Chapter 3: the Clerical appeal.—1837.The Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society ensures the financial support of the Liberator, without touching the editor's independence. An orthodox Pastoral letter against the lecturing of the Grimkes, as women, in Massachusetts, is followed by a disingenuous Clerical Appeal against the conduct of the Liberator as respects the clergy. This is redoubled on the manifestation of Perfectionist doctrines by Garrison, under the influence of J. H. Noyes. The New York A. S. Managers rebuke him privately, and refuse to condemn the Appeal in their organ. Garrison maintains himself in Massachusetts, but the nucleus of a New organization is formed under Clerical auspices. The murder of Lovejoy intervenes.
Henry Benson followed his father to the grave1 in less than a month, in the first half of his twentythird year; so young, and yet already a veteran in the cause. ‘At the age of sixteen his mind had the maturity2 of manhood.’ He was only nineteen when he threw3 himself ardently into the defence of Prudence Crandall against her persecutors. He took a leading part in organizing the Providence Anti-Slavery Society and in revolutionizing the public sentiment of Rhode Island. He was the last abolitionist to bid good-bye to George Thompson, whose travelling associate and secretary he had been. His services to the Liberator, as its editor4 testified, contributed largely to its permanent support. Elected in July, 1835, Secretary and General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, he proved the most valuable business man who had ever filled that post. ‘The adjoining room witnessed his incessant toil,’ said5 Mr. May, at the first meeting of the Society after its loss;6 ‘there he labored with an assiduity which spared not himself—and there, I hesitate not to say, he sacrificed his life. We saw his health failing—we remonstrated— but he saw the cause suffering for just such labors as his—he went on—he lingered a little while——and died.’ The speaker could not proceed for his emotion. ‘Nearly all present were in tears.’ At this meeting, not unfittingly, the perennial subject7 of the financial condition of the Liberator was brought  up. Another crisis had arisen with the new year, and it was scarcely less urgent (so vast had become the antislavery literature of the day) to enlarge the paper than to maintain it, and it was still far from being selfsup-porting. Mr. Garrison wrote from Boston on February 4, 1837, to Anna Benson:
‘About three hours were occupied in discussing the merits8 of the Liberator and its editor. The Sabbath question was also taken up. I dare not tell you, dear Anna, what fine things were said about me. To my surprise, notwithstanding that “ delicate” subject, the Sabbath, was alluded to in connexion with my review of Dr. Beecher's speech, there was but one feeling manifested toward me, and that of the most enthusiastic kind. What was peculiarly pleasing was to find men of various sects joining in one common panegyric. Among the speakers were Rev. Mr. Norris, Methodist; Isaac 9 Winslow, Friend; Rev. Mr. Hall, Congregationalist; Rev. Mr. St. Clair, Unitarian, etc., etc.10 Bro. May poured out his soul as usual, and said that the same ball which laid Garrison low, would carry him down also. Stanton spoke nobly and generously. Well, does bro. George ask what was done as well as said? Something that will delight him! It was unanimously voted, that the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society should henceforth assume the responsibility of printing and editing11 the Liberator, and that the abolitionism of the Commonwealth should be pledged to sustain it.12 The paper, however, is not to be the organ of our Society, nor is anybody to control my pen. This arrangement will relieve friend Knapp and myself of a heavy burden, which has long  crushed us to the earth. It is probable that we shall soon enlarge the paper.’13Mr. May's tribute drove his friend from the room, and14 called for remarks in modest abnegation on his return. Further—
One word as to the Liberator. I have no desire that it15 should be supported any longer than it is regarded as a useful instrument in the anti-slavery cause. I ask no man to approve of every sentiment contained in its columns, or to patronize it, except on the ground of its advocacy of the rights of plundered millions. It is neither my aim nor expectation to please every individual subscriber to the Liberator, in every particular: such a coincidence, while men differ so widely in their tastes and notions on various subjects, is utterly impracticable. It must suffice that free discussion is its motto, and that those who are opposed to me in sentiment are always invited to occupy its pages. There must not, there cannot be a spirit of competition between the Liberator and the publications of the American Society. But it will be seen at once that the Liberator, if left to depend upon its subscription-list alone, cannot maintain its ground whilst the Emancipator, for instance, sustained by the funds of the Parent Society, is issued on a much larger sheet, and afforded on the same terms. I do not wish the Liberator to be the organ either of this or any other Society, nor any body of men to be responsible for every sentiment it may promulgate; and I am quite sure that I shall not permit any persons to control my pen, or establish a censorship over my writings. As the Sabbath question has been alluded to, allow me to say, that it has not been the object of the Liberator to maintain my peculiar views on that subject. I have inserted in its columns many articles advocating, either directly or indirectly, the generally received opinions respecting the Sabbath; but none of my numerous subscribers among Friends has in consequence discontinued his subscription. In reviewing Dr. Beecher's speech, it was my object not only to convict him of gross inconsistency, but to enforce the truth that we are to be wholly consecrated to God at all times—to maintain a perpetual  Sabbath—to observe every day as holy unto the Lord. It was no Jacobinism that I wished to advocate. But the leading, allabsorbing object of the Liberator shall continue to be, as it has been hitherto, the overthrow of American slavery—not to conflict with any religious sect or political party.Before this seemingly happy settlement of the Liberator's continuance—this unlucky makeshift, as the event proved—and amid the depression caused in the Benson circle by their two-fold bereavement,16 Mr. Garrison sat down to compose the fifth annual report of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Not a trace of despondency was to be found in the opening sentence: ‘The17 tone which the Managers . . . would assume . . . is one of joyful hope to the manacled slaves—of sincere congratulation to the friends of human liberty, universally—of ardent gratitude to God.’ Yet these words were read in the loft of a stable, the only place obtainable by the Society for its meeting:
Let the winds carry the tale to the four quarters of the18 earth—in Boston, in the year of our Lord, 1837, in the sixtyfirst year of American independence, not a single meetinghouse, not a hall of any magnitude, can be obtained on any terms,—not even for money at an exorbitant price!—in which abolitionists may plead the cause of the trampled slave! But, it is believed, there is not a single pulpit in this city19 to which a slaveholding preacher cannot find ready access, even for the avowed purpose of vindicating the soul-destroying system of slavery as a divine institution, from the Holy Scriptures! Nor is there, we presume, a public hall which cannot be occupied by jugglers, mountebanks, ballad-singers, rope-dancers, religious impostors, etc., etc., as they shall wish to hire.20 The loft in question was that of the stable attached to the Marlboroa Hotel, and had been put at the Society's disposal by Willard Sears, the owner of the property. Before beginning his reading, Mr. Garrison said:21 ‘There might be some fears on the part of the audience in regard to the security of the loft; but he assured them that the floor was well propped, and he felt gratified with the consciousness that Abolition, to-day as on every day, stands upon a stable foundation.’ But something better was in store for the outcasts from the churches—a marvellous sign of the spread of antislavery sentiment since the Boston mob. An application to the Legislature for the use of the hall of the House of Representatives, for an evening session, was granted without debate, though not without a nearly successful attempt to revoke the concession. ‘When22 Boston votes,’ said Stanton in the hall itself, ‘the Anti-Slavery Society goes into A stable. When the State votes, it goes into the State House.’ Mr. Garrison thus wrote, to Anna Benson, of these extraordinary occurrences:
The annual meeting of our State Society was held last23 week in this city, and of course I was altogether too much engrossed with its concerns to indulge in correspondence. Bro. George, having been present at the first meeting in the24 stable-loft, has no doubt given you all the particulars; and such as he has not been able to detail, by his subsequent absence, you will find recorded at length in the last and in this25 week's Liberator. It will hardly be necessary to occupy this sheet on that subject. Suffice it to say, that we had five public meetings, four of them crowded to excess, without any disturbance, and that, in genuine abolition spirit and brotherly kindness, they exceeded all that have hitherto been held in Boston. You can form but a faint idea of the life and glow which pervaded them all, by reading the speeches as reported in to-day's Liberator. One needed to be present to realize all that26 transpired. The utmost kindness and cordiality were extended to me by all present, and every speaker was more or less profuse in his encomiums upon myself and the Liberator. Whenever my name was alluded to, a round of applause was sure to  follow27—which clearly demonstrated, not so much that any merit belongs to me, as that the meeting was deeply and thoroughly saturated with “Garrisonism.” Indeed, there was a great deal too much said in my praise. If I did not know that I have nailed my natural vanity and love of human praise to the cross of Christ, such things would be likely to puff me up. But, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Christ, by whom I am crucified unto the world, and the world unto me.” It cannot but cheer my heart to know that I have secured the approbation and love of the best people in the land, because it has naturally followed my advocacy of a righteous though unpopular cause;28 but mere human applause is in itself no evidence of personal worth. At the State House, our meeting was thronged to excess. One of our daily papers estimates that not less than five thousand persons went away, being unable to obtain admittance! It was expected that our enemies would rally strongly on that occasion; but, as a test of the character and feelings of the audience, I will merely state that when Ellis Gray Loring, in the course of his speech, bestowed a strong panegyric upon my name,29 a burst of applause followed from every part of the house. When  it died away, a few hisses were heard in one of the galleries. These elicited another tremendous round of applause. Again a hiss was heard, and then followed another and still more powerful manifestation of enthusiastic approbation of my labors in the anti-slavery cause. I mention this fact to show how vain have been the attempts of my enemies to make me odious even among my abolition brethren.As every one present must have felt, the mere meeting at the State House was a personal triumph for Mr. Garrison, which eulogy and applause might emphasize, but which no amount of hissing could diminish. Nor had it yet reached its climax. A week before, the