrison (1)
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