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Both nature and man seemed to be in league against those plucky pioneers of an unpopular cause. They, however, were not dismayed nor disheartened. It was as they were stepping out into the gloomy night, that Mr. Garrison, who, it is scarcely necessary to say, was one of the twelve, remarked to his associates: “We have met to-night in this obscure schoolhouse; our numbers are few, and our influence limited, but mark my prediction. Faneuil Hall shall ere long echo to the principles we have set forth.”

What those principles were is shown by the declaration adopted by that handful of confederates, and which, in view of the time and circumstances of its formulation, was certainly a most remarkable document. Its essential proposition was: “We, the undersigned, hold that every person of full age and sound mind has a right to immediate freedom from personal bondage of whatsoever kind, unless imposed by the sentence of the law for the commission of some crime.”

The Declaration of Independence, which was produced with no little theatrical effect amid the pomp and circumstance of a national conclave that had met in the finest hall in the country, was unquestionably a remarkable and memorable pronouncement. It was for the time and situation a radical utterance. It was the precursor of a revolution that gave political freedom to several million people.

But the platform of principles that was announced by the New England Anti-Slavery Society (the name adopted) in that little grimy schoolroom on “Nigger Hill” was, in at least some respects, a more remarkable

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William Lloyd Garrison (1)
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