Chapter 16: Fremont.—1856.The pro-slavery atrocities in Kansas do not cause Garrison to regard the border-ruffian otherwise than as a fellow-man, or to view the newly formed Republican Party as an abolition organization. But, as between Fr6mont and Buchanan or Fillmore, he wishes success to the Republican candidate for President.
The election of N. P. Banks to the Speakership of1 the lower house of Congress, after a two months struggle, over a South Carolinian slaveholder, was, in Mr. Garrison's hope, “the first gun at Lexington of the new Revolution.” Lib. 26.23. The victory of the Slave Power in the2 election of James Buchanan—a typical Northern doughface3 —to the Presidency in November, over John C. Fremont, with three parties in the field and only one issue, was in fact the Bunker Hill of that Revolution. Between these events, of the first political importance, occurred the beating of Charles Sumner in his seat in the Senate Chamber4 of the United States by the nephew of one of his colleagues, a Representative from South Carolina, Preston S. Brooks. The speech which drew down upon the Massachusetts Senator this murderous assault, was entitled ‘The Crime against Kansas’; and the assault itself was merely a part of that crime. Jefferson Davis, Pierce's Secretary of War, wielding all the power of the5 Administration in support of the pro-slavery invaders of Kansas, publicly approved Brooks's action. Senator Douglas, the6 arch-contriver of the Kansas iniquity, witnessed without emotion and without interfering (“lest his motives might be misconstrued” Lib. 26.91, 103.) the plying of the dragoon strokes which Brooks had learnt in the Mexican War; and7 afterwards took the stump with the South Carolinian in behalf8 of Buchanan. The Southern press spoke but one language. The Richmond Enquirer held, as to Sumner's treatment,9 that it was the right discipline for him and the other  ‘vulgar abolitionists in the Senate,’ who were ‘getting above themselves.’ ‘They have grown saucy, and dare to be impudent to gentlemen. . . . They have been suffered to run too long without collars. They must be lashed into submission. . . . They will soon learn to behave themselves like decent dogs.’ So the Muscogee (Ala.) Herald summed up ‘free society’ as “but a conglomeration of greasy mechanics, filthy operatives, smallfisted farmers, and moon-struck theorists,” Lib. 26:. not ‘fitted for well-bred gentlemen. . . . This is your free society which the Northern hordes are endeavoring to extend into Kansas.’ How the love of Union on the part of the North ever survived such representative expressions of contempt and contumely as these, must always remain a mystery. The narrow miss which the Republican Party made of electing Fremont may fairly be set down to the fear of disunion, industriously played upon by men who meant10 what they said, as was proved four years later. Toombs, and Mason, and Rhett, gave fair warning. Brooks11 recommended that the South rise, march on Washington, and seize the archives and the Treasury: “We should anticipate them [the free States], and force them to attack us.” Lib. 26: . Henry A. Wise wrote with utmost accuracy to John W. Forney: “Whether the present state of peaceful revolution, of warlike brotherhood, of confederated antagonisms, of shake-hand enmity, of sectional union, of united enemies, shall continue, depends precisely upon the issue whether Black Republicanism is strong enough to elect John C. Fremont, with all the demon isms at his heels.” Lib. 26: . Even Millard Fillmore, the Know-Nothing Presidential12 candidate, had the frank indecency to justify secession in the event referred to. If all this was set down as bluster by those who knew the value of the Union to slavery, the abolitionists at least were excusable, as being the only party who proposed to put it to the test by a peaceable Northern secession. The Pierce Administration being resolved to sink or  swim with Border-Ruffian supremacy in Kansas, the Territory was plunged deeper and deeper into civil war, with the United States troops as a complicating factor— dispersing the free-State Legislature, disarming13 Northern immigrant bodies as well as attempting to exclude the Southern raiders, and assisting in the execution of ‘bogus’ writs. Three Southern armies spread terror in every free-State settlement, especially Lawrence, whose hotel and printing-office were battered down by way of14 judicial abatement as nuisances, and Osawatomie, which15 was sacked. Entrance to Kansas by the Missouri River16 route was practically closed, and even the Iowa and Nebraska frontiers were watched and picketed. The first free-State reprisals were made by John Brown in what17 his latest biographer calls the ‘Pottawatomie executions’ —midnight extirpation with the sword, in true Southern18 fashion, of a nest of harborers of Border Ruffianism; and the capture of a raiding company at Black Jack Creek,19 ‘the first regular battle fought between free-State and pro-slavery men in Kansas.’ Wanton bloodshed in that Territory, and not antislavery principle, wrought the North to the pitch of resistance symbolized by the vote for Fremont. It carried the clergy off their feet, and opened their churches to meetings for the donation of Sharp's rifles for Kansas—Henry Ward20 Beecher and Theodore Parker being conspicuous in the21 promotion of this object, and both incurring Mr. Garrison's friendly and discriminating censure. To the former,22 who had said, ‘You might just as well read the Bible to23 buffaloes as to those fellows who follow Atchison and24 Stringfellow,’ he rejoined:
Is it not to be sorely pressed, yea, to yield the whole ground,25 to represent any class of our fellow-creatures as being on the same level with wild beasts? To such a desperate shift does the slaveholder resort, to screen himself from condemnation. The negroes, he avers, are an inferior race—a connecting link between men and monkeys—and therefore it is folly to talk of giving them liberty and equal rights.  For our own part, we deeply compassionate the miserable and degraded tools of the slave propagandists, who know not what they do, and (as Mr. Beecher correctly says) are “raked together from the purlieus of a frontier slave State, drugged with whiskey, and hounded on by broken-down and desperate politicians.” But they are far less blameworthy than their employers and endorsers. To a great extent, they are the victims of a horribly false state of society in Missouri, and no doubt fearfully depraved; yet they are not beasts, nor to be treated as beasts. Convince us that it is right to shoot anybody, and our perplexity would be to know where to begin— whom first to despatch, as opportunity might offer. We should have to make clean work of the President and his Cabinet— Douglas, Atchison, Stringfellow, Toombs, Wise, and their associates—Doctors Lord, Adams, Spring, Fuller, and others of the same cloth—Judges Loring, Kane, Grier, and Slave Commissioners generally—the conductors of such papers as the New York Journal of Commerce, Observer, Express, Herald, and the Satanic press universally. These are the intelligent, responsible, and colossal conspirators against the liberty, peace, happiness, and safety of the republic, whose guilt cannot easily be exaggerated. Against their treasonable course our moral indignation burns like fire, though we wish them no harm; only we are sure that they are utterly without excuse.Mr. Beecher says: “We know that there are those who will26 scoff at the idea of holding a sword or a rifle, in a Christian state of mind.” He will allow us to shrink from such an idea without scoffing. We know not where to look for Christianity if not to its founder; and, taking the record of his life and death, of his teaching and example, we can discover nothing which even remotely, under any conceivable circumstances, justifies the use of the sword or rifle on the part of his followers; on the contrary, we find nothing but self-sacrifice, willing martyrdom (if need be), peace and good-will, and the prohibition of all retaliatory feelings, enjoined upon all who would be his disciples. When he said: “Fear not those who kill the body,” he27 broke every deadly weapon. When he said: “My kingdom is28 not of this world, else would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews,” he plainly prohibited war in self-defence, and substituted martyrdom therefor. When he said: “Love your enemies,” he did not mean, “ Kill them if they go too29 far.” When he said, while expiring on the cross: “Father,30 forgive them; for they know not what they do,” he did not treat  them as “a herd of buffaloes,” but as poor, misguided, and lost men. We believe in his philosophy; we accept his instruction; we are thrilled by his example; we rejoice in his fidelity. How touching is the language of James!— “ Ye have condemned and31 killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” And how melting to the soul is the declaration: “He was led as a lamb to the32 slaughter” ! And again: “ God commendeth his love towards us33 in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 34 . . . What are the facts respecting Kansas? Briefly these:
“Squatter Sovereignty” has turned out to be repeated invasions of the Territory by armed bandits from Missouri, who have successfully made it a conquered province, manufactured a Territorial Government, enacted a code of laws worthy of pandemonium, and trampled the civil and political rights of the bona-fide settlers under their feet; and for one sole object— to make Kansas a slave State. Hence the appeal, in selfdefence, to the people of the free States for men, money, and arms; hence the justification for the employment of Sharp's rifles against the “border ruffians.” It is said to be a struggle for liberty; and earnest appeals are made to the hearts and the pockets of all who desire to see liberty victorious. We burn with indignation at the insults and outrages to which the settlers have thus been subjected, and acknowledge their position to be a most perilous and trying one. But we deny, in the first place, that they are acting upon principle, or contending for equal rights. They resent as a foul slander the  charge of being abolitionists; they proclaim a truce on their part with slavery where it now exists; they are pro-slavery in spirit and position, in regard to the millions who are grinding in the Southern house of bondage; they have meanly and wickedly proscribed every man of color, and made it illegal for him to be a resident in the Territory; they do not object to slave-hunting on their soil, but recognize it as a constitutional obligation which they have no disposition to annul; they go for all the pro-slavery compromises of the American Constitution; they are contending for their own rights as white men, not for the rights of all, without distinction of caste or color; they have pursued a shuffling and compromising policy throughout; they have consented to make the existence of liberty or slavery in the Territory dependent upon the will of the majority, fairly expressed, and to abide by the result. The retribution now meted out to them is divinely ordered: having sown the wind, they are reaping the whirlwind. It is for them to say to one another, as did the treacherous brethren of Joseph: “ We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” And while they are yet standing, in common with the great body of the American people, with their feet upon the necks of four millions of chattel slaves,—and while, to propitiate the pro-slavery spirit, they have banished from their presence all free colored emigrants, at the very time they are complaining of having their own rights wrested from them,—with what face can they ask for the sympathy and cooperation of those who are battling for the cause of freedom on a world-wide basis? “Let the dead bury their dead.” Again—if such men are deserving of generous sympathy, and ought to be supplied with arms, are not the crushed and bleeding slaves at the South a million times more deserving of pity and succor? Why not, first of all, take measures to furnish them with Sharp's rifles? Their wrongs are beyond description; in comparison with which, those of the people of Kansas are utterly insignificant. Why strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel? If every “ border ruffian ” invading Kansas deserves to be shot, much more does every slaveholder, by the same rule; for the former is guilty only of attempting political subjection to his will, while the latter is the destroyer of all human rights, and there is none to deliver. Who will go for arming our slave population? The answer to this question would presently come from Kansas itself (from John Brown, namely) with the aid of Gerrit Smith, who had got bravely back up the ‘dam of non-resistance’ which he was once carried over. He was35 now even more prominent than Beecher and Parker in bestowing and soliciting arms for Kansas; and, from a Revolutionary standpoint, nothing could be better than his remarks, full of insight, at a Kansas convention in Buffalo, July 10, 1856:
Most of you are relying largely on political action, and36 especially on the next election, to save Kansas. Unhappy reliance! I speak deliberately when I say, that nothing so much as this reliance is now in the way of the deliverance of Kansas. You are looking to ballots when you should be looking to bayonets; counting up voters when you should be mustering armed, and none but armed, emigrants; electioneering for candidates for civil rulers when you should be enquiring for military rulers. All the time that you are making this mistake, slavery is fortifying itself in Kansas, and weakening and expelling liberty. . . . There was a time when slavery could have been ended by political action. But that time has gone by—and, as I apprehend, forever. There was not virtue enough in the American people to bring slavery to a bloodless termination; and all that now remains for them is to bring it to a bloody one. No man has called longer than I have on the American people to vote slavery to death. For many years, however, I have well-nigh despaired of their doing so, and for the last month or two I have entirely despaired of it. . . . No, the American people have never proposed to vote37 slavery to death, and they do not now propose to do so. The only question that remains is, whether they are prepared to put it to death by violence. They think that they are not. But I think that they are. I admit that they are not in purpose. Nevertheless, I think that they are in effect, for I trust that they are ready to put it to a violent death in Kansas— and in that death will be involved the whole of American slavery. . . . But why do I conclude that the North will put slavery in Kansas to a violent death? Because I am certain that the South will persevere in fighting for Kansas, and that the North will do so too. If all manhood has not departed from us, we will  not consent to leave our Kansas brethren to be butchered. If all love of freedom has not departed from us, we will not leave them to be cursed with slavery. And, I add, if the North but resolves to conquer, it will conquer. . . . And why, too, do I conclude that a death-struggle between liberty and slavery in Kansas will be a death-struggle between these powers in all the land? Because I am certain that the South will never give up Kansas until compelled to give up all slavery. She will fight for it to the last. . . . With no delight do I look upon these scenes of blood that seem to me so certain and so near. All the horrors of war are to my heart emphatically horrors. Let us all be filled with sincere and pious regret at the wretched circumstances into which our preeminently guilty country is brought. I say our guilty country—for I mean the North as well as the South. If the South has sinned fearfully in keeping alive and extending the system of slavery, no less fearfully has the North sinned in refusing to kill the bloody and infernal system at the ballot-box. For the civil war that has already broken out in this land, I hold the North and the South equally responsible.Mr. Garrison entertained no illusions about the efficacy of ballot-boxes or bayonets without a public sentiment behind them. He held to the simple Christian and humane remedy which consisted solely in breaking up the unholy partnership that ensured the national support of slavery. Here are his resolutions offered at the New England Anti-Slavery Convention on May 27, 1856:
10. Resolved, That we deplore the moral blindness and38 inconsistency of those who are seeking to transform the antislavery cause into a mere territorial struggle, in accordance with the Missouri Compromise—making it no longer a question as to the liberation of four millions of imbruted slaves at the South, but only one of latitude and longitude—basing it on a corrupt bargain, and not on the rights of man—sacrificing one race for the benefit of another—and consenting to the constitutional protection of slavery in fifteen States of the Union where it now exists, and to the outlawry of the fugitive slave in every section of the land. 11. Resolved, That slavery in a Territory is no worse a crime than slavery in a State; that Kansas is no more entitled to freedom than Carolina; and while we yield to none in zeal and  effort to prevent the extension of that most hideous system, and appreciate at its true value whatever is said or done to baffle the designs of the Slave Power in regard to future territorial acquisitions, we declare every other issue to be deceptive and futile except that of the liberation of every slave, and the separation of the North from the South as a moral and religious duty, and as a sure method of effecting the speedy downfall of slavery universally. 12. Resolved, That the successive invasions of Kansas by the Missouri bandits—their seizure of the ballot-box, and usurpation of governmental authority–their horrible enactments in regard to slavery, surpassing in murderous atrocity any code yet devised by human diabolism—their numberless crimes and bloody outrages upon the persons of the free settlers of that Territory, victim after victim having been assassinated with impunity—their introduction and establishment of chattel slavery, at the point of the bowie-knife and revolver—the extensive cooperation given them by the Southern States, and now by the army of the United States, by order of the President and his Cabinet, to the utter overthrow of all natural and legal rights, and the extinction of all the hopes of freedom—constitute an assemblage of horrors which no pencil can portray and no language express, and in comparison with which the grievances suffered by our Revolutionary fathers are as dust in the balance. . . . 18. Resolved, That a delegated Convention of the free States should be held at as early a period and at a point as central as practicable, for the purpose of taking measures to effect a peaceable withdrawal from an alliance which an experience of more than three-score years has demonstrated to be as impracticable as it has been disastrous to genuine republicanism and a pure Christianity. 19. Resolved, That, to secure this desirable object, the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society is hereby respectfully requested to appoint committees of correspondence and vigilance in the several free States, who shall be duly empowered to make all necessary arrangements to secure a full representation in the Convention aforesaid.The narrowing of the issue by the Republican Party, as described in the first of the foregoing resolutions, was the natural result of a purely defensive policy. Like Demosthenes's unskilful boxer, the party covered the place last  hit, exposing the rest of its body to fresh blows. Hence, not a word in its platform about the repeal of the39 Fugitive Slave Law, or urging abolition in the District of Columbia, against which, by the way, Fremont, during his40 brief Senatorial career, had twice voted. Kansas was the sole vital issue put forward. “The tone of the Republican Party,” Ms. wrote Mr. Garrison to S. J. May, on March 21, 1856, ‘is becoming more and more feeble and indefinite, in order to secure a large vote in the approaching Presidential struggle. At Pittsburg,41 they resolved to vote for the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free State! Wonderful! “Put not your faith in” —politicians!’ His cherished correspondent, like many another42 abolitionist, was swept away by the hope of political success into ardent support of Fremont; and such examples encouraged the Democrats in their policy of identifying43 the Republicans with the disunion abolitionists. Howell Cobb of Georgia, addressing a Democratic meeting at Portland, Me., on August 6, charged the Republicans that “the only difference between you and Garrison is—he goes at the question boldly, like a man, and you are sneaking around it. Garrison says your Constitution protects slavery, and he is against the Constitution. Well, I admit that he is foolish, but, at the same time, you are obliged to admit that he is bolder and honester than you are.” Lib. 26.133. The editor of the Liberator was beset with inquiries as to44 his attitude towards the Republican Party, often from members of it who hoped he would disavow it, in order that the party might disavow him. His replies left no45 room for ambiguity. In a long article, reviewing the46 duty of abolitionists under the temptation to which Mr. May had succumbed, he held them to the fundamental principle of the disunion position, with this admission: ‘As against Buchanan and Fillmore, it seems to us, the sympathies and best wishes of every enlightened friend of freedom must be on the side of Fremont; so that if there  were no moral barrier to our voting, and we had a million votes to bestow, we should cast them all for the Republican candidate.’ Returning to the subject in a later issue, he said:
What, then, is our duty as abolitionists in the present crisis?47 First—what it is not. It is not to abandon our principles, for they are immutable and eternal. It is not to lessen our demands, for they are just and right. It is not to lose sight of, or postpone to a more favorable period, the glorious object we have ever had in view, —to wit, the total and immediate extinction of slavery,—for this would be fatuity. It is not to substitute the non-extension for the abolition of slavery, for this would be to wrestle with an effect, while leaving the cause untouched—to seek to avert the penalty of sin, while allowing the sin itself to go unrepented of. It is not to lower our standard in order to propitiate the timeserving and cowardly or to carry any measure however desirable, for this would be certain defeat. It is not to concentrate our forces upon any geographical or side issue with the Slave Power, for this would be a fatal diversion. It is not to plead for the white laborer to the forgetfulness of the black laborer, nor to concern ourselves exclusively with consecrating to freedom any particular portion of the American soil, for ours is neither a complexional nor a sectional movement. It is not to act upon the jesuitical maxim, that the end sanctifies the means, for this is the all-corrupting sin in every part of this rebellious world. It is not to seek what is most available for the hour, or temporary success upon a false basis, for this is to rely upon numbers, and not upon God—upon policy, and not upon principle. Our duty is first personal, in regard to ourselves. We are to see to it that we make no truce with slavery, either directly or by implication; that we give to it no religious or political sanction, in any form or to any extent; that our hands are clean, and our consciences without condemnation; that we “remember them that are in bonds as being bound with them.” This duty performed, our next is to call to repentance our guilty land; to impeach, criticize, admonish, entreat, rebuke every sect, every party, every person, in alliance or sympathy with the oppressors, or indifferent to the claims of the perishing bondmen; to reject all half-way measures, while hailing with gladness the smallest indications of progress; to be as  inexorable as justice, as contumacious as truth, as unbending as the pillars of the universe; to “put on the whole armor of God, and, having done all, to stand.” Where, then, is our proper place in the political struggle which is now convulsing the nation, and exciting an unparalleled anxiety in the breasts of the people? Surely, not with the Democratic Party—beyond all question, the most corrupt, the most shameless, the most abandoned, and the most desperate party in existence. . . . As for the American Party, it is based upon proscription, and thoroughly pro-slavery. . . . Where stands the Republican Party, and to what extent is it deserving of commendation or censure? 1. Unquestionably, it embodies the whole political antislavery strength of the country—the legitimate product of the moral agitation of the subject of slavery for the last quarter of a century; for it is not conceivable that any voter, desirous of frustrating the aim of the Slave Power at universal dominion, will bestow his suffrage upon either Buchanan or Fillmore. In general intelligence, virtuous character, humane sentiment, and patriotic feeling—as well as in the object it is seeking to accomplish—it is incomparably better than the other rival parties; and its success, as against those parties, will be a cheering sign of the times. 2. It is sincerely, strenuously, and against the combined forces of the slave oligarchy wielded with diabolical malignity, endeavoring to prevent the vast territories of the West from becoming a slaveholding empire, divided into manifold slave States; and to this extent it is favorable to the cause of freedom. 3. It is allowed no foothold at the South, but is everywhere furiously ostracized, so that no meeting can be safely held to advocate its claims, no electoral ticket favorable to the election of its candidates can be formed, no slaveholder, even, can declare his adhesion to it without imperilling his life; and every vial of slaveholding wrath is poured out upon it, and upon all who are identified with it, notwithstanding its constant disavowal of all wish or intention to interfere with slavery where it now exists.48  4. It divides the nation by a geographical line, but without any sectional feeling on its own part; this division being caused solely by its just defence of the rights of the North against the daring invasions of the Slave Power, which is determined to “crush out” every sentiment of freedom in the land, and to punish opposition to its monstrous designs as summarily in Massachusetts as in Virginia or Alabama. 5. It helps to disseminate no small amount of light and knowledge in regard to the nature and workings of the slave system, being necessitated to do this to maintain its position; and thus, for the time being, it is moulding public sentiment in the right direction, though with no purpose to aid us in the specific work we are striving to accomplish—namely, the dissolution of the Union, and the abolition of slavery throughout the land. All this may be fairly set down to the credit of the Republican Party; and it is a wise apostolic injunction to give “credit to whom credit is due.” Let us be clear in our discrimination, and just in our award, without yielding one jot or tittle of principle, or moving a hair's-breadth from the path of duty.In disregard of this consistent attitude, maintained at a loss to the editor's subscription-list, Horace Greeley49 made no scruple, in his N. Y. Tribune, of pronouncing the Liberator “especially hostile to Fremont and the Republican Party” Lib. 26.162.; and his timidity at last prompted him to commit Mr. Garrison in the most tangible manner.50
we shall make52 categorical replies. 1. Personally, we shall not vote for Fremont. 2. We do not advise those who agree with us to vote for him, because he goes for perpetuating “the Union as it is'—we for its immediate dissolution as ” a covenant with death. “ 3. The language attributed to us by such lying journals as the Pennsylvanian and the Boston Post, being torn from its connection and basely garbled, does not truly represent our views. We said: ” If there were no moral barrier to our voting “ (but there is), and we had a million of votes to bestow, we should cast them all for Fremont, ” as against Buchanan and Fillmore—not because he is an abolitionist or a disunionist (for he is neither, any more than was Washington, Jefferson, Webster, Clay, or Jackson, occupying precisely their ground), but because he is for the non-extension of slavery, in common with the great body of the people of the North, whose attachment to the Union amounts to idolatry. Well, the Presidential struggle will terminate on Tuesday53 next, with all its forgeries, tricks, shams, lies, and slanders. Laus Deo! Whatever may be the result, upon our banner will still be inscribed in ineffaceable characters the motto: “no Union with slaveholders!”