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Chapter 7: Baltimore jail, and After.—1830.

Ransomed by Arthur Tappan, Garrison abandons Baltimore, and journeys to Boston, lecturing on abolition by the way. He issues a prospectus for an anti-slavery journal to be published in Washington, but perceives that the North first needs conversion. A lecture in Julien Hall secures him the necessary friends, and he forms a partnership with Isaac Knapp to publish the Liberator in Boston.

No man ever went to prison with a lighter heart or cleaner conscience than Garrison; and his slumbers, the first night, were as sweet and peaceful as if he had been in his old home by the Merrimac. His seven weeks in jail were neither idle nor unhappy weeks to him. He was courteously and kindly treated by the Warden (David W. Hudson), at whose family table he often took his meals. He was allowed considerable freedom within the walls, and made use of it to acquaint himself with some of his fellow-prisoners, visiting them in their cells, and being locked in with them, often, while he questioned them and showed a sympathetic interest in their cases. Sometimes they were permitted to come to his cell, and for certain men whom he thought especially deserving of consideration he drew up petitions and letters to the Governor, in their name, with the result of getting the sentences of several commuted.1

The high round window of Garrison's cell commanded a view of the street below, which he could see by standing on his bed; and on a certain Sunday afternoon, when a sudden shower fell and drenched the people just coming from church, he congratulated himself that he was in [175] such dry and snug quarters,—a similar sensation, he used to say with a laugh, to that of the criminal on the scaffold, with rope about his neck, who forgot his impending doom in a temporary sense of delight over his secure and elevated position, while a mad bull was causing the spectators below to flee for their lives.

Lundy, who had returned to Baltimore, and was again issuing the Genius in a monthly pamphlet of sixteen octavo pages, came frequently to the jail to see him, as did his old comrade Isaac Knapp, who had come to Baltimore a few weeks before, to work in the Genius office. Many slave-traders also visited the jail to buy slaves, the poor creatures being constantly brought in, bound and gagged in a frightful manner, for attempting to escape,2 and Garrison did not hesitate to rebuke these dealers in human flesh for their sinful occupation. His encounter with a master who came to reclaim his fugitive was thus related by him:

During my late incarceration in Baltimore prison, four men3 came to obtain a runaway slave. He was brought out of his cell to confront his master, but pretended not to know him— did not know that he had ever seen him before—could not recollect his name. Of course the master was exceedingly irritated. “Don't you remember,” said he, “when I gave you, not long since, thirty-nine lashes under the apple-tree? Another time, when I gave you a sound flogging in the barn? Another time, when you were scourged for giving me the lie, by saying that the horse was in a good condition?”

“Yes,” replied the slave, whose memory was thus quickened, “I do recollect. You have beaten me cruelly without a cause; you have not given me enough to eat and drink; and I don't want to go back again. I wish you to sell me to another master—I had rather even go to Georgia than to return home.”

“I'll let you know, you villain,” said the master, “that my wishes, and not yours, are to be consulted. I'll learn you how to run away again.”

The other men advised him to take the black home, and cut him up in inch pieces for his impudence, obstinacy, and desertion—swearing [176] tremendously all the while. The slave was ordered back to his cell.

I had stood speechless during this singular dialogue, my blood boiling in my veins, and my limbs trembling with emotion. I now walked up to the gang, and, addressing the master as calmly as possible, said—

“Sir, what right have you to that poor creature?”

He looked up in my face very innocently, and replied—

“My father left him to me.”

“Suppose,” said I, “your father had broken into a bank and stolen ten thousand dollars, and safely bequeathed the sum as a legacy: could you conscientiously keep the money? For myself, I had rather rob any bank to an indefinite amount than kidnap a fellow-being, or hold him in bondage: the crime would be less injurious to society, and less sinful in the sight of God.”

The man and his crew were confounded. What! to hear such sentiments in Maryland,—and in jail, too! Looking them full in the face, and getting no reply, I walked a few steps to the door. After a brief consultation, the master came up to me and said—

“Perhaps you would like to buy the slave, and give him his liberty?”

“Sir, I am a poor man; and were I ever so opulent, it would be necessary, on your part, to make out a clear title to the services of the slave before I could conscientiously make a bargain.”

After a pause, he said—

“Well, sir, I can prove from the Bible that slavery is right.”

“Ah!” replied I, “that is a precious book—the rule of conduct. I have always supposed that its spirit was directly opposed to everything in the shape of fraud and oppression. However, sir, I should be glad to hear your text.”

He somewhat hesitatingly muttered out—

Ham—Noah's curse, you know.”

“O, sir, you build on a very slender foundation. Granting, even—what remains to be proved—that the Africans are the descendants of Ham, Noah's curse was a prediction of future servitude, and not an injunction to oppress. Pray, sir, is it a careful desire to fulfil the Scriptures, or to make money, that induces you to hold your fellow-men in bondage?”

“Why, sir,” exclaimed the slavite, with unmingled astonishment, “do you really think that the slaves are beings like ourselves?—that [177] is, I mean do you believe that they possess the same faculties and capacities as the whites?”

“Certainly, sir,” I responded; “I do not know that there is any moral or intellectual quality in the curl of the hair or the color of the skin. I cannot conceive why a black man may not as reasonably object to my color, as I to his. Sir, it is not a black face that I detest, but a black heart—and I find it very often under a white skin.”

“Well, sir,” said my querist, “how should you like to see a black man President of the United States?”

“As to that, sir, I am a true republican, and bow to the will of the majority. If the people prefer a black President, I shall cheerfully submit; and if he be qualified for the station, may peradventure give him my vote.”

“How should you like to have a black man marry your daughter?”

“I am not married—I have no daughter. Sir, I am not familiar with your practices; but allow me to say, that slaveholders generally should be the last persons to affect fastidiousness on that point; for they seem to be enamoured with amalgamation.”

Thus ended the dialogue. . . .

Austin Woolfolk had usually visited the jail almost daily, to pick up bargains for his Southern shipments; but during Garrison's incarceration he absented himself.

The first task to which the imprisoned editor addressed himself was to prepare and have printed, in a pamphlet of eight pages, ‘A Brief Sketch of the Trial of William Lloyd Garrison, for an alleged libel on Francis Todd, of Massachusetts.’ To this he invited ‘the attention of the public, and of editors generally, as containing much instruction and interest, as highly illustrative of Maryland justice (as administered by Nicholas Brice), and as showing to what extent the liberty of the press is enjoyed in this State,’ and these were his concluding comments:

The facts are before the public. The case, I believe, is important. As for the law (if it be law) which has convicted me, I regard it as a burlesque upon the constitution—as pitiful as it is abhorrent and atrocious. It affords a fresh illustration of the sentiment of an able writer, that “of all injustice, that is [178] the greatest which goes under the name of Law; and of all sorts of tyranny, the forcing of the letter of the Law against the equity is the most insupportable.” Is it supposed by Judge Brice that his frowns can intimidate me, or his sentence stifle my voice, on the subject of African oppression? He does not know me. So long as a good Providence gives me strength and intellect, I will not cease to declare that the existence of slavery in this country is a foul reproach to the American name; nor will I hesitate to proclaim the guilt of kidnappers, slave abettors, or slave owners, wheresoever they may reside, or however high they may be exalted. I am only in the alphabet of my task; time shall perfect a useful work. It is my shame that I have done so little for the people of color; yea, before God, I feel humbled that my feelings are so cold, and my language so weak. A few white victims must be sacrificed to open the eyes of this nation, and to show the tyranny of our laws. I expect, and am willing, to be persecuted, imprisoned and bound, for advocating African rights; and I should deserve to be a slave myself if I shrunk from that duty or danger.

To show the vindictiveness of the prosecutor, in the present instance, I would state that, not content with punishing the author of the ‘libellous’ article in the Genius, he has also brought a suit against my philanthropic friend Lundy, on the same ground. This is a grief to me—not so, however, to him. The court was aware that he was out of the State when I published my strictures upon Mr. Todd, and that he never saw them until they appeared in print—and yet another prosecution!4

Deeply as I am indebted to my editorial brethren throughout the country, for their kind expressions toward me, I solicit them to publish the facts growing out of this trial, and to make such comments as may seem expedient. I think it will appear that the freedom of the press has been invaded, and that power, and not justice, has convicted me; and I appeal to the people for a change of the verdict. Certainly the fact would astonish all Europe, if it were trumpeted in that quarter, that an American citizen lies incarcerated in prison, for having denounced slavery, and its abettors, in his own country!

William Lloyd Garrison. Baltimore Jail, May 1, 1830.

The following sonnet, which he had written on the wall of his cell, also appeared in the pamphlet, and is [179] unquestionably the most perfect specimen he ever produced of his favorite style of versification:

Freedom of the mind.

High walls and huge the body may confine,5
And iron grates obstruct the prisoner's gaze,
And massive bolts may baffle his design,
And vigilant keepers watch his devious ways:
Yet scorns th' immortal mind this base control!
No chains can bind it, and no cell enclose:
Swifter than light, it flies from pole to pole,
And, in a flash, from earth to heaven it goes!
It leaps from mount to mount—from vale to vale
It wanders, plucking honeyed fruits and flowers;
It visits home, to hear the fireside tale,
Or in sweet converse pass the joyous hours:
'Tis up before the sun, roaming afar,
And, in its watches, wearies every star!

Mr. Garrison next addressed brief and caustic ‘Cards’6 to Judge Brice, Richard W. Gill, the prosecuting attorney for the State, and Henry Thompson, Todd's agent, which would have appeared in the May number of the Genius but for the timidity of the printers. Two months later,7 Lundy had his own office and printed them, with his usual fearlessness. Still another ‘Card,’ to Francis Todd, he sent to Mr. Buckingham, who promptly published it in the Boston Courier, and again spoke in complimentary terms of the young editor, whose career he had carefully watched from the outset. ‘We take the liberty,’ he added, ‘of prefixing two paragraphs from his private letter, which show, even more happily than the other, the complacency and serenity of his mind, and will teach his opponents a good lesson in the art of enduring misfortune’:

W. L. Garrison to Joseph T. Buckingham.

Baltimore, May 12, 1830.
8 Dear sir: I salute you from the walls of my prison! So weak is poor human nature, that commonly, the larger the building it occupies, the more it is puffed up with inordinate [180] pride. I assure you, that, notwithstanding the massive dimensions of this superstructure—its imperishable strength, its redundant passages, its multicapsular apartments—I am as humble as any occupant of a ten-foot building in our great Babel;—which frame of mind, my friends must acknowledge, is very commendable. It is true, I am not the owner of this huge pile, nor the grave lord-keeper of it; but then, I pay no rent—am bound to make no repairs—and enjoy the luxury of independence divested of its cares. . . .

Now, don't look amazed because I am in confinement. I have neither broken any man's head nor picked any man's pocket, neither committed highway robbery nor fired any part of the city. Yet, true it is, I am in prison, as snug as a robin in his cage; but I sing as often, and quite as well, as I did before my wings were clipped. To change the figure: here I strut, the lion of the day; and, of course, attract a great number of visitors, as the exhibition is gratuitous—so that between the conversation of my friends, the labors of my brain, and the ever-changing curiosities of this huge menagerie, time flies astonishingly swift. Moreover, this is a capital place to sketch the lights and shadows of human nature. Every day, in the gallery of my imagination, I hang up a fresh picture. I shall have a rare collection at the expiration of my visit. . . .

A Card: to Mr. Francis Todd, merchant, of Newburyport, (Mass.

sir: As a New-England man, and a fellow-townsman, I am ashamed of your conduct. How could you suffer your noble ship to be freighted with the wretched victims of slavery? Is not this horrible traffic offensive to God, and revolting to humanity? You have a wife—Do you love her? You have children—If one merchant should kidnap, another sell, and a third transport them to a foreign market, how would you bear this bereavement? What language would be strong enough to denounce the abettor? You would rend the heavens with your lamentations! There is no sacrifice so painful to parents as the loss of their offspring. So cries the voice of nature!

Take another case. Suppose you and your family were seized on execution, and sold at public auction: a New Orleans planter buys your children—a Georgian, your wife—a South Carolinian, yourself: would one of your townsmen (believing the job to be a profitable one) be blameless for transporting you all thither, though familiar with all these afflicting circumstances? [181]

Sir, I owe you no ill-will. My soul weeps over your error. I denounced your conduct in strong language—but did not you deserve it? Consult your Bible and your heart. I am in prison for denouncing slavery in a free country! You, who have assisted in oppressing your fellow-creatures, are permitted to go at large, and to enjoy the fruits of your crime! Cui prodest scelus, is fecit.

You shall hear from me again. In the meantime, with mingled emotions, &c., &c.

William Lloyd Garrison. Baltimore Jail, May 13, 1830.

[For the Courier.]

Mr. Editor: At the request of the State of Maryland, (through the medium of Judge Nicholas Brice,) I have removed from my residence in Baltimore Street to a less central but more imposing tenement. My windows are grated—probably to exclude nocturnal visitants, and to show the singular estimation in which my person is held. The cause of this preferment arises from my opposition to slavery.

I send you a Sonnet which I pencilled on the wall of my room the morning after my incarceration. It is a little bulletin showing in what manner I rested during the preceding night.

Sonnet to sleep.

Thou art no fawning sycophant, sweet Sleep!
That turn'st away when fortune 'gins to frown,
Leaving the stricken wretch alone to weep,
And curse his former opulent renown:
O no! but here—even to this desolate place—
Thou com'st as 'twere a palace trimm'd with gold,
Its architecture of Corinthian grace,
Its gorgeous pageants dazzling to behold:—
No prison walls nor bolts can thee affright—
Where dwelleth innocence, there thou art found!
How pleasant, how sincere wast thou last night!
What blissful dreams my morning slumber crowned!
Health-giving Sleep! than mine a nobler verse
Must to the world thy matchless worth rehearse.

W. L. G.

While editing the Genius Garrison found no time to indulge his fondness for writing verses, and some lines [182] of his on the Slave Trade, in the first number, were his only poetical contribution to the paper; but during his imprisonment his muse seems to have been especially active, and besides the sonnets already given he wrote a third, entitled—

The guiltless prisoner.

Prisoner! within these gloomy walls close pent—
Guiltless of horrid crime or venial wrong—
Bear nobly up against thy punishment,
And in thy innocence be great and strong!
Perchance thy fault was love to all mankind;
Thou didst oppose some vile, oppressive law;
Or strive all human fetters to unblind;
Or wouldst not bear the implements of war:—
What then? Dost thou so soon repent the deed?
A martyr's crown is richer than a king's!
Think it an honor with thy Lord to bleed,
And glory 'midst intensest sufferings!
Though beat—imprisoned—put to open shame—
Time shall embalm and magnify thy name.

He furthermore wrote a series of twenty stanzas in fair9 Byronic metre, chiefly addressed to a young lady whom he had met but once, some three years before, but whose personal attractions had touched his susceptibilities. His incidental description of a Boston ‘election week’ or ‘June training’ has been quoted in a previous 10 chapter. Noticeable, also, is another poem of half a dozen stanzas, inspired by a speech of Senator Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, in the United States Senate, in denunciation of the plots in Georgia to dispossess the Cherokee Indians of their lands. ‘If the dominant party in the Senate,’ wrote Mr. Garrison, in sending his poem11 to12 the Genius, ‘had not been more insensate than marble statues, or their hearts more impenetrable than polar ice, his speech would have effectually checked the rapacity of Georgia, and rescued the American name from eternal infamy. Their positive refusal to observe the faith of [183] treaties caps the climax of party depravity, which, in this instance, is one degree below total depravity.’

The pamphlet account of the libel suit and trial soon evoked wide comment and criticism from the newspapers on this transparent attempt to stifle a free press. ‘More13 than an hundred voices have been raised,’ said Lundy, in the Genius, ‘more than an hundred periodical works have denounced (many of them in no very measured terms) this attack upon what we have ever considered our proper editorial privileges.’14

‘Up to that period,’ wrote Garrison subsequently, ‘no15 single incident connected with the subject of slavery had ever excited so much attention, or elicited such a spontaneous burst of general indignation. As the news of my imprisonment became extensively known, and the merits of the case understood, not a mail rolled into the city but it brought me consolatory letters from individuals hitherto unknown to me, and periodicals of all kinds, from every section of the Union, (not even excepting the South,) all uniting to give me a triumphant acquittal—all severely reprehending the conduct of Mr. Todd —and all regarding my trial as a mockery of justice. Indeed, I was in danger of being lifted up beyond measure, even in prison, by excessive panegyric and extraordinary sympathy.’16


The comments of no other paper were awaited with such eager interest by Mr. Garrison as those of the Newburyport Herald, as he naturally wished to know how his old master and his townsmen regarded his course, and felt anxious that they should understand and appreciate the motives which had led him to assail one of their prominent citizens. Mr. Allen could not ignore the appeal made in the pamphlet of his late apprentice, and at length broke the silence which he had hitherto kept about the matter. After briefly mentioning Garrison's trial and imprisonment, he paid a generous tribute to his protege, defending him against the charges of vanity, love of display, and eagerness for notoriety, which had been brought against him, and crediting him with only lofty aspirations and motives; and he bore this testimony:

‘We are the friends of Mr. Garrison. We have known him17 from his childhood; he has been in our family and eaten at our board. We have watched his progress in life with deep interest. Without early advantages of education, but with a mind exceedingly susceptible to improvement, he seized on every opportunity afforded by intervals from labor to create and add to his stock of information; in a word, he was a diligent student. His peculiar characteristics are an ardent temperament and warm imagination; his undeniable merits, pure purposes and unshaken courage. Resolute in his convictions on subjects of higher importance, he may seem (and no doubt sometimes is) hasty, stubborn, and dogmatic, rash and unyielding, where patience and docility would have varied his views and softened his temper.’


But while condemning the domestic slave trade, and applauding Garrison's reprobation of it, Mr. Allen thought that in assailing Todd he had stepped aside to wound those who were not and never would be guilty of joining in the traffic; and that his charge had been based on ‘vague rumor, hasty conversation, and scattered facts,’ and not fully sustained. That Todd considered such a charge a libel on his reputation, was a circumstance highly in his favor, and showed that he himself thought, with the just and benevolent, that the traffic ought not to be supported,—a very amusing theory, in view of the facts proved at the trial.

To this article Mr. Garrison promptly replied in a letter which filled nearly three columns of the Herald:

W. L. Garrison to Ephraim W. Allen.

To the editor of the Newburyport Herald.18

Dear sir: I thank you for a copy of the Herald containing a notice of my late trial for an alleged libel on Mr. Francis Todd. Your encomiums I receive with pleasure and humility. The esteem of a good man is always worth possessing; but to him who stands comparatively alone in the world—fatherless, motherless, without wealth, and unassisted by the influence of relatives—and who has just passed the vestibule of manhood, it is invaluable. I have received too many kindnesses at your hands to doubt your friendship; and too many ever to forget the obligations under which I labor.

Yet there are some passages in your review which seem to require a brief interrogation:

You say:

When carried on by system, for purposes of traffic, the domestic slave trade deserves the reprobation of every man who dares call himself free, or just, or humane.’

Surely, sir, you do not mean to justify or palliate the occasional transportation of slaves? If the whole system be abhorrent to humanity, can any part of it be venial? If Austin Woolfolk (a slave-exporter of devilish notoriety in Maryland) deserves the withering indignation of a virtuous community for carrying on the trade regularly, does not Francis Todd (or any other merchant) merit reprobation—in a less degree, certainly—for [186] dipping into it irregularly? In a case of theft, is it not an orthodox maxim, that ‘the receiver (i. e. he who knows that the goods are stolen) is as bad as the thief?’ Even if a man connives at crime, though he is not the immediate perpetrator thereof, the law does not hold him guiltless; and common sense tells us that it should not.

The above quotation carries a pernicious inference—contrary, I am sure, to your intention. But why not have explicitly declared, that no device should protect the man from public indignation who assists in any way, or however rarely, in extending and perpetuating the horrible traffic? For myself, neither the terrors of the law, nor the fires of martyrdom,19 shall deter me from invoking confiscation and imprisonment upon every such abettor. Pope illustrates the distinction with admirable conciseness:

‘Friend, spare the person, and expose the vice.’
‘How! not condemn the sharper, but the dice!’

Moreover, you remark: ‘If, in assailing the traffic, Mr. Garrison steps aside to wound those who are not, and would never be, guilty of joining in it, he is neither to be justified nor commended,’—&c., &c. [Certainly not.] ‘And he who is made the object of the odious charge, if innocent, is not to be browbeaten for taking lawful steps to vindicate his character.’ [Ditto.]

There is a gratuitous insinuation in these truisms, which is calculated to injure my character with those who are ignorant of the merits of the present case. Have I gone out of my way to attack an innocent man? If not, where is the pertinency of your remarks? Now, I substantially proved the truth of my allegations at my trial—namely, that the Francis carried slaves to New Orleans, and that she was owned by Mr. Todd: nay, that thirteen more were taken than I had represented. Yet you do not apprise your readers of these facts, but leave them to infer that I have slandered the character of this gentleman in the most wilful and unpardonable manner!! Is this suppression commendable? . . .

If Mr. Todd had been innocent, he would not have instantaneously kindled into a passion, and presented me as a libeller to a jury whom he suspected of cherishing hostile feelings towards [187] the Genius of Universal Emancipation. Charitably believing that I had been unwittingly led into error, he would have corresponded with me on the subject, and demanded a public apology for the injury inflicted upon his character; and I would have promptly made that apology—yea, upon my bended knees. For I confidently assert, that no individual who knows me personally—not even the accused himself—believes that I was instigated by malice in the publication of my strictures. I make no other charge against him. If I have enemies, I forgive them—I am the enemy of no man. My memory can no more retain the impression of anger, hatred or revenge, than the ocean the track of its monsters.

The admonition of Ganganelli, that libels and satires make an impression only upon weak and badly organized heads, ought not to have been lost upon Mr. Todd—especially if his hands were clean and his heart white. Moreover, what if the times were hard, freights dull, and money scarce—was he in danger of starvation? And, if so, how much nobler would have been his conduct, if he had adopted the language of the martyred patriot of England—the great Algernon Sidney!— ‘I have ever had in my mind, that when God should cast me into such a condition as that I cannot save my life but by doing an indecent thing, he shows me the time has come wherein I should resign it; and when I cannot live in my own country but by such means as are worse than dying in it, I think he shows me I ought to keep myself out of it.’

Finally, you observe: ‘We cannot, in such comment as Mr. Garrison desires editors generally to make on his prosecution; and we cannot, in our real friendship to him, praise him for any act of rashness and indiscretion.’

I ask, deserve, and expect the praise of no individuals for my labors; because I am merely endeavoring to perform my duty —and, as I fall far short of that duty, therefore I cannot be meritorious. You misapprehend the nature of the comments that I requested editors to make upon my trial. It is my solemn belief, that a more flagrant infringement upon the liberty of the press than is presented in the decision of the Court, is hardly to be found in the record of libellous prosecutions in France or Great Britain. I was convicted upon an indictment which was utterly defective, and as innocent as blank paper—evidence failing to prove that I had printed or published, or had any agency in printing or publishing, or had written or caused to be written, or had even seen or known anything of, the obnoxious [188] article!! Here, then, seemed to be an extraordinary procedure, unparalleled for its complexion in this country at least, and dangerous to the freedom of public discussion—deserving, in a special manner, the animadversion of every watchful patriot:— An editor convicted of writing and publishing a ‘false, wicked and malicious libel,’ without any authentic evidence of his guilt, and upon the most whimsical pretenses!!—I solicited no sympathy for myself: I only requested editors to look at the law and the facts, and to vindicate their prerogative. ‘Let it be impressed upon your minds,’ says Junius, ‘let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all your civil, political and religious rights.’ . . .

If I am prompted by ‘vanity’ in pleading for the poor, degraded, miserable Africans, it is at least a harmless, and, I hope, will prove a useful vanity. Would to God it were epidemical! It is a vanity calculated to draw down the curses of the guilty, to elicit the sneers of the malevolent, to excite the suspicion of the cold-hearted, to offend the timidity of the wavering, to disturb the repose of the lethargic;—a vanity that promises to its possessor nothing but neglect, poverty, sorrow, reproach, persecution and imprisonment—with the approbation of a good conscience, and the smiles of a merciful God. I think it will last me to the grave.

But why so vehement? so unyielding? so severe? Because20 the times and the cause demand vehemence. An immense iceberg, larger and more impenetrable than any which floats in the arctic ocean, is to be dissolved, and a little extra heat is not only pardonable, but absolutely necessary. Because truth can never be sacrificed, and justice is eternal. Because great crimes and destructive evils ought not to be palliated, nor great sinners applauded. With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men, I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.

The hearts of some individuals are like ice, congealed by the frigidity of a wintry atmosphere that surrounds, envelopes and obdurates. These may be melted by the rays of humanity, the warmth of expostulation, and the breath of prayer. Others are like adamantine rocks; they require a ponderous sledge and a powerful arm to break them in pieces, or a cask of powder to blow them up. Truth may blaze upon them with midday intenseness, but they cannot dissolve.

Everyone who comes into the world should do something to repair its moral desolation, and to restore its pristine loveliness; [189] and he who does not assist, but slumbers away his life in idleness, defeats one great purpose of his creation. But he who, not only refusing to labor himself, endeavors to enlarge and perpetuate the ruin, by discouraging the hearts of the more industrious, and destroying their beautiful works, is a monster and a barbarian, in despite of his human nature and of civilization.

With sentiments of high esteem and ardent affection, I subscribe myself,

Yours, to the grave,

Note. . . . No doubt many merchants in New England will condemn me, for the significant reason urged by the editors [of the Boston Commercial Gazette], namely, ‘a proper regard for their own characters.’ Why? Because they are guilty, and dread exposure. It is a shameful fact,—and in private conversation it is thrown at me repeatedly,—that the transportation of slaves is almost entirely effected in New England bottoms!!!—The case of Mr. Todd is not a rare one. I was very warmly conversing, the other day, with a slave-owner on the criminality of oppressing the blacks, when he retorted— ‘Your preaching is fine, but it is more especially needed at home. I detest the slave trade—it is cruel and unpardonable: yet your Eastern merchants do not scruple to embark in it.’ ‘Sir,’ I replied, ‘I do not endorse their conduct. The fact that you state is humiliating. Am I not confined in prison for exposing one of their number? Let them beware! Every one whom I detect in this nefarious business—merchant or master —shall be advertised to the world.’

My punishment does not dishearten me. Whether liberated or not, my pen shall not remain idle. My thoughts flow as copiously, my spirit towers as loftily, my soul flames as intensely, in prison, as out of it. The court may shackle the body, but it cannot pinion the mind.

W. L. G. Baltimore Jail, June 1, 1830.

Among the friends to whom Garrison had written, from his prison cell, a bright and cheerful letter, similar to that printed in the Boston Courier, was the poet Whittier, who felt deeply troubled about his confinement [190] and tried to devise some means of effecting his release. He could think of nothing better than to write to Henry Clay, asking him to use his influence with his personal21 and political friends in Baltimore to that end, and he took pains to remind the Kentucky statesman that the imprisoned editor had nominated him for the Presidency two years before, and was his warm admirer. Clay soon afterwards replied that he had communicated with a friend (Hezekiah Niles) in Baltimore, in compliance with Whittier's request, and had just learned from his correspondent that he had been anticipated, and that the liberation had been effected without the aid he would otherwise have given. Clay was probably disposed to unite with his friend Niles in paying the fine, if the latter considered the case a worthy one, and to testify thus his appreciation of the support which both Garrison and Whittier had given him in the Journal of the Times and the Boston Manufacturer.22

Garrison had nearly completed his seventh week in jail when Lundy received the following letter from a New York merchant, well known for his philanthropy and generosity:

Arthur Tappan to Benjamin Lundy.

New York, May 29, 1830.
23 dear sir: I have read the sketch of the trial of Mr. Garrison with that deep feeling of abhorrence of slavery and its abettors which every one must feel who is capable of appreciating the blessings of liberty. If one hundred dollars will give him his liberty, you are hereby authorized to draw on me for that sum, and I will gladly make a further donation of the same amount to aid you and Mr. G. in re-establishing the Genius of Universal Emancipation as published by you previous to its assuming the pamphlet form. Such a paper is much needed to hold up to American freemen, in all its naked deformity, the subject of [191] slavery as it now exists in our country; and I earnestly hope you will find encouragement to resume it and to give it a wide circulation. I am with esteem

Yr. obt. servant,

The Warden's receipt for $5.34 in payment of jail fees shows that Mr. Garrison was released on the 5th of June, 1830, after an imprisonment of forty-nine days. Two days later he started for Massachusetts, to obtain certain evidence which his counsel deemed important for the trial yet pending on Todd's suit. He took with him a written circular, ‘To the Friends of the Anti-Slavery25 Cause,’ signed by Lundy and dated Baltimore, June 7, which proposed the renewal of the weekly Genius and continuation of the monthly issue, provided a sufficient patronage could be obtained. ‘My friend W. L. G. will show the foregoing to such persons as he may think [192] proper,’ added Lundy in a postscript, ‘and give any further explanations of our intentions that he may think necessary.’

On his arrival in New York, he at once called on his benefactor, Arthur Tappan, to express his gratitude for the unexpected service rendered him. ‘His appearance26 and deportment at that time,’ wrote Lewis Tappan, ‘were not likely to be forgotten. His manly form, buoyant spirit, and countenance beaming with conscious rectitude, attracted the attention of all who witnessed his introduction to Mr. Tappan.’ He proceeded without delay to Newburyport, passing through Boston on the 10th of June, and paying his respects to friendly Mr.27 Buckingham of the Courier.

W. L. Garrison to Ebenezer Dole,28 at Hallowell, Maine.

Baltimore, July 14, 1830.
29 respected and benevolent sir: At the request of my Counsel, and at the desire of my friend Lundy, I visited Boston and Newburyport a few weeks since, in order to get some essential evidence to be used in the civil action which is now pending against me in this city; and also to see whether anything could be done towards renewing, and permanently establishing, the weekly publication of the Genius. I left Baltimore without adequate means to carry me home, relying upon Providence to open a door of relief. On my arrival in New York, I was accidentally introduced to a gentleman named Samuel Leggett, who generously offered me a passage to Rhode Island, in the splendid steamboat President, he being a stockholder therein. Thus I was most unexpectedly relieved of my embarrassment, and enabled to reach my place of destination. Mr. L. said that he had read with indignation the proceedings of the court at my late trial, and was glad to have an opportunity of serving me. I gave him many thanks for his kindness.

I found the minds of the people strangely indifferent to the subject of slavery. Their prejudices were invincible,—stronger, [193] if possible, than those of slaveholders. Objections were started on every hand; apologies for the abominable system constantly saluted my ears; obstacles were industriously piled up in my path. The cause of this callous state of feeling was owing to their exceeding ignorance of the horrors of slavery. What was yet more discouraging, my best friends—without an exception —besought me to give up the enterprise, and never to return to Baltimore! It was not my duty (they argued) to spend my time, and talents, and services, where persecution, reproach and poverty were the only certain reward. My scheme was visionary—fanatical—unattainable. Why should I make myself an exile from home and all that I held dear on earth, and sojourn in a strange land, among enemies whose hearts were dead to every noble sentiment? &c., &c., &c. I repeat—all were against my return. But I desire to thank God, that he gave me strength to overcome this selfish and pernicious advice. Opposition served only to increase my ardor, and confirm my purpose.

But how was I to return? I had not a dollar in my pocket, and my time was expired. No one understood my circumstances. I was too proud to beg, and ashamed to borrow. My friends were prodigal of pity, but of nothing else. In the extremity of my uneasiness, I went to the Boston Post-office, and found a letter from my friend Lundy, enclosing a draft for $100, from a stranger—yourself, as a remuneration for my poor, inefficient services in behalf of the slaves! Here Providence had again signally interfered in my behalf. After deducting the expenses of travelling, the remainder of the abovenamed sum was applied in discharging a few of the debts incurred by the unproductiveness of the Genius.

As I lay on my couch one night, in jail, I was led to contrast my situation with that of the poor slave. Ah! my dear Sir, how wide the difference! In one particular only, (I said,) our conditions are similar. He is confined to the narrow limits of a plantation—I to the narrow limits of a prison-yard. Further all parallels fail. My food is better and more abundant, as I get a pound of bread and a pound of meat, with a plentiful supply of pure water, per diem. I can lie down or rise up, sit or walk, sing or declaim, read or write, as fancy, pleasure or profit dictates. Moreover, I am daily cheered with the presence and conversation of friends;—I am constantly supplied with fresh periodicals from every section of the country, and, consequently, am advertised of every new and interesting occurrence. [194] Occasionally a letter greets me from a distant place, filled with consolatory expressions, tender remembrances, or fine compliments. If it rain, my room is a shelter; if the sun flame too intensely, I can choose a shady retreat; if I am sick, medical aid is at hand. Besides, I have been charged with a specific offence—have had the privilege of a trial by jury, and the aid of eminent counsel—and am here ostensibly to satisfy the demands of justice. A few months, at the longest, will release me from my captivity.

Now, how is it with the slave? He gets a peck of corn (occasionally a little more) each week, but rarely meat or fish. He must anticipate the sun in rising, or be whipped severely for his somnolency. Rain or shine, he must toil early and late for the benefit of another. If he be weary, he cannot rest—for the lash of the driver is flourished over his drooping head, or applied to his naked frame; if sick, he is suspected of laziness, and treated accordingly. For the most trifling or innocent offence, he is felled to the earth, or scourged on his back till it streams with blood. Has he a wife and children, he sees them as cruelly treated as himself. He may be torn from them, or they from him, at any moment, never again to meet on earth. Friends do not visit and console him: he has no friends. He knows not what is going on beyond his own narrow boundaries. He can neither read nor write. The letters of the alphabet are cabalistical to his eyes. A thick darkness broods over his soul. Even the ‘glorious gospel of the blessed God,’ which brings life and immortality to perishing man, is a sealed book to his understanding. Nor has his wretched condition been imposed upon him for any criminal offence. He has not been tried by the laws of his country. No one has stepped forth to vindicate his rights. He is made an abject slave, simply because God has given him a skin not colored like his master's; and Death, the great Liberator, alone can break his fetters.

Reflections like the foregoing turned my prison into a palace. Can you wonder, benevolent Sir, that I was enabled to sing,— after such an amazing contrast,—with a heart overflowing with gratitude,—

When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I'm lost
In wonder, love and praise!

If the public sympathy is so strongly excited in my behalf, because justice has been denied me in a single instance, [195] how ought it to flame for two millions of as valuable and immortal souls, who are crushed beneath the iron car of despotism? O that my countrymen would look at things in their true light! O that they might feel as keenly for a black skin as for a white one! forgetting me entirely, and thinking only of the poor slave!

Your generosity deeply affects my heart; but as I have done nothing, and can do nothing, in the cause of African emancipation, to merit such a gift, I must receive your donation only as a loan on interest—to be repaid as soon as Providence may enable me to do so. At present, I am opulent in nothing but gratitude, though my language is cold and penurious. Be good enough to make my acknowledgments to Mr. J. C. Lovejoy, for his friendly sympathies. Friend Lundy desires to be affectionately remembered. May God bless and prosper you and yours, is the prayer of

Mr. Garrison lingered in Baltimore for several weeks after the above letter was written, but, finding that his second trial, on Todd's personal suit, would not occur till the fall, unable to wait there so long, and satisfied that he could expect no justice from a Maryland jury or court, he determined to make no contest, and to let the case go by default. When it came to trial, therefore, the evidence was entirely one-sided and substantially the same as that given in the previous trial, though Captain Brown now appeared by deposition, testifying that the slaves were kindly treated on the voyage, and claiming credit for having ‘actually relieved their 31 condition in some degree,’ since he had carried them to ‘a climate much more congenial to their nature.’ He also expressed his belief that this was the only case in which Mr. Todd had allowed slaves to be carried in any of his [196] vessels, and his certain knowledge that Todd had never owned a slave in his life.

The defendant failing to appear,32 the case was submitted to the jury, who returned a verdict for Todd, with damages of one thousand dollars; but payment of this was never enforced, the defendant being safely beyond the reach of Maryland law. The proceedings of this trial were printed in the first number of the Liberator by Mr. Garrison, who subsequently published a candid commentary on them, disclaiming any personal hostility to Mr. Todd and Captain Brown, and asserting that in the publication of his strictures he was governed by the following very practical motives:

1. A sense of duty, as an advocate of freedom, and a hater33 of tyranny and of all its abettors. 2. A desire to evince to the Southern people, that, in opposing slavery, I disregarded all sectional feelings, and that a New-England assistant was as liable to reprehension as a Maryland slaveholder. 3. A belief that the publication would ever afterward deter Mr. Todd from venturing into the domestic slave trade; and that it would be a rod over the backs of New-England merchants generally.

Having proved, on my first trial, my main charges—viz., that the Francis carried away the slaves, and even thirteen more than I had stated—that the ship was owned by Mr. Todd—and that he was privy to the transaction—I determined to incur no expense, and to give myself no trouble, in relation to the second suit. I knew that my judges must be men tainted with the leprosy of oppression, with whom it would be useless to contend—men morally incapable of giving an impartial verdict, from the very nature of their pursuit. And here let me observe, en passant, that, though I do not say that a packed jury has convicted me, yet, knowing as I do how juries are selected in Baltimore, and recognizing also some of my condemners, I consider my trial as having had all the formality, but none of the substance, of justice. . . .

Mr. Todd, as a high-minded man, should have been satisfied with the result of the former trial. The second suit betrays the meanness of avarice and the littleness of revenge. It was [197] not so much a desire to clear his reputation, as to gain a few dollars or gratify a vindictive spirit, that induced the prosecution.

It is averred, that, “after his [Garrison's] conviction in the City Court, he was distinctly informed through his Counsel, that as Mr. Todd had no vindictive feelings to gratify, the suit would be withdrawn, if a proper apology and recantation of the calumny were put upon record.” This is true; and it is also true that I refused to comply with the demand, because I never will apologize for telling the truth.

With regard to the truth of my allegation, that chains were used on board the Francis, it could not be substantiated except by summoning the crew. Generally speaking, irons are inseparable from the slave trade; nor is this usage a grievance in the eye of the law, but a preservative right on the part of owners and masters of vessels engaged in the perilous traffic. Whether the slaves, in this instance, were confined or not, was immaterial to the formation of a verdict. I am now disposed to believe, however, that no chains were used on board of the Francis.

It is certainly true, as stated in my ‘libellous’ article, that Mr. Todd has been remarkably successful in his commercial speculations; but I do not know that he has ever been guilty of carrying slaves in his vessels, excepting in this particular instance. He says that this was his first cargo of souls, and Capt. Brown corroborates his assertion; and I am almost as sure that it will be his last.

Leaving Mr. Todd, (to his relief and my own,) my business is next with Capt. Brown and his fanciful affidavit. He says “he received on board of the Francis eighty-eight black passengers”—a very delicate substitute for slaves. These passengers, he concedes, belonged to a “new master, named Milligan, who was present at the time of their embarkation, and assured them that they were not to be sold again at New Orleans—but that he intended them all for his own estate.” No doubt this trader in souls was fruitful in promises; but what security had the slaves for their fulfilment? Nothing but the mere say-so of their unprincipled buyer; or, to borrow the courtly language of Capt. Brown, nothing but “the honor and integrity of Mr. Milligan.”

I do not care whether the slaves were bought expressly for the New Orleans market, or for Milligan's own use; it does not, in my estimation, alter the aspect of the affair. If they [198] were to be sold, they might get a better—they might get a worse—master than Milligan. They are disposable property; and he who bought them to make money, would assuredly sell them for the same reason, whenever an opportunity presented itself. To say that they were not intended for public sale, is a contemptible quibble. Of this I was aware: that they were slaves—the creatures of an absolute despotism; that they were human beings, entitled to all the privileges and enjoyments of liberty; and that no man could assist in their oppression without participating in the guilt of the purchase. I must ever regret that New England men were engaged in the inhuman traffic, but not that I promptly exposed them to public censure. . . .

The decision of the Court upon my trial forms the paradox of paradoxes. The law says that the domestic slave trade is a legal business, and no more criminal than the most innocent mechanical or commercial pursuit; and, therefore, that any man may honestly engage in it. Yet, if I charge an individual with following it, either occasionally or regularly, I am guilty of “a gross and malicious libel” —of “defaming his good name, fame and reputation” —of “foul calumny and base innuendo” —with sundry other law phrases, as set forth in an indictment! So much for the consistency of the law! So much for the equity of the Court! The trial, in fact, was not to ascertain whether my charges were true, but whether they contained anything disreputable to the character of the accused; and the verdict does not implicate or condemn me, but the law.

The hat-making business, for instance, is an authorized trade. Suppose I were to accuse a man of making hats, and should believe, and publicly declare as my opinion, that every hat-maker ought be imprisoned for life: would this be libellous? It is my belief, that every distiller or vender of ardent spirits is a poisoner of the health and morals of community; but have I not a right to express this belief without subjection to fine and imprisonment? I believe, moreover, that every man who kills another, either in a duel or battle, is, in the eye of God, guilty of his blood; but is it criminal or punishable to cherish or avow such an opinion? What is freedom of thought, or freedom of expression? It is my right—and no body of men can legally deprive me of it—to interrogate the moral aspect and public utility of every pursuit or traffic. True, my views may be ridiculous or fanatical; but they may also be just and benevolent. Free inquiry is the essence, the life-blood of liberty; [199] and they who deny men the right to use it, are the enemies of the republic.

In conclusion, I would remark that, on my first trial, his honor Judge Brice informed my counsel that if the case had been submitted to the Court, instead of the jury, it would have been thrown out as containing nothing actionable.

The facts are now before the public. It is for them to judge whether imprisonment and a fine of one thousand dollars (giving the worst construction to my motives and language) are not excessive punishment; and whether, in the publication of my strictures, I exceeded the freedom of the press, or the legitimate province of an independent editor.34

As his trip to Massachusetts had failed to afford any encouragement for the renewal of his partnership with Lundy, and the revival of the weekly Genius, Mr. Garrison resolved to establish a journal of his own; and in August, 1830, he issued the following prospectus, of which the original draft, in his clear handwriting, is probably the only complete copy now in existence:

for publishing a weekly periodical in Washington city, to be entitled
the public Liberator, and Journal of the Times.

The primary object of this publication will be the abolition of slavery, and the moral and intellectual elevation of our colored population. The Capital of our Union is obviously the most eligible spot whereon to build this mighty enterprise:— first, because (through Congress and the Supreme Court) it is the head of the body politic, and the soul of the national system; and secondly, because the District of Columbia is the first citadel to be carried. [200]

On this subject, I imagine my views and feelings are too well known to render an elaborate exposition necessary. In its investigation, I shall use great plainness of speech—believing that truth can never conduce to mischief, and is best discovered by plain words. I shall assume, as self-evident truths, that the liberty of a people is the gift of God and nature:—That liberty consists in an independency upon the will of another:— That by the name of slave, we understand a man who can neither dispose of his person or goods, but enjoys all at the will of his master:—That no man can have a right over others, unless it be by them granted to him:—That virtue only gives a natural preference of one man above another, or why one should be chosen rather than another:—That the creature having nothing, and being nothing but what the Creator makes him, must owe all to him, and nothing to anyone from whom he has received nothing:—That that which is not just, is not law; and that which is not law, ought not to be in force:—That he who oppugns the public liberty, overthrows his own, and is guilty of the most brutish of all follies whilst he arrogates to himself that which he denies to all men:—That whosoever grounds his pretensions of right upon usurpation and tyranny, declares himself to be an usurper and a tyrant—that is, an enemy to God and man—and to have no right at all:—That that which was unjust in its beginning, can of itself never change its nature:—That he who persists in doing injustice, aggravates it, and takes upon himself all the guilt of his predecessors:— That there is no safety where there is no strength, no strength without union, no union without justice, no justice where faith and truth are wanting:—That the right to be free is a truth planted in the hearts of men, and acknowledged so to be by all that have hearkened to the voice of nature, and disproved by none but such as through wickedness, stupidity, or baseness of spirit, seem to have degenerated into the worst of beasts, and to have retained nothing of men but the outward shape, or the ability of doing those mischiefs which they have learnt from their master the devil.—Vide Algernon Sidney's Discourses on Government—the Declaration of American Independence—the Constitutions and Bills of Rights of the several States, &c., &c.

I shall spare no efforts to delineate the withering influence of slavery upon our national prosperity and happiness, its awful impiety, its rapid extension, and its inevitable consequences if it be suffered to exist without hindrance. It will also be my [201] purpose to point out the path of safety, and a remedy for the disease.

The cause of Peace and the promotion of Temperance, being equally dear to my heart, will obtain my zealous and unequivocal support. My creed, as already published to the world, is as follows:—That war is fruitful in crime, misery, revenge, murder, and everything abominable and bloody—and, whether offensive or defensive, contrary to the precepts and example of Jesus Christ, and to the heavenly spirit of the gospel; consequently, that no professor of Christianity should march to the battle-field, or murder any of his brethren for the glory of his country:—That intemperance is a filthy habit and an awful scourge, wholly produced by the moderate, occasional and fashionable use of alcoholic liquors; consequently, that it is sinful to distil, to import, to sell, to drink, or to offer such liquors to our friends or laborers, and that entire abstinence is the duty of every individual.

I shall exercise a strict supervision over the proceedings of Congress, and the characters of its members. The representatives of a moral and religious people should walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise men, lest they be brought to public shame. The Public Liberator shall be a terror to evil-doers, but a praise to them that do well.

In politics, no man can doubt my republicanism. I go for the people—the whole people—whatever be their bodily dimensions, temporal conditions, or shades of color. As a man of peace, I am not an admirer of military men; as a friend of good government, I deprecate their elevation to offices of civil trust. The proscriptive measures of the present Administration have been such as no people, who do not possess the abject servility of slaves, can sanction or tolerate. I shall give a dignified support to Henry Clay and the American System.

The Public Liberator will contain a fair proportion of literary and miscellaneous matter—all important foreign and domestic news—and a copious summary of Congressional transactions.

I now appeal to the American people—to philanthropists and patriots, to moralists and Christians—for adequate patronage. I believe that a paper of the foregoing character is specially needed at this momentous crisis: I am equally confident that it will receive the approbation of all sober, reflecting, honest, humane men. Its columns shall be open to all temperate and intelligent communications on the subject of [202] slavery, politics or morals. Whatever savors of bigotry or proscription shall gain no admittance. I am opposed to bondage, under its every aspect—whether spiritual, civil, political, mental or physical. ‘Implicit faith belongs to fools; and truth is comprehended by examining principles.’ My country is the world; my countrymen are mankind.

The first number of the Public Liberator will be issued as soon as subscriptions thereto may authorize the attempt. Postmasters are authorized to act as Agents, until further arrangements can be made.

Editors of newspapers who will give this Prospectus two or three gratuitous insertions in their columns, shall receive my thanks, and a reciprocation of the favor if it be in my power hereafter.

A copy of this prospectus was evidently sent to Arthur Tappan, who replied with characteristic promptness and generosity:

Arthur Tappan to W. L. Garrison at Baltimore.

New York, Aug. 9, 1830.
36 dear sir: I have your letter of the 5th, and am glad to find that you are sufficiently relieved from persecution to be able to turn your attention to the project you have in view. It is a noble enterprise and worthy of having consecrated to it the best talents in our [land]. I am not sufficiently acquainted with you [to judge] whether you possess the various qualifications that must be concentrated in the editorial and publishing departments to insure success to a paper. With [regard to] your talent at writing and your zeal in the cause, I have information that is highly satisfactory; and though I do not feel sufficiently informed to venture to advise you, I will cheerfully aid you to the extent you ask. Annexed is my check for $1[ ].

It will give me pleasure to see you [ ] in this city.

I am, very respectfully, yours,

During his imprisonment, Mr. Garrison had prepared three addresses on slavery and colonization, for delivery at the North; and, after trying in vain to obtain a hall or meeting-house in Baltimore in which to give them, he [203] left that city in the fourth week of August, and did not revisit it for thirty-four years. Philadelphia was the first city in which he paused, on his northward journey, and he was there a week before he could obtain the free use of a hall in which to hold his meetings. He was about giving up in despair and leaving the city, when the hall of the Franklin Institute was offered to him, and on Tuesday evening, August 31, 1830, he gave his first lecture there to an audience composed almost exclusively of members of the Society of Friends and of colored people. They listened to this and to the lectures of the two succeeding evenings with marked attention and interest, though his ‘hard language’ troubled some. The Inquirer, while professing friendship and sympathy for Mr. Garrison, reproved him for his excess of zeal and intemperance in advocating his views; yet it spoke warmly of his first lecture, which it declared to be ‘elevated and impassioned, bespeaking the thorough37 acquaintance of the author with his subject, and evincing the deep and philanthropic interest which animated him in behalf of the poor Africans. The declamation of Mr. Garrison,’ it furthermore said, ‘is in some respects uninviting and defective; but it is impossible for an intelligent auditor to be unimpressed with the strength and beauty of his composition. Indeed, we thought the former quality too predominant, though its attractiveness is a sufficient excuse for its display.’

The friends who welcomed him to Philadelphia were those who had long been actively interested in the antislavery cause, and who, as personal friends of Lundy and subscribers to the Genius, were not unfamiliar with Garrison. Among them were Thomas Shipley, Dr. Edwin P. Atlee, and James and Lucretia Mott, all of whom proffered the hospitality of their homes and gave him words of encouragement.38 [204]

In New York he repeated his lectures in Broadway Hall to small but respectable audiences, Arthur and Lewis Tappan honoring him with their presence. Thence he went to New Haven, and was welcomed by his friend Simeon S. Jocelyn to the pulpit of the colored church in that city, of which, although a white man, he was the pastor. ‘I spoke to mixed audiences,’ records Mr.39 Garrison, ‘and naturally to the hearty approval of my colored hearers. I had a prolonged interview with Rev. Leonard Bacon, D. D., and an earnest discussion respecting the merits of the American Colonization Society, he being its special champion. I was greatly impressed with his ability, and equally so with the jesuitism of his reasoning. At Hartford I lectured in a colored church, and roused up a good deal of interest in the breasts of the colored inhabitants. In all these places converts and friends were made among the whites.’

From Hartford he addressed this letter to Rev. George Shepard, of Hallowell, Maine, of whose church his recent benefactor, Ebenezer Dole, was a member, and who had consulted him with reference to an offer which Mr. Dole proposed to make, anonymously, of $50 premium for the best tract on slavery:

W. L. Garrison to rec. George Shepard.

Hartford, Ct., Sept. 13, 1830.
40 Your very interesting and important letter of the 18th ult. was duly received; but circumstances have prevented my giving it a suitable reply till the present moment.

Towards the unknown individual who generously offers a41 premium of $50 for the best tract on the subject of slavery, I [205] feel an attachment of soul which words cannot express; and for yourself, sir, I beg you to accept my thanks for the sympathy which you express in behalf of the poor slave. Alas! that so few in our land feel an interest in the great cause of emancipation! But let us not despair. The time must come— for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken it—when all oppression shall cease, and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig-tree—there being none to molest or make him afraid. We may not live to see that glorious day, but may hasten it by our prayers, our toils, and our sacrifices; nor shall we lose our reward—for the King of Heaven may peradventure bestow that noblest of panegyrics upon us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants!’

At the present day, American slavery is unequalled for cruelty :—antiquity cannot produce its parallel. And yet it is boastingly proclaimed to the world, that this is the land of the free, and the asylum of the oppressed! Was liberty ever so degraded in the eyes of mankind, or justice mocked with such impunity?

For myself I hold no fellowship with slave-owners. I will not make a truce with them even for a single hour. I blush for them as countrymen—I know that they are not Christians; and the higher they raise their professions of patriotism or piety, the stronger is my detestation of their hypocrisy. They are dishonest and cruel—and God, and the angels, and devils, and the universe know that they are without excuse.

They hear not—see not—know not; for their eyes
Are covered with thick mists—they will not see;
The sick earth groans with man's impieties,
And heaven is tired with man's perversity.

With regard to the outlines of the contemplated tract which you have given, I think they are highly important—but so broad, that their discussion could not be easily or efficiently embraced within twelve duodecimo pages. I would therefore suggest, with deference, the expediency of confining the object of the tract to one of these two points—namely, ‘The Duty of Ministers and Churches, of all denominations, to clear their skirts from the blood of the slaves, and to make the holding of slaves a barrier to communion and church-membership’—or, secondly, in your own language, ‘Suggestions as to the best ways and means to restore the slaves to their unalienable rights, and elevate them to that standing in society to which, [206] as brethren of the human family, and fellow-heirs to immortality, they are entitled.’

Both of the above points are eminently weighty, and would require separate treatises in their elucidation. I am decidedly in favor of the one first mentioned; because all plans will be likely to prove nugatory as long [as] the church refuses to act on the subject—it must be purified, as by fire. It must not support, it must not palliate, the horrid system. It seems morally impossible that a man can be a slaveholder and a follower of the Lamb at the same time. A Christian slaveholder is as great a solecism as a religious atheist, a sober drunkard, or an honest thief. In 1826, the Synod of Ohio held an animated discussion on a question which had been before referred to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, viz.: ‘Is the holding of slaves man-stealing?’ in the affirmative of which a large majority concurred. This is a rational view of the subject; consequently no slaveholder ought to be embraced within the pale of a Christian church.

Is not the fact enough to make one hang his head, that Christian men and Christian ministers (for so they dare to call themselves) are slave-owners? Are there not Balaams in our land who prophesy in the name of the Lord, but covet the presents of Balak? What! shall he who styles himself an ambassador of Christ—who preaches what angels sung, ‘Peace on earth, good — will to man’—who tells me, Sabbath after Sabbath, that with God there is no respect of persons—that my Creator commands me to do unto others as I would that they should do unto me—to love my neighbor as myself—to call no man master—to be meek and merciful, and blameless—to let my light so shine before men that they may see my good works, and glorify my Father who is in heaven—to shun every appearance of evil—to rather suffer myself to be defrauded than defraud;—nay, who tells me, as the injunction of my Judge, to love even my enemies, to bless them that curse me, to do good to them that hate me, and to pray for them that despitefully use and persecute me—(alas! how has he needed the prayers and forgiveness of his poor degraded, persecuted slaves!)—I say, shall such a teacher presume to call the creatures of God his property—to deal in bones and sinews, and souls—to whip and manacle and brand—merely because his victims differ in complexion from himself, and because the tyrannous laws of a State and the corrupt usages of Society justify his conduct? Yet so it is. By his example, he sanctifies, [207] in the eyes of ungodly men, a system of blood, and violates every commandment of Jehovah. Horrible state of things!

‘For this thing which it cannot bear, the earth is disquieted. The Gospel of Peace and Mercy preached by him who steals, buys or sells the purchase of Messiah's blood!—Rulers of the Church making merchandise of their brethren's souls!—and Christians trading the persons of men!—These are they who are lovers of their own selves—Covetous—Proud—Fierce— Men of corrupt minds, who resist the truth—Having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away.’

I think that an able and faithful tract upon this [subject] is greatly needed, and would be the means of incalculable good.— I submit the choice of topics to yourself, and to the benevolent individual who offers the premium.

There is no Society in existence bearing the title of the ‘American Abolition Society.’ I think the tract had better come out to the public under the auspices of the ‘Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and for improving the Condition of the African Race.’ Agreeably to your request, I select three members of that Society to decide upon the merits of the various tracts that may be presented—namely, the venerable William Rawle, Ll. D., President, and Jonas Preston, M. D., and Thomas Shipley, Vice-Presidents of said Society—all thorough-going reformers and highly intelligent and respectable men, residents of Philadelphia. The premiummoney may be deposited in the hands of the President, Wm. Rawle.

I am now on an Eastern tour for the purpose of delivering public addresses on the subject of slavery, of obtaining subscriptions to my proposed new paper at Washington City, of establishing a National Anti-Slavery Tract Society, &c., &c. I shall leave Hartford for Boston this morning, where I shall probably reside some time, and to which place please to address your next letter as soon as convenient.

Your friend and well-wisher till death,

Mr. Garrison now proceeded to Newburyport, resolved that his native town should be the first place in Massachusetts to hear his lectures on slavery. Dr. Daniel Dana, pastor of the Presbyterian church on Harris Street, [208] readily agreed to give him the meeting-house for that purpose, but when the audience gathered for the first lecture, the doors of the sanctuary were closed, and it appeared that the Trustees had held a meeting and overruled their pastor, who could only express his regret and chagrin that they had refused to sustain him. The Todd influence was still all-powerful, and endeavored to crush the offending editor, who left Newburyport in disgust for Amesbury. As he was driving up the hill beyond the Chain Bridge, he met his friend Dr. Luther F. Dimmick, pastor of the Second Congregational church. ‘William,’ said the Doctor, ‘I thought you were going to lecture last night’; and on William's explaining why he had not done so, the Doctor declared that he should have his church for as many lectures as he wanted. It was agreed that he should return to Newburyport as soon as he had delivered his lectures in Amesbury, and these he gave, probably on three consecutive evenings, before the42 Amesbury and Salisbury Lyceum. The Lyceum room was so crowded during the first lecture that Rev. Mr. Damon's meeting-house was secured for the second and third addresses, and filled.

‘The first lecture,’ wrote a correspondent of the 43 Newburyport Herald, ‘endeavored to refute the strongest and most popular objections to the immediate abolition of slavery, and to show that expediency, as well as justice, urged the necessity of the measure. The second pointed out slavery as it exists in law, and in fact, in our country, the speaker illustrating his remarks by several anecdotes of the extreme cruelty exercised towards the slaves of our Southern States, some of which instances he told us he himself had witnessed. These cruelties he described with so much feeling, and in language so forcible, that one might almost fancy he heard the groans, and viewed the lacerated bodies, of the poor sufferers. While in this part of his discourse, all his feelings and power of soul appeared to be brought into action, and so vividly did he describe the sufferings of the slaves that the audience seemed to be completely carried along with him, and to partake, in some degree at least, of the enthusiasm of the speaker. . . . In the third and last discourse we were told that the crime, the infamy, and the [209] curse of slavery are national, and that we New Englanders are equally culpable with the slave-dealers and slave-owners. He also spoke of the Colonization Society. It is, he says, lulling the American people to sleep.’

These meetings in Amesbury sowed good seed, and ripened public sentiment for the early formation of two anti-slavery societies there, one of men and the other of women. Returning without delay to Newburyport, Mr. Garrison delivered his first lecture in Dr. Dimmick's church, on the evening of September 28, to a large audience; but the next evening the doors were closed against him, and Dr. Dimmick found himself as helpless in the hands of his Trustees as Dr. Dana had been. Indignant at this insulting treatment, Mr. Garrison addressed the following communication to the editor of the Herald, and, shaking the dust of the town from his feet, went back to Boston:

Sir: Twice have the inhabitants of this town been deceived44 in relation to the delivery of my Addresses on Slavery. Permit me to exonerate myself from blame in this matter. Circumstances beyond my control have prevented the fulfilment of my pledges. Toward those who have exerted their influence, with a malignity and success which are discreditable to themselves and the place, in order to seal my lips on a subject which involves the temporal and eternal condition of millions of our countrymen, I entertain no ill-will, but kindness and compassion. Let them answer to God and posterity for their conduct; for even this communication shall be read by future generations, and shall identify the ashes of these enemies of their species.

If I had visited Newburyport to plead the cause of twenty white men in chains, every hall and every meeting-house would have been thrown open, and the fervor of my discourses anticipated and exceeded by my fellow-townsmen. The fact that two millions of colored beings are groaning in bondage, in this land of liberty, excites no interest nor pity!

I leave this morning for Boston. A circumstantial account of my treatment in this my native place will probably be given, in a few days, in one of the city papers.

Your grateful servant, and undaunted friend to the cause of universal liberty,

Wm. Lloyd Garrison. Thursday morning, Sept. 30, 1830.


Two days later, a brief editorial appeared in the columns of the Boston Evening Transcript, announcing45 Mr. Garrison's arrival in Boston, and describing the shabby treatment to which he had been subjected in Newburyport. The article46concluded with some complimentary words about the young reformer in a cause ‘which he could never hope to see perfected, but of which he would long be remembered as an early and laborious pioneer.’

Encouraged by this kindly reception, Mr. Garrison sent three short communications to the Transcript during the ensuing month. In one of these he called attention to the47 recent rendition of two fugitive slaves (man and wife) who had escaped by secreting themselves on a brig from New Orleans to Boston, but who, being discovered before the vessel reached port, were arrested and carried before a magistrate on its arrival, and sent back into slavery without producing the least ripple of excitement in the community. In another article he commented on the 48 inconsistency and hypocrisy of the whites of Charleston. Richmond and Baltimore, in noisily celebrating the overthrow of Charles the Tenth, of France, while holding their fellow-beings in a state of servitude which, for cruelty and debasement, found no parallel in European despotism. This stirred the wrath of the Charleston (S. C.) City Gazette, which declared it ‘impertinence’ in a man who had ‘lately been punished for similar impertinences,’ to meddle with the concerns of other people, and expressed the wish that he might be furnished with some ‘decent, honest employment,’ to keep him out of mischief. The Transcript copied this paragraph as ‘a49 fair offset’ to the article which had elicited it; whereupon Mr. Garrison replied in a letter of such vigor that the timid editor printed it with confessed reluctance, and a preliminary sermon to his correspondent on the rashness [211] and unwisdom of using harsh or intemperate language in discussing so delicate a subject as slavery. It was evident that the latter's communications would no longer be welcomed to the Transcript's columns, and this letter—in which, as ‘a New-England mechanic who is not ashamed of his trade,’ he asked the Charleston ‘scribbler’ whether it was a ‘decent, honest employment’ to ‘reduce the creatures of God to a level with brutes, to lacerate and brand their bodies with more than savage cruelty, and to keep their souls in thick, impenetrable darkness’—was his last word. ‘When,’ he fervently declared,—

‘When I shall become so mean and dastardly, so lost to every50 feeling of humanity, every principle of justice, every conviction of conscience, as to fetter and sell my own countrymen or others, may I receive (as I ought to receive, if capital punishment be lawful,) a just reward for my conduct at the gallows, like any other pirate; may my memory be accursed to the end of time; and may the lightnings of heaven consume my body to ashes. I join with the eloquent and indignant Brougham— “Tell me not of rights—talk not of the property of the planter in his slaves. I deny the right—I acknowledge not the property. The principles, the feelings of our common nature rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding or to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects it. While men despise fraud, and loathe rapine, and abhor blood, they shall reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy that man can hold property in man.” ’

During the first fortnight after his arrival in Boston, Mr. Garrison vainly endeavored to procure, without cost, a place in which to deliver his lectures; and he finally sent this advertisement to the Courier:51

Wanted—For three evenings, a Hall or Meeting-house (the latter would be preferred), in which to vindicate the rights of two millions of American citizens who are now groaning in servile chains in this boasted land of liberty; and also to propose just, benevolent, and constitutional measures for their relief. As the addresses will be gratuitous, and as the cause is of public benefit, I cannot consent to remunerate any society [212] for the use of its building. If this application fails, I propose to address the citizens of Boston in the open air, on the Common.

Wm. Lloyd Garrison. No. 30, Federal Street, Oct. 11, 1830.

This appeal was quickly answered, but not by any of the Christian ministers or churches of Boston. It was left for a society of avowed ‘infidels’52 to save the city from the shame of sealing all its doors against the slave's advocate, and to offer him their hall for his three lectures, although, as a body and individually, they had no personal acquaintance or sympathy with him, and no especial interest in his cause. Two days later, the papers announced that Mr. Garrison would deliver his first lecture on Friday evening, October 15, in Julien Hall, at the northwest corner of Milk and Congress Streets.53

It was not without reluctance that the young Baptist accepted this courteous offer from a sect whom he had so recently denounced and held up for reprobation, and who now taught him, and the Christian brotherhood to whom he had vainly appealed, a lesson of charity and toleration that might well cause them to blush. Accordingly, in acknowledging, at the beginning of his first lecture, his indebtedness to them and his shame that the churches had allowed themselves to be thus surpassed, he felt it incumbent upon him to explain that he was very far from sympathizing with their views on religious questions, and that he believed slavery could be abolished only through the power of the Gospel and of the Christian religion.

The hall was pretty well filled when he began his address, and the audience included Dr. Lyman Beecher, Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, Deacon Moses Grant, and John Tappan (a brother of Arthur)—the last two, well-known and respected merchants; Rev. Samuel J. May, then [213] settled as a Unitarian minister at Brooklyn, Connecticut, and the only one of the denomination in that State; his cousin, Samuel E. Sewall, a young Boston lawyer; and his brother-in-law, A. Bronson Alcott.54Mr. May has thus described the occasion:

Presently the young man arose, modestly, but with an air55 of calm determination, and delivered such a lecture as he only, I believe, at that time, could have written; for he only had had his eyes so anointed that he could see that outrages perpetrated upon Africans were wrongs done to our common humanity; he only, I believe, had had his cars so completely unstopped of “prejudice against color” that the cries of enslaved black men and black women sounded to him as if they came from brothers and sisters.

He began with expressing deep regret and shame for the zeal he had lately manifested in the Colonization cause. It was, he confessed, a zeal without knowledge. He had been deceived by the misrepresentations so diligently given throughout the free States, by Southern agents, of the design and tendency of the Colonization scheme. During his few months' residence in Maryland he had been completely undeceived. He had there found out that the design of those who originated, and the especial intentions of those in the Southern States that engaged in the plan, were to remove from the country, as a [214] disturbing element in slaveholding communities, all the free colored people, so that the bondmen might the more easily be held in subjection. He exhibited in graphic sketches and glowing colors the suffering of the enslaved, and denounced the plan of Colonization as devised and adapted to perpetuate the system, and intensify the wrongs of American slavery, and therefore utterly undeserving of the patronage of lovers of liberty and friends of humanity.

Never before was I so affected by the speech of man. When he had ceased speaking I said to those around me: “That is a providential man; he is a prophet; he will shake our nation to its centre, but he will shake slavery out of it. We ought to know him, we ought to help him. Come, let us go and give him our hands.” Mr. Sewall and Mr. Alcott went up with me, and we introduced each other. I said to him: “Mr. Garrison, I am not sure that I can indorse all you have said this evening. Much of it requires careful consideration. But I am prepared to embrace you. I am sure you are called to a great work, and I mean to help you.” Mr. Sewall cordially assured him of his readiness also to cooperate with him. Mr. Alcott invited him to his home. He went, and we sat with him until twelve that night, listening to his discourse, in which he showed plainly that immediate, unconditional emancipation, without expatriation, was the right of every slave, and could not be withheld by his master an hour without sin. That night my soul was baptized in his spirit, and ever since I have been a disciple and fellow-laborer of William Lloyd Garrison.

The next morning, immediately after breakfast, I went to his boarding-house and stayed until two P. M. I learned that he was poor, dependent upon his daily labor for his daily bread, and intending to return to the printing business. But, before he could devote himself to his own support, he felt that he must deliver his message, must communicate to persons of prominent influence what he had learned of the sad condition of the enslaved, and the institutions and spirit of the slaveholders; trusting that all true and good men would discharge the obligation pressing upon them to espouse the cause of the poor, the oppressed, the down-trodden. He read to me letters he had addressed to Dr. Channing, Dr. Beecher, Dr. Edwards,56 the Hon. Jeremiah Mason, and Hon. Daniel Webster, holding up to their view the tremendous iniquity of the land, and begging them, ere it should be too late, to interpose their great power in the Church and State to save our country from the [215] terrible calamities which the sin of slavery was bringing upon us. These letters were eloquent, solemn, impressive. I wonder they did not produce a greater effect. It was because none to whom he appealed, in public or private, would espouse the cause, that Mr. Garrison found himself left and impelled to become the leader of the great anti-slavery reform . . . .

The hearing of Mr. Garrison's lectures was a great epoch in my own life. The impression which they made upon my soul has never been effaced; indeed, they moulded it anew. They gave a new direction to my thoughts, a new purpose to my ministry.

The second and third lectures were delivered on Saturday and Monday evenings, October 16 and 18, 1830, and on the 28th Mr. Garrison repeated the first lecture in Athenaeum Hall, on Pearl Street, which Mr. Sewall and Mr. May had engaged for him, doubtless at their own expense. A few colored persons who attended it sat apart in one corner, in accordance with their habit in those days, feeling that even at such a meeting their presence might be unwelcome and distasteful to the white auditors.

Dr. Beecher, as has been mentioned, was present at the first lecture, but no word of sympathy or approval came from him. He was the man to whom Mr. Garrison had first turned with confidence for help in this new crusade against sin and iniquity, but the Doctor was indifferent to his appeal, and excused himself on the ground that he had too many irons in the fire already. ‘Then,’57 said Garrison, solemnly, ‘you had better let all your irons burn than neglect your duty to the slave.’ The demand for immediate and unconditional emancipation was alarming to the Doctor, however. ‘Your zeal,’ he said to Garrison, ‘is commendable, but you are misguided. If you will give up your fanatical notions and be guided by us (the clergy), we will make you the Wilberforce of America.’

Of a very different mould from Dr. Beecher was the young Unitarian minister who now allied himself with Mr. Garrison. One of the sweetest and gentlest of men, [216] disliking controversy with all his soul, he did not for a moment shrink from the path of trial which now opened before him. On the Sunday following the delivery of Mr. Garrison's lectures, Mr. May occupied the pulpit of Rev. Mr. Young at Church Green, in Summer Street. ‘Of course,’ he said, ‘I could not again speak to a 58 congregation, as a Christian minister, and be silent respecting the great iniquity of our nation. The only sermon I had brought from my home in Connecticut that could be made to bear on the subject, was one on Prejudice—the sermon about to be published as one of the Tracts of the American Unitarian Association. So I touched it up as well as I could, interlining here and there words and sentences which pointed in the new direction to which my thoughts and feelings so strongly tended, and writing at its close what used to be called an improvement.’ This was a fervid appeal in behalf of the two millions of his fellow-beings in bondage. His concluding declaration, that the iniquity must be put an end to, even if the very foundations of the Republic itself were thereby broken up, created much excitement in the congregation. When he rose to pronounce the benediction, Mr. May said:

‘Every one present must be conscious that the closing 59 remarks of my sermon have caused an unusual emotion throughout the church. I am glad. Would to God that a deeper emotion could be sent throughout our land, until all the people thereof shall be roused from their wicked insensibility to the most tremendous sin of which any nation was ever guilty, and be impelled to do that righteousness which alone can avert the just displeasure of God. I have been prompted to speak thus by the words I have heard during the past week from a young man hitherto unknown, but who is, I believe, called of God to do a greater work for the good of our country than has been done by any one since the Revolution. I mean William Lloyd Garrison. He is going to repeat his lectures the coming week. I advise, I exhort, I entreat—would that I could compel!— you to go and hear him.’

This fearless profession brought the immediate reproof and condemnation of Mr. Young, and the reprobation [217] of most of his auditors, upon Mr. May; and his father was beset next day by friends and business acquaintances who begged him to stop his son in this ‘mad career.’ The young man was immovable, however, and neither halted nor retreated in his course save on one point. When he handed his sermon to Rev. Henry Ware, Jr., then purveyor of the American Unitarian Association, for publication, the latter insisted that the interlineations and additions respecting slavery should be omitted, and Mr. May consented, to his lasting regret. ‘Unconsciously to ourselves,’ he said, ‘the hand of the60 slaveholding power lay heavily upon the mind and heart of the people in our Northern as well as Southern States.’ This fact was becoming more and more impressed on Mr. Garrison, and when he learned, during this month of October, that Lundy had removed the Genius to Washington, he abandoned his intention of publishing the Liberator at the national capital, and resolved to establish it in Boston.

It is difficult to overrate the value of Mr. May's and Mr. Sewall's friendship to him at that period. The former's hearty and enthusiastic response to his appeal at Julien Hall had been as unexpected and delightful as his own self-consecration to the cause had been to Lundy, two years previous; while Mr. Sewall's excellent judgment and advice were of frequent service to him when launching his paper and movement in Boston. In one respect Mr. Garrison declined to follow his suggestions. Desirous of conciliating and winning as large a number of the community as possible, and fearful that the name Liberator would alarm and repel them, Mr. Sewall suggested several of a milder type, of which one was the Safety Lamp. On this point, however, the editor was tenacious and adhered to his self-explanatory title. But, as through all their subsequent long association with one another, difference of judgment on subordinate questions failed to weaken or impair in the slightest degree the friendship begun at Julien Hall. [218]

And now it remained for Mr. Garrison to establish, at the beginning of the new year, the paper which he had publicly announced. He had neither types, press, nor office, nor had he any money, and he had secured no subscribers beyond the few personal friends whom he could count on his fingers. It was clearly impossible for him to edit, print and publish the paper alone and unaided, and he could not afford to hire an assistant. At this juncture his friend Isaac Knapp, as poor and destitute as himself, but like him a practical printer, agreed to go into partnership with him and share the toils and privations of his seemingly desperate enterprise; and they proceeded to devise ways and means by which the paper could be issued. Even if they should succeed in publishing the first number, it was a problem how they could afford to bring out a second. If a desire for glory or reputation had been their controlling motive, any other method of obtaining it would have seemed more promising than the course they had chosen; but Mr. Garrison, in a sonnet which appeared in the same number of the Courier in61 which he advertised for a hall had already avowed his indifference to

Earthly fame.62

How fall Fame's pillars at the touch of Time!
How fade, like flowers, the memories of the dead!
How vast the grave that swallows up a clime!
How dim the light by ancient glory shed!
One generation's clay enwraps the next,
And dead men are the aliment of earth;
‘Passing away!’ is Nature's funeral text,
Uttered coeval with Creation's birth.
I mourn not, care not, if my humble name,
With my frail body, perish in the tom;
It courts a heavenly, not an earthly fame,
That through eternity shall brightly bloom:
Write it within thy Book of Life, O Lord,
And, in ‘the last great day,’ a golden crown award!

1 One of those who were pardoned and released was a gigantic fellow, with double sets of teeth, who had been sentenced for life, for highway robbery, and had served many years in a most exemplary manner. He was so grateful to Mr. Garrison for the latter's efforts in his behalf, that he presented him with a specimen of his handiwork—a reel skilfully carved within a bottle—which the recipient retained for many years.

2 Maryland slaveholders seldom kept a slave who had once run away, but sold him immediately for the Southern market.

3 Lib. 1.21.

4 This suit was never pressed to trial.

5 Selections from Writings of W. L. G., p. 230.

6 May 13, 1830.

7 G. U. E., July, 1830, p. 54.

8 Boston Courier, May 24, 1830.

9 Lib. 1.92.

10 Ante, p. 79.

11 First printed in the National Journal, Washington. It bore date ‘Baltimore Jail, May 22, 1830,’ and was ‘the hasty effusion of a moment.’

12 G. U. E., July, 1830, pp. 54, 55.

13 G. U. E., June, 1830, p. 35.

14 It is doubtful if any Northern editor expressed himself with more vigor and fearlessness on the subject than George D. Prentice, then conducting the New England Weekly Review at Hartford. He was at that time a warm admirer of Garrison, though he had never seen him, and, after a careful examination of the facts relating to the trial, he flung down the gauntlet to Todd in this spirited fashion:

‘The remarks in Mr. Garrison's alleged libel were strict truths—truths, too, which it concerns the public to know. The slave-trade is murder—it is piracy—and if F. Todd is guilty of it, murder and piracy are among the crimes for which he is answerable. Perhaps his vindictive feelings are not propitiated by the sufferings of a single victim. If so, he is at perfect liberty to consider us as repeating, sentence for sentence and word for word, everything which Mr. Garrison has said touching him and his abominable traffick. Thank Heaven, we are not in Maryland, nor within the jurisdiction of the Court from which our friend received his sentence’ (N. E. W. Review, May 31, 1830).

Prentice soon after resigned his position to Whittier and removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as editor of the Journal, he became wholly subservient to the Slave Power and recreant to his early professions.

15 Preface to 2d ed. Trial Pamphlet, Boston, 1834.

16 Prentice was certainly unstinting in his praise. ‘Mr. Garrison is too well known to the public,’ he said, ‘to need from us any testimonial either of his talents or his virtues. Among the young men of our country, he has few equals and not one superior. His greatest praise, and the greatest which any man can covet, is that he has devoted himself, body and soul to the amelioration of our race. Without the hope, and almost without the possibility, of pecuniary remuneration, he has gone out, a moral apostle, among the votaries of crime and oppression, and lifted up a voice among them that already makes them tremble for their ancient prerogatives. By the blessing of God, he will triumph. His triumphs have already begun. We would rather be W. L. Garrison, confined as he now is in a dungeon-cell, than his tyrannical judge upon the bench which he has disgraced, or Francis Todd in the midst of the guilty splendors of ill-gotten gold’ (Ibid.)

17 N. P. Herald, May 25, 1830.

18 N. P. Herald, June 11, 1830.

19 A few days since, Judge Brice observed to the Warden of the Jail, that ‘Mr. Garrison was ambitious of becoming a martyr.’ ‘Tell his Honor,’ I responded, ‘that if his assertion be true, he is equally ambitious of gathering the faggots and applying the torch.’

20 Cf. Lib. 1.11, and S. J. May's Recollections, p. 37.

21 Lib. 34.49.

22 He had never seen either of them. Years afterwards he met Whittier in Washington, and asked the poet why he no longer supported him. Whittier frankly replied that he could not support a slaveholder. Clay was ‘pleasant, cordial, and magnetic in manner.’

23 Ms.

24 Arthur Tappan (1786-1865), a native of Northampton, Mass., began his business career in Portland, Me., in 1807, removing thence in 1809 to Montreal, where he prospered until the War of 1812 destroyed his business and compelled him to leave Canada at a great sacrifice. Establishing himself in New York in 1815, he succeeded eventually in building up a large and profitable silk trade, and became one of the best-known merchants in the country, whose name was a synonym for uprightness. A man of the most simple tastes and frugal habits, he gave lavishly of his fortune to aid the religious and philanthropic movements of the day, and contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the support of the Tract and Bible Societies, theological seminaries, and various educational and reformatory efforts. His early espousal of the slave's cause, and the moral and material support which he brought to the anti-slavery movement, were therefore of incalculable value and importance. ‘With a sound understanding,’ wrote Mr. Garrison of him, ‘a great conscience to the dictates of which he was inflexibly true, a genuine humility that did not wish the left hand to know what the right hand performed, a moral courage that could look any reproach or peril serenely in the face in the discharge of what seemed to be an imperative duty, a sense of rectitude commensurate with the golden rule, a spirit of philanthropy as comprehensive and universal as the “one blood” of all nations of men, a liberality rarely paralleled in the consecration of his means to deliver the oppressed and to relieve suffering humanity in all its multifarious aspects, and a piety that proved its depth and genuineness by the fruits it bore, his example is to be held up for imitation to the latest posterity.’ (See “Life of Arthur Tappan,” p. 424.) The founder of the Tappan family in this country settled in Newbury, Mass., so that Mr. Garrison's benefactor, like himself, was of Essex County descent (Hist. and Genealogical Register, 14.327, and for Jan., 1880, pp. 48-55).

25 Ms.

26 Life of A. Tappan, p. 163.

27 Boston Courier, June 11, 1830.

28 Ebenezer Dole was born in Newburyport, Mass., in 1776. he was a descendant in the fifth generation of Richard Dole, of Newbury, by his first wife. The second wife, Hannah Brocklebank, widow of Capt. Samuel Brocklebank (ante, p. 3), was an ancestor of Mr. Garrison's.

29 Ms.

30 Appended to this letter was the following note, which Mr. Dole carefully cancelled by drawing his pen emphatically across it several times:—

Baltimore, July 14, 1830.

For value received, I promise to pay Ebenezer Dole, or his order, the sum of One Hundred Dollars, with interest, on demand.

Witness, Isaac Knapp.

The original letter is in possession of the Union League Club of New York.

31 Lib. 1.2.

32 ‘I am willing that the Court should have all the sport to itself,’ wrote Garrison to Lundy; ‘I give Mr. Todd every advantage’ (Genius, Nov., 1830, p. 114). Todd's attorney accused him of having ‘absconded.’

33 Lib. 1.9.

34 The Manumission Society of North Carolina appointed a committee to investigate the subject, and their report, which was adopted, was a vindication of Garrison, with a recommendation that the Society should protest against the illegal and unconstitutional decision in his case (Genius of Universal Emancipation, Oct., 1830, p. 98).

35 Ms.

36 Ms. (slightly mutilated).

37 Phila. Inquirer, Sept. 2, 1830.

38 Of the Motts he afterwards wrote: ‘Though I was strongly sectarian in my religious sentiments (Calvinistic) at that time, and hence uncharitable in judgment touching theological differences of opinion, . . . yet they manifested a most kind, tolerant, catholic spirit, and allowed none of these considerations to deter them from giving me their cordial approbation and cheering countenance as an advocate of the slave. If my mind has since become liberalized in any degree, (and I think it has burst every sectarian trammel.)—if theological dogmas which I once regared as essential to Christianity, I now repudiate as absurd and pernicious,—I am largely indebted to them for the change’ (Lib. 19.178; Life of James and Lucretia Mott, pp. 296, 297).

39 Ms., Feb. 5, 1874, to Oliver Johnson.

40 Ms.

41 E. Dole.

42 Sept. 24-26, 1830.

43 Sept. 28, 1830.

44 N. P. Herald, Oct. 1, 1830.

45 Oct. 2, 1830.

46 Doubtless written by the editor, Lynde M. Walter, who had established the Transcript only a few weeks previously. He was a graduate of Harvard College in the famous class of 1817.

47 Oct. 13, 1830.

48 Oct. 12, 1830.

49 Nov. 1, 1830.

50 Transcript, Nov. 8, 1830.

51 Oct. 12, 1830.

52 Under the leadership of Abner Kneeland.

53 The building, a brick structure, was demolished and replaced by another building shortly before the great fire of 1872, and the site is now (1885) covered by the Post-office.

54 It was natural that Mr. Sewall should find himself in sympathy with Mr. Garrison. His distinguished ancestor, Judge Samuel Sewall, was one of the earliest opponents of slavery in America, and published an antislavery pamphlet, “The selling of Joseph; a memorial,” in 1700 (reprinted in Williams's “History of the negro race in America,” 1: 210). (For his descent from Judge Sewall, see Titcomb's “Early New England people,” pp. 217-223.) Mr. May (who was born in 1797, and hence was eight years Mr. Garrison's senior) was a son of Col. Joseph May, of Boston, a highly respected merchant, and both he and his cousin Mr. Sewall graduated from Harvard College in 1817, in the same class with David Lee Child, George Bancroft, George B. Emerson, Caleb Cushing, Samuel A. Eliot, Stephen Salisbury, Stephen H. Tyng, and Robert F. Wallcut. It is worthy of note that Mr. May preached his first sermon in December, 1820, on the Sunday following the delivery of Daniel Webster's Plymouth Rock oration, and was so impressed by the latter's fervid appeal to the ministry to denounce the slave-trade that he read the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah in his morning service. Five years later he was interested in the Rev. John Rankin's “Letters on slavery,” and when Lundy made his second visit to New England, in June, 1828, he was welcomed to Brooklyn, Conn., by Mr. May, and held a large meeting in the latter's church. (See “Memoir of Samuel Joseph May,” pp. 139, 140.)

55 May's Recollections of our A. S. Conflict, pp. 18-20.

56 W. E. Channing, Lyman Beecher, Justin Edwards.

57 Johnson's Garrison and his Times, p. 44.

58 May's Recollections, pp. 20-22.

59 May's Recollections, p. 22.

60 May's Recollections, p. 24.

61 Oct. 12, 1830.

62 writings of W. L. G., p. 301.

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